Book Review: Cured Meat by Polly Trope

Title: Cured Meat
Author: Polly Trope
Publication Date: April 24, 2014
Genre: Urban Fiction



Blurb:

On the daring road to happiness out of mental hospital, passing through the NYC drug scene and the London escort life, this low-life odyssey is an elegant picaresque romp through the slums of the human soul. Bizarre encounters with colourful characters make for tragi-comic strange tales of rockers, dreamers and comedians.

Kayla's Thoughts:


Cured Meat. I wasn't sure what to expect from a book with a title like that, aand I had some doubts about whether or not I would like it, but after reading its blurb, I thought I should try it. It surprised me.

This book is about a spiral into darkness, with bouts of happiness and clarity, albeit few, mixed in. It is about a woman's journey through depression, addiction, and mental illness. It delves into her mind and unleashes her inner-most thoughts and fears throughout this entire thing.

The imagery of this book is quite beautiful, and after a slightly rocky start for me in the beginning, I began to feel with her. She has thoughts that everyone at some point has in the duration of their life, some admit this fact while others dismiss it, and every page of this book is so brutally honest and unflinching.

While these days there is not much the world doesn't talk about, I feel that mental illness is one of the rare subjects that is blatantly ignored by most. The dark corners of one's mind is such a passed over subject, that it makes this book wholly unique. This author's voice is like a candle shedding light in those corners making them known to the world. Which makes me like this book all the more.

Verdict:

It was truly an experience reading this, and one that I might not forget in future.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Berliner with a literary bent, Polly Trope won various young person's awards in literature and was a known blogger before she wrote Cured Meat, her debut novel.

Links for Author:

Book Review: A Kiss By The Book by Christy Hayes

Title: A Kiss By The Book (Kiss and Tell, Book 2)
Author: Christy Hayes
Publication Date: March 26, 2014
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Fiction




Blurb:

College senior Zach Chamberlain's charmed life has always gone according to script:
Eighteen Date the prettiest girl in high school, check.
Football scholarship to a division-one school, check.
Heisman contender, check.
Buy engagement ring, check.
On track to graduate with honors, check.
There's just one glitch. His girlfriend is in love with his younger brother and breaks up with him in the middle of his senior season. Shocked, betrayed, and embarrassed, Zach turns to the only woman he can trust: his nerdy tutor.

Tutoring college athletes at Southeastern State University is more than a job for Jenna Peterson; it's a way for her to pay it forward after long-ago tragedy struck too close to home. SE State's golden boy, Zach Chamberlain, isn't the first jock Jenna's tutored with cover-boy good looks, and he won't be the last. When he asks for her help with statistics, Jenna assumes he's as egocentric as the other athletes on her roster. A wildly inappropriate and lacklustre kiss at the worst possible time do much to disprove her theory.

Zach will do anything to save face in front of his family, and he uses Jenna's bleeding heart and unfortunate circumstances to enlist her help over the holidays. Jenna begins to realize Zach is more than a pretty face as his storybook life begins to unravel. When a sprig of mistletoe provides the perfect opportunity to affirm his skill, the searing kiss pits the play maker against the rule maker in a kiss to the end. When secrets are revealed and the game's on the line, will they follow the script, improvise, or throw the book out the window?

Kayla's Thoughts:

I absolutely loved the first book A Kiss By Design. But I have to admit that I might have loved this second book just a teensy bit better. I think one of the reasons has got to be the main girl featured. Jenna. She just reminds me of myself, and while I do not tutor athletes or major in Biology and stem cell research, I have always surprised people by my thoughts, feelings, or even actions, making true the phrase expect the unexpected. And that is exactly what Jenna does with Zach. She forces him to throw what he knows and is familiar with out the window. She forces him to look inside of himself and re-evaluate himself.

At the end of the last book, Zach was devastated with the initial breakup of him and Emily and the thought of Emily and Dylan becoming a couple. He is more shattered than anything about the fact that his familiar world is crumbling around him. This book kind of delves more into his feelings on the subject and how he is going to cope with it. And...well...he copes a bit better than he realizes.

This book is a fight between the two characters but also an internal struggle inside themselves. As much as they want to deny it, the two are more alike than they think. They both have these environments that hold no surprises. They are comfortable. They have planned against the inevitable, and no one can take this away from them. But love is a fickle mistress and will take them to a place they never expected.

They will try to contain their feelings, denying them, but life will throw them for a loop.

Verdict:

Okay, so throughout this book, Zach gives a nickname to Jenna. I don't want to give it away, but I have to say that it made me squeal every single time. It was just so cute, and that, paired with the denial of their growing feelings for one another, just made it that much more intimate and...well, I couldn't stop smiling each time the name came up. In fact, I still can't stop smiling when I think of it.

We get to see the real Zach in this story. The one behind the persona he exudes. He truly is a sweet guy. It just has taken him a bit longer than most to find his true self.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:



Christy Hayes lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, their two children and two dogs. She has a journalism degree from the University of Georgia and is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Women's Fiction Chapter of Romance Writers of America. She's been writing seriously since 2004 and made the decision to indie publish in 2011.



Christy writes romance and romantic women's fiction from her little basement office in the South. She's cooked up all kinds of trouble for her flawed characters when she's not driving her kids to one sporting event or another or walking her pesky rescue mutts through the neighborhood.

Links for Author:

Blog Tour: Book Review and Giveaway: Forager by Peter R. Stone




Title: Forager
Author: Peter R. Stone
Publication Date: November 22, 2013
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction


Blurb:

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Jones lives in Newhome, a town built upon the decaying ruins of post-apocalyptic Melbourne, ruins haunted by the ferocious Skel, a nomadic tribe of degenerate savages.

The Skel are ramping up their attacks on Newhome's foraging teams and infesting Melbourne's ruins in ever greater numbers. Is this part of a larger plan that could spell the town's doom?

Meanwhile, the last thing Ethan expects when he and his companions rescue a two-car convoy from the Skel is a Japanese teenage girl with an outlandish dress sense, who, after they take her back to Newhome, goes to great lengths to ingratiate herself into his life. But is it in gratitude for saving her life or is she seeking something more?

And what a quandary she places him in, for he knows the rules, that no man is permitted to be alone with an unmarried woman. But how can he drive such a gentle soul away when she touches his heart so deeply, even though she clearly carries the pain of a broken heart.

At the same time, Newhome's police force, the Custodians, are suspicious of Ethan's foraging team's successes and are pulling out the stops to find out which member of his team has the illegal mutant ability that gives them an edge over the other teams. Should these peacekeepers discover Ethan is the mutant they seek, they will haul him away and dissect him like a frog.

Kayla's Thoughts:

I must first state that I love when I get receive pictures of the covers of books that are kind of 3D. I think it is just the coolest thing.

Moving on.

When I decided to read and review this particular book, I honestly wasn't sure if I would like it. I mean, I love dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels, it is interesting to see humans fighting for survival in a world of devastation, but I didn't know what this book bring. Of course I had read the blurb, and normally I can tell by a blurb that I will like the book, and sometimes even love it, but this one was an enigma to me. It was a blank slate. And because of this reason, I decided to give it a try.

From the first page, I was pleasantly surprised. This story is wonderful. The world itself is written so very well, to the point where I could envisage every single part of it. And the characters...I love that everyone in Ethan's home is one way, while the Japanese girl he saves is almost the exact opposite. Woman are to be seen and not heard, but this girl has guts like you wouldn't believe. I think that is why she was basically my favorite out of them all. And believe you me, there were a few contenders.

I need to admit that when the connection between Ethan and the girl was revealed, and they ended up happy as clams, I was disappointed. I felt like something was missing. But then I turned the page and BOOM!...drama. It was like the author wanted us to feel a kind of false sense of security, a kind of "okay, they are together...now what?" type of thing. I LOVE THAT! I love being shown that, as a reader, I do not know what direction an author will go. I love being 180'd. It just takes the cake when an author can bring me from a calm state one minute to one of action and excitement the next.

Verdict:

The second book in this series is definitely on my to-read list. I just can't get enough. It was interesting and flowed amazingly well and I just so floored by how much this book surprised me with it's quality. It was truly an outstanding story.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Peter Stone, an avid student of history, was reading books on Ancient Greece from the age of four. His periods of interest include the ancient world, medieval era, Napoleonic times, and the Second World War. He still mourns the untimely passing of King Leonidas of Sparta and Field Marshal Michel Ney of France.

A child of the Cold War Generation, Peter Stone studied the ramification of a nuclear missile strike when he was in his senior year of high school, learning the effects of nuclear fallout and how to (hopefully) survive it. He has ever been drawn to post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels and films, and eagerly devoured The Day of the Triffids and John Christopher's Tripod Trilogy when he was a child.

Peter Stone graduated from Melbourne School of Ministries Bible College in 1988. He has been teaching Sunday School and playing the keyboard in church for over twenty-five years. His wife is from Japan and they have two wonderful children. Peter Stone has worked in the same games company for over twenty years, but still does not comprehend why they expect him to work all day instead of playing games.

Links for Author:
Website / Twitter / Goodreads


Blog Tour: Giveaway and Book Review: The Star Catcher by Stephanie Keyes





Title: The Star Catcher (The Star Child series, Book 3)
Author: Stephanie Keyes
Publication Date: October 20, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing

Blurb:

Magick and destiny intertwine as he fights to save his kingdom and the goddess he loves.

Her kiss...the feel of her skin...the beat of her heart...For seventeen-year-old Kellen St. James, each memory is marred by a single sentence on a lone strip of paper. Cali has been taken...

Armed with an amulet that channels the ultimate power of Faerie, Kellen searches for his love. However, control of the amulet's energy comes with a price, and Kellen soon learns that Cali's captor has plans for the stone. With the threat of the Star Catcher's evil looming above Kellen and his kingdom, he'll have to free the Heart of Faerie and break the curse that binds the Children of Danu to the darkness. But before that, he has to find his real father, the king. No pressure, right?

Kellen and Cali will battle bewitched armies and unknown foes as they fight to stay together. Will Kellen embrace his immortal destiny? Or will his world, and the man he is fated to become, be destroyed by The Star Catcher?

Kayla's Thoughts:

*Sigh* What can I say about this third and final installment in The Star Child series. Nothing much, actually, except to say that I absolutely am in love with the story and the characters and just every aspect of this wonderful piece of work.

To be honest, I had never heard of The Star Child series of books before getting the opportunity to read this book. So when I was also given the first two along with this last one, so that I could start from the beginning and gain a better perspective of what I would be reading with this third book in the series, I absolutely dove in with great vigor.

So much has been revealed throughout this entire series, things pertaining to Alex and his lineage, Calienta and her own lineage, a prophecy pertaining to the two and the fate of the Children of Danu, and secrets that have been kept for years. And even with this last part of the story, there will be twists and turns to satisfy the reader while also trying to tie up loose ends.

This book is written in many different points of view, giving us an almost 360 perspective of what is going on. I love this. Mainly because we get to know what each character is going through and their general thoughts about their situations. We get to delve into their minds. YAY! I LOVE DELVING!!

I also love the fact that Gabe is given a little love interest in this book. Okay, so maybe it is a BIG love interest, but still...it's kinda cute.

Alex and Calienta will have to fight if they want to be reunited, and the fate of the world depends on them winning that fight. I LOVE IT!! But the thing is, they have so much support from the people they love. I BELIEVE IN THEM!!!

Overall, I absolutely have enjoyed this series and this last book especially, and I just know from the bottom of my heart that this author is going to wow us even more with future works.

Verdict:

There are basically no more words for this book. Well, at least two more. They are literally chanting in my head at this very moment. "Read it! Read it!" So please, listen to the voices stating those words in my mind. Pick up this book...this series...and tuck in for a beautiful ride.

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

Stephanie Keyes grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spent years travelling and working as a Corporate Trainer before she made the decision to pen her first novel. As a teen, her family always accused her of having an "overactive imagaination." Now, she's encouraged to keep her head in the clouds and share her world with readers.

Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child, After Faerie, The Fallen Stars, and The Star Catcher, all from Inkspell Publishing. The Fallen Stars was a 2013 semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards. The Star Child has topped the Amazon best-seller list several times since its 2012 release. Steph writes YA novels because she's a hopeless romantic who lives to believe that Magick truly does exist. She is hard at work on her next YA novel.

Links for Author:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Google+ / Tumblr



Book Review: Yours Truly, Taddy by Avery Aster

Title: Yours Truly, Taddy (The Undergrad Years, Book #2)
Author: Avery Aster
Publication Date: April 11, 2014
Genre: New Adult Romance

Reader warning: This novel is about a girl who likes a boy who likes boys and is intended for 18+

Blurb:

Jetting to Martinique for a modeling assignment with three of Europe’s hottest magazine photographers—Gustave, Fabian, and Leon—should’ve been easy, breezy beautiful. Never did I expect to look up and see a hole in the ceiling of our plane that was bigger in size than my Birkin bag. Shit! We’re nose-diving toward Eden Island. I pictured how my New York Times obituary might read when I’m gone, “Taddy Brill, Manhattanite, dethroned descendant of the Austrian House of Brillford royalty, dies at age eighteen, penniless, unloved, and a virgin.” I swear this crap only happens to me. Suddenly, Leon pulls me with Fabian and Gustave. Adrenaline racing through me, our bodies clung as one. We prepared to…crash. The Undergrad Years is a New Adult contemporary miniseries about first loves, independence, and everlasting friendships.

Kayla's Thoughts:

When given the wonderful opportunity to read and review this second book in The Underground Years focusing on the character Taddy, I of course had to look up the first book, Love, Lex, which focuses on the character of Lex. Because I immediately enjoyed that first one, this book was a no-brainer on the matter of whether or not I would love this one.

Taddy is a very strong girl. With her parents disowning her at the very young age of thirteen, and considering what has happened with her and her friends between then and now, how can she not be? She seems to me to be the glue that keeps them all together. I mean, when Vive had a nervous breakdown in a jail cell and almost disowned Lex as a friend altogether just to get out in the first book, Taddy was the voice of reason. So I was very happy to kind of see her vulnerable side in this book.

Taddy discovers things about herself and her own insecurities in this book that I do not think she ever knew, and it kind of ends up making her stronger in a way. It is a beautiful installment in the series and so far my favorite.

Verdict:

This book is amazing!!! I am floored by Taddy's story and cannot wait to read book three, which is about our favorite GBF, Blake! YAY!

Links for Book:

Author's Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Avery Aster lives on the Upper East Side and writes THE MANHATTANITES, a contemporary romantic soap opera of full length, stand alone novels, and it's juicy prequel, companion series THE UNDERGRAD YEARS.

Links for Author:

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