Thursday, August 30, 2012

Seduction and Snacks by Tara Sivec

(Chocolate Lovers series, book 1)
Claire is a twenty-something, single mom that grudgingly helps her best friend sell sex toys while she attempts to make enough to start her own business to give her foul-mouthed, but extremely loveable (when he’s asleep) toddler a better life.
When Carter, the one-night-stand from her past that changed her life forever, shows up in her hometown bar without any recollection of her besides her unique chocolate scent, Claire will make it a point that he remembers her this time.
With Carter’s undisguised shock at suddenly finding out he has a four-year-old son and Claire’s panic that her stretch marks and slim to none bedroom experience will send the man of her dreams heading for the hills, the pair will do whatever they can to get their happily ever after.

“Why is it that I’m just now finding out my best friend went through a lesbian phase? Every time I look at her now I’m going to picture vagina-hand. A little hand that looks like a who-ha chasing me around the house and watching me while I sleep. Vagina hand is always watching. Vagina hand sees you.” – Claire

JESUS H. CHRIST! READ THIS BOOK AND READ IT NOW!!!! This is by far the funniest book I have EVER read. Yeah, you read that right…funniest book EVER! You know those rare books that you read and by the time you’re about 10-15 pages in, you’re already in love with it? Well, you’re in luck because Seduction and Snacks is one of those books. Just a warning to anyone planning on reading this in the future (which should be every fucking one of you): if you read this in public be prepared to get crazy looks from everyone around you. Why, you ask? Well, because you’ll be rotating between laughing out loud and squirming uncomfortably because you’re getting all hot and bothered. Trust me; it’ll happen.

Claire was a twenty-year-old college student that just wanted to lose her virginity. After a drunken one night stand with a smokin’ hot guy she met a frat party, she accomplished her goal and got a little more than she bargained for; a positive pregnancy test. Four years later, she is raising her son by herself, working at a local bar, and helping her best friend sell sex toys to earn some extra money. After years of searching for her son’s father or even just learning his fucking name, she gave up on the hope of ever seeing him again. Well, clearly fate has a weird way of making sure certain people’s life intervene, and in Claire and Carter’s case, it happened to them not once…but twice.

I can’t even tell you how much I love Claire!! She is absolutely one of my favorite female book characters EVER. She’s an honest, self-sufficient, brash, hilarious 24-year-old with a mouth like a sailor. (I’ve finally found a female character that swears and says inappropriate things about as much as I do. Hey, don’t judge me…I own my shit.) Do you know how long it took me to realize that I wanted to be best friends with Claire? I believe it was about 3 pages. I was 3 pages in, and saying to myself “If this was real life, she would be my homegirl. My BFF. My Bestie. My Ride or die. Whatever the fuck people are calling best friends now.” She has this kind of in-your-face personality, but when it comes to Gavin…and Carter…you see the loving, caring, soft side of her to balance out her brashness.

Carter was just wonderful. I loved him and his whole attitude towards Claire and Gavin made my heart smile! Speaking of Gavin…Christ on a cracker; that little boy is too fucking much!!! In a good way! He had my hysterics with some of his comments to Carter, and the back and forth between him and Drew had me rolling! Really, all the characters in this book were perfect: Liz, Jim, Claire’s dad, Jenny…they just added even more hilariousness to the storyline.

The steamy scenes between Claire and Carter were just fire. FIRE. Like, the kind of scenes that make you want to jump the next guy you see…or at the very least make you wish you were reading this in the privacy of your home…in your bed…with your JR and a fresh pair of batteries nearby. Ain’t no shame…*shrugs*

Seriously though, this book just plain fucking rocks. I don’t give out 5-star ratings very often, but this one beyond deserves it!! I wish I could show y’all how many parts of this book are highlighted on my Nook because it’s just ridiculous.  I know I said it already but if you haven’t read Seduction and Snacks yet, BUY. IT. NOW!!! I promise you won’t be disappointed! Tara Sivec, you are a fucking genius and if you ever need a new best friend, hit me up homegirl!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

COVER REVEAL: Dirty Red by Tarryn Fisher

Expected Publication Date: 2013

Dirty Red is the second book in the Love Me With Lies series, and is written from Leah's point of view. The first book, The Opportunist, is written from Olivia's point of view, and you can find my review of it here. Guys...I'm CRAZY excited for this book!!

Dear Opportunist,

You thought you could take him from me, but you lost. Now, that he's mine i'll do anything to keep him. Do you doubt me? I have everything that was supposed to be yours. In case you were wondering; he doesn't ever think about you anymore. I won't let him go...ever.

Dirty Red

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

He Loves Me...He Loves You Not by Lauren Hammond

Riley loves Henry. Henry loves Riley, but he’s dating Callie.
Riley Davis is mixed up in an emotional love triangle that she wants out of. But she can’t help the way she feels about Henry Garner. She’s obsessed. And she’s convinced that her on the sly relationship with Henry is going to end badly.
And Henry has a secret. A secret that could make or break one relationship. But which one will it be? His relationship with Callie? Or his romantic entanglement with Riley?

“I’d told myself that some part of him was better than no part of him. But some part of him is beginning to break me. I want more. I need more. Because like Callie, I’m in love with him, too.” – Riley

I love the stories that have happily ever afters, but if you were to ask me to choose between that and a story about an angst-driven romance, I would probably choose the latter. I don’t know why I like books about messy, imperfect, gut wrenching relationships so much. Maybe on some levels I feel like I relate to them? Maybe it’s because there’s the chance that the ending won’t be predictable? I don’t know. Relationships are just fucking messy sometimes, and I guess there’s a masochistic part of me that likes reading about those imperfect romances; which is why I was pretty dang excited to read He Loves Me…He Loves You Not.

The storyline is pretty self-explanatory: “Riley loves Henry. Henry loves Riley, but he’s dating Callie.” So, just how long can Henry string Riley along before she finally gets tired of being his dirty little secret?

To be completely honest, I had no problem with Riley. I don’t think cheating is right on any level, but it’s not like she was messing around with Henry just to have something fun to do; she legitimately loved him, and after all the lines he fed her about loving her, I can imagine it would be hard to turn him down or just flat out walk away from the situation. I felt for her so many times throughout this novella, because it seemed like no matter what she did or said, Henry was never willing to fully commit to her. He would give her hope and then take it right back. This brings me to my next point…

Henry. It is safe to say I am not a Henry fan. He is in love with Riley, but refuses to break up with Callie. Um…what? The reason he “can’t” leave Callie is made clear towards the end of the book, but I just don’t see that as a valid excuse…at all. He was just downright selfish. I don’t understand how he could continually hurt Riley over and over again if he loved her so much. And granted, Callie is a bitch but no girl deserves to be lied to and cheated on. To me, Henry was the embodiment of a self-centered jerk.

Despite my dislike for Henry, I did still enjoy this book. If a character evokes any kind of emotion from me, whether it is positive or negative, I think that’s a characteristic of a good author. The storyline had me in its grip from the very beginning, and didn’t let go. It’s a short read and I believe it’s only $0.99 from Barnes and Noble (as a nook book) so if you like angst-driven romances, I’d definitely encourage you to give He Loves Me…He Loves You Not a whirl.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Stalk Me. by Jillian Dodd

(The Keatyn Chronicles, book 1)
Keatyn has everything she ever dreamed of. Her life is following the script she wrote for the perfect high school experience. She’s popular, goes to the best parties, dates the hottest guy, and sits at the most coveted lunch table.
She’s just not sure she wants it anymore.
Because really, things aren’t all that perfect.
Her best friend is threatening to tell everyone her perfect relationship is a scam.
Her perfect boyfriend gets drunk at every party they go to.
It’s exhausting always trying to look and act perfect.
And deep down, she isn’t sure if she has any true friends.
To add to the drama, her movie star mom’s long-time fan has turned stalker. An older man is flirting with her and telling her they should make a movie together. And she’s crushing on an adorable surfer. Dating a guy like him would mean committing social suicide.
So she writes a new script. One where all the pieces of her life will come together in perfect harmony.
But little does she know, there’s someone who will do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen…

“You're single. I'm single. Let’s mingle.” – Cush

Jillian Dodd, you just might be my new BFF. And that’s real talk! I was looking forward to reading Stalk Me ever since the cover reveal, and you had me hook, line, and nostalgic sinker from page one! Now…I’m going to be honest. I haven’t read That Boy or That Wedding yet. HOLD ON…CEASE FIRE!! I have both of them downloaded on my Nook, but I also have about 30 other books downloaded that I haven’t read yet either. After finishing Stalk Me, I have bumped both That Boy and That Wedding up on my “to-read” list. Needless to say, I loved this book!!!!

Stalk Me follows the story of boy crazy, sixteen-year-old, Keatyn Douglas. She lives a privileged life in Malibu; she’s pretty, popular, rich, and is dating one of the most popular boys in school. The only problem is that Keatyn starts to think that maybe all of the popularity isn’t what she wants anymore; she just wants to be herself without putting on an act to impress everyone.

So, I’ll admit that when I realized what kind of family and background Keatyn came from, I was a little worried that she wouldn’t be a relatable character. Her mom and her mom’s boyfriend are both famous movie stars, she lives in a beachfront house in Malibu, and has a closet that could rival department stores. I am sooo happy to admit that I was incredibly wrong!! Cripes, was I ever wrong! I had my Sander in high school; I was crazy about him at first and then started to question if I was just with him because everyone thought it would be crazy not to be with him. He was a great guy, a popular baseball player and was wonderful to me, but he just wasn’t doing it for me! I looked at him more as a friend than a boyfriend. When Keatyn started to question her relationship with Sander that was the moment I felt immediately bonded to her. I feel you, girl! At some point, you have to forget who everyone wants you to be with, or who everyone wants you to be, and just f*cking be who you want to be and date who you want to date; Screw everybody else!

Now…on to more important things; by that, I mean CUSH!!!!!!!! Christ on a cracker, I am 100% TEAM CUSH! Swoon City, Population: ME! If Cush went to my high school THAT is who I would want to lose my V card to, no doubt. The scenes between him and Keatyn had me grinning from ear to freaking ear…and one scene in particular made me feel like I had a pit in my stomach. I felt like I was in Keatyn’s shoes! I know it’s a good book if I’m so invested in a relationship that I feel like I’m the one going through all the sh*t! I just soooo want Keatyn and Cush together, and the fact that he bought her cowboy boots got him about 1,000 more points in my book. (Anybody who knows me, knows I loooove me a nice pair of cowboy boots!) I am from Kansas, after all! :)

I’m not sure how I feel about the end right now. The reveal of the stalker was something that blindsided me! Literally, I felt like I got sucker punched. Stalk Me is touching, sexy, shocking, and just plain freaking awesome! I am waiting on pins and needles for Kiss Me to be published, because I need more of Keayton’s story in my life! Jillian Dodd, you have become one of my favorite authors with just one book. What does that tell y’all? It tells you that you should definitely read Stalk Me. Like, now. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stunning by Sara Shepard

(Pretty Little Liars series, book 11)
In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four stunningly beautiful girls are haunted by a very ugly past. Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily want nothing more than to forget Alison DiLaurentis, their former best friend who tried to ruin their lives. But someone refuses to let her memory die. A is still out there, lurking in the shadows and digging up the pretty little liars’ newest secrets.
Emily’s reconnecting with an old flame, one baby step at a time. But is she headed toward true love or another bundle of heartache? Spencer’s learning about the highs and lows of campus life on a trip to Princeton. Aria’s seeing a whole new side to Noel’s dad – and it could drive a wedge between her and Noel. And, for better or worse, Hanna’s getting in touch with her inner A.
Secret by secret, lie by lie, the girls get tangled in A’s dangerous web. A knows about everything, from their tiniest transgressions to the awful incident in Jamaica. Soon a will have enough ammunition to pull the trigger and end the pretty little liars, once and for all…

I don’t think I’ve ever felt relieved when I was so close to finishing a book series; usually I’m upset when I realize there is only one more book left to read. Guess how I felt after I finished Stunning? You guessed it; relieved. I guess there is a first for everything. I had such high hopes for this book series, which was brought on by my love of the show, Pretty Little Liars. The first 8 books were pretty good, but it has been a little brutal to finish the last three. I seriously sighed in relief when I hit the last page of Stunning. I don’t like that feeling!

The storylines are just taking an absurd turn. They have always been a little out there, but it almost feels like Sara Shepard is grasping at straws to come up with new issues for the four girls. “A” is still omnipresent and all knowing, and even though they have had quite a few suspects, none of their suspicions seem to pan out. Oh, and then you have Emily who is still convinced it is Ali. Granted, she may be right but it seems to me she just refuses to let Ali go. I will say though, I liked that we finally got to see Emily’s emotion and/or remorse towards the baby she gave away. My eyes got a little misty at the end when Emily sees her daughter with the family she gave her to; she seemed to really care that her daughter was loved, and I never got any of that from her in the previous two books. That being said, the way she gave the family the baby was f*cked up. I guess I can somewhat see why she did it, but really…? Hey Emily, your baby isn’t Harry Potter. You don’t just leave it on a doorstep with a note.

Hanna decides to start stalking her ex-boyfriend Mike, and his new girlfriend, Colleen. I think Hanna should have seen this backfiring on her considering the whole stalking idea was planted in her head by “A.” Either way, I have wanted Hanna and Mike back together for a while now and as nice as Colleen was, I was Team Hanna. I think she went a little overboard by wearing camouflage and using binoculars to spy on them in the mall, but what do I know? One aspect of Hanna’s storyline that I have really enjoyed is the new relationship she has with her step-sister, Kate. I like that they are finally getting along, and Kate seems surprisingly genuine to Hanna. Whether that’s actually here to stay or not, I guess we’ll find out in the final book.

Spencer’s storyline revolves around drugs again, and just how far she’ll go to get into an Eating Club at Princeton. While on a weekend stay, she meets Reefer (guess what his drug of choice is) and refuses to admit to herself that she could ever possibly be interested in someone like him. Well, maybe she should take his advice…”Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It turns out Reefer is more than just a pot-smoking hippie…

Aria’s big issue…is just ridiculous. She finds out Noel’s father is a cross dresser. That’s right; her boyfriend’s dad is a cross dresser. What the shit? Now, I’m not judging…you do what you do. It doesn’t affect me so live your life by doing whatever makes you happy. That being said, I think this storyline is beyond absurd. Of course “A” knows about it and threatens Aria: break up with Noel or everyone finds out his dad is a cross dresser. *facepalm*

I really, really wish I would have been able to enjoy this book, and the two prior, more than I did. I feel like my reviews might be getting repetitive when it comes to books 9-11, but it’s because none of them rock my socks off. Oh, and one final bone to pick: we still don’t know what Aria did in Iceland that is so terrible. It was brought up in Twisted, and after two more books, it’s still a mystery. This annoys me. How can you bring up something like that continually through three books, and not elaborate! I really hate to say this, but I am glad there is only one book left…and I’m glad the twelfth book, Burned, doesn’t come out for another three months. I need a break from Rosewood, Pennsylvania. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ruthless by Sara Shepard

(Pretty Little Liars series, book 10)
For years, scandal has rocked Rosewood, Pennsylvania – and high school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer have always been at the center of the drama. They’ve lost friends, been targeted by a ruthless stalker named A, and narrowly escaped death. And it’s not over yet.
Aria’s love life is on the fritz. Emily’s exploring her wild side. Hanna’s kissing the enemy. And someone from Spencer’s past – someone she never thought she’d see again – is back to haunt her.
But none of that compares to what happened last spring break. It’s their darkest secret yet and guess who found out? Now A is determined to make them pay for their crime, and the only thing scarier than A is the fear that maybe, just maybe, they deserve what’s coming to them.

Once again, I’m left disappointed. I just want to go back to two weeks ago when I was contemplating reading the final four books and tell myself, “Don’t you f*cking do it! End it where it was originally supposed to end with Wanted.” The storylines seem to get more and more unbelievable…literally…they are not believable, and the likability of the girls seems to be in a steady decline. The book wasn’t downright awful, and there were a few redeeming factors but after I finished it, my eyes were sore from so much eye rolling. (Okay, not really…but I did roll my eyes an unhealthy amount of times.)

So, Spencer is hooked on drugs. Yes…you read that right. She got hooked on a pill called “Easy A” which is Adderall. She never comes out and says that, but the effects described for “Easy A” are exactly the same effects for Adderall. Anyway, she gets caught with them and blames everything on her friend, because her friend doesn’t have a future; well, not according to Spencer anyway. She’s the only one trying to get into an Ivy League school and if that means putting her friend in jail, then so be it. Nice Spence…real nice.

Hanna falls for a new guy unusually fast; so fast that she doesn’t even get the chance to find out who he really is before falling head of heels for the dude. I had a sneaking suspicion that there were something off about this guy…I guess it’s good to know my instincts are still finely tuned! But honestly, I felt bad for Hanna. Granted, she should probably learn to reel in her emotions a little at first…just stick your toe in the water to feel it out; don’t go diving in head first, girl! I just wish she would get back with Mike, because clearly every other guy she’s been with is a piece of crap.

Aria gets dumped by Noel for his exchange student, Klaudia. This girl Klaudia is a real “bunt cake” with C. I have wanted to punch that little trick since the conversation she had with Aria on the ski lift. Oh, but not to worry! Ezra comes back and Aria decides she wants to uproot her life and move to New York with him. Um…what? A quote from Stepbrothers comes to mind right about now: “YOU’RE F*CKING HIGH!!” I mean, really; I get that he isn’t a stranger but he’s been back in your life for 2 hours and you’re already looking for apartments in New York? Come on, homegirl…maybe you should make sure he doesn’t have a wandering eye first.

Then there’s Emily. I honestly don’t even know where to start. She got pregnant, hid it from her family and friends, had the baby and gave it away. Okay…for starters, the time span of her being pregnant was like 5 months. So she had her baby at 5 months? Something just doesn’t add up. Oh, and just a little question…where the f*ck is this baby?! There is literally nothing said about who adopted her, where they live, etc.  I have been liking Emily less and less, and this book didn’t help me change my opinion of her, especially when she tells Kelsey about what Spencer did to her. Look, I get it; you like the girl and what Spencer did was absolutely wrong, BUT that's not your place! You’re willing to turn your back on one of your best friends for some girl you just met? Yeah, I definitely want you in my core group of friends. *Shaking my head*

I’m riding out this series even though I have been disappointed in the last two books. I’m going to be real honest, the main reason I’m finishing the series is to find out what Aria did in Iceland. It was brought up in Twisted, but we still haven’t found out what she did that was just so beyond terrible. Ruthless wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t exactly good either. I guess all I can hope for at this point is that the last two books turn it around and finish the series strong. *Fingers crossed* 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Twisted by Sara Shepard

(Pretty Little Liars series, book 9)
It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The pretty little liars have more secrets than ever – twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild.
Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little “too” cozy with her soon-to-be stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do “anything” to get a swim scholarship.
Worst of all: last spring break in Jamaica, they did something “unforgivable.” The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore…eventually.

The only major unanswered question at the end of Wanted was whether or not Alison survived the fire in the Poconos. All the other major loose ends were tied up in a nice, little bow; the four girls were all friends again, they had their lives back, we finally figured out who “A” really was and learned the real reason why she tortured the girls for so long. I would have been fine with the series ending after the chilling last line in Wanted. THAT BEING SAID…I was just too curious! I couldn’t just blow off the last four books; I just needed to know what could possibly happen after all this shit went down in Wanted.

Sadly, I was a little disappointed in Twisted. Now let me explain before you start send threatening messages to me signed with “-A.” (Yep, that was cheesy and I don’t even give a crap.) I just feel like the story has taken a ridiculous turn. Sure, there were plotlines that weren’t exactly believable in the prior 8 books but this one is a little too much. After we finally figure out the whole “Ali-Courtney-Real Ali” situation in Wanted, the “Real Ali” tries to kill the girls…once again…by burning down her family’s house in the Poconos while the girls are locked inside. Oh, and Spencer’s sister Melissa is locked in a closet in the house with…wait for it…Ian Thomas’s dead body. So yeah. The “Real Ali” was A from the beginning (with Mona’s help) and she’s the one who killed Ian, Jenna, and her twin sister Courtney…who everyone thought was Ali. Christ on a cracker, I can’t even explain that whole thing or we’ll be here all fucking day. If you want to know, read Wanted. Back on topic: the girls manage to escape the burning house and Ali burns inside the house. Or does she? They never find any remains and there are “Ali sightings” everywhere. So did she burn or is she still out there seeking revenge on the four little liars? THAT’S a badass ending to a series!

Then there’s Twisted. I was really hoping that maybe Sara would take the story in a different direction and she…did not. The girls do something terrible while on spring break in Jamaica; something they can never tell anyone. Well, someone finds out and like clockwork they start getting texts from “A” again. So, if Ali died in the fire…who is still out there threatening to ruin the girls’ lives by revealing what they did in Jamaica?

First of all, the whole Tabitha/Alison thing was just a little too ridiculous for me. Is Alison secretly a cat? Is she a fucking robot? Because those are the only explanations I can come up with as to how the hell she would ever still be alive; she has nine lives or she runs on batteries and can only be killed by ripping the main wire that leads to the central battery in her chest. Or she’s a vampire and needs to be staked. I digress. I’m a little over the girls constantly “seeing” Ali, especially Emily.

Emily has grated on me for the past few books and I’m just about fed up with her. The girl is still wetting her panties over Alison. Umm…excuse me? This crazy bitch tried to kill you in a fire not once, but twice, and has made your life a living hell for years! Move the fuck on. She still has Ali up on this pedestal and it drives me crazy. Oh, and Emily drops a BOMB of a secret. I can’t even really talk about it right now because I don’t even understand how it happened…and how in the world she could physically keep it a secret. I don’t buy it. Maybe there will be more answers in Ruthless…scratch that…there better be some answers in the next book.

Aria is dealing with the super-hot foreign exchange student living with Noel Kahn and his family…and by dealing with, I mean she’s crazy jealous of her. I feel like Aria gets shafted on the storylines; can she have one that doesn’t involve her love life going to complete shit?

Hanna apparently is big on trusting strangers…strange guys, to be more specific. Her father is running for Senator and because of her lack of judgment, there are now pictures of her out there that could damage her father’s campaign. That being said, I actually did feel bad for her. I get mad at her for being a snob every now and then, but at the end of the day she’s still my favorite character.

And then there’s Spencer; this is the first time I’ve really found myself annoyed with her. I guess I’m just a little confused as to why anyone would make a move on their soon-to-be stepbrother? Gross. I mean, I get that you’re not blood-related but come on, girl! You’re better than that! Their whole relationship is just weird and I can’t say I’m a big fan of Zach.

This was my least favorite book of the series, but I am still going to finish it out and read the last three books. I think Sara Shepard wrote these final four books simply because of the popularity of the TV show, Pretty Little Liars, but I feel like they could continue the show without these last four books. The show follows the books loosely…and I mean loosely. There are so many differences; Caleb isn’t in the books but he and Hanna have been together on the show for a while now, Aria and Ezra went their separate ways a long time ago in the books and have never really been apart in the show, Toby was killed off in the second book but he’s still around and dating Spencer in the show, Jenna is killed in the books but in the show she gets her sight back and starts dating Noel Kahn…I could continue but I won’t. Now that you’ve spent your entire afternoon reading this review, I’ll sum it up by saying this: I really hope the last three books are better than Twisted or I’m going to regret not stopping at Wanted.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wanted by Sara Shepard

(Pretty Little Liars series, book 8)
In Rosewood, majestic estates sprawl for acres, and Tiffany toggle bracelets dangle from every girl’s wrist. But not all that glitters is gold and the town harbors secrets darker than anyone could imagine – like the truth about what really happened the night Alison DiLaurentis went missing…
Back in middle school, Ali plucked Emily, Hanna, Aria, and Spencer from obscurity and turned them into the beautiful, popular girls everyone wanted to be. Ali was the best friend they ever had. But she also made them do terrible things and taunted them with their worst secrets. Now, three years later, all their questions about Ali have finally been answered and they can put this awful chapter of their lives behind them. Or so they think.
Not every story has a happy ending, especially when four pretty little liars have done so many wicked things. In the dramatic conclusion of Sara Shepard’s bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, Emily, Hanna, Aria, and Spencer could get everything they’ve ever wanted – unless A has one more horrifying twist in store.

What a crazy, mind twisting, perfect end to the Pretty Little Liars series!! Now, I say end…however, there are four more books but I’m not positive if they follow the same storyline or not. I would imagine they have all new issues since the major mysteries in books 1-8 have been solved. Or have they? I feel like the way Wanted ended could go one of two ways: the mystery of “-A” and Alison’s murder are finally solved and the girls are finally able to move on…OR…someone escaped something and is still out there waiting for their chance to finally take out the liars for good. Either way, I was extremely happy with the way this series ended!

There are too many opportunities to reveal spoilers so I can’t really explain the plot into too much detail. However, remember when I said Sara dropped a cliffhanger in Killer and didn’t explain it in Heartless? Well, we finally get some answers in the final book. Who really was the girl they saw in the woods the night they were set on fire? Was it really Alison? Was it her ghost? Did they all just hallucinate seeing her? Well folks…the answer will rock your fucking socks off. Okay, maybe not rock them off…YET!

After it turns out that Billy Ford, the man in jail for the murders of Ian, Alison, and Jenna, has a solid alibi for the nights of the murders, they realize he is being framed by someone still walking the streets. The revelation will blow. your. fucking. mind. I had a little bit of a hint that something about someone was off, but I didn’t see the final twist coming at all! The new “-A” reveals their identity and all questions regarding the deaths of Ian, Jenna, and Ali are officially answered. Two words came to mind during the last 20 or so pages: Bitch Crazy! Brace yourself ladies…shit gets real in this book!!

I loved Wanted and the series as a whole was pretty good, but this was my favorite book by far. That being said, there were a couple storylines that seemed to be unanswered: Wilden’s whole Amish background and what really happened to his ex-girlfriend Leah, Is Emily totally done with Isaac even after he asked her to take him back…just to name a couple. Who knows, maybe those questions will be answered in the next four books if Sara chooses to follow this same storyline. If you like Pretty Little Liars the TV show, I would definitely recommend checking out this series but don’t expect it to mirror the show. The TV show follows the books loosely and as much as I hate to say it, I think I still like the TV show better. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Heartless by Sara Shepard

(Pretty Little Liars series, book 7)
Four gorgeous girls are telling very ugly stories. First Emily, Aria, Hanna, and Spencer claimed they found a dead body in the woods behind Spencer’s house, only to have it vanish without a trace. Then, when the same woods went up in flames, they swore they saw someone who’s supposed to be dead rise from the ashes. And even after all that, the pretty little liars are still playing with fire. Call me heartless, but it’s about time someone shut these liars up for good. After all, nobody likes a girl who cries wolf – least of all me…

I was torn between how many stars I should give this installment in the Pretty Little Liars series, but ultimately I just couldn't pull the trigger on the 4 star rating. Why? A couple of the girls' storylines just plain bored me. And man oh man, I had such high hopes for this book!! Keep in mind, I was still reeling from the cliffhanger in Killer and was hoping that there would be some explanation of it in Heartless. Well…there wasn’t so that was disappointing. I get that it’s adding to the mystery and everything but really?!? You’re going to drop a bomb like that and then not have it resolved in the next book?? I get impatient when I don’t get some answers about a cliffhanger within the first chapter of the next book. Here’s the cliffhanger from Killer, which is where Heartless picks up…

The girls barely escape the woods behind Spencer’s house after they were set on fire, and while they are trying to find their bearings, they realize there aren’t just four girls there; there are five. Aria rescued a girl from the burning woods without ever seeing her face and when the girls finally get a good look at her, they are certain of one thing…the girl standing in front of them is Alison. Yeah, that’s right; their BFF Alison who was supposedly killed four years ago. Crazy shit. (Well, don’t get too excited because you won’t find out what’s really going on with that whole storyline until the next book, Wanted.) Now, the girls already earned a reputation for lying when they said they found Ian Thomas’s body in the woods and then the body magically disappeared so when Emily tells police they just saw Alison…well…let’s just say it doesn’t go over well. 

So what else do the girls get into? Well, “-A” sends Emily to an Amish community in Lancaster, which seemed pretty dumb to me. I really didn’t see any point to this story until the day that she was leaving and finds out some juicy background gossip on one of the guys currently living in Rosewood. I was actually anxious to see where that plotline went, but it pretty much just fizzled a little and then died. 

Hanna’s dad sends her to The Preserve, a mental health facility, with the hopes that it will help her get her shit together and make her stop lying, I guess? It seems a bit extreme, but whatever. This place seems like the most plush mental health facility on the planet. The amount of times Hanna talks about getting a facial or a mani/pedi, you would think she’s on vacation at a fucking spa. Oh, and her roommate Iris adds a nice little twist to the story. I’m hoping we haven’t seen the last of her! 

Aria really isn’t doing anything. Besides her new romance with Noel Kahn, the only significant thing she did in this book was call a medium to the spot where Ali was buried in an attempt to talk to her ghost. For real, that’s it. 

Spencer’s chapters were absolutely the best. Her parents finally come clean about whether or not she’s adopted but that’s not even the best part. She finds out shocking information about her dad, which leads her to a new revelation: she has a closer relationship with one of her friends than she thought. That’s all I can say without giving too much away. Spence’s chapters always seem to have the most depth, and are the most realistic storylines in my opinion. 

Beyond that, we find out who the new “-A” is, get a new suspect for Alison’s murder, and another young girl turns up dead. I wasn’t happy with who the new “-A” was…at all. It just seemed too random. Maybe there’s another twist coming?! All in all, it was good but not great, which seems to be my opinion on all of the books so far. This is a first, but I actually prefer the TV show over the books. This has never happened, people! I just love the dark, creepy shit on the show and the books just aren’t giving me that. Not to mention, the relationships on the show are fucking phenomenal! I mean, I got legitimately mad when Caleb and Hanna broke up, and when Spencer was constantly lying to Toby I just kept thinking “please don’t break up with her, please don’t break up with her! She’ll explain everything later, homie!” I don’t get that kind of emotion for any of the relationships in the books…I wish I did. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Killer by Sara Shepard

(Pretty Little Liars series, book 6)
In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, ash-blond highlights gleam in the winter sun and frozen lakes sparkle like Swarovski crystals. But pictures often lie – and so do Rosewood’s four prettiest girls. Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily have been lying ever since they became friends with beautiful Alison DiLaurentis. Ali made them do terrible things – things they had to keep secret for years. And even though Ali was killed at the end of seventh grade, their bad-girl ways didn’t die with her. Hanna’s on a mission to corrupt Rosewood’s youth, starting with a very attractive sophomore. Aria’s snooping into her boyfriend’s past. Spencer’s stealing – from her family. And pure little Emily’s abstaining from abstinence.
The girls should be careful, though. They thought they were safe when Ali’s killer was arrested and A’s true identity was finally revealed. But now there’s a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.

While this isn’t my least favorite book of the series so far, it’s not my favorite either. I found myself getting a little annoyed with the girls in this book, mainly because I feel like there is a lot of repetition. The main factors that kept this from plunging to a 2 star were…well, I’ll tell you later. Let’s start from the beginning.

Killer picks up with the girls finding Ian Thomas’s dead body in the woods behind Spencer’s house, only when they bring Officer Wilden to the scene of the crime…his body is gone. There is no trace that he was ever there. Was he not really dead? Was it a dummy? If he wasn’t dead, where did he go? The police are convinced the girls were simply crying wolf to get attention and a manhunt ensues to find Ian, who is still being charged with Alison’s murder. On top of the town of Rosewood branding them all liars, they are also dealing with their own issues.

Hanna is battling her conniving soon-to-be stepsister, Kate, for the role of “Queen Bee” at Rosewood Day…which is what she was doing basically the entire last book as well. Her whole attitude in this book was a little annoying, which sucks because Hanna is my favorite character. Now I feel like she doesn’t care about anyone else but herself, and if something doesn’t involve one-upping Kate, she isn’t interested. Lame. I do actually like her romantic interest in Mike, even though it’s once again just a competition with Kate to see who can win him over. I hope they stay together, but I’m not holding my breath.

Aria finally decides to do something about her crush on Ali’s older brother, Jason. Her storyline seems to get a little repetitive too; she is always dating/wanting to date the wrong guy. First it was Ezra, then Xavier, and now Jason. The issue of her living with her dad and his new fiancĂ©e wasn’t really brought up, and the Xavier/Aria awkwardness was barely touched on.

Spencer is now convinced she was adopted, and signed up for an online site where kids can find their biological parents. As expected, she finds someone claiming to be her birth mother who “just can’t wait to meet her!” This turn of events with the birth mother was extremely predictable, in my opinion. I didn’t necessarily foresee what issue would be presented, but I knew the whole situation was just too good to be true. Meanwhile, her parents are pretty much downright awful to her. I mean, they sold her car back to the dealership without even warning her…yeah…sold her freaking car and didn’t tell her. A-holes.

Emily and Isaac turned up the heat in their relationship, but it turns out someone has a fire extinguisher ready…his mother. I actually feel really bad for Emily, because his mom is a reeeeal piece of work.  

With Ian swearing he’s not the one who killed Ali, the girls begin to think that he just might be telling the truth and turn their attention to a couple of guys in Rosewood who have been acting a big out of the ordinary. Is it possible they had it wrong all along with Ian? Are the police really covering something up? There are a lot of unanswered questions at the end of this book and holy shiitake mushrooms, the cliffhanger is something fierce!

The last three or four chapters and the crazy cliffhanger are what really saved the book from being a 2 star in my opinion. (See, I told you I’d tell you about it later!) The mystery aspect is great and it constantly keeps me on my toes, but I just wish it would lose some of the repetitiveness with the girls’ individual issues. Oh…and the whole thing with the Time Capsule flag? I’m over it. I think I have read the exact same scene with the girls in Ali’s backyard and Jason storming out of the house about 5 or 6 times within the past two books. (Once again, repetitiveness.) That being said, it’s still a good read and I’m ready to dive right into Heartless.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wicked by Sara Shepard

(Pretty Little Liars series, book 5)
In idyllic Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four very pretty girls just can’t help but be bad…
Hanna will do anything to be Rosewood’s queen bee. Spencer’s digging up her family’s secrets. Emily can’t stop thinking about her new boyfriend. And Aria approves a little too strongly of her mom’s taste in men.
Now that Ali’s killer is finally behind bars, the girls think they’re safe. But those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. And they should know by now that I’m always watching…

This was my favorite book of the series so far and I’m a lot more amped to read the rest of the series than I was the first four books. Why, you ask? Well, because I watch the show which so far has followed the first five books. The first four books were good, but the mystery wasn’t really there for me since I knew what was going to happen; now I’m finally at the place where I can try and figure out who the new “-A” is and not already know! Bomb dotcom.

The girls are still coping with two major things concerning Mona: 1) she was “-A” and 2) she’s dead. Hanna has not only lost her best friend, but she is trying to decipher why Mona would torture her for months and threaten to reveal all her secrets. Was she never really her friend at all? As if that’s not enough on Hanna’s plate, her father, and soon-to-be stepmother and stepsister are now living with her while her mom is away in Singapore. Kate tells Hanna a deep secret of her own, which leads Hanna to believe maybe she really does want to be friends with her after all. Ohh, Hanna…you’re so gullible.

Spencer has uncovered a family secret that has the potential to turn her entire world upside down, Aria is just a little too close to her mom’s new boyfriend, and Emily has a new boyfriend. Yep, that’s right…a boyfriend. I guess maybe she’s bi? Who knows; regardless, I like Isaac way more than I do Maya so go get you some, girl! Oh, and Spencer finally has some sparks fly with Andrew Campbell. It was a little predictable, but it’s about time that girl had a love interest!

Sure, they all still have issues to work through, but with the death of Mona and Ian Thomas locked up in jail awaiting trial for the murder of Alison, the girls finally feel safe. No more “-A”, no more Rosewood stalker, no more killer wandering the streets of Rosewood. But when Ian is released on bail to visit his dying mother, the mysterious texts start up again…and this time, they’re even worse. The new “-A” doesn’t just send threatening text messages; they have incriminating pictures that could tear some of the girls’ families apart. Just when the girls are so sure that Ian is behind the texts, they discover something. Something that means there is no possible way Ian is the new “-A.” Now they are back at square one, trying to figure out who wants to make sure Mona’s torture of them continues…and that means they also have to figure out who else in Rosewood knows all their secrets.

I liked the first four books in the series, but this is the first one that I really found myself enthralled with. I know a lot of that has to do with the fact that I knew who the original “-A” was, but now I’m in the dark just as much as the girls. Sara Shepard does a fantastic job of making you think you have finally caught on enough to figure out the mystery, then she pulls the rug out from under you and makes you realize you have no idea who “-A” is…or if Ian is really Alison’s killer. Wicked ends with a wicked huge cliffhanger (see what I did there..?) so I would recommend having the next book, Killer, ready to rock. Sh*t is about to get real…

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Out of Breath Release Date Announcement

I have been eagerly anticipating the release...or even just knowing the freaking release date...for the final book in the Breathing series. Well, it looks like I don't have to wait much longer. Rebecca Donovan posted the following picture to the Barely Breathing Facebook page today!! Fuck. Yes. 

Check out Barely Breathing's Facebook page here but first...while you're moseying around on my blog, you can check out my reviews for Reason to Breathe and Barely Breathing, the first two books in the Breathing series. 

The countdown until October officially begins...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Unbelievable by Sara Shepard

(Pretty Little Liars series, book 4)
Behind Rosewood’s grand facades, where the air smells like apples and Chanel No. 5 and infinity pools sparkle in landscaped backyards, nothing is as it seems. It was here, back in seventh grade, that five best friends shared everything – Seven jeans, MAC makeup, and their deepest darkest secrets. For Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily, it was a dream come true…until Alison, the most beautiful of them all, suddenly vanished.
Now someone named A has turned their charmed lives into a living nightmare. Emily has been shipped off to her hyper-conservative cousins in Iowa. Aria is stuck living with her dad and his home-wrecker girlfriend. And Spencer fears she had something to do with Alison’s murder. But Hanna’s fate is far worse than all of that – she’s clinging to life in the hospital, because “she knew too much.”
With A’s threats turning dangerous and Ali’s killer still on the loose, the girls must uncover the truth – about A, about Ali, and about what happened to Hanna – before they become A’s next victims. But as they unravel Rosewood’s mysteries and secrets, will it bring an end to the horror…or is this just the beginning?

While this book was fairly predictable, I did still enjoy it. It sounds bad, but I’m actually glad I’m done with the first four books, only because seasons 1 & 2 of Pretty Little Liars follow books 1-4, and the beginning of season 3 does as well. I’m ready to read without knowing what’s coming! Granted, the show follows the books loosely, but the main issues are consistent…the major one being the revealing of “-A,” which is finally done in this book.

Let’s see what the girls have gotten themselves into now:

We were left with the cliffhanger of Hanna realizing who “-A” is…and when she’s running across the parking lot to tell her friends, she gets mowed down by an SUV. Awesome. After coming out of a coma, she can’t remember the night of the accident. At all. She has no recollection of who “-A” is or how she even figured it out in the first place. She has also managed to forget how Mona humiliated her at her birthday party, which Mona takes full advantage of…because she sucks a big one. I’ve never been a fan of Mona and after what she did to Hanna at her birthday party, I pretty much despised her. Oh, and Hanna is also in a tug-of-war with her feelings towards Lucas; he’s a sweet guy but he’s not popular and Mona constantly rags on him…once again, because she sucks a big one.

Spencer is still hiding the fact that she plagiarized her sister’s paper for her econ class, which consequently was nominated for a Golden Orchid award and she just so happens to be one of the finalists. Rather than deal with the public humiliation of their daughter being known as a cheater, her parents have decided to bury her secret and have her go along with the notion that she actually did write paper. Superb parenting, by the way. While keeping this secret from everyone outside her family, she is also still trying to wrap her head around her blackouts, and remember anything from the night Ali went missing that will convince her she wasn’t the one who killed Ali.

Emily was shipped off to Iowa after she refused to complete Tree Top, the “reform” program that “fixes” homosexuality. Her first night, she sneaks out with her cousins and meets, Trisha, a bisexual girl who I actually really liked. She was kind of carefree and fun, which seems like the opposite of Maya (I’ve never been a big Maya fan, either.) When her aunt & uncle find out they snuck out, the cousins all blame Emily and she gets shipped back to Rosewood. I kind of saw this coming…

Lastly, Aria just got her world rocked. Her mom kicked her out, her boyfriend found out she was messing around with Ezra, and called the cops resulting in Ezra’s arrest, and she’s now living with her dad and his new girlfriend, Meredith. She also finds out some interesting information about the night Jenna Cavanaugh was blinded that makes her and the other girls see how much Ali was really hiding from them. Now…the most important question: With Ezra out of jail and no one pressing charges, can he and Aria finally make their relationship work?

Okay, take a second to breathe. On top of all that mess, we finally find out who “-A” is and the police take a suspect into custody for the murder of Alison. I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. Most of the storylines were rather predictable and would have been even if I didn’t have knowledge from watching the show. As much as I like this series so far, I can’t say that I love it. I actually prefer the TV show, which is probably a first. I wish Toby was still around and had the storyline he does in the show, and I wish Caleb and Hanna were together…or that he was in the books at all, which maybe he is later. Correction: I hope he is later. That being said, I’m anxious to continue the series since I’m getting to the point in the books that hasn’t been covered in the show yet. Bring it.