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Quote of The Week #1 | Let’s make our heart beat faster

It won’t come as a surprise that we Starcrossed ladies ADORE quotes – so much that one of us printed her favorite quotes and plastered them everywhere in her living-room *cough* CHELSEA *cough* … That’s why I am ECSTATIC to introduce our new weekly rendezvous, the Quote of the Week.

What is it, you’re asking?

Well, that’s pretty simple : every week we’ll share one of our favorite quotes, depending on the theme we’ll choose. WE HAVE SO MANY OMG *hyperventilates*

But let’s get started, alright? The theme for this week is :

~ a quote in a Contemporary novel that made our heart beat faster ~

“I was born seventeen years ago”, I tell him. “Do you think people have noticed that I’m around?”
“I notice when you’re not. Does that count?”

About the book

Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys’ school that pretends it’s coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas, who specializes in musical burping, to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can’t seem to stop thinking about.

Then there’s Francesca’s mother, who always thinks she knows what’s best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling of who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

ADD IT ON GOODREADS | BUY IT ON AMAZON

“A thousand of those girls”—he made a slight motion with his head toward Braeden—“ couldn’t even make up one of you.”
“Romeo,” I whispered, caught up in the molten blue flame flickering in his gaze. 
“You know I was like that once. I’ve never made a secret of it. But you’re it for me now, Rim. There’s no one else. There never could be.”

About the book

It started with unspoken animosity. The bitter bite of jealousy. And now its full blown hate.
It was during my first football game that I first felt the first chill of hate. I looked it right in the eyes and felt its sticky tentacles reach out for me. I’d never experienced something so cold and empty before. The effect of that look lingered, like an unspoken promise, long after it was gone.  Becoming a couple – becoming the other half of a campus celebrity wasn’t easy. I let down walls guarding my heart and he looked past my glasses and accident prone tendencies. Romeo and I are an unlikely match, a #nerd and a jock. But we made it.  And we’re happy.  Zach doesn’t want us to be happy. He wants Romeo to pay for getting him kicked out of Omega and for the night he spent in jail. He’s going to use anything and everything he can to get his revenge. Including me.  As the weather on campus grows cold and the days become dark, revenge becomes the center of someone’s life and the happiness Romeo and I worked so hard for is threatened.  I can’t help but worry that our love is going to be overshadowed by hate.

ADD IT ON GOODREADS | BUY IT ON AMAZON

Now, your turn! Tell us, which quotes make your heart beat faster?

BOOK REVIEW: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh

BOOK REVIEW: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee AhdiehFlame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)
by Renee Ahdieh
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.

**ARC provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review**

 At that, the Wolf started to laugh. It began softly, like the rumble of a drum. Then it rose to a steadying rain. It wasn’t a rich kind of laughter. Its sound didn’t fill Mariko’s ears with its honeyed resonance. But it was clear and deep, much like the color of his eyes.
And a part of her couldn’t help but think-were he another boy, in another time, in another place-Mariko would have liked to hear Okami’s laughter.
Would have enjoyed being the cause of it.

Renee Ahdieh stole a place in my heart long ago with Khalid and Shazi’s story. Their love enraptured me from the start, weaving deep into my soul with each passing page. Their love overcame so many obstacles, took leaps and bounds through story-telling and a deeper understanding of a curse that could not be controlled. And now, Renee has captured my heart again through Mariko’s perilous journey to infiltrate the deadly Black Clan not as a woman…but as a man. One of their own.

“Never doubt. Never fear. Never overthink.” Okami watched her as he spoke. As though he was searching for something beyond her. “That is the only way to stay alive.”

When I saw that this amazing author was coming out with a book that had components of Mulan-or hey, even just that this author was producing another masterpiece-I was ecstatic. Also, have you SEEN that cover? It’s just so pretty I can’t stand it. But with this lovely book I saw something that made my heart sink-it came out after my baby was supposed to be born. Luckily, Penguin was more than willing to help me out and get my copy to me early-But, as fate would have it, I also had my baby girl early. Sigh. I had 50% of FITM done when I went into labor and I figured I’d have no chance of finishing it, at that point. How sad is it that when I woke up in pain and just KNEW I was going to be having her that day, my first two thoughts were this:

A) ARE YOU SERIOUS-I can’t go see Beauty and the Beast tonight in IMAX ARGH

And

B) Omg my book. I’ll never finish my beautiful book that Penguin sent me

Priorities. Seriously.

But that just goes to show you how amazing this book was-After a couple weeks of figuring out my little girl’s schedule, I persevered and finished the rest in one afternoon-It’s just a totally unputdownable book.

So here I am, making time to write a review for a book that totally deserves it. With rich story-telling, deep, imaginative characters, and vivid world-building (at least to me), I couldn’t help but fall for each and every character…even those that were not so kind to our Mariko.

Each new day brought new struggles, causing loss of breath for every moment I thought she would be caught by the too-wise Okami (Aka The Wolf), by the antagonistic Ren. And yet…I also held my breath for different reasons.

 “You don’t believe your great love is out there, simply waiting to be found?”
“Do you?” Mariko pitched her voice low. Graveled with disbelief.
Ranmaru’s broad lips spread into an easy smile.” I believe the stars align so that souls can find one another. Whether they are meant to be souls in love or souls in life remains to be seen.”

Okami always knew Mariko was different, that something was off about her-Too soft, too green to be what ‘he’ claimed to be. So Okami was always watching, taunting, waiting for their newest ‘recruit’ to make a mistake. But as he gets closer to Mariko, he begins to feel protective, to almost like him/her…yet all the while Okami feels something is off-and he will find out what, no matter the cost.

Is it bad that all I wanted was for him to find out? To see that the boy he has been teaching and bestowing wisdom upon was actually a girl…a girl he could have feelings for? I held my breath at every twist and turn, just pining for her to make a mistake so I could see them kiss or SOMETHING.

I will admit that this part of the book did baffle me a bit. Just like in Mulan, I have to wonder how you can reconcile feelings for a gender swap, just like that (Meaning, in Mulan, he never knew she was a girl, then all of a sudden he did….and then she saves them all yadda yadda and he knows he loves her, in the end. Just…how?). He knew she was different…and yet he didn’t know to what extent. I won’t spoil anything, but this did give me pause…because I just can’t help but think about these things.

 It was a mistake. All of it. For as long as she’d known him, Mariko had despised the very idea of this boy.
But the truth of him?
The truth was not quite as simple. It was a silent entreaty, A wordless plea.
Don’t stop.

And because of my extreme love for these two people who had no idea they had major tension brewing between them, I forgot to mention the best part! This is most definitely an enemies-at-first-site deal at the beginning-a hate to (maybe) love thing. Mariko despises the lazy Okami, and he finds her to be a liar, an extra burden. It was comical and sweet and…ugh. I just love this book so much, CAN’T YOU TELL??

In order to hate, one must first love.

I’m truly sorry for those who like my reviews and, quite frankly, the publisher because this review is all over the place. But, hey, so is my brain-it might be for a while. I had to write something, though, or I’d have gone crazy knowing I didn’t do my part.

So, for those of you excited about this book…you should be. And for those on the fence? STOP. Don’t be. It’s an absolutely amazing story and this author knows what she’s doing. Don’t doubt her. Just sit, wait, and grab this book the minute it releases. I truly don’t see how this could disappoint…I can’t wait to read it again and again-it was a true beauty-I’m only sorry I had to read it in two parts, two weeks apart. And that my review isn’t what I normally would be able to write. Thank you again to Penguin for the opportunity to read and review this early.

 

Finally Back to Normal! *RE-POST with missing baby pic!*

Things are a changin’…but we’re all still here

Hey Guys,

It seems as if we’ve all disappeared, doesn’t it? Well, we have, in a way. But I wanted to write a post to let you all know that we’re still here, and we aren’t going anywhere. I will admit my priorities have changed-my little baby girl was born on March 18 (10 days early) and I didn’t get to finish a lot that I had planned to complete before little Aubrey Rose came. In fact, I even had to have an emergency C-Section after a full day of labor and an hour and a half of pushing. So…I have a LOT more recovery time to ‘look forward to’ than I previously planned.

Alas, as fate had it, I wasn’t meant to finish those things. For example:

-I have multiple ARCs that I needed to post reviews for (and, you know, finish).

-I visited an all time favorite author and had all my books signed, so I have yet to post pics and shout out to her. (I plan to do this next week since it’s been forever-sigh).

-And I also have a blog t-shirt that was sent to me that I need to also give a shout out for…

and I have done absolutely none of these things. It bothers me more than any of you could know, because I hate fading away while other members on the blog flourish. But, again, as fate (and life) would have it, they have all but faded as well, haven’t they?

But I’m writing this post to clear that up-

First, meet little Aubrey-

 photo IMG_1751_zpshuihheof.jpg

 

<3<3<3

I have a new little girl, but I plan to post my old reviews I hadn’t posted, and I plan to post my ARC reviews that I owe. And, I mean, just because I’m extremely tired doesn’t mean I can’t read anymore-In fact, I’ve started reading again this week and it’s an amazing feeling. I even wrote a review for Flame in the Mist (ARC from Penguin) today and plan on posting it Thursday. I plan to keep up with my reviewing (seeing as I’m at home for a bit), even though it won’t be three reviews a week, like before. I have a lot of catching up to do, but I am still here. Don’t forget me!

And Anna-she had faded for a bit, but after the birth of my girl and Jen’s untimely leave of absence, Anna is coming back full force and with some great ideas to fill the gaps that you might notice for a bit-One even includes my favorite thing of all time-QUOTES!!!! Come on now…..Check back on Fridays to see this wonderful-ness!

Brittney-She’s new, but she’s a great addition to the blog-She has so many reviews to post that I can’t even count them-that’s just a catch up game 😀 And she has continued posting-she rocks!

And my darling original blogging buddy, Jen-She is going through a rough time and has chosen to focus on her family. I love her for it. I respect it…

My apologies to Victoria Schwab for my delayed post, and apologies to the T-Shirt company that so graciously sent me a wonderful shirt for free with my blog logo (and a quote-I mean, duh, it’s me we’re talking about here)-I have just dropped the ball like no other.

Thanks for reading my ramblings…. and I’ll see you soon, then 😛

BOOK REVIEW – Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW – Letters to the Lost by Brigid KemmererLetters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Review:

Letters to the Lost was emotionally breathtaking and beautifully crafted. The story that unfounded was filled to the brim with pain and heartache. I don’t even knew how many times I found myself with tears in my eyes, my heart in my throat and with the incessant need to make their lives filled with love. But I held out hope that over time, they would help each other find not only strength, but love too.

Do you believe in fate ? Sometimes I want to. I want to believe that we all walk some path toward . . . something, and our paths intertwine for a reason. Like this, the way we’ve found each other. The way you told me the right story when I so desperately needed to hear it. – Juliet in her letter to Declan

It all started out from a letter Juliet left her mother, at her gravestone. And Declan came across the letter, while he was getting ready to mow the cemetery’s grass. For his court ordered community service. That letter resonated deep inside of Declan, so he simply wrote back “Me too”. To let the girl know that she wasn’t alone in her thoughts and feelings. And from there, their communication slowly escalated over time. The found kinship, they found someone to release their most secretive thoughts with. They no longer felt alone. Yet they had no clue who the other was, even though they went to the same high school.

Half-broken breaths are coming out of me in short bursts. – Juliet

I loved the path this story took, and I loved even more that it wasn’t easy. That nothing was glossed over. That we got to see their varying shades of pain, and that it was splattered everywhere for us to witness. Especially since not everyone in their lives knew their darkest, deepest thoughts. But we did. And Juliet Young and Declan Murphy knew that about each other too. When I started this book, I didn’t think it would have as dark of a feel to it as it did. But the words they wrote to one another and their feelings they talked about sometimes felt as though I was drowning in an endless abyss with them. It was powerful, and their pain was so acute.

“What are you afraid of?”
I look at Declan , but he’s still staring out at the rain. His voice has gone quiet, and he’s not half as threatening as he was.
“I don’t know,” I say.

While they were still teenagers, they both had so much growing up to do. Juliet could at times be cold and judgemental. And she compared herself to her dead mother, which always made her come up short. Yet, I loved this girl. Especially when she would contemplate her word choices or how she treated someone. And that had a lot to do with Declan. Because not only did the letters make her question how she acted around others, but when her and Declan ran into each other in person, it had a similar affect. Not at first of course, but slowly over time. And when they did interact in person, it was explosive. If only they knew who they were baring their soul to………

I need her. More than anything right now. I need her. And because of everything between us, I can’t have her. – Declan

Declan was dark, his own worst enemy, and he was so tortured from his past. Especially since he placed the blame of an event on his own shoulders. Not only was his home life troubling, but he was an outcast at school. Yet he had this ability to radiate power, and he was sexy as hell. So Declan easily broke my heart, while also making me fall for him. And when he was completely honest in his letters to Juliet, he took my breath away with his words. It was so different than how he acted around so many others.

I can’t look away from that last line.
Now write back and tell me you’re all right.
He cares. About me. – Juliet

Letters to the Lost alternated between Juliet, Declan and their letters to one another. While the book seemed to move at a somewhat slower pace than I’m use to, I loved it. We got to witness their interactions with not only every single letter, but we also learned everything about their home and school lives, and also their friends. It gave me a deeper sense of knowing them. Letters to the Lost was definitely an emotional book, and I can’t wait for Rev’s book next year! He was Deacon’s best friend, who I absolutely adored, and I think you’ll fall for him too!

*ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

BOOK REVIEW: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: Hunted by Meagan SpoonerHunted by Meagan Spooner
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Guys I’m so sad. I didn’t love it. Don’t get me wrong, I totally see why others did, and I’m in the minority for this one.

I’m not going to type a summary on this one because well, it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Some parts were close to the original, and other parts deviated quite a bit. In my opinion, it was the wrong parts. Here’s the thing… I’m super biased. I grew up with Beauty and the Beast and I just hold it in such a high regard so it’s hard for me to love retellings unless they are as emotionally connected as the first.

The story starts off SOOOO slow. It’s literally everyone doing normal actions for a good chunk of it. One thing I did love right off the bat was Beauty’s connection to her family. She adores her father and sisters and there is such mutual love and acceptance. 

However, very little happens as the story progresses. If I’m remembering correctly, the B&tB storyline doesn’t even start until like 30-35%? But okay, I’m fine with slower start if they are imperative for character development, but eek it was boring.

Anyway, once the main storyline did start, I just… didn’t feel it. I felt like there was no chemistry between Beauty and the Beast. It supposedly took place over months and there was hardly any conversations or interaction between them. I guess I just wanted more? However, I DID love the scene where she sneaks into his room to try and kill him. So there’s that. It did finally make me feel something for the beast. But really… that was it. 

Whatever, I could have held out and still been quite happy with the book just based on the pretty writing and the folklore aspects if the end had followed through. But whaaat? What even happened? Okay so Beauty went back to her family and literally stayed there for months while she knew she needed to save the beast. But she’s all like “Oh hey I’ll leave tomorrow it’s fine.” That literally happened about 10 times and next thing you know, it’s months later. Please. Are you serious right now. And then the actual end where she goes to find the Beast… what even happened? I don’t even know. BUT the one thing I did love was how the story with her sisters wrapped up. So there’s that.

Soooo all in all I was pretty disappointed, but there were some good points that I kinda brushed over. Like I said, the writing was lovely, the forest description was really cool, and the folklore aspect was what had me in such high hopes for the ending. Also, the whole captor vs captive thing can be so tricky to navigate but the author handled it really well – I saw no sketchy issues there.

Anyway, all in all, it wasn’t really for me, but don’t let this deter you. Try it out for yourself! 

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