Monday, April 23, 2012

ARC REVIEW: The Summer My Life Began

Title: The Summer My Life Began
Author: Shannon Greenland
Release Date: May 10, 2012
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Publisher: Speak (Penguin group)
Format: e-book
# of pages: n/a
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: 24 Hour Readathon
(from Netgalley)

This is what seventeen-year-old Em gets when she goes to spend a month at her aunt’s island resort. It’s a dream come true—and exactly the break Em needed from her strict family and their high expectations of her. But when Em uncovers a long-buried secret about her family, everything changes. And suddenly, Em finds herself making some big choices about her future—choices she never dreamed she’d have the chance to make . . .
The Summer My Life Began is a cute, fast read.  Perfect for the beach!  Really, there isn't too much depth in this one.  A lot of it is quite predictable, like the thing at the end with the paintings.  But I was a little caught off guard with the family secret.  I was thinking too much and thought of several of other possibilities...So that was a surprise!

This story was basically about our narrator, Em, finding herself, or at least realizing that she doesn't want to follow the plan that has been set out for her her whole life.  And also about her finding out the family secret, I guess.  I mean, I enjoyed reading about her time at The Pepper House and her enthusiasm for cooking, it just felt quite rushed.  And because of that, we didn't get to totally see the depths of our characters and their emotions.  Also, there were quite a few characters that were thrown in there that I thought would mean something,  but they didn't really add to the story.  Like Jeremy.  That little storyline was kinda pointless to me...I know he was supposed to be a part of the love triangle, but that didn't really work since she hardly showed any interest in him after that first meeting.  So, it didn't add anything to the story for me.

And that leads to my issue with the main relationship that we all see coming from the beginning.  I felt no chemistry between her and Cade at all.  They had a rocky start and hardly talked in the beginning.  After they started kind of having friendly conversations, she picked an argument with him really for no reason, and then mooned after him when he didn't speak to her for a week afterwards.  A few kisses and everything was better.  To me, their relationship was purely physical.  I have no idea where the emotional connection came from...since there was a lot of telling, but not much showing.  And this "telling, but not showing" thing was a major thing in the story that kept me from connecting with the characters, so I was just pretty whatevs towards them.

Anyway, the setting sounded absolutely gorgeous and like somewhere I'd love to vacation at.  I think B&B's are cute, even though I've never been to one, and The Pepper House sounded like a great place!  The only thing I found odd was that Tilly would leave her door open while she wasn't in her room, and was out and about working.  For some reason, I thought she would maybe lock it for privacy...?  But again, I've never been to a B&B, so maybe it's common.  And also, maybe it's different in the laid back Outer Banks, where they don't have to worry about that stuff?  I mean, that didn't affect the enjoyment in reading this.  I just found it curious.

So overall, this book was nice.  It's a great read for a lazy day, when you don't want to think too much.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: The End!

I really wanted to try and make it to the end, but at 3:30 AM, I am beginning to crash.  This has been fun, even though I did take time to get settled.  In the end, I did finish up a book!  And started several other ones...before settling into the book that I got done, haha.  This was great fun, reading and participating.  I didn't get to visit much though. :(  I am going to try and get around to a bunch of the participating blogs tomorrow.  The Readathon will be over, but it'll still be fun to peek in on other blogs. :)

And I've learned for next time...I really need a set plan, haha.  So, see you at the next one!  Good night!


  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
    I'm not sure the exact hour, but I think probably the hours when I couldn't get situated...where I kept getting distracted by other things not related to the Readathon.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
    I didn't read this during the Readathon, but really liked them when I did read them, so: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, and manga.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
    Not really.  It was my first time, and it was a great experience.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
    I really liked the variety of mini-challenges.
  5. How many books did you read?
    Only finished 1, but I had started on 3.
  6. What were the names of the books you read?
    The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland, Entwined by Heather Dixon, and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?
    Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.  It's one of my top favorites. <3
  8. Which did you enjoy least?
    I didn't get too far into Entwined to form an opinion, and The Summer My Life Began was okay.  So I guess I'd say I'm neutral, haha.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
    Wasn't a Cheerleader this time around...
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
    I'm very likely to participate again!  Maybe I'll be a Cheerleader next time around, too. :]

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: Checking In w/ Hour 16's Challenge!

So we're in HOUR 17 now, and I thought I'd check in.  I haven't finished a book yet, as I keep going from book to book.  This experience has taught me that I have a short attention  Well, I was reading Entwined and it started off quite slow, so I kept losing interest...and this sounds like the start of a I'll save that for later.  Anyway!

I'm also here to post my challenge entry for HOUR 16's mini-challenge: Rereading.  I have 4 books from Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series (though I love them all) and 1 from Lisa Kleypas' Wallflowers series that I can reread over and over again and they make me sigh with happiness.  These are:

Ta-ta for now!  See you in another few hours.  Hopefully I'll have a book done by then. ;P

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: Starting Line...?

Soooo, this post is a bit late...because I woke up late...because I like sleep too much to wake up at 5 AM, which is when the Readathon started on my side of the world (Pacific coast).  So I ended up waking up at 10 AM instead, and then I got distracted and started reading a book that wasn't on my Readathon pile, lol.  But anyway, now I'm reading Entwined, which is on my Readathon pile.  So I'm kind of on track now, and I thought I'd do a blog post to just say "hey!"

I've also done the introduction from Hour 1:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Los Angeles, CA. Bright and sunny today!
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Entwined! The cover looks so pretty, and story sounds interesting.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Brownies…Mmm, yum.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! Besides being a book geek, I loooove makeup, especially nail polish. I have an ever-growing collection of nail polish, and I love them all!
 5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? It’s my first one and I’m looking forward to everything!

I'll probably post every now and then, participating in challenges, and also stopping by at other participants.  See you around!  Happy reading! :]


Friday, April 20, 2012

April 2012 Readathon Pile!

The Readathon is just hours away!  Here's my book pile for it:

I think this is quite ambitious, for a 24 hour period, but hopefully I'll be able to get to all of them! :]

My plan is to wake up by 5 AM, since that's when it starts for me, here in LA (let's see if I actually wake up, lol).  And then read continuously through they day, with a few breaks in between for, you know, eating and just so I don't go cross-eyed. :P

BTW, I got rid of Disqus.  It was just not working properly, with comments showing up only sometimes.  So back to regular blogger comments.  But that's okay, because blogger let's you reply now!  Am I the last one to know that blogger added that? lol

Thursday, April 19, 2012

REVIEW: Bumped

Title: Bumped
Author: Megan McCafferty
Series: Bumped
Genre: YA
Publisher: Balzar + Bray, HarperCollins
Format: Kindle e-book
# of pages: 324
Source: bought from Amazon
Challenge: Read the Month (April)

(from Amazon)

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.
This book totally sucked me in!  Okay, so I was pretty confused in the beginning, with all the slang, and just a bit frustrated, but in the end I couldn't put it down.  But let's start from the beginning...

When we begin the story, we are thrust right into our characters' lives.  Harmony, the religious twin, has come to the Otherside to "save" and "witness" her long lost twin Melody.  They live in a world where a virus has made almost everyone over the age of 18 infertile, so teenagers have become hot commodities, especially if you have excellent genes like Melody (and Harmony).  Surrogacy has been glorified and turned into a profession, with couples offering full college tuition, cars, and even liposuction to land a surrogacy contract.  Melody has one such contract and is just waiting for her RePro Rep to pair her up with the best of the best Sperm (a.k.a. a RePro).  Harmony obviously does not think this is okay, and decides to hijack Melody's life after she is mistaken for her.  But then she ends up falling for Melody's RePro, Jondoe.

I especially liked Melody's voice and character.  Melody is strong, beautiful, intelligent, and athletic, and is beginning to feel like she doesn't want to be the Surrogate that she was raised to be.  She doesn't have any enthusiasm for it, and what happened with her best friend Malia before, and what happened to her best friend Shoko this time around didn't help the matter.  Another best friend that didn't help boost her enthusiasm much?  Zen, who I also liked.  Though we don't ever get to hear his point of view, we learn enough through his interactions with both Melody and Harmony.  He isn't "reproaesthetical" due to being only 5' 7.5" even though he has all the other qualities.  He's smart and good looking, and also beginning to question what the world is turning into with Surrogacy becoming ever more popular.  And according to Melody, everyone likes him, and she's pretty much right...can't help but like Zen!  And then there's Harmony.  I don't know why, but I didn't like Harmony much.  She's written by the same author, and yet, I didn't like Harmony's character and was not pulled in by her voice quite as well as I was with Melody.  I didn't really care about her story, unless it related to Melody's story (like when Harmony stole Melody's "RePro" Jondoe).  Actually, she was kind of annoying.  Jondoe was not much better.

As for the story...I'm not one to actually analyze a book for it's underlying meanings, but this book is pretty obvious with the issues.  I mean, I think it's pretty obvious that it's a satire dealing with the sensitive issues of teen pregnancy and religion.  But I feel like it also deals with ever evolving technology creating a more big brother like presence, with people needing know everybody else's business ASAP. (Reminds me of that 4G commercial..."That was so 5 seconds ago...")  Overall, I think this is a topic that hasn't really been touched in this way before, so I found it interesting.  I feel like Megan McCafferty wrote it well.  I didn't always like reading what was written, mostly during Harmony's parts, but it was an interesting, easy read, and I recommend it!

Moments I Loved: Melody and Zen in the treehouse at the library.  I really hope they end up together in the sequel!!

WTF Moments: Most of Harmony's scenes.  Honestly, at times, I really thought she was certifiable.

Plot - ★★★★
Characters - ★★★★
Ending - ★★★★

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (02)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

For me, this week, the book is Thumped by Megan McCafferty which is due to be released on April 24, 2012.  I just finished reading Bumped today (reviewing coming soon ;]), and I can't wait to find out what happens next!  I'm very curious (anxious?) to find out if Melody got pregnant by Jondoe or Zen, or even if her pregnancy is real or just a "FunBump" meant to fool the public!

from GoodReads:
It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

Tell the truth.
What are you waiting on?

Monday, April 16, 2012

REVIEW: A Callahan Wedding

Title: A Callahan Wedding
Author: Tina Leonard
Series: Callahan Cowboys
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Harlequin American Romance
Format: ebook
# of pages: n/a
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Read the Month (April)

Sabrina McKinley broke Jonas's heart when she left him for another man. Then the eldest Callahan brother gets the surprise of his life when he sees her again…holding his son. Even at six months, his bouncing baby boy was wearing the legendary Callahan smile!

Which means Sabrina has got to marry him, even if Jonas has to drag her to the altar.

Sabrina's been head over heels for the hunky cowboy doctor since the day she first came to Rancho Diablo; it's always been Jonas keeping her at arm's length. She won't settle for anything less than the real deal—the love and happiness that Jonas's five brothers have found.

But when a revelation about a family secret comes out, Sabrina can see Jonas is ready to look toward the future. He won't be the last bachelor on the ranch. After all, he's a Callahan!
This is the sixth book in Tina Leonard's Callahan Cowboys series.  I haven't read the previous books in the series, so it affected my reading and enjoyment a bit, since there are quite a few references to the other books.  I was left with some questions because of that, so I recommend reading the previous books before reading this one.

The main story is, of course, Jonas trying to win Sabrina back.  All of a sudden, he's accepted that Sabrina's son was his, so he had to marry her.  Unfortunately, I was not a big fan of Jonas from the start and that didn't change too much throughout the story.  I understand that he needs to be macho, but as Sabrina said, most of his proposals (if you could call them that) were chauvinistic.  He didn't ask her to marry him, he told her she needed to!  Also, I didn't get too much chemistry from Jonas and Sabrina together.  Maybe that's because I haven't read the previous books, since they got together before in a kind of "friends with benefits" type thing.  But there was a big lack of romance in their relationship in this book.  He didn't even tell her he loved her until the end!  He would tell himself, sure, but never mentioned that to her, so of course she wouldn't know how he felt!

There was also the added mystery of the family secret.  A man is hanging around the Callahan property trying to find out if any of the Callahans know the secret.  He was caught before, in one of the previous books, but was released and is on the prowl again.  The ending of this books makes it seem like it's probably not the last time you'll see him, so I imagine there'll be another book in this series.

Overall, the plot was okay and most of the characters were likable enough.  I would recommend this book if you're looking for an easy read about a cowboy romance in a small town.  But remember, read the previous books in the series first!  I think it'll help your enjoyment of this one...

Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★★★
Ending: ★★★

Friday, April 13, 2012

REVIEW: Wicked Weekend

Title:  Wicked Weekend
Author: Gillian Archer
Series: Pleasure Code
Genre: Romance, Erotica
Publisher: Carina Press
Format: ebook
# of pages: n/a
Source: NetGalley
Challenge: n/a
(from NetGalley)

Why did Lauren Vaughn introduce her sister to the man she herself was crazy about? Now Lauren is watching the happy couple at their combined bachelor/bachelorette party-while Lauren sits all alone at the bar. Until she spots a hot stranger with the telltale black handkerchief in his pocket: the signal for "seeks no-strings affair with sexy submissive." Lauren can't take her eyes off him. So when he comes over, she kicks her inner good girl to the curb and follows Jamie Forman to his room, where he makes her scream with pleasure all night long.

But Jamie is a complicated man. He can't handle how desperately he wants her in his bed-and his life. It's up to Lauren to teach him how to make all night last forever.
Wicked Weekend is a short novella about Lauren Vaughn's fantasy of BDSM and the man she meets who helps fulfill it.  Lauren sees herself as too curvy and always lost in her little sister's shadow.  When the story starts, we find her at her sister's bachelorette party, as her sister prepares to marry the man Lauren has had a crush on forever.  Needing escape, she ends up at the bar of the restaurant, where she spots Jamie and the handkerchief hanging out of his pocket.  She lingers on it, but doesn't make a move and doesn't think anything will come of it, until Jamie approaches her.  What happens next is the best night of her life!  Her introduction to BDSM leaves her wanting more...and more of Jamie.  She can't stop thinking about him now, and accepts his offer for another night.  But this time, it doesn't go as Jamie's history comes back to haunt him and taint the experience.

Both Lauren and Jamie were easily likable, as well as Sawyer, Jamie's friend and Lauren's idol in the BDSM world.  Lauren has issues with self confidence, and seems to find an inner strength through her encounter with Jamie.  And Jamie has issues with relationships, due to his family history.  Both don't count on the heat and reaction to each other turning into wanting something more than just a sexual fling.  Jamie can't deal with it at first, and it affects their second sexual encounter leading to some misunderstandings.  Also, though their relationship was purely sexual and they hadn't talked enough to have a deep relationship, I was rooting for them.

Another interesting aspect was the flagging system.  I haven't researched BDSM or anything, so I'm not sure if that's a common aspect of it, but I found it interesting.  I hope it's explained more in future installments of this series.  I'm interested in what all the different colors mean, since Sawyer was mentioned as having a gray hanging out.  I don't know if I missed it, but I don't think it was explained what exactly that meant and I want to know! Haha...

This was a fast read, and I enjoyed it.  It has several sexual scenes that are graphic, but not to an extreme, so be aware of that.  I recommend it if you're open to the idea of BDSM and looking for a quick, hot read.

Plot - ★★★
Characters - ★★★★
Ending - ★★★★
Overall - ★★★★

Monday, April 2, 2012

Read the Month: mi A-I-B-R-E-A-N (Irish Edtion)

Read the Month Irish Edition 
mi A-I-B-R-E-A-N (April) 
Duration: April 1, 2012 - April 30, 2012

Completed: 2/7

A Callahan Wedding by Tina Leonard 04/11/12
Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra
Bumped by Megan McCafferty 04/18/12
Rules of the Game by Elaine Raco Chase
Entwined by Heather Dixon
A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
Not Just Friends by Kate Hoffmann

Bloggiesta and March Wrap Up

Time for a Wrap Up, or two.  Bloggiesta is coming to an end.  Unfortunately, I did not finish all on my list.  Here's an update of what I got done:
  1. Reorganize labels. 04/01/12
  2. Create images for rating system. 04/01/12
  3. Create a more comprehensive (explanation of) rating system. 04/01/12 here
  4. Update challenge posts. 04/01/12 
  5. Create a review archives page. 04/01/12 here
  6. Update Goodreads shelves and reviews.
  7. Write 2 reviews.
  8. Create a header and buttons. 03/31/12 (see above for header, see sidebar for button)
  9. Create a signature. 03/30/12 (see end of post)
  10. Update currently reading. 04/01/12 (see sidebar)
  11. Catch up on BBPOC panels.
  12. Pick books to read in April and create a list. 04/01/12
  13. Add current events/giveaways/blog hops to sidebar. 03/31/12 (see sidebar)
  14. Create post template for reviews. 03/31/12
  15. Visit other Bloggiesta participants! 04/01/12
I also completed some of the mini challenges!
I learned a lot from the mini challenges, and it also pushed me to do stuff that needed to be done that I hadn't thought of (especially backing up my blog!).  All in all, Bloggiesta was quite productive, even if I didn't finish everything.  I also added some stuff to my ever-growing to-do list that I saw on other bloggers' lists. :)

Something I would like to learn, and maybe someone will do a mini-challenge on it next Bloggiesta, is how people do those drop down menus for their pages when you hover over it (does that make sense?.  I know it's something to do with coding, but I just don't know where to go to learn blogger

April 1 is not just the end of also means March has ended!  Time for a brief March wrap up!

Challenges completed: 0. EPIC FAIL!  But I did manage to write 4 reviews this month.  I think that's a record for most reviews I've written in a month since the start of this blog.  I hope that number will continue to increase!  My favorite book that I read this month would have to be Lola and the Boy Next Door.  Loved it!  

Alright, that's pretty much it.  I cleaned up my challenges page to get rid of the March challenges and other finished challenges, and will be adding April challenges soon.  Start of a new month = new challenges to complete!

Until next time~

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