Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still Shine by

5 Stars!

Where the Stars Still Shine is more than a love story. It has an amazing setting, strong supporting characters (including adorable little brothers), and a 'kick-ass' bookstore. But it is more than that, that makes this book an amazing read. It is the strength of the main character, Callie. She is faced with so many challenges and shows her heart throughout. Where the Stars Still Shine dives into the meaning of family, friendship, betrayal, trust, and where loyalties ultimately belong.

Callie was kidnapped by her mother when she was young. Living on junk food, dealing with her mom's mood swings, moving from city to city, and learning to survive against the harsh circumstance of her childhood is all that Callie has ever known.

So when her mom is busted for kidnapping and Callie is forced to reunite with her dad, she does not know how to react to a caring parent, friends, new love interest, and a huge Greek family (including a bossy and outspoken grandma). Even if her memory reminds her vaguely of time when all of this brought comfort, instead of feelings of abandonment and guilt.

The whole town knowns her story about her kidnapping, maybe even better than she does. So when she meets an attractive older guy who doesn't assume anything about her or even knows about her past life, she finds herself attracted to his easy ways, golden hair, and tatted arms. Despite the fact that he has a reputation.

"'Alex Kosta can be described in two words: man whore. Or maybe that's one word. Hyphenated?" She shrugs. "Either way,"

But when Callie starts enjoying her new life in Tarpon Springs, she begins to feel guilty for loving her new family and enjoying having actual friends, all without her mom.

I loved Callie's dad. I loved her whole Greek family actually. But her dad had a hard role to play, took the brunt of Callie's anger a lot, and had to reconnect with a daughter who doesn't remember him. He stood strong and continued to show Callie the meaning of forgiveness, love, and family.

Doller has a honest take on communities. I fell in love with the little Florida town and its Greek community in Tarpon Springs. The setting takes a great plot and pushes it to amazing. With dive shops, thick culture, names like Callista and Ekaterina, Greek 'gods' walking around, and strong family loyalties, this is one of my favorite settings. I am dying to make it to Tarpon Springs, find a bench like the one Callie frequents, eat some humus, and meet my own good looking Greek man. The setting (which was based on a real town) and community fits perfectly. It's not only believable, but it makes you feel like you are actually there.

My Alex and Callie
Doller has a way of writing that draws the reader. From making me feel for the characters to laughing out loud, her characters connected with me quickly. And Alex and Callie are both dealing with heartbreaking issues. They need each other, even if it is to help take the edge off of the pain at first. Alex and Callie have a quick chemistry and a lot of passion. And when he speaks to her in Greek .... swoon!

The only thing that bugged me was the age difference of the main characters. Callie is seventeen and Alex in his early twenties. It took a few moments me to adjust to "how cool" Alex was acting about their age difference. Which isn't really that much -- but it is when you're that young. However, Callie is an old soul and has had to mature quickly because of everything that her mom has put her through. And I had to remind myself that I was seventeen when I went off to college. So -- maybe seventeen isn't a huge difference from early twenties. Then again, I grew so much in four years that I was a different person. Their relationship would have been more believable if she had been older, him younger, or if their had been more of a stink about their age difference.

But Callie proved me wrong when she handled a difficult situation with Alex with grace, maturity and the selflessness that I would love to see in more main characters. Her selflessness and maturity was one of my favorite parts.

Trish Doller is beyond talented. This is how a mature YA novel should be written. Fans of Something Like Normal will not be disappointed. Where the Stars Still Shine is gritty, realistic, and moving . I loved this book from beginning to end.

Copy provided by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Mind Games (Mind Games #1) by Kiersten White

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

Mind Games was a quick read. It starts with action and keeps up the fast pace throughout the book.

Sisters Fia and Annie are gifted. Annie sees. She is blind except when she randomly gets glimpses into the future. Fia survives. She has her gut feeling that tells her what to do in certain situations. And the feeling is never wrong. From picking lotto numbers, to fighting, to knowing how to get out of a dangerous situation -- her instincts can lead her through.

After their parents die, the sisters end up at a school for gifted girls like themselves. (Only without Professor X and wolverine/and this school is for girls only). Here, the school harvest the girls talents and force them to do horrible things to benefit the school and its owners.

Annie and Fia will do anything to protect each other from harm. Knowing this, the school traps Fia and her flawless instincts into doing their dirty work with the threat of doing harm to Annie.

This story is told from two POVs. I actually enjoyed Fia's point of view more than Annie's. Mostly, because Fia was strong-willed, spontaneous, and her chapters usually had more action.

The story also jumps back and forth between the past and the present. The jumps help piece together some information that was missing and build tension. But the start of the flashback chapters always bugged me because I wanted to know what happens in the future.

Things coming in threes for Fia. Threes. Threes. Threes. The writing of this could bother some, but it didn't bother me -- I actually found it a creative way for Fia to express herself.

And I love the two main love interest. The love triangle really wasn't a problem, because Fia was focusing ainly on protecting her sister. However, it is there a bit, and I am not actually sure which team I am on. James is dangerous and your typical bad boy --and even though Fia's gut tells her no a lot -- something in her heart says yes (Isn't that way with all bad boys?). Adam is the exact opposite -- he's warm, smart, safe, and he has hope. He can make her actually laugh and relax.

All the other characters, I really didn't care for and didn't get to know to well. They weren't extremely fluffed out, but I was okay with this since they were mainly "negative" or "bad guys" characters. But it works with the tension because even now, I am not sure which characters to trust.

This book is not necessarily a heartstopping thriller, but it definitely kept me glued to the pages. (And there were a couple points that made my heart race with anticipation). I enjoyed this read a lot, and seeing as how it ended on a bit of a cliff-hanger, I am excited for the second one to be released.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between #1) by April Genevieve Tucholke

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.


Look at the cover! Isn't gorgeous and creepy? Fits the book perfectly.

This book was one of my highest anticipated books of the summer. Something about the cover, the synopsis, and just the general creepiness drew me in.

And now that I finally have a copy and finished reading, it was nothing like I was expecting. Honestly, I was excepting something along the lines of Existence or Predestined by Abbi Glines. It was nothing like that. But still a great read.

This was dark, very gory, creepy, and had scenes that I thought were just plain weird.

The Horror of it?

I'm a wimp. Especially when it comes to watching scary movies. I'll sleep with the light on for days after I've seen a creepy movie. This book didn't have the same effect on me. Yes, there were some creepy, maybe even scary parts, but it was nothing that caused me real cannot-sleep-at-night-fear.

Not to say this book isn't extremely creepy at times or that it won't scare you -- it just didn't have that effect on me. I was more disturbed by the different gory scenes that showed up or that were referenced. Lots of death and blood -- which I guess that's what makes a good horror book tick.

I haven't read a lot in this genre so I cannot really compare it to another book. However, it did reminded me of a Tim Burton movie in book form. Deranged characters, spooky moments, bizarre events, and a lot of imagination.

This is the type of book that you'll either hate or love.

The Plot

Violet and her twin brother live in an ancient house by the sea (which come on, you have to admit that a huge, old house is the perfect setting for a horror book). Her parents are away and they need money, so they rent the guesthouse out to the handsome, crooked-smiling, River.

Then weird, eerie, and even deadly things start happening around town. And Violet begins to catch River in lies, and wonders if any of the weird events are related.

Some review have said that this plot is dried out and used up, but that didn't come across to me at all. It wasn't really similar to anything that I've already read. Yes, there is a hint at forbidden love -- but mostly I thought it was a new, creative plot.

There is something very alluring about the author's style that drew me in quickly. And because that author was so unique and creative, I had absolutely no clue where the plot was leading. Which was different for me (cause I usually can guess), and a lot of fun to read because literally anything could happen. Very suspenseful!

The Romance

This was my least favorite part of the book. River was adventurous and dangerous, but I was't overly connected to him. At times, I did see the draw that Violet was falling for, but mostly I just wasn't sure about him. And felt that he had a lot of growing up to do. However, other people loved the relationship blooming between River and Violet. It is more of your own personal taste, I just came looking for a more Dank-ish romance.

All the suspense and the creepiness was more enough to get the four stars from me. The budding romance was just a bonus.

The Other Characters.

I loved, loved the other characters. Jack, Sunshine, Luke, and Neely were all great characters that will find their way into your heart. They did mine.

Jack may be my favorite. He was so wise and brave for his young age, and I loved scenes that included him. Neely was another favorite, because he seemed level headed, but he still had to throw a couple punches when the time called.

And the town is a character in itself. It is a small sea-side town with ancient houses, locals, and an eerie cemetery. It has lots of character.

Four Stars

This was a different read for me, and it wasn't what I was expecting at all. It is suspenseful and kept me curious threw the whole book. It ends on a cliff hanger, but I felt satisfied at the end. I'll definitely be picking up the second book.

Disclaimer: There are some scenes that I feel are just plain disturbing and overly gory. If this not your things, I would NOT recommend this book. I.E. (spoiler here: stop reading if you don't want any spoilers) There is a scene were a man slices his own neck in the middle of the street with a razor. And some of the characters aren't even disturbed by this.

Wednesday Memes: WoW & WWW

Happy Hump Day!

This meme is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Fault Line by Christa Desir

Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.

But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.

Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?

Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.


Expected publication: October 1st 2013 by SimonPulse

I've been on a New Adult kick lately, and this looks intense, gritty, and moving.


Meme hosted by Should Be Reading.


What are you currently reading?

Left Drowning by Jessica Park

Really enjoying this one so far!


What did you recently finish reading?

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Dark, gory, creepy, and just plain weird. Four Stars.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Love the cover for this, and I'm excited reading another Triah Doller book.


There you have it, my wednesday memes. Let me know what books your thinking about, reading, and reviewing this week. Seriously, leave a link and I'll drop by.


Have a good week!




Monday, September 9, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays: Left Drowning by Jessica Park


This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

If you want to join, jump over there for the rules and to sign up.


"The first big sip of coffee is so strong and bitter that it makes me cringe, but I know that by the fourth sip it will go down easier. Just like shots! I think."

---(Page 10)

Ha! Never thought about coffee that way before, but it is so true! Especially when I drink it black.

The MC comes stumbling in drunk during the first chapter. I know she is battling some deep issues. This is going to be a heavy read. I loved this authors style in Flat-Out Love, so I'm curious about this book.



What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?

Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.

*This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.


What book are you teasing this week?


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...
A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Just Outstanding.

This was outstanding. I sped through this book in little over day (and I had a very busy day to boot) and it usually takes me at least a couple to read through a book.

It is a beautiful, deep, thought provoking read.

If I Stay gutted my heart little by little. One thing would happen and just when I would recover, another thing.

I know I am slightly behind the "phase" when this book was popular. So many of my bookish friends have already read it. If not, consider picking up a copy and giving it a chance. If you have, leave your review or let me know what you thought in the comments below.

First Thoughts:

I am not really sure if I can portray the meaning and emotions justly in a review. But, I will at least, give y'all some of my first thoughts:

This is my first book by Forman -- but if her others follow suit -- I'll be picking them up. Forman really has an art for creating well designed characters that I love.

The Best Family.

I loved Mia's family from Grandpa and Grandma to Mom and Dad to little brother. They were all unique and different but 'flowed' well together as a character group. All of their relationships seemed realistic and genuine.

Plus, it was so refreshing to read a book about a family that wasn't totally dysfunctional. Mia's parents -- different and cool ex-rockers -- really loved their family and made decisions that were best for the family.

More than once, I would read through a passage and think, Mia has good father (mother, grandpa, etc.) It was just a nice picture of a family unit. She has one of the best book dads that I may have ever read (okay,'s late here -- but he definitely is one of my favorites). His personality as an individual and a dad shined through.

Flashback Time.

And the flashbacks were bittersweet. The flashback would show different moments from their past. It was hard to compare that to their current situation.

Book Boyfriend Candidate

And Adam -- sigh -- sweet, edgy, romantic Adam. I understand now why I see him on so many book boyfriend lists.

He's definitely made my future list. He fits in with Mia's family, believes in being romantic, supports her dreams, and the two can sit in a comfortable silence. I could go on and on -- but don't want to give anything away -- so just know he is fabulous.

I need to read Where She Went soon -- but sequels sometimes make me a bit nervous. It's in Adam's POV and sounds like an amazing read though.

If I Stay resonated deeply with me. The subject matter is heavy and heart wrenching, but well done and well wrote. Not only was it a 5 star read for me, but it made my top-amazing-favorites list.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Follow Friday [7]: Bookshelf Tour

This meme is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read


Q: New Feature! Bookshelf Tour. Give us a tour of your bookshelf.


A: I've one bookshelf packed to it's gills. I plan on marrying a manly man that can build me a nice big one. So that I can display them easily and actually give them some form of organization. *sigh* That would be lovely. Anyway, if you want the 'official tour' carry on:

This is for stuff animals that I cannot bear to part with, and you cannot see this, but it also holds my box set of the Little House on the Prairie books.

And then, on the next shelf, lots and lots of paperbacks. I have a ton of books by Lurlene McDaniels. Her books are some of the books that first got me started reading.

The next two shelves have a lot of my current reads on them. And even though they aren't really sortied, I do have most of my paranormal books together. If you squint, you can see the Twilight series, Nightshade series, Hush, Hush & hidden is all my VA series.

The next shelf is a stack of random books that I hardly ever pick up (including Chemistry for Dummies), but I cannot give them up. At least not yet.
Then the last shelf holds all my photo albums and of course my disney VHS movies.

And because I love movies almost as much as books, my DVD shelf:


If you would like to follow me you can via bloglovin, GFC, or linky.

Follow on Bloglovin


Also, you can find me on


Twitter: BookBeats15

Goodreads: Friend Me


Leave a link for your bookshelf tour and I'll stop by.

Happy Friday!





Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book Review: Predestined by Abbi Glines

Predestined (Existence Trilogy #2) by Abbi Glines
You would think after helping save her boyfriend from an eternity in Hell that things would go back to normal. Well, as normal as life can be when you can see souls and your boyfriend is Death. But for Pagan Moore, things are just getting weirder.
The high school quarterback and reigning heartthrob, Leif Montgomery, is missing. While the town is in a frenzy of worry, Pagan is a nervous wreck for other reasons. Apparently good ‘ol Leif isn’t your average teenage boy. He isn’t even human. According to Death, Leif doesn’t have a soul. The quarterback may have skipped town but he’s still showing up in Pagan’s dreams... uninvited.

Dank has known from the beginning Leif wasn’t human. But he hadn’t worried about a simple soulless creature. Now, he realizes he made a grave mistake. Pagan’s soul has been marked since birth as a restitution, to a spirit so dark not even Death walks near it. Dank knows saving Pagan’s soul won’t be easy but Pagan is his. And he’s already proven he’ll defy Heaven to keep her. If Hell wants a piece of him too, then bring it on.


Predestined brings the right amount of sizzle, a cocky jealous version of Death, and a strong, selfless heroine. It is a fun quick read that really hit the spot. I give it four stars!


Note: This will contain spoilers for the first book. Stop now, if you've not yet read Existence.

I pick up an Abbi Glines book when I want an extra-dose of sugary sweet guys. Glines can write a hot bad boy. One that falls head-over-heels for their woman, will stop at nothing to make her happy, and full of sugary sweet, heart flipping moments. It is not always realistic, but I love her romances and the guys that she creates.

Dank is no exception.

Dank is a bit over-bearing, very protective of Pagan, and cocky. But I knew that going in and it was exactly what I needed for the book boyfriend department. And this read hit the mark.

Book II
The first book gave me a bit of headache with all the 'we-cannot-be-together' angst. I enjoyed the read, but appreciated this book when we jumped straight into Pagan and Dank's happy relationship. Actually, I tend to like most second books in series more for this reason.

This book is wrote from both Pagan and Dank's POVs. I loved being able to hop back and forth between Pagan and Dank's thoughts. Instead of only being able to see Pagan's head. It helps give the story some more dimension and I just love Dank.

The Plot.
Pagan and Dank are together. But now Leif is missing except when he shows up into Pagan's dreams uninvited. Leif feels that he has a claim to Pagan's soul and that she has to pay a restitution. And of course, Dank is not okay with any of this. The fight for Pagan's soul and love is on.

Throw in a quirky Gee, loyal friends Miranda and Wyatt, Pagan's loving mother, a creepy Voodoo Lord, a surprising twist, and sexy Dank, and this story will keep you turning pages while enjoying every minute of Pagan and Dank's story.

Pagan was a lot stronger in this book. She showed a lot of backbone. She thinks for herself, trusts her own instincts, loyal to her friends, and the way that she handles this potential love-triangle with Lief is commendable. She has grown a lot since Existence and I enjoyed her as a MC so much more.

There is one scene towards the back of the book that I thought were geared towards more mature audiences. It was nothing that I felt I needed to skim through, but in my opinion it would not be suitable for the younger YA crowd. Also, this book contains a lot about Voodoo and dark powers. I would not recommend this book if that subject makes you uncomfortable.

Fantastic Four Star Read!
I was a bit in a reading slump when I picked this book up. The other books were good plot wise, but I was needing a good bad boy fix. This book did not disappoint. It filled with some great Dank and Pagan scenes, some actions, a quirky friend, tension, sweetness, strong female lead, hot hero, and even a twist that I didn't see coming.

If you enjoyed Existence, love you some Dank, or like to see a heroine with a backbone, then this book is definitely for you.