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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stacking the Shelves [54]



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to show off the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. If a book catches your eye, *click* to go to the Goodreads page of that book.

Hello again loves. Sorry for the slow week. I actually moved up to live with my girlfriend for the summer, so life has been fairly chaotic. But now I'm all cozy and settled, and I can get back on schedule.

Netgalley:
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper


In the Mail:
Rookies by Shane Allison
Can't Get Enough by Tenille Brown
The Big Book of Submission by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Bald New World by Peter Tieryas Signed
Bound for Trouble by Alison Tyler
Thanks Cleis Press



Gifts:
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt


This is one of my favorite books. I already own it but in ARC format, and so my girlfriend bought me one with the pretty cover. Thanks Emily!

Don't forget to check out my current giveaways! Enter here to win an ebook of More Than Music or a gift card. And enter here to enter to win a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy. 18+

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blog Tour: The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy- Giveaway, Excerpt, & Review!



Hello darlings.How is your week going? Today I'm happy to announce that I'm a stop on the Blog Tour for Violet Blue's new guide book The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy: How to Have Incredible Sex with Role Play, Sex Games, Erotic Massage, BDSM and More. Stay tuned on this post to read a juicy excerpt, my review, and enter for a chance to win a copy for yourself. Don't you want to spice up your boudoir? Now's your chance ;)

Excerpt:



ROLE PLAY
Erotic Acting


Motivation is why you’re there—as yourself and as the character you’re playing. Your goal is always to turn on your lover and yourself, and for both of you to have a great time getting off in a new, exciting, and sexually significant way. But the role or character you are personifying also has his or her own motivation. Your character’s goal may be to humiliate, punish, or control your partner’s character. Your interaction with your partner will be primarily sexual, but different from the role or persona you’re used to playing with this person (though not too different than you’d like it to be).

Say, for instance, you’ve been asked to play a sexy teacher who spanks the mischievous schoolboy, and you don’t normally spank your boyfriend in your sexual routines. You’ll probably find that once you put on your teacher’s outfit part of you gets an erotic charge out of erotically dominating your boyfriend—or you wouldn’t have agreed to try the scenario. If you’re still feeling uncertain but are willing to play along with the sexual fun and games, you can tap into your eagerness to serve up your lover’s number one sexual fantasy on a silver platter—and give him what he deserves, because you know how much it means to him, and how much it turns him on.

There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to really get into “punishing” your partner, especially if you find it makes your shared sex life exciting. Don’t worry about feeling silly—if you do, laugh it up and then get down to business. you can have fun, feel goofy, and get off all at once. If you’re worried about your performance, or anything else, remember that the role-play scenario is just a momentary, fun thing that you’re trying: A little experimentation is just that; it’s not a commitment. Before you begin, do whatever you need to get into role—read erotica, watch porn, play music, dress in costume. It’s extremely helpful to be aroused when you “make your entrance” into the scene.

From the Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy, 2nd Ed., by Violet Blue



My Review



Title: The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy: How to Have Incredible Sex with Role Play, Sex Games, Erotic Massage, BDSM and More
Editor: Violet Blue
Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Pub. Date: June 17th 2014
Source: Cleis Press
Purchase: Amazon

★★★★★

The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy is the kind of book that I think should be required reading for adults. Whether the reader is male, female, straight, gay, single taken, or any label in between, this book has something to learn and adapt to fit any lifestyle and any kink. Speaking of kink- whether you'd call your sex life vanilla or if you already have some kinky tricks up your sleeve, Violet Blue has tips and advice on how to make your fantastical sex the absolute best that it can be.

Personally, I am a huge fan of role play. Character possibilities are endless and your imagination can go wild. Violet Blue dedicates a whole chapter (and then some) to this topic. She goes above and beyond just naming classic roles/characters- although this book includes that too- by offering acting advice, steps on how to properly plan out these roles and the night of sex that follows it, and even includes resources in the back on where to shop to buy the costumes and items necessary to lose yourself into the role. I was beyond impressed with the amount of advice packed into that chapter.

And honestly, I was beyond impressed overall at how much knowledge, advice, and spicy tricks of the trade Violet Blue manages to fit into this book, period. She writes each chapter with clear expertise on the subject, as well as with a hint of snark and humor. I really like this style of writing, because instead of feeling like I needed to read a book to improve my sex life, I feel like I'm turning to an old girl friend and getting some saucy advice over mimosas. It's a friendly, unassuming, and easy-to-read prose that all ages and walks of life can appreciate and understand.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see that there is space in this book dedicated to solo play. I think it's a great inclusion, because you should know your body better than anyone else. And I know that there are some people out there who simply want to be alone in their fantasies. I think it is great that this book doesn't shun or exclude them, but rather loops them into the conversation by offering advice and techniques for men and women alike.

No matter what your fantasy is, there's a topic in here for you. Threesomes (or more)? Check. Stripping? Check. Games, public sex, fetishes? Check check check. New to all of it? No sweat. She starts you with the basics so that you always feel safe and comfortable. Ashamed or embarrassed about the fantasy you have? Again, Violet Blue has you covered. From safe sex practices to swinging and guidance on how to lap dance, this girl knows what you want in your bedroom and makes it damn near impossible for you not to integrate it.

With a book full of advice like this, how can your partner (or your own body) resist?

This is a book that I feel all sexually active and adventurous books should keep on a shelf close to the naughty drawer for inspiration. Thank you so much to Cleis Press for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Giveaway!


And now the moment you have been waiting for. Enter to win yourself a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy.
The Rules:
-This giveaway will run from June 25th to July 3rd, 2014.
-This giveaway is open to those 18+ and is USA ONLY.
-It is open to anyone over that age who can legally enter, receive, and use their prize.
-One (1) winner will win a copy.
-This giveaway is sponsored wholly by the publisher.
-This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity.
-Winner will have 48 hours to reply, or a new winner will be chosen. Winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter.
-Invalid entries will be removed, so please don't cheat.
-Void where prohibited. Odds will vary. No purchase necessary.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Violet Blue
Facebook | Website | Twitter

Follow Cleis Press
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EDIT: THE FIRST WINNER DID NOT RESPOND. ANOTHER HAS BEEN CHOSEN, PENDING HER REPLY.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More Than Music Blitz & Giveaway!



Series: Chasing the Dream #1
Release date: June 17th 2014
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Music major Maddie Taylor seems to have her life all figured out. She’s just finished her junior year of college, has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, and plans to go to grad school to write movie scores. Only her roommates know she practices guitar every night and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don't get to be rock stars.

Tattooed singer Jared Cross has a new girl every week, but when he catches Maddie playing one of his songs, she attracts his attention in an unexpected way. His band needs a fourth member for The Sound, a reality TV show competition—and he wants her. Though Maddie refuses to be another notch on Jared’s bedpost, she agrees to risk everything for the chance to be a rock star.

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared behind his flirty smile, and with each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore. When the show pressures Jared to flaunt his player image, they’re forced to keep their relationship secret, but Maddie can’t help but want something real.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

Excerpt:
“I need your help,” Jared said, fixing an intense gaze on me. “We have a live audition tomorrow for The Sound. Problem is, our bassist quit last night, and we need a fourth member of the band.”

“What?” Was he saying what I thought he was saying? No. Impossible.

“I know—worst timing ever. Can you play bass by any chance?”

“No…”

His face fell for an instant, and some reckless part of me wanted to lie and say yes or promise him I’d learn. How hard could it be to learn the bass if I knew how to play guitar, right? Though I immediately realized how dumb that idea was because a) I could never learn bass in time for an audition tomorrow; b) I shouldn’t care about making Jared happy, even if his disappointed face broke my heart; and c) none of that mattered because he couldn’t possibly be asking me to join his band anyway.

“That’s okay,” he said. “I can play bass, and you can play guitar. It’ll work.” His smile lit up his face again, with a look that could charm any girl lucky enough to bask in it. Right now, that girl was me. “So what do you think?”

Jared was asking me—me—to play guitar in his band. In an audition on live TV. In front of four of the greatest musicians ever, plus millions of people at home. Mind. Blown. Somehow I’d been handed my secret dream on a silver platter. Next up, Jared would ask me out, too. Yeah, and then we’d ride off into the sunset on a rainbow unicorn with our million-dollar record deal.

“You want me to join your band?” I asked slowly, studying him for any sign that this was all a joke.

“Just for the audition. That should give us enough time to find another bass player to take Becca’s place.”

Ah, there was the catch. I would only play with them for one day, giving me a tiny taste of their lifestyle, and then they’d drop me as soon as the audition was over. No, better to never know what it would be like to play guitar on stage, to be part of a band, to make music with Jared and Kyle. Besides, I couldn’t play guitar in front of the world. Guitar was my secret, my fun escape, and nothing more. My internship started on Monday, and I needed to focus on that—not on silly dreams of being a rock star.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t.” I spun around and rushed toward the exit before he could respond. I didn’t want him to see my face and how much I desperately wanted to do it.

“Wait!” He ran after me, but I kept going, past other students who watched us with curiosity. “Maddie, wait!”

Damn his long legs. He caught up to me, practically jumping in front of me to stop me in my tracks. I kept my face glued to the floor, to the contrast of his black combat boots and my green Converse. I couldn’t look up at him or I’d be tempted to say yes to anything.

He lowered his voice. “Please, you’re the only person who can help us. You’re an amazing guitarist, and you already know our songs. We need you.”

I shook my head, looking anywhere but at him. Hearing him say he needed me with his whiskey-chocolate-sex voice made my legs a bit shaky, but what he was asking for? It was too much.

Jared got down on his knees, right in the middle of the hallway, and everyone stopped to watch us. He raised his hands like he was begging. “Please, this is our one chance, but without a fourth member, we can’t do it. You’re perfect and it’ll only be for a day, and then I’ll owe you. I’ll do anything you want.” He topped it off with a grin. “Help me, Maddie Taylor, you’re my only hope.”

Damn. How could I say no to a Star Wars reference from a hot guy on his knees? The word slipped out before I could stop it. “Okay.”


Inspired Playlist:

About the Author
Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.
Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram

Buy MORE THAN MUSIC by clicking here! And, follow the tour here!

Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves [53]



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to show off the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. If a book catches your eye, *click* to go to the Goodreads page of that book.

Netgalley:
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
Dark Paradise by Angie Sandro



For Tours:

The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy: How to Have Incredible Sex with Role Play, Sex Games, Erotic Massage, BDSM and More by Violet Blue


In the Mail:


I also got to go to Rainbow Cone in Chicago this week, and it was delicious.


What about you?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: No Alligators in Sight


Title: No Alligators in Sight
Author: Kirsten B. Feldman
Format: eboook
Pub. Date: November 25th 2013
Source: Kirsten B. Feldman

★★★★

Four stars.

---

No Alligators in Sight follows Lettie, a thirteen year old girl who is forced to grow up earlier than she should have to take care of her younger brother. She's taken care of both Bert and her father, a bitter alcoholic. When Lettie is caught doing something against the rules, her father sends her and her brother down to Orlando, Florida for six weeks to live with the mother that left their family.

This book is a great one for the "coming of age" audience. Lettie has a lot of anger and darkness to her, and who can blame her? Forced to be a family caretaker, an absent mother, an alcoholic father. Life has stacked some rough cards for her to be dealt. But she's never overly brooding, an issue I find in a lot of other teen fiction. She felt real, and relatable, and it was easy to cheer her on when she needed it, and silently swear to yourself when she made bad decisions, like watching a friend.

In fact, this whole book is written with a great, shadowy tone. It has a gritty sense of realism. The setting is well developed and well described to match the characters. And yet, as heavy as the issues in this novel are, there is a fair bit of sarcasm and humor, which is a huge plus for me. It was nice to have a book that's a great balance of light and dark, and I think that's part of what makes this book go down so easily.

This has little to do with reviewing the content of the novel, but I will just quickly say that I really like the title of this book, along with the cover.

The only issue I really had with No Alligators in Sight was that it lagged a bit in the middle. I understand that certain points were important for development and movement of the plot, but the middle of the book started to lose me a bit. I do promise you though, that the ending makes up for it; it ends strong.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy teen reads and coming of age stories. This book does have some deep themes, like alcoholism.

Thank you to the author for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Review: Tween Hobo: Off the Rails


Title: Tween Hobo: Off the Rails
Author: Alena Smith, Kate Harmer
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: June 17th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Gallery Books

★★

Two and a half stars.

---

Tween Hobo is a book based on the Twitter account @TweenHobo, which follows the tales of a fifth grader who decides that she's had enough of her life in school and starts anew, jumping onto a freight train to travel the rails. Complete with both tweets and prose, this is a book that combines a Justin Beiber obsession of epic proportions, social media, and life stretched across America with snark, humor, and a sense of style.

I think my main issue with this book is that I have no idea who this book's intended audience is. On the surface, it's clearly a middle grade book. The little hobo protagonist is young, has obsessions with things like Twitter, Beiber, glitter, rainbows, and nail polish. So many girls have been through that phase. And yet, there's vocabulary and humor that seems geared towards adults. There's talk of cathouses and women of the night, and the word "dick" is used. Don't get me wrong, I'm not stranger to these themes or language, but when I'm expecting a breezy middle grade read, it's off-putting. Is it satirical? Maybe. I was left laughing at parts because it was humor I got, but then it turned to frustration because I'm not so sure a kid would find it funny for the same reasons.

Though I knew going in that this book was based off of social media, the obsession was a bit much. I don't think anyone should be quite so attached to the internet and social networking as she is, I don't care whether you're twelve or 57. The Beiber obsession, however, was completely dead on. I know girls that age who feel very much the same way about him, for whatever reason.

I found her humor at times to be brilliant. She sometimes seemed like a wise little adult. But then it would go back to talk of tweets and spelling words with z's at the end instead of s's and then the charm would be gone. It was cute at times but also glaringly unrealistic; no parents came after her, her phone was always charged and attached to wi-fi, etc.

I have no idea who to recommend this to, other than Beiber fans or Twitter fanatics. What age? I've got not a clue. All in all, I feel like a book isn't necessary. If you follow the Twitter account, you'll get a sense of the book, and in my opinion it could have all just stayed there.

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Review: Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row by Damien Echols & Lorri Davis


Title: Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row
Author: Damien Echols, Lorri Davis
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: June 17th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Blue Rider Press

★★★

Three and a Half Stars.

---

Yours for Eternity is a book written primarily through letters between Lorri Davis and Damien Echols. Echols is one of the men charged as the West Memphis Three, accused of killing three eight year old boys in the early nineties, even though there was no DNA evidence that linked him to the crime. He was on death row until as recently as 2011.

Now, this review might seem like it goes outside of the ordinary, in regards to what I usually review. However, you'd probably be surprised to learn that I have an extreme interest in things that are crime and prison related. Add in a romance component and make it nonfiction? Perfect.

I had heard of the West Memphis Three when I requested this book, but my background knowledge didn't really go far beyond "these three guys killed some kids." It was a crime that had enough attention to be topical, but it happened "before my time" so to speak, so I didn't really know details. I'm disappointed that this book didn't really help me gain any information about it. I feel like this book was expecting me to have been researched on the subject, when I am not. A background preface or a synopsis, nutshell version of the crime would have been nice, at the least. There's also a lot of reference to the documentary made about this case, Paradise Lost. While it did spark an interest in me (I will definitely watch this film), I hadn't seen that either.

With that little rant out of the way, I will say that this was an extremely interesting perspective and story that not many people can tell and still have it be based on real life. Lorri wrote letters to Echols for years, and was with him through it all. It's both beautiful and insane to me that one can maintain feelings and a relationship, whether it be friendly or more, with someone on death row, especially in such a talked about case. It was cool, for lack of a better word, to watch it all play out.

I hate to say this about real letters, but at times I felt it dragged on a bit too long. I really did enjoy reading these letters, but sometimes I felt myself just wishing for more. This book held my attention enough for me to finish the book and take away some things, and learn some things slowly but surely, but it's not a fast paced book.

Overall, this was a solid read that takes a fascinating real life circumstance and gives the reader a rare insight into life behind bars and those in their lives who continually correspond with them. If you are interested in things like crime and jails, or are familiar with the West Memphis Three case. It's worth reading.

Thanks to Netgalley and Blue Rider Press for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Stacking the Shelves [52]



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to show off the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. If a book catches your eye, *click* to go to the Goodreads page of that book.

First, I'd like to make an apology for the slow week. My wireless was down for a few days, so I am a bit behind on reviews. If you're waiting on one from me, I'm working on it, I promise!

Otherwise, this was a good week. Got quite a few reads, and got to go to a Chicago White Sox game, where I got to eat bacon on a stick. Bacon. On. A. Stick. It took the sting out of the loss a bit, as did the fact that it was Mullet Night. I love Chicago.

Netgalley:

Chop Suey, USA by Yong Chen
Madly, Deeply by Erica Crouch
North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland by Gunnar GĂ­slason
The Broken Heart Diet by Tom Formaro
If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann





Amazon Freebie:
The YA Readers Little Black Book by Various Authors


In the Mail:


Thanks Rachel! I LOVE IT.

Bonus Picture:
Bacon on a stick.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mini Review: Memory Collectors


Title: Memory Collectors
Author: Menton3, Ben Murphy, Ben Templesmith
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: June 24th 2014
Source: Netgalley & IDW Publishing

★★★★

Four Stars.

---

Three fetish models get tired of sitting by on the sidelines once they realize that there are being on this Earth that are a present and very real danger. These creatures feed on humans' memories, and the girls start the fight to take back and protect what's rightfully ours.

I have to say that I really loved the artwork for this book. It was dark and creepy, but also really detailed. I also really liked the way each of the three models were drawn, they look good while kicking some ass. The panel arrangement/plot formatting was easy to follow, and I didn't struggle with where to read next.

The plot itself was pretty good too. It's creepy to me that something can feed on memories. Could you imagine? *shudders* I certainly don't want to even imagine it. I like that three bored models get the chance to do something worthwhile and go on an adventure to shake things up.

One thing that I didn't like, and this is only in regards to the format I was given, is the huge watermarks on the middle of the page. I understand this is to thwart pirates and screenshots and what not, but it made some of the artwork hard to see, and got really annoying, really fast.

This was my first introduction to this set of characters, but I'd definitely come back for more. Fans of urban fantasy and horror, I'm looking at you. Thanks to Netgalley and IDW Publishing for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review: The Truth About Alice


Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: June 3rd 2014
Source: Netgalley & Roaring Brook Press

★★

Two stars.

---

Alice Franklin is a slut, and everyone knows it. The whole town has heard about how she slept with two guys at the same party. The rumors only get worse when quarterback and king of the school Brandon dies in a car accident, and Alice's dirty text messages are to blame. Everyone knows a snippet of truth, but each character has a reason to keep Alice as the school's laughing stock.

This is one of those times where I feel like I didn't read the same book as everyone else did. This book does address some very serious issues, but I personally don't feel this book did them justice in how they were dealt with.

First, I'm not really sure who this book's target audience is. It's set in high school, but the cattiness and maturity of some of the characters seems more like junior high school, even though "adult" topics like abortion are discussed and the language leans towards mature.

I also didn't feel the different POVs worked here. I understand why the author broke it up that way, but for me, three out of the five POVs blended together. The popular boy, the popular girl, and the newly popular girl all sound the same. Kurt (the nerd) was the only one who seemed to be written differently. He was also my favorite character. And Alice only has one chapter, so there's not much to go on one way or the other there. I found the language a bit odd too. No one in my high school said "freaky deaky" or so many "like so totally"s. Not to mention the text speak.

Kelsie was my least favorite, and is horrible & knows it. My biggest issues with her were not even her cutthroat approaches to becoming popular. Her reasoning for why she's mad at Alice is SO trivial, and Kelsie's revenge is soooo not equal. I'm glad that Alice calls her on it, but it still irritated me. I also found her big, dramatic secret rather anticlimactic, and thought it was cleaned up a bit too easily.

I also found issues with the rumors themselves. Rumors are often, of course, ridiculous. But let's say Alice really was texting Brandon and is a big slut- why would she still be blamed for his accident? He was the one drinking. He was driving. He texted while drunkenly driving. How does that equate to Alice's fault? Even if she was the biggest whore in Texas (and who cares?) it still wouldn't cause his crash unless she was actively trying to mount him. Elaine, the popular, addresses this silently, but it's never addressed out loud. I also didn't like that the janitor gave up cleaning the graffiti. What the hell? I'm also a bit surprised that in a small town like this one, no rumor came and knocked this one from attention within a school year.

I'm not really sure what the point of this book was, other than rumors are usually untrue (which is in the word's definition) and that people are assholes. I went to high school. I am aware of that fact without having read this book. Oh, and be careful who you trust.

This book got two stars from me because while I didn't care for most of the characters, or their various dramas, I did enjoy the Alice/Kurt plot line, and it helped me to get through the rest. I also DID want to finish the book because of these ranting feelings, which I suppose means it's not all bad. It wasn't badly written, I just didn't seem to "get" it. It's also a fairly quick read, so there's no harm in reading it to form an opinion for yourself; I'm not mad that I bothered to take the time to read it. Thanks to Netgalley and Roaring Brook Press for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Stacking the Shelves [51]



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to show off the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week. If a book catches your eye, *click* to go to the Goodreads page of that book.

Netgalley:
Some Boys by Patty Blount
Dream Boy by Madelyn Rosenberg, Mary Crockett



From the Author:
Styling Wellywood by Kate O'Keeffe


In the Mail:
Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear Thanks Kathy
Streetlights Like Fireworks by David Pandolfe Thanks David & Jean



It came with an iTunes giftcard- yay!

Be sure to check out my 18+ Giveaway by clicking here.

What did you add this week?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Review: Hungry by H.A. Swain


Title: Hungry
Author: H.A. Swain
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: June 3rd 2014
Source: Netgalley & Feiwel & Friends

★★★

Three stars.

---

In the future, there is no food. Not in the way we know it today. The environment is ravaged and decayed, and citizens depend on technology for their nutrition in the form of a medicine that chases away hunger. It works for everyone, or so the scientists think. Soon Thalia feels a weird hollow sensation, and her stomach growls; she has started to feel hungry despite her medication. After meeting a boy named Basil, she is quickly thrown into the web of lies and deceit of big corporations that rule the city, and has to defy her family in order to change and to find the one thing her body needs: food.

If I'm being completely honest, this book left me torn. I'm not really sure about it as it had both a fair amount of pros and cons, earning three stars and a relatively neutral opinion from me.

First I'll go over what I did like. The biggest plus that this book had was the concept. I was drawn in right away by the idea of no longer having or needing food. In Thalia's society, having food or food related objects is a crime. As the daughter of a chef and a foodie, the thought of that being illegal struck me as yes, bizarre, but also rather startling.

I also really liked the main character, Thalia. She was born of privilege to one of the creators of the medicine that eliminates hunger. However, despite her high status she wants more for everyone, not just herself. She thinks it's messed up how the upper crust lives compared to those on the outside, and she wants to work for a better life for everyone. While sometimes she made really questionable decisions, her and her best friend were likable.

There is a huge amount of technology mentioned in this book. Futuristic games, handheld Gizmos that know all about you, moving tattoos. I thought some of it was pretty cool. However, though I was fascinated by most of it, I was left with a feeling that it was too much too fast. Almost like I didn't get enough time to fully grasp all of the gadgets, what they do, and their names.

I also didn't really care for Thalia's love interest, Basil, and I was disappointed in the insta-romance that popped up between them. Sometimes such a sudden attraction can work itself out, but this one just left me sighing. I also felt like I didn't get a good sense of Basil's history and character.

All in all, this was an okay read. It was well-paced and hard to put down, and I was intrigued throughout the text. While I liked the concept and the main character, I didn't like her romance and some of the gadgets and ideals of this dystopian society. If you're a die hard dystopian fan, this book's worth checking out. However, if you don't like an instant love between characters, it's probably not for you.

Thanks to Netgalley and Feiwel & Friends for my copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My Best Friend, Maybe Blitz and Giveaway!



Title: My Best Friend, Maybe
Release date: June 3rd 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Colette has been bored and lonely ever since her best friend, Sadie, dumped her the summer before they stared high school. She tries to be perfect for everyone left in her life: her parents, her younger brothers, her church youth group, even her boyfriend, Mark. But Colette is restless. And she misses Sadie.

When Sadie tells Colette that she needs her old friend to join her on a family vacation to the Greek Islands, one that leaves in only a few days, Colette is shocked to hear their old magic word: need. And she finds herself agreeing.

Colette tries to relax and enjoy her Grecian surroundings but it’s not easy to go on vacation with the person who hurt you most in the world. When the reason for the trip finally surfaces, Colette finds out this is not only a fun vacation. Sadie has kept an enormous secret from Colette for years...forever. It’s a summer full of surprises, but that might be what Colette needs.

Excerpt:

Dad pulls up to the curb outside the international terminal.

When he looks at me, his eyes aren’t so wild anymore. They almost look sad. “You ready?”

“what’s going on, Dad?” I ask. It hits me that he somehow snuck me out of the house and now he’s ready to push me onto an airplane to some distant island, but he still hasn’t said anything real.

He shrugs. “Mom’s not always right,” he says.

But she is.

His eyes fall to his lap. “Neither am I,” he says. “Call your mother. Say good-bye.”

My hands shake as I finally turn on my phone.

She answers before the first ring. “Don’t get on that airplane, Colette,” she says, “Know that I don’t approve of this.”

“You know?” I ask.

“Your father left a note. Colette...” She trials off. “You heard me tell you not to go, right?”

“Yes,” I say.

“Well if you go anyway, be safe. Protect your body and your soul. I changed your phone plan so you can only call home, okay? It’s too expensive for you to call Louisa and Mark willy-nilly.” Mark. “But call when you arrive, okay? So we don’t have to worry.”

“Okay,” I say.

My hands aren’t shaking anymore. I’m relieved to hear her sound like any-old-mom.

“And, honey?” she says. She says it so softly I think she’s going to tell me to have a nice time. Or that she loves me.

“Yeah?”

“I hope you understand what a terrible choice you’re making.”

She hangs up.

I stare at the phone in my palm.

“She okay?” Dad says finally.

I shrug.

We get out of the car and I spot Sadie and her family climbing out of a limo curbed fifty feet away. She jumps up and down as soon as she sees me, her now purple-and-blond hair waving across her face. I can’t help smiling. I can see her mouth moving even from here. “You came! You came!”

I give my dad a quick hug, pull out my suitcase, yank up the handle of my rolly bag, and take my first step as the new, imperfect Coley.

“Colette?” Dad says.

I turn around, ready for him to sit me back in the car, to tell me this was all a test that I failed. Instead he holds out his hand and shoves a stack of bills into my fist. “For whatever you need, little lady. Have fun. I—we. We love you.”

Then he’s gone.

“Coley!” Sadie is running toward me so quickly that I only have a second to open my phone and click on my good-morning text from Mark.

“One more day! I love you!” the message says.

My heart beats faster and salt water threatens to escape from behind my eyeballs and I know he deserves so much better than this, so much more explanation, so much more of me. And me, too. I know I deserve a better good-bye than I’m going to be able to give him. But I only have ten seconds before she reaches me, before it’s time, before the bell rings on my perfect life and I dive into the drama with Sadie.

I type the seven letters i-m s-o-r-r-y. Then I press Send.

Here we go.

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About the Author
Caela Carter grew up in Basking Ridge, NJ and Baltimore, MD. She's been writing since she learned how to pick up a pen but before the writing thing got serious she spent six years teaching English to middle and high school students in Jacksonville, FL and Chicago, IL. Her debut novel, ME, HIM, THEM AND IT was published in 2013 by Bloomsbury. When she's not writing, Caela is a teacher of some awesome teens in Brooklyn, a Notre Dame football enthusiast, and a happy explorer in New York City.
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Guest Post, Giveaway, & Review: Never Say Never by Alison Tyler



Hello lovelies. I hope the week is treating you well so far. Today I'm excited to share with you a guest post from Alison Tyler, author of the book Never Say Never: Tips, Tricks, and Erotic Inspiration for Lovers. Keep reading for my review of the book as well as a chance to win a paperback of Never Say Never for your very own. Let's get started!

Guest Post:



Live a Kinky Life

I am old enough to have been married for 18 years. That is occasionally shocking to me. What’s more shocking to some of my friends is that the heat in my relationship is still—well—hot. Like, really hot.
So how do you get the hot?

Simple. I am here to give you all sorts of tips and tricks to dazzle yourself and your mate. See, I think what happens sometimes is that people simply forget to ask for what they want. They forget that it’s okay to lean in close—you know, really close—and whisper, “Oh, please…Do that. Oh, god, yeah. That.”

The “do that” is where I come in. Are you interested in voyeurism and exhibitionism (they go hand in hand, don’t they?), or are you all oral for cunnilingus and fellatio (don’t mind my slip of the tongue), or perhaps you’re ready to get your kink on with blindfolds, bondage, spanking, cross-dressing, and role-playing. I’ve got you covered—in a killer little latex dress, no less.

Never Say Never features sixteen full-length stories and a slew of snips and clips from my favorite authors in the business. Plus, I cast myself in the role of your dirty tour guide. I’ll punch your ticket, no problem.

Here’s a little bite-sized excerpt:

You don’t have to be a writer of erotica to live a kinky life. You only have to possess an imagination. That’s the sound bite, the one fortune cookie wisp of wisdom I hope to leave with you. When you start to explore what you want—what you need—you can turn your whole world upside down. And that’s a good thing. Thinking about feeling sexy all of the time is surreal. Imagine dressing for yourself and for your lover, finding the toys and the tools that arouse the two (or more) of you.

Soon you’ll realize that truth might not necessarily be stranger than fiction…but it definitely can be as fucking sexy. In fact, I think real sex—real life sex with all the unexpected qualities that go with it—is far more erotic than a make-believe world.

Take risks. There are two words to tattoo onto your forearm. If you’ve never watched porn, rent an X-rated movie together. If you’ve never tried a toy, visit a sex shop (in life or on line). Read each other smut out loud. Leave sexy notes (where you know the intended reader will find them). Give into your desires. Talk dirty. All the time. Make double-entendres. Then triple them.

Feel your heart race. Feel your body respond.

In the BDSM world, there is a concept of living a 24/7 life. 24/7 as the Master or slave in a relationship. But we’re all living 24/7 here. Nobody’s checking out at 23. Nobody’s cutting their weeks short to six. Make your relationship what you crave. Let your cup runneth over.

Live a kinky life.




My Review



Title: Never Say Never: Tips, Tricks, and Erotic Inspiration for Lovers
Editor: Alison Tyler
Format: Paperback, 232 pages
Pub. Date: April 15th 2014
Source: Cleis Press
Purchase: Amazon

★★★★

Never Say Never is definitely not what I was expecting it to be when I picked it up, but that's not at all a bad thing. This book uses fiction to take sex tips and advice to the next step, giving the reader a glimmering temptation of what desires and fantasies can be theirs if they dare to take that step.

Each chapter within Never Say Never takes a specific kink or fantasy element, like role-playing or spanking, and takes an in depth look. Tyler includes teasing little excerpts of her favorite stories that involve the kink, and then goes on to offer bulletpoints and tips on how to best go about it to ensure pleasure for both parties. After that, there is a full size short erotic story to satisfy the building tease that the samples of writing drummed up. Those little bites of fiction gave me a new reading list; I will be looking up some of their full texts for sure.

These erotic stories are all well-written, and with any anthology/short story collection, I of course liked some more than others. However, I feel that each was a fair representation of their topic, and they definitely made each chapter sound all the more appealing, and something that made that little chained up voice in the back of my mind say "Hey yes, this, please!"

That being said, I really wish there was more tips and advice. The fiction was great and definitely sizzling, and conjured up a million ideas on what to do in my own boudoir. However, I was just expecting more nonfiction tools of the trade. I feel like this is a book that will be great for couples who kiiiiiiiiiiinda know what they want in their love life, but need a little kick in the pants so to speak on how to get started.

Thanks to Cleis Press for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway!


Now, here's your chance to win a copy of Never Say Never!

The Rules:
-This giveaway will run from June 3rd to June 10th, 2014.
-This giveaway is open to those 18+ and is USA ONLY.
-It is open to anyone over that age who can legally enter, receive, and use their prize.
-One (1) winner will win a copy.
-This giveaway is sponsored wholly by the publisher.
-This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity.
-Winner will have 48 hours to reply, or a new winner will be chosen. Winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter.
-Invalid entries will be removed, so please don't cheat.
-Void where prohibited. Odds will vary. No purchase necessary.
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About the Author:


Alison Tyler is the editor of fifty anthologies for Cleis Press, as well as collections for Harlequin, Plume, and Masquerade. Her lasted novella, Those Boys, will be out soon from Go Deeper Press. Visit her often at alisontyler.blogspot.com where she hosts bizarre contests and asks you to take pictures of her books in the wild.