Author: Chelsea (Peril Please) (page 2 of 97)

GROUP BOOK REVIEW + Q&A: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

We are so excited to do our first joint review for the hotly anticipated next installment from Sally Thorne! After The Hating Game, this blog became one of her biggest fans....so when her newest installment became available for request, we apparently all jumped for it! Once we all realized it, we came up with the idea to post them all at once, since we all finished so quickly-in fact, we devoured it! Here are all of our reviews in one...and a Q & A to further show our thoughts side by side. We hope you enjoy it! 🙂 -Chelsea

GROUP BOOK REVIEW + Q&A: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

… If Darcy Barrett hadn’t met her dream man when she was eight years old, the rest of the male population wouldn’t be such a let-down. No one measures up to Tom Valeska, aka the best man on Earth, not in looks, brain or heart. Even worse is the knowledge that her twin brother Jamie saw him first, and claimed him forever as his best friend.

Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. One percent of Tom has had to be enough for Darcy, and her adoration has been sustained by his shy kindness. And if she’s honest, his tight t-shirts.

Now Darcy’s got three months left to get her life together before her twin insists on selling the tumble-down cottage they inherited from their grandmother. By night, she’s working in a seedy bar, shooting down lame pickups from bikers. By day, she’s sewing underwear for her best friend and wasting her award-winning photography skills on website shots of pens and novelty mugs. She’s enjoying living the messy life, and a glass of wine or ten… until that one night, when she finds a six-foot-six perfect package on her porch.

Tom’s here, he’s bearing power tools—and he’s single for the first time in a decade.

As a house flipper extraordinaire, Tom has been dispatched by Jamie to give the cottage a drastic facelift that will result in a ton of cash. Darcy doesn’t appreciate Tom’s unsentimental approach to knocking down walls, and he really, really doesn’t approve of her current burnout boyfriend. They can’t be in the same room together without sparks flying- and it’s not the faulty wiring. One bedroom wall separates them at night, and even that’s looking flimsy.

Will Tom ever see Darcy as anything other than a little-sister obstacle to get around? And can she stand up to her most formidable opponent—her twin? This time around, she’s determined to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers, and he’s never managed to say no to her yet…

REVIEWS:

**ARC received via Edelweiss (THANK YOU BABY JESUS!) by Chelsea, Arielle, and Cassie in exchange for an honest review***

Chelsea’s Review (5 Stars):

There are moments in your life that truly define you as a person, moments that are far and few between but, when it happens, you just know it changes/changed you for the better. For me, dramatic as I am, I find it transcendent when I discover an author who can make me smile in the worst of times, who I will obsess and stalk and wait for in the wings until they announce and/or produce another work. I have found lately that perhaps my busy schedule and tiredness can affect how I feel about a book, so I cherish these moments (that rarely happen lately).

Patty is a shiny shorthaired black and tan Chihuahua, with a big apple dome head. She’s got a judgmental narrowing to her eyes. I don’t take it personally anymore, but sheesh, this dog looks at you like you’re a steaming turd.

Perhaps I’m just jaded? When you read 100 books a year (give or take), you become pickier and not as easily drawn in as you once were, seeing as you read so many good books every year. But, to get to the point, Sally Thorne is one of those transcendent authors who sucked me in the moment I read her first novel, The Hating Game. There are some books that just CLICK when you read them, that make you forget there’s a world around you when you pick them up….and her first book, and now this masterpiece, are just that. Unputdownable and fantasy inducing.

He has his first job for his own company and doesn’t want me smooching around like Pepé Le Pew. I’m the client. I’m his best friend’s sister. I’m Mr. and Mrs. Barrett’s weak-hearted daughter. I’m the liability he swore to take care of.

I’ll admit this book was hard for me, at first. And let me stop there before I even begin, because I know I’ll forget and it’s very important to get this in here-what I’m about to say [but haven’t said] is the mark of a true author. Okay-now that that’s out of the way-this book was SO DIFFERENT from her past work. A lot of times an author knows what works for them and they stick with it for a while. I get it, I do-I’d do that if I had a speck of the talent my favorite authors have. But Thorne, in her cute little way, created a book that has just as much fire, passion, and heart without making it exactly the same.

Banter. Hot, heated I-can’t-have-you-but-I-want-you-banter/situations. Working in close proximity. It all seems the same, yet it’s so…vastly out of this world unalike. How do you do that? How can you keep your same writing style, so simple yet so bubbly and sweet, yet not produce a carbon copy of your first story? It’s witchcraft, honestly, because like when I read THG, this book could draw me out of my horrendous mood and take me to another world entirely and make me want to insert myself into this story in Darcy’s place.

Annnnd there’s the elephant in the room-Darcy is Lucy on crack. Darcy was by far the hardest thing to handle in this book. Darcy was….something else. And, here it is again-she won me over, by the end. In your face, extremely sexualized (a recurring theme, I notice, in Thorne’s work), and, frankly, somewhat aggressive-but not in a mean way…just, hey, she knows what she wants and, good lord, she wants it bad. And what does she want? Well..more like whom?

Tom Valeska. A perfect specimen of a man…I agree with her here-he stole my heart from the first page he entered. I couldn’t breathe from the moment we meet him until the end when I closed that sad final page (I hate when wonderful books have to come to an end). I don’t know what it is about fierce, jealous, loyal guys, but they just get to me. They pierce my heart and never let me go-but his backstory? What led them here? My lord. I was a GONER. It stabbed me and kicked the breath from my lungs and I just can hardly STAND it. Clearly I have breathing issues, because every time-every dang time-I fall for a dude, the first thing to go is rational thinking and my breathing.

But, to be fair, he was one sexy being. Josh and Tom are both amazing dudes and my favorite thing about both books, so I can only IMAGINE what Thorne could do/create/write next time! *Fans self*.

I have to be honest, though, the writing sometimes felt…so odd. I think that’s partially because it’s a very early copy of an ARC, and, also, we’re in Darcy’s mind and she’s a rather disjointed specimen of a girl. Meaning, I think Thorne wrote Darcy how we think-sporadic, flighty, jumpy, funny, quick-witted, and it was harder for me to flow with the story sometimes. It was a rare occurrence, but I did notice it. Or, ya know, it could just be me being tired, as I am, ALL THE TIME.

This story, in scope, is a much simpler story, yet the heart that’s buried beneath is so vast. A story centered around the beating heart of all three of our main characters, it adds depth to the story that you don’t even realize until they are all close to falling apart. I loved that this book had such a simplistic tone, yet it meant so much to every MC involved. It hit you in the heart and made you realize how special the project was to all three of them, even as they fought and bickered, and even though each outcome achieved something different for each of them. I truly loved that facet of the story, and thought that it added much needed layers in the story when Darcy got a bit silly-all the better for character growth and relatability!

And, lastly, the chemistry (of even her twin brother in this adorable little threesome). They all had such wonderful chemistry that leaped off the page, making you sad and angry, and then so quick to swoon or make your heart melt. Tom and Darcy have been circling one another like animals (but really) since they were young, and the sexual frustration and tension is through the charts and so palpable we choke on it. I literally was so invested in this that I would sit and read and re-read every adorable moment between Tom and Darcy, just to get more of them falling for one another (even though they both fell long ago).

I’m sorry, but Tom’s jellyness and possessiveness sparked a hunger so deep inside of me…I don’t even care how that sounds-it was by far my favorite part of their story, besides their deep rooted friendship. And, not even in a weird way, Jamie, in this little trio, added something spicy, too. I hated him at first. I did. Like…until the end. But, like all things, I fell prey to the vulnerability of not knowing your place and the uncertainty of losing a best friend-and a sister-and caved. I loved them all, in the end. But no one ever said I wasn’t a complete sucker.

He laughs, and the afternoon sunlight turns the floating dust particles into glitter around us. It turns his eyes to whiskey, and they get me drunk. A guy like this? He’s the only one who’s ever made my stomach flip.

So, here I am, writing my heart out about another Sally Thorne book, aching and craving anything and everything I can get from her. Anyone who hasn’t read her last book is crazy. So I really don’t know who those people are, but say you come across this review because you’re curious: You’re crazy, I don’t get you, and you need to skidaddle and get a copy of THG immediately so you can understand what I mean-then we can be friends. I think. We’ll see-you have to love Josh and Tom, yet you can’t have them. They’re mine. So…tentative friends. But all joking aside, I truly hope that when this one comes out everyone enjoys it like me and my blog mates all did (joint review on the blog for the win!) and that it helps you find your happy place like it did for me. Her characters are just like that-addicting in the best kind of way. Just plain unputdownable.

**Quotes are subject to change by publication, so I only used a couple :)**

***

OMG I want to marry Tom Valeska. I literally ATE THIS BOOK UP. Why does it have to be overrrr??? From beginning to end, Tom had my heart and, somehow, Darcy won me over, too. Sally Thorne didn’t let me down 🙂

RTC!!!!!!!

View all my reviews

 

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Arielle’s Review (5 stars):

Buddy reading with Chelsea because SOME SWEET ANGEL FROM ABOVE/EDELWEISS GRANTED BOTH OF US A COPY *crazy eyes*

**All quotes came from an uncorrected ARC and are subject to change**

My friend Truly—my only friend from school who still lives here—thinks that women should buy themselves an indulgent weekly consolation prize. You know, for putting up with the world’s shit.

Is it weird that my first thought when I sat down to write this was “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CHOOSE WHAT QUOTES I USE?!”? I can’t even tell you the number of lines I have highlighted, waiting to be chosen as the best of the best for this review (I’ll give you a hint—it’s too many). So just know, that for everyone one quote I add, there’s five more in another document, waiting for you to read them and obsess over them just as I did.

“So, good T-shirts can die and go to heaven.” I grin at his expression: dismay, surprise, disapproval, and flattery, all erased in one blink. I’m addicted.
“You’re still a teenage dirtbag.”
Prim with disapproval, he looks at his watch.
“And you’re still a hot grandpa.”

When I first saw Sally post on her Flamethrowers Facebook page that Edelweiss had started to give away ARCs, you better believe I scurried my ass over there right after yelling at Chelsea to do the same. It was with a hope and a prayer and what do you know, WE BOTH ENDED UP BEING LUCKY ENOUGH TO RECEIVE A COPY. I think I probably screamed and blacked out for a second when I found out. I obviously started as soon as possible and honestly read that thing every single waking moment that I was able to until I was finished. 

“You were quite a naïve boy. There are always puckered peaks and nests of curls,” I grunt, lifting a second half-empty box up. “And the women all orgasm after eight hard thrusts. Oh, Richard! Give me a break.” I write on the box: JAMIE’S FUCK BOOKS.

Basically what I have discovered is that Sally Thorne’s writing is like crack. Even though this story and these characters were completely different than her previous book, it still gave me all of the best feelings. With romance, because I’ve read SO many, it’s not often that I come across one that makes me feel every single emotion that strongly and when I do it become an absolute treasure. I also feel the need to say that even though I don’t personally know Sally, that I just feel this strong sense of proud-ness for her for this book. I know she scrapped the book she initially planned on writing right after The Hating Game and then struggled with writer’s block for a long time but Sally, if you ever read this, know that this book was absolutely 100% worth the wait (see what I did there?). I’m glad you took that extra time to write something because you loved the story and characters and that you didn’t force yourself to write a story that would never be what you wanted it to be. Reading about you getting your writing groove back on Twitter was a glorious thing to behold and I applaud you for that!

He tries to ease me with a hand on my shoulder. “Why are you doing this?”
“If I don’t do think, I’ll do something else.” 
Something so deeply irreversible we won’t be able to make eye contact when we pass each other in the nursing home hall. Fuck it. That complete honestly I pledged? Here it comes. Up my throat and out loud. One big terrifying blurt. 
“Are you going to put your hands on me, or what?”

Anywaysss–this book is not just about Darcy Barrett and Tom Valeska, no, it’s also about her relationship with her twin brother Jamie, and the relationship that all three of them have together. It’s about Darcy’s weak heart and Patty the dog and the house that Darcy’s grandmother left her and her brother to fix and flip and Truly’s underwear business. All of these things are interconnected because Darcy and Tom’s lives have been interconnected from the very first day Jamie brought him over to their house when they were kids. Everyone went on such a journey during this book and I was especially proud of the transformation that the twins went through from the beginning to the end.

I can’t say it. I will explode if I don’t say it. “You got the best butt on the planet.” I put the camera on high speed and begin to paparazzi his ass.

Even though the book is about all of those things, the main focus is obviously on Darcy and Tom. O. M. G. Can we just talk about how delicious the tension between them was? I could barely handle it. I honestly don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to spoil anything about the book at all, just know that I was in love with both of them and I loved this entire book so much. If you enjoyed The Hating Game you’ll definitely love this one, too.

“No one else is kissing your anymore,” he tells me in a conversational hush, not breaking our contact. “Your mouth is mine.”

HUGEEEEEEEEEEEEEE THANKS to William Morrow Paperbacks and Edelweiss for the chance to read and honestly review this book. ♥ ♥ ♥

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Cassie’s Review:

All hail Sally Thorne! She, along with Marianne Zapata, have made me come to appreciate well-written modern romances. For a girl that loves her dystopian and thrillers, this is a big switch in my normal reading habits. I was gifted “The Hating Game” by Chelsea for Valentine’s Day and I absolutely loved it. So much that I’ve read it a few times now. So when I found out Sally had another book coming out, I had to get my hands on it.

“99 Percent Mine” was a great follow-up to the fantastic “The Hating Game.” However, it didn’t surpass it. But I’m honestly ok with that, as “99 Percent Mine” is wonderful all on its own.

Tom Valeska has an animal inside of him, and I’ve felt it every time he’s looked at me.

This book is told from the perspective of Darcy, a long-time friend of Tom, who was her twin brother’s best friend. It’s clear that Darcy has been in love with Tom for a long time, but for various reasons, they have never gotten together. When the book starts, Tom is engaged and Darcy is living a bit of a nomadic life, except she’s in town to oversee the renovation of her grandmother’s home, which is being done by Tom’s newly formed construction company.

Darcy tries to keep her feelings under control, but as she learns more about Tom’s relationship status, things quickly escalate.

Get it together, Darcy. It’s not his fault he was born with your favorite kind of bones. He’s a sweet shy solid-gold human. Someone’s fiance. You’re a teenage dirtbag. Leave him alone.

While I liked Darcy overall, she was certainly not my favorite leading lady. She is strong and independent, which is great, but also very forward and lacking much of a filter. For these reasons, it was hard for me to connect with her. I definitely was still rooting for her and Tom, but at the end of the day, I just didn’t love this character.

Tom reaches for my arm but stops when an inch separates our skin. He opens his hand over the mark and measures it. He’s pissed. Outraged. Mouth open from the sheer audacity.

Tom. Freaking. Valeska. For every issue or annoyance I had with Darcy, Tom made up for it in spades. He’s funny, sweet, thoughtful, jealous and just overall amazing. I love his determination to make his business succeed and his loyalty to his adopted family and friends. He may not have been perfect, as Darcy kept alleging, but he was pretty damn great. Sally Thorne knows how to write an amazing male lead. Josh Templeton was amazing, but Tom took it up a notch. I can only imagine what the next male lead will be like.

His touch bring me relief, but also a restlessness. There are too many people in this room. They’re all a bunch of laughing, drinking jerks who don’t know that they need to get out.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was cute and funny and had great characters. While I obviously had a few issues, there were relatively minor and still make this an easy 4.5 stars for me. Don’t hesitate to pick this up when it comes out.

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Group Q & A:

1. What was your favorite part of the book?

Chelsea: If I am being honest, it was anything and everything involving Tom. That’s not necessarily a specific answer, though, so I THINK my favorite part has to be ‘the morning/day after. And, okay, a broad but extremely truthful answer is when Tom is jealous as Darcy works on the construction crew-I can hardly stand those moments…they make my heart explode with feels! Oh, and I can’t not mention the moment we learn why Tom picked a chihuahua….my heart.

Arielle: Ugh this is a hard question.  Well I’ll go this route, two scenes that really stuck in my brain were when Darcy found out that Tom was single and started tearing the kitchen apart/trying to get in Tom’s pants, all at the same time, lol.  Also, there’s another part where he comes up behind her and starts talking in her ear and….I just got the whole body shivers.  So yeah, what Chelsea said, a lot of things with Tom, Darcy, and Tension.

Cassie: Wow, this is a very hard question to answer. I think my favorite scene was when Darcy and Tom go on a date to a bar. Darcy was kind of dialed back and they were just able to have a nice conversation. There was so much pent up sexual tension it was wonderful. I loved their back and forth, but I often found Darcy to be over the top. So to see her reigned in a little bit with Tom was a nice change of pace. 

 

2. What moment made you immediately want to pick up your phone and text/chat about it? (Good or Bad)

Chelsea:  I mean… ALL OF THEM! But I specifically remember picking up the phone because I just COULDN’T CONTAIN MYSELF during the first childhood flashback of Tom. It lit a fire in me and I just…oh man I got obsessed QUICK.

Arielle: Basically every time I highlighted a funny line or came across some scene of sexual tension so thick you could cut it with a knife…so basically most of the book bahah.

Cassie: I don’t know how to pick a single moment. But honestly, I loved the first moment Tom pulled up with Patty and he and Darcy started their banter. It was funny and magnetic and set such a great tone for the rest of the book. 

 

3. Tom Valeska-Did he reach instant BBF status, or no?

Chelsea: LOLZ what do you think?! INSTANT.
Arielle: HE WAS EVERYTHING I WANTED/NEEDED.  I’ve got a weird thing for characters who can use tools and work with their hands..
Cassie: YES YES YES

 

4. What was the most unexpected moment?

Chelsea: I can’t say the real unexpected moment, because it’s a spoiler. I’ll just say its after Tom says his piece. Truly, I didn’t expect that. Also, a safer and non-spoilery answer is Darcy’s personality in general-she was not what I was expecting after Lucy.

Arielle: Well weirdly enough it was kind of how much of as ass Jamie is.  I don’t think that’s really a spoiler because you find out right away that he and Darcy aren’t talking.  I just think I am under the impression that twins never fight and always get along (which I know isn’t true, but still).  Don’t worry, he redeems his asshat-ness and helps Darcy come to terms with certain things at the same time, too.

Cassie: Mine is the same as Chelsea’s. I didn’t expect something Tom does near the end at all (at least to the extent it went). It’s not a bad thing, but just seemed out-of-character. 

 

5. Overall Thoughts?

Chelsea: This book was just an out of this world instant favorite for me-it came out of nowhere and I was so happy and blessed to get it way before it’s even available. I devoured this book-yet read it so slowly because I had to re-read every moment involving Tom 500 times. It’s rare that I fall for a book this deeply, especially a contemporary, and the last time I happened was the beginning of the year with Mariana Zapata’s books. But, before that, it was The Hating Game. So I think it’s safe to say that Sally Thorne is an absolute favorite author that I can count on when I’m down and out…she’ll always put a smile on my face.

Arielle: I LOVED this book.  A good story is what drives my interest but great writing is what ignites a spark deep in my soul.  Thorne’s writing is so unique and hilarious in a way that I have never found in any other author before.  I loved meeting and getting to know Darcy’s crazy personality and Tom’s steadfastness and I think it will be rare for other people to not feel the same way. THANK YOU, SALLY, FOR TOM VALESKA!

Cassie: I really enjoyed this book but I don’t think I can say I liked it more than “the Hating Game.” By no means does that mean this book isn’t good, because it is, but I missed the hate-to-love aspect that happened with Josh and Lucy. While I think it’s safe to say that in both books the characters will get together, I enjoyed the more slow-burn and hate-to-love with Josh and Lucy instead of the when-is-it-going-to-happen between Darcy and Tom. While Tom was an absolute GEM of a character, Darcy was…a lot. I didn’t relate to her and found her a bit all over the place. At the end of the day, I still was left smiling and thrilled to have another Sally Thorne book in my life. 

 

We hope you enjoyed our first joint review post! Is everyone excited for this Sally Thorne masterpiece?! Let us know below!

BOOK REVIEW: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

BOOK REVIEW: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
by Laini Taylor
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

 

He had a trio of fears that sat in his gut like swallowed teeth, and when he was too quiet with his own thoughts, they’d grind together to gnaw at him from within. This was the first: that he would never see further proof of magic.
The second: that he would never find out what had happened in Weep.
The third: that he would always be as alone as he was now.

And so begins one of the…well…strangest, but most wonderful books I’ve ever read. And I’ll admit that it took me a while to decide to read this, mostly because I didn’t connect with this author’s other work for…reasons…but it never meant I didn’t enjoy her actual writing. Or that I didn’t LOVE the male lead and the idea of the romance she created. So when I saw this beauty coming out centered around an orphaned, young, lonely boy-Lazlo Strange-I couldn’t help but fall prey to my number one weakness by well-written authors-A young tortured male lead. Yes please.

They came to stand face-to-face-arm’s reach without reaching. The three strings that joined them wound them ever nearer. Hearts, lips, navels. Closer, still not touching. The air between them was a dead place, as though both of them were carrying their hopelessness before them, hoping for the other to dash it away. They held everything they had to say, every desperate thing, and they didn’t want to say any of it. They just wanted it to vanish-here, at least, in this place that was theirs.

Yeah yeah, we’ve done this song and dance before-I’m a masochistic psychopath who loves the tortured men. I do. It’s a blessing. It’s a curse. It’s virtually impossible not to fall for these guys and, yes, there are many of them…but that’s the best part of being a book slut-I have room in my heart for them all. And not one of them is treated as ‘less than’ or forgotten. Sure, I may move on right after this and fall for yet another tortured soul. Or a prince. Or a pirate. Or, even, a thief/gangster. I love them in all shapes and sizes 😉. But that doesn’t stop the fact that, when I think of my young men individually, my heart beats in a different way for each and every one of them.

“…None of us became monks to be nursemaids.”
To which the child Lazlo replied, with fire in his soul, “And none of us became children to be orphans.”

And now it’s Lazlo’s turn. I have chosen to bestow him with my obsession for the time being. He’s such a poor soul, yet so full of hope and wonder and whimsy-left behind like many orphans, he doesn’t even know his own name. I just…I loved him from the moment I met him. Kind, earnest, sweet-and his dreams lead him to the city that’s name was stolen from the world, only leaving the name Weep in its wake.

Lazlo wanted to go and find out. That was his dream, daring and magnificent: to go there, half across the world, and solve the mysteries for himself.
It was impossible, of course.
But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?

As I mentioned above, I may not have liked her other trilogy, but I so adore her writing. This book was no exception. Beautiful, alluring, addicting writing that I can’t help but to obsess over. I was in a weird mood where none of the books I had purchased to read were suiting my fancy-so I was like, hey, what about that book the publishers sent me RIGHT when Aubrey was born? I had been saving it for a rainy day-a day where I didn’t know what to read or why, because I knew it would be a book that needed full attention and an open mind-as many thick fantasy books do. So, for some reason, in my new home where chaos surrounded me, I found solace in this crazy, wildly imaginative novel-Imagine that. Even I wouldn’t have guessed this book would soothe my soul. But, alas, it was everything I never knew I wanted or needed.

Sarai understood Ruby’s hunger. She didn’t spy on such private moments anymore, but even the sight of a strong, bare arm crooked gently round a waist or shoulder could make her ache with the yearning to be held. To be one of a pair of bodies that knew that melting fusion. To reach and find. To be reached for and found. To belong to a mutual certainty.
To wake up holding hands.

And it’s not just Lazlo I’m obsessed with, which shocked me. But I adored Sarai, as well. And her ‘brothers/sisters’ that weren’t really sisters/brothers-namely, Sparrow, Ruby, and Feral. And, again, since I haven’t paid much attention with anything to do with this book or series, I had no idea really what this was about. Honestly. For one, I thought he went to Weep, like, alone? I thought it started much sooner in that world. And, frankly, I didn’t realize a lot of this was a ‘journey’ book, which I mostly despise. And, I guess the difference was that we had many POVs interwoven so beautifully, so seamlessly, that it didn’t matter, because we were always somewhere else, or unraveling mysteries with different characters.

And…okay….the bad. I really couldn’t handle the child slaughter. This isn’t something I was aware of and it really sickened me. I have a personal trigger now that not only centers around animals, but children/babies, as well. I don’t know what it says about me that it didn’t bother me before having a child, but there you have it, either way. I used to not care, but now I do. It makes we want to hurl, and I sometimes recede into a shell that borders on depression when I see or hear about something to do with this-and, I’ve noticed recently, this has been a recurring theme in a ton of my books lately-and this one centers heavily around it. I could hardly stand it.

I told myself that if I didn’t LOVE the end I would lower the rating-obviously that didn’t end up being the case, because the end was just…ahh my masochistic, peril-loving little heart. It burst with pride when I finished this. Subtle chaos is just the best chaos, ya know?

So, that was my bad thing-everything else was just so wonderful and addictive. I thought I’d hate the slow nature-I did not. I thought it would be too out of this world for me-It was not. And, I worried the story would just be a total let down-and, alas, it was not. I devoured this massive book as fast as I could with a teething baby/toddler/whatever that thing is, and I didn’t regret a moment (aside from when I couldn’t be reading).

The mysteries of Weep had been music to his blood for as long as he could remember. This time tomorrow, they would be mysteries no longer.
The end of wondering he thought, but not of wonder. That was just beginning. He was certain of it.

In the end, that wasn’t AT ALL what I was expecting. Talk about picking up a book and not knowing at all what it was about, truly. And the imagery-it was unreal. The imagination and creative flow it takes to make such vivid dreams and descriptions-it blew me away. I could taste what they were eating or drinking and I could see the layers upon layers it took to create each individual moment. It was jaw-dropping, if I’m being honest. But, this is what I’ll leave you with-I just COULD NOT not picture Glamora or live-action smurfs. LOL. I got over it, though, as you will, too. Now I must wait a month to see the fate of all my children-even that evil, manipulative little Minya. GRRR. But she does add that epic villain vibe, ya know?

******

What a wondrous, magical book.

Also, I am dead and dying. What a monstrous, evil, wonderful book. You stole my feels.

RTC.

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BOOK REVIEW: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina LaurenJosh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?

“I know I’m like Pig-Pen in Charlie Brown, and I have chaos around me, but it’s like he doesn’t even care. He doesn’t need me to change or pretend to be someone else. He’s my person. He’s my best friend.”

I always love the possibility of a new favorite book, a new favorite author. It’s like, how did I never pick up a book by this person (these people), thank GOD I finally have found them and now it will save me from the spiral of depression that comes when you finish all the books your favorite authors write. And, while this was addicting, to say the least, it didn’t enrapture me like I had hoped.

Mom drops another piece of muffin.
“Knock it off, you’re ruining her.”
“She’s named Winnie the Poodle,” Mom reminds me. “Already ruined.”

I mean, sure, it was so cute. And it was so funny. And Hazel-Hazel is literally my best friend. She’s quirky, kind, she gets excited and attached wayyyy too easily (Ummm…this is me. I meet someone and then I’m like…maybe we’ll be besties?), and she doesn’t have a judgmental bone in her body. For once, and I’m shocked to say this, it’s not about the male lead. I loved this book because of them as a whole, but I OBSESSED about Hazel.

The way Emily describes it: when I meet someone I love, I become an octopus and wind my tentacles around their heart, tighter and tighter until they can’t deny they love me just the same.

This hasn’t happened in…like…forever? I liked Josh. I really did. But he never tipped the scale for me. Not completely. Wait, okay, this is coming out all wrong because Josh was a precious cinnamon roll. No, he just-maybe I’m not obsessing over him as much because Hazel was just so awesome. And maybe, just maybe, I didn’t love the pre-Josh and Hazel. Her utter loyalty and single-handed dedication to him, her idolization, adoration, and tendency to deem him perfect, and him seeing her as a quirky hippie sort that he could never date (And never in a mean way did he say this). I don’t know? He was never mean, nor cruel, to her. But I guess it made me sad. And I think that theme lasted a little longer than I wanted it to.

“I think we’re going to be best friends.” At my bewildered silence, she reaches up and ruffles my hair. “I live in Portland, you live in Portland. You have a girlfriend and I have a huge assortment of Netflix series backlogged. We both hate the word ‘glans.’ I know and love your sister. She loves me. This is the perfect setup for boy-girl bestship: I’ve already been unbearable near you, which makes it impossible to scare you away.”
Quickly swallowing a sip of water, I protest, “I’m afraid you’re going to try.”

***

I don’t know what feels more incongruous: the mental image of Hazel using a computer, or the idea that she used it to look me up. “You Googled me?”
She huffs out a little breath. “Don’t get an ego. I Googled you sometime between Googling beef Wellington and chicken coops.”

And, for instance, I didn’t love that they kept doing double date after double date. It was odd. But then…I also liked it?! IT’S THE DAMNDEST THING! I loved that it brought a sense of urgency and jealousy, of course, but then it lacked a fiery passion behind it that I sort of wanted to ignite. And I’m not one to read other reviews lately, and I especially didn’t for this one, but I DID, however, see that people didn’t like the trope at the end. I disagree. And you damn well know I’m going to say my piece, so settle down and get ready-I loved it. And here’s why: Too often this is a trope used at the beginning of a story to add unnecessary drama and, frankly, I find it either makes or breaks chemistry between the two MCs…more often than not, it’s not good. That’s how I feel, at least. But I can see how the end in this story could be used to further cement something between two characters and make it something more. For me? It was a win, and it didn’t deter me like it does when the trope is used early on.

Dinner parties at my apartment consist of paper plates, boxed wine, and the last three minutes before serving featuring me running around like a maniac because I burned the lasagna, insisting I DON’T NEED ANY HELP JUST SIT DOWN AND RELAX.

Though, I will say, I wanted more time with these two together. I do feel as though I wasn’t as satisfied as I tend to be when it’s a late get-together. Most times I don’t care, but here, I wanted and needed more.

JEEZ SHUT UP, CHELSEA. I swear I really enjoyed this book, borderline loved it! So I really need to be nicer lol. Okay. Here we go. Hm. I’m in a really good mood, yet I feel like being sour? I’ll list my favorite things then, since my brain won’t be nice (I’m so tired, guys. This move. UGH):

-Their adorable friendship. Like…adorable
-The way he ALWAYS defended her to other guys and those who looked down on her
-Their banter
-His AND her protectiveness and loyalty-it was through the roof
-Um, okay, the WAY SHE NAMED HER PETS AND PICKED THEM OUT LIKE ARE WE LONG LOST SISTERS? I am always weirding out the Petco people lol

“I can try to help?” “I’m deciding between a betta fish and a guinea pig.”

“I mean, that’s kind of a big difference?”

-The way Hazel never let anyone make her feel like she wasn’t enough, because she was

I’ll get a bit personal here. I think this hit home for me. I love my husband, I really do, but I feel this way ALL THE TIME-like, I am enough…but then sometimes I wonder. It takes me down a dark road I don’t want to explore, because we definitely have our issues and it breaks my heart to think that sometimes we maybe should have taken different paths. This is a dark moment thought, when I’m at my worst, but I’m thinking maybe this was one of my detachments from the book.

When I looked up at her, I’d expected her to be shattered by what he’d said. But instead, she looked at him pityingly, like she wanted to console him but knew it would be a wasted effort. Dad missed out on so much by not enjoying every second he had with her, and in the end, she was terribly disappointed that he was so dull. I learned a very important thing that day: my mom would never try to change for a man, and I wouldn’t, either.

I didn’t like thinking things about myself and comparing how I should be. So…yeah. I think maybe this largely effected the story and why I got so enraged on her behalf-I’ve been known to be messy and have my head in the clouds-and it was precious to see a Type-A accepting a messy, eccentric type.

-How Josh never wanted her to change, even at her quirkiest
-Josh’s jellyness!
-The, ahem, intimate scenes

Wow, these were through the roof sexy. They really resonated with me where most sex scenes in books don’t even make my heart or butterflies go crazy-but Josh, how he slowly began to fall in love with Hazel…and his vulnerable, but confident, advances. They stole my heart completely.

Yeah, so, those intimate scenes might be my favorite in the whole book, lol! Just sayin’…and I never feel that way.

Mom reaches up, running a muddy thumb along my jaw. “I get it, honey. I just want you to have the world. And if your world is Josh, then I want you to be brave and go after it.”
“Because you’re my mama.”
She nods. “Someday you’ll understand.”

So, if you’re an avid fan of this author, I think you’re in for a win. One of my besties said this was her best yet (a true fan, she is) and we’re about to read our ARC COPIES OF MY FAVORITE HALF NIGHT STAND by said author this weekend-so I’m hoping I join the obsessed train, because who doesn’t love finding new authors to be all obsessive about?!

******

I reallllly liked this book…but I LOVED My Favorite Half-Night Stand ARC better.

RTC!!!

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BOOK REVIEW: Losing the Field (The Field Party #4) by Abbi Glines

BOOK REVIEW: Losing the Field (The Field Party #4) by Abbi GlinesLosing the Field (The Field Party #4)
by Abbi Glines
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Losing his dream, his ultimate plan, and his future- Nash Lee never expected to be facing a life without football. One wrong move and it had all changed. Going back to school for his senior year no longer appealed to him. He’d rather not leave his house. Walking back into Lawton High School, seeing pity in everyone’s eyes was just another reality in his nightmare.

Revenge wasn’t a pretty thing. Tallulah Liddell had found it was rather controlling. The way you looked at life changed completely when you clung to the ugly notion. But she’d done it anyway. From the last day of her junior year when Ryker Lee had made a fat joke about her and Nash laughed with him, she’d been driven by pain. It wasn’t like no one had made fun of her weight before. She was used to that. What had hurt so deeply was Nash’s laughter. He’d always been the one person to notice her, include her, not treat her differently. But that one moment had changed it all. From the time she walked out of the school building to the moment she returned for her senior year Tallulah had been determined to lose weight and finally be the size her peers considered acceptable.

What she wasn’t expecting on her return was to find a broken Nash Lee who no longer smiled, rarely spoke, and didn’t care about anything or anyone around him. He was just existing. But the pain in his eyes she understood all too well. He was alone. He no longer fit into the perfect package.


You know those daydreams you have for years . . . the ones you know won’t come true, but they get you through the day?

An epic start to what turned out to be a total letdown of what we began with. This book legit started out with me fangirling and just knowing I had to have it on my shelf. I’m not kidding-within that first 20%, I was texting my friend and praising the glories that be, so excited that a cover so gorgeous would soon grace my shelf because Nash was just…he was just so dang addictive.

That is, until he wasn’t. I’m not sure what Glines was doing here, but she turned what started out as an epic novel into a hot mess that careened out of control. I won’t lie and say I have always loved her writing-because I haven’t. In fact, I found that, years ago, I needed to say bye to this author because her overly-dramatic and cheesy [and, I’m sorry, somewhat trashy] books weren’t to my taste. I didn’t bash. I didn’t continue to try and make it work-I just gave up and moved on. Yeah, her dudes are hot. And, yes, I LOVE some of that hot boy drama…but that’s just what it is: Drama.

And I’ve never gone back. Not once. Though, when I started following Glines on Bookstagram because our blog began to become a big part of Instagram, I fell in love with her. Her precious daughter. I really like this woman-a LOT. Same with CoHo-her posts crack me up daily-but that doesn’t mean I agree with either of their books’ writing styles.

But then Glines posted about her new book coming out, I got curious, I looked it up-and it was INSTA-LOVE, my friends. Well…we all know how we feel about insta-love, amirite? I read about the hate-to-love romance and how the girl wanted revenge on the tortured FOOTBALL player and I just…I caved. Maybe her writing was different. Maybe the guy would be enough. And, in the beginning, it was. I was OBSESSED. This book was a 5, people. And then I started to see why I stopped reading her work in the first place.

Repetitive issues. Words. Statements. Overly used drama. Too many problematic themes that literally had no place in the story. Like……the one dude that showed up at the football game suddenly became a big part of Nash’s story-Why??? It was so irrelevant and dumb and just…stupid, I literally laughed when that arc ended. Come on. Really, Abbi? Really? I’m so sorry, but no. So silly.

And the one dramatic element that didn’t belong that I loved?? That I wanted to be a thing??? It literally went NOWHERE and actually ruined the book. It did. It made Nash into somebody hard to relate to and I just don’t get why this was a path she didn’t jump on. It was so epic!!!!! I LOVE WHEN THESE INTERFERENCES HAPPEN! Bring on the jelly.

And, worst of all, this ruined opportunity also ruined what was blooming in Tallulah and Nash’s relationship. I think we saw so little of them together, in my opinion, after a certain point, that I was disgusted. Isn’t this the point of a smutty YA/NA? To see them get past stuff and recreate issues and get past it again? Why are we getting so little time of them on the page together? This gutted me because, honest to God, even after the trainwreck that was the middle, I rooted for this to shape up and for me to get obsessed again.

But, alas, in the end, I was disappointed and don’t think I could give this author another chance. I mean, maybe when I’m in the right mood? Who doesn’t love the HS football player arc? Many don’t, I suppose, but I adore it…so I might go back and read the others and hope their drama is more central to the actual story. But, for now, I’m so sad and disappointed in what had started out with so much dramatic promise. I’m still pouting about it. Honestly. And, also, come on now-Tallulah? That name?! That’s the name you use when you can’t think of someone’s name or a good make believe name. I kept picturing Phoebe signing for Monica’s bed in Friends-Monicaaaa Tallulaaaaah Gellar. *My apologies to anyone named Tallulah*

So. Yeah. This sucks. But better luck next time, I suppose.

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BOOK REVIEW: You (You #1) by Caroline Kepnes

BOOK REVIEW: You (You #1) by Caroline KepnesYou (You #1)
by Caroline Kepnes
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

You made your way onto my shelf unexpectedly, a gift from a long ago friend. You sat there, totally unassuming, just waiting your turn to be read. You stared unabashedly at me as I skimmed my shelves, always skirting right past you, knowing someday I’d probably pick you up, but not wholly sure if I’d ever make the time. You sat there, waiting patiently with your gorgeously disturbing cover that always intrigued me, always enraptured me, but never quite could pull me in, despite how perfect you were. I didn’t know you, Book. I didn’t know that we were somehow perfectly imperfect for one another and that when I started you, I’d be addicted to the point of obsession…even as you repeatedly tested my morals and boundaries. Even as you made yourself hard to read (haha). But I never gave up on you, Book-I always held out hope we’d be friends. And someone obviously knew I was immensely disturbed and loved morally grey (more like black) male leads. I’m just sad it took a tv-show preview, a ridiculously addicting song remake, and an actor [I will not name] I love to make me truly see you, Book. But I’m so glad I did. Now we are destined to be together forever.

Ahhh see what I did there? Tee-hee. I know, I knooow, I’m sure this has been done, like, a million times. But I really never looked at reviews much, so I wana say I’m wholly original???? But I doubt that’s the case. Either way, WTF was this book????? WTF was this addicting, repetitive, addictive, repetitive book?

I started this story because of the show-sorry, I’ll admit it-but I’ve had it foreverrrrr. I’ve NEVER been a fan of books that make me feel bad, that clearly don’t have a HEA written out in the stars. But, for some reason, my friend thought I would love this (Joe. She thought I’d love Joe), and I always held out hope I’d be able to pick this up and stomach this one day. Apparently, that day came when I saw Penn’s beautiful, stalkerish face up on the screen with the most darkly enticing rendition of ‘I Want You to Want Me’ ever.

Two things you should know about me:

1) Put an actor I ADORE in a movie, and I’m likely to give it a try, no matter the content
2) Make a commercial, movie trailer, whatever with a song that has been remastered or, in this case, darkened, that makes it flow beautifully and I. Am. OBSESSED.

“Do you have any beards?”
She objects jokingly, “Are you quite serious, young man?”
“It’s cold out there.”
“We have beards but they’re not all Dickensian.”

She lowers the volume on the ancient tape player. Celine Dion in cassette isn’t very Dickensian either, but she concedes and points me toward the non-Dickensian, nonrefundable beards, which are in a box in the back marked JOHNNY DEPP/DUCK DYNASTY.
Fucking America, Beck. I just don’t know sometimes.

Legit, I can’t stop thinking about things. I’m like Joe in that way-I get weirdly obsessed with things-well created trailers, product commercials, tv show commercials when they are made with a song that seems as if it were molded just for the purpose of making that show (or whatever) pop. It’s super weird, but at least I can own it. SO, really, the song is what did it. Look what you made me do! (haha)

I was just sitting there with my husband, dog, and daughter, and I heard this epic and dark song and I looked up and….there You were. I was done. I started reading it the next day, which just so happened to be the day the show came out (and yes, I am studiously recording it). But I was good, I didn’t want to ruin the book. And though there were parts that reallllyyy were hard for me, I ended up really loving this. Sometimes I don’t know what will make me tick, only that it does. And I think it’s more than just Joe. I find myself pondering my life more often after just finishing this darkly seductive book. When I walk past an open window in my new house, I pause, wondering who is out there. No, I’m not that vain. However; people are creeps, and I’m used to living out in the country where no one is watching. It’s an insanely intense feeling I’m not used to, haven’t been used to since I was 6 or 7. Also, I ponder what it would be like if I were a more social media infused person.

As it is, I only use it for our handle, @starcrossedbookblog, and I have a private personal account I got once I had my daughter just so family members would stop texting incessantly for pictures of her. The jury is still out on if that is a successful endeavor, though. MY POINT IS, I’m very aware of how easy it is to be traced, followed, or just flat out stalked or seen. We sift through life on a cloud, never paying attention to the crazy surrounding us-we’re comfortable. And it’s deeply unsettling how little we see, how blind we can be, and what danger is lurking around each and every corner-whether that be some rabid beast (okay, coyotes freak me the f*** out), a serial killer, a robber, whatever…they’re everywhere. And I really need to be more aware.

So yeah, this book effected me in a way I find I am having trouble explaining without sounding vapid, but I’m okay with that, because it’s how I feel. But then there were the characters. Those selfish, psycho, into-themselves characters. Because of said characters, it’s hard to not fall for the manic, lonely, and idealistic Joe. It’s just sad to see how alone he is, how one girl’s flirty advances can set off a landslide that will forever effect everyone surrounding them.

And, I’m sorry, I’m just going to say it: I didn’t like Beck. She wasn’t worthy of his affections (yet she’s so sweet in the show, not fair), yet he went after her with every fiber of his being, even after she strung him along time and time again. I mean, yes, he is a MURDERER. I’m not dumb. I’m just sayinggg if you’re guna stalk someone, stalk someone worth stalking.

But that’s also the beauty of this book: It shows how we are all morally gray people, and that even though we don’t think we’re into ourselves, above all else, we are. We put us first, and if we stomp on someone along the way, will we even notice? Who cares? It was just some dude I saw somewhere, what does it matter? Apparently a lot, to some. *shivers*

…and because I want to be there in case you need me, I am gonna have to sell a fucking Dickens on eBay to cover the expenses of the motel, the costume, and the psychotherapy I’ll no doubt need when I realize I am permanently fucked up from from that day I froze my ass off in pantaloons and stood on a deck with a bunch of quarter-wits. The half-wits are at home watching Great Expectations, the movie.

I loved that I was always cringing, thinking to myself, GAWD I do this. I do this all the time. The excuses. The lateness. The thrill of ‘something new’. I mean, not to Beck’s extreme, but I can be careless…and I’m blind to it. I think that, even though this book made me ill at the end, that’s why I’m still thinking about it even days later. I just really, thoroughly enjoyed this book.

”Are you ready?”
“In a second,” I say and maybe Irish women don’t speak English. Celine Dion is still screaming about her goddamned heart and I’m choking on mothballs and self-loathing and if you would have told View Spoiler » about me, View Spoiler »could have rented costumes for both of us.

And the humor!!! Oh my gosh, do you know how many times I laughed out loud? How many times my husband was like, what are you even laughing at, Chelsea? My answer every time? Joe-OMG, this guy is a HILARIOUS psychopath-he says the funniest stuff! But I wouldn’t tell him what I was laughing at, because you just don’t get it if you aren’t in this dude’s mind for a while-his sarcasm. His string of thought. How everyone is so beneath him, yet he sees that he is imperfect. He isn’t rational. He isn’t sane. But that’s why I found him so funny, so darkly funny: There was a lot of truth to his crazy.

We think it-he says it.

That’s all there is to it, and I totally dug it. And, last thing: I hated Beck’s friend, Peach, too. Like…eew. But this is where it was also a really cool idea-everything we hear is from Joe’s mind-and, lemme tell ya, he is an extremely unreliable narrator.

So what is true? What isn’t? I LOVED THIS. Because even though he’s telling us how to feel, you can’t lie about what is written (texts, emails, IMs)…so, we see that Beck, Peach, Benji, whomever really are assholes…even if he embellishes it. Mind=blown.

Obviously I loved this, even after a rocky start where I was wholly grossed out by the personal masturbation and almost-public-masturbation, the sexual nature of the whole story, really.

Somewhere along the way it stopped being a shock to me and became something I didn’t want to put down and had to finish. And, honestly, I’ll admit it: I’m a sick sick sicko, because I wanted them to get together for a little bit, I wanted Joe to win Beck’s affections and for them to DO IT. I did. Why else am I reading this crap if not for the thrill of how wrong it all was? **I eat chicken, then I look at naked pictures of my friends!**


So yeah, this was a winner, even as I wonder why it was. It just clicked. And sometimes that’s all it takes. Click.

*******

What?

Don’t look at me like that…can’t a girl inconspicuously jump on a bandwagon?

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