Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

TornFrom Goodreads: Chloe hasn’t had the best life. With a mother who is gone more often than not, she has had to raise herself. After graduating high school, she leaves to start a new life away at West Virginia University with her best friends Amber and Logan, determined to leave her demons in the past.

On her first day, she meets a stranger who takes her breath away at first sight. Until she met Drake, no one had ever sparked her interest. Now this tattooed and pierced bad boy is all she can think about, no matter how hard she fights it.

Falling for Drake was never part of her plans, but when it happens, things seem to do anything but fall into place.

Dealing with a tragic past, Drake has never cared about anyone else but himself and his band. But when Chloe takes the empty seat next to him in class, things start to change. Instantly drawn to her, he begins to wonder if one girl can take a cold hearted womanizer and change every part of him?

Long hidden feelings are revealed and friendships tested to the brink.


I am so sorry to say that I didn’t care for this novel.  I had high hopes going in, but my own life experiences, values, and beliefs just didn’t mesh with some of the events in this story, and because of that, I personally didn’t fall in love with it, which is okay, but always makes me feel bad.

Unfortunately, I really didn’t care for the characters.  Logan, though his heart is in the right place, is a controlling young man.  His anger gets the better of him on a few occasions, and he’s much too pushy for my liking.  I get that he’s fallen in love with his best friends of four years–that’s the best kind of relationship stepping stone, but

When a person is obviously, obviously drunk, I truly believe you need to take the high road, ignore their pleas, and NOT sleep with them.  I feel like that is taking advantage of a person who isn’t in their right mind, and it rubs me the wrong way–I lost some respect for Logan and Chloe due to their antics, but especially for what they do when one or the other is under the influence of alcohol.

Drake was enticing to me as a reader at first.  I like the bad boy image, but any man who pushes a woman away, tells her to date someone else, and then openly pines for her loses my respect quite quickly.  Let alone that he then sleeps with Chloe on multiple occasions while she’s dating Logan, well–again, I need my characters to take the higher road.  I can understand a one time mistake–passion getting the better of a person, it happens… but after all the guilt, to go ahead and do it again a few months later, well, there is no excuse for that. Not for any of the characters.

Chloe ticked me off more than anything in this novel, and it started when she was nearly raped and refused to report it.  I’m sorry, but this is close to my heart and you have to get over yourself and go to the police.  Ladies, if anyone ever attacks you, you can’t just think about your own embarrassment–you have to think about the potential other victims this man will set his sights on AFTER you.  Do the right thing and report it.  Sure, it’s going to be an awful experience, but so was almost being raped.  Think about the other woman you can save by being the bigger person.  In this instance, Chloe’s decision, and Drake’s for just going along with her decision, turned me off immediately.

From there, I just felt Chloe strung the men in her life along, trying to keep both, eaten up by guilt, refusing to come clean about it all… and as reader, I had no sympathy for her. And I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t really much fall out when everything finally came out into the open.  Chloe is definitely at fault, but in the end the other characters are even more sorry than she, and that just didn’t work for me.

The novel also doesn’t have closure.  I’m used to cliffhangers, but I wouldn’t say this is a cliffhanger, at least, it’s not for me. Instead, it just felt like the novel ended with the appearance of another character we’ve heard little about, and so there truly isn’t an ending, which left me a bit unsatisfied.

I’m sorry to say that this novel just wasn’t for me–it had potential, but the characters and events just weren’t for me. Two stars.

2 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Atria Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel via Netgalley.

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We Were LiarsFrom Goodreads:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.


While the premise behind this novel is indeed very good, I personally found it a bit slow. The main character, Cady, jumps between flashbacks and the present, which is usually one of my favorite types of writing styles, but this time, it fell a bit flat for me. I really just felt like this was a story about some cousins who visit an island every summer, only to watch their parents fight with one another over money and other superficial things. The story itself didn’t really move, and while the kids are friendly and they have a few fun excursions, I must have completely missed the segment that explained how, exactly, they were known as the liars—they didn’t seem to do anything, let alone talk to one another.

Gat is a friend of the family and soon becomes Cady’s crush, but there is no development there aside from her pining for a boy she can’t have, so the romance aspect was a little bit of a bust for me as well. Truthfully, I could have done without it, since it didn’t go anywhere, and much of the grumbling on Cady’s behalf became monotonous fairly quickly for me. In terms of characterization, Cady isn’t a character I like, and though not much time was spent on the other characters, I didn’t really care for them either. Because of this, I think I struggled a little more than usual trying to connect with the character, and hence, I wasn’t a fan of the story overall.

The last few pages of the novel reveal a surprise I didn’t see coming, and I liked it very much, but by that point the novel was basically over, so it was a short-lived revelation for me. I think, had the novel had a little more action and characters that meant something to me, I would have enjoyed this story so much more, but as it is, it just isn’t for me. However, a lot of my friends absolutely loved this novel, so I highly suggest you check out other reviews and give it a try because I may be the odd man out on this one. As is, though, I can only give it two and a half stars.

2.5 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Random House Children’s and Delacorte Press have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley.

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Screw God and the UniverseFrom Goodreads: A comedic, violent, and surreal interpretation of the afterlife. The story is an epic battle between the Devil, God, and a Dentist. The Devil wants to destroy the universe and himself because he is bored with living. Nothing in this story makes any sense but in a good way.


I can’t help but think the title of this novel needs another comma. I feel it should read: Screw, God, and the Universe. And I feel this way because Screw is a person, Satan, in fact, so the title shouldn’t be taken as a mantra to “screw God and the Universe,” which is what I feel like it’s sort of trying to say, except for that pesky comma hanging out there… but grammar aside, I have to say that I really didn’t care for this one at all.

It starts off with God creating the universe, and mainly, earth, due to a drunken bet. And while I know this is just a story, it’s a bit offensive, but sort of slapstick at the same time, so I continued on. The novel then focuses on a man who is about to commit suicide, and shows him traversing the halls of a unknown place, only to end up in a room with a whole bunch of naked writhing, degenerate people doing horrible, disgusting things. At this point, I had no idea what was really happening, but continued on; I try to give novels the benefit of the doubt.

As it turns out, this entire novel is somewhat thrown together, jumping between heaven, hell, and earth, focusing on Screw and his mantra of hurt. It’s grotesque and fairly hard to follow, in my opinion, and I had a really hard time gaining a sense of purpose for the story as a whole. In retrospect, I think it’s supposed to be a kind of comical look at the world and people’s beliefs, but it’s so strange and out there that it fell flat for me. One star. 1-star1

I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Anything to Have YouFrom Goodreads: Nothing should come between best friends, not even boys. ESPECIALLY not boys.

Natalie and Brooke have had each other’s backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.

Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can’t remember and Brooke’s boyfriend, Aiden, can’t forget. Suddenly there’s a question mark in Natalie and Brooke’s friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.


I wanted to like this novel, but in the end I really didn’t care for it all that much.  The main characters, both Natalie and Brooke, grated on my nerves.  The way they interacted with one another, the flirting, drinking, and obsessive behavior made them less than likable, in my opinion, and I didn’t find any redeeming qualities in either of them.  Brooke wants all the boys attention, even if that means flirting right in front of her own long-term boyfriend.  She’s melodramatic and doesn’t know a good thing when she sees it.  She’s a party girl all the way, definitely not the type I’d be friends with, and her overall demeanor made me sick.

Natalie, on the other hand, is quiet.  She doesn’t date or party—in fact, she rarely goes out anymore.  Nor does she drink.  However, she does go out one evening, under the intense pressure of her “best friend” Brooke, and ends up getting so wasted that she can’t remember anything, but she knows she slept with someone.  I don’t know, perhaps I was just a good kid, but I’ve never ever been in a situation where I didn’t know what was going on, and I found it a little hard to believe that Natalie’s goody two shoes self would allow herself to get this drunk knowing that she was a lush.  I know it can happen to the best of us, but I just didn’t see this as being all that feasible.  At least, Brooke should have been watching out for her best friend knowing that she didn’t like to drink and obviously was a light weight… but, I guess we travel in different crowds.

Even so, Natalie doesn’t come clean right away.  She’s not sure what happened, it too afraid to ask, and then continues to “accidentally flirt with Brooke’s boyfriend, Aiden—the boy she thinks she might have slept with.

In the end, this novel isn’t what I expected it to be. Based on the title and cover photo, I thought it would be something like Fatal Attraction, but it really isn’t. Two stars.

2 stars

Harlequin TEEN had been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on January 28, 2013.

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18459932From Goodreads: Eighteen year old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your every day quasi-demon, half-demon and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she hasn’t lost a battle yet.

But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights aren’t enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it’s not looking good for the quasi-demons. Myla starts to question everything, and doesn’t like the answers she finds. What happened seventeen years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is? Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy half-human and half-angel demon hunter. But what’s a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla’s not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla’s going to shake up Purgatory.


I am so sorry to say that, while this novel started off interesting enough, it soon lost its luster, and at 535 pages, my lack of interest made this difficult to finish.  In my opinion, it was just too long, and not enough happened to hold my attention.  Instead, much of the text was repetitive, with Myla either fighting, lamenting about her life, or trying to find the truth.  Due to the repetitive nature of the text, in my opinion it could actually be paired down quite a bit, making the novel a much more manageable size at about 250-300 pages, and including only the most important, fast paced action.  I lost count the number of times Myla’s sickness during warp or the way the sand fell away to actual images during dreamscapes was referenced in the text, but I do know it was a lot, and this repetition of play-by-play, along with repetition of certain scenarios, took its toll after a while. As the novel stands now, there is just too much down time, in my opinion, and its choppy nature left me with many more questions than answers.  And at 535 page, I feel like I should have all the answers.

Myla is a great fighter with a huge chip on her shoulder, and to be honest, she didn’t impress me.  I got the feeling that the author really wanted to create a kick butt heroine who didn’t need anyone, someone who could take care of herself, but in truth, Myla just rubbed me the wrong way.  She’s rude to those around her, is obsessed with fighting, doesn’t listen to anyone, and was a bit comical in her relations to those around her, especially with her incessant fist pumps every time something made her happy.  Her best friend, one full of envy thanks to her demon half, was a complete jerk, and yet Myla repeatedly took the blame for their fights, which in my opinion, undermines her kick butt status because it’s plain to see her BFF is rude and using her, and I didn’t like either of the characters by the end.

Likewise, the insta-love relationship between Myla and Lincoln didn’t pan out in my mind.  To go from hating each other so passionately to being undoubtedly in love, well… that just didn’t work for me.  I think it had potential, but the execution of it all didn’t fit, which is unfortunate.

Myla’s mother’s story also had the potential to be enthralling, but it took so long to come out, chopped up in bits and pieces, that I lost interest before all was said and done. The dreamscape was a great idea, but as it was extremely repetitive in nature and went unexplained much of the time, I found it fell a bit flat.

Overall, I found that I wanted a faster pace, less repetition, a better scene flow with less plot holes, realistic characterization, and a shorter text.  So, while this novel had much potential and I really wanted to like it, it fell a bit flat for me.  Two and a half stars.

2.5 stars

INscribe Digital and Ink Monster LLC have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on December 17, 2013.

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37781From Goodreads: Things Fall Apart tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo’s world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. Things Fall Apart is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.


I really didn’t like this novel when I was in high school.  But as an adult, I have found that my understanding of the “classics” and my enjoyment of many of them has indeed changed drastically.  Books I hated as a teen are now interesting and hold meaning for me, because I finally get them.  But, this is not the case with Things Fall Apart.  I disliked it as a teen, and I still dislike it now, mainly because it’s written in a way that just doesn’t appeal to me.

While I understand the purpose of this novel—why it’s important and why it’s taught in high school—the execution of the story itself grates my nerves. It’s extremely choppy and to the point, telling the reader in clipped sentences instead of showing the reader through imagery and interesting details.   And though it’s a fairly short novel, the narrative style of the text makes it seem extremely long, and it just didn’t hold my attention.

As events unfold, readers are told what’s happening as if we’re a bird looking in–we aren’t a part of the story, and events jump from one to another so quickly that little import is given to each scene.  And, there is little description to pull me into the story or to make me connect with the characters; instead we’re just told how Okonkwo feels, what he does, and the retaliating actions of the tribe. It is unfortunate, but I have no sympathy for Okonkwo because he is an awful man, beating everyone and refusing, even under the guidance of his tribe, to let things go.  While trying to be the epitome of what he deems a “man” is supposed to be, Okonkwo misses the mark tenfold through his lack of compassion, and even his people see him as wanting in this aspect because he cannot, and will not, change.  It leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, and though I understand the message, I personally don’t like this book in the least. One star.


I borrowed this book from the school library.

12489981From Goodreads: One soul mate… One true love… And the fact that they are not the same person!

People believe that every soul has its other half somewhere in the world. A soul mate or so I’ve been told, and they spend a lifetime seeking that other half, hoping to find it… I don’t need to hope anymore because mine found me… And tried to take my life! Today, twenty-four years since I was born, I finally do believe that there is a true love in life and that somewhere out there, there is that other one who will, once they show up, complete your own soul. But I learned much too late that they are not the same thing! My name is Elena Wolchek and this is my story.


I am sorry to say that this novel just wasn’t for me.  From the get go, I didn’t like the main character, Elena, and her attitude towards others.  I get that she’s extremely different and beyond smart, but the way she interacted with others, and her petty nature and inability to back down, apologize, or take others seriously grated on my nerves as I read.  I also had a hard time with the transitions within the novel because I felt like not enough was happening to keep my interest.  We meet characters only to have them banter and disappear for quite some time.  They do eventually reappear, but by that time I was no longer thinking of them and it just felt a bit disjointed to me—probably because I just couldn’t get over my dislike for Elena.  Overall, I personally didn’t enjoy this novel, but I feel like others may be able to overlook Elena’s personality flaws and really get into the story, because in the end, the storyline is there and it’s interesting; it just wasn’t for me. One star.

1-star1I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

17347389From Goodreads: Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after.


Unfortunately, this series apparently just isn’t for me.  While I didn’t particularly enjoy the first novel, I was hoping the story would grow on me in the second, especially because so many of my friends really adore these books.  But, it just isn’t meant for me, which happens.

I had a very hard time following the plot line of this story, similar to my personal issues with the first novel, as it turns out.  The novel jumps around too much for my taste, as well, and it was so hard for me to keep track of the characters and all the paranormal aspects. The characters are interesting, but there are a lot, more than I can handle, apparently, though I find that a bit weird because I generally don’t have any issues following characters all over the place.  But, in the end, that doesn’t really mean anything.  Some books just aren’t meant for some people.

Basically, I’ve come to the conclusion that those who loved the first book will thoroughly enjoy the second novel, as it’s the same writing style, jumping around from character to character and delving into the paranormal, with a slice of romance.  If you didn’t necessarily enjoy the first novel, then this second might be a little difficult for you to read, but in the end, I think it all comes down to reader preferences, and while this series doesn’t seem to be for me, don’t write it off until you try it.  Two stars.

2 stars

Scholastic has been very gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 17, 2013.

17407237From Goodreads: The secret of having an adventure is getting lost. Who ever visited an enchanted kingdom or fell into a fairy tale without wandering into the woods first?

Well, Mary is lost. Mary is lost in the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and that is a cruel and murderous story. She’s put on the red hood and met the Wolf. When she gives in to her Wolf’s temptations, she will die. That’s how the story goes, after all.

Unfortunately for the story and unfortunately for the Wolf, this Little Red Riding Hood is Mary Stuart, and she is the most stubborn and contrary twelve year old the world has ever known.

Forget the Wolf’s temptations, forget the advice of the talking rat trying to save her – she will kick her way through every myth and fairy tale ever told until she finds a way to get out of this alive. Her own way, and no one else’s.


I’m sorry to say that this novel just isn’t for me. I originally wanted to read it because I usually enjoy revamped fairy tales, but Mary completely turned me off from this story. I was expecting a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with a contrary heroine, which in my mind meant more assertive a deviating from the meek path of Red in the traditional stories. But in this story, contrary actually stands for vile, obnoxious, cussing, kicking, punching, and vulgar interactions that don’t really sit well with me, especially as our “heroine” is just 12 years old. From the very beginning, with her blatant disrespect of her mother, I had an inkling I wasn’t going to enjoy the story on a personal level, and when Mary began cussing at everyone and everything, it was basically over for me. Now, Mary does have a few redeeming qualities in that she really does care about people, but she’s hard pressed to show it, and she’d rather kick someone in their private areas first and ask questions later. Honestly, I think this was more of a “shock the reader” type of story where crazy situations evolve and Mary responds vulgarly to them. Which, truthfully, isn’t my type of story.  One star.


I originally requested this novel from Netgalley, but as a Kindle version was not available, I purchased it from Amazon, instead.

{September 3, 2013}   {Review} The Seed by Fola

12204117From Goodreads: Throughout our lives, many things may lead us to forget who we truly are. Result? Slowly yet inevitably, cages and chains enslave our thoughts and slay our freedoms.

Down the ages, men have thus fallen for hosts of illusions, confusions and fears – except for the seven dreamers whose stories this book contains. These mad truth-seekers (who oddly share the same name) did not follow others’ flow to slavery; rather, they heeded a voice in their heads that led them to obsession with an idea long thought extinct, buried beneath the sands of time: The Seed.

In this book you will take a rollicking metaphysical ride that starts in ancient Egypt, moves to the Grand Greek Era, then to Rome, Arab Alexandria, on piratic High Seas, to Switzerland and circuses, into a Christian era interlude, then to modern Egypt (2007) and lastly, to a sort of Garden of Visionary Epiphany that leaves you on and past the brink of enlightenment…


Unfortunately, this book is not for me. It is highly philosophical and scientific, and my brain just isn’t wired that way. All the characters are one person who lives across the centuries, morphing into different beings, be they male or female, young or old.  The tale begins in Ancient Egypt, and this is where I was lost almost immediately.  It begins with the main character, who is obsessed with numbers and inventions, launching into a diatribe about how his life changed when he began writing on walls due to his epiphany over the number two and was then thrown into the mad house for acting crazy (which he was). It’s told in a very choppy format with constant references to numbers and riddles, and it was all beyond me.   The main character’s narrative jumps from him being in the palace to being thrown into the Nile, living in the madhouse, being set free, drinking with the gods, and well… I just couldn’t keep up with he narrator’s cut and dry tone and constant changing of scenery.  I had no idea what point he was really trying to get across because of his constant changing of topic and referencing of numbers, truth be told.

When the main character becomes a young girl living in the middle east, the flow changed and the story became much easier to understand, but as her marriage barter comes and she finds out she’s being wedded to a gay man only because her teacher is blackmailing him and wants to sleep with her, well… that turned me off. And suddenly, she’s on a rock, or maybe a cliff, I’m not sure because this is where the text became full of more riddles and philosophy, and she becomes a pirate, shifting into another character all together.

The stories do become easier to read as the main character progresses further into the present, but some of the stories really turned me off, such as trial over sex and murder. That episode just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t stomach it. In my opinion, it was unneeded to further along the plot, more for shock value than philosophical engagement, but then again, as I’m not a philosophical thinker by any means (I nearly failed that class in college; seriously), it is possible that I just don’t understand what the author, Fola, is doing in this scene, or the many others.  Truthfully, I didn’t understand this novel, which made it impossible for me to enjoy, but I do think that those who like a philosophical debate and deciphering riddles, ones who like to chew over the materials in their novels, will really enjoy this novel.  I, personally, can only give it one star, though.


I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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