Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book Review - Float by Roni O'Connell




Publication Date: December 20th 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
 
Where to buy:
 
 
I stumbled across this book on a Book Sends email ad and, man... I'm glad I did! As much as I love to read, there are very few books I sacrifice my oh-so-precious sleep for. This was one of them!!!
 
Here's the Summary:
 
What if your only memory is of who you aren’t, not who you are? Seventeen-year-old Rashelle Santos fights her way out of a coma to find she doesn't remember her life, except for her parents and dog. Brain damage doctors tell her, but Rashelle knows with absolute certainty that Shellie (her nickname) died at the bottom of Kaweah Lake, bequeathing her death memories to Rashelle. Rashelle leaps into a relationship with Shellie's boyfriend, Aiden Brody, because he stirs her feelings and fills the void within her. As their relationship becomes serious, she questions whom he really loves. When threats appear in the form of notes stuffed into her locker and calls in the night, Rashelle wonders if she can stay alive long enough to discover who wants her dead, because somewhere out there Shellie's attacker watches and waits to finish what he started. And what the hell, she wonders, is she deranged or could dead Shellie be lingering to keep her alive?
 
 
The Good:
 
First... that. cover. Gorgeous. It caught my eye immediately. And the summary, while it almost reveals a bit too much, it had me wanting to read more. I'm a sucker for anything paranormal, and it also hints at a dash of complicated romance and mystery. It had me at "hello."
 
When I cracked the book open, my first impression was, wow... Ms. O'Connell can write. Then it was, oh my gawd, what happened to this poor girl Rashelle and will they ever catch the guy who did this to her? And is continuing to stalk and harass her? Not to mention, she can't remember who she is, but she does know one thing for certain - she's NOT the same girl who used to inhabit this body.
 
Holy cow. What?
 
I couldn't rest until I knew the answers. Literally. And just when I thought I knew who did it, or had a clue as to who Rashelle really was, I was second guessing myself by the next chapter. And that, dear readers, is the mark of a good storyteller.
 
Next, Ms. Connell's characters are believable, not only because they talk and act and think like kids that age, but they're flawed and relatable. They don't always make the best choices and they think they know it all - I had many flashbacks to my teen years - but they also have that care-free way about them and are open to new love in a way only teenagers can be... because they haven't been scarred enough by life to be jaded or wary about it yet. lol I was also quite taken with Aiden, Rashelle's love interest. He's the perfect male lead - supportive. encouraging. patient. kind. The type of man every girl should be attracted to. I can't stand this new wave of asshole-boyfriends that's in every other novel these days. The worse they treat them, the more the female leads are attracted to them.
 
What?
 
I don't get it. Kudos to O'Connell for steering clear of that.
 
Lastly, the ending was phenomenal and quite satisfying. In a million years, I never would have guessed who Rashelle's attacker was. I also never would have guessed why Rashelle felt like she was transplanted into the body she's in. The explanation makes perfect sense and was so overwhelmingly poignant and perfect, I found myself smiling and tearing up as I read. This story is heartbreaking, sweet, funny and riveting all rolled into one hell of a captivating read. If you don't have this one on your "to be read" list, do so immediately!
 
The Bad:
 
To be honest, I don't have anything negative to say!
 
  
The Ugly:
 
Nothing to say in the category, either.
 
 
Favorite Quote:
 
"I get it now, how the sheer physicality of kissing can feel pretty darn good even when you're not in love. But I also get how much more that pleasure intensifies when you are."
 
 
About the Author:
 
 
 
Roni O’Connell lives with her husband and two dogs high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She finds inspiration in the forest, wildlife, and lakes around her home. A former English teacher, Roni enjoys the company of young adults, their spirited opinions, great enthusiasm, and outrageous humor. When Roni isn’t writing novels, you can find her hiking in the forest or contemplating the wonders of nature.

 
 Follow her on Twitter!!!
 


Friday, December 12, 2014

Author Spotlight - Justice K. Chambers

Morning, angels!!! Today is a very special day because I'm introducing the work of a debut author and my dear friend, Justice K. Chambers. Sometime in the early spring (specific date to come) her book of poetry titled Shattered Living will grace eBook sites across the intewebs and will feature a variety of poems about her experience living with anxiety and depression. As someone who is personally afflicted with chronic anxiety, I relate to her work on many levels, and my hope is that, whether you live with one of these diseases or not, you take something away from this poem after reading it... even if it's only a better understanding of what it's like.

Love to all xoxo


The Closet, by Justice K. Chambers


Chewed me up and swallowed me to the pit of darkness,
The unknown abyss.
It greeted me with an unwanted kiss.
Seemed to suck me from where once all was normal,
To chaos and feeling uncontrollable.
Take back your kiss!
Take back your rage!
Give back my life, so I’m not writing this page!

Is it the devil who has done this to me?
If so, the battle is on, you see.

My mind obsesses with explanations unknown;
Every day the search is on.
Could this be an attack of the devil?
A chemical imbalance? Trauma?
Answers still not shown.
Will I ever reach them?
I need them now!

Yesterday gone,
Tomorrow too far,
My brain already scarred.
How much will you take?
I am ready to break.

Made of glass, I have just shattered,
Emotions jumbled and scattered.
I am on my knees.
I have hit the floor,
Beating my head on the closet door.

Hiding in the darkness,
Tucked away behind clothes.
In the corner, so no one knows,
The thoughts that overtake,
The venom inside me boiling like the bite of a snake.

“I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” to my mind I scream.
I hate this affliction,
Doomed forever, it seems.

Tick, tick, tick,
The time so slow,
Begging for the night to pop some pills so this will leave,
Just go.

If just for those few hours of sleep -
For it is my only peace,
I think I will just lie here on the floor.

Please, no one open the door.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sweet Tooth Tuesday - Skillet S'mores!!!

What do I love as much as writing and music? Sweets!!! So I've decided to start sharing some of my favorite dessert recipes on Sweet Tooth Tuesdays. Today's? Skillet S'mores. They're cheap, easy, and super quick. Perfect for those of us who like instant gratification with minimal work involved. Because, let's face it, not all of us have time to be Betty Crocker incarnate. Enjoy!!!



Skillet S'mores



Needed: 
Mini Marsh-mellows
Chocolate chips (I prefer milk chocolate for this)
Graham Crackers
Iron skillet (Size only matters depending on how many you want to feed)

Easy-peasy cooking instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees, dump a healthy layer of chocolate chips in the bottom of the skillet, dump marsh-mellows over the chocolate chips, and bake for 5-6 mins or until the marsh-mellows start to brown. Let cool for a minute or two, break apart graham crackers, scoop from skillet, and moan with enjoyment while you eat!

That's it!!!

Hope you enjoy as much my family and I have!

xoxo
SJ


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Review - "Divergent" by Veronica Roth




Released: May 3rd, 2011
Genre: Dystopian
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars



I’ve put this review off for a while, one of the reasons being I wanted to let the story marinate before I put my thoughts on paper. I’m someone who needs to process before I speak my thoughts or write them out. I want to make sure I do my efforts justice. Sometimes that can be a good thing because by the time I’m ready to talk about it, I have all my thoughts in order. Sometimes it can be a bad thing because I’ll forget some of the details. And seeing as to how I read this book a few months ago, I’m sure I’ll forget a few things. Lol Anyhow… here they are, and I'll try and be as non-spoilery as possible:


The Good:

There’s plenty good to say about this book, so I’ll start with the author’s writing style. Some have criticized it for being too simplistic, but that’s why I loved it. Veronica Roth is straightforward and doesn’t bog down the prose with a ton of colorful, fruity adjectives, but yet she’s descriptive where she needs to be. I consider this smart writing; it makes for an easy to read (in a good way) and your readers don’t have to wade through the fluff to get to the meat of the story. Not to knock writers who fluff, though. I suppose it’s a matter of taste.

Another ‘good’ for me was the POV character, Tris. I like that she’s tough and isn’t afraid to go after what her heart is calling her to do (choosing Dauntless). Some would see the choice as a hard one to make since it means leaving her parents behind, but in Divergent, the author captures the truth about making such decisions. Sometimes the ‘easy thing’ (in this case, staying in Abnegation) isn’t any less hard, because it would be going against who Tris is and what she desires. I think this is a great message for Ms. Roth's readers. Every decision has drawbacks. Every decision has its rewards. Either way, follow your heart.

I also like that Tris isn’t the typical boy-crazy teen. Sure, it could be partly her upbringing since she’s taught to not self-indulge, but I think it’s also a part of who she is. It’s not something she fights. As a matter of fact, when she meets her love interest about halfway through the book, she berates herself for even looking at him too much. And that’s another thing – the love story doesn’t dominate the bigger story. That’s a good lesson, as well. Love is a part of life, but it doesn’t need to be your whole life.

Another ‘good’ for me was how the system is set up within this society. Not that I believe it's a good thing; quite the opposite. It rings true for me how others sometimes try to compartmentalize or pigeon hole us as being one thing. I’ve seen it (and experienced it to some degree) within the corporate world. If you don’t fit a mold, you don’t belong. Can you say, “narrow minded?” The truth of it is, all of us are multifaceted. We can be selfless and brave. We can be kind and smart. It should be celebrated and encouraged, not considered a bad thing (Divergent). Well… it’s bad for the people who want control, but nobody should feel they’re forced into being a certain way for the sake of pleasing someone else or saving their own butt. I see it as a form of oppression.

Lastly, speaking of multifaceted, I love the way Roth's characters have flaws (physical and otherwise). There's nothing more boring to me than a character who's perpetually perfect, always the prettiest, always the most fawned over, always knowing the right thing to do. When is that realistic? As readers, we want someone we can relate to, and Tris was someone I connected with from the first chapter.


The Bad:

Not much bad to say about this book. I did find the scenes where boys were paired with girls to spar a bit hard to stomach. Especially when the boy beats the living crap out of the girl. I didn’t see why that was necessary. But I suppose in this world, an initiate is an initiate, regardless of gender. You’re expected to perform and do what’s asked of you if you don’t want to become Factionless. I guess if anything, it just shows how corrupt and heartless the leadership has become at Dauntless. So at least one could argue it serves a purpose within the story.


The Ugly:

I have nothing to say in this category.



Favorite Quote:

“Politeness is deception in pretty packaging.”


In closing, while this wasn't one I gushed over, it still earned 5 stars from me for being riveting, captivating, and keeping me up until all hours of the night just so I could see how it would end. It was very well written with believable characters and an engaging plot line. I will most definitely read the next books in the series!!!

xoxo
SJ




Music Crush Monday.... on Tuesday lol

Morning, my lovelies! Sorry I've been out of touch for a month. Bad, Susan... bad!!! In all honesty, I've been knee deep in my newest project (something I'll reveal soon :D) and working on promoting my first two books of the Captivated Series. Not to mention holiday stuff, kid stuff, and other kinds of "stuff" I'm sure you all can relate to. lol It never ends!

Anyhow, speaking of Captivate Me, I heard this song on the radio this morning and instantly thought of Kat and her friends. Love it!!!

Enjoy :)


God Made Girls
Raelynn


"He needed something soft and loud and sweet and proud,
but tough enough to break a heart.
Something beautiful and breakable
that lights up in the dark."

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Results Are In!!!

...and I'm thrilled to say that everyone seems to love Iris!!! Iris as in the novella, not necessarily the character. :) She's a bit of an acquired taste, to say the least. Some might say she's downright awful. Beautiful and clever, but awful. lol Anyway... see below for  snippets on what others are saying and don't forget to snag your copy at most major online retailers!!!

Love to all xoxo

SJ


"I found myself hating her, feeling sorry for her, loving her, and then hating her all over again... but most importantly I really feel like I understand her now. " - Jessica Smith, Amazon Reviewer

"Iris was an enjoyable read and although they are the bad people in the overall storyline, I liked getting to know them better." - Nomi's Paranormal Palace

"This is a wonderful novella that shows how far one goes for love and how deeply one can love. Shows that family is truly more than just blood and that to protect ones family and make sure they are okay will always come first. " - Hello Booklover, Amazon Reviewer

"Ms. Pierce continues to amaze me with her writing abilities and her creative mind. This book is a must read and I am eagerly waiting for the next installment of this spectacular series." - Tamara, Goodreads Reviewer

"I have to say that the book converted me. I’m still pretty pissed with Iris but I think I have a better understanding of her motives. It also made me consider that if someone I loved was dying and I had the power to stop it…would I do it?" - Fictional BookHos

"It’s well written, with just the right amount of drama and tension to keep you hooked. A definite winner..." - Rhea, Goodreads Reviewer

"This novella is a brilliant addition to the series and definitely adds to the story. Definitely recommended for all fans of the Captivated series." - Merissa, Goodreads Reviewer



And, no... I didn't forget. :) Here's a little something for my Music Crush Monday. I 'm a HUGE Walking Dead fan, and this is from their Season 4 soundtrack: