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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Open Road Summer – Emery Lord

Open Road Summer
By: Emery Lord
Available April 2014

Description:
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

This Blonde’s Review:
I really enjoyed this book and a big part of that is because Reagan is an imperfect character. The more the book goes on we see that she isn’t just moody and protective, she has good reason to be that way. She has made a practice of bad choices and putting herself at risk. Watching her work on getting her life straight while being there for her friend was great. Her dedication to her best friend was fantastic.

Matt Finch is the cute guy who comes into the picture as Lilah’s opening act. The press thinks he’s involved with Lilah but something about him draws Reagan. She doesn’t want anything to do with it though. He’s a charming ex boy band guy so she thinks she has his number. Until she starts to learn some new things about him. She starts to see that his life isn’t as easy as she thought it was. And she starts to fall for the guy Matt, not the star.

Reagan’s best friend is a big country music star and is considered a big sweetheart. She’s loved and looked up to. Except the world doesn’t see the part where her heart has been broken thanks to her big love setting her free to go live her dreams. All Reagan can do is be there for her. They still love each other but want different things, so man bashing isn’t even an option. Instead it’s just getting by day by day and being there for each other. Reagan’s friendship with her is seen in the now and with memories that show that their bond is stronger than what many are able to find. Seeing their love for each other and the lengths they’d go to is so great. The friendship is not just some side piece to the romance. The friendship is what matters more than the romance.

I loved that this book was about more than just falling for the guy. It’s about friendships making it through everything, being there for each other, and learning to love yourself way more than it is about any guy. Though watching the way she learns to care for him and trust him was so great as well and still made it about learning to be herself than going for the cute guy.

I really liked this book and look forward to reading more by Emery Lord. If you enjoy the idea of seeing a damaged character learn how to love herself again then you’ll enjoy this book. Everything else was great but secondary to Reagan finding herself.

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Posted by on March 28, 2014 in Around The World Tours, Book Review

 

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend – Katie Finn

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend
by Katie Finn
Broken Hearts & Revenge – Book 1
Available May 2014

Description:
Summer, boys, and friendships gone sour. This new series has everything that perfect beach reads are made of!

Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long?

When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.

Gemma’s plan is working (she’s finding it hard to resist Josh), but she’s finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is?

This Blonde’s Review:
When I started this book I expected another light fun read that I’d enjoy since I do like books that have a similar plot. Except that this one had so many little things that has me looking back and thinking that I loved when This happened or That. They weren’t huge things, there were just enough little things added together to really make me want to go out and buy a copy of this book when it comes out in May.

Gemma isn’t a bad person, but when she was in a rough spot in her life she made some bad choices and hurt people who mattered to her and to her father. When she has to go back to the Hamptons for the first time since everything went down she hopes that she won’t run in to Hallie. Hallie is the girl who could have been like a sister to her until Gemma did her best to destroy everything.

After meeting a cute guy on the train who turned out to be Hallie’s brother Josh and a misunderstanding about her identity, all Gemma can do is go along with the idea that she’s really someone else and work to get to know Hallie again. Watching Gemma get to know Hallie and Josh was great, I really enjoyed all of them. There were little things that kept happening to Gemma that had me wondering a time or two if Gemma was running into a string of bad karma thanks to the continuing lie or if something else was happening to her. And the great thing is that those things were all small enough that it really can go either way. One minute I assumed one thing then something would happen to make me think something else.

The end of this one really was great. I loved it and can’t wait to read the next one! I would love to tell you more about the hows and whys but I just can’t spoil it for you. I was left with so many questions and I really hope to find out more in the next book. Which I really wish was coming out soon rather than knowing this one isn’t even out until May. Dang.

If you enjoy mistaken identities, righting past wrongs, cute guys, and a case of serious bad luck then you’ll enjoy Gemma’s story. You really should get a copy in May when it comes out.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Around The World Tours, Book Review

 

Nantucket Red – Leila Howland

Nantucket Red
By Leila Howland
Nantucket – Book 2
Available May 2014

Description:
Cricket Thompson’s lifetime of overachieving has paid off: she’s headed to Brown University in the fall, with a spot on the lacrosse team and a scholarship that covers almost everything. Who knew living in the dorm cost money? An Ivy League education seems to mean living at home for the next four years.

When Cricket is offered the chance to earn enough cash to afford a real college experience, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But the faraway island challenges Cricket in ways she hadn’t anticipated. It’s hard to focus on earning money for next year, when she finds her world opening up in entirely new ways-to art, to travel, and, most unexpectedly, to a future completely different from the one she has been working toward her whole life. A friendship blossoms with Ben, the gorgeous surfer and bartender who encourages Cricket to be free, even as she smarts at the pain of seeing Zack, her first love, falling for her worst enemy.

But one night, when Cricket finally lets herself break all her own rules, she realizes she may have ruined her carefully constructed future with one impulsive decision. Cricket must dig deep to fight for her future, discovering that success isn’t just about reaching goals, but also about listening to what she’s been trying to ignore-her own heart.

This Blonde’s Review:
In the first book in this series we see Cricket have to stand on her own without her best friend or the family she has adopted as her own. She has to find her own way, fall in love with the wrong guy, and deal with her parents in ways she never had before. In the second book she’s moving on from losing her boyfriend and has been alone. She got into a great school but now she has to find the money to afford the real experience of living in the dorms instead of at home. That means going back to Nantucket.

In this one we see Cricket growing up and becoming more confident in the life that she has built on her own. She builds more relationships with the people around her, she starts repairing her relationship with her best friend, and learning how to be around Zack again. When everything Cricket has worked for looks like it could be lost thanks to a bad decision she has to figure out how to make the best of everything and learn something about herself at the same time.

I really enjoyed this one. I think I may have even liked it better than the first book. In this one Cricket is more confident and she’s taking chances she would have been afraid to take in the first book. Watching her grow and realize what she wants and what is best for her was really great. She wasn’t the same person in the same place, she was someone new. I felt like she ended this book a much stronger person than she would have been if she never went through everything that she did.

If you’ve read the first book you won’t be disappointed by the changes in Cricket’s character. You’ll probably find you like her better now. If haven’t read the first book but enjoy books about characters who have to learn who they really are when they’re set adrift without the people who matter to them then you’ll want to read Cricket’s story.

 
 

Monument 14 – Savage Drift – Emmy Laybourne

Savage Drift
By Emmy Laybourne
Monument 14 – Book 3
Available

Description:
The survivors of the Monument 14 have finally made it to the safety of a Canadian refugee camp. Dean and Alex are cautiously starting to hope that a happy ending might be possible.

But for Josie, separated from the group and trapped in a brutal prison camp for exposed Type Os, things have gone from bad to worse. Traumatized by her experiences, she has given up all hope of rescue or safety.

Meanwhile, scared by the government’s unusual interest in her pregnancy, Astrid (with her two protectors, Dean and Jake in tow) joins Niko on his desperate quest to be reunited with his lost love Josie.

This Blonde’s Review:
In the final Monument 14 book we have most of the gang back together. They’re all in a Canadian refugee camp and are treated well. Everything seems fine except for their missing families, not knowing what happened to Josie, and Astrid’s growing fear that something isn’t right with the government’s interest in exposed pregnant women.

The final book in this series gives us some answers we’ve been looking for but doesn’t wrap up everything. And it shouldn’t, when something that big happens the answers keep coming for a lifetime or more. Our focus in this book is on Josie and Dean’s experiences and points of view. In some ways it was like two different stories since their experiences were so different.

Josie is in a prison camp and struggling to stay under the radar and stay alive. It’s a place where innocent children and wild killers are expected to exist together. She doesn’t think she deserves anything but she’ll do whatever she has to in order to take care of the people who matter to her, even the ones she refuses to let close. And when she finally gets the chance to get out of there it’s at the worst time. She has a choice to make and her self worth will determine what she does next.

Dean sees the way it looks outside, when people think they’re safe from exposure. He sees that the government isn’t sharing everything with the public. He also has to decide if he is mature enough to get past his insecurities and put Astrid first or if he’ll expect her to make changes first. He has to grow from that insecure kid who doesn’t think Astrid can really love him into the kind of guy who knows that his love for her and taking care of her matters more than her proving it to him.

I enjoyed this one. Mostly for Josie and her struggle. If you liked the other books in this series you know you’ll have to read this one to find out what happens to Josie, Dean, Astrid, and all the others.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in Around The World Tours, Book Review

 

The Secrets of Lily Graves – Sarah Strohmeyer

The Secrets of Lily Graves
By: Sarah Strohmeyer
Available May 2014

Description:
Growing up in a house of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. She knows that perfect senior-class president Erin Donohue isn’t what she seems. She knows why Erin’s ex-boyfriend, hot football player Matt Houser, broke up with her. And she also knows that, even though she says she and Matt are just friends, there is something brewing between them—something Erin definitely did not like.But secrets, even ones that are long buried, have a way of returning to haunt their keeper.So when Erin is found dead the day after attacking Lily in a jealous rage, Lily’s and Matt’s safe little lives, and the lives of everyone in their town of Potsdam, begin to unravel. And their relationship—which grew from innocent after-school tutoring sessions to late-night clandestine rendezvous—makes them both suspects.As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim.

This Blonde’s Review:
I wasn’t sure what to think of this one when I started it. I’m still not sure what I think about it. I have to feel some kind of connection or understanding of my main character to love a book but I really wasn’t feeling it with Lily.

It seems like things just happen to Lily and around her and I don’t really see any pattern. First she’s a mortician’s daughter who seems to take that role pretty far in the way she dresses and repeated mentions of how comfortable she is around the dead. And those are things that come up often, enough that I start to wonder if there is anything to her past the way she dresses and the way the mortician’s job is just so easy and comforting to her. The other thing we know about her is that she has complete confidence in Matt. Despite anything she hears or where she hears it, she knows that Matt didn’t do what he’s accused of. She insists there is nothing but friendship between then while implying that there is more.

There were quite a few good things that happened with this book but I was held back by Lily. I couldn’t get past feeling like she wasn’t quite a full character with feelings that I could connect with. Too much just seemed to roll off of her that I couldn’t attach any feeling to her either. The idea of the book is a good one. I would have liked more details on what caused Erin to attack Lily considering some of the contradictory information I found. I would have also loved to learn more about the motivation of certain characters since I still had questions at the end.

If the book description sounds good to you give it a try. You may find it easier to connect with Lily than I did. Sometimes that connection can make all of the other dots connect so that you have fewer questions than I did.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in Around The World Tours, Book Review

 

White Hot Kiss – Jennifer L Armentrout

White Hot Kiss
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Dark Elements – Book 1
Available Now

Description:
One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she’s anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she’s crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she’s not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she’s the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

This Blonde’s Review:
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book since gargoyles didn’t exactly sound like something I wanted to read about and the cover wasn’t calling to me either. But I decided not to judge a book by its cover and gave it a try anyway.

If you enjoyed Jennifer L Armentrout’s Covenant series then you’ll likely enjoy this one since I can see some similarities. There’s a girl who is a halfblood, half gargoyle and half demon in this case, who loves a good guy and finds herself hunted by the bad guys. She also finds herself falling for a bad boy along the way and ends up in a love triangle. Now it isn’t a bad thing to have similar themes since that doesn’t mean we will feel the same way about the characters or that the same things will happen.

Layla is one of those characters who is torn. She wants to be good but she’s half demon so she also fights the urge to steal souls. That leads to some pretty big baggage to carry around, especially when she’s surrounded by such pure souls. Watching her try so hard to fight it made me want to know this girl because I can’t imagine it would be easy to deny half of who you are that way. I didn’t care for the way the people she has grown to think of as family treat her or the way she accepted it. But despite her demon side I believe she’s strong and way better than they’re willing to see.

Reading this one I know I was supposed to think Zane was a great guy since that’s what Layla thinks, but I really couldn’t go along with it. I didn’t care for him. He wasn’t willing to be completely himself with her, he follows his father a little too easily, and I just didn’t feel anything for him. He seemed a little flimsy for our character to love. I don’t know if that’s something the author needed to build better or if that is just the kind of character Zane is.

Luckily the author didn’t skip on letting us get to know bad boy Roth. He’s one I really enjoyed getting to know. He’s a demon but the way he cares for and helps Layla makes some of his bad boy attitude seem like an act. He helps her see that being a demon isn’t necessarily evil, it may be mischievous instead. And she learns that even a demon could be willing to risk themselves to protect someone they care about

I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. I enjoyed Jennifer L Armentrout’s Covenant series so I was just fine with the similarities since there are enough differences. I was won over by Roth and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. I have high hopes for Layla now that she’s learned a few things about herself and can’t wait to see if she’ll grow as a character. I also want to see what happens with Roth and if Zane becomes more appealing to give this love triangle more bite.

 
 

V is for Villain – Peter Moore

V is for Villain
By: Peter Moore
Available May 2014

Description:
Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake. Though Brad’s basically a genius, Blake is a superhero in the elite Justice Force. And Brad doesn’t measure up at his high school, either, where powers like super-strength and flying are the norm. So when Brad makes friends who are more into political action than weight lifting, he’s happy to join a new crew-especially since it means spending more time with Layla, a girl who may or may not have a totally illegal, totally secret super-power. And with her help, Brad begins to hone a dangerous new power of his own.

But when they’re pulled into a web of nefarious criminals, high-stakes battles, and startling family secrets, Brad must choose which side he’s on. And once he does, there’s no turning back.

This Blonde’s Review:
We always see the superhero’s side. He’s just this guy with abilities and people expect things from him, or they think he’s a freak, or he’s traumatized by something and wants to hide, etc. In this one we see what happens when you have a school full of kids who are taught that they’re above everyone else because they all have abilities. We get see all of this through the eyes of someone who is considered without abilities since his incredible intelligence isn’t as flashy as flying, strength, or any number of other skills.

Something that I thought was awesome in this book is that it didn’t just say these are the good guys and these are the bad. It showed you all of them and let you see the good and bad in each of them. Brad was in the regular classes with the heroes and saw the way the heroes were taught to do whatever it took. Even at the expense of other students. When he meets Layla and is later sent to the other part of the school he starts to see he isn’t alone in thinking that the heroes take things too far. He gets to know Layla and gets involved with their group for the usual reason teenage boys get involved. For a girl. But the things he learns have him making choices he never thought he’d have to face. He is able to use his skills in ways he never imagined.

I liked the way that Brad isn’t perfect. Even for a book where the title tells you outright that he’s on a villain track you still almost expect the character to be perfect, to maybe not realize what he’s doing. Except Brad makes choices that he knows are wrong, even against the people who are on his side. He also spends a lot of time trying to understand. Where did these villains come from? Maybe the heroes come from someplace other than what the scientists originally thought. And maybe there’s a way to change things that no one has thought of before.

Brad will have to decide what he feels is right. Does he trust his family and all that they believe, or does he trust what he’s learned from his friends and snooping on his own?

I didn’t really love the end to this book though it’s hard to say why without giving things away. After reading this I can see how a decent guy might go bad or why a good guy might make a bad choice and come back stronger in his convictions. So I didn’t like it but at the same time, looking at it from the idea that this is the backstory to some other story’s set of characters it would totally make sense.

I really enjoyed this. I’m not usually a fan of the whole villain’s point of view or superheroes but this one was pretty good. If those things sound good to you I know you’ll like this one. And if it isn’t you should considering giving it a try anyway. You may find your opinion of everything isn’t what you expect.