Book Review: Finding It

Finding It (Losing It, #3)Finding It

by Cora Carmack

Published: 10 October 2013 by Ebury Press

Version: Ebook received from InkSlinger PR (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4 sofas

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong…

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She’s having the time of her life . . . or that’s what she keeps telling herself.

It’s a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you’re afraid you won’t like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey’s loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey’s mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

I am thrilled to be taking part in the review tour for Finding It (organised by InkSlinger PR). I have adored Cora’s previous books and was excited to hear more about Kelsey. I always eagerly anticipate Cora’s books as I know just what to expect: a little bit of sexy romance combined with funny awkward moments, and above all a great story. I can tell you know that Finding It certainly did not disappoint, so if you loved her others you should definitely pick this up. And if you haven’t, you really should! 

We follow Kelsey (who we met in Losing It) as she goes travelling around Europe. Kelsey is a fun loving character, but when she appears to be followed by a sexy soldier, it sends her party plans out the window. 

——————————————————————–

“Adventures don’t happen when you’re worried about the future or tied down by the past. They only exist in the now. And they always, always come at the most unexpected time, in the least likely of packages. An adventure is an open window; and an adventurer is the person willing to crawl out on the ledge and leap.”

————————————————————————————-

I’d love to be able to travel around Europe and visit all the romantic and exotic locations, such as Italy and Paris. I’m just not brave enough to do so! This is one of the reasons I fell in love with this book; each location Kelsey and Jackson travel to makes me more wistful of beautiful places. Sometimes fun and usually romantic, each setting is special in its own different way, and this set Finding It apart from Cora’s other books, which have both been focussed around  America. 

Kelsey as a character was quite hard to love. The way she wore her happy mask showed pretty much from the beginning that she was a girl running away from something. Heavily in denial about her baggage, she threw herself into the partying lifestyle. In a way, she reminded me of Max from ‘Faking It’. Unfortunately, while Max’s story hit me hard and made me fall in love with her, I just didn’t take to Kelsey the same way. Whether it is because I was more invested in Cade as a partner than Jackson, I’m not sure.

If you love European romances, this is definitely the book for you. Fun and very romantic, this made me want to explore secret locations all over the world. Yet another winner by Cora! 4 sofas.

Author Bio

Cora Carmack bio pic

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

WebsiteTwitterFacebookAuthor Goodreads

FI Review Tour

Blog Tour: Freshman Forty

Freshman Forty

by Christine Duval

Published: Currently self-published

Version: Ebook via Xpresso Book Tours (all views my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 3.5 sofas

When eighteen-year-old Laurel Harris discovers she’s pregnant four weeks into the start of her freshman year at prestigious Colman College, she has all intentions of telling her father. But being away at school makes it too easy to hide. And while she can’t explain to her friends, or to herself even, the reasons why she doesn’t want the baby’s father to find out about the pregnancy, the rest of her world begins to unravel. 

Freshman year is hard enough. Most girls get through by forming close friendships, finding new boys and a phone call from mom or dad on Sunday. Laurel has to navigate all of it while hiding an unplanned pregnancy from a summer fling… 

An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and haunted by the memory of her deceased mother and grandparents, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she navigates teen pregnancy, in secret, in a remote college setting.

 Awards:

-Freshman Forty took won an Honorable Mention at the New York Book Festival
-Won an Honorable Mention under General Fiction for the Beach Book Festival.

Purchase via Amazon US

Freshman Forty was originally self-published, but Christine just signed a deal to have it re-released by a publishing house this fall! Follow Christine on Twitter for updates @Christineduval1 or on her Goodreads author page.

Author Bio

Christine Duval has been writing creatively since the fourth grade when she penned her first short story entitled “London Terror,” about the murder of a cat in London. She grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and lived in Italy twice as a teenager: once when she was sixteen in Bologna and in a small town on the Adriatic Sea called Porto San Giorgio; then in Florence when she was nineteen. Her parents wondered if she’d ever come back.
College was spent in the Finger Lakes: the inspiration for Colman, Milton, and Kashong Lake in Freshman Forty. It really is cold, wet and grey there – OFTEN! But when the sun comes out, boy is it pretty.Life eventually took her to New York’s Upper West Side, the place she’ll always consider home. Though for now she resides in New Jersey with her family and a very spoiled love bird who can’t decide if he’s a boy or she’s a girl.
LINKS:

My Review

Freshman Forty begins with the discovery of Laurel’s pregnancy. Thus the book doesn’t really feature a lot of sex or sex-based scenes. Presumably it all happened before the book starts! I didn’t really know what to expect elsewise, as all the NA I have read so far features/relies heavily on sexiness. Teenage pregnancy is something that really interests me as a fiction topic though, so this was definitely a book I was eager to read. 

One of the things I really enjoyed about the book was the real life issues it tackled. The risk of pregnancy in uni/college years is high, because its generally the first real freedom people get away from their parents. Naturally, mistakes happen. It was interesting to see how Laurel copes with her pregnancy amongst everything else. I would’ve liked a bit more detail, as I think the story could have been made a bit deeper. 

It did make me think what it would be like to be in that situation. Laurel spends a lot of time in denial, and she is pretty lonely for a lot of the book. This obviously doesn’t really make for a good story, as it lacks drama in places. However, it is very realistic compared to what girls go through every day. The feeling of being ashamed and trying to hide her bump in baggy clothes made me feel sorry for Laurel. I just didn’t felt like I knew enough about her to really care. I obviously wanted a happy ending for her, but there was never really a gripping moment.

Freshman Forty is the first NA I have read that isn’t primarily sex-based. It was refreshing, but a little predictable. I adore that it tackled real life issues, and I hope this trend continues in NA. 3.5 sofas! 

Giveaway

Enter to win an ebook copy of Freshman Forty. Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for organising and providing a copy of the book for review.

Blog Tour: April Showers

April Showers

April Showers

by Karli Perrin

Published: June 14th 2013 (self-published)

Rating: 3.5 sofas

What happens when your head and your heart pull you in completely opposite directions? 
April Adams is about to find out the hard way.
When April enrols at Manchester University, it feels like a whole new life. New city, new house, new friends…new crush. 
Isaac Sharpe is the hottest guy on campus – with an even hotter reputation. After a chance meeting, April quickly finds herself wrapped up in all that he is. But what if all that he is isn’t what it seems?
Caught up in a battle between what she wants and what she thinks she needs, April meets Lukas Roberts. Lukas is the security blanket that she craves so desperately and she finds solace in their friendship. But what happens when she finds more than she bargained for?
April has always been a big believer of fate, but will she learn that she’s in control of her own destiny before it’s too late?
Join April as she embarks on a life changing journey of love and loss, which will have you laughing and crying until the very end.

Buy links: Amazon UK / Amazon US

My Review

So, I gotta be honest. At first, I wasn’t really enthusiastic about the book. The relationships between April, Lukas and Isaac were ones that I had seen recently in other NA novels, so I was kind of disappointed by that. But as I kept reading, April’s character really emerged. Witty and sarcastic, April has a lot of fire. I slowly fell in love with her and her strong nature.

And Isaac. Oh, Isaac! Irresistible in every way, he just tugged on my heartstrings. Although he is kinda pitched as the bad boy, there are some really sweet moments with him in the book. Throwing Lukas into the mix as well, and this makes for an emotional rollercoaster!

While there are some sexy scenes, this book is so much more than sexy YA. It made me smile and Karli’s writing style is so free flowing that I found myself not wanting to put this book down. Just as I was getting gripped in the story, I was hit with the cliffhanger. I kept trying to turn the page on my kindle, but alas, that was it. I felt totally frustrated, but that only demonstrates how involved I got with the story that I didn’t want it end. Very sneaky!

Overall that while it started a bit shaky, it definitely picks up by the second half, and that cliffhanger only left me wanting more! As a debut author, Karli has leapt into the NA world and managed to surpass a lot of competition. I CANNOT WAIT to get my hands on book two, and I know that I can expect lots of good things from Ms Perrin in the future. 3.5 sofas! 

Blog Tour: He’s Gone

Today I have to share with you my review for the blog tour of He’s Gone by Deb Caletti. Unfortunately my scheduled post didn’t go on the right date, but I’ve rewritten it for you.

He's GoneHe’s Gone

by Deb Caletti

Published: 14 May 2013 by Random House

Rating: 3.5 sofas

“What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?”

The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.

As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

Author Bio

Deb Caletti is an award-winning author and a National Book Award finalist whose books are published and translated worldwide. Her first novel was The Queen of Everything (Simon & Schuster, 2002),of which a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly proclaimed: “This marks Caletti as a writer to watch.” Although written for adults, its coming-of-age themes gained it acclaim as a Y/A book. It made the cover of the esteemed review journal The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books (the first trade book to do so in the journal’s history), and then was chosen for PSLA’s Top Forty of 2003 and the International Reading Association’s Young Adult Choices for 2004. It is currently in its thirteenth printing.

Deb’s second book, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Kirkus called it, “tender and poetic,” and the book earned other distinguished recognition, including the PNBA Best Book Award, the Washington State Book Award, and School Library Journal’s Best Book award. It was a finalist for the California Young Reader Medal and the PEN USA Literary Award, and was also a 2005 IRA Notable Book, an SSLI Book Awards Honor Book, and made the New York Public Library’s Best Books for the Teen Age, Chicago  Library’s Best Books of 2004, and the Texas TAYSHA’s list. Her third book, Wild Roses, won acclaim with starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, which deemed it, “rich,” and School Library Journal, which said the book was “multifaceted and emotionally devastating,” with “profound observations and vivid language.” It was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and was chosen as a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age and a RT Book Club Magazine’s finalist for Best Y/A Book of 2005. The Nature of Jade was a summer 2007 Booksense pick, a Books A Million Book Club selection, and was a finalist for RT Magazine’s Best Y/A Book of the Year.

Her fifth book, The Fortunes of Indigo Skye, was released April 2008, followed by The Secret Life of Prince Charming in 2009, The Six Rules of Maybe in 2010, Stay in 2011, and The Story of Us in 2012. In addition, several anthologies include work by Deb, including “First Kiss, Then Tell,” a Bloomsbury anthology benefiting NPR Youth Radio, and two collections of non-fiction critical essays developed by Borders Books: “The World of the Golden Compass” and “Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.” In 2013, Deb’s first book for adults, He’s Gone, will be released from Random House.

Deb grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and earned her journalism degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. When Deb is not writing books or reading them, she is a painter and a lyricist, and speaks widely to audiences on writing and life as an author. Deb lives with her family in Seattle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz-n4-TSDGA

My Review

Right from the beginning, you are plunged into the depths with this book, as we discover that Dani’s husband, Ian, is missing. Last night they went to a party and when she woke up he was gone. As the novel goes on, it feels like I am clawing my way upwards, towards the surface of the truth. More than anything I would describe He’s Gone as a suspense novel, as it is the tension and the need to find what happened to Ian that kept me turning the pages.

Consequently, there isn’t a whole lot of action in this book. It is mainly told as flashbacks from Dani’s point of view, as we find out more about her friends and family and, most importantly, her relationship with Ian. Throughout these back stories, we are given clues or indications as to why Ian disappeared.

I found Dani as a character quite irritating. Told through her eyes in first person, she was quite dreary, spending most of her time driving around or sitting indoors. In all fairness, I have no idea what I would do if a partner went missing. Quite probably, exactly the same. But it just didn’t make for entertaining reading. Furthermore, knowing she was an adulterer, I couldn’t muster any sympathy for her. However, this does make for a more interesting book, as I was immediately suspicious of Dani. Thus I HAD to know more about her, to know what happened to Ian.

This was a book that gripped me enough in the first chapter to keep me reading. Although I didn’t love the main character and was a bit disappointed with the lack of activity in the book, I ultimately had to finish it to solve the mystery. 3.5 sofas!

Giveaway

Only 3 days left to enter the giveaway! 3 winners will receive a copy of He’s Gone by Deb Caletti. One winner will receive a poster and bookmark of surprise art by James Vallesteros and ten winners will receive a bookmark of a surprise art by James.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Book Nerd Tours for organizing and for providing a copy for review.

Inline image 3

Blog Tour: Click to Subscribe

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to present my blog tour stop for Click to Subscribe by L.M. Augustine!

1,135,789. That’s how many subscribers sixteen-year-old West Ryder has on his web vlog series. But he only has eyes for one of them. 

As one of the internet’s most prestigious video bloggers, West talks about high school relationships under the name “Sam Green.” As far as he knows, no one from school, not even his best friend, Cat, has seen his videos. But the highlight of the whole thing is Harper Knight, who comments every day at exactly 2:02 in the afternoon. He doesn’t know anything about her aside from the occasional deep philosophical messaging on why pizza tastes so delicious, but as stupid as it sounds, he might be falling for her. So when they finally agree to meet in real life, West’s hope for romance seems more and more in reach. But that all changes as soon as he arrives at their meeting spot and sees Cat walking toward him, wearing the same “I ❤ Sam Green” T-shirt Harper promised she’d have on.

To his alarm, West realizes he is falling in love with the best friend who has always been a sister to him.

Author Bio

L.M. Augustine is a YA romance author who is obsessed with writing about dorky teenagers, love, and happy endings. He currently lives in New England, where he spends far too much time reading books and screaming at his computer, and he believes that the solution to the world’s problems can be found in chocolate cake. Click To Subscribe is his first novel, but it won’t be his last.
Find L.M. on Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog

My Review

As soon as I stumbled across Click to Subscribe I knew I would love it. Romance with a vlogger? Yes please! It’s quite refreshing to have a contemporary YA written from a male perspective. And some of the thoughts that go through West’s mind are hilarious. Him and Cat share a really cute relationship, and this really made the book speak to my nerdy, ice cream loving side.

That being said, West was so frustrating at times! Obviously realistic to what a lot of boys are like, but I just wanted to slap him for his stupidity. As such, a lot of the middle of the book is spent with him confused about his feelings, and dithering about. 

The only complaint I have is that it isn’t long enough! It is penned as a long novella rather than a novel in itself, and I just felt it didn’t allow for enough depth and character development. It only left me wanting more! I will definitely be checking out LM Augustine’s future books, in the hope that they are much longer. 

Giveaway

Enter to win 3 ebook copies of Click to Subscribe, an ebook of your choice and a $10 Amazon giftcard.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Huge thanks to Selina for the review copy and letting me be part of the tour

Blog Tour: Submerged

Welcome to my blog tour post for Submerged by Nicole Sobon!

Submerged (Outbreak, #1)

After a mysterious virus makes its way into the United States, the government demands that states seal themselves off from one another and do their best to protect their surviving residents. When the state of Florida is bordered off from the surrounding states, Taylen Fincher, a seventeen-year-old girl with a yearning for her former life finds herself wondering how much of what they’ve been told is true.

When Troum took control of the state, he told the residents that the other states had fallen to the virus and that he wouldn’t allow the same thing to happen to them. But Taylen doesn’t believe it. She insists that there is still life outside of the state, and she is going to do whatever it takes to prove it… but her actions will cost her more than she ever expected.

Troum kidnaps Taylen’s sister, Penelope, in hopes of coaxing her into behaving – into being a submissive resident, much like the others. But Taylen isn’t one to give in that easily.

Eager to rescue her sister, Taylen will set out on an adventure that’ll force her to open her heart to the unexpected and to uncover secrets that will change everything.

Nicole Sobon Nicole Sobon is a YA author of several novels, including Program 13, The Emile Reed Chronicles, Capture, No Place Like Home, and the latest Submerged. This is the first in her dystopian duology.

 Giveaway (US)

 Win 3 paperback copies of Submerged by Nicole Sobon
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Animate Me

Welcome to my post today for the blog tour for Animate Me by Ruth Clampett!

She seemed far beyond his reach…could love draw them together?
For years shy animator Nathan has carried a torch for Brooke, the beautiful and
dynamic Director of Development at their animation studio, even creating B-Girl,
a comic-book heroine in her likeness. When a new project throws the two of them
together, lovestruck Nathan finally seizes his moment – only to find Arnauld, head of the
animation studio, claiming exclusive rights to Brooke’s affections.

But Nathan, it turns out, is not giving up on his dreams so easily. With inspired
determination, he sets out to be the super hero of wooing his girl. Threatened by his
persistence, Arnauld plays dirty – only to spark an uprising at the studio that unleashes
the sort of havoc only a building full of frustrated animators can create. While Nathan
pulls out all the stops to win his B-girl, Brooke has to choose. Should she pursue the
sparkling career that has taken her years to build…or follow her heart?

Ruth Clampett, daughter of legendary animation director Bob Clampett, grew up surrounded by artists and animators. A graduate of Art Center College of Design, she has been VP of Design for Warner Brothers Studio Stores and taught photography at UCLA. Today she runs her own studio and as the Fine Art publisher for Warner Brothers Studios has come to know and work with some of the world’s greatest artists in the fields of animation and comics.

From this colorful background comes Ruth’s first novel, Animate Me, a fun and sexy, unique and engaging contemporary romance.

Ruth lives and works in Los Angeles, strictly supervised by her teenage daughter, who helps plan their summer around their yearly pilgrimage to the San Diego Comic Con.

Twitter   Facebook   Goodreads  

My Review

As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to read it. It is one of the most adorable covers I have ever seen! On a Starbucks cup, no less. This cuteness continues throughout the book in the form of adoration of Brooke, company executive from Nathan, animator and geek. I had an ebook of Animate Me, and it even included little sketches throughout the book. This made the book stand out by far among other contemporary romances. I loved the descriptions of Nathan’s drawings, but seeing them really made them come to life. I couldn’t wait for coffee time every day when Nathan would bring Brooke coffee with his personal sketch added to the cup. I liked that this book talked about the animation world, something we don’t see a lot of in YA/NA novels. The references to classic animations such as Looney Tunes are interwoven into the plotline, and really give depth to the story.  

I adored Nathan in this book. He is so geeky and adorable, that you can’t resist loving him. Just the way that he frets over Brooke, and his lack of self confidence makes him lovable, but his determination to ‘woo’ Brooke stops him from becoming wimpy. 

“…my infatuation went from a wispy shadow on an overcast day to a sharp electrical current surging through me. I did a Google search and Facebooked her. I sat enraptured when she spoke at the monthly meetings. I even searched for satellite pictures of her house, hoping to see her stretched out on the chaise lounge in her back yard…”

The only thing I didn’t particularly enjoy in this novel is the sex scenes. I loved the adorable side of Nathan, and I just kind of felt that the descriptions were a but unneccessary, and as such, made me cringe to read them. It just didn’t seem to flow with the rest of the story, and just kinda felt they were added in to turn the book NA. 

” ‘I have to warn you Nathan, my breasts, especially my nipples are super sensitive. Don’t be alarmed if I get carried away when you touch me.’ “

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was very cute and fun, and should be read for the sketches alone. By the end I skipped over the sex scenes, but if thats your thing then this book has extra brownie points for you. It definitely made me smile in places, and I could really picture Nathan in a movie. 

4 sofas

Giveaway

 2 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of Animate Me & a Signed Illustrated Print by Ruth Clampett.
5 Winners will receive an E-Copy of Animate Me by Ruth Clampett.
1 Winner will receive a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card by Ruth Clampett.
1 Winner will receive One poster, and Bookmark  of a Surprise Art by James Vallesteros.
10 Winners will receive One bookmark of a Surprise Art by James Vallesteros.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Book Nerd Tours for a copy of the book to review and for hosting the tour