Sunday, July 10, 2016

Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7) by Miranda Kenneally

Hello Everyone!

Another review for you!

This time of the newly released Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally!

From Goodreads:

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor's always  pushed herself to be perfect.  After all, that's what is expected of a senator's daughter.  But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for boyfriend-and Taylor's kicked out of private school.  Everything she's worked so hard for is gone, and now she's starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor's escape from the pressures of school and family, but it's hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival.  The only person who seems to understand all that she's going through is her older brother's best friend, Ezra.  Taylor's had a crush on him for as long as she can remember.  But it's hard to trust after having been betrayed.  Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

My Thoughts:

I love Miranda Kenneally's books!  They are seriously so cute!  Every time one comes out I order it immediately!  Defending Taylor came out last Tuesday, and while I forgot to preorder my copy, I did order it the day it was released, and thanks to Amazon prime got it by Thursday.

I am past those days where I can devour a book in one sitting, however, I did read it fast!  Especially for the fact, that in recent months it has taken me months to get through a single book!

Anyway, overall I truly enjoyed Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally!  While technically this book is a standalone, and can absolutely be read by itself, it is a part of the Hundred Oaks series.  It was a cute read that did a great job from getting me out of my head, and into one of my favorite places!  It was like a much needed vacation!

What I liked most about Taylor was that even though she was having a really hard time, I loved how confident she was and how for the most part she really stood for herself, especially around the mean-girl at her new school, Nicole.

Ezra, the love interest of the book, was interesting.  It surprised me that his secret would be such a big deal to his family, but I guess the world isn't always such an accepting place.

The character that randomly bothered me a bit was Taylor's mom.  I thought she was really judgmental and really wasn't there for Taylor when she really needed her.  And while at the end things look a little more up for Taylor, I still felt that Taylor's mom could have said something to her, like Taylor's dad did.

 Randomly I really liked Taylor's sister, Jenna.  Jenna, while having a forefront that was very mature and politically acceptable for the family, she also had her wild crass side that I really enjoyed, even though she only showed up a few times throughout the book.

This next thing has nothing to do with Miranda or her writing, it is more me talking about people in general: I know Taylor messed up big time, especially for the fact that Taylor's dad is being possibly reelected for Senator, but I just couldn't believe how unsupportive her family was!  They knew Taylor was in a bad place in her life and yet were not there for at all.  I get that they were disappointed in her, but that doesn't mean ignoring your child!

Overall rating:

I really did enjoy this one!  It was a great read to get me away from things happening in my life right now!  Just what I needed, and I really appreciated it!  I will say this though...the back of the book says that Defending Taylor is for ages 14 and up.  I personally don't agree with that.  There is some pretty strong sexual content (involving oral sex), and while things don't go into detail, it was HEAVILY implied.  I work with elementary school kids, and personally I think they know way too much than they should.  I believe a lot of that has to do obviously with the internet being so prominent (OMG I SOUND LIKE MY MOM!!!!!), but also because what the kids are surrounded by.  Books are one of those things.

While, yes I admit, I was pretty naive and innocent at the age of 14, I did not know about a lot of sexual acts, including female oral sex (I know, I know, but you aren't born with that knowledge!!!).  I just believe that if a parent were to go to the book store, find this book for their 14 year old daughter, thinking it was appropriate for a 14 year old, but not knowing there was oral sex in it, and other things, and they weren't okay with letting their daughter read that, then they would be mad.  Rightfully so!

So personally, I would put the age rating up to 16.  Which I know doesn't seem like all that much of a difference, but the maturity level between a 14 year old and a 16 year old can sometimes be pretty immense!  I may be overreacting, but I am just sad with how some of these kids are growing up knowing way too much way too early, and I'd like to keep their minds as innocent as long as possible.

However, I really did enjoy it!  It is a super cute easy read, for anyone looking for an escape!  I highly recommend it!

The Romance Bookie :)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Life, Book Blogging, and the Bad Rep it has Gotten (Random Post #15)

I realized something about myself the other day...I read when I'm sad, and going through a hard time. It's my out, when I want to get my mind off things, and just escape.

Now don't get me wrong, I DO LOVE TO READ!  Reading has helped me from hitting that low in life where you just want to give up completely.  It's always been there to cheer me up, at least somewhat, when things have gotten really tough!

But I noticed that I have always read when things were hard when I realized I had read two books in one week when I found out two loved ones in my life had passed away.

I haven't been able to read for months...heck almost a couple of years at this point!  I've been in a very happy place in my life, for the first time in...Ever.  I've always had an amazing family that was there for me, but something was always missing.  I felt really lonely for a long time, because I have always had trouble making friends who truly accept me for who I am.  But then I met Him.

I met Him (I won't be naming him on here) back in 2013.  Our relationship started off a little rocky, mainly because of some not-so-supportive friends, but also other things that I won't bring up on here, but over the course of six months turned into so much more.  It's been over three years now, and I am the happiest I have ever been.  He is the first person to truly accept me for who I am.  He makes me giddy, he makes smile every single day, and he is ALWAYS there for me, no matter what.

He was there for me a week ago when I found out some devastating news.  A VERY close family friend passed away.  I broke down when I found out.  It hurt to breath, I cried for well over an hour, before I was able to even move.  It's never easy losing anyone, obviously, but having that someone there who is there to just hold you, as you are rocking around manically trying to catch yourself, made all the difference for me.

It's been a tough week.  I've been trying to rack my brain around the fact that this person will never be  around again, at least in person.  I will never be able to hear his voice again, or his stories, or talk about how much he meant to my family.

When I was able to calm myself down enough, I did the first thing that popped to mine...I picked up a book.  I headed to my book shelf and picked out a book that I knew I would enjoy, and that would get my mind off everything going on around me.

After I finished that book within two days, I picked up another one (one that I had been reading for months now, but just hadn't had the head to finish, but finished it in an afternoon, even though I still had half of this book left).

As I was writing my reviews, I was also looking at my other posts and realized something...I read when I'm sad.

When I started The Romance Bookie, I felt lonely.  I didn't have any friends that wanted to talk about anything I was interested in.  So I read a lot.

In 2011, the first full year of The Romance Bookie, a lot happened in my life.  My grandmother passed away, my beloved dog passed, and on top of all that my parents were suffering from the aftermath with health problems of their own.  It was an AWFUL year, just one thing after another.  What made that year even more unbearable was just how alone I felt.

I read over 120 books in 2011.  That's ten books a month, and more than two books a week.  I was cranking through book after book, because it was one the thing that was giving me solace in a world where everything was falling apart.

2012 was a little better.  I started hanging out with some old friends from high school, and making new ones.  I still didn't feel 100% like a fit in, but it was great getting out, and I felt I was starting to belong at least a little bit.  I read quite a bit still that year, but not as much as 2011.

Midway through 2013 was when I met Him.  We met through friends and went on a few hiking dates before deciding to be exclusive, because we both weren't into the whole dating around thing.

Since then I've not only become a better person, but I've also found a place where I fit in.  It's like I have found a piece of me that was missing all along.  I know, I know cheesy, right?  But it's honestly the best way to explain it.

Since 2013, my reading has gone way down.  I read when I am absolutely bored out of my mind, and can't find anything else to do.  I've been on an adult coloring kick, so when I get tired of that I pick up whatever book I was last reading, and just read bits and bits, piece by piece, until I eventually finish it.  The only exceptions are books by my absolute favorite authors, because those I buy and devour immediately.

Which brings me to now...2016.

2016 has been both a super exciting year, but also a rather tough year once again.

I got to spend my first New Years living with Him.  We took a week off in January, and during that week got into a car accident, where a woman rammed into the passenger side I was sitting in.  Thank God we were fine.  The car had to be fixed, but besides that and being late for a dentist appointment we were heading to, we were thanking the stars for being ok.

A couple months went by.  And then April rolled around.  It was a Tuesday, and we were both excited for our weekend trip to get away.  We were headed to Santa Monica for the weekend to go to YALL West.  We both headed home in separate cars from my parents house, who live fairly close to our house.  I was about a minute behind, because I had had to do a K-Turn in my parents driveway, when I drove upon the unthinkable.  Him, pulled over on the side of the road, getting out of his car shaking and swerving until he sat down in the grass.  A good size, bigger car had pulled over as well, with the cars front end guts left behind in the middle of the street.  He was in shock of course.  We ended up having to call the ambulance.  I called my dad in a panic, who showed up immediately.  That meant the world to me.  He wanted me to take him to the ER, so I drove there, praying that I would get us there safely.  His shoulder was messed up.  He had rammed it into the side of the car, as the bigger car slammed into him, after running his stop sign.
The car needed a lot of fixing, but luckily it was fixed.  It's been months now, and we've been going to  the chiropractor, doctors appointments, and just anywhere he needed to go, to make it better.  It's been hard, but I've been there for him, just as I know he would always be there for me.

No matter how often I told him, Santa Monica wasn't a good idea, he insisted on going.  I had been looking forward to it for months.  I was finally going to meet one of my all time favorite authors, Simone Elkeles.  And so many others.  We went, I carried all the books that weekend, even though he tried, but I said NO!  He had to sit multiple times as I ran around from table to table trying to get all my copies signed.  He made sure I had a blast.  We got Boba drinks during the small amount of down times we got, and I made sure to get us back to the hotel by early evening, so we could calm down a bit, and order room service.

A couple of weeks after the accident, He proposed.  I said yes, of course.  The easiest question of my entire life.  Marrying my best friend???  Heck yes!!  This was the part that has made this year one of the most exciting of my life.

The next few months were spent with both of us working, and me driving him crazy with my school load.  He was there every step of the way, and encouraged me, and told me I could do it.  I did end up making it.  I finished my first year at university with straight A's both semesters.

Then it was birthday season.  The end of June and beginning of July are filled with birthdays in my family.  Unfortunately, last week is when things fell apart a little bit.

Our friend died.

That friend had been ill for a long time, but none the less, death is never an easy thing.

The day after was my birthday.  My mom took me shopping and to get our nails done.  It was a great way to get my mind off of things, but still not the best thing to have hanging on your shoulders, as you turn 25.

Tuesday was another sad day.  It was the memorial service of one of my dear friend's husband.  He came with me, and was by my side the entire time.  He didn't really know this friend, yet there was no doubt in his mind that he would be there for me during this time.

By then I had finished my second book already, in less than four days.

Two books in four days.  I hadn't done that in years.

Now I'm saying I only read when I'm sad.  But I read a lot when I'm sad.  I think deep down it is because books have always been the one constant in my life.  They have always been there to make me feel a little better.  They have always been my friends.  And while I know that that may sound pathetic, it is the truth.

The Romance Bookie has been the other constant in my life.

It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication to get it where it is today.  And while I know, it is a little run down at this point.  It is still a place I have to go when I want to get creative, and write to those that want to hear it, how the latest book I read was.

I started blogging five and a half years ago.  The Romance Bookie started off with nothing.  Literally. I had one follower for almost a year, and that one follower was me!  I did it for fun, and while yes I hoped others would read some of the stuff that I wrote, I mainly did it for myself.  It was a place to write, read, and get out in a virtual way.

Which is why it makes me sad how bad of a reputation the blogging world has gotten because of those few bloggers who don't appreciate anything, and have the wrong motives for blogging.

Doing this for free books shouldn't be the reason you blog.  It can be seen as an added perk to the job, but in reality this is a non-paying job that someone does for the pure love of it.  There cannot be motives for doing this, except that it makes you happy.

I read an incredible, yet devastatingly true post from, a fellow book blogger, and also an author.

Here is what the post looks like, via screenshot...

How sad is it that bloggers need to be embarrassed because of what other bloggers are doing??  Authors are not giving us the same respect anymore, because they have been burned so many times and publishers are being a lot more hesitant.  As they should be!!

But none the less, it saddens me to no end!

Besides the fact that I've been in a much better place in my life these past three years, I think deep down inside, a part of the reason I have slowed WAY down on the blogging is because I was tired of the hierarchy of it all.  No one is better than the other, just because they have more followers.  Most of the time, you know they got their followers that fast, because of the insane amount of giveaways they were holding at the beginning.  That isn't earning your followers!  That is buying them!  It shows that you are doing it to get some fame.  Not because you actually love what you are doing.

I stopped announcing I was a book blogger a while ago.  Especially at events.  Unless it comes up, I don't mention it at all anymore.  I used to proudly give out my business cards, not because I wanted free books, but because I genuinely wanted to meet people who I could discuss books with.  That was why I started The Romance Bookie!  I had friends who thought it was annoying anytime I brought up a book, even though that was my favorite thing to do.  They didn't accept me for who I am, so I wanted to meet people who would!  And while I have met some great people I have also met people like the crooked blogger mentioned in Parajunkee's post.  The one that will send friends from line to line, so they can cut in when they are done in their current line, to get every ARC possible, even though there are people who have waited in line patiently.  The ones who have received WAY more ARCs than anyone else, but yet complain when they didn't get that ONE that someone else got.

Oh what about the bloggers who get a bunch of followers at the beginning, and then turn their nose down when they don't recognize the name of your blog?!

Yeah I've met those people.  And yes it's made me question whether I really want to be in the book blogging community.

In the end, I don't blog for those people though.  I don't blog for anyone but myself anymore.  I do it because it's fun, I do it because I like to share the latest book I've read.  I do it because I am proud to be a reader.

The Romance Bookie :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Run by Kody Keplinger (ARC)

Hello Everyone!

I've got another review for y'all!

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an advanced copy of Run by Kody Keplinger when I went to YALL West in May, and have been reading it slowly over the past couple of months.  It was really good, but it was a book I needed to be in the mind set to read, so that's why it took me a while.  Plus a lot of things have been going on in my life lately, it's been both an exciting and yet very sad year so far.

But anyway, finally got it done!  So here's my review of Run by Kody Keplinger!

Note:  This is an ARC review!

From Goodreads:

Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who's not exactly sober most of the time.  Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn't care what anyone thinks.

Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents' overbearing rules.  Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter -- protect her from what, Agnes isn't quite sure.

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends.  And it's the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else.

So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, with police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn't hesitate to take off with her.  But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo's dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and -- worst of all -- confronting some ugly secrets.

My Thoughts:

Run was so much different than Kody Keplinger's other releases.  It didn't have much of the humor, and fun story line that Kody's other books have had.  However, that being said, it was still a really great book!  Instead of focusing on crushes, it focused on friendship.

It had a much more serious outlook on life, and while Kody's other books had serious topics within them, they were an addition to the storyline.  In Run, the seriousness is sort of made up the storyline.

If you're a fan of Kody, then I think you will still enjoy this story.  Just be prepared that it is much different than Kody's other releases.

Overall Rating:

Run by Kody Keplinger is definitely a good read!  It's realistic and deals with both an unusual friendships, but also a disability that is not featured in a lot of books...being blind.  Kody has been pretty up front for years now about her being blind, which is something I really admire about her...that and the fact that she is only (almost) 25, has 7 published books, and had her first book published at 18!  Impressive right??!!  It was really interesting reading from the point of view of someone who can't see the world in the traditional sense, that a lot of us take for granted.  

I recommend this one definitely!

The Romance Bookie :)

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fairest (#3.5 in the Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

Hey Everyone!

Got another review finally!  Getting out of this reading rut has been more difficult than anticipated, but I finally got my hands on a good one, and one that I've been dying to get my hands on since its release!

Fairest by Marissa Meyer, #3.5 in the Lunar Chronicles.  This is story about Queen Levana that fans have been waiting for since almost the beginning!

From Goodreads:

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana's story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her "glamour" to gain power.  But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived in a very different story -- a story that has never been told... until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death.  This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

My Thoughts:

I was so stoked when I saw that Amazon had the hardcover of Fairest on sale for a little under $9! (It's unfortunately gone up now, but still only $10.58, which is still cheaper than the $17.99 that it is regular price!).  I had just gotten an unexpected settlement from a couple of Amazon's publishers, so it was the perfect time to turn some of that returned money into a new book!

Anyway, I've been really wanting to read this one since its release in January 2015, because after hearing so much about Queen Levana in Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress's stories, I knew it was time to hear side of things.

While this story does not take place during the time that the other Lunar Chronicles take place, it was interesting hearing how Queen Levana grew up and how life events had certain effects on her that we later see in the other Lunar Chronicle novels.

I actually started Winter a few months, a little after receiving it for Christmas, but for some reason I felt I was missing something while I was reading it.  I don't know what it was, but I ended up stopping, and waiting until I had some time to really get into it.

In Fairest we get to see the background story of not only Queen Levana, but also a little more background on Cinder's life, and on Winter, book #4 in the Lunar Chronicles, which was released last Winter.  Plus some of the other characters featured throughout the series come in, like head Thaumaturge Sybil Mira, Jacin, Dr. Erland (which if you look closely and remember the books enough, you'll figure out who he is. Fairest he is introduced by his original name).


I loved it!!  It was like reading Wicked, and learning to somewhat understand why the antagonist became the way they did!  I will admit that I did not learn to like Queen Levana as much as I learned to love Elphaba in Wicked, but none the less I really enjoyed this storyline, and with Marissa's writing I was able to zoom through this enjoying every second!  I highly recommend this series!

The Romance Bookie :)