Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review: What A Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale


What A Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale
Book Three of the Bad Boys & Wallflowers series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the third novel in Maya Rodale's charming Wallflower series, London's Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger . . .

Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.

Everyone knows that she's the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season—but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody's hero. 

He's a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future—that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn't start falling in love with her.

When Prudence's dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her—even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.

What I Liked:

First things first: hate the cover? Me too. It's atrocious, in my opinion - very reminiscent of old-school historical romance novels' covers *shudders*. But don't let that deter you at all, because this book is probably one of my favorite historical romance novels of 2014.

Second thing - it's been a while since I've read/reviewed a historical romance novel, hasn't it? July 27th was the last day that I reviewed one. I have this one and another one releasing in September, but I just got both of them, so I can't read/review them a month in advance, like I usually do (I'm in the middle of the October releases, if you hadn't noticed). But, I'm squeezing in this one because I love Rodale's books, and this one turned out to be quite awesome!

Prudence is the last of the wallflowers to shirk her awful nickname and "title" of wallflower. Emma and Olivia are married to wonderful men, and the finishing school's ball is coming up. Prudence needs to marry, otherwise she will look like a fool and a failure. When she is stranded in an inn one night, a stranger decides to pay for her stay. John Roark is a handsome, titled stranger, and Prudence has caught his eye. But both of them have terrible secrets - are either of them ready for the other?

I read book one of this series - Emma's story - and really enjoyed this one. For some reason, I totally missed out on book two, and skipped it. This one is my favorite though. Prudence is so different from your typical husband-hunting girl in season. Something awful happened to her, and while we know what it is that happened, the actual even itself is revealed slowly to readers.

Prudence has a lot of spirit and backbone - I really liked her. She isn't a ninny at all, she isn't weak, she isn't stupid. She's really funny to read about, but she's also made of iron, because she is so incredibly strong and hard-willed. Something awful happened to her, but throughout the story, she learns to hold her head high and not let it define her.

I thought John would be a total rogue, but he isn't! He's quite the gentleman... sort of. You'll have to read the book to know what I mean by that. John is seriously a good man, a nice person, clever and flirtatious, but also intuitive and understanding. Definitely a favorite historical romance hero.

I loved learning about these two characters' pasts. Prudence's secret is more obvious but more painful. My heart broke for her on so many occasions, especially as John was discovering them for himself. John's secret kind of took me by surprise - I didn't really expect that at all. Good old John... although, he isn't that old. *winks*

The romance starts as a attention-is-caught-quickly kind of thing, but the hero and heroine progressively fall in love. It's obvious that Rodale won't play any games with the romance in this book, which is a relief. We know that Prudence and John are meant for each other, but each of their secrets are like barriers. Nevertheless, I really liked the romance. It was sweet and well-developed, but also quite sizzling and steamy.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I'm kind of sad to see this series end, but it ended with the best book! I can't ask for much more than that.

What I Did Not Like:

I think I would have wanted to see more steamy scenes between John and Prudence. I understand, given the nature of certain things, that this might have proven difficult, but I feel like it would have added to Prudence's character development. In general, I wanted more physical interactions from those two. We get plenty of emotional/sentimental interactions though!

Would I Recommend It:

As far as historical romances go, yes! Sure! This one was different from most of the ones I've read, since both of the protagonists don't really seem to act all high-society-bred... and both of them are hiding BIG secrets. I liked this book so much!

Rating:

4 stars. I hope Rodale has a new series coming out soon! I do enjoy her historical romance novels.


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (#91)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!


So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, September 14th to Saturday, September 20th?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:


A Fierce Reads prize pack

I won this from Ann Aguirre! There a lot of books up there, so no Goodreads links o.O You can win one here!



OMG I CANNOT WAIT TO START THIS ONE!! Thank you, Ms. Ramirez!


From NetGalley:



For the blog tour!


Random Inbox Surprise:



AH! This came to from New Leaf Literary - Sarah wanted them to send me a copy of her upcoming self-published work. THANK YOU!! I'm seriously honored <3


What a week it's been! Nothing amazing, but nothing horrible, in terms of life. 

Just a note - I'll be away all day Saturday, on a trip to New Jersey with my Ecology class. So, I'll get to all of your wonderful comments on Sunday! Have a fabulous weekend, everyone! <3

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: Torn by Amanda Hocking


Torn by Amanda Hocking
Book Two of the Trylle series
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Review copy sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story…

She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits…and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted…in both worlds.

What I Liked:

Ahhh, this book was good. I so enjoyed it. I liked the first book, Switched, but this book is exactly what a sequel should be like, exactly how the second of a three-book trilogy should function. So much more makes sense, and I feel like so much more has been solidified. 

Wendy runs away from her mother's palace in Minnesota, and goes back home to Matt and Maggie... with Rhys. Only to be captured by the Vittra, putting herself, Rhys, and Matt in danger. She meets Loki, the Vittra prince, who isn't who she thought he would be. He lets them escape, then gets caught by Elora, but never tries to capture Wendy. The King of the Vittra needs Wendy, but so does the Queen of the Trylle... Torn really is the perfect title for this book, on so many levels.

I think I like Wendy a lot more in this book. Not that I didn't completely like her in book one, but I understand her more in this book, and really feel for her. A sense of duty rules her life, and takes away many choices. Wendy is kind and sometimes selfless, and she has a certain humanity to her that the Trylle and the Vittra don't have. 

I said above that this book function perfectly as a sequel novel, book two of three. Book one was all about Wendy and who she is. This book introduced the big picture, the huge problem that the Vittra pose, and why the Vittra want her so badly. Wendy is taken to the Vittra stronghold, and I think this is perfect and totally necessary. It's great to see both sides of the troll feud. Now we know what is at stake for both the Trylle and the Vittra. 

Honestly, I don't see one side or the other as the "good" side or the "bad" side. I think they are both equally not ideal, and I wouldn't want to be involved in either kingdom, but duty rules the life of a Princess, so I understand. Both sides of the feud are justified, and both have their pros and cons.

Okay, okay. The romance. I thought the romance was a little confusing, in book one. We have Finn, Wendy's tracker and bodyguard. Wendy is totally fixated on him, when everything starts to change in book one, and she learns what she - and he - is. Then there is Tove, the Trylle Markis who seems to be a nice match for a Princess, at least from a political perspective. Sometimes, I thought Rhys was a possibility too.

Well. Rhys is more like a brother to Wendy. Finn broke Wendy's heart - but the thing is, to me, Finn seemed like that infatuation that you have when you dive head-first into a new world. Tove... well, something huge is revealed about to Tove, so I'm not worried about that. So who does that leave? Why, Loki, of course! I'm a HUGE fan of Loki. I really hope the romance stays solid in his direction, because he and Wendy are really great for each other, at least in terms of political situation, personality, and values. Plus, they're totally attracted to one another. So.

That being said, I'm not entirely sure why everyone was so up in arms about Loki being introduced as a love interest. I mean, I was never feeling Finn to begin with - he's like that whirlwind love interest that doesn't quite stick. Tove always seemed like a friend, and Rhys, a brother. I think Loki and Wendy really connect. But that's just me.

I feel like there is going to be a massive mess of crazy battles in book three. The big showdown, in terms of Trylle versus Vittra, should be fun! I hope. I'm pretty excited about book three! Especially for the romance. Team Loki!

What I Did Not Like:

I think I wanted a little more depth from this story. YES, it does a great job of setting up the big picture. There are lots of crazy things going on, like curses and death and weird procreation problems and things. But it seemed a bit cliche? Maybe something even more mind-blowing and creative. On the surface, the conflicts are good though, they make a great story.

And I want more about TROLLS. I feel like the troll thing is glossed over a lot. I almost forget that Wendy and everyone are trolls - they might as well be human! The only thing that is constantly reminded is the aversion to most foods. But the Vittra/Trylle feud might as well be two different races of the same species... and that species could be homo sapiens. The troll thing could be a bit more prevalent, you know?

Would I Recommend It:

At this point, sure! I'm really enjoying the story, and the romance. It's more of a detached interest, since I'm binging the series, but I'm invested enough to keep going, you know? I'm rooting for Wendy! And Loki. Mostly Loki.

Rating:

4 stars. Be on the lookout for my review of Ascend, book three, to be posted on September 25th! At this point, I have three books to read before I get to that one... I can't wait!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Interview with Robin Talley, Author of Lies We Tell Ourselves (and GIVEAWAY!)

Helloooooooooo, lovely readers! Today, I have a very special post for you. The fabulous Robin Talley stopped by my blog today for a sort Q&A, and she has a giveaway! Stick around the for the interview, information, and giveaway at the end of the post!


Here is Robin!


Alyssa: Hi, Robin! Thanks for joining me today :)

Robin: Thanks for having me! 

Alyssa: The pleasure is all mine! Let’s talk about all things historical. Personally, historical fiction is my second favorite genre (behind epic fantasy, of course). Lies We Tell Ourselves is a historical fiction novel. So, what YA historical fiction 2014 release has been your favorite, so far?

Robin: Sekret by Lindsay Smith is amazing. It’s set in 1963 Moscow, and it follows a psychic teenage girl who’s forced by the KGB to become a spy for Russia. The writing is gorgeous, and it’s packed with action and lush historical details.

Alyssa: I liked Sekret a lot! Hmmm, how about favorite historical time period?

Robin: When it comes to time periods, I’d much rather travel forward than backward. So for this question, I’m going to cheat and go with the 1990s, when I grew up. Ah, the days of grunge, Bill Clinton, and “My So-Called Life”! 

Alyssa: How about favorite historical hottie? :D

Robin: Rosalind Franklin! She did some of the most important scientific work on DNA in the 1950s, but her contributions were overlooked in favor of her male colleagues’ (shocking, I know). And she was definitely a hottie! 


Photo cred: http://www.mysciencebox.org/files/images/Rosalind_Franklin.jpg

Alyssa: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing historical fiction?

Robin: It’s a tie between doing the research and getting the voice right. It’s difficult and time-consuming to research every single detail of the era you’re writing about, but it has to be done if you want your writing to be authentic. The same is true for voice. Once you go backward by a generation or more, you’re writing about characters who talked significantly differently than teenagers do today, so you have to read materials from that time period and be careful to make sure you’re matching the tone, phrasing, vocabulary, etc. of the time. It’s a lot of work!

Alyssa: … Would historical fiction be your favorite genre? Of course I must sneak that one in there :)

Robin: I actually don’t think I have a favorite genre. There are a lot of historicals I love, but that’s also the case for contemporaries, fantasies, sci-fis, thrillers… There are just too many amazing books out there!

Alyssa: What’s one historical fiction novel that you would recommend to readers, whether it’s YA or Adult? Fiction, though.

Robin: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia is pretty amazing. It’s about an eleven-year-old girl and her two little sisters who spend a summer in Oakland, California, in 1968, where they become involved with the Black Panther movement. The story is funny, fascinating, and incredibly moving. 

Alyssa: What’s next for you to be published (or to be written, or edited, etc.), historical fiction or not?

Robin: My next book is contemporary, actually! It’s tentatively titled Unbreakable, and it follows a teen couple — Gretchen, who identifies as a lesbian, and Toni, who identifies as genderqueer — as they struggle to stay together during their first year in college, despite the growing rift caused by distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity. It’ll be out in fall 2015 from Harlequin Teen. I also just wrote a historical short story for Jessica Spotswood’s upcoming anthology, Petticoats and Pistols. I’m really excited for that collection ― it’ll be a great read for historical fans!

Alyssa: That’s it for today! Thank you so much for letting me pick your brain, Robin :D

Robin: Thanks so much! I love talking historical fiction!


About the book:


Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: September 30, 2014

Summary (from Goodreads):

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.&nbsp;

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town's most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept "separate but equal."

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository


About the Author:

Robin Talley grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, writing terrible teen poetry and riding a desegregation bus to the school across town. A Lambda Literary Fellow, Robin lives in Washington, D.C., with her wife, plus an antisocial cat and a goofy hound dog. When Robin’s not writing, she’s often planning communication strategies at organizations fighting for equal rights and social justice. You can find her on the web at www.robintalley.com or on Twitter at @robin_talley.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter


The Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Swoon Thursday (#86): Remember Me by Romily Bernard

Swoon Thursday is a hot meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at YA Bound!


- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting


This week, my swoon is from Remember Me by Romily Bernard!


"Please," I breathe. His hands find my jaw, my cheeks. He smooths back my hair, and my skin warms like always. How can everything be so wrong and he stays so perfect?

"God, you're so -" Griff groans against my hair and the way his voice turns rough feels like want.

I tug at his shirt, yanking it over his head and leaving muddy handprints across chest. I'm not being careful.

Neither is he.

His hands work my jeans loose. They crumple at my feet and he lifts me out of them. We stumble into the shower together and I yelp when the hot water hits my skin. Griff pivots, pins me to the wall. His fingers knot in my hair, angling my head for another kiss.

His mouth covers mine and I'm gone. My arms loop around Griff's neck and he lifts me to meet him, pressing my shoulders into the wall. I love this.

- eARC, 35%






What do you all think? Got any swoony moments to share with me? :D

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Some Boys by Patty Blount


Welcome to the book blitz for Some Boys by Patty Blount! In case you didn't already know, I'm a huge fan of this lady and her books. I've beta-read both TMI and Some Boys, and loved both. Coming from the girl who doesn't always enjoy contemporary - specifically, tough-issue novels!






Praise for Some Boys!

YA author, Patty Blount, is back with another  novel that addresses one of today’s most pressing issues facing today's youth. SOME BOYS is a gutwrenching and edgy love story told from alternating points of view that's perfect for fans of Simone Elkeles and Katie McGarry.

"SOME BOYS belongs in every YA collection." - School Library Journal

"5 stars. Very well-deserved! This book did quite a number on me - unlike most books (contemporary or not), this one made me FEEL, and feel really strongly." - The Eater of Books

(OMG I WAS QUOTED OMG OMG OMG OMG)



Some Boys by Patty Blount
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: August 5, 2014

Summary (from Goodreads):

Some boys go too far. Some boys will break your heart. But one boy can make you whole.

When Grace meets Ian she's afraid. Afraid he'll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses the town golden boy of rape, everyone turns against Grace. They call her a slut and a liar. But...Ian doesn't. He's funny and kind with secrets of his own.

But how do you trust the best friend of the boy who raped you? How do you believe in love?

A gut-wrenching, powerful love story told from alternating points of view by the acclaimed author of Send.



About the Author:


In addition to writing novels for teens, Patty Blount writes technical information for a computer company. Her first novel, Send, was inspired after a manager suggested she learn more about social networks. A short version of that same novel finished in the top ten of the Writer's Digest 79th Annual Writing Competition. She is also the author of the young adult book, TMI. She lives on Long Island with her family. Visit her at pattyblount.com.



The Excerpt:

He tugs me closer. “How are you gonna hurt me when I've got your hands trapped?”

I go completely still. Ian Russell is holding my hands. Ian Russell is holding my hands. And there’s no pressure in my chest, and I haven’t warped back in time to the moment when I knew I couldn't stop Zac from taking what he wanted from me. Jesus, a boy is touching me, and it’s kind of okay. And for maybe the first time in forty days, I laugh.

“What’s so funny?” He looks at me sideways.

“Glad you asked.” I grin. Since he’s on the floor and I’m not, all it takes is a simple shift of my weight, and a second later I've broken out of his hold and have him pinned.

“Impressive. Ow. Very impressive. Ow. I’ll applaud once you let me go.”
“Stop crying.”

“I will when you let me go.”

I should probably let him go.

But I don’t.

My heart’s racing from the power trip of taking Ian down, or maybe it’s just because I’m so close to him and thought this was over for me. His muscles go lax. He stops struggling, and I don’t let go. I want to freeze this moment and keep it—keep him—forever. Slowly he leans in closer and closer, and I still don’t let go. His eyes drop to my mouth, and his tongue darts out to lick his lips. I think he wants to kiss me, and damn it, I want him to—I want him to so badly I almost cry, so I don’t let go. Closer, closer, and his eyes shut, and his head tilts. And I don’t let go. His lips touch mine, and he kisses me like it matters—like I matter—and oh, my God, it’s amazing. He’s amazing, and I don’t let go. And then the steel door on the floor below us screeches open, and Ian goes tense, his eyes darting to the stairs at the far end of the hall. And it hits me.

Ian doesn’t want anyone to see him with the school slut.

So I break our No Zac agreement. “You wanna know why I didn't fight off Zac? Because I was unconscious.”

Ian’s eyes snap to mine and then away, but it’s too late. I already saw the disgust in them.

This is when I let him go.


The Giveaway:

Waiting on Wednesday (#90): The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, I'm featuring:


The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
Book One of an untitled series
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: February 10, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.



I don't even need to read the summary. I. Love. Kristen. Simmons. The end.