Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop!

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I’m excited to be a part of the Beach Reads in August Giveaway Hop hosted by StuckInBooks. I love summery, beachy books and today I have pack of three books that would be perfect to read on the beach! Or anywhere else! The books will go to one winner who must have a US address.

What Happened to Goodbye Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) This is What Happy Looks Like

Here are the rules!

  • You must be at least 18 years old or 13 with a parent’s permission to enter.
  • The contest is open to US addresses only.
  • There will be one winner who will receive the books shown above.
  • I will contact the winner via email and they must respond within 48 hours or I will have to choose another winner.
  • I’m not responsible for items that may get lost or damaged during delivery.
  • I will delete entries that don’t follow the instructions. So read carefully and please don’t cheat.

The Rafflecopter: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

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

Book Review: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel HarrisThe Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary on 2014-09-30
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
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According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you're friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

I was really excited for this book. It sounded really cute and it has an adorable cover. But I have to be honest, it was kind of a letdown for me. I almost gave up in the beginning because the book just wasn’t that good. I had a really hard time figuring out the characters in the beginning. And not being able to understand or connect with them made wanting to stick with it really hard. But I did and the end was much better than I originally thought it would be, so I’m glad I stuck with it. Overall, this book was enjoyable but not one of my favorite romances.

The Fine Art of Pretending is told in dual POVs. We get Aly, the sporty girl who’s friends with all of the cute boys but never gets asked out, and Brandon, one of the cutest and most popular boys at school who’s captain of the baseball team and best friends with Aly. Aly has decided that she doesn’t want to be the friends girl anymore and decides she will make herself over and start her senior year off with a completely new look and attitude. Brandon isn’t a huge fan of the idea but is willing to help Aly if she thinks this will make her happy. Once the decision is made and the makeover happens, the senior class goes on their annual campout, where the makeover and Aly/Brandon pretend hookup will be revealed. Of course, the makeover gets the reaction that Aly wants but with the new attention she’s getting and the pretend relationship with Brandon also come a whole bunch of new and confusing feelings, for both of them. Aly needs to decide what she really wants and who she really is. And Brandon needs to figure out what he really wants and what his feelings really mean.

As I said above, I had a really hard time figuring out these characters and who they were in the beginning of the book. Another thing that made the beginning rough for me was this class campout. I didn’t understand if it was sponsored by the school or if it was just a trip the students put together themselves. There were parents there but there didn’t really seemed to be any real activities or any sort of structure to it. Just a lot of hanging out by the water in bathing suits and truth or dare games. I just had a hard time believing something like that happened with an entire school class. It didn’t feel realistic but just an easy way for the whole senior class to be together with little supervision from adults and it was a little distracting for me. But once I got past that, I did enjoy it. And finally by about 25% in, I felt like the characters really settled into their voices and I started being able to connect with them.

I think my favorite part of the story was Aly’s two best girlfriends. They stuck by her side, they looked out for her, they each had their own strong personalities, and you could tell that they all loved each other. One of the most surprising characters out of the group was Justin. I will not say why or what happens, but I was not expecting what happened with him and it’s always nice to be surprised by something in a book. So while Aly and Brandon weren’t my favorite characters, both groups of their friends were actually really good.

Overall, The Fine Art of Pretending was okay. It was a cute romance with some good characters and a fun premise. It wasn’t anything revolutionary nor did it really cause me to spend time thinking about it much after I was done. It wasn’t really about anything other than Aly and Brandon and the two of them discovering who they are and what they want. And that’s perfectly fine. I think a lot of people will enjoy this book and like the romance that happens between characters. It’s a good book if you want quick, fun, light YA romance.

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released. This week I’ve chosen:
Waiting on Wednesday: The Infinite Sea by Rick YanceyThe Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
Published by Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated on 2014-09-16
Genres: Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 480
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
The riveting follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

I didn’t know what to expect from The 5th Wave when I started reading it so many months ago. I had heard a lot of praise for it so I was a little leery because I’ve been disappointed in the past. But I was very pleasantly surprised by The 5th Wave. I knew it was about aliens but I wasn’t expecting it to so scary. And I definitely wasn’t expecting to feel so many emotions. I’m looking forward to jumping back into the world of The 5th Wave and find out what happens after the end of the first book. I hope the follow up is just as good as the first was.

What are you looking forward to this week?

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted each week by The Broke and The Bookish and allows us to combine our love of books with our love of lists. This week’s topic is: Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From!

It’s clear that I have a book buying problem. As do most of us. The problem for me seems to be that I either buy books on a total whim and then fail to ever read them or I buy multiple copies of the same books but in different versions because I loved them so much. The best example of this is that I have three complete sets of the Harry Potter books. I don’t regret that at all. In fact, I have a hard time not picking up new and different ones when I see them.

Here are the authors that I own the most books from:

  • J.K. Rowling: Whether we’re counting multiple copies of the same book or not, I still own the most books by Rowling. And I’m not at all sorry.
  • Veronica Rossi: I own the Under the Never Sky trilogy as well as Boomerang. And I recommend them all.
  • Katie McGarry: Pushing the Limits, Dare You To, Crash Into You, and Take Me On. I love these books.
  • Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games series plus Gregor the Overlander. I bought Gregor as soon as I realized Collins had more books but I have yet to read it. I did read her children’s book When Charlie McButton Lost Power and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.
  • Leigh Bardugo: The Grisha Trilogy, multiple copies of each. I have a problem. Also, Macmillan needs to not be so good at making me want more than one copy of this series.
  • Rick Riordan: We own the first three books in the Percy Jackson series and the first couple of the Kane Chronicles. I really should read some of them…
  • Stephanie Meyer: Yep, all of the Twilight books. For some reason, I just can’t get rid of them.
  • Julie Kagawa: The Iron Fey series and The Lost Prince and The Immortal Rules. Plus I have Talon! (I’ve only read the first book in the Iron Fey series. I really need to keep reading.)
  • Kasie West: Pivot Point, On the Fence, The Distance Between Us. And anything she writes in the future.
  • J.R.R. Tolkein: Lord of the Rings series and The Hobbit

Well, that’s it. Most of these are authors that I’d still love to have more books from. Also, there are some of my favorite authors missing from this list and that makes me sad. I’ll have to start working on fixing that. :-)

How much do our bookshelves match up? What author do you own the most books from?


I’ve rounded up a few of the contemporary books I’ve read this summer and written a few quick mini reviews. These are all books I highly enjoyed and all books I recommend. Take Me On is the next book in Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series and it did not disappoint in the chemistry department. Boomerang is the first book in a new series by Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger and is not suitable for the under 13 crowd. It was steamy. I’ll Give You the Sun is the highly anticipated book from Jandy Nelson and it is intense. It is much lighter on the romance but does have GLBT elements. It’s beautifully written and very smart. If you’re a fan of YA contemporaries, I definitely recommend checking out these books. If you click on the covers, you will be taken to their Goodreads’ pages. 

Take Me On (Pushing the Limits, #4)

Take Me On (Pushing the Limits #4) by Katie McGarry

Young-Adult Contemporary Romance
Published by HarlequinTeen by May 27, 2014

Pushing the Limits has been one of my favorite contemporary series and Take Me On doesn’t disappoint. We get the POVs of West (Rachel’s brother from Crash Into Me) and Haley, a former kick-boxing title holder who quit after an incident that she has kept secret. The two of them run into each other, literally, and their lives become tangled. West is still feeling guilty from his involvement in Rachel’s accident and Haley is trying to recover from the incident as well as her family being thrown out of their house and forced to move into their uncle’s house who treats them all like trash. West and Haley work together to solve the problem they created and in turn fall for each other. The romance in this one was pretty good but I have to say that it wasn’t my favorite. Haley was a bit of a pushover and a little too whiny for me this time and West just wasn’t as good as the other male leads I’ve seen from McGarry. I think it may have been the fighting that turned me off a little but I just didn’t feel this one as much. I liked West and was glad we got to see his growth in this book and figure out who he is. And I’m glad Haley got the chance to start standing up for herself. For me, though, Dare You To with Beth and Ryan is still my favorite of the series. Take Me On was a good addition, especially with so much of Abby in it, but it was a little too similar to the Crash Into You storyline and the characters weren’t my favorite. I still definitely recommend fans of YA contemporary books to pick up this series. The chemistry is always intense and the romances bring all the feels.


Boomerang (Boomerang, #1)Boomerang (Boomerang #1) by Noelle August

NA Contemporary Romance
Published by HarperCollins on July 8, 2014

Boomerang was a book I was really looking forward to because I’m a huge fan of Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky series. If you’ve read that then you know that Aria and Perry have some really great moments together. I couldn’t wait to see how two authors would work together to bring that kind of romance into a New Adult contemporary world. And I’m happy to say that whatever they did together, it worked. In Boomerang, we get another book from dual POVs, Ethan and Mia. After a random night together that neither can remember because they were both drunk, they end up at the same office for the first day of their new jobs. Or internship, really. And only one. They find out on their first day that they will be competing for the summer for one position. And both really want the job. But being super attracted to each other is a huge complication. So they decide, based on a company policy of no dating co-workers, that they cannot see each other. The rest of the book is a series of meetings between the two, seeing their attraction not going away, and funny situations they end up because of work. What makes this book work and not end up as just a ridiculous rom-com is its heart. I did not expect to get so emotional while reading this book. It is mostly fun and light, but the emotions came out of nowhere and really took me by surprise. And it was a nice surprise. Because while I certainly didn’t mind the scenes full of intense chemistry and kissing, the emotional depth is what really elevated this book for me. If you’re looking for a fun summer romance book that’s well-written, fast, full of chemistry, with heartfelt moments, I definitely recommend trying this one.


I'll Give You the SunI’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

YA Contemporary
Published by Penguin on September 16, 2014

This book was intense. But I also highly recommend it. It did take me a little bit to get into and has a very unique writing style but once plot started moving, I could not put this book down. It is also told in dual POVs, twins Jude and Noah, and is amazingly well done, probably one of the best dual POVs I’ve read. Noah’s POV takes place three years ago, when things between the twins changed. Jude’s POV is told in the present day, when both twins are starting to discover that there is a lot more to their story than either of them know. And the way the two halves of the story come together is brilliant. I could never have predicted how this story would play out. It was so heartbreaking watching everything the twins went through and seeing them destroy themselves. But the end was amazing and so worth reading this book for. And the title. Can I talk about that for just a second? At first, I had no real idea what it stood for, I just figured it was one character wanting to make another really happy or something. But after reading it the title alone and what it stands for just about makes me tear up. It’s absolutely perfect for this story. I’m so glad I got a chance to read this book. But I don’t want to give you a false impression. Because while this book is sometimes funny and hopeful, it’s also full of very dark moments. Some of it is hard to read. But if you’ve read The Sky is Everywhere, then you’re probably already prepared for that. I highly recommend I’ll Give You the Sun. It’s one of those books that will make you think and gasp outloud and laugh and probably shed a few tears. So be prepared.

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2014 Reading Challenge
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Lori's favorite books »

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Through the Ever Night
Under the Never Sky
Back to You
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
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Throne of Glass
Pushing the Limits
Something Like Normal
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Masque of the Red Death
Anna and the French Kiss
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Clockwork Prince
Clockwork Angel

Lori's favorite books »

My Favorite Series

Harry Potter by J.K. RowlingUnder the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
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Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Newsoul by Jodi Meadows
Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Matched by Ally Condie
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Covenant by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

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