Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mamarazzi Review


By Brooke Williams

Release Date: September 11, 2015 from Prism Book Group

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Danica Bennett isn't sure what she hates more...her job or the fact that she's good at it.  As one of the many Hollywood paparazzi, she lives her life incognito and sneaks around trying to get the best shot of the latest star.  When she is mistaken for an extra on a new, up and coming TV show, her own star rises and she becomes the one being photographed.  Add that to the fact that she's falling for her co-star, Eliot Lane, and Danica is in a whole heap of trouble.

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About the Author

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Brooke Williams writes in a sleep-deprived state while her daughters nap. Her romantic comedy is best read in the same state. Brooke has twelve years of radio in her background, both behind the scenes and on the air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a short time despite the fact that she could care less about hair and make-up. Today, Brooke stays at home with her daughters and works as a freelance writer for a variety of companies. When she isn’t working for paying clients, she makes things up, which results in books like “Accept this Dandelion.”  Brooke is also the author of "Accept this Dandelion," “Wrong Place, Right Time,” “Someone Always Loved You,”  “Beyond the Bars.” She looks forward to her first children's book release “Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut” in June 2016. Brooke and her husband Sean have been married since 2002 and have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn (6) and Sadie (2).

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Note from the Author on the book's inspiration:

I've always been fascinated by the Hollywood life and the idea that "they" are different from "us." The idea for Mamarazzi has been with me for a long time. I'm not even exactly sure when I came up with it, but in college, I had a screenwriting class and I had to write a portion of a screenplay. I wrote "Paparazzi," which was the same general idea only with a male lead character. When I began writing romantic comedy, the idea came back to me and I decided to chance the main character to a female and call it "Mamarazzi." I even had a naming contest so that facebook fans and blog readers could name the characters in the book. Every character in the novel is reader named and approved! Overall, I wanted to examine what happens when you take someone from one side of the fence and plop them on the other side. In the end, famous or not, we're all just people. And in this book, they all have secrets...

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And next from Brooke Williams....

"Dandelions on the Road"

releases November 5, 2015...

pre-order today by clicking below

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My Mamarazzi Review

You know how sometimes you come across a book, and it's an enjoyable read, but once you finish it, it never really struck you enough to actually stick with you? That's kind of how this author's previous book was for me. So going into Mamarazzi, I figured I would like it, but I didn't think it would set itself apart from the other contemporary romances that I've read. I can't even begin to tell you how wrong I was!

I LOVED Mamarazzi! It sucked me in from the get-go and kept a very nice pace throughout. All too often contemporaries can go into lulls, but when one of them can keep you invested in the characters and the story enough to read the book in one sitting, then that's when you know you have a great author on your hands!

I loved the idea of this story kind of taking a behind the scenes look at the lives of celebrities and the ups and downs that they, like any person, endure. Danica was a likeable main character. Even though she had a crazy job that I couldn't imagine being able to do, she was still relatable. I mean, if I was ten feet away from an incredibly good looking star, I would stare too! Speaking of stars, I also really liked the love interest, Lane. It was nice to see someone remain humble and level-headed despite having acquired an insane amount of fame. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there was Gage, whose ego was twice the size of Mount Everest. And yet, even he was somehow likeable by the end of story. Bravo Miss Williams.

There are a lot of good things about this book that I could mention, but I wouldn't want to give anything away for you ;). Though I will say that the best thing about this book is the fact that the T.V show, that the story centers around, had a "Friends" vibe. YESSSSS!!!

All in all, this was a very sweet love story with just the right amounts of drama and even suspense! It was definitely NOT a typical romance and I think this book needs to get the praise that it deserves.
I would recommend it to anyone looking for a super fun, unique read. If you have a love for all things celebrity related, then download Mamarazzi. You won't be disappointed!

I give this book...*drumroll*... 4 Starfish!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: The Dragon of the Month Club

Title: The Dragon of the Month Club
Author: Iain Reading
Publication Date: February 22nd 2015
Pages: Paperback, 224
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
My Rating: 3 Starfish

The Dragon Of The Month Club is the exciting first installment in a new book series that tells the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinarily magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of a very special and exclusive club - The Dragon of the Month Club.

On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month. The varieties are almost endless: Air Dragons, Paper Dragons, Fog Dragons, Waterfall Dragons, Rock Dragons, Tree Dragons - not to mention special bonus dragons for all the major holidays, including a particularly prickly Holly Dragon for Christmas.

But one day when a conjuring spell somehow goes wrong Ayana and Tyler find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a fantastical world of adventure based on the various books scattered all across Tyler's messy bedroom. Travelling from one book-inspired world to the next with nothing to rely on but their wits and a cast of strange and exotic dragons at their disposal they must try to somehow find their way home again.

Drawing inspiration from some of literature's most memorable stories - from 19th century German folktales to the streets of Sherlock Holmes's London - the adventures of Ayana and Tyler bring these classic stories to life in delightfully strange and unexpected ways. Filled with fascinating detail and non-stop action these books will spark the imaginations of readers of all ages to inspire a life-long love of reading and seeking out books that are just a little bit off the beaten track.-
Summary and cover image from Goodreads

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I didn't have high expectations for The Dragon of the Month Club going into it, but I must say, it was so much better than I thought it was going to be! I did have a couple problems with it. I don't know why it's shelved as "Young Adult" because I personally think it belongs more to "Middle Grade". The writing wasn't overly simple, but the book as a whole felt younger than I anticipated. The story also had the tendency to be slow going in some spots, but despite those couple of problems, it was an enjoyable read.

It was imaginative, fun, and chocked full of adventure. It was different from what I've been reading recently, in a good way. The two main characters, Ayana and Tyler, were likeable, real, and believable; not just flat, two-dimensional cardboard cutouts of every other boring character in literature. And I especially LOVED the inspiration behind this book popping up at various instances throughout. (Sherlock and Watson, anyone?) So keep an eye out for some of these "cameos" while you're reading.

I have to say that my favorite thing about this whole book is Ayana and Tyler's friendship. It was so sweet and pure in a way that I haven't seen in a while from the YA genre. Also, the Roving Tailor. He was pretty cool.  

I would recommend The dragon of the Month Club to kids more than I would teens, but I still give it 3 Stars. Not too shabby.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

ARC Review: Behind The Fun Zone

Title: The Age of Amy: Behind The Fun Zone
Author: Bruce Edwards
Publisher: Lambert Hill
Publication Date: August 1st 2015
Pages: 216
Genre: Young Adult
My Rating: 3 Starfish

Are you a JIMMIEHEAD, or are you still using one of those old-fashioned smartphones?

A Jimmie is a tiny microchip, that when painlessly implanted into your brain, magically transforms your eyes and ears into the ultimate hands-free device. No more fumbling with fragile phones, loose earbuds, or clumsy controllers. Watch movies without looking at a screen. Shoot video through your eyes. Text with your brain waves. It tracks your location, monitors your health, and even comforts you when you’re lonely. Plus, it drives your car!

Every teenager wants a Jimmie, except 16-year-old Amy, who detests technology in any form. She is particularly disgusted by how easily people are manipulated into wanting one.

Like smartphones, Jimmies spy on your cyber activities, but being hard-wired to your brain, the device can also access your personality. It intercepts your innermost thoughts and eavesdrops on your deepest feelings. What users fail to consider is that the wireless device doesn't only transmit, but receives—allowing it to control everything its host sees, hears, and feels. Regardless, the hi-tech gizmo becomes a worldwide sensation.

But when thousands of teenage Jimmieheads mysteriously vanish, foul play is suspected by the billion-dollar corporation that manufactures the device. Immune to Jimmie's influence, Amy embarks on a quest to find the missing teens. Her search ultimately reveals a connection between the bizarre disappearances and the Fun Zone—a spooky, old amusement park that's been dark for 50 years.-
Summary and cover image from Goodreads

I received this book for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I absolutely loved Channel '63, and when I read the synopsis for Behind the Fun Zone, I had high hopes that it was going to turn out as cool as it sounded.

The concept is fresh and different. I love the term "Jimmies" for the little microchips. It has a lot of mystery to the storyline, which I liked because who doesn't love some suspense and shocking twists?

There was quite a big surprise towards the middle. I won't say what it is, so as not to spoil you, but I must say that Amy never ceases to astound me at just how brave/stupid she is. Amy is still a great protagonist, though, for the particular style and creativity of this series. She fits the part well, in my opinion. And though she is flawed, you can't help but root for her rebellious streak.

While I did like the things I previously mentioned, I was pretty disappointed with the book overall. It was slow starting off, and while the imagination that went into this book was well intentioned, I think that some parts were a bit too imaginative. It kind of made the story feel cram-packed.

One of the biggest plot twists I saw coming from a mile away, which was frustrating for obvious reasons. I like to be caught off guard by those moments, but just because I figured out the twist, that doesn't mean everyone else will too.

I did love the dorky charm that Zac brought to the story. But I LOATHED Amy's boyfriend. Which brings me to a problem I had with the characters: why wasn't her friend from the previous book brought over into this one? I thought he was WAY better as a love interest, and had a lot more potential for a strong relationship. But anyway, *takes calming breath* don't let my preference in guys stop you from picking up this book if you've enjoyed the others.

I'm giving it 3 stars because it was somewhat underwhelming in the wake of Channel '63. But I would still recommend it for any Age of Amy fan.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Channel '63

Title: The Age of Amy: Channel '63
Author: Bruce Edwards
Publisher: Lambert Hill
Publication Date: November 1st 2014
Pages: 224
Genre: Young Adult
My Rating: 4 Starfish

What if you could tune your TV to the year 1963, and watch—live? A new theme park attraction allows visitors to not only observe, but talk with the people of that turbulent decade. For 16-year-old Amy, it’s the perfect escape from her own time, and the hardships of teenage life in the 21st century.

Things get complicated when Amy falls for a teenage boy in the 60s. Trying to build a relationship across time proves maddening, especially when computers bleep any language that might impact the future. Happily, Amy acquires a "magic clicker" which defeats this annoying restriction. But gaining the ability to speak freely comes with a heavy responsibility: Amy now has
the power to alter history!
 - Summary and cover image from Goodreads.

This is by far the weirdest book I've read to why did I enjoy it so much??? If you're a person who loves anything that's fresh, new, different, and a little off the beaten track, then you should definitely give this book a try!

I thought that Amy was a very likeable heroine. Her and her family have a lot of tension between them, and it escalates to the point where Amy wants to be emancipated. While she's going through the hardships of a dysfunctional family life, Amy and her best friend, Hubert, frequently visit the local theme park. This theme park boasts a new attraction called "used-to-be-tv", where anyone can speak with a person from a different time....and it's all LIVE! Amy meets Cliff, a boy from 1963, and (surprise!) they develop feelings for each other. There's just one problem with that. How can a relationship possibly work out when you're living 50 years apart from each other? 

I will admit that some parts were almost too weird. But while there is no doubt about the unusual events and characters in this book, it's clear that the author is a creative genius willing to take risks that I've yet to come across in any other YA book.

The whole concept of being able to talk to people from the past in the form of television is definitely intriguing. The plot twists were absolutely mind-blowing. The characters, I thought, were pretty well fleshed out. They had flaws, but also redeeming qualities to counteract those flaws. And for me personally, it's so hard to like a female main character. Mostly because I can't relate to their personalities and interests, or I disagree with the decisions they make. But Amy was a breath of fresh air. It's a pretty short story, so if you don't feel like putting in a huge time commitment, you'll be able to speed right through this. And just throwing this out there: this book might be categorized as having a love triangle, but do not let that stop you from giving it a fair shot. If you crave the unusual, then you'll be glad you did it.

I would recommend this book to anyone with a thirst for the strange and the daring.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: The Heir by Kiera Cass

Title: The Heir
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 5th 2015
Pages: 342
Genre: Young Adult
My Rating: 4 Starfish

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought. -
Summary and cover image from Goodreads.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead!

Wow. This book was actually pretty dang good.

I'll admit I was apprehensive when I found out that Kiera Cass was adding two more books to the Selection trilogy. I thought that everything was fairly good where it left off in the third book, and honestly, I would have been fine without any other books. But since she announced what she was doing, I figured I should give it a shot since I did really enjoy myself with the others. (Though mostly I just enjoyed Maxon!)

I can't say that I wasn't disappointed by our heroine of the story. I found her (which I think nearly everyone did) to be very self-absorbed, spoiled, and inconsiderate, not really the personality traits of a likeable character. And I was really hoping that after having to tolerate America for so long *sigh*, her daughter would take after Maxon's sweet nature. Sadly, this was not the case. However, despite the MANY flaws of the heroine, the men of the Selection and our favorite returning characters made this a worthwhile read.

Here are the notes I made while reading:

First off, who is Lady Brice?? If I had to guess, I would say she's Kriss's daughter.

Who is the guy that popped into Eadlyn's head? She thought of someone, but it never said who. Ugh, the suspense is gonna kill me. 

Kile.....I really don't like you. Go sit in the corner until Eadlyn chooses someone better.'re like a little puppy! Gah, so adorable!- I don't know about anyone else but I think they can totally work through the language barrier! (wishful thinking, I know)

Hale.......where were you for the last half of the book???? You were there and then suddenly you just kinda dropped off! I like you so so so much, please win the Selection!- Just kidding, he isn't my top choice for Eadlyn. But I do like him a lot! totally snuck up on me! I didn't really pay attention to you until that cute moment after the kitchen fight. I'm definitely rooting for you to make it into the elite! are my #1 choice for Eadlyn. Not because I like you the best, but because I think you and her would make a great match!- I am concerned, though, about the fact that he's not a Selected. How complicated will this be if something develops between the two? I'll be looking forward to this in the next book.

Ean.......I'm suspicious of you.- He obvs just wants the crown. But I think there's more to it than that. Is he part of the uprising maybe? He's like a Celeste character, except she was awesome. (And America talks about her at one point, which I loved!) are still my favorite character, you beautiful old man you.

Who's more tolerable, America or Eadlyn? I actually don't have an answer for this question.

Ahren.....I. Hate. You. Seriously, you're worse than Eadlyn. Leaving your family behind never to really see them again except for on occasion and giving your mother a HEART ATTACK in the process?!?!?!?!?!?! Some people can excuse you all they want, but if America dies because of your foolishness.....ugh, I can't even talk about it anymore. Actually, I can. The thing that I hate most about this situation is that the family, particularly Eadlyn, will forgive him in the end, and tell him that "twu wuv " is the most important thing blah blah blah and they don't blame him for running off blah blah blah. *facepalm*

And speaking of America, DOES SHE DIE??!?!?!?!?! Kiera, why Why WHY would you do this??? I can't believe I have to wait a whole year now to have this question answered.

And finally, Aspen........I hated you to begin with. I was solidly Team Maxon, still am, and I will go down with my ship. I joked with my friends that I pushed you off a cliff to your death. But......after you comforted Maxon when America had her heart was so heartbreakingly sweet, I just couldn't hate you anymore. Note that I still dislike you, but I definitely ran to the bottom of that cliff and caught you before you died. (I did let Kile and Ahren hit the bottom though. Ouch, sorry I'm not sorry boys...)

Kiera Cass, I have one word to say to you: Bravo. You made me feel for these characters, the old and the new. Not many authors can make me care a lot about fictional people, but you have certainly won me over yet again. The only thing I have to say that I hope you will not disappoint me with is this:
Please don't have Eadlyn pick an obvious choice. Be daring! Have her pick someone who doesn't seem to stand a chance! Please don't make the ending predictable.

I definitely think that if you've invested the time into reading the other three books, that you should continue on with this one as well. I don't think you'll be disappointed by the overall story. And if you still aren't sure, just remember........the men are HOT! *swoons*  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

ARC Review: Accept This Dandelion

Title: Accept This Dandelion
Author: Brooke Williams
Publisher: Prism Book Group
Publication Date: February 4th 2015
Pages: 148
Genre: Romantic Comedy
My Rating: 3 Starfish

Renee Lockhart has her eye on a lofty goal…to fill the open position of morning radio show host on a nearby secular station. When her co-workers sign her up for a local TV version of “the Bachelor,” Renee goes along with it in order to raise her profile. Ben McConnell, one of the most eligible bachelors in town, insists that Renee be placed on the show, despite her bumbling audition. Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee. He gets a girl who doesn’t bow to his every whim…and a girl who opens his eyes to true, unexpected love. Enjoy a local version of the popular "Bachelor" TV show...where nothing can go right for Renee! - Summary and cover image from Goodreads

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book was really hard for me to get into at first. The writing wasn't what I'm used to (I don't want to say that it was too simple because that's not entirely correct, but something about it made it hard to picture the people, places, etc.. in my head). And a lot of phrases were repeated several times throughout, which was a bit of an overkill. However, about a fourth of the way into it, I was able to look past the writing style and invest in the storyline. I really did start to enjoy the book despite it's funky beginning.

The characters were all well-rounded and likeable (especially Mister smooth-talking bachelor, YUM!), and the dialogue was very believable! In fact, that might be my favorite thing about the book. I loved all of the flirting going on between the two leads! Almost all of their conversations had me sighing or laughing out loud! Seriously, this book was a lot funnier than I expected it to be. All of Renee's clumsy accidents were hilarious and made me able to relate to her. (It's always nice when a main character isn't the most perfect girl in the world that can't even trip once on her high heels cause she's so perfect. You know the kind I'm talking about.) so it was definitely a breath of fresh air to see a hot guy fall for a normal girl!

This book took me by surprise with it's humor and sweet romance. Despite the problems I had with the writing style, I would recommend it to any hopeless romantic in need of a fun, quick read.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review: Ensnared

Title: Ensnared
Author: A.G Howard
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 6th 2015
Pages: 384
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 1 Starfish

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She's determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world--a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that's gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after? - Summary and cover image from Goodreads.

What.....what just....what the HELL JUST HAPPENED?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!


Oh my god. Okay, so I'm going to start with the things that bothered me the least to the most awful, gut-wrenching things. And before I start my rant, I would like to say that I DON'T LIKE TO CRITICISE PEOPLE OR OFFEND ANYONE, but in this case, I have to write what I'm feeling, which is hate-filled rage. So please excuse my harshness.

1. The plot was SO slow. The only thing that really happened in this book was the constant tug of war between Jeb and Morpheus (like I didn't get enough of that in the other two books). Seriously though, the second book was so mediocre compared to the first that I thought that maybe it was suffering the "second book syndrome". However, the third book was so bad, that I now realize that the trilogy was just going completely downhill from the start. I feel like there was also an information overload throughout the book, especially in the beginning with Alyssa on the train.

Okay, so there are only two things that really bothered me. So now onto the second...

2. I hated Alyssa from the very beginning, so I expected to hate her ten fold in this book because deep in my heart (though I did have foolish hope) I knew she would choose Jeb. I was expecting her to do the right thing and let Morpheus go so he can live his life and find another girl (ten thousand times more deserving of him than Alyssa) to love. Because that would have been the RIGHT THING TO DO. What I did NOT expect is the atrocious ending that came to be. I honestly did not think that the author would do something so loathsome, but oh did she ever.

Alyssa ended up with both guys. Alyssa's decision to not make a responsible, mature, unselfish choice supposed to make me feel like she deserves the title of queen? Am I supposed to like her? Because she officially gets the title of "worst heroine I've read to date". She didn't want to make the difficult choice (or rather the author didn't) so she dumps it on the men to make the decision for her? AND WHAT GUY OR GIRL IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD WANT TO BE WITH SOMEONE WHO CAN'T DECIDE IF THEY WANT THEM OR THIS OTHER PERSON INSTEAD?? My heart is killing me just thinking about being the love interest in that situation. I would've walked away, which is definitely what Morpheus should have done. Actually, Alyssa should have been A BIG GIRL AND MADE A CHOICE. Everything was way too easy for her. The guys being okay with her sleeping with one, raising a family, and then going to the other to do the same is SICKENING. It's NOT romantic, it's NOT fair OR right, it's gross. I don't even care if she had chosen Jeb over Morpheus, as long as she would have just chosen one! Maybe the author was trying to create an ending that has never been done before, but I have to say if that was her intention, she failed epically (I guess not all authors can be as awesome as Tahereh Mafi). And one final thing, DON'T YOU DARE SAY THAT YOU WERE HAPPY WITH IT BECAUSE MORPHEUS WAS HAPPY. You have some seriously screwed up morals if you do.

In conclusion, it would have been less painful to rip out my life-clock and it give it to Hart myself.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some books to burn.