Not Enough by Mia Hoddell ~ Blog Tour: #BookReview @MiaHoddell

~Jennifer~ | 10:50 AM | | 2 Comments so far

Not Enough
by Mia Hoddell

Genre: Upper YA/NA Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 16th 2015

Pages: 324

Neve Colvin isn’t good enough. As an introvert, her life is a never-ending list of labels and criticism. Pressures to change come from everyone—including the one person she thought would love her unconditionally … her mother. All Neve wants is acceptance, but surrounded by extroverts it’s a wish that’s nearly impossible to fulfil.

For Neve there’s only one solution: anyone disapproving must go. Even if it means only one person will remain.

That person is her lifelong friend Blake Reynolds. He’s seen the fights with her mum, the breakdowns caused by attacks on her personality, and the battles for acceptance. Each time she is left shattered and questioning who she is, he’s the one to collect the pieces of her broken heart. Shielding her from the cruelty is his only concern. But how can he protect her when Neve is concealing a secret so dark?

Blake thinks he knows everything about her, and with their relationship developing, he assumes Neve trusts him fully. However, there is one memory Neve is too ashamed of to share. Revealing it will test Blake’s loyalty beyond what she could ever ask, and Blake is the only friend she can’t afford to lose. He’s the one person capable of dragging her from the darkness plaguing her, but with pressures to conform increasing, even Blake may not be enough to pull her back this time.


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It's taken me way too long to read a novel by Mia Hoddell! Her books have been on my TBR for a long time, and now that I've read Not Enough, I'm doubly excited to get started reading more of her work. 

Not Enough's synopsis called out to me - I'm an introvert and have felt the effects of others not understanding what that truly means, although not to the extent the main character, Neve, feels. I believe there's a spectrum when it comes to determining whether you're an introvert or an extrovert. Rather than someone being 100% introverted or 100% extroverted, we fall somewhere on the spectrum, with some of us closer to one end or the other while still others fall somewhere in the middle.  

I fall closer to the introvert end of the spectrum, but there are situations where I can identify with being an extrovert. If you want to get down to the nitty gritty in the case of Neve, her character is probably an extreme case of introversion. The way people in her life treated her was abysmal, especially her own mother. Thank God she had Blake, whom I'll get to in a moment.  

Cece is briefly introduced in the beginning, and wow, what a piece of work she is! Cece says things I would never say to someone who's supposedly my friend, and I couldn't understand why Neve bothered with her. Possibly low self esteem, which Neve definitely struggled with. Let me list the ways in which Cece is a TERRIBLE person! 

1. Encourages Neve to drink alcohol until she's trashed
2. Encourages Neve to pick a random guy for sex
3. Berates Neve when Neve doesn't do exactly what she wants her to do
4. Doesn't care about Neve's safety or well being AT ALL

I could go on. 

Cece does the opposite of slut shaming to Neve. I didn't know there was such a thing. And I couldn't believe when the words, "You should have wanted it. Everyone else would have," fell from Cece's lips. REALLY??? Wow...just wow... I probably would've decked her.

Even sadder? Neve's mom basically encourages those same things.  

The thing is, Neve envies people who can let loose and have fun, in a safe way of course. I envy those people, too. I'd love to go to a club and dance like no one's watching. That sounds like a lot of fun to me. Like Neve, I worry about being laughed at, which doesn't sound like a big deal even if it happened, but for people like me and Neve, it would crush us. It's a legitimate fear that causes her to freeze up.

Blake is the bright spot in Neve's life. Man, when I say he's there for her, he's REALLY there for her! We all need a little more Blake in our lives. The chapters alternate between Neve's POV and Blake's POV, and I really liked knowing what he was thinking. It helped flesh out his character and made him more realistic, plus I fell just a bit more in love with him hearing his thoughts and feelings.  

As for the huge secret Neve's been shouldering, I can understand why she wouldn't want to share that. People don't react well to something like that, especially if they've never been through it. There's a huge stigma, which is sad because then the people who need help don't always get it because their fears outweigh their hope. 

Not Enough is a well-told, heartbreaking story that delivers a punch to the gut and makes you fervently wish for Neve's hope to outweigh her. You'll root for Blake and Neve to see what they have in each other and that the beauty of their friendship could bloom into so much more.           

What reviewers are saying:

"From the dedication at the beginning up to the end this was both a thought provoking and an emotional read for me and I loved it!" 
- Sandra @ JeanzBookReadNReview

"This story tugged at my heartstrings, played on my every emotion. It was a beautifully written story of how an introverted young girl blossoms into a beautiful young woman." 
- Keren Hughes, Author of Nothing Like The First Time

"A heartbreaking read that sometimes had me close to tears." 
- Susan @ Ladies Living in Bookland

"Heartbreaking. Powerful. Real ... I literally lived the pages, not read them ... It's so well and beautifully written, it is more than just another YA novel." 
- Cristina @ Crazy Beautiful 


 “What are you doing?” I manage to get out around my laughs. She tenses at my words and then tilts her head back to fix me with a glare, her eyes blazing with irritation.
“I’m sleeping in the bath like I said I would. Why, what did you think I was doing? Teaching myself to swim?”
“I know what you’re doing. I think that’s obvious. What I meant was why are you doing this?” I step into the room and move in front of her so she doesn’t have to crane her neck to see me.
“You know why.”
“You’re not sleeping in here, Stripes.”
“Watch me.”
I cross my arms. There’s no way I’m going back to bed and allowing her to sleep in a bath. The only problem is that it’s hard to maintain a frustrated expression when everything about the situation is so damn funny. “Be back in a second.”
She mumbles something that sounds like “I’m not going anywhere” to my back as I rush out of the bathroom. Rummaging in my drawer, I find what I’m looking for then I’m back in the room with Neve in seconds.
Before she can react, I have a camera in front of me.
“Smile,” I tease, only it causes her glower to darken. Three lines appear on her forehead as her face screws up.
“Delete that now.”
“Nope. Get out of the bath and I might let you.”
“I’m not getting out. I told you I’m sleeping here.”
“Why all the drama? We’ve slept in the same bed for ages now. It’s not a big deal.” She rolls over, showing me her back, and ignores me. “Stripes, get out of the bath.”
“Night, Blake.”
If she thinks I’m going to give up that easy, she’s got another surprise coming. She should know by now that I don’t give up and people don’t say no to me. I put the camera on the counter by the sink, needing both of my hands.
Carefully, so as not to reveal my intentions, I lean over the bath and line up my hands. With one swift motion, I grip her tightly, heaving her out of the tub and throwing her over my shoulder as she screams, “Put me down, Blake!”
“I told you, you’re not sleeping in a bath. Now shut up and stop hitting my back.” My light and jovial words only serve to make her flail around even more. I manage to pin her legs, but I’m powerless to do anything to stop her hands pounding against my back. It’s not enough to hurt, that’s not her intention, but the squirming is becoming increasingly frustrating.
When I reach the bed, I drag her back over my shoulder and dump her on the mattress. She bounces, not able to hide the laughter on her face while she stares at me and hiccups. This is how I like to see her, carefree and happy. It’s rare nowadays that I catch a glimpse of Neve when she’s truly happy, but in this moment there isn’t a strained muscle in her body. It’s natural, and I can’t stop myself from watching her. I’m still amazed that I’m the one who can bring out her joy and it baffles me that she’s allowed herself to be mine.
We remain gazing at each other with ridiculous grins for a minute. When I’m sure she isn’t going to run, I move around to my of the bed side. Her head follows me, and when I go to climb in beside her, she rolls over. She throws her arms and legs out wide, taking up the entire mattress.
You’re in the bath then.” She points at the door with the hand furthest away from me, a devilish twinkle in her eyes. It takes me a while to respond. The sight of her body stretched out in her skimpy pyjamas makes my throat dry, and I have to consciously remind myself to swallow. My gaze focuses on her pale skin, which is exposed by her shirt riding up and the top of her shorts lowering as a result of her actions.
“I don’t think so.” My voice comes out more breathless than I expect as I watch her spread out in front of me.
“Well, you’re not sleeping in here with me.”
“My bed, my rules.” I place one knee on the mattress and climb on. My arms support most of my weight so my body is directly above hers. “So, I can either sleep on the left … or on top of you.” My voice drops into a murmur and she gulps, her lips parting as I hover over her. “Take your pick, Stripes.” 


About the Author

#1 Amazon bestselling author Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading, loves anything romantic, and has an overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of the morning.

Mia has written over ten titles including her Seasons of Change series, the Chequered Flag series, the Elemental Killers series, and her standalone novels False Finder and Not Enough.

Her favourite genres are contemporary romance or romantic suspense, and with an ever growing list of ideas she is trying to keep up with the speed at which her imagination generates them. She also designs book covers on her website M Designs.

You can follow Mia on:

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Into Darkness by Hayley Barrett ~ Blog Tour: #BookReview & #Giveaway @Hayley__Barrett

Welcome to my stop on the Into Darkness Blog Tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours! Click here to follow along with the full tour schedule.


Into Darkness 
by Hayley Barrett 
Release Date: 08/17/15
Double Dragon Publishing

Source: Copy for review

Purchase: Amazon | Kobo | iBooks  


Fifteen-year-old Alexandra Spencer’s life was not supposed to turn out this way. She was not supposed to go on trial for a crime she did not commit. She was not supposed to be found guilty. And she was not supposed to be sent to Elder Grey Detention Centre, a place of horrors many don’t survive.

She is however, supposed to be the daughter of the wealthiest, most influential man in the post-apocalyptic New Zealand city of New Phoenix.

But apparently, she isn’t.

Shell-shocked and struggling to understand why she is no longer a member of the city’s ruling family, Alexandra is torn from her privileged life by the churlish young guard, Will Metcalfe, and forced to trek for three weeks through deadly wilderness to her place of imprisonment. Her journey with Will is a constant battle for survival, where she is never sure who is the real enemy. It is also journey into the truth about the safe and lavish world from which she has been cast.

Through Will, she learns of a mutant race called Drifters living in the wilderness who are being preyed upon by New Phoenix’s guards—Drifter’s blood being a life saving cure-all elixir for the city’s inhabitants.

As Alex struggles to cope with her new life in Elder Grey, an act of friendship ends in tragedy. When someone she thought was an enemy pulls her from her despair, Alex discovers that old friends cannot be trusted, prejudice is another word for fear, and trust, not blood ties, make a family.

INTO DARKNESS, just by its title, had me itching to read it. Plus, I liked that the book is a dystopian novel that takes place in New Zealand. INTO DARKNESS also sounded like it would give the genre a new twist. 
I liked the main characters Alexandra (Alex) and Will. Though Alex is naive and snobby, I felt that was a result of her upbringing and hoped her experiences trekking through the wilderness and being at Elder Grey would open her eyes to the way the world really is. I could see this was a perfect opportunity for her to really do some growing up, and I wasn't wrong. I also kept in mind she's only fifteen. That's super young to be sent to what basically amounts to be a prison.  

At first I thought Will was going to be an angry character for the entirety of the book, but that wasn't the case. Whew! He's a realistic guy in my opinion, and there are a lot of things I liked about him. He's brave and honorable, and he's genuinely charming. All charm with no smarm. Ha!   

INTO DARKNESS would have earned another star from me if there had been more background given. There are snippets of Alex's past, but it seemed like there was more of a focus on Will's past. Don't get me wrong, I was interested in him, too, but I wanted to find out more about Alex. What I did find out explained some things, but I wanted more, which is a good thing.  

I also wanted to know more about New Phoenix, and the Drifters were a bit confusing. Parts of INTO DARKNESS were slow, but then a new character was introduced, and my interest picked up again.  

If there's going to be a sequel to INTO DARKNESS, then I'm definitely going to read it. I think this story has a lot of potential, and I'd love to see where the author takes it.  

About the Author

Hayley Barrett began writing in the aftermath of the devastating Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 as a way of escaping from the ongoing terror of the natural disaster. Not totally happy with her efforts, in 2012 she commenced a novel writing course. Into Darkness, her first novel, is the result of the course and two years hard work.

Hayley lives in Rolleston, ten minutes south of Christchurch, New Zealand, with her husband and three children. When she isn’t driving her kids to their sports practices, games and other after school activities, she enjoys playing squash, relaxing in the sun and reading. Most days she wishes there were more hours available to spend writing.

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My Buddhist Christmas by Jeremy Phillips ~ Blog Tour: #BookReview + #Giveaway @Jphillips2323

Hey Donnie Darlings! Welcome to my stop on the My Buddhist Christmas Blog Tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. Click here to follow along with the full schedule. 

My Buddhist Christmas
Release Date: 9/8/15

Source: Copy for review

Purchase: Amazon | B&N 


It's not surprising that sixteen year old Chris Jones has no idea where he fits in...

After all, he's a Buddhist kid in America - during the Christmas season. Add in the fact he plays guitar in a punk rock band called The Dharma Bhumz, and his life is one giant paradox. Caught between the principles of his religion and the influence of his hard-partying bandmates, Chris is in a constant struggle for balance. 

An upcoming talent show is his chance to shine - fail spectacularly...

It's already hard enough preparing for the show, since his friends are more interested in getting high than practicing. And now Chris has to worry about impressing pretty Mary Simpson. To make matters even worse, Mary's parents are fundamentalist Christians, a few steps above his family on the social ladder, and they firmly believe Chris isn't good enough for their precious daughter. 

Conflicted about his friends, lying to his family, and still mourning a devastating loss, Chris wonders if being an American Buddhist guitar wizard wanna-be is worth it. 

Or does any of it even matter anymore?     

I've been fascinated by Buddhism as soon as we learned about the religion in high school. I took a few classes on it in college, and I don't think I've come across a book where the main character is Buddhist, so I jumped at the chance to read MY BUDDHIST CHRISTMAS. I really wanted to see what it would be like around Christmastime for someone who isn't Christian. 

Most of my family are Christian. We celebrate Christmas with all of the traditions that go along with it. While I've tried to imagine how people of the Jewish or Islamic faiths must feel living in the U.S. around Christmastime, I've never thought about Buddhists, so this book called to me, begging to be read! 

There aren't too many young adult novels with a male lead character, especially one with a good head on his shoulders like Chris. He's so likable, and I could relate with him in some ways - feeling like you're too uptight and missing out on fun when what your friends are doing doesn't feel quite right to you, wanting to do something you love to do, and just navigating through the pressures of being a teenager and a high school student. And his loss...I could identify with his grief. 

I felt protective of him, especially when the parents of the girl he likes didn't think he was good enough for her. I did think Mary invited him a bit soon to meet her parents, though. I mean, they hang out one time after school, and then she invites him to a pre-Christmas dinner the next week to meet them! I don't think I would have said no either if it was someone I had a crush on...I'm pretty bad at saying no...but with Christmas coming up, I thought it was pretty brave of Chris to take that challenge on. That's another reason I felt so protective of him. 

And wow, Chris's band mates annoyed me. I couldn't believe how they kept putting off practicing their music. Surely there had to be some better girls or guys to be in the talent show with?? They seemed to know nothing about Chris, nor did they try to know anything him. Yep, I was definitely feeling protective of Chris.    

MY BUDDHIST CHRISTMAS does an excellent job of showing what it's like to be Buddhist, better than any textbook I've ever read or could ever hope to read. That's exactly what I was looking for when I dove into Chris's story. Though it isn't quite Halloween yet, it was a perfect book to get a head start on some holiday reading. I love reading books that take place around Christmas, and I love learning about Buddhism, so it was a win-win for me. You won't learn the entire religion in one book, but you'll be able to understand it in a practical way of what it might be like to live day to day as a Buddhist. Five stars for MY BUDDHIST CHRISTMAS all the way! :D  

About the Author

My first novel will be available on September 8th, 2015. It's a Young Adult fiction story called: My Buddhist Christmas. 

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Four by Zack Scott ~ Blog Tour: #BookReview & #Giveaway

Hello there, Donnie Darlings! Welcome to my stop on the Four blog tour hosted by CBB Book Promotions! Click here to follow along with the full schedule. 

(Their Dead Lives #1)
by Zack Scott
Publication date: 06/28/11  

Source: Copy for review

Purchase: Amazon 


A tragic past. A destined reunion. A decaying hope. 

In Southern California, four friends must face a haunting nightmare from high school in order to save the future of humanity. But will their personal conflicts get in the way? Battling for survival, these fated four will choose whether to follow a destined path or continue their dead lives, while the zombie apocalypse feeds them one cliche after another. 

"We leave as four."

FOUR is a zombie story to be devoured, heh heh. But seriously, this was a great zombie read with well developed characters and a well written plot. There's even something extra thrown in supernatural-wise besides the zombies, which had me turning the pages to find out what it was because it isn't revealed for quite a while.   

The four main characters - Jeff, Scot, Alec, and Kale - are friends from high school who are like the four Musketeers, but they've had drama where two of them hate each other and they all four generally drifted apart after high school. They organize a reunion of sorts, and pretty soon everything goes to hell. Literally.    

Scot's a player. He has a sort-of girlfriend, and I say sort of because he cheats on her, constantly. He's a douche, but I didn't totally hate him. I disliked him greatly, lol.    

Alec is sweet and ready to settle down with his high school sweetheart. He's having trouble with his dream of becoming a firefighter. I liked him quite a bit. He seems to make solid decisions and be a caring person. 

Jeff was transferred from the regular military to a special military that's kept quiet from the public. He got into great shape after high school after spending that time wishing he was stronger. 

Kale doesn't seem to have grown up much after high school. He has a roommate, and they play video games a lot. He's pretty gung ho about being a hero and won't let the other guys forget about the mysterious event that happened when they were younger, and I was glad for that. I HAD to find out what happened and what it meant for them in the present time.  

Watching these guys try to put the pieces of their friendship back together was riveting. There was a lot of baggage there they could either work through or choose not to. The characters were well written, the plot well developed, and the action with touches of romance was balanced well.  

Something happened when they were in high school, and there were hints here and there that it was a supernatural occurrence of some kind and what it was could help in the zombie apocalypse. I was DYING to know what it was and couldn't wait to find out.  

Oh, and of course the zombies! The zombies were scary AF. Some were super fast, others were slow, and you basically didn't stand much of a chance against them. The totally, totally skin crawling, shiver inducing, look-under-your-bed-before-sleeping kind of zombies. Ah, George Romero would be so proud!

If you're a zombie/horror fan, you really need to snag a copy of FOUR. I would NOT steer you wrong! Plus, I'm picking up the second installment asap. :D    

About the Author

Zack Scott is the author of THEIR DEADS LIVES, ONE PISSED OFF SHARK, and several short stories he wrote for the 2013 Flash Fiction Challenge, where he made it to the final round.

Although he's visited many areas in the world, Zack has lived in Southern California most of his life. He grew up in Los Angeles, attended undergrad at CSUCI in Ventura County, and completed law school down in sunny San Diego. 

More recently, he was living the startup life in Silicon Valley with the 500 Startups accelerator program. He is licensed to practice law in California, but more importantly he likes to hang his pants on his desk chair rather than his closet. When he's not writing stories, Zack can be found in a never-ending wrestling match with his dog Leo or cooking pasta while wearing a Chargers apron. 

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