Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo

Somewhere Only We Know
Author: Maureen Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: May 7, 2019

Somewhere Only We Know is about Lucky a K-Pop star on the cusp of making her American debut and Jack a photographer who has been taking odd jobs as a paparazzo while trying to figure out what he wants out of life. These two characters meet cute and spend a whirlwind day in Hong Kong discovering things about each other but most of all themselves.

Lucky and Jack were likable enough. They each had problems they needed to overcome but were afraid to tackle on their own. Lucky is unhappy as a K-Pop Superstar and needs to rediscover her passion for music and Jack wants to study photography but is afraid his parents won't approve. These are very real issues but I felt like they were glossed over and too easily solved. I wished there had been more depth to these characters and this story. It all felt too cutesy.

I usually love books set in cities I've never been to. I enjoy the feeling of exploring something new and getting to know a real place in a fictional book. I visited Ireland last year because I read A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane when I was 12 thought it would be cool. You can say I get travel advice from books.

The problem was that the setting didn't {POP} in Somewhere Only We Know. It felt like the characters were just hopping from one tourist trap to the next and we never got to know Hong Kong. The soul of the city. The setting in this book was like having a layover, you get to see a city's airport but nothing else.

Despite the little issues I had with this story I still enjoyed reading it. It kept me engaged until the end and I wanted Lucky and Jack to get their happily ever after moment. If you're in the mood for a light-hearted romance or a quick read at the beach, you'll enjoy Somewhere Only We Know.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

First 10 Books I Reviewed (back in 2011)!

I began this blog back in 2011, which means I've been reviewing books for 8 years?? Wow! That's crazy. Below are the first 10 books that I had the chance to review on this blog. You can tell that the covers are a bit dated and my genres are more varied since I hadn't decided to focus on YA books yet. 

Also, the reviews themselves are pretty bad. It's like looking back on any writing you've done before. It's easier to see all your mistakes with some distance. 

1 Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
2 Linger by Maggie Stiefvater 
3 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson 

4 Beastly by Alex Flinn
5 Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

6 Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
7 Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Fun Blog fact: this was the first book I ever gave away on Falling For YA!
8 Hereafter by Tara Hudson

9 The Lantern by Deborah Lawrensen
10 Divergent by Veronica Roth

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton Blog Tour & Giveaway!

(The Belles #2)
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Pub. Date: March 5, 2019
Publisher: Freeform
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 352

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia's Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies-a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely-and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider's Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans. 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | B&N | iBooks | TBD

Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Pub. Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 448
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. 

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever. 


Excerpt from The Everlasting Rose
EXCERPT ONE, p 4 – 5

“I have something more important to show you . . .something that will help us when we leave this place.” She’s shaky and casts nervous glances at the door. “I’ve been waiting until we were alone.”

“What is it?” I turn away from the maps.

“Watch.” Edel closes her eyes, concentrating so hard she looks minutes from laying a golden egg. Veins swell beneath her white skin and a red blush sets into her cheeks. The pale blond hair at her temples soaks with sweat, and it beads across her forehead like a strand of pearls. Her hair lengthens down to her waist inch-byinch, then turns the color of midnight.

I scramble backward, smacking into the tiny cage of sleeping teacup dragons. They squeak with alarm.

“We’re not supposed to be able to do this.” I put my hand over my mouth.

“I’m calling it our fourth arcana—glamour.” She takes my trembling fingers and pushes them into her hair. It still maintains the same fine texture its always had, but the color is utterly unfamiliar.

“Our gifts are for others. . . .” My heart flips in my chest. My arcana hums just beneath my skin, eager to learn, eager to experiment with this dangerous trick; my mind fills with a thousand possibilities.

“No. This gift. . . this is for us. This is how—” Edel starts.

“We will outsmart Sophia and her guards,” I interject. “And find Charlotte.”

The possibility of success wedges itself down to my bones and mingles with the anger living there. I’d always built my life on doing the unexpected and wanting it all—to be the favorite, to be the most talented Belle, to shape what it meant to be beautiful in Orléans—and now I’m presented with doing the biggest thing I’ve ever had to do and with the risk of danger far greater than I could ever imagine. All of it breathes life into my ambition.

About Dhonielle
Dhonielle Clayton (“Dhon” like “Don” or “Dawn”) spent most of her childhood under her grandmother’s dining room table with a stack of books.
She hails from the Washington, D.C. suburbs on the Maryland side, but now lives in New York City. She was an extremely fussy and particular child with an undying love for Cheerios (honey nut only), pink lemonade, and frosted animal cookies. A self-proclaimed school nerd, she loved covering her books with brown paper and filled her locker with Lisa Frank stickers. She loved putting headings on her homework, odd-looking pens and freshly sharpened pencils, and numerous notebooks to fill with her research. On most Saturdays you could find her with her equally nerdy Dad at Crown Books and then the comic bookstore where she stocked up on her weekly reading material. Plus, she was so spoiled that her grandfather took her to the library after school almost daily.

She attended Our Lady of Good Counsel High School because her parents thought Catholic school would keep her out of trouble. She went to Wake Forest University, and studied pre-med until she received a fateful F in Chemistry. This setback prompted her to change her major to English, and earned a BA. She rediscovered her love of children’s fiction by re-reading Harriet the Spy, which pushed her to earn an MA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University and an MFA Writing for Children at the New School.

She taught secondary school for several years – at a pre-professional ballet academy and a private K-8 school. She spent most of her twenties in and out of America – living in London, Paris, a small Japanese town, Bermuda – and wandering the planet. She’s been on five out of seven continents, and has grand plans to reach all of them.

She is a former elementary and middle school librarian, and co-founder of CAKE Literary, a creative kitchen whipping up decadent – and decidedly diverse – literary confections for middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction readers. She is also COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books.

What’s next? She will be enrolling in culinary school in New York City and plans to open up a restaurant in the city of her soul, Edinburgh, Scotland.

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE EVERLASTING ROSE, US Only.
Ends on April 2nd at Midnight EST!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Top 10 Audiobooks You Should Try

1 Razorland Series by Ann Aguirre
So. Much. Action!
2 The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
3 The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien 
The BBC version is my favorite audiobook version because it felt like listening to a play complete with songs and a different voice for each character. 

4 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
5 The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fishe
So eerie listening to this because it's voiced by Carrie Fisher.

7 Tempest by Julie Cross
8 The Spy by Paulo Coelho 

9 Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I'm just gonna droll over the voice of Matthias now. He sounds like a sexier Christian Bale. 
10 Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Hugette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman Paul Clark Newell 
I loved this entire story and learning everything about Hugette!

Monday, March 25, 2019

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

There's Someone Inside Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: September 26, 2017


There's Someone Inside Your House was a fairly quick read/listen. It was a true teen slasher book in the same vein as shows like Scream Queens and I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Makani transferred her Junior year to a sleepy Nebraska town from Hawaii after something went down at her old school. Throughout much of the book you don't know what happened just that is was bad enough to make her move. Makani was an alright main character I liked her relationship with her Grandma, that felt very true to life. Aside from that she was kind of plain and dare I say a bit boring?

The other main character is Ollie, who is Makani's love interest. I actively disliked Ollie throughout the beginning of this book. He just seemed like a loner stereotype and all of Makani's friends didn't like him so it made me distrustful as well. I wish the reader had been introduced to him differently so that I could have rooted for their romance rather than worrying he was the killer.

What I usually love about Perkins stories is the wide cast of characters that are all so well fleshed out that they seem like your own friends. I did not get that feeling in this book. The background characters were just that, background. The only two characters we really got to know were Makani and Ollie and both of them felt so blah to me. I always felt like I was at a distance with these characters.

Many other reviewers have stated this but I will say it again. This book is not similar to Perkins other work. There is a romance in There's Someone Inside Your House but the romance wasn't as well written as other Perkins' stories and the focus is on the murders happening around town. I actually wished that there had been more "Perkins-y" parts because I enjoy her writing and missed the romantic heart-skipping moments I usually get when reading a story written by her.

I listened to this story on audiobook and it took me a while to get used to the narrator. She read words in a cadence that was hard for me to get used to and definitely distracted from my enjoyment of the story throughout the first few chapters. The emphasis she put on certain words and certain places in the sentences just felt off and not like who I would have read something.

Overall, this was an okay read. There were some parts I enjoyed but mostly I thought it was just okay. There was nothing new or different here, just a story about a murderer attacking high school students. I didn't even think the murderer themselves was interesting, just another character that faded into the background.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Beneath by Maureen A. Miller Blog Giveaway!

From the author of BEYOND comes an exciting new young adult series!


Let’s face it. We all have creepy dreams. I had one, and when I woke up I thought, “Oh my, that’s so scary!” And then I thought, “Oh my, that would make a fun book!” LOL. Don’t worry, it’s not that scary, and there is a cute guy in it to keep it real.  – Maureen A. Miller


An overnight fishing trip on the Atlantic Ocean…

It was Stella Gullaksen’s final break before starting her freshman year at college. Joining her best friend, Jill, and Jill's family aboard the STARKISSED, Stella wakes to a violent storm that capsizes the boat over a hundred miles off the New Jersey shore.

As the waves haul her under Stella knows that she is going to die. Instead, an unusual current drags her deep into the underwater canyons of the Atlantic Ocean. Powerless against the raging waters, she is suddenly sucked into a ventilated cave. One by one, Jill and her family also emerge in the sunken cavern.

With only a faulty diving flashlight to keep oblivion at bay Stella and her best friend's brother, Colin, search the cave in hope of finding a way back to the surface. What they discover, however, is that they are not alone. There are other survivors in this subterranean grotto–survivors spanning decades of maritime disasters.

Will this discovery prove salvation, or have they all been condemned to the same fate? A grim finale at the bottom of the sea?

On an alliance forged by friendship and attraction, Stella and Colin battle to escape the danger that lies beneath.

"Trust me when I say BENEATH is a MUST READ for lovers of all genres!" - Boundless Book Reviews

Releases March 6th Pre-order now!

In this exciting sequel to BENEATH, Stella and Colin search futilely for the rogue Atlantic current that dragged them to the shadowy Underworld just a few months ago. With an ill-defined area to explore, their unsuccessful attempts cost too much money and their resources are running out.

When it appears that all hope is lost, a miracle occurs in the form of a retired Hollywood producer-turned-explorer who is willing to use his ship and equipment to support their quest. Although no one believes their tale, he is the most accepting person they have met. Whether his intentions are honorable remain to be seen.

With a crew full of skeptics, Stella and Colin locate the downwelling current, and once again find themselves dragged into the subterranean network of caves deep in the Atlantic Ocean canyon.

Time is running out for the Underworld, though. Will anyone be left to rise from beneath?

About the Author:
USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing. 

Maureen's first novel, WIDOW'S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website. Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense...just on another planet!

Maureen is a firm believer that the world is a better place with mozzarella in it. She’s not a thrill-seeker. Ferris wheels terrify her. She is the mother of an extremely stubborn and adorable Corgi.

And, above all, she is grateful to all the readers who offer such gracious support!

Website http://www.maureenamiller.com

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon egift card and a BENEATH Series t-shirt!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Girl from Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: February 16, 2016

The Girl from Everywhere is about a girl named Nix who lives aboard a time traveling ship captained by her father Slate. Slate is seeking a map to return to a time where Nix's mother is still alive so that he can save her. The story asks, how much would you sacrifice for love?

I really enjoyed the premise of the story but the world-building was lacking. A lot of things just didn't make sense to me. I'm not sure if this is because I was listening to the audiobook, but I think things just needed to be clearer. I wanted to know more about map lore, the differences between fantasy and reality maps, and why only some people can use maps to time travel. These things weren't discussed in a meaningful way and it made the magic less magical to me.

That being said the characters made up for a lot of the issues I had with the world-building. Kashmir was my favorite. A thief from a desert land, who had the most obvious crush on Nix. He was clearly who I was rooting for in the love triangle that Nix finds herself in. I'm sure you just cringed when I mentioned the love triangle but I honestly didn't mind it. The two people Nix is interested in represent two futures she could have had if she wasn't a time traveler. Blake, a local boy from the time she should be living in in Hawaii represents what could have been and Kashmir represents her present. I liked this dichotomy. I do wish the secondary characters had been more fleshed out. They were all interchangeable to me and I mostly just thought of them as "the crew" rather than as individuals, I hope that in the sequel the author has time to expand on these characters.

The audiobook narration was fantastic. I liked the voices that Kim Mai Guest used, her deep Kashmir voice and even the dog bark she did to represent Blake's dog was fun. I like it when narrator's get into voicing the characters, and you could tell this narrator was enjoying herself.

I liked this book and would recommend the audiobook specifically. It was about a 9 hour listen and I never once found myself bored by either the story or the narrator. I had a couple of little things; characters and world-building, that could have been more polished but overall this was a solid debut novel and I'll definitely be reading (or listening to) the sequel.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

1 Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin 
2 The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
3 Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee 

4 Stolen Time by Daniel Rollins
5 The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen

6 Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer
7 Velvet by Temple West 
8 Return Once More by Trisha Leigh

9 Calvin by Martine Leavitt
10 Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel