Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review: S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline

By L. Marie Adeline
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Source: Publisher
Summary: Cassie Robichaud’s life is filled with regret and loneliness after the sudden death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. 

The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.

Review: I've never heard of this series before, but when I was given the opportunity, I was intrigued by the concept of the book. I've never heard of a book about a society dedicated to women uncovering their sensual sides, so I thought I'd give it a try.

After her abusive husband died, Cassie has spent the past five years in a dull routine, spending her time waitressing and doing not much else. So when she finds the diary left behind by a woman containing a scandolous life that Cassie can't even dream of having, her whole world turns upside down. She's offered the position in a elite group called S.E.C.R.E.T., where the women learn how to become confident and comfortable with their sexuality. Can Cassie really put it all out there and take the risk she's always wanted to take, but been too scared of ever taking? 

This book was a pretty quick read, but nothing about it really wowed me. Cassie is a likable enough character. Anyone can relate to her in the fact that she's fallen into a life that's dull and needs something more. Her insecurities with herself aren't too obnoxious and I liked how she grew throughout the novel. And the men she runs into along the way. Oh boy is she one lucky woman!

I really liked the variety of adventures Cassie has, but it seems like things are a bit too drawn out. Cassie has 9 separate charms she has to earn that give her the 9 qualities she's always wanted, but this happens over an entire year. Things between each charm are a little rushed and skipped over, so the timeline seemed a little weird to me as the book went along. 

The ending, though. Oh my gosh! I'm really happy I have the second book of this series to read because I really want to know what's going to happen to Cassie now. While the story as a whole was just okay, the author sure knows how to end a book. Don't go into this one expecting your next great read, but the story still offers interesting characters and an unique enough plot to keep you reading until the end.

Weekly Roundup [9/24-9/30]

Boy am I glad I had this weekend to unwind and relax. The past two weeks have been so busy, and I feel like I haven't been able to get anything done! But on Saturday, I got a ton of homework done, and Sunday was spent finishing up more homework and finally relaxing with some reading and movies. I've had some really good books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, so I'm excited to have the time to read some of them this week!

Book Reviews
Paper Towns by John Green
Always On My Mind by Jill Shalvis



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book Review: Always On My Mind by Jill Shalvis

Always On My Mind
By Jill Shalvis
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Source: Netgalley

After dropping out of pastry school and messing up her big break on a reality cooking show, Leah Sullivan needs to accomplish something in her life. But when she returns home to Lucky Harbor, she finds herself distracted by her best friend, Jack Harper. In an effort to cheer up Jack's ailing mother, Dee, Leah tells a little fib - that she and Jack are more than just friends. Soon pretending to be hot-and-heavy with this hunky firefighter feels too real to handle . . .

No-strings attachments suit Jack just fine - perfect for keeping the risk of heartbreak away. But as Jack and Leah break every one of their "just friends" rules, he longs to turn their pretend relationship into something permanent. Do best friends know too much about each other to risk falling in love? Or will Jack and Leah discover something new about each other in a little town called Lucky Harbor?

Review: Jill Shalvis' books are always so gosh darn adorable, and her newest release is no exception. With a pastry chef protagonist and a hunky firefighter love interest, there really is no way to go wrong with this one. 

After a failed attempt at pastry school and an even bigger failed attempt at winning a baking show, Leah is back in town helping out her grandmother at her pastry shop. There is much more than baking donuts and cookies that's waiting for Leah back home, though, and that just so happens to be Jack, an old best friend that's now a top notch firefighter. To try to help cheer up Jack's mom who's recovering from cancer, Leah creates a fake relationship with Jack, but we all know how pretend can come dangerously close to reality...

Oh goodness, where to start? Let's start with Leah. I loved her character, especially how she was a baker. Something bad happened on the reality show, but she's under a contractual obligation not to tell anyone, even us readers. Her love for baking, though, is so sweet and her love for her grandmother is even sweeter. Leah is such a good person and even though she's made mistakes and has a problem with attaching herself, I loved reading about her. 

And let's not forget about Jack. Who wouldn't want to come back into town, only to run into a hot firefighter from your past? Leah and Jack were once best friends, and you learn along the way that their relationship is quite a complicated one. So with Leah back, Jack has no idea how to deal with what he's feeling. He's such an amazing guy, though, and knows just exactly what a girl needs to hear to feel better. And I loved his dog Kevin! Kevin was a character of his own and added a certain charm to the story that I couldn't get enough of. 

Once again, Jill Shalvis has managed to create lovable characters in a charming love story that's impossible to put down. I finished this one in two days and loved every second of it. There's even added mystery and danger with the fires that have been going on around town. If you haven't checked out any Jill Shalvis yet, do you live under a rock?!? Seriously, go pick up one of her books now. And the great thing about her books is that, even though it's a series, you can read any of them without having to read the others. So when you get the chance, pick up a copy of Always On My Mind. You'll be glad you did!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (68)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers share what they got throughout the week!

From Walmart

I read this one over the summer and really enjoyed it, but I didn't have my own copy. So when I saw a hardback at Walmart for 40%, I just couldn't pass it up. Also, I've been observing a 9th grade English classroom for the past two weeks and my cooperating teacher had asked me to pick two books to recommend to the kids for their independent reading. I decided to recommend The Fault In Our Stars and Divergent, so I needed a copy to show them when I talked about it. Hopefully they like the books I recommended! 

From Library

One of the independent reading choices for my students in September was Looking for Alaska and the ones who were reading it loved the book. It made me so happy that these 9th graders were getting excited over books, so I knew it was about time I picked up a copy of this book and read it for myself. I've heard TONS of good things about it, and I really enjoy John Green's books. Hopefully this one is as good as everyone says it is!

That's it for me! What did you all add to your shelves this week? 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Follow My Book Blog Friday (104)

This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!

Question: Reading Nook Tour: Give us a tour of your favorite reading spots. 

Answer: Well, there's really only two places I normally read at school, seeing as I share a small apartment with three other girls. I read all over the place at home, but now I either read in bed, or on the couch in our living room. Both places are extremely comfortable and I love them!

I always end up falling asleep right here at night, only to wake up around 2 am with my lamp still on. But I wouldn't trade my reading nook for anything! Snuggling up in bed with a good book after a long day is my favorite part of the day :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Giveaway: Leading Man by Benjamin Svetkey

That's right! It's giveaway time! I'm very excited to announce that I have FIVE COPIES of Leading Man by Benjamin Svetkey to giveaway to my followers! This is a fantastic book and, if you don't believe me, just check out my review right here. Here's a bit more about the book....

Leading Man
By Benjamin Svetkey
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Source: Publisher
Summary: In the tradition of David Nicholls and Nick Hornby comes a hilarious, bittersweet, heartwarming debut novel about love of all kinds: first, unrequited, delusional, obsessive, and, ultimately, the kind that lasts. A VINTAGE CONTEMPORARIES ORIGINAL

At 26, Maxwell Lerner thinks he has his whole life figured out. He's got the girl-his high-school sweetheart Samantha. He's got the job-low-level reporter for a prestigious national magazine. He even lives with aforementioned girl in a walk-up studio apartment in the West Village. Life is sweet. Until his aspiring actress girlfriend leaves him for his childhood hero, Johnny Mars, who, as action adventurer "Jack Montana," features in some of Max's favorite movies. Getting dumped for one of his idols sets Max off on a dual mission: to get inside the glamorous world Samantha left him for, and to win her back. But when Samantha's perfect life takes an unexpected turn, Max gets more of an education, in life and in love, than he bargained for.

Giveaway Details
Five people will have the chance to win a copy of Leading Man. Just fill out the rafflecopter right here or below! US residents only. Giveaway ends 9/30

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns
By John Green
Release Date: October 16, 2008
Source: Own Copy
Summary: Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

Review: This book has been sitting on my shelf for over two years, and I finally had the chance to pick it up. John Green is a name that EVERYONE knows, so I had pretty high expectations going into this one. I really enjoyed The Fault In Our Stars, my first John Green novel, so I couldn't wait to see how this one turned out. 

Quentin has always watched Margo from afar. Margo is the girl next door who's always been a wild mystery, even to her best friends. One night, when she shows up at Quentin's window asking him to join her on an all-night adventure of revenge and thrill, he's too shocked to say no. But when their adventure ends and it's time to get back to reality, Margo becomes an even bigger puzzle for Quentin to solve. The more time he spends trying to figure her out, the further away Margo is from the image Quentin has had of his infamous girl next door. 

Like I said, I went into this book with pretty high expectations. So while I wasn't completely blown away with this story, I still ended up enjoying it. Quentin and his friends are the perfect people to go through everything that happens in this story. Seriously, Q's personality is perfect and he has this image of Margo in his mind that he's so infatuated with. We've all had ideas about someone from afar, so he's really easy to connect with. Then, his two best friends are crazy and absolutely lovable, and they add so much more to the story. They're the perfect sidekicks to Q and his adventure to discover just exactly who Margo is. 

But getting to Margo, I wasn't all that big of a fan of her. Maybe it's because she's this mysterious girl who infatuates the guys, but I don't really see what the big deal with her is. To me, she's whiny and selfish, and she really only cares about what happens in her own life with no regard for anyone else. And the way she reacted in the end? Seriously? I guess it's good that this book figured out a way to defy the expectations of how we actually want Margo to be and exposed how life really does turn out in those situations. Not everything ends wrapped up in a big shiny bow, and this book definitely doesn't end that way either. 

While Paper Towns was a really good read that's unlike anything I've ever read, Margo bothered me too much to give this one five stars. The story was really entertaining, though, and all of the other characters were fantastic. This one really delved into identities and perceptions of people you think you know, but really have no idea about. I sped through this in two days because it's the kind of book you find yourself not wanting to put down. So in the end, I'd say you should definitely try this one out.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (110)

This is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where every Wednesday bloggers highlight a book that they are eagerly anticipating the release of!

The Summer I Found You
By Jolene Perry
Release Date: March 2014
Summary: Jolene Perry's THE SUMMER I FOUND YOU, about a teenage girl trying to cope with her new diagnosis of type one diabetes and a teenage male veteran who is learning how to embrace his new life after losing an arm, who come together by using each other as an escape, only to discover through love and struggle that your life is what you make of it.


I normally don't go for seriously emotional, deep YA reads, but this one just sounds too good to pass up on. I've never read a book about a girl with diabetes and a boy who lost an arm falling in love. I know they're going to have really tough emotions and trials to go through. But I think it's going to be a great read. And look at that cover! It's so pretty! Can't wait until this one comes out in 2014!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Sequels Ever

This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week bloggers share a list of books for the prompt given. So hopefully I'll have a new list to share with you all each week!

This Week's Topic: Top Ten Best Sequels Ever

1. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
3. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles 

4. Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout 
5. Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
6. Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

7. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
8. Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
9. Faking It by Cora Carmack

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekly Roundup [9/17-9/23]

Wow, this week went by so slow. It's about time it's Monday! I'm an English Education major, and this past week was the first time I actually got to go into the classroom. That means I was observing an English class from 7am-11am (aka waking up at 5am every day), and then taking my regular classes afterwards, so days seemed twice as long. I am completely in love with teaching, though, and can't wait to have a classroom of my own! I just have to finish these two years and I finally can :) Oh! And it's Banned Books Week! So go out, grab a banned book, and celebrate your freedom to read :)

Book Reviews
Finding It by Cora Carmack


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (67)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers share what they got throughout the week!

From Half Price Books

On Thursday this week, one of my friends told me about a Half Price Books clearance sale happening this weekend about 45 minutes away from where I go to school. EVERYTHING WAS $2 OR LESS. I pretty much hyperventilated just thinking about it. The first 200 people each day got a free HPB bag, so my friend and I left early and got to the sale exactly at 9 am, the time they opened. Free totes in hand, we spent the next 2 hours looking around and every book but two that I got were only $1. You could say I was super happy this morning :) Here are the books I ended up getting...


I've got some pretty awesome reading ahead of me :) I made sure to limit myself to only $1 books, or else I knew I would buy way too much. I'm very happy with my selection! The lady at the checkout told me that tomorrow, everything would be 50% off for the last day. Such a dilemma! I had already driven all that way, but going back means FIFTY PERCENT OFF! But I'm going to have to try my hardest and resist the temptation to buy even more books. Based on this haul, I think I'm set for a while! 

And that's what I got this week! What did you all add to your shelves? 

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