Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Challenge Wrap-up!

Hey Everyone!

So here is my Challenge Wrap-up for 2014!  Not too bad, for how busy I was this year! :)

First off, I did completely my goal of reading at least 50 books! :)  In fact, I read 51!  Here is the complete list of books I read in 2014:

Books I read in 2014:
  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  2. Vampire Academy (Book #1 in Vampire Academy Series) by Richelle Mead
  3. Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead
  4. What Really Happened in Peru by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan
  5. Revealing Us (Inside Out #3) by Lisa Renee Jones (ARC)
  6. Real by Katy Evans (Real #1)
  7. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
  8. The Runaway Queen by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson
  9. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
  10. My Not So Super Sweet Life (#3 in the My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century Trilogy) by Rachel Harris
  11. Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren
  12. Happenstance (Happenstance #1) by Jamie McGuire
  13. Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski (ARC)
  14. Cress by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #3)
  15. All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack (ARC)
  16. Just One Night (#2.5 in Just One Day Series) by Gayle Forman
  17. Afterburn and Aftershock by Sylvia Day
  18. The Queen's Army by Marissa Meyer
  19. Beautiful Oblivion (Maddox Brothers #1) by Jamie McGuire  (ARC)
  20. My Hunger (Inside Out #3.2) by Lisa Renee Jones
  21. City of Heavenly Fire (#6 in the Mortal Instrument Series) by Cassandra Clare
  22. Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) by Miranda Kenneally (ARC)
  23. The Master Undone (#2.5 in Inside Out Series) by Lisa Renee Jones 
  24. His Secrets (Inside Out #3.1) by Lisa Renee Jones
  25. The Princess Diaries (#1 in The Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  26. Princess in the Spotlight (#2 in The Princess Diaries) by Meg Cabot
  27. Princess in Love (#3 in The Princess Diaries) by Meg Cabot
  28. Princess in Waiting (#4 in Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  29. Project Princess (#4.5 in The Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  30. Princess in Pink (#5 in The Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  31. Princess in Training (#6 in The Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  32. The Princess Present (#6.5 in The Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  33. Party Princess (#7 in The Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  34. Sweet Sixteen Princess (#7.5 in The Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  35. Princess on the Brink (#8 in The Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  36. Princess Mia (#9 in The Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  37. Forever Princess (#10 in The Princess Diaries Series) by Meg Cabot
  38. The Swift Boys and Me by Kody Keplinger
  39. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
  40. Dare You To by Katie McGarry
  41. Valentine Princess by Meg Cabot
  42. The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren by Wendy Toliver
  43. Pie Girls by Lauren Clark (ARC)
  44. Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Stephenie Meyer (Illustrated by Young Kim) (Manga)
  45. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (ARC)
  46. Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1) by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
  47. Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 2 by Stephenie Meyer, Illustrated by Young Kim (Manga)
  48. Dirty Rowdy Thing (Wild Seasons #2) by Christina Lauren (ARC)
  49. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
  50. No In Between (Inside Out #4) by Lisa Renee Jones
I also participated in the  YA Contemporary Challenge!

For this one my goal was to read 5 brand new 2014 YA Contemporary Releases, and at least 10 not 2014 released YA Contemporaries!

I ended up reading 9 Brand 2014 released YA Contemporary Novels, and 19 not 2014 released YA contemporary novels! :) So check two for completion!

Here are the lists of what I read for the challenge:

Official YA Contemporary Novels read:

1. Not YA, but New Adult: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover (Released on March 18th, 2014)
2. My Not So Super Sweet Life (#3 in My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century) by Rachel Harris (Release Date: April 21st, 2014)
3. Happenstance (Happenstance #1) by Jamie McGuire (Released on May 9th, 2014)
4. Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski (Released March 11th, 2014)
5. Just One Night by Gayle Forman (Released on May 29th, 2014)
6. Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) by Miranda Kenneally (Release Date: July 15th, 2014)
7. The Swift Boys and Me by Kody Keplinger (Release date: May 27th, 2014)
8. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (Release Date: April 15th, 2014)

ALL Other YA Contemporary Novels Read:

  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (2012 Release)
  2. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (2012 Release)
  3. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (2000 Release)
  4. Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot (2000 Release)
  5. Princess in Love by Meg Cabot (2001 Release)
  6. Princess in Waiting by Meg Cabot (2002 Release)
  7. Project Princess by Meg Cabot (2003 Release)
  8. Princess in Pink by Meg Cabot (2003 Release)
  9. Princess in Training by Meg Cabot (2004 Release)
  10. The Princess Present by Meg Cabot (2004 Release)
  11. Party Princess by Meg Cabot (2006 Release)
  12. Sweet Sixteen Princess by Meg Cabot (2006 Release)
  13. Princess on the Brink by Meg Cabot (2007 Release)
  14. Princess Mia by Meg Cabot (2008 Release)
  15. Forever Princess by Meg Cabot (2009 Release)
  16. Dare You To by Katie McGarry (2013 Release)
  17. Valentine Princess by Meg Cabot (2006 Release)
  18. The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren (2009 Release)
  19. Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (2012 Release)
Next, I also did the 2014 Ebook Reading Challenge!

My goal was to read the DVD level, which meant reading 25 Ebooks in 2014, but unfortunately I only read 16, mainly because I've been trying to make a dent in my TBR shelf!  So in the end, I only reached the CD level, but that's okay.  

Then, I also did the Book to Movie Challenge!

For this one my goal was read at least 3 books where the movies were released in 2014.  I ended up only reading 1, and watching and reviewing 5 movies where they were adapted from books.  Mainly because, I wasn't interested in reading Divergent  and The Maze Runner, and I didn't want to or have time to reread The Fault in Our Stars and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.  But I did end up reading the book and watching the movie for The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.  I LOVED the book, but hated the movie! In fact, that was one of the first movies I've ever seen in theaters, where I was tempted to leave!  Here is the movie review: Vampire Academy (Movie Review).  And here is the Book review for that one: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead .

And lastly!  I participated in the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2014!

For this one, I just realized I never actually set a goal for myself, which I definitely plan on doing in 2015, but I believe last year, my goal was to read at least 10 off of the shelf, so after counting what I read off of the shelf this year, I read...10!  Exactly! Phew!!  That was a close one!!

For 2015, I plan on hopefully reading more, because while I plan on buying my most anticipated released for 2015, I don't really plan on buying any other books!

So that's it for 2014!! Can't believe it's over! What an amazing, wonderful year it's been! I really can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for me! :)

Happy New Year Everyone!!

The Romance Bookie :)

Our Favorite Books of 2014!

Hey Everyone!

Erin and I both can't believe this year is already over!! It feels like just yesterday that we were ringing in the new year for 2014!  But now it's pretty much 2015!!!!!

So to end 2014 with a bang, Erin and I both have compiled our own lists of our favorite books of 2014!!!

So first off, here's my list:

Because I couldn't decide in what order I wanted the book list to go, I've decided to order it from what I read first to last.

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (2012 Release)

From Goodreads

2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (2007 Release)

From Goodreads

3.  Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover (2014 Release)

From Goodreads

4.  Cress by Marissa Meyer (2014 Release)

From Goodreads

5.  All Lined Up by Cora Carmack (2014 Release)

From Goodreads
6. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (2014 Release)

From Goodreads
7. Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (2014 Release)

From Goodreads

8. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover (2014 Release)

From Goodreads

9. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (2012 Release)

From Goodreads
10. Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren (2014 Release)

From Goodreads

Now to Erin's List!

1. Cress by Marissa Meyer

From Goodreads

The third book in The Lunar Chronicles! Cinder and Scarlet were fantastic books and Cress is no different! I love Marissa Meyer, love her!  She is such an amazing writer and I absolutely recommend everything that she writes (which is actually just The Lunar Chronicles so far, but there are more books to come!).  The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite series of all time, so I definitely suggest to everyone!

2. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Another one of my favorite authors ever! Heir of Fire is the latest book in the Throne of Glass series and definitely lives up to all the hype it's been getting.  I don't know how to explain how much I love this book and this series and Sarah J. Maas.  I actually saw Heir of Fire at the bookstore earlier today and even though I already have a copy, I was really tempted to buy it again!

3. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo 

From Goodreads

The last book in the Grisha Trilogy! Wow! Seriously, Leigh Bardugo is a genius! Ruin and Rising has got to be the best ending to a series I've ever read! It was so good, sooooo good! It was so intense and I still get shivers when I think about it! Absolutely amazing!!!

4. Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

From Goodreads
The most unexpected awesome book I read this year! I totally didn't anticipate myself loving this book this much, but it was a great surprise! Fiendish is an amazing book and I can't wait to read more of Brenna Yovanoff's work!

5. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

From Goodreads
As if I hadn't talked about Maggie Stiefvater enough...But I can't not include Blue Lily, Lily Blue in this list! Ugh, it's so good! I'm totally obsessed over it. The Raven Cycle is such a unique story with incredibly real characters and everything just gets better and better with each book!!

6. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (2014 Release)

From Goodreads

An awesome new high fantasy series!! I had been looking forward to this book for a long time and very lucky for me, it did not disappoint!!  It's crazy good!! And the mystery aspect of who the prince is and who the assassin is, is so cool and so unique!

7. Atlantia by Ally Condie (2014 Release)

From Goodreads

Atlantia is a beautifully written book! I love the underwater world that Ally Condie created and I feel the writing is so poetic and lyrical without sacrificing story or getting really wordy and introspective.

8. Defy by Sara B. Larson

From Goodreads

Yet another high fantasy book that I loved this year! It's got action, it's got romance, and awesome characters! I'm super excited that the sequel, Ignite, is coming out next week! Next week, guys!! I'm so excited to read it!!!!

9. Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

From Goodreads

Based on the cover of this book, I wanted this book to be awesome -- and it was! I love this book! It's really different from what I expected, but in a good way! I love the characters Sol and D'arcy so much!!  I really wish/hope there's going to be a sequel! Crossing my fingers!!!

10.  Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi (2014 Release)

From Goodreads
The Under the Never Sky series is one of my favorites! While the first book (Under the Never Sky) is for sure my favorite of the series, Into the Still Blue is awesome! But I can't believe the series is now over! I'm going to miss this series a lot! I love this book and series and I really really recommend to everyone! *sigh* Now I'm getting a real itch to reread these books!

So there's our lists of our favorite books of 2014!

Mandy & Erin @The Romance Bookie :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins

Hey Everyone!

Wow, we are sure getting close to that New Year aren't we?  THREE more days left of 2014!! I just can't believe it!

And let me just say, I couldn't have chosen a better book to end my 2014 reading time on!

Isla and the Happily Ever After, the third and last book in the Anna and the French Kiss Series by Stephanie Perkins.

From Goodreads:

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

My Thoughts:

Wow, I can't even tell you how much I have loved this series! Stephanie Perkins has a way of creating these lives of these teenagers, that is so incredible to watch come alive.  They each have the most incredible stories, and I have loved every single minute of it!

Isla and the Happily Ever After, follow Isla (pronounced "Eye-La") and Josh as they discover that while they've both living separate lives in the same boarding school in France, they have both had hidden feelings for one another.  When they are finally given the chance to be together, and explore those feeling, a love story forms that will have readers hooked onto each and every single page.  

My one and only complaint, which I chose to ignore throughout the entire book, was how short of a time Isla and Josh were actually together and how strong their feelings were.  I'm not saying it is not possible, but a month and already saying "I love you so much" and doing other things (;)), is sure to leave the insecurities that Isla felt.

However, do not misinterpret that that means I didn't like the fact, I LOVED it!  While I read some reviews online, that had people saying how annoyed they thought Isla was, I personally really thought getting into her head and learning about her insecurities was wonderful!  I mean, yes it sucked she was going through them, but honestly it made me feel not so alone, in my own insecurities.  I loved every single minute of it!  

Overall rating:

Stephanie has this way of writing that makes everything feel so real and yet still gives the reader that Happily Ever After they are craving.  This was just the book I needed to end my reading year on a good note! :)

The Romance Bookie :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Movie Review: Divergent

Hey Everyone!!

Here's another movie review!!

So again, just like The Maze Runner which I reviewed today as well, we watched Divergent for Christmas!  Now, I actually saw this one when it was in theaters, but for some reason I guess I completely forgot to review it!

Description and picture from IMDb:

In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.

My Thoughts:

Just like the first time, the second time I saw Divergent it was still really good!  We actually own this one now, it was a Christmas present, so I can watch whenever!!

Anyway, another Dystopian, where I couldn't get into the book.  To be fair, I may have not been in the mind set when I first started reading this one, but I also own it on Audiobook, so maybe one day I'll give it another chance!

The movie, on the other hand, is really great! I love the concept of a world split into different sanctions. I wouldn't want to live like that, but the concept is none-the-less very interesting!  Tris, played by Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars and The Secret Life of an American Teenager) does a great job playing someone who is very scared but pretending to be very brave.  Such a great character!

Four, played by Theo James (Underworld: The Awakening) was another great character! Both him and Shailene are who made this movie this amazing!

Overall rating:

Again not a movie I would watch over and over again, only because of the seriousness of the storyline, but this a really good movie! I definitely recommend this one, even if you're not a dystopian fan!

The Romance Bookie :)

Movie Review: The Maze Runner


Wow, I can't believe it's already Christmas!! 2014 is almost over!! I just can't wrap my head around it!

So my family has a tradition, where every year for Christmas Day we spend the day in our PJs watching movies all day and eating left overs from our Christmas Eve/my mom's birthday party.  

So we first started the day with The Maze Runner, which yes I will admit, I have not read the book.  I know, I know, that is probably pretty terrible for some of you, but honestly while I'm not a huge fan of Dystopian books, I've read quite a few and just can't get into them, I still enjoy watching the movie adaptations.  

So for my review, because I haven't read the book, I am solely going to base it on my opinion of the movie, with absolutely no bias toward the book!

Description and picture from IMDb:

Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they're all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow "runners" for a shot at escape.

My Thoughts:

While I am not a dystopian fan, I actually honestly really enjoyed this one!!  I don't know what it is, but I can never really get into the stories when I am reading these types of stories, but when it comes to the movies I really like them!

Thomas, played by Dylan O'Brien (Teen Wolf and The Internship), did a great job in the role!  The cinematography was done beautifully!  The maze, the effects...all of it was done very well!

Now to the let me be straight, while I did enjoy it a lot, it is still not a movie I would be watching all the time.  I've seen it and now I'm good.  It had a great storyline, and action, and everything, but I am a romantic comedy type of person.  This is not the type of movie I would replay and watch over and over again.

Now, that has nothing to do with the movie itself, but all to do with my taste in movies.  Which is probably the main reason why I can never get into these types of books.  It's easier to watch a two hour movie, than read a book for days.

So overall rating:

Four Mookies :).  Great and highly recommended movie! Even for those not into dystopian books!  Definitely check it out, if you get the chance!

Hope everyone is having a great Holiday Season! :)

The Romance Bookie :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

No In Between (Inside Out #4) by Lisa Renee Jones

Hey Everyone!!

So it's official! I've completed my reading goal for 2014 by reading 50 books! :)  So glad I made it! I was getting a bit worried there for a second!

So for my fiftieth book I read Lisa Renee Jones's fourth book in the Inside Out Series, No In Between!

From Goodreads:

The fourth in the Inside Out erotic romance series by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones, this steamy novel resolves Chris and Sarah's relationship and leads into Mark's story.

"Chris and I have faced our demons and bared our souls to one another in Paris. Now that we are back home in San Francisco, I want to believe that nothing can tear us apart. Not Ava’s accusations against me to the police, or Chris's fear that he will destroy me as he feels he did Amber. And not Mark, who was once too intimately a part of our lives, and who I can see crumbling inside out. He believes he is invincible, just as I want to believe Chris and I are invincible. We have to be invincible. We need each other too much for any other ending."

My Thoughts:

This book continues where the last one left off...the mystery of still trying to find mysterious Rebecca.

It's definitely a great series!  Lisa has made an erotic story with a murder mystery thrill twist!  Love it!

It is hands down my favorite erotica series.  I am actually not that big of a fan of the erotica anymore, because all the stories started sounding exactly the same, but when Lisa Renee Jones is the only one that's been able to keep my mind open to the genre.

However, I will admit I have one tiny complaint...I want to FINALLY know what happened to Rebecca, because to be honest, it is starting to feel a little tiny bit dragged out now.  I like the majority of my series short and sweet.  Especially these mystery ones, because I absolutely HATE being left constantly on my toes when I read the last page and have to wait a year for the next book, in order to find out what happens next!  Now, luckily, I already have I Belong to You (#5 in the series) on my shelf, thanks to Gallery Books, so I won't be having to wait long to find out what happens next!

Another complaint, would have to be some of the wording in this nothing bad, but a little peeve, is when other erotica novels use the phrase "Fifty Shades of..." whatever.  In my opinion, unless you are right out referencing Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James, that phrase is taken.  And in this book, the main character, Sara, referred to Chris as "Fifty Shades of Prince Charming" a few times, which I personally didn't like.  That reference is way overdone, and has been repeated too many times, and personally, I don't want to hear it again until when the movie comes out on Valentines Day.

But that's just my own personal preference.


Overall rating:

I would say Three and Half Bookies.  I did enjoy it, but I would like to know more answers by now.  Not much really happened in this one, I thought, no new information really, so I am really hoping that in the next one, we get to more and new stuff to keep us going in the series.

Definitely still a great series, and I would still recommend it for those looking for a thriller/erotica novel! Definitely a good one! :)

Until next time and I hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday Season! Merry Christmas!

The Romance Bookie :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Hey Everyone!!

I am SOOO Close to my yearly goal of reading 50 books, that this is so happening this year!!!! ONE MORE TO GO!!!

Anyway, this time around I read The Geography of You and Me by one of my favorite authors, Jennifer E. Smith!

From Goodreads:

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

My Thoughts:

Jennifer E. Smith has done it again!

I mean, seriously! This woman knows young adult!  If I were to recommend her to others, I would recommend her to fans of Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, and Sarah Dessen.  She has that realistic feel to her writing, that many young adults haven't gotten down...but boy, has Jennifer gotten it down!

Lucy and Owen were two great characters!  They definitely had the chemistry!

I love the idea of staying in touch, with a special someone, through postcards.  It is such a romantic gesture, I think, but at the same time, I know I would never ever have the patience to do so.  Waiting...waiting weeks on end to possibly receive a postcard.  And in reality, we all know we can't actually write our true feelings on that card, because the postmen who do the delivering process will only have read what you have written.  But still!! So cute!! Especially what Owen and Lucy were writing to each other... "I wish you were here...", because of their conversation on the roof top, during the blackout.

It was so cute!!

My only complaint would have to be at some points it felt a tiny bit rushed to me.  For instance the chapter would end, and then skip two chapters (because it alternates in Point of Views, something I loved!) and all of a sudden Owen would be in a different location, and you would get a slight description of what happened to the recent location.  Which, okay, to be fair, was Jennifer moving the story along, but I think I would have liked more background, even though, I know, the focus was mainly on Owen and Lucy's relationship.

Overall rating:

I really liked this one!! I always look forward to Jennifer E. Smith's new releases, so after reading this one, I know that excitement will continue!! :)  Can't wait to see what she has in store for us next!

Mandy @The Romance Bookie :)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Review from Erin: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Hi Everyone!! I've got yet another review for you today! Salt & Storm by debut author Kendall Kulper!!

From Goodreads:

You don't know what you must give up to become a witch.

Avery Roe wants only to claim her birthright as the witch of Prince Island and to make the charms that have kept the island's sailors safe at sea for generations, but instead she is held prisoner by her mother in a magic-free life of proper manners and respectability.

Avery thinks escape is just a matter of time, but when she has a harrowing nightmare, she can see what it means: She will be killed. She will be murdered. And she's never been wrong before.

Desperate to change her future, Avery finds a surprising ally in Tane—a tattooed harpoon boy with magic of his own, who moves her in ways she never expected. But as time runs out to unlock her magic and save herself, Avery discovers that becoming a witch requires unimaginable sacrifice.

Avery walks the knife's edge between choice and destiny in Kendall Kulper's sweeping debut: the story of one girl's fight to survive the rising storm of first love and family secrets.

Erin's Review:

I have to say, this book was kind of a disappointment to me.  I mean, the synopsis sounded AMAZING!! And look at that cover!!! Beautiful, is it not??? So, I don't know, maybe my expectations were just too high, but Salt & Storm just did not do it for me.

Okay, I've got to admit, I should probably say that in addition to having pretty high expectations, I had some wrong expectations as well.  First of all, I thought this book was a high fantasy novel, which it is NOT.  I've said this before, but I do have a tendency to do that pretty often (not sure why???).  I guess in this case, the whole witches thing kind of lead me astray, not to mention that I, as someone who lives in the West, was not aware that Prince Island was an actual place (but that's really just my own stupidity :))).  So, I think a lot of it had to do with that.  And just to clarify, Salt & Storm is a historical fiction book.

But even besides that, there were some things in the book that didn't sit right with me.  There are many instances in the book where something would be happening, things are going on, when Avery kind of goes into a flashback and talks about past memories or stories and I felt that this really slowed down the pacing of the book.  It kind of broke up the action right when it was going on, and I did not enjoy that.  In addition, the flashbacks were not very "in the moment".  And by that, I mean it was Avery telling you what happened in her memory instead of actually dropping into the memory itself.  Errr...sorry, don't know if that makes any sense... O_O I hope it did!

Another big thing that bothered me was the narrator's tone in general.  No offense, but it sounded really pretentious to me, I found myself rolling my eyes multiple times while reading this.  I don't know if this is just me or if anyone else kind of felt a similar reaction, but the language did grate  on me.  And I think this linked to the whole flashback thing.  Because the flashback was told in such a way, I believe it made the tone sound preachy or "teaching you a lesson"-y.  Again, sorry that's not the best explanation, but I hope it helps a little.

And the characters...well, I did not love any of them.  And in fact, I kind of dislike Avery.  She seems really childish to me.  She threw fits at her mother and I though she was kind of bratty.  Even at the end, I don't feel like Avery understood that her mother was trying to help her and protect her and I did not feel like her character grew at all from the beginning of the book to the end.  I also didn't get why Avery was soooo intent on being the Roe witch.  Maybe it's because I couldn't relate to her character at all, but I felt absolutely no connection with her.  And all the other characters...Meh.  Nothing special that drew me to them or anything.  And I had the misunderstanding that one of the characters who helps Avery out, was twelve when in fact, he was seventeen (I think, if I'm getting that right).  Of course, not a big deal, but for a good portion of the book I was super confused because I thought was much younger than he actually was and then BAM he's suddenly a lot older.

Overall rating:

Well, I'd say closer to two and a half bookies! Of course, keep in mind that this is my own personal preference: a lot of others seemed to enjoy this book.  If this sounds like an awesome book to you, GO FOR IT!! As much as I wanted to like this book, it just didn't work out for me.  And, good to note, Salt & Storm, I believe is a standalone novel, so yay!!! No waiting!!! Also, if you like historical fiction with some magic mixed in (and I say some because there wasn't a ton of magic), this might be the book for you!!

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

FOUR Year Anniversary for The Romance Bookie!!!! (GIVEAWAY!!)

Hey Everyone!!!!

WOW, I honestly can't believe it has been another year!  The time sure is flying when you're having fun!

While, this year has been extremely slow, it has still been an amazing year!


On this day in 2010, I was going through all the layout settings, and designing The Romance Bookie.  It looked so different back then, with a simple sea-foam green background, and the words "The Romance Bookie" written over the top in purple; it's definitely come a long way!

I know this year has not been as huge of a year for The Romance Bookie as the previous three; however, none the less it's been a huge year for me!  I'm growing more and more as a person, learning more and more, and enjoying life more and more, mostly thanks to a very special someone in my life.

I'm one semester away from transferring to University from City College, which after six years you may be saying "About time!".  Which is very true, but it's difficult, yet very rewarding experience, having two jobs while going to school.

I earned my Real Estate License this year, which was EXTREMELY stressful, but of course paid off in the end, when I saw the words "Congratulations" on that piece of paper after the exam.  One thing under my belt!

When it comes to The Romance Bookie, I got the opportunity to meet some amazing people this year!  First off, I went to a Gallery Author signing, where I got to meet and interview Christina Lauren (authors of the Beautiful Bastard series), Alice Clayton (author of Wallbanger and The Redhead Series), Sylvia Day (The Crossfire Series), and so many others!  Then I got to go to my first Grove signing, which if you don't know about, is this amazing shopping center in the heart of Los Angeles, that has a great Barnes and Noble that hosts many many great authors.  I went to three signings there this year. First, to meet Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) and Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy).  Next, I met Emily Giffin (author of Something Borrowed and Something Blue).  And lastly, I met Maggie Stiefvater (author of The Shiver Trilogy).

I also went to my first ever Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which was an exciting yet very stressful weekend!  There I got to meet SOOOOOO many authors and awesome people! For instance, I met John Green, Lemony Snicket, Laurie Halse Anderson, Ann Brashares, Melissa de la Cruz, Eoin Colfer, Laini Taylor, and Marissa Meyer again (she remembered me, from when I met her at Passion and Prose back in 2012!!, which was awesome!!).

This was an AMAZING year for meeting authors!!!

I REALLY REALLY REALLY x's a MILLION hope that Meg Cabot is coming back to So-Cal in 2015, because I will be there in a heartbeat!!!  I am SOOOO unbelievably looking forward to the new Princess Diaries! PLUS the new middle grade series, featuring Mia's newly revealed half-sister!!!!

Goodness it's going to be an awesome year next year hopefully!!!

So what does the future hold for The Romance Bookie? you might be possibly wondering?

Well, this have and will continue to most likely slow down.  2014 brought on an amazing addition to The Romance Bookie, when I met Erin at The Festival of Books, while waiting in line to meet Marissa Meyer!  Because of Erin's awesome reviews more posts have been able to go up on The Romance Bookie, which is awesome!!

I've actually decided that Erin is now a permanent member of The Romance Bookie, and will be featured not as a Guest Reviewer anymore, but an actual legit reviewer of The Romance Bookie.  While I am still The Romance Bookie, Erin, will be an amazing addition to The Romance Bookie group!

So while I'm at it, I would like to start my thank you's by thanking Erin!! Thank you Erin, for being so amazing and supportive and helping me tremendously this year!! Here's to another great year ahead of us!!! :)

And then also once again a HUGE thank you Liz over at Books I Think You Should Read and Yes/No Films!  It was sooo exciting to finally have met you this year!! Our trip to Disneyland was super fun!! Vincent and I had a blast! :)

And then a huge thank you once again to my mom, because without you The Romance Bookie would never have happened!

And then also to Meg Cabot once again, because she will always be my #1 inspiration when it comes to reading and writing!! Soooooo unbelievably excited for 2015!! It's going to be a big year!! :)

And last but not least, all the amazing publishers, such as Gallery and Atria, who continue to send me amazing books to read! And all the authors, who have supported me over the years (Lauren Clark thank you to you especially!! :))

You guys all rock! And to celebrate I'm giving away an exciting prize!!

So sadly, I'm a broke college stupid so shipping for the package is USA ONLY!! HOWEVER, if you are an international reader, you are not forgotten and instead of winning the package, I will put together an envelope of some goodies if you are chosen as a winner! :)  Plus I'll also give away the package to one lucky US winner! :)

So here's what the prize will be...

The package will include:

-ARC of Jersey Girl by Beth Ann Bauman
-ARC of Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
-So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld
-Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

PLUS I've added a bunch of little swag items, including some bonus signed things!! :)

Just fill out the rafflecopter below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway Thanks everyone again for all the support over the last four years! You have no idea how much it means to me! :) <3

The Romance Bookie :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Guest Review from Erin: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

All right!! The third book in the Maggie Stiefvater AMAZING Raven Cycle Series!!  This review is going to be short and sweet cause...well, it's just beyond words!!! The Raven Cycle is ABSOLUTELY one of my favorite series ever and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to anyone!!! Seriously, you will not regret it!!!

From Goodreads:

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Erin's Review:

Let's start with Gansey.  AAAAHHHH!!! I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!! He is hands down my favorite male character, especially as a romantic interest.  I don't know what it is about him. I love that he has insomnia, I love that he's completely obsessed with finding his Welsh king, I love that he wears glasses, I love that he is so poised and charismatic.  I could go on and on and on!  You get the point.  Really, I can't pinpoint exactly what it is I love so much about him, but when you read it, you'll understand my obsession!!!

And like I said before, Maggie Stiefvater has this amazing, beautiful way of writing that isn't too embellished or anything.  GOSH! I don't know how she does it!!! The writing is quirky and weird without being so quirky and weird that you get sick of it and start rolling your eyes, nor is it over the top, like it's trying to be weird.  She is out of this world!!!

Her characters are SO real.  The way they talk, the way they think, the way they move is all so natural. I've read a lot of books where, especially the dialogue or narration, seems a bit false or forced to me, like do people really think like that???  But the way Gansey, Ronan, Blue, and Adam act and talk, as well as any other characters, are completely real.  Their conversations sound exactly like what you'd expect to hear if you were hanging out with your friends or something.

And I can say without hesitation that The Raven Cycle is one of the most unique stories I have EVER read! I mean it.  It's not like anything -- like, I really don't think I would be able to compare this book to any other.  It's based on Welsh mythology (but note: it's not a retelling of a myth, it just uses influences and touches), but other than that -- completely original! So, if you're looking for something incredibly unique to read, read The Raven Cycle, and even if you're not and just are looking for a good book to read, this is your book!!!

Honestly, I don't want to say too much about Blue Lily, Lily Blue because I feel like the only way I would be able talk about it, is to completely give it away and I don't want to do that.  Of course, this really limits what I can say... How about this?  If you've loved the first two books, you will not be disappointed with this one!! If anything, you'll be impressed and in utter awe (like moi)!!!

Overall rating:

The Raven Cycle is my favorite series by Maggie Stiefvater.  Please, please, please give this a read, if nothing else!! I really can't put into words how much I love this series.  I love absolutely everything about it: the covers, the titles, the books themselves!!!! I'm so sad that I'll have to wait yet another year for the next book to come out and it's also upsetting that it's the last book in the series.  But either way, I cannot wait to read it! I'm sure I'll be blown away by it!  That's how confident I am!! I keep saying this but they are HANDS DOWN some of the best books ever!!! Thanks for listening to, or rather, reading my crazy obsession with Maggie Stiefvater and these books (and sorry, cause it turned out to be more of a review of the Raven Cycle more than Blue Lily, Lily Blue!!! :D

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Guest Review from Erin: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, one of my favorite books ever!!! Not that this book needs a review or anything, but since I read it again recently, I thought I'd sum up my thoughts and feelings about it!! If you haven't read it, no worries, there aren't any spoilers!! Because, let's face it, just because it's a classic doesn't mean I want spoilers!!! :)

From Goodreads:

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

Erin's Review:

When I read this for the first time a few years ago, I was not expecting to like it very much.  I mean, I know it's a classic and all, but to be honest, a lot of classics don't interest me even though I really, really, really want to like them.  The only reason I decided to pick it up was because the movie was coming out that year and I thought it'd be good to see what the book was like.  But OHHH MYYYYY, I was sooooooo surprised that I LOVED this book.  It's one of those books that sucks you in and you just can't put it down! I've never had that experience with a classic novel, so needless to say, I was really shocked by my own reaction to Jane Eyre.

I'll admit, a good chunk of the book (the beginning) is about Jane's childhood and her experience growing up at school and it can be a little bit dry.  I think that if this were to be published today, most of that section would probably have been cut.  In fact, I was talking about Jane Eyre with one of my friends and she found the beginning part really boring.  But, trust me, if you push through it, you get to the really good parts! And if you really want, I guess you could skip it, but I think it's still worthwhile to read because it does give a lot of background information about Jane and what's she gone through and overall gives you a better connection to her character.

I think what I love most about Jane is that you expect her to be really meek and timid and shy, but she is not.  She is really strong-willed, determined, smart, and brave.  And of course, I Love that Jane is incredibly sensible and sees things really clearly without any delusion and, if anything, she is self-deprecating and really honest with herself and her abilities.  I love that! I think it gives her dimension and it's something that people are able to relate to easily.

And Mr. Rochester. Woah! The romantic tension between these two characters is incredible!! Absolutely one of the best, which is one of the reasons why I was so captured by this book! It's the same feeling I get when I read any of Katie McGarry's book (I know, weird right? But it's true)!!  Just totally draws you in!! Sure, sure, it's a little weird that he's twenty years older than her, but I just remind myself that this was a different age and it still does happen nowadays.  But nevertheless, I love it!! The romance is soooo good and in many ways, breaks my heart because it's so beautiful! I know, weird way of putting it, but hey! It is what it is!! (haha, anyone else utterly obsessed with the new show Selfie????) :D

And, not really to do with the book but I just have to add...Has anyone seen that episode of Friends where Phoebe and Rachel take a literature class together??? Hilarious as always!!! But they do get to read Jane Eyre and have a really funny scene with it if you're interested!!!! :))))

Overall rating:

Jane Eyre is one of those books that I seriously CANNOT put down.  One of those books where you stay up all night reading.  I remember having a book hangover after reading this and then I immediately went on a Bronte Sisters binge and basically read almost all of their books (Although, I still maintain that Jane Eyre is the BEST!)  I also went to England this summer (don't know if I ever mentioned this???) and I got to see parts of a handwritten drat of Jane Eyre that Charlotte Bronte wrote!!! It was so amazing and was definitely one of the reasons that made me want to reread it again!!!

If you're not a big fan of classics, I would definitely suggest this one.  I'm not saying it'll be for everyone, but I definitely think it's worth a read!

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)