Saturday, May 31, 2014

Stacking the Shelves [50]

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.

This week was an alright one. I did far more sleeping than reading, but isn't that the point of summer vacation? (That's what I'm telling myself anyway!) Also, I've been using Twitter a lot more frequently, so if you wanna connect, add my handle @jayohsul. Now, on with the books.

MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
First Tango in Paris by Shelley Thrasher
The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince by Serena Valentino

In the Mail:
Blue Notes by Carrie Lofty Thanks Lindy!

In the E-Mail:
No Ordinary Mistress by Robyn DeHart Thanks Heather!

The Parasol Protectorate Boxed Set: Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless and Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #1-5)
by Gail Carriger
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

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

What did you add this week?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks

Title: Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks: Create Extraordinary Dishes from the Ordinary Ingredients in Your College Meal Plan
Author: Priya Krishna
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: June 3rd 2014
Source: Netgalley & Storey Publishing


Three stars.


I have to say that I was really excited to pick up Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks. I live on campus at my university, and the same fifteen scheduled meals get old very quickly. I was really hoping that this book would be my new favorite thing, but unfortunately, I am not in the percentage of students that can benefit much from this collection.

Almost all of the recipes that are included in this book require some sort of outside equipment, such as microwaves and panini presses. The dining halls at my school don't have any of this equipment, save for a waffle iron that we're explicitly not allowed to put anything in other than plain batter. In addition to the lack of equipment, I had issues with the ingredients used. Of course everything is subjective and easily enough substituted, but even so, my dining halls don't regularly have a lot of these items.

That being said, the smart, easy recipes in this book are all no-brainers and sound really delicious. If you live in a student apartment, or if you're even just new to living on your own, I think that this book is more geared towards you.

I would not recommend this book if your dining hall is anything like mine. However, if you live in student apartments or if your dining hall has more variety in ingredients and more usable equipment for its student customers, than I do think this book can seriously help you break away from the mundane food there. Thanks to Netgalley & Storey Publishing for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: Plus One

Title: Plus One
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: April 8th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)


Five stars.


Plus One is a young adult novel that takes place in an alternate version of the United States, where the population is divided. Half of the population, Rays, come out during the day time as we do now while at night, Smudges come out, having slept during the day. It is expected and required of you to stick to your given time, as guards are constantly checking up on America's citizens, and can learn everything about you by glancing at your cell phone. The main character Sol, a Smudge, finds herself on the run with a Ray, and finds herself falling in love despite its taboo. She must save herself and others, and figure out how far she's willing to fight for what she believes in.

This book is the one that got me out of my reading slump. Lately I've been reading a lot of books with cookie cutter plots and characters that I don't connect with, but this one blew all those ideas away from my thinking. I'm definitely impressed. I'd like to get my gush about the aesthetics out of the way first; look at this cover. It's stunning. It is what first got my attention, and I'd love a print of it for my wall if I'm being honest.

But now, for the actual story. What I loved most about Plus One was the society and alternate history that Fama wove in her book. It was detailed and well thought out, and it made me feel like I was living the story alongside Sol and D'Arcy. The setting was startling but relatable too. On one hand, you have a creepy, dystopian like setting where guards can know everything about you, from your job to the pills you've recently taken from one swipe on your phone. This world is still relatively foreign to me, and is disturbing on its own. But Fama blends that by making it set in America, in the Midwest, where I live every day. It gave the sci-fi aspects a startling realism. I do have to admit, I love when books are set places I've been, so that was another perk of this book for me.

And then there's the characters. I love both Sol and D'Arcy, the main characters throughout the course of the plot. Sol, bluntly, is a bad ass. She's a heroine that knows what she wants and how to get it, and isn't afraid to get into trouble (and a little bit dirty) in order to do so. Contrarily, D'Arcy took me by surprise a few times, and I loved his intelligence and his craftiness. I really liked reading about them together, watching their own plot play out in the middle of all the drama taking place.

Drama that, in my opinion, was well paced, gripping, and left me rapidly turning pages. I didn't want to put this book down. It sucked me in from the beginning and held my attention until I was out of pages to turn.

If you're a fan of books like The City of Ember, Cinder, and Downsiders, or dystopian young adult as a whole, this is a book I'd definitely recommend. Thank you so much to Netgalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: Magnificent Vibration

Title: Magnificent Vibration
Author: Rick Springfield
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: May 6th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Touchstone


Three stars.


I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I picked up this book. I saw the name Rick Springfield and fangirled a little since I'm a fan of his music, and added it to my Kindle. I definitely wasn't expecting the reading experience that I received, which left me with torn, relatively neutral feelings about it.

This book follows the main character, Bobby, who calls an 800 number he finds tucked away inside of a self-help book, and discovers that the phone number reaches the one and only big man upstairs, God. He picks up a partner, the very pretty Alice, and together shenanigans and debauchery ensue.

On the one hand, I give Springfield credit. The book made me chuckle out loud quite a few times. There's some very funny one liners and comebacks that kept my interest throughout. I also really liked the concept of someone getting a phone number that belongs to God. Could you imagine? It got me thinking, admittedly, about what I would do. What would I ask for? Would I take it seriously? Would I act as hilarious and crass as Bobby does?

However, on the other hand, I had a bit of issue with the dialogue in this book. While some of it was really amusing, the parts that weren't came across as choppy and forced. It didn't always feel like a natural, real conversation and I had to reread a few lines a few times to make sure I was following correctly.

The blurb on this book's Goodreads page labels it as "over the top", and I have to agree. This book squeezes sex, religion, God, the Loch Ness monster, hot nuns, and saving the world into one adventure. Unfortunately for me, over the top wasn't necessarily a good thing. It was bizarre, and in some parts it really worked, but fell short in other bits, leading me overall to an in-the-middle rating of three stars.

This book is good if you want a strange, often funny read, but be warned that there's some sex and language. In a nutshell, this book made me laugh and had a great concept, but didn't always "click" with me as a whole. Thanks to Netgalley and Touchstone for my chance to read this in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Excerpt, Giveaway & Review: 50 Shades of Kink by Tristan Taormino

Hello my beautiful readers. I hope you enjoyed the long weekend and soaked up some sun. Today I'm really happy to share with you an excerpt from 50 Shades of Kink by Tristan Taormino. This is a pocket sized introduction into the world of BDSM. If you, like so many others out there, enjoy reading erotic fiction but aren't quite exactly sure where to begin, let Tristan help you with this new book. As if a sneak peek wasn't enough, Cleis Press has decided that they want to help you unleash your inner kink, and has offered up a chance for you to win a copy of your very own.

This teaser is taken from Chapter 9 of 50 Shades of Kink entitled: Smack! Spanking, Paddles, and Crops

Sneak Peek:

Lots of people love a good spanking. Don’t just take my word for it: there are hundreds of adult movies devoted to spanking, dozens of erotic websites, and over the years, there has been more than one magazine devoted to the subject. For some, spanking goes along with fantasy role playing—naughty schoolgirls and unruly boys disciplined at the hands of a cruel teacher, a stern governess, or an unforgiving nun. Perhaps the play is closer to home, with Mommy or Daddy wielding the unrelenting hairbrush. Others use spanking as a tool of dominance and submission, an expression of control, humiliation, and punishment (or reward!). A spanking can be just a spanking, but decide in advance what the spanking will mean in the context of your play. Many pervy people report that spanking was the first kinky thing they did.

It can be dreaded and scary or sweet and sexy, but it is undeniably a very intimate act. Get your bottom in a comfortable position: lying over your lap, on all fours, or bent over the bed, a stool, or a table. Like most things, it’s best to start out slowly, beginning with light, gentle taps before moving on to full-handed slaps. Not only does this make the spanking more fun, but the bottom can usually take it longer and harder if you warm up the ass first. Begin alternating sides with a light spank, followed by a massage. Keep your hand as close to the ass as possible in the beginning; the farther away you take your hand, the less control you have over hitting the exact spot you are aiming for and the more likely you are to hit it too hard. Remember, the more aroused she is, the more enjoyable the spanking will be for both of you, so don’t hold back on stroking the other nearby parts, too!

As you move on to harder slaps, experiment with different sensations—the tips of your fingers versus your entire hand, the middle of the ass versus right where the cheek curves into the thigh. Add variety to your spanks by wearing a pair of soft leather gloves (for a different sensation), wetting your hand (for a stingier slap), or place your hand on a heating pad first (for a warm spank).

Many people get very turned on by spanking. Slapping someone’s butt cheeks can be gentle and sensual or deliberate and painful; either way, the consistent smacks release endorphins into the bloodstream and fuel the body’s arousal. While the ass is usually the target of a spanking, you can also slap the butt cheeks, thighs, and other fleshy parts of the body; always avoid bones and joints, such as the tailbone and the back of the knees, and organs like the kidneys. All these rules apply if you use your hand or one of the toys discussed next.

To add a little something more to a spanking, position a vibrator between her legs so it’s nestled against her clit exactly where she likes it. A wand- style clitoral vibrator with a large head, or a rounded one meant to rub against work really well for this.

With each spank, her body will press into the vibrator with a little more pressure and the vibration will feel more intense. Or slip a set of Ben Waballs (also called “Kegel balls” or “smart balls”) inside her. As you spank her butt cheeks, the balls will move against each other inside her, which will create a different kind of vibrating sensation. If she’s on her stomach or leaned over something, gravity will work in her favor, and the balls can actually massage her G-spot. Have her clench her pelvic muscles around the balls to intensify the sensation. You could also use an insertable vibrator or a dildo to combine penetration with a rhythmic spanking. As the spanking progresses, the toy will move inside her (or you can move it for her), delivering double the pleasure.

You can also spank or slap the genitals, but start out very gently. The tissue of the vulva and penis are much less fleshy than other parts and a lot more sensitive. To spank a vulva, put your hand up, fingers together facing the vulva. Start with light taps, and see how she responds. For some women, this will simply be too intense, but for others, especially once they are aroused, it can be both exciting and stimulating. Try concentrating on the pubic mound and above the clitoral hood; or, spank over the hood directly. In between slaps and taps, use your fingers to stroke her labia and clitoris. Talk to her, pay attention to her body language, and only escalate your spanks when you know she’s enjoying it. To spank a penis, hold the shaft with one hand and slap with the other. Try light taps on the head and see how he responds. You can increase the speed and strength of the slaps if he’s into it.

My Review

Title: 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM
Editor: Tristan Taormino
Format: Paperback, 162 pages
Pub. Date: March 18th 2014
Source: Cleis Press
Purchase: Amazon


Five stars.

This book is a must have for anyone looking to broaden their horizons when it comes to the bedroom. Like many readers, I have in fact read the 50 Shades trilogy. That being said, I was already well aware of the BDSM scene, how I fit into the spectrum of play, and what I liked. Of course, these things are always changing. But I'll admit, it worries me to think that there are readers of erotica who will jump in too far too fast.

50 Shades of Kink is the answer to that problem. First and foremost, this book is written in a way that anyone, whether you're vanilla as can be or an experienced Master, can understand. Taormino doesn't assume that the reader is familiar with the terminologies associated with the scene, and makes sure that every phrase, word, and acronym is thoroughly explained. Even I learned a term or two.

Also, and I'm aware of how simple this statement is, this book has a lot of good advice. The author lays everything out for you and breaks it down into step by step layman's terms. When necessary, there's even samples and drafts provided, including a contract and a limits chart. It's an extremely useful extra touch that I wasn't expecting.

Plain and simple, this is the book I wish someone would have handed me the first time I realized I had an interest in the scene. It would have saved me from so many creepy people, bad websites, and even worse erotic fiction that I'd visited hoping to make sense of it all. At the end of 50 Shades of Kink, there's a reading list of recommended books that I can't wait to get started on, and I can't stress enough how much I personally agree with her recommendation of the website

If you enjoy reading about dominance and submission or bondage but don't know where to start, this is the guide for you. From telling your partner you have these feelings to perfecting rough sex, Taormino's book is there to walk you through it all. So take a deep breath, keep an open mind, and get reading so that you can maximize your pleasures. I will be keeping this one on a shelf nearby, for certain.

Thank you so much to Cleis Press for my copy in exchange for my honest review.


Now, here's your chance to win a copy of 50 Shades of Kink!
The Rules:
-This giveaway will run from May 27th to June 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.
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves [49]

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.

Thank god it's summer y'all. In case you haven't noticed, that means I actually get to post more than one review a week. Huzzah! Now, this week is finally reasonable again: no overboard clicking for me! Shall we?

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
Rich Kids of Instagram: A Novel by The Creator of Rich Kids of Instagram, Maya Sloan
Tween Hobo: Off the Rails by Tween Hobo, Alena Smith, Kate Harmer

Amazon Freebies:
Trapped Under Ice by M.J. Schiller
Shattered Promises by Jessica Sorensen

Cook Like a Rock Star by Anne Burrell

I actually got the chance to meet her, watch her demo cooking, and get my book signed at the National Restaurant Association Restaurant Show in Chicago. It's a huge convention for chefs & people in the food service industry. My dad's a chef, so I'm lucky enough to tag along some years!

Be on the look out for some giveaways this week from Cleis Press here on my blog. What did you get?!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: Eat More Dessert

Title: Eat More Dessert: More than 100 Simple-to-Make & Fun-to-Eat Baked Goods From the Baker to the Stars
Author: Jenny Keller
Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
Pub. Date: April 8th 2014
Source: JaveCupcake Blog


Four and a half stars, rounded up.


Jenny Keller, baker to the stars, uses the book Eat More Dessert to share over 100 recipes and decorating tips with home cooks. Inside this book is a recipe for every occasion, and there are ideas in here fit for every level of baker, from beginner to more advanced.

I have to say, first and foremost, what I like best about this book is the fact that every recipe has a picture. Every. Single. Recipe. As I'm sure most of you know by now, when I get cookbooks, the more pictures the better. I like having a reference of what my end product should look like, and Eat More Dessert definitely delivers. On top of that, the photography is really well done, and makes every treat look positively delicious.

This book is unique in that it isn't divided by pastry type or difficulty; they are arranged by theme. Whether you're looking to plan a Princess Tea Party, Shipwrecked Pirate theme, or a holiday theme such as the North Pole Bakery, there are recipes here for you. Actually, there's more than recipes. Each themed party idea comes with advice and tips (and a picture reference) on how to set up a stunning looking dessert table. I'm a sucker for dessert tables (my Pinterest account is admittedly full of them), and the ones that Jenny demonstrates in this book are darling. I hope I get the chance to use them myself.

Another great thing about this book, is that most of the recipes stem from a handful of basic recipes that Keller gives at the very beginning of the book. In addition to that ease of production, a lot of the ingredients include store bought, name brand items. This saves time, of course, but also makes the recipes easier for the average home baker to replicate, especially since Keller's instructions are on point and easy to follow. So don't be intimidated by the pretty photography; you can make these desserts too!

The one thing that set me back just a skosh from this book is the amount of piping skill and equipment that some of the recipes call for. Jenny makes cookies and cookies that are gorgeous, but they are largely so because of the icing decoration. That is something that DEFINITELY can take practice. These require special tips, and some of the recipes suggest specific molds that I know I personally don't have. Neither of these are really enough to hinder the use of/my enjoyment of this baking book, but it was something that I did take notice of.

Whether you're planning a party or just really love making cute treats to sate a sweet tooth, this book is one to keep handy. There's easy recipes, plenty of pictures, and a wide variety of table themes. You might need a bit of extra equipment for some of the recipes, but everyone from beginners to the seasoned bakers at home can find something delicious to make.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Hope Is a Ferris Wheel

Title: Hope Is a Ferris Wheel
Author: Robin Herrera
Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
Pub. Date: March 11th 2014
Source: Middle Grade Madness


Four and a half stars, rounded up.


Star Mackie is a spunky young fifth grader with blue hair from the trailer park. She lives with her mom and her older sister Winter, a writer that Star adores. This adoration, mixed with the hardships of making new friends when you're the new girl, inspires Star to start a new club at school when she falls in love with the poems of Emily Dickinson. Over the course of her shaping the Emily Dickinson club, Star learns how to be herself, no matter how different her and her family may be, how to make (and keep) friends, and how to let go of the past and hope for the future.

I was blown away by this book. Though it may be categorized as middle grade/children's fiction, this book reaches right to the heart, no matter what the reader's age is. In no way was I expecting to have such deep and stirring feelings about a ten year old girl with a blue "mullet". And yet, I did. This book traverses a broad range of emotions- Star made my heart break, made me angry at some of her little classmates, and made me swell with hope that her life and her family would be okay after all. Sprinkle in some Emily Dickinson poetry and some sassy humor, as well as a broody older sister, and you have Hope Is a Ferris Wheel.

I felt that the characters were all fairly realistic, and as I sort of mentioned above, are incredibly relatable even though they are ten and sixteen, and I am in my twenties. I'm old enough to have gone through some of the Mackie family's issues, or know friends who have, and it made this book an extremely contemporary, real look at life.

I admit that in addition to the tie in of a favorite poet, Dickinson, the main reason why I wanted to read this book was the cover art. I know that's bad and everything, but the cover of this book is even more gorgeous in person than the internet suggests. I love it.

I do feel like the end rushed a bit too quickly, but other than that I have very little issue with this book. I really wish I could have heard more of Winter and Star's story, but it wasn't a cliffhanger and I completely understand the author's decision with ending the book the way she did.

This book is perfect for kids from middle school up to adult age, and I especially recommend it for those who were/are the "different" kid, the new kid, or the picked on kid. I also recommend this to anyone with an interest in poetry, as it is a heavy theme throughout this book.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Stubborn

Title: Stubborn
Author: Jeanne Arnold
Release Date: January 6th 2014
Purchase: Amazon


With a train ticket, a bad attitude, and an unfortunate scribbling of obscenities across her forehead, seventeen-year-old Avery Ross is tossed out of the frying pan and into the fire when she’s sent from New York to the vast oil field region of North Dakota. When a green-eyed boy with a sultry Texan accent comes to her defense, Avery has no clue that his actions will lead her into a passion-charged summer, full of temptation and loss.

Defiant and relegated to work at her aunt’s boarding house, Avery discovers a connection between her aunt and the striking boy. He and his brothers are seeking revenge for the wrongful death of their sibling, and Avery becomes entangled in their battle over oil rights, loyalty, and love. Avery falls for the brooding, younger brother, Gabriel Halden, against her aunt’s forewarnings and creates more tribulations than any of them could anticipate.

*Click here to go to the Goodreads page!*

My review:


Three and a half stars, rounded up.

This book has a lot going for it. My personal favorite aspect was the setting. It's set in the oil fields of North Dakota. Now, I'm from the Midwest, but I'm from theurban Midwest. Things like oil, mining, and farming communities are fascinating to me because I've never been around it. My own neck of the woods is home to steel mills and railways. I really like the depth with which Jeanne Arnold wrote about the oiling lifestyle. I've got no idea how accurate it is but it makes for a really unique setting that I've never read about before, in fiction or otherwise.

I also really liked the set of three Halden brothers that Avery meets, namely the youngest romantic interest Gabe. He's dark and broody and a cowboyish Texan complete with a twang in his accent. Where may I sign up to receive one, please? He was not overtly moody without reason, and I liked the way Avery got to know him over the course of the novel. That being said, I didn't really care too much for Avery herself. I often questioned her decisions and I didn't really "click" with her so to speak. I just kind of felt like she wasn't as well written as some of the other characters.

While there is a lot of action in this book that keeps it moving along at a fast pace, things like murder and revenge and romance, I felt some things were too glossed over, namely abuse. I felt that it didn't necessary get the respect and delicacy it deserves in this book.

All in all this is a solid book with swoon worthy southern, hard-working male characters, and I would definitely consider reading the next book in this series. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Jeanne Arnold is the author of STUBBORN and other young adult romances. At a young age she found her creative outlet in art, and for years her fictional characters came to life in drawings and paintings, until they demanded a voice. Now they grace the pages of her stories. Jeanne shares her time with her fictional teenage counterparts and her human family in Central New York.
Website | Twitter

Be sure to follow the rest of the tour here!


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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Double Review: Emily and the Strangers & The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

Title: Emily and the Strangers #1
Authors: Mariah Huehner, Rob Reger, Emily Ivie
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: May 27th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Dark Horse Comics


Four Stars.


I have to admit, this is the first graphic novel/comic that I've read of Emily the Strange. I am familiar with her and love her style, and own quite a few clothing pieces with her on it. I'm one of the "strange" ones out there, pale with a love of solitude and dark clothes, and therefore am definitely in the target audience for these books.

I really just adore her as a character. She's not afraid to be herself and be different, and that's a trait that's admirable no matter your age or style. In this particular installment of Emily and the Strangers, Emily has to learn to work with others in order to win battle of the bands. I, like the main character, am not all too big of a fan of working with others in most capacities, so I related and laughed with her as she struggled to make this arrangement work in order to get what she wants.

There's plenty of strange and dark in this book, which makes me happy. The artwork is well detailed, and rather dreary, but that is exactly what I wanted and anticipated when I set my eyes on this graphic novel. The plot also includes plenty of kick ass rock music, a cast of strangers, and the grand prize of a haunted guitar. Pretty rad right?

I liked this overall and would read the next one for sure. Fans of Emily the Strange and things that are a little weird and macabre would also enjoy this I think. Thanks to Netgalley & Dark Horse Comics for my chance to review this.


Title: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #1-6)
Authors: Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, Becky Cloonan
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: May 7th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Dark Horse Comics


Four and a half stars, rounded up.


I got an unhealthy amount of excited when I came across this collection. I am a huge fan of Gerard Way's other comic/graphic novel work, and I was eager to give The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys a chance, and I'm really glad I did.

The plot takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting, given a more twisted tone and cast of characters in Battery City. This world contains a girl who has to step in and find her place in order to be the one that the world needs to protect them from conformity in the form of things such as mega corporations. Not to mention, of course, the androids and robots and other cool creatures that make an appearance.

The books (this one contains the first six installments of the Killjoys graphic novels) may be a little hard to get into at first, since it's a pretty bizarre story that's only heightened by the bright, in your face artwork throughout, which I loved by the way. However, if you're a fan of My Chemical Romance, and especially if you have watched the videos/listened to the album Danger Days, these phrases, ideas, and people will be far more familiar to you. That being said, you don't have to be an MCR fan to enjoy Way's work. This is a fairly quick read with a lot of plot and the kind of twisted but powerful themes and writing that I've come to love from Gerard Way. If you like your graphic novels with a bright cast, brighter art work, and the idea that we all should be able to be who we are in a world that wants us to be the same, than you can appreciate this book. Thanks to Netgalley and Dark Horse Comics for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Since Forever Ago Blitz & Giveaway!

Series: Wunderland Press
Release date: May 13th 2014
Publisher: TSW Books

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Fresh off the heels of a devastating breakup, Riley Benson is a mess. But with her ingenious plan to become a ball-busting heartbreaker herself, she’s pretty sure she’ll survive. After all, what better way is there to get revenge than to move on?

Riley’s determined to become the perfect bachelorette—she’s going to drink like a bro, belch like a beast and swear so much that she’ll make even the most seasoned sailors blush. After all, those are the qualities that every guy’s secretly looking for…. aren’t they?

Max Fletcher is in love with the girl who gave him chicken pox and his first broken leg. When his best friend seems to finally be out of the picture, he can’t help but want to keep Riley all to himself. And, after coaching her with the very best of the very worst love advice, it seems as if he might actually get what he's wanted after all those years. But just as the two come to the realization that they're actually kind of perfect for each other, along comes a secret that threatens to tear them apart.

About the Author
Olivia Besse is a rookie to the literary scene, moonlighting as a writer to keep what's left of her sanity! Stay tuned for relatable New Adult novels penned by an actual new adult!
Facebook | Website

Buy SINCE FOREVER AGO by clicking here!


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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review: Saugatuck Summer

Title: Saugatuck Summer (Saugatuck #1)
Author: Amelia C. Gormley
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: May 19th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Riptide Publishing


Five Stars.


Topher Carlisle is a twenty-one year old mess. He has a really bad family history of a broken home, is on the verge of losing his college scholarship, and is trying to come into his own as he stays in his best friend's summer house in Saugatuck, Michigan for the summer. Unexpected kinks get thrown into his plan when he has an affair with his best friend's straight and married father, and meets a sexy artist named Jace. Topher has to figure out who he really is and who he wants to be in the whirl of one fabulous roller-coaster ride of a summer.

To be honest, my blurb doesn't really do this book justice. The thing is filled with drama and feelings from cover to cover, and I mean that in the best and most positive way. There were times that I laughed out loud, there were times when I got really angry, and times when my heart broke for Topher. Being a 22 year old queer kid in college from a broken home, I felt that I connected to him on an emotional/mental level and it made me cling to his story from start to finish. I really admire the depth that Gormley gave to her characters without making them seem too cliche.

I'll admit to you all, I picked up this book because I used to go to Saugatuck in the summers of my youth. For me, the setting helped a lot with my enjoyment of this novel. We spent a lot of our summers up near Traverse City, Michigan, stopping at several towns along the way, and while we were there, so when Gormley mentions these towns, I've heard of them and can happily picture them in my mind. Plus, Topher's partner Jace is from Chicago like me, so the references to things like Boystown again helped me to relate to the story.

And then, of course, I have to talk about the sex. This book is the hot, steamy kind of read that is best enjoyed on the beach or by the poolside in the bright summer sun while sipping on something cold and fruity, ideally with a plastic sword of fruit wedged into it. The adult scenes were well-written and detailed without being overtly crass, which in my opinion is a hard line to toe regardless of genre of erotic romance. Another important note is that this book is not about sex. That is, there is plot and rising action and all those things, that just happens to have some intense and smoldering sex scenes peppered throughout.

This book is a fairly rare five out of five stars from me. In a nutshell, the gorgeous Michigan beach setting, the amount of drama, the hot sex scenes, and the likable, relatable characters all meld together to create one really addictive summer read. This is a book that I will need a physical copy of at some point. BUT be warned; this book contains homosexual sex, graphic language, and potential triggers for abuse. Thank you so much to Netgalley and Riptide Publishing for my chance to read this one.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Stacking the Shelves [48]

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 all. Take a deep breath with me- finals are over and there's no more packing! I'm finally settled back at home for the summer which means more time to read- and also presents. I haven't been home since Christmas, and I came home to a plethora of books that were sent to this address as opposed to my school address on the other side of the state. That being said, this is going to be a reaaaaaaaaaally long post. Sorry in advance!

Firebug by Lish McBride

Amazon Freebies:
Surrender by Rhiannon Paille

From the Author [ebooks]:
American Angst by Laurel Osterkamp

In the Mail:
Insatiable: Porn - A Love Story by Asa Akira Goodreads First Reads
Falling in Honey by Jennifer Barclay Thanks Jennifer!
Rise by Anna Carey Thanks Bewitched Bookworms!
The Prosperous Pagan by Kathy Cybele Goodreads First Reads
Sous Chef by Michael Gibney Goodreads First Reads
Spellcaster by Claudia Gray Thanks Bewitched Bookworms!
A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn Goodreads First Reads
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth Thanks Bewitched Bookworms!
Hope Is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera Thanks Robin & Aeicha!
Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson *signed* Thanks Terry & Aeicha
Eat More Dessert by Jenny Keller Thanks JavaCupcake!
Wait for You by J. Lynn *signed* Thanks Elizabeth!
The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by Joyce Magnin Thanks Brooke!
Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise by Joyce Magnin Thanks Brooke!
Griselda Takes Flight by Joyce Magnin Thanks Brooke!
Blame It On The Mistletoe by Joyce Magnin Thanks Brooke!
Beauty's Daughter by Carolyn Meyer Thanks Carolyn & Gabrielle
The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan Thanks Breanne!
Dark Aemilia by Sally O'Reilly Goodreads First Reads
Steering Toward Normal by Rebecca Petruck Thanks Rebecca & Aeicha
W.W.W.O.M. Witches, Wizards and Winks?...Oh My! by Mary Puma Goodreads First Reads
The Unwanted by Jeffrey Ricker Thanks Cayce & LGBT Monthers!
On Grace by Susie Orman Schnall *signed* Thanks Melissa!
Feedback by Robison Wells Thanks Bewitched Bookworms!

And some swag!

Thanks Terry Lynn Johnson, WordSpelunking, T. Lynne Tolles, & S.E. Green

Be on the lookout next week for a few blog stops and giveaways. What did you get?