Review || Three Mini Reviews

Title: Five Dates
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
Publisher: M/M Romance Goup @ Goodreads
Published: July 25th 2014
Format: eBook
Genre: M/M Romance
Series: Love Landscapes
Rating: ★ (3.5)
Find on: Goodreads

Helping his sister Lucy raise her kid has put Devin’s love life on hold. When he loses a bet to her and the penalty is to go out on five dates with men she’s chosen from Guys4Guys.com, he thinks that’s bad enough. Finding out she used a thirteen-year-old picture of him to score a date with a young guy who looks like a rock star? Epically bad.

Jay thought he wanted to fall for an older man. But his last boyfriend left him feeling humiliated and determined to stick to guys his own age. When he realizes he’s been conned into a date with exactly the kind of man he’s sworn to avoid, he’s ready to walk away on the spot. Only Devin’s swift apologies convince Jay to accept dinner to make up for the deception.

This story was really well written. I loved the premise of the story, and I thought it was pretty well done. It was a fun story, with several amusing scenarios between our two main characters. The thing is though, I felt the attraction between the two characters, no doubt about that but I found it hard to really see the strong feelings there were supposed to be between them. At the end of the story, I felt like something was missing. Something to make it go to the next level, and make me love it.

I liked the fact that the story was shown not only from Devin's perspective, but from Jay's as well. The characterization of Jay was really cool. I was afraid that it was going to be way too stereotypical, but luckily it didn't happen. I would have loved to know a little more about Jay's background though - we did get a tiny bit of information, but a little more would have been awesome. They were both great characters, who had different voices and different personalities.

Title: Punch-Drunk Love
Author: Nico Jaye
Publisher: M/M Romance Goup @ Goodreads
Published: June 12th 2014
Format: eBook
Genre: M/M Romance
Series: Love Landscapes
Find on: Goodreads

Between his biochemistry classes and rigorous kickboxing training, Oliver Reyes has enough on his plate, thank you very much. With his first official match coming up, he doesn't have any time for distractions, even if they come in the handsome and muscular form of the team's captain Derek Vance. However, Oliver's friends encourage him to loosen up a little at the out-of-town kickboxing meet, and a unicorn costume, a mysterious masked stranger, and that Diablo known as tequila soon lead to an unforgettable post-competition night in Vegas.

Once the team returns to San Francisco, can Oliver somehow go back to his no-nonsense daily grind of classes and training? Or will his wild night of make-believe in Sin City result in some real-life--and really attractive--distractions?

This story was really good (I'm gonna pretty much say this about all three stories). I loved the way it was written and it was delightfully light hearted. There wasn't exactly any angsty feelings in the story, which I feel like there could have been, but I'm glad there wasn't. Another aspect of the story that I really liked was the whole kickboxing part. I enjoy watching kickboxing, so it was pretty awesome to see it in writing. There are a couple of steamy scenes in the story, which I don't really mind, especially when they are well written like these ones.

I feel in love with Oliver just a tiny bit - I thought he was absolutely adorable. He's just such a great character with some great characteristics. He's a sporty geek, who kickbox, loves science, and plays a lot of scrabble with his friends. Talking about his friends, I would love to have seen a little more of them, both Oliver's friends and Derek's for that matter. I also really liked Derek as a character. We don't get to know that much about him, but what we get is pretty great. I really felt a connection between Derek and Oliver, and they were just so sweet - Together and apart.

Also, there were a great amount of cowboy jokes/puns which were just hilarious. In addition to that, we also had unicorn costumes - well one unicorn costume, but that's still amazing.

Title: Game On
Author: Olley White
Publisher: M/M Romance Goup @ Goodreads
Published: June 12th 2014
Format: eBook
Genre: M/M Romance
Series: Love Landscapes
Find on: Goodreads

What happens when all your expectations are blown out of the water? 

Max is finally meeting his his on-line gaming friend. 5t3ff is everything Max wanted in a girl, funny, kind and a good gamer. He's never felt such a connection with anyone and he's hoping that the friendship they have might move to something more. When 5t3ff turns out to be Stefan and not Stephanie, Max has to reassess his feelings. Or does he? Can love just be love, regardless of gender? And can the two boys ignore the labels long enough to find out? 

I don't normally read gay for you stories, because they often seem really unbelievable to me, but this was so well done. The way the relationship evolved was very realistic and so beautiful. The slow burn romance was so sweet and just incredible. I really am a sucker for a slow burn romance. You could just see how the love between these two came to be. I was ready for this to be such and angst filled story, but that wasn't the case at all. Sure, there were some small moments where the angst sneaked in, but it wasn't overwhelming.

Stefan was an absolute darling. He had such a big heart, and was so much fun to read about. He and his friends were absolute hilarious, and their friendship was out of this world. The same thing with Max - he was very open to everything, and he was such a sweetheart. These two men were different, but then not so different at all. They fit together, and complemented each other.

A small thing that would have made this even better would have been if we got to see a little more of the before. The before they met face to face for the first time. It's talked about a small bit which was great, but to "see" it would just have been even better.


Tag || The Reader Problems Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Cynthia @ Afterwritten to do the Reader Problems Tag.

You have 20k books in your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?
I stare at my shelf for far too long. Then I go through my eReader for even longer. Then I will usually pick up four different book, but end up reading none of those. Sometimes I even put off reading anything for days because I can't decide. I'm incredibly indecisive. In the end I usually end up reading the most random thing I can find.

You're halfway through a book and you're just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?
That all depends. If I feel like throwing the book at the wall every few page, I will put it down for a while, and then pick it up a little later. If I still feel like the book should be thrown out of the window I will put it down for good. It's only happened once before. I usually try and read through the book, but there is only so much a mind can take.

The end of the year is coming, and you're so close but so far away from your Goodreads reading challenge? Do you try to catch up and how?
I sort of try to catch up. To be honest, I don't really take the Goodreads reading challenge all that serious. Yes, of course I would love to read all the books I set out to, but if I don't it's all okay. Actually, last year was the first time I've ever reached my Goodreads reading goal, so there's that.

The covers of the series you love do not match. How do you cope?
I cope quite well actually. Most of the books I read are standalones, so I don't really have to think about covers matching. Even when I do have a series I love, I don't really mind if the covers don't match. I used to, but I just don't bother anymore. Plus, a lot of my books are ebooks, so matching covers is not really a big deal when it comes to that.1

Everyone and their mothers love a book you really don't like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?
I will probably complain to my cousin. We don't really read all the same books, but I still like to rant, and I know my cousin will listen (she does the same with the books she reads). Other than that, I will go through reviews on Goodreads until I find someone who has an opinion slightly similar to mine. Then I will just be happy that I'm not alone in my dislike for a book. Or else I will just sulk and stew in my own hatred. 

You're reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal with it?
I close that book so quickly you won't even believe it. I cry really easily, so if I can see an emotional scene coming up I will put that book away and continue when I get home. If I didn't do that, I would be sobbing in public so many times a week it would be ridiculous.

A sequel of a book you love just came out, but you've forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip to the sequel? Try to find a synopsis in Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!
See, this is the perk of not really reading series. However, if I'm reading a series, and can't for the life of me remember what the hell happened in the first book, I'll just go to Goodreads and read the synopsis. Maybe I'll even look at some spoiler reviews (of the first book, of course), just to get a little more information about what I'm getting myself into once again.

You do not want anyone borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?
I don't. I have such a hard time saying no to people. I get so damn uncomfortable because I don't feel like a have a good enough reason to say no to something like people borrowing my books. Though, I have been known to actually hide certain books when certain people are coming over - if the can't see the book, they can't ask if they can borrow it. I'm a horrible person, I know!

Reading ADD. You've picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?
Reading slumps are the worst, and I've been in a reading slump, or two (or five), in my life. Actually I won't really do much about it - I will usually just try and ride it out, and hope that I'll get the urge and will to read again soon. Sometimes I'll just try and re-read some of my favorite short stories/novellas, and that has helped me in the past.

There are so many books coming out that you're dying to read! How many books do you buy?
None. Well, depending on how much they cost. If I can get them as ebooks for fairly cheap, I might buy them. But other than that, I will wait it out until they either show up at the library, or maybe if there's a sale where I buy my books. Even then, I'll still usually only buy them as an ebook.

After you've bought the new books you can't wait to get to, how long do they sit in your shelf before you get to them?
That really depends. I have a book on my shelf that I bought back in 2011, and I haven't read that one yet. I keep telling myself that I will at some point, and I might. But honestly I'm not counting on it. So it really all depends on what mood I'm in and what I fancy reading.


Review || Take Them By Storm by Marie Landry

Title: Take Them By Storm
Author: Marie Landry
Published: January 6th 2015
Format: eBook
Genre: NA, LGBTQ
Series: Angel Island #3
Find on: Goodreads

Sadie Fitzgerald has always been different, and not just because she makes her own clothes and would rather stay home watching Doctor Who than party with kids her age. When it’s time to leave Angel Island for college, Sadie is eager to put her old life behind her. Small-minded people and rumors have plagued her for years, but with the love of her adoptive family, the O’Dells, Sadie has learned to embrace who she is. Now she’s not afraid to admit the rumors about her are true: she’s gay. 

For the first time in her life, Sadie feels free to be herself. She dives into college life and begins volunteering at the local LGBT center, where she discovers her small-town upbringing left holes in her education about life outside Angel Island. 

The world is a bigger and more accepting place than Sadie ever imagined. She’s finally found where she belongs, but with the reappearance of someone from her past, an unexpected new friendship, and a chance at love, Sadie soon realizes she still has a lot to learn about life, friendship, and love.

This is the third book in the Angel Island series by Marie Landry, but it can be read as a standalone, which is what I did. I haven't read the other books in the series, but after reading this, I really want to read the two first books. In fact I've just bought the firsts book, because I really want to get back to where these characters started, and get to know more about them.
So tomorrow is an ending, but it's also a beginning. A new adventure. And I'm always up for an adventure.
In the beginning I was a little worried that I wouldn't follow the story, but the way it was written made it very easy. Even though this is a third book in a series, it is pretty easy to get into. The few time where I might have been a bit confused about a back story, you would get a small explanation, and then be on your merry way.

I absolutely adored Sadie. She was such a fun character and so quirky - but without it being too much. She seemed very down to earth and easy going, at least most of the time. She is out and proud, which is something I really liked - the fact that it wasn't a coming out story, but more her story of finding out who she is, and what she wants in life. She is very much herself, but she still grows a lot throughout the story, and I loved every step of it.

Sadie volunteers at a local LGBT center, and it was really cool to she how she interacted with the people there. She struck up a friendship with the owner Jo. Their friendship is probably one of my favorite parts in the story. It's not exactly the main focus, but it was one of my favorite parts anyway. Their friendship is just so sweet, and still because it's new, it's also kind of fragile.
Kissing is good. I'm always up for kissing. Just, you know, FYI.
The romance aspect was really nicely done. I didn't feel like it went completely overboard, which made it felt genuine and more realistic. There wasn't really anything over the top about it, which I really liked. I've read a lot of books lately with big epic romances, and I've grown a little tired of it. Where this was still an great romance, it was more down to earth. There were points in the book where I felt like the love part of the plot stood a little too still, but it usually picked up pretty quickly.

The majority of the book's characters were female, which is something you don't see all that often - at least I don't. I though that was pretty great, and all of the characters felt different, so you didn't mix them all up. There are a few male characters here and there, one of them being Sadie's best friend River. The friendship between Sadie and River is absolutely beautiful, and definitely one of my favorite friendships I've ever read. Also River's girlfriend Ella is a part of this friendship, and I would love to have friends like them. As a part of Sadie's new life, we also see how moving away from home has an impact on her friends, who are also trying to make a life for themselves.

We also see Sadie making new friends. As mentioned before, she strikes up a friendship with the owner of the LGBT center. Then there's another freshman names Hannah, who ends up being a study partner and a really great friend. Besides love, friendship is definitely a big theme in this book.

All in all, I though this was a pretty great book, and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a book about girls being in love, and about finding out who you are and what you want in life.


Top Ten Tuesday || Bookish problems I have

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week I'm talking about all those bookish problems I have. Some of these are going to be serious, well "serious", and some of them are just kind of ridiculous.

1. Not knowing what to read.
I think this is a pretty common thing for book lovers. Recently I've had such a hard time figuring out what I want to read, and then I end up just not reading any books at all - and that's not what I wanted at all...

2. Never sticking to one book.
I have a hard time reading only one book at a time. Usually I will be reading two books at a time, but then I will get an urge to read a whole 'nother book, and I can't ignore that feeling. So I will end up ignoring the two books I was originally reading to read the third book.

3. Checking out too many books from the library
There are so many books I want to read, and getting them from the library always seem like such a good idea. Except for the fact that I tend to check out around six books at a time, which is way more than I can read in the short amount of time I have them. I really need to learn how to limit myself.

4. Breaking my back because my books weigh down my bag.
This is honestly not that big of a problem anymore. Since I've gotten my eReader, my bag has become so much lighter to carry around. But before my eReader, I was pretty much carrying around three or four books at a time - granted they were all paperbacks, but still, that will end up being pretty heavy anyway.

5. Where the hell do I put the book..
A problem that might not be too serious, but it's incredibly annoying. My bookshelf has a mix of both books and DVDs, and I honestly don't have room to put anything else on that shelf. Last week I bought two books, and when I got home I realized that there wasn't any room for them. I honestly just have books lying around in random places in my room. Not the best idea.

6. Not getting enough sleep because I stay up and read.
Usually this doesn't bother me too much. I can function fine enough, most of the time, with not that much sleep. However, this pattern tend to continue into my exam periods, and that's where it really becomes a problem. It's just, when you're really into a book, you just don't want to put it down. And honestly I don't have that much time to read in the day. So evening and night it is!

7. Having a million bookmarks, but never using them.
This is a completely silly problem, that's not really a problem when you really think about it. I have a lot of bookmarks, and they are all positioned on my bookshelf. The problem lies in the fact that I usually will read in my bed, and it's honestly too much hassle to get up and get a bookmark when I want to put the book down. Basically they are just decoration on my shelf now.

8. More back pain, this time because of bad reading position.
I think we have all experienced this one. Finding a comfortable reading position is difficult, and I've often ended up in the strangest position trying to read a book. A lot of pillows and blankets are the best way to prevent this. Or maybe just a proper chair.

9. Spending too much money on books.
How can this not be a problem? A lot of my money goes into buying books. Now, it's not that I really mind, because books, but it can prove to be a problem at the end of the month. I'm really bad at managing my money, so I often end up spending a lot more money on books than I intended to. But I'm working on it.

10. No one understands me.
The last problem is the fact that I don't really have any real life friends who are readers. The only one I can talk to about books, who will also understand it, is my cousin. This can be so frustrating at times, because I just want to share all my love for certain books. Luckily, I have people online who I can share my love with. But it would be nice to have someone a little closer - just sometimes.

What are some of your bookish problems?


Let's Talk About || Valentines edition [+Valentine's Day Book Tag]

Happy Valentine's Day. If you celebrate it, that is, if not, then happy Saturday! I wanted to do a little special post, because why not!? I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day myself, mostly because I never have anybody to spend it with. So it's more of just a 'pamper day' for me. 

The thing I really wanted to talk about in this post is my all time favorite book couples. Also as a little something extra, I'm going to do the Valentine's Day Book Tag. I realize that this post is going to be a little all over the place, but that's just how it's going to be.

Favorite book couples:
I have so many book couples that I absolutely love, and I love all of them for so many different reasons. There are the couples who just have so much love for each other, and then there are couples who have gone through hell, but still love each other just as much in the end. I have narrowed all my favorite couples down to 5 - which was quite difficult. They are not exactly in any kind of order.

1. Benjamin & Jace - from the Seasons series
This couple is everything for me. They are so good together, and I may even be a little bit in love with Jace. He really is amazing. These two go through so much together, and their love just got stronger and stronger.
2. Eleanor & Park - from Eleanor & Park
I mean, how can you not love these two. They are just so precious together, and they should probably be my number one couple. There is just so much to love about them. They are a kind of unlikely couple, but they work so well together. 
3. Holland & Cece - from Keeping You a Secret
I've had a love/hate relationship with this couple, but in the end, I can't help but love them. I really like them as individual characters, but also as a couple. 
4. Levi & Cath - from Fangirl
The thing about this couple, is that I did not like them at all when I first read the book. However, after a while, the more I thought about them, the more I started liking them, and now I'm pretty much head over heels in love with them.
5. Ireland & Noah - from Crane
These two a just a bucket of fun! This relationship is full of everything I love about fictional couples. There's an undeniable attraction, a good amount of snark and banter, and a strange kind of love. 
This tag was created by JoReadsBooks.

1. Favorite Couple Ever - You want to have their relationship!
Oh, I think it's going to be Levi and Cath from Fangirl. I love both of those characters, and I really think their relationship is adorable. It just feels real, and the way the relationship evolved just seemed right!

2. Relationship that never happened - You wanted them to get together but they never did. 

This is going to be a little weird since I've never actually read the book - but I've seen the movie, and therefore I'm going to count them. The couple is Hermione Granger and Viktor Krum. I realize that they actually got together for a little while, but I would have loved for them to end up together. They were just so sweet together.

3. Your crush - ANY character!
Oh, this is a difficult one - I have so many. But I would have to say my current book crush is Jo from Take Them by Storm. She is just so adorable, and I've completely fallen for her. I would love to go on a Valentine's Date with her, or any kind of date for that matter.

4. Worst Relationship - A couple you wanted to break up because the character was awful/deceitful/abusive/etc.

Can I say Ana and Christian Grey, without actually having read the book? No? Okay. Then it's going to have to be Tim Wyman and Ryan (I'm pretty sure his name is Ryan). They were just so incredibly destructive together, and I just wanted them to split and for Ryan to leave forever.

5. Your Favorite Love Triangle

I'm not really a Love Triangle person, and right now I can't really think of one that I like one way or another. I really don't have an answer for this one. Maybe, Ben, Tim, and Jace - from the Seasons series (Something Like Summer etc.)

6. Your Favorite Tragic Love Story - like Romeo & Juliet - No Spoilers! - A couple whose relationship was cut tragically short. 

These people are my go to answers for almost all of these questions. However, the first couple I thought about when I saw this question was Benjamin Bentley and Jace Holden - again from the Seasons series. If you've read the books, you know what I mean. 

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day - if so, what did you do? Also, who is your favorite fictional couple? (books or otherwise)


Review || The Conduit by Stacey Rourke

Title: The Conduit
Author: Stacey Rourke
Publisher: Anchor Group
Published: (first published in 2011)
Format: Ebook
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Series: Gryphon #1
Rating: ★★★
Find on: Goodreads

All 18-year-old Celeste Garrett wants is to head off to college and make those fun, yet ill-advised, choices college kids are known for. And maybe to spend some time with the hot cameraman she just met. Instead, because of a pact her ancestors made in the 17th century with a mythical creature, she has to save the world.

While normal kids are slamming energy drinks and cramming for exams, Celeste will get her adrenaline rush fighting a fire breathing dragon. She wants to meet friends in the quad to exchange lecture notes, but first she must exchange blows with a shapeshifting demon on the rooftop. Life isn’t always fair for a superhero, but at least she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her brother and sister as sidekicks, they alternate between saving lives and getting on each others’ nerves. Together the trio encounters unspeakable odds, mystical forces and comes face-to-face with an image that will haunt them forever—their grandmother in a leopard print bikini.

I've read two books by Stacy Rourke before, and I absolutely loved both of them. So I was excited to pick up her first novel, and I'm glad I picked it up, because this was a really fun book. It was a quick read, and very easy to get into.

I would have loved some more world building. We do get background information on everything that's going on, but it seems a but crammed and hurried. I would have loved if it was a little more in depth, and maybe told over different occasions instead of getting mostly everything all at once. The world seems really complex, and there's just so much we still don't really know about it. 

“At certain moments in life, reflection is mandatory. I found being squeezed in the scaly claw of a three story dragon to be one of them.” 
One thing I felt like was missing, was more of the villains. The bad guys don't really seem like more than your standard bad guys. I was missing motives and more reason for why they did what they did, and not just because they are the bad guys

I really liked our three main characters. They were all really fun, and for the most part you could tell them apart. The only one who maybe fell a little flat was Kendall. She seemed a little too cliched and one dimensional, and I would have loved if she would break out of that role - maybe it'll happen in the next books. 
Our main character Celeste was a darling. She is fun and really her own. She is so witty and has so much snark, which is a something I really love in characters. Then there's Gabe I have such a crush on him. He is the oldest of the siblings, and he is very temperamental. While not the best voice of reason, he is the strongest one in this story, which makes things kind of interesting.
Did you see the kicky, twirly thing I did? I don't know what that was but it was friggin' sweet!
There was so much banter in this book, and I both loved and hated that. Sometimes it could seem like the only way the siblings could communicate with each other was through banter. Even in difficult and dangerous situations they found time to banter, and it didn't seem like However there were some really hilarious moments where their small banter was just what was needed. 

There is a bit of a love interest in this story, but it's not something that takes over the entire book which is awesome. I think it would have ruined the book if there had been too much focus on the love aspect of everything. Actually there was a point in the book where I kind of forgot that there was a main love interest for Celeste. Whoops. 

I enjoyed this book, and I'm glad that I finally decided to picked it up. I will definitely continue this series, and I can't wait to see where it's going to take me. (also the cover for the second book has Gabe on it, which just makes me very happy)