Monday, December 31, 2012

My Top Ten Books of 2012

Kala's Top Ten Books of 2012

In no particular order, here are my ten favorite books from this year.  My favorite genres are, in case it wasn't obvious by my reviews, young adult/new adult romance and paranormal.  Some of these books were published prior to 2012, but I didn't read them until this year. 

Slammed by Colleen Hoover *

When I bought Slammed, it was still a self published book and I had zero expectations.  I was absolutely blown away by Hoover's story and have since bought and read and devoured and enjoyed her other two books.  Can't wait to see more!

* Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

I heard about this from some reviewers I follow on Goodreads, all of whom LOVED it.  I definitely did too!  Can't wait to read the sequel in 2013.

* Easy by Tammara Webber *

Easy is another one that was self published when I first read it and it totally WOWed me.  This was the second "New Adult" book I read and it's what got me hooked on the genre.

* Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama *

The best mermaid story I've ever read.  Hands down.  Every other mermaid book I've read has been fluffy and silly.  Monstrous Beauty blew me away.

* Daughter of Smoke and Bone / Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

These two books are probably the best books I've read. Ever.  Laini Taylor is not only obscenely creative, but also ridiculously talented. 

* Saving June by Hannah Harrington *

I wasn't sure what to expect when I was approved for this one on, but I was really pleasantly surprised when I finished this amazing novel about a girl dealing with the aftermath of her sister's suicide.

* On Dublin Street by Samantha Young *

I call this book "What 50 Shades SHOULD Have Been" because it's all the good parts (the hot, sexy alpha male lead, the steamy sex scenes, the romance) without all the bad (abusive stalker male lead, wussy pathetic female lead).  I haven't read any of Samantha Young's young adult stuff, but she's definitely a huge talent in the erotic romance field.

* Insurgent by Veronica Roth *

The sequel to Divergent wasn't quite as good as it's predecessor, but it was still pretty amazing!  I love this series - it's unique and interesting and fun.  Roth has done a great job creating a world that will suck you in from page one.

* Something Like Normal by Trish Doller *

This one is told from a male point of view about a soldier dealing with PTSD after coming back from the war.  That sounds pretty heavy, but the book is actually a sweet love story between him and a girl he used to know from high school who helps him deal with his demons.  Great book!

* Onyx / Opal by Jennifer Armentrout *

Who would have thought an alien love story could be this awesome?  Not me!  But it IS!  I absolutely LOVE the Lux series and, fortunately, Jennifer Armentrout is a prolific and quick writer.  No waiting years for sequels in this series!  THANK GOD! 

Hope you guys enjoyed the list!  Happy New Year to everyone, and here's to a bunch more great books in 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Title: Hopeless
Author: Colleen Hoover
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

Hopeless on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:
Colleen Hoover is so ridiculously talented. Slammed was, by far, one of the BEST books I read in 2012. The sequel wasn't as good, but still miles and miles ahead of almost everything else I read this year. As soon as I found out about Hopeless, I put it on my to-read list and bought and read it the day it came out.


This book is amazing! I'll admit, I liked Slammed better, but only because Slammed was a little more innocent and fluffy compared to this. Hopeless tackles much bigger obstacles and Colleen Hoover handles them beautifully.


There is another book with a slightly similar premise - The Boy Who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window. When I got it, I was looking forward to reading a book about a girl dealing with the aftermath of childhood molestation. That author completely screwed it up. When I started reading Hopeless and realized that it was also about a girl dealing with the same issues, I was a little worried... but I shouldn't have been. It was handled so perfectly, and so realistically.

The main character of Hopeless, Sky, is a messed up 17 year old girl. She has been home schooled her entire life and her mother has finally agreed to let her go to a real high school for her senior year. Unfortunately, Sky's best friend, Six, has helped her get a reputation as a slut.

Sky has made out with several of the local boys, but she mostly does it to try and feel something. Unfortunately, she doesn't feel anything but numbness when she's with them. She spends the entire time staring at her ceiling, bored out of her mind.

Because of this, Sky is surprised to meet Holder, a guy who sparks something in her that is new and scary and exciting.

As Sky's relationship progresses, the secrets about her past begin to unfold and WOW. I wasn't expecting some of it! The molestation part isn't a big secret - that is pretty obvious from the first or second flashback. But the rest of it? Definitely wasn't expecting!

I absolutely fell in love with Sky and Holder. They're both flawed but likable, something so rare in YA/NA these days. I'm constantly hating the main characters of novels but in this case, I adored both of them.

Pretty sure Colleen Hoover was already on my auto-buy list, but if she wasn't she has definitely solidified her spot there now!
5 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Creatures
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Beautiful Creatures on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

I have mixed feelings about this one. I think it was way too long and in ways it reminded me of A Discovery of Witches - not in the plot so much as in the writing style and pacing.

Beautiful Creatures is really slow. It starts off decent, but slows wayyyy down. Ethan Wate is the main character, and he falls for new mysterious girl Lena. We eventually learn that Lena is a witch who is scared to start a relationship because at age 16 she will be "claimed" by either Light or Dark. She has no choice in the matter and is afraid she will become Dark.

The premise is not bad, but I found most of the book to be quite dull. There are constant flashbacks to a Civil War version of Ethan who is in love with relative of Lena's. The flashbacks are uninteresting and predictable and way too long.

The thing is, I felt like Beautiful Creatures was RIGHT THERE on the edge of being good, but just kept falling short. Lena's uncle was good in the few scenes that he's in, but he's used sparingly. I wanted so badly to like it, but kept getting bored between the sparse action sequences. I found myself skimming and I didn't miss anything important - a sure sign that stuff could have been cut without it being a big deal.

It wasn't the worst book I've ever read, but I had to rate it two stars as that's Goodreads' version of "Eh, it was okay." I have zero interest in checking out the sequels either.
2 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Make it Last by Bethany Lopez

Title: Make it Last
Author: Bethany Lopez
In a small town, it's hard to recover from being dumped by your high school sweetheart. That's just what Briana has to do after Colin leaves her to follow his dreams. She focuses her energy into her friendships and the pursuit of her own goal of becoming a chef. Just when she finally feels like she's on the right path, he comes back to town.

Colin knew breaking up with Briana before leaving for college was the right thing to do. He was determined to leave small-town life behind forever, and that included his high school girlfriend. But when a sports injury puts him on the sidelines, he's forced to return home. Seeing Briana again brings back a lot of memories, and Colin wonders if he made the right decision. It doesn't take long for him to realize he wants her back, and this time, he wants to make it last.

Make it Last on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

I didn't hate Make it Last, but I was really unimpressed by it. The book is short - very short. I read the entire thing in about an hour, give or take a few minutes. Not sure on the page count, but it's barely longer than a novella.

The basic storyline is simple and sounded good, but the biggest issue for Make it Last was lack of conflict. Briana and Colin dated during high school. Colin went away to college and dumped Briana because he didn't want to do the long distance thing and he wanted the freedom to have fun at school while playing football and joining a frat. Three years later, he got injured and lost his chance at the NFL and returns to town. Briana, still bitter about him dumping her, supposedly hates him.

This is where the conflict should have been, but just wasn't. There was a tiny bit the first few times they run in to each other. Briana is a little snarky, but generally just is politely cold to him. They finally have their big blowup and within minutes are having sex and "back together." That happens around the halfway point. From there on, there is nothing. They make out, have sex, talk about their future. It's just dull.
2 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

In Flight by R.K. Lilley

Title: In Flight
Author: R.K. Lilley
When reserved flight attendant Bianca gets one look at billionaire hotel owner James Cavendish, she loses all of her hard-won composure. For a girl who can easily juggle a tray of champagne flutes at 35,000 feet in three inch heels, she finds herself shockingly weak-kneed from their first encounter. The normally unruffled Bianca can't seem to look away from his electrifying turquoise gaze. They hold a challenge, and a promise, that she finds impossible to resist, and she is a girl who is used to saying no and meaning it.

Bianca is accustomed to dealing with supermodels and movie stars in her job as a first class flight attendant, but James Cavendish puts them all to shame in the looks department. If only it were just his looks that she found so irresistible about the intimidating man, Bianca could have ignored his attentions. But what tempts her like never before is the dominant pull he seems to have over her from the moment they meet, and the promise of pleasure, and pain, that she reads in his eyes.

In Flight on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

This book is about as blatant of a 50Shades knockoff as you can get.

Bianca is a drop dead gorgeous (but she doesn't think so) flight attendant who is a 20-something year old virgin (of course) and has a traumatic past.

James is a billionaire who is the absolute best looking guy in the entire world (nicknamed Mr. Beautiful by Bianca).

Their first real meeting is on a plane while he is in first class and she's his flight attendant. He propositions her. She declines. He does it again. She declines again. Forcefully. He continues to try and proposition her. She VERY CLEARLY and VERY PURPOSEFULLY declines him AGAIN. What does he do at this point? He corners her in the galley in the plane and forces himself on her. Of course, he has magic lips and she immediately loses control and starts willingly making out with him because OMG SHE JUST CAN'T STOP IT FEELS SO GOOD.

After he stops half raping her in the galley, she tells him again she's not interested. So what does he do? He talks her other flight attendant best friend in to telling him where Bianca will be partying that night and he shows up. James arrives at the bar and starts berating Bianca for drinking (the girl is 23 and hasn't had a drop of alcohol in 2 years). Of course she gets really drunk and her BFF roommate decides that this creepy stalker is JUST the right person to take Bianca home while he stays at the bar. (Best friend ever!)

So James takes her home. He starts stripping her naked and she resists at first, but then because he's so super awesome she lets him get her naked. But he is a stand up guy. He tells her he is going to fuck her so hard she won't ever want another man again. But not while she is drunk! He just waits til the morning and in an really unsexy scene he grabs her boobs (and OMG IT IS SO AMAZING SHE PRACTICALLY HAS AN ORGASM RIGHT THERE!). He then gets her off with his fingers in about three seconds flat and of course, virginal Bianca feels bad for leaving him unsatisfied so she gives him a blowjob (her first time ever!). And of course, her first blow job ever, and she swallows on purpose (suuuure!).

I'm only 17% of the way through this book and I don't think I can take it anymore. I should have stopped after the airplane scene because it was so revolting. Do you realize what he did in that plane is ILLEGAL? If I girl declines you multiple times and you force yourself on her, THAT IS A
CRIME. Of course it's not in this book because "No" means "Yes" for Bianca (GREAT MESSAGE TO SEND TO ALL WOMEN!).

I am obviously NOT the audience for these types of books. I think it's absolutely disgusting to romanticize an ABUSIVE STALKER. Ladies. A man forcing himself on you after you said no is BAD. I don't care how hot he is. He just FORCED HIMSELF ON YOU AFTER YOU SAID NO. THIS IS NOT SEXY. THIS IS NOT ROMANTIC. A man who keeps purposely showing up at places where you're going to be AFTER you've told him you're not interested is called a STALKER. This also is NOT romantic or sexy!

What the fuck is wrong with people? Seriously?
1 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Avoiding Responsibility by K.A. Linde

Title: Avoiding Responsibility
Author: K.A. Linde
Lexi has finally given up her once destructive relationships and moved onto bigger and better things with a sexy new man in town. Just when she is starting to figure it out with him, her world is tilted once again with a phone call from none other than Ramsey Bridges. A year after his entrance into her life, Ramsey is trying to make amends and does the one thing she never expects—invites her to Jack's wedding.

The wedding she had evaded at all costs. But no matter what she does, Lexi can't seem to escape her past with Jack. But does she really want to?

Despite the explosive chemistry between Lexi and Ramsey, she is skeptical about trusting him after everything that has happened. When things are amiss with him, she starts questioning his motives. Can Ramsey be the one to remove Jack from Lexi's life permanently or should she move on with her blossoming new life?

Avoiding Responsibility on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

This book was almost as much of a roller coaster as the first.

When Avoiding Responsibility starts, it's a year later and Lexi isn't speaking to Jack or Ramsey. She's dating some unknown mystery guy and is surprised when Ramsey calls to ask her to Jack's wedding. She is a badass and says HELL NO. At first.

Then we start flashing back to see what happened over the last year, and we find out about the relationship that started and ended between Lexi and Ramsey.

I admit, I was left feeling unsatisfied at the end of Avoiding Commitment. Not because it was a cliffhanger, but because I felt like Lexi just got totally shit on by the end (by Jack and Bekah) and it felt like the "bad guys" won. The only part of the ending of Avoiding Commitment I liked was Lexi finally standing up to Jack and realizing how poisonous he was to her.

Then Ramsey asks her to the wedding. She says no, of course, but then she finds out Ramsey is in New York WITH JACK for Jack's bachelor party. Somehow, Lexi ends up at Jack's party where a drunken Jack begs her to come to his wedding.

Of course, Lexi agrees. This part bugged me. I hated that she would agree to go to his wedding to Bekah. There was absolutely no reason for her to go, other than to make herself feel like total shit. Again.

But she does go. And there is a bunch of the same sort of underhanded passive aggressive conflict between Lexi and Bekah, ridiculous sexual tension between Lexi and Jack, and the hint of something really special between Lexi and Ramsey.

At the end of Avoiding Commitment I was completely Team Jack, hoping and praying for some sort of redemption in this book.


That redemption doesn't come. However, I was okay with it. While the end of this book has some loose ends, I felt better about things. I felt that Bekah finally got a tiny bit of what she deserves. I felt like Jack stooped so low that I didn't even want him to redeem himself anymore. And Ramsey stepped up and I'm really hoping that things work out for him and Lexi in book 3. I'm really hoping that Bekah and Jack both end up alone, but I'm starting to realize they deserve each other and will probably make each other miserable.

K.A. Linde has a real talent for creating these realistic and flawed characters that you can't help but feel SOMETHING for. Her books also flow so well that you just lose yourself in the pages and suddenly it's two hours later and you're done and you're wondering what the heck just happened.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what else she comes out with and she's going on my auto-buy list for sure.

4 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Upcoming Reviews

I have been reading up a storm lately, but I've been slacking on reviewing!  I generally probably only review about a third of the books I actually read and I don't see that changing, but lately it's been even worse!  These are the books I'm currently reading and reviewing before the end of the year:

And these are books I've recently completed reading and would like to write reviews on before the end of the year as well.  We'll see if the holidays and work interfere with that!

Happy reading all!  And Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Opal by Jennifer Armentrout

Title: Opal (Lux#3)
Author: Jennifer Armentrout
No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

Opal on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

I'm not very good at writing spoiler free reviews, but I'll try here.

Opal starts off right around where we left off in Onyx. I hadn't touched this series since I read Onyx, but I was fortunately able to remember enough to not be lost when I started Opal.

Katy has finally accepted her feelings for Daemon and they've started what could be termed as a "real" relationship. And I LOVE it! Daemon is so sweet here, especially with his adorable date nights. He's still Daemon, and Katy is still her same snarky self, but together they're just so cute. I don't generally fangirl over book guys, but the Daemon in Opal is really starting to bring it out in me!

The plotline with the government and the other aliens is pretty tumultuous here and just keeps getting better and better! There is plenty of action mixed in with all the romantic Katy/Daemon time.

Jennifer Armentrout also will absolutely KILL you with the ending. As soon as I finished I immediately went to look up the release date of Origin (the next book in the series) and whined profusely when I saw how long I'd have to wait. UGH KILLER CLIFFHANGER ARMENTROUT! EVIL EVIL WOMAN!

If you liked Obsidian and Onyx, you'll like Opal. For me, Opal was like a combination of all the good stuff in Obsidian and Onyx - sexual tension and romance between Katy/Daemon, crazy alien action scenes, government intrigue and mystery, an ending that will leave you absolutely clamoring for more... what else could you ask for?

4 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Falling by Jolene Perry

Title: Falling
Author: Jolene Perry
Dana is definitely not the kind of girl to be living in the dump of a wilderness lodge she finds herself waitressing in. But when Craig, the sexy cop who’s handling the murder case where she’s a witness, suggests it—it seems like a good idea. Now she’s got no BMW, no shopping and an assortment of hairy Alaskan men who definitely belong in a run-down old lodge. Her exciting visits from Craig are getting less exciting, and the lodge owner, Jason, is quickly moving from grouchy and judgmental, to funny, smart and unexpectedly complex.

Jason knows exactly the type of girl Dana is—beautiful, spoiled, and high maintenance. She’s everything that hurt him in the past, and why he now lives as far away from city life as he can manage. If he wasn’t so hard-up for help, he would have never said yes to his friend, Craig. Despite his reservations, Dana becomes the perfect antidote to everything in his life—both his disaster of a divorce and precocious little sister who shows up on his doorstep. Jason realizes he’s falling for Dana too late to stop it, or even slow it down.

As the trial approaches, Dana knows it’s time to move on with her life—but is her life back in the city she left or with a guy she never meant to fall for?

Falling on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

Falling wasn't bad, but it also wasn't anything that really excited me either. When I finished it, I nearly forgot about it until I went to organize all my recently read books on the Kindle and remembered it.

The story starts off with this weird scene where Dana (our lovely heroine) is in a car crash and I guess witnesses a murder. In the hospital, she meets Craig the cop, who acts completely inappropriately and seduces her. In order to keep her safe until the trial, he sets her up in a broken down lodge run by his WIFE'S cousin, Jason.

Jason isn't a big fan of Dana, as he's apparently used to Craig bringing his girlfriends up to his lodge so he can screw them behind his wife's back. Dana doesn't feel much guilt about sleeping with another woman's husband because he claims the marriage is "rough."

Eventually Dana figures out what a jerk Craig is and actually starts feeling bad about being the other woman, but up until that point I was not a big fan of her either. And that takes awhile to happen, unfortunately.

Jason is a reclusive guy going through a divorce. Once Craig and Dana split up, he and Dana slowly start acting on their own attraction to each other and begin a relationship. Dana does all sorts of dumb things like go on to his computer without his permission, copy his work in progress novel, READ it, and sends it to an agent to read.

While Dana had good intentions, going on someone's computer and reading their personal stuff is such a huge violation of privacy that Jason doesn't get nearly as upset about as he should considering how whiny he is about being such a private person. Dana's reason for violating Jason's privacy and her excuse is "We weren't getting along back then." And apparently that's good enough for Jason.



Overall, the love story between the two is cute and I liked it. My issues with the book were the minor things listed above and the fact that as a whole, the book just doesn't have that ZING factor. I was much more impressed with Perry's collaborative effort with Nyrae Dawn (Dizzy) and because of that, this book was a little disappointing.

3 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot

Title: Unmaking Hunter Kennedy
Author: Anne Eliot
After a car accident--an event he considers a prank gone bad--pop star, Hunter Kennedy is forced to hide out with his aunt in small-town Colorado. He’s supposed to rest, heal his scars and attend high school in disguise until the press dies down. But he only wants to get back to work.

Worse, the girl who’s been assigned to make him over into a geek is a major geek herself. Vere Roth is a chattering pixie, a blushing tornado and a complete social disaster. He’s never met a girl who’s never-been-kissed, believes in romance and thinks Hunter’s a 'nice' guy.

Funny thing is...Hunter is nice around Vere because she’s his first real friend. He also can’t seem to stop sharing his secrets or keep her out of his heart. Knowing he’d never deserve a girl as sweet as Vere, he resigns himself to the friend zone, and helps his new bestie with her own makeover.

She tortures him daily for ridiculous guy advice on how to snag her life-long crush. A guy Hunter thinks is totally wrong for Vere, and sadly, one who has taken note of Vere’s transformation.

When Vere asks her best friend for some kissing advice, Hunter can’t resist...

And that’s when things get out of control...

Unmaking Hunter Kennedy on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

Someone needs to take a red pen and remove a good chunk of this book. It clocks in at over 400 pages and there are well over 100 pages of crap that could be removed and would make this a much better novel.

Hunter Kennedy is a pop star who struggles with his relationship with his mom and acted out by crashing his car and slitting his wrists. Because of that, he had to spend some time in rehab and then in disguise at a "normal" school in order to get a better perspective on life.

Vere Roth is a shy quirky girl who lives next door to Hunter's Great Aunt Nan. Nan enlists her to help Hunter become "Dustin McHugh" - an unrecognizable nerd boy so that Hunter can see what it's like to be normal. She knows from the start that he is famous and she helps him develop his nerd boy persona.

Vere also struggles with anxiety around boys, especially her lifelong crush, Curtis. Hunter and Vere come up with a plan to help her become more comfortable around boys, but while that's going on Hunter starts falling for Vere.

The first third of this book is VERY slow. The first weekend that Hunter and Vere spend together, when they're developing Dustin, is dragged out for SO long. Some parts were funny - especially when Vere takes him shopping, but I found myself skimming parts of it because I was getting so bored.


I liked the development of Hunter and Vere's relationship. It felt semi-realistic (if you ignore the out there pop-star-in-hiding premise). I also liked Curtis, at first. But then Curtis goes from this guy who has been nice to Vere for ages and deserving of her crush to a total douchebag. Like, where did that come from? I think the author was trying to show how Vere put Curtis on a pedestal and that he wasn't really such a stand up guy... but it didn't work out like that. Instead it seems like a whiplash inducing personality switch out of nowhere that's used as a plot device to show why Vere should choose nice guy Hunter instead.

Charlie was a terrible character. Again, I think the author was trying to show him as someone who is protective about Vere, but instead he comes across as a complete jerk. He tries to force the Curtis/Vere relationship knowing that Curtis is a total douche who changes out girlfriends every 2 months. What happened at the end with Charlie selling out Hunter was completely unredeemable. I'm sorry, but his reasons were weak ("You kissed my sister!") and maybe I'm a terrible person, but I didn't like how easily Hunter forgave him.

The absolute worst part of this book was the ending. I've never been a fan of the "big moment" endings in these types of books where the famous person tells the nobody that he loves her in front of all the paparazzi. This book takes that ending to the extreme and Hunter gives a 5-10 page dialogue in front of dozens of cameras that culminates in him asking Vere to Homecoming and making out with her. Vere, who suffers from severe shyness and anxiety, apparently doesn't have a huge issue with this. It was just a really cheesy and over the top ending that needed to be toned down. WAY down.

Overall, I liked parts of the book and disliked other parts. I liked Vere a lot. I ended up liking Hunter a lot. I really liked how the author handled the relationship between Hunter and his mom, including how that turned out in the end. I thought that was really well done. I will probably check out other novels by this author, but I can't really rate this one higher than 3 stars and I was tempted to go with 2 for the terrible ending.

3 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Title: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Siobhan Vivian

Natalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things.
But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you want to sleep with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out.
Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.

Not That Kind of Girl on Goodreads

 Kala's Review:

At first, I wanted to like this book. I liked that Natalie Sterling was going to be a strong female character who was proud of getting good grades and being a leader. But as you get in to the book, Natalie becomes more and more unlikable. She treats her best friend, Autumn, poorly throughout the book and I was surprised it took that long for Autumn to ditch her. Natalie comes across like a man-hating, slut-shaming feminazi and until the last 2-3 pages I really hated her.

We never really get a reason for WHY she acts that way either. There is a prologue telling a story about a freshman girl who dated a popular senior guy for a few months but when she wouldn't put out, the guy dumps her and tells everyone that her vagina smelled like fish. But, we learn this didn't even happen to Natalie. It happened to Autumn. And Natalie uses this traumatic event to keep Autumn away from everyone else at the school but her. She constantly reminds Autumn of the event and reminds her that SHE (Natalie) is the only one who stood up for her. She refuses to allow Autumn to forgive anyone because she is afraid Autumn will find other friends and leave her.

Connor was great, but I wonder why he even liked Natalie. She treats him like garbage throughout the entire story. He brings her a bunch of wood from his family's farm for a bonfire. When it rains, he takes it upon himself to pack up all the wood and get rid of it for her. Instead of thanking him, she acts like a bitch and tells him she doesn't need a man's help and could do it herself. After they sort of start seeing each other in private, he brings her a bunch of stuff for Thanksgiving baskets (that she's putting together for student council) and she acts like a complete bitch again. Even when they're together in private she is terrible to him. I just don't see the appeal.

Spencer was an interesting character. She is the counter to Natalie's uptight feminist ways and she wants to prove to Natalie, and everyone else, that slut shaming is bad too. She does this by calling herself a "Rosstitute" (mix of the school name and prostitute), letting a boy take a naked picture of her, and otherwise acting like a slut. While I agree with her overall point, I think she goes way overboard. If my 14 year old was acting like that, I would be very disappointed in her.

I think the overall moral of the story was good. I like when a book has a bigger meaning and purpose other than the typical YA romance (will they or won't they get together?). I think the point was supposed to be for Natalie and Spencer to both realize they were going to extremes, and that meeting somewhere in the middle is probably a better option for both of them. I think that point got across.

3 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis

Title: Animal Magnetism
Author: Jill Shalvis
Jade Bennett couldn't be happier to escape her past for the quiet ranching town of Sunshine, Idaho. Plus, there's nothing like working for veterinarian Dell Connelly. And though Dell has no intention of settling down, Jade's strength and sass are enticements no red-blooded male can resist.

Animal Magnetism on Goodreads

 Kala's Review:

A free copy of this book was provided via Goodreads First Reads :)

This book was really cute! Dell is the hero and he's a vet (yay!). Jade, the heroine, is his office manager and has been for over a year. They've had an attraction but haven't acted on it, yet!

Jade came to Sunshine, Idaho to run from a trauma that happened to her in Chicago and her family has been begging for her back. She has finally agreed to go back, but things heat up between Jade and Dell in the last few weeks and leave her wondering if she really wants to return to her old life.

The side characters are where this book truly comes to life. Adam (Dell's brother) is hilarious, especially since he keeps finding Dell and Jade in compromising/funny situations. The parrot is also really funny, especially when he repeats random bad words that come out at the wrong time.

I really liked it and will be checking out more Jill Shalvis books for sure!

3 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dizzy by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry

Title: Dizzy
Author: Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry
Dylan doesn’t do relationships. He and his older brother watched their dad go through hell and back, so they made a pact years ago—no girl would come between the Gibson boys. But his brother sells out. He's getting married anyway. To the sister of a chick Dylan met at a party, who's probably the angriest girl he's ever met. Unfortunately, she happens to be hot, too.

Ziah’s life is upside down—her safe boyfriend turns out to be not-so-safe, and now her sister is getting married before college is over to the older brother of a spoiled, party boy who drives her crazy. And also makes her heart beat too fast.

There’s no denying the attraction, but there's also no denying how much they irritate each other. When they’re thrown together as forced wedding planners, they find an ally in each other--neither wants this wedding to happen.

But instead of putting a stop to the crazy nuptials they find themselves at fittings and cake testing. And maybe even…a few dates?
Dizzy is a novel about what happens when two people who are determined not to fall in love, maybe do anyway. Maybe.

Dizzy on Goodreads

 Kala's Review:

I'm so glad I discovered Nyrae Dawn because I pretty much love every contemporary that she has written, ever. Including this one.

Dizzy is a collaboration and I had never heard of the other author before. I will be checking her out now! I heard that Nyrae Dawn wrote the Dylan parts and Jolene Perry wrote the Ziah parts. Both were very well done!

As with all of her books, Dawn's characters are always complex and interesting and they always have issues. Ziah and Dylan both have trust issues, Ziah's thanks to a cheating ex boyfriend and Dylan's thanks to a flighty mom who abandoned him. Their relationship progresses slowly as they both learn to deal with their own personal demons as well as each others.

I also like how Alyssa was dealt with here. Ziah was betrayed when her seemingly perfect boyfriend, James, cheated on her with her best friend Alyssa. I don't want to go in to details about how things turned out, because that would spoil it, but I thought it was handled realistically and I felt really happy with how things ended up between Ziah and her best friend.

Great book, as always! Can't wait to see what Nyrae Dawn writes next!

4 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Kiss Me by Jillian Dodd

Title: Kiss Me
Author: Jillian Dodd
I've always written scripts for my perfect life.
But no way could I have ever scripted this.
My life is so far from perfect, it’s not even funny.
All because of a stalker.

I’m at a boarding school where I have to lie about who I am.
I can’t see my family.
I’m tutoring a Hottie God that tortures me with his smile.
The most popular girl already hates me.
But there’s this boy.
This hot, sweet, sexy boy.
So I’m going to stop trying to script my life and just live it.
Because who knows how long I have left.

Kiss Me on Goodreads

 Kala's Review:

I wasn't planning to read this because the first book made me so mad, but I decided what the hell and gave it a shot.  I didn't hate the first book because of the writing and I still liked That Boy (though I wasn't a fan of the sequel).  I was hoping and praying this one would redeem Stalk Me for me.  And it kind of did and kind of didn't?  It's hard to explain.

If Keatyn had started off at boarding school and I hadn't spent 300+ pages in Stalk Me getting to know a bunch of other characters, only to have them ripped away and have her tossed in with a bunch of new ones, I would have liked this book a LOT better.  Probably not more than 3-stars better, but still better. 

Unfortunately, that's not what happened.  What happened is that I read Stalk Me.  I got attached to the characters Keatyn spent the first 300+ pages of the book with, especially Cush.  If you read my Stalk Me review, you'll see how much I liked Cush.  Cush was THE ONLY male love interest that jumped off the pages and just made you fall for him.  He was lively and real and SO perfect for Keatyn's personality.  Brooklyn came across as a dick for the entire book, and even more so in Kiss Me.  Sander was alright, but hello, GAY.  The other boys Keatyn made out with were all introduced in the last few pages of Stalk Me and I was so pissed off at that point that I just hated them all instantly.  After reading Kiss Me, I still pretty much hate them all (except Dawson).

The way Cush was handled in Kiss Me infuriates me even more.  First of all, we get this near the beginning:

And I know I told Cush that I loved him at my party. But he bought me boots! The. Perfect. Boots. And I maybe got a little caught up in the moment.

This right here showcases all of the big issues with Keatyn in a few short sentences.  She constantly is telling boys she loves them, or internally saying she loves them.  She told a boy she loved him because he BOUGHT HER SOMETHING.  Never mind that the boy has been in love with her for years, treated her like a freaking goddess, has similar interests to her, and loves her for who she is (unlike Brooklyn who only loves her when she acts the way he wants her to act).

But whatever.  That was pretty bad.  But the worst is yet to come.  About 5-6 times Keatyn internally mentions that she misses Cush, but she then instantly forgets about him when she starts making out with one of the three boys she kisses during Kiss Me.  Then at around 70%, the bombshell that is the reason why this book is getting 2 stars instead of 3. 


At around 70%, Keatyn for some reason is able to access her Facebook account that she's been denied access too because of the stalker.  On there is a letter from Cush where he tells her that his mom bought those boots, not him.  He also says that he moved to Oregon and before he gave her the boots he got a girlfriend.  He got caught up in the moment at Keatyn's party and that whole love confession thing that happened right before the stalker tried to kidnap Keatyn was a sham.  He's now happily dating this girl in Oregon.

And that's the end of Cush.


I don't even know what to say.  It's depressing that Dodd would take THE best character and have it turn out like this.


Anyways.  This book mostly focuses on a love triangle between Keatyn and Aiden and Dawson.  Keatyn makes out with both a bunch.  She thinks she's in love with Aiden, but he acts like a weirdo douchebag most of the time so she starts dating Dawson (who is the only other decent character in this entire series).  I can't help it.  I don't hate Dawson.  He's not as fun and interesting as Cush, but he's not unbearable.  I just can't help but be so emo about Cush that I can't really get in to the Dawson/Keatyn relationship that much.  It appears, from reading other reviews, that I'm the only one, but I can't help what I feel.

I don't know if I'll continue the series.  I probably will, because I have this weird complex about finishing series (it took me slogging through five terrible awful books to finally give up on the Celestra series).  I'm really disappointed in how this is going though. :(

2 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

Title: Days of Blood & Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Days of Blood & Starlight on Goodreads

 Kala's Review:

Daughter of Smoke & Bone absolutely blew me away and I've been completely terrified that Days of Blood & Starlight would fall into the usual mediocre second book trap. Instead, the complete opposite. This book surpassed the first, by a LOT. It was different, though. It wasn't what I was expecting. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this definitely was not it.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.

And its snap split the world in two.

Days of Blood & Starlight starts shortly after Daughter of Smoke & Bone ends. The bridge scene has caused quite a ruckous with the media and civilian people are predicting the apocalypse. Karou is missing. Akiva is devastated by how everything turned out in Smoke & Bone. Akiva is searching for signs that Karou is alive, and her friends are trying to figure it all out as well.

Eventually, we discover Karou is in fact alive and has taken over Brimstone's job as resurrectionist. She's torn, knowing that she's building an army not only to save her people, but also to exterminate Akiva's people. While she hates Akiva, she's still uncomfortable with all of the brutal killing. As Madrigal, she and Akiva had dreamed of peace, and she doesn't have faith that their dream is possible any longer. Akiva is struggling in a similar fashion, being forced to kill innocent chimaera while trying to figure out how to keep his and Madrigal/Karou's dream alive somehow. He knows Karou hates him, and he's trying to figure out a way to atone for all the horrible things he's done.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

This book is about way more than the two of them though. While Daughter of Smoke & Bone may have been about their love story, both the most recent and the past, Days of Blood and Starlight is about the aftermath of their lustful decisions. It's about genocide and war and morality and death and life. And still a little about love. But I'd say the Akiva/Karou love story takes a backburner to the bigger story, which is the war between the angels and the chimaera.

I love this book. And this author. And I'm incredibly emo that I have to wait so long for the third book in this series. These two books are, by FAR, some of the most phenominal stuff I've read. EVER.

5 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pulled by A.L. Jackson

Title: Pulled
Author: A.L. Jackson
For nine years, they drift through life, unable to forget the one who holds the strings to their hearts. In an attempt to escape the pain of her past, Melanie finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage, while Daniel loses himself in a career that means nothing without Melanie by his side. Now, when their lives intersect, neither can deny the connection they felt so long ago. But will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past, and do they have the courage to overcome the insecurities and fears that threaten to keep them apart? Pulled is a story of attraction and separation, of destiny and duty, of a love so strong it refuses to give up even when all others have.

Pulled on Goodreads

 Kala's Review:

I didn't like this book much at all.

The two main characters, Melanie and Daniel, meet while in high school. They fall instantly in love as soon as they lay eyes on each other. They literally see each other, fall in love, he takes her hand and leads her up the stairs where they go make out for hours.

Through a series of unbelievable and unfortunate events, they break up several months later. Melanie is so upset by this that she goes out, meets a man 20 years older than her, has sex with him a few minutes later, and agrees to marry him and basically be his slave. She knows he is abusive, but she doesn't care. If she can't have Daniel, her life isn't worth living (UGH).

Daniel is emo about it too and has a series of one night stands ending up with one of the girls getting pregnant. This happens 9 years after the breakup of Daniel/Melanie and coincidentally occurs on the same day that Daniel meets Melanie again.

The whole "souls speaking to each other" thing was absolutely ridiculous. When Daniel and Melanie are near each other, they both start shaking and their "souls" constantly "speak" to each other somehow. It's really silly.

Throughout the entire nine years apart, they each are sickly sweet and overly sappy, doing things like crying themselves to sleep saying "I miss you Melanie/Daniel" into their pillows. It's cheesy and I spent SO much time facepalming and eyerolling while reading this. Terrible!

The plot continues, getting even more and more ridiculous as it goes on. The ending is even worse as everything somehow works out perfectly for Daniel and Melanie to get everything they ever wanted, even what was impossible.

2 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

Title: The Edge of Never
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she’s ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she’d do. He shows her what it’s really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew’s dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?

Due to sexual content and language, this book is recommended for 17+ – Adult Contemporary Women’s – New Adult Fiction

The Edge of Never on Goodreads

 Kala's Review:

This book wasn't terrible by any means, but I don't understand all the OMG GLOWING 5STAR THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER reviews.

The characters were, for the most part, likable and well written. I like how they both had fleshed out back stories and most of their stories were not dumped on us via weird monologues, but instead was slowly revealed over time.

I had some issues with the book though. At first, I really liked how Camryn was independent and interesting, but she ended up being a complete wuss. I also don't like how the author constantly had every male character (except the few good guys) turn in to a wannabe rapist. I hate that.

First, Camryn is at a club with her best friend. She's on the roof of the club chatting with a guy and her best friend's boyfriend shows up, beats the crap out of the guy, then tries to force himself on Camryn. Ok, he was a total douchebag and I get that. No problem.

Later on, Camryn is on the bus and she's chatting with Andrew. There's another guy on the bus who later tries to rape Camryn in the bathroom and she has to be saved by Andrew.

Okay, fine.

But then Andrew goes into this macho man mode that totally put me off. He tells Camryn that she can no longer travel by bus, he will not allow it. She MUST either take a plane home or go with him. She agrees. WTF? She barely knows this guy and she's letting him tell her what to do?

Fortunately, Andrew acts decently throughout the majority of the book so I didn't flip out too much by his "I'm the man, you will do as I say" behavior. But later on, he and Camryn have this weird conversation where he tells her that he won't have sex with her because he can't do that unless she agrees that he will own her.

Say what??

Then Camryn starts talking about how she's sexually submissive (girl, you are submissive in EVERYTHING, not just sex) and there is this whole dominant/submissive thing that's just thrown in there and seems completely opposite to Andrew's personality throughout the rest of the entire book.

I also just can't stand the whole "I can't breathe without you" or "I will die without you" or "I want to own you" crap, and there is a decent amount of that. Whenever I read that kind of stuff (and there's a decent amount of it in The Edge of Never) I want to just do this:


I didn't have a huge problem with the reveal Andrew made at the end, though I did think it was out of nowhere and went bad way too fast.

Overall, the book wasn't bad. I liked the main characters (outside of those issues above and most of that wasn't commonplace in the book, it happened sporadically). The plot was interesting and the writing was decent.

3 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

That Wedding by Jillian Dodd

Title: That Wedding
Author: Jillian Dodd
The gorgeous engagement ring on my finger mimics my happiness.
I feel so sparkly, glittery, and full of promise, because I absolutely know he's that boy.
The boy I want to marry. My prince. My happily ever after.

But then our pastor starts asking lots of questions.
His parents say I haven’t dealt with my past.
I have horrible wedding disaster dreams.
I can’t find the perfect dress.
I have to manipulate him to get my way.
An old boyfriend asks me to run away with him.
My best friend says I'm going to ruin everything.
And forever starts to sound like a really long time.

Which totally freaks me out and makes me question everything I know.

Should best friends get married?
Will my past affect our relationship?
Are my horrible dreams a warning?
Will I ever find a dress?
Could his sexiness be clouding my judgment?
Am I going to ruin everything?
Or is it just a case of cold feet?

And then I have to decide. Am I willing to give up on true love forever, or am I going to listen to my heart and marry him?

That Wedding on Goodreads

 Kala's Review:

I wasn't a big fan of this book. In fact, I struggled to finish it.

Main issues:

1) Jade is not the same character she was in That Boy. She's petty, manipulative, insecure, spoiled, and often a complete bitch. She treats Phillip pretty badly throughout the book, culminating in the whole "pity hire" scene. She was unlikable - all the negative qualities of Becky Bloomwood without the charming aspects.

2) There!!!!! Are!!!!!! WAY!!!!! TOO!!! MANY!!!!!! EXCLAMATIONS!!!!!!! The author often uses 2, 3, 4 exclamations (and sometimes multiple question marks too). Jadyn constantly is EXCLAIMING! EVERYTHING! It's distracting.

3) Too much sex! I like steamy sex scenes as much as the next person, but these characters spend the entire novel having sex. Or talking about how awesome sex is with each other. Or talking with their friends about their prior sexcapades (which Jadyn apparently had MANY of behind the scenes in That Boy that we are just finding out about).

4) Boring! The book was WAY too long and not a lot happens. If Jadyn and Phillip aren't having sex, they're getting drunk. A lot. Jadyn spends SO much time drinking in this book - and the bar scene near the end was pretty awful. Nearly 400 pages of Jadyn drinking and whining about her wedding and EXCLAIMING EVERYTHING!!!! was probably 200 too much.

Sorry, but this book just wasn't that good. I ended up skimming the last 50 pages or so because I was so bored and I didn't want to NOT finish.

2 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads: