Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Letting by Cathrine Goldstein ~ Blog Tour: #Review & #Giveaway @cathrinegold

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

Title: The Letting
Publication date: December 15th 2014 
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Pages: 335
Genre: YA/NA 
Source: Copy for review


Purchase: Amazon

What if the Devil doesn't know he's the Devil?

This is the question Veronica "Ronnie" Billings poses to Phoenix, her sworn enemy, the leader of the Peaceful Revolution, and the one she loves.

Kidnapped by Phoenix's rebels, Ronnie learns how wrong she has been. She had no idea that her patriotism was wasted on a corrupt government. Ronnie was proud to be a Leader; taking hundreds of harvested girls to the Letting facility. After all, she was saving them from future Couplings and bringing them to the safety of the New World. Or so she thought...

Confused, Ronnie realizes the only way to discover the truth is to trust her heart. Together, Phoenix and Ronnie devise a plan to stop their corrupt government and preempt the dangerous rebel coup which is approaching. But when their plan goes awry, will Ronnie be strong enough to save Phoenix, her country, and herself?

How would it feel to find out that what you thought you were doing was patriotic and serving your country but was actually causing hundreds of deaths? This is exactly the predicament Veronica (Ronnie) finds herself in when she's caught by a group of rebels out in the woods, and her world has effectively been turned upside down. 

In The Letting, humans have gone nearly extinct after heavily relying on technology to do everything for them - so much so they've forgotten how to have human-to-human contact. One of the reasons this book was chilling to me was that we are very reliant on technology right now. I've heard many people say they'd rather deal with a machine than another human being, such as using a self checkout line at the grocery store rather than having a clerk check them out. So many times I've seen each member of my family sitting in the same room but each of us are staring at our individual cell phone or laptop screens.

I was dying to know what kind of process the Letting actually is especially once I realized what the names of the cabins refer to. You're kept in suspense for a while as to what it entails because Ronnie herself has been in the dark about it. I liked not knowing because it allowed my mind to run rampant with all kinds of horrifying possibilities, and when I found out what happens to the young girls after Ronnie has prepared them at camp - well, it's terrifying to think about.

The way Ronnie talks about these girls "paying their debt to society" by being part of the Letting makes it sound like they've done something wrong and are being punished. In our society, that's what we say about people serving time in prison, that they're paying their debt to society. So it gave me chills when she talked about the girls this way without realizing what was going to happen to them. 

Phoenix is the leader of the rebels who capture Ronnie in the woods, and he was a terrific character. I looked forward to seeing if the two of them were going to work together to bring down their corrupt government, and if they ended up working together, how they were going to do it and if they'd end up successful. 

On the other hand, I hated Gretchen, Ronnie's friend. I think she's a coward and probably one of the worst friends in the history of friends. I have a hard time reading about weak female characters, and she's definitely one of the weakest I've come across in a while. Ugh!   

The world Cathrine Goldstein has created in The Letting is terrifying because it's so realistic but also hopeful for the very same reason. Hope is something Ronnie struggles with as she comes to terms with how she's been used and how she plans to retaliate in order to save the lives she wasn't able to before. The Letting had me riveted, and I can't wait to find out what happens next.    

My Rating:

Given my love for cities and all that is gritty, my new obsession with trees really has me stumped. (Sorry.) Maybe it's because trees are the inspiration behind my new YA/NA novel, THE LETTING.

Whatever the reason for my new infatuation, some things remain constant - like my love for: coffee (although sadly, it's now decaf); yoga; Luna bars (I am petitioning for them to bring back Chocolate Raspberry!); running in my neighborhood; Hemingway; Bukowski...and, above all, my husband and my girls. 

I am the author of the bestselling novel, Sleeping With Mortals: The Story of a New York Mistress, and I'm also a playwright. I have my B.A. in English and my M.A. in Theatre. 

Blog Tour organized by:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ripped (REAL #5) by Katy Evans ~ Blog Tour: #Review

Happy Hump Day, lol. ;D I'm SO stoked to host a stop on the Ripped Blog Tour organized by AToMR Promotions!! Click here to follow along with the full tour schedule.

The fifth story in the new adult series that began with the New York Times bestseller REAL.   

Title: Ripped
Series: The REAL Series #5
Author: Katy Evans
Publication date: December 9th 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Genre: New Adult Contemporary  
Source: Copy for review

Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound  

Every woman wants me - except the one I sing for. 

Seattle shakes with anticipation: they call it the concert of the year. They say girls are getting pregnant just thinking about my band being in town. 

But when you love a girl, you don't leave her with nothing but a ring and a promise. Any man with half a brain should know.

So what did I expect my girl would do when she saw me again?

Well, for starters, she loathes our music. Particularly the song I wrote about her. 

When I sing it, the stadium is in an uproar. Thousands of fans scream my name like I'm a god - but yeah, not her. Crystal clear: the girl's not happy to see me.

Black hair, black boots, a bad attitude, that's her - Pandora Stone is a freaking man-eater and she's out for my blood. 

That's alright.

Let her come at me. Because I'm out for her heart and, this time, there's no way she can stop me. 

When I found out I was approved for a copy of Ripped to review, I jumped up and down from sheer excitement. This book couldn't come out soon enough with that cover! That synopsis! And you know what? Katy Evans delivered! 

Ripped is an apt title for this novel - that's exactly how I felt while reading, as though I was ripped in half. I felt Pandora's pain intensely with the hopes and dreams she had for a future with Kenna that never happened. I desperately wanted the walls she had built up to come tumbling down.  

I loved how Ripped began with a prank by Pandora and her friend - it drew me into the story quickly and made me laugh. It was the perfect way to begin Pandora and Kenna's story, especially with the complicated history they share, because a lot of emotional heaviness came my way not long afterward. 

This wasn't a bad thing at all - they had a secret and super hot relationship that ended badly. There was bound to be a lot of hurt and pain left over. Their lives at home as teens weren't filled with happy memories, and they were like life preservers for each other back in those days. I wanted them to become life preservers for each other again. 

When they come back into each other's lives, things quickly heat up. You could light up the entire state of California with the electricity between them - it's as though time has stood still and the last six years never happened. I'm pretty sure I spent much of the book blushing, hoping no one would notice! 

I haven't read the first four books in this series, but this story was easy to follow and can read as a standalone. I do want to read the other books in the series to get to know Pandora's friends better as their stories are told before hers. Ripped was a humorous, emotional, and sexy read that I didn't want to end.    

My Rating: 

Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love. They married and are now hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches "The End." Which is, hopefully, only the beginning...

Blog Tour organized by:

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Shadow of Loss by Josefina Gutierrez ~ Blog Tour: #Review & #Giveaway

Happy Monday! Welcome to my stop on The Shadow of Loss Blog Tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. Click here to follow along with the full tour schedule. 

Title: The Shadow of Loss
Publication date: August 31st 2014
Publisher: BookBaby
Genre: YA Coming of Age 
Source: Copy for review

Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Shop

Evelyn Gonzalez keeps losing people, which is always hard, but has she lost something much more? Has she lost her soul? Evelyn has a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized, after months of sorrow and pain she is thrust back into the world. The world of teenage angst and Calculus. 

Can she trust people again? Especially after hurtful assumptions and judgments made her miss her junior year of high school. Evelyn is just trying to heal what she lost and graduate from high school. 

Have you ever looked at a book and just knew you were going to love it, like you had a sixth sense kind of feeling about it? After you've read the synopsis and then once you've read the book, it was everything you dreamed of and more? The Shadow of Loss was like that for me. 

I can't resist books like this one where the main character has been to hell and back and must start life afresh, working through her pain and loss. Not only does The Shadow of Loss have an interesting plot, but it's also a multicultural story - Evelyn's mother is German and her father is Mexican. She has an older sister who shares the same parents. She talks about the way she's treated differently because her skin is darker than her sister's and how her sister was always seen as "the pretty one." She shares traditions her father passed down to her and her sister.    

In The Shadow of Loss, Evelyn feels like she's starting over again in a new town, a new school with new people after she's recently been institutionalized. She wonders how she's going to be able to adjust to life outside of those institutional walls. Evelyn is released to her older sister and moves in with her. 

After what's happened to her, she's understandably afraid to let anyone get close to her. I don't want to say much about what exactly she's been through since there isn't much about it in the synopsis - I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone. Suffice it to say, she's been to hell and back, but she's extremely tough, tougher than she gives herself credit for, and has the support to get through this time in her life.  

The Shadow of Loss is clever, the dialogue is realistic, and this novel will make you think about the characters and story long after the last page. It's the very best kind of YA coming-of-age story.   

My Rating:

Josefina Gutierrez is a Young Adult eBook author and a forever student currently working towards a Masters in Bicultural-Bilingual Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Josefina writes Young Adult Multicultural, Sci-fi, and Fantasy literature in her free time when she's not embarking on adventures with her son and gnomes Fitzgerald and Bartholomew. 

Blog Tour organized by:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Before the End by J.A. Pierre ~ Blog Tour: #Review

Happy Saturday! Welcome to my stop on the Before the End Blog Tour hosted by Reading! Click here to follow along with the full tour schedule! 

Title: Before the End
Series: An Island Romance #1 -3
Author: J.A. Pierre
Publication date: November 14th 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Copy for review

Purchase: Amazon 

Nyla was going to spend the summer in Trinidad. Then she'd be off to start her career in the windy city of Chicago. She just wanted to kick back on the beach and, with any luck, run into her first love. 

Liam wasn't a big believer in romance. He didn't anticipate falling for the American who walked into his garage. Things heat up on the island as opposites attract. But the sand in the hourglass is dwindling. 

Will Liam give Nyla a reason to stay?  

Each part of Before the End are about forty-five pages, and you'll want to have all three ready to read them back to back because parts one and two are MAJOR cliffhangers. I read Before the End in one sitting. It's a fast read, and I wish it had taken more time to allow development of the characters and plot. 

Part One introduces Nyla and Liam. Nyla goes to Trinidad where her family lives to spend her summer there before she moves to Chicago to start a new job. She meets Liam, a mechanic, when she needs her car fixed. The fireworks start flying for Liam first, and I really liked that. So many times in romances the girl is affected by the guy, and it was refreshing to see the situation reversed. They're good together - they give fresh perspectives on the world to each other, things they never thought about before. 

In Part Two, a former boyfriend comes back into Nyla's life, leaving Liam to question if he has a future with her or if she's thinking about restarting a relationship with the man who's reappeared. Nyla has difficulty resolving her old feelings for the former boyfriend and isn't sure if she wants to try things again with him or continue on with Liam. I felt like she wasn't really fair to Liam when she saw her ex-boyfriend without telling Liam. He found out of course, and it confused him even more. I didn't understand why she thought it was okay to do this while she's dating Liam. 

In Part Three, the final part of Before the End, Nyla and Liam come from different stations in life and find themselves dealing with this reality in deciding whether they have a future together. Nyla's family is judgmental and aren't sure about Liam's ability to give her the wealthy lifestyle she's accustomed to, but she's more worried about being happy. Then there's Nyla's ex, who just won't give up on the possibility of a relationship with her. She has a big decision to make - happiness with Liam or financial stability with her ex. And her ex has hurt her before with the possibility he could always do it again, so that's another factor she has to consider when making her decision. While I didn't completely connect with her character, I did want her to be happy and hoped she would make the decision that was right for her and not what these guys wanted or what her family wanted.    

There were two problems I have with this mini-series: character and plot development. Knowing ahead of time this is a short series, I understand there isn't a lot of time to get to know these characters and make the plot more intricate. 

I never connected with Nyla. She seemed spoiled to me and naive about the way the world really works. She's wealthy and doesn't realize not everyone has the same opportunities to get ahead in life. 

I actually liked Liam a lot. It was hard to believe he changed from someone who was a bit of a womanizer to someone ready to settle down with one woman, but it's wasn't completely out of the realm of possibility since he met a woman who changed his way of thinking and seeing the world. 

I didn't like Michael, Nyla's ex. He hurt her in the past and when he came back to Trinidad, he seemed full of himself and arrogant. He didn't seem like he really wanted to make Nyla happy. 

Then there's Nyla's parents. They're completely disconnected from the real world, especially Nyla's mom. Her dad had a warmer personality, and he seemed to be okay. Her mom on the other hand was judgmental and not a friendly person. 

Overall, I think if this book had been longer giving me more time to get to know the characters and developing the plot further, I would have given this four stars or perhaps even five. I liked reading about the cultural differences in this book and experiencing them through Nyla and her family. 

My Rating: 

J.A. Pierre is a romance author who grew up on the East Coast. Series by J.A. Pierre: The Rich Housewives of Bon Avenue and Before the End.

Blog Tour organized by:

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