Thursday, January 31, 2013

When babies make you sad and ice cream doesn't help.

I know I've talked many times about my parenting woes and I think I even talked about my case of post-partum depression with Olivia but because it's been awhile and I have newbies, maybe it's time to revisit that because even if it turns out you hate your baby and you feel like a horrible monster?

You're not and it's going to be OK. (So long as you don't actually hurt your baby because then it's definitely not OK.) And this is all spurred on because one of my favorite new people blogged about this yesterday and  it was a really great post and this is also more of my story so she doesn't feel awful.

So when I got pregnant with Olivia, Matt and I had only been married for six months, we lived in a one bedroom apartment, grossly in debt and totally young and stupid. I cannot emphasize it enough- we were ill prepared. I know at the time I had naysayers who said we were ill prepared and I was like, bitches please... I've got this. And I really thought I did. I knew I'd love the baby, and at least I wasn't 16 and pregnant. By then I had graduated college, started my career, was a full fledged adult. I had the world by the balls. Well, every one except Capital One. They had me by my pretend balls. But that's another story for another day.

When I was five months pregnant we decided to cash out all of Matt's investments (dumb idea) and bought ourselves the ghetto homestead we're in now. We had NO IDEA how much this investment would be. The bills were all more, it was stressful, there was nobody to call when your toilet randomly leaks and you can't make it stop and you're crying because you can't find a fucking wrench ANYWHERE and you just want to pee and your husband isn't answering his god damn phone.


So in September, I had Olivia. It was a ridiculously easy pregnancy, I gained 15 pounds, I was healthy, and as it turns out, these hips were made for birthing because I had the easiest labor and delivery ever. But when they handed me Olivia? Terrified. The fear of all of a sudden having to be responsible for another person 24/7 probably for the rest of my life is terrifying. I didn't fall in love with her. I didn't feel like even holding her. I had nurses pushing the whole breastfeeding thing on me and they made me feel like a shit mom that A) I couldn't do it and B) when I was trying I realized nothing about this feels right to me. I'm not joking when I say I felt bullied by nurses, lactation consultants and even my mother in law. So I cried. I cried for a really long time when people left me alone. They would call me and let me know Olivia needed to be fed, or changed, or whatever and really try to engage me as a mom and I didn't want it. By the second day of being a mom I knew that I wasn't cut out for this and I had made a really huge mistake.

And I was ashamed to feel that way.

When she came home and realized that clearly, my daughter hates me, because she cried endlessly for me but totally love Matt. I felt betrayed. I carried her for nine months, I was the sole care taker for her, I read to her in utero, I talked to her every day and told her how her daddy and I met and how excited we were for her, all of it.

And she  hated me. Clearly.

Matt went back to work after two weeks and I was terrified. I found out later even he was scared and people tried to "check in" on me but they were probably making sure I hadn't killed us yet. She would cry for hours in her crib and I had thoughts of shaking her, smothering her, doing anything I could to make it stop. For it to all be over. I'd cry for hours with her. I couldn't do anything right and everyone just told me the baby blues go away and stop worrying about it.

But it didn't.

For weeks I would walk around the neighborhood, completely zoned out and crying with my child in a stroller crying hysterically. I'm pretty sure the neighbors felt bad for me but at the same time, would worry if they didn't see the bat shit terrible mother who can't calm her child down.

For an entire year I suffered. No doctor would listen to me when I said I didn't feel better. I wanted to be away from my child. I resented Matt for being a better parent and I hated that  he didn't pay any attention to me anymore. At the same time I didn't want attention, I just really wanted to run away and make it all stop. I was too scared to tell doctors that I wanted to kill my baby or myself because I thought they'd take her away. I may not want her but I don't want others to have her. They could be worse than me.

By the time her first birthday rolled around I was way fat, I had a terrible hair cut, Matt and I were having a hard time, and I just wanted to make it all better. So I got on anti depressants which didn't help but the illusion of them helping made stuff get better.

Then when Olivia was 2 I found out I was pregnant. Horrible time in my life. Matt and I were considering divorce, bankruptcy was happening, I was hysterical and sad- complete opposite of how I was with Olivia. I was pregnant with twins. When I found out at my 7 week appointment that I lost one, god help me but I was thrilled. The thought of three kids on my own was terrifying, two seemed manageable.

Again, easy pregnancy. Not as enjoyable labor and delivery but it wasn't awful. And when they put Jackson in my arms? My heart grew. My chest hurt from all of the love beaming out of me. I cried, and I cuddled him, I could not get enough. And I was so sad because it was then that the full impact of what I missed with Olivia hit me. And maybe that's why I still feel like I struggle so much with Olivia. I love her to my core but it will always be a different love than with Jackson. Not bad, it's still equal, but it's different.

So what held made me keep it together? Support. I had a mom who helped me every time I'd cry and say I couldn't do it. I had a husband that despite thinking I was crazy and being sick of me being crazy, stuck in it with me and picked up the slack that I left. I think that's also why our marriage works- he's really seen me at my absolute worst and just stayed there right with me. He didn't yell at me, didn't tell me I should do something a different way, never pushed his opinions on me, he just helped me at every turn.

So now when friends have their babies I get angry when I see a bunch of breastfeeding crazies push it on a new mom. That shit is hard and not everyone is cut out for it. I really feel like that really fucked me up the first time around. I didn't want to fail as a new mom and they made me feel like I was when I couldn't do it. I also get annoyed when people I know who are damn well not ready to have a baby do it anyways. I want to shake them and say this is not something to fuck around with. Everything about life you love as a child free person is now over. Forever. Or until your child gets their own life without you. I was 23 when I had Olivia and that is so grossly young it's unbelievable. Incredibly stupid to do that. And to be frank, it's selfish to have a baby because you love babies. You have to really have a need to mother and be totally selfless.

And not everyone has that. I really struggle every day with it. And that's OK.

So if you're pregnant- good luck to you. I really wish you a good birth and singing angels and glitter and  unicorns and all of that. If you're thinking about getting pregnant, eyes wide open. Really think about why you're doing it and it's totally OK to decide kids aren't for you. If you already have kids and struggle? It'll be OK. Don't let people (especially other moms) judge you and make you feel like less of a mom. Women are bitches and they'll tear you down. Just do the best you can for you and your baby and things will be OK.

Eternal (and Televenge giveaway winner)

Holy crapola- I forgot to announce the winner for the book Televenge. I'm such an ass. So thank YOU random number generator..

#5 Gini

YAY, Gini! I have your address around here somewhere so I'll forward that on and you'll get to read a really great book. (And then I want you to tell me what you thought!) But let's talk about another book because none of you are reading enough and it's my job to fill your lists.

Eternal - H. G. Nadel

Julia Jones is an eighteen-year-old science prodigy with a big secret. After landing a prestigious internship with brilliant but eccentric Dr. Caleb Bertel, she is finally ready to move on from her mother’s death. But after Julia revives Dr. Bertel from a near-fatal electrocution, strange things start to happen.
Without warning, Dr. Bertel disappears. Then Julia receives threatening notes on her car, and someone has her followed. The young police officer assigned to the case, Austin Moore, believes the events are connected and asks her to help him solve the mystery of Bertel’s disappearance. Instantly attracted to him, Julia agrees. Still, she knows that she has seen Austin somewhere before, if only she could put her finger on it.
Will Julia uncover the mystery of Bertel’s disappearance before it’s too late, and does she dare trust Austin with her heart?
OK, this is kind of a suspense/mystery/paranormal/romance all in one. If you like cross genre books with enough story making you wonder what the eff is actually going on, this one is for you. I will warn you right up front that some of the speech or how things written felt a little different to me, but it's not enough to make you say to hell with it all and give up on it. Also weird is that I just finished the book Beautiful Creatures (in time for the movie, of course) and the romance aspect of it was kind of similar whereas both couples are essentially soul mates and have had several lifetimes together but one or both of them screw it up and so they re-live it until they get it right.. kind of. 
So that alone is kind of interesting because you're waiting to see if Julia and Austin figure it out this time. And while Dr. Bertel and others are essentially possessed by .. demons??, it kind of feels more like zombies. Because their mannerisms and how they speak made me think of zombies which also is different from what I have read before. I know zombies are all the rage and while these aren't really zombies, that's what I kept feeling like they really were. 
I loved the story overall, finished it rather quickly because it's under 300 pages so that's basically an afternoon delight for me. I also love that the characters are developed enough for the story, but there is room left to grow for what will be a trilogy. A lot of things are either left hanging or finished in a way that there clearly could be more and that there should be, but you aren't left feeling pissed off that an author just gave up on this book. 
But my favorite part of this book is the look back in time. Not only are we reading Julia and Austin's modern day romance and story, but they are the reincarnate of Abelard and Heloise who is like the French version of Romeo and Juliet. They obviously have a tragically sad and horrific story and it's kind of replayed in modern day, which is a really cool twist for a book. Not many authors can wrap two stories into one seamlessly that requires you not to think to hard, and H.G. Nadel does it well. Totally impressed with that and frankly, that kind of made the book for me. 
Check out the author's webpage, Twitter and Facebook too and get updates on the rest of her trilogy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shaky legs, urine, and meth addicted zombies.

You all need to be proud of me, bitches. NOT ONLY did I make tonight's dinner when I would normally give up when A) I'm missing ingredients and B) fail to realize that it needs to simmer for 1 1/2 hours and I'm starting to cook at 4:30. It just seems so daunting and usually I'm all, "fuck this, get me some pizza" and that solves that.


I made dinner while simultaneously making tomorrow's dinner which required me to like mix shit and brown some steak in a skillet and then get it all together in a crockpot so it can marinate over night. BAM, bitches. BAM.

Even Matt was all impressed and optimistic I could maybe kick my french fries at 9pm habit. Seeing how it is only 7:40, I'm hungry and I just finished day one of 30 Day Shred? That is yet to be determined. I see him getting all presumptuous and getting his pajamas on. Silly, silly husband.

Which brings me to urine. While doing the 30 Day Shred I remembered that Jillian is a fan of jumping jacks and jumping rope and literally kicking your own ass, which means the whole "my bladder isn't what it once was" comes back as I pee myself.

Yeah, I peed my own pants in my own living room while doing jumping jacks.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I keep doing my fucking Kegels and Matt tells me things are as good, if not better, than they were pre-babies so I know I'm doing those often enough. Like twice every day for the last five years yet I cannot get through 20 jumping jacks without peeing my pants. The doctor basically said before that there isn't anything I can do short of a bladder sling or pelvic mesh which not happening because you always see those lawsuit commercials warning about collapsed bladders and snapped slings. No fucking thank you.

But I need to figure out what the eff to do about this. It's kind of disgusting. I'm just saying.

Oh but guess what I saw today? My first ever legit meth addicted zombie. From the sunken cheekbones, scabs and sores literally covering this person, patchy hair, yellowed and missing teeth and the slumped walk? I wanted to take a picture but that's how they get you- they distract you with your camera phone and then eat your brains.

I saw it on the internet. And the internet does not lie.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Goddaughter (and Giveaway!!)

Raise your hand if you like books you can finish in under two hours!

The Goddaughter - Melodie Campbell
The Goddaughter (Rapid Reads)
Gina Gallo is a gemologist who would like nothing better than to run her little jewelry shop. Unfortunately she's also "the Goddaughter," and, as she tells her new friend Pete, "you don't get to choose your relatives." And you can't avoid them when you live in Hamilton and they more or less run the place. When Gina bumps into Pete at the Art Gallery Gala, sparks fly. So do bullets, when her cousin Tony is taken down by rival mobsters from New York. It turns out Tony was carrying a load of hot gems in the heel of his shoe. When Gina is reluctantly recruited to carry the rocks back to Buffalo, the worst happens: they get stolen. Pete and Gina have no choice but to steal them back, even though philandering politicians, shoe fetishists, and a trio of inept goons stand in their way. It's all in a day's work, when you're the Goddaughter.

Short, funny, and entertaining are the three best adjectives to describe this one. This book is a Rapid Read and it clocks in at just over 100 pages so you can shove this thing in your purse and get 'er done at work on your lunch. Or extended lunch for those of you who aren't really working anyways. 

The fact that Gina is from a crime family and is so incredibly bad at being a criminal herself is kind of hilarious. I mean, hiding gems in shoes is kind of clever, but the fact she had them stolen in a mall and the chase to get them back lead her to Arizona? Even better. I also love the fact that she has Peter, who is this genuine good guy who knows she's from a crime family, and he willingly goes on the chase with her to get them back. I did find myself laughing in some spots and I finished it in under two hours including the time to eat my lunch in there. 

Basically we have suspense (will she get the gems back??), romance (does she finally fall for Peter) and comedy so you really can't go wrong with this book. It's very Stephanie Plum from the Janet Evanovich series so if you like those, you'll really like this one. You can check out Melodie's website HERE, and buy the book on Amazon HERE

Do you want to get your very own ecopy of this book? Leave a comment on this post WITH your email and you can enter to win. :) 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Unspeakable Book Blast

About the Author:
A veteran of the performing arts and worldwide missions, Tessa Stockton also contributed as a writer/editor for ministry publications, ghostwriter for political content, and headed a column on the topic of forgiveness. Today she writes novels in a variety of genres, often laced with romance and intrigue. In addition to her Christian suspense/thriller, THE UNSPEAKABLE, she’s the author of the political intrigue/romance, THE UNFORGIVABLE, a fable, LOVE AND LULL, and the upcoming inspirational fantasy romance, WIND’S ARIA, with more in the works.
Visit the Author:
About the Book:
Who said forgiveness was easy?
When a furtive conflict is pitted between violent leftist guerrillas and a rightwing paramilitary group in Colombia, a North American woman mistakenly gets caught in the middle.
“I spent four months, one week and two days in a clandestine prison referred to as The Water Cave. Every day I stared hell in the face, and each day I wanted to die. I don’t want to share too much too quickly. To understand fully, you must join hands with me, fasten your heart to mine, and course through my book. Stumble over the incomprehensible human rights journey with me. I’ve pondered it to the brink of questionable sanity, and it is the only way. It’s the only way to explain. I suppose I should consider myself lucky I survived at all—for many did not—yet, perplexingly so, that’s not the premise of this narrative.
He altered my life, marked me forever.
But it’s not how you might imagine.
This is a story involving Horacio Botello, my torturer known as Puma.”
Purchase your copy:
Go HERE for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card AND a copy of this book:  
The Unspeakable Tour Page: 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Televenge (and GIVEAWAY!)

If you are a religious person, you need to read this book. If you are a women's rights person, you need to read this book. If you are one of those "let's just mind our own business" person, you need to read this book.  I can't think of one person who should not read this book because it blew me away. How many books blow me away? Not many.

Televenge - Pamela King Cable

Andie Oliver is a faithful woman—to God, to husband Joe, and to elevangelist Reverend Calvin Artury, a Godfather in a Mafia of holy men. Raised to be subservient and submissive in the tradition of the Bible-belt South of the 70’s, she becomes a prisoner of that tradition. As a reluctant member of Artury’s evangelical megachurch, the House of Praise in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Andie’s dream of children, home, and marriage falls apart when Joe is hired on the ministry team.
The charismatic Reverend conducts faith-healing crusades, creating the largest religious TV audience in the world, surpassing the income and followers of Oral Roberts and the Reverend Billy Graham combined. Working limitless hours, Joe is sucked deeper into the ministry while Andie attempts to free him from the Reverend’s control and far-reaching influence. But it is Mavis Dumass, Andie’s best friend since birth, a sassy African-American woman and aspiring recording star, who holds the secrets to Reverend Artury’s carefully veiled debauchery. What happens to Mavis will not be forgotten as it leaves Andie near mental collapse and struggling for freedom from the cult’s grip.
Andie is still unaware of the extreme danger their pastor wields until she witnesses the murder of a church member. Fearing for her life, Andie plummets from a dreadful existence to a horrific one as she uncovers Reverend Artury’s long-hidden truths, and loses everything. But she strikes back, threatening to expose the Reverend to the world. Reverend Artury reverts to the twisted “cleansings” of his childhood. Raised by two  psychopathic aunts, he mentally declines and quickly, Andie must go into hiding. Fighting for redemption for her family and herself, Andie confronts the very definition of sin, and shakes the Christian evangelical world to its core. Evading ruthless adversaries who will go to any lengths to protect Reverend Artury, Andie battles the dark side of televangelism, forever changing a nation of evangelicals.
With more twists and turns than the Blue Ridge Parkway, Televenge exposes chaos in the megachurch, and embraces those who discover unconditional love in a world of religious deception. A story of hope, of deliverance, and strength of the human spirit. An unforgettable tale of unconditional love, heartbreaking loss, an invincible spirit, and incredible courage.
I'll be honest with you. When I first opened my package and saw how huge this book was, I know I said out loud, "Jesus Christ, I need to start looking to see how many pages there are going to be. Shit." It's 584 pages. I know, you're hyperventilating, aren't you? Well I'm going to tell you that every piece of this book is needed. You know I hate fluff and I'm the first one to tell an author to stop putting so much useless shit in your book just to make it a normal sized novel, you're wasting my time. But not the case in this book. I really thought it would be and I kept looking for it, but in hindsight, you need everything. Everything plays a piece in the end, ultimately. 
I don't know where to even start. Seriously. I'm sitting here wondering how to review this but I'll tell you that when I finished it? I had to not read for a few days. I had to emotionally get my shit together because it takes a lot out of you. Even reading the book I had to stop because my heart hurt for Andie. I really liked her. She was young, she was optimistic, she really just wanted to live the American Dream. Get married, live in a beautiful house, have babies, be a good wife, and be in love. And nobody can say she didn't try, no matter how awful things got. 
Her life is just a serious of losses, and huge losses. She loses a child, a friend, family, hope, love, confidence, everything. Everything a person needs to just hang on in life, she loses it. Not by her bad choices, but because of a religion and what ends up being a cult. 
The most fascinating thing about this book is the religion aspect. Anyone who knows me knows I don't subscribe to church. I have never thought that a pastor or a preacher has any right interpreting a piece of religious writing that may or may not be true. The fact is, nobody really knows and the people who don't acknowledge that scare the shit out of me. Mostly because I don't understand why a person would be willing to have someone else's words shape their life. I mean, I try to look at choices and use common sense and my gut feeling to make the right decision. Doesn't always work, but I'm always presented with choices no matter what and I try to navigate through life making good choices and be a good citizen. And I felt like Andie ends up that way. She starts off as a devoted church follower and submissive to her husband, but when she wants more out of life (namely, being a mother) it basically all goes to hell for her. 
Every time you think you've figured it out, you didn't. You're so wrong it's shameful. And as the book winds down you think surely there can't be any more surprises. Oh, but another death in her family sets her in a direction that will either kill her or save her. 
And when the entire ball of yarn unwinds and you see everything as a timeline? Man. I'd have to think any other person would give up hope all together but Andie doesn't. Andie is the epitome of a strong woman. Sure, she isn't educated, she has not a damn thing to her name, she's lost her kids because of a crooked judicial system, people are out to kill her and you know what? She just keeps trying to make the next best decision to get to her end goal- to have her kids back and live a good life with someone who really loves her. I still can't get over how so many people failed her. People who really loved her knew something wasn't right and they either hid hurtful secrets or turned a blind eye and said Jesus said this is how it should be. And to know that there are so many people in the world that really believe Jesus thinks this kind of behavior is OK is insane. And terrifying. 
For this being such a huge book, every loose end was finished. Well, there is one with Suri (yes, you read that right) that I wish we knew more about. I won't even tell you who Suri is because it would ruin a huge plot point in the book for you. But everything else? Tied up, perfectly. Well, as perfectly as all of these troubled characters could be. I will tell you that the very end with Joe? The last conversation him and Andie have? Bothers me. Because while I understand why Andie says what she does to him, I wonder if any part of her is pulled to him? Because her entire life had become her hoping that her Joe was still in there, and he shows a glimmer of it, and she doesn't even pause. I get why she doesn't because I wouldn't, but I wonder... is there a tiny part in her feel like, "I was right all along, he IS in there"? 
I can't tell you how much I want you to read this book. I want you to read it right now. It's so good and I know the size of it is scary. I know that it gets slow in some parts but really get absorbed in it. Don't give up on it because while it starts out slow it builds and builds. You'll enjoy it, love it, be horrified and hopeful all at once. I am even going to say it's probably one of the best books I have ever read. Truly. I can think of just a few books in my lifetime that I've read that have pulled at me and this is one on a very short list. I can't explain it, it just is.

But lucky for you... ONE reader can win a copy of this (US/Canada only)! Leave a comment on this post with your email address and a winner will be drawn on Friday, January 25.  GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Monday, January 21, 2013

Humanizing the Jaguar

You know I'm a judger of book covers and so when I saw this cover I was like... no. But then.. the story kind of pulled at me and I decided I would do it because I had time and who doesn't love a book? So I did and I have to say, I kind of loved it.

Humanizing the Jaguar - Monica Daddio
New Suspense Novel For Review: Humanizing the Jaguar by Monica Daddio
How do you tame the untamable? Bryan Wharton has been through more than any child should bear, leaving him emotionally scarred. When his new family proves to him that love and encouragement do exist, Bryan pursues his only dream. With the friendship and support of a few boys from school, they succeed in making their wild fantasies of becoming rock stars a reality. Through their hard work they rise to fame, while Bryan’s confident, cocky attitude generates animosity within the group. After a particularly grueling ordeal, he meets a young woman who captivates him in ways like no one else ever has. Donna’s ignorance over who he really is and her genuine concern during their fleeting time together allows him to freely open up to her. The two form a bond, becoming oddly entwined. After getting back to what Bryan knows best, he realizes he needs to devise a way for Donna to be near him for what he believes is his own selfishness. Donna was ready for an adventure knowing she’d become the envy of young women worldwide and was hoping that this could lead to more. What does this mean for the two-friendship, love or?

I have to be honest, the first two chapters of this book are pretty damn harrowing. It starts off with Bryan living in a horribly abusive home and the subsequent death of his mother which then lands him in a string of foster homes before finding a family that he fits into. It's horribly sad and then to see him grow up obviously carrying these emotional scars well into adulthood and not even really noticing it is equally sad. 

I really loved the story as a whole and I thoroughly enjoyed it, finished it in a day. Some critiques is that some of the dialogue? Isn't natural. After reading a string of books with bizarre dialogue I'm starting to think maybe dialogue is actually really difficult to write after all. I mean, I would assume a hard rock singer would say "don't" instead of "do not" and things like that. Is that picky? Probably, but it kind of drove me nuts, but not enough to not read the story. 

Also, can I just say if I were walking down an alley I would absolutely never, ever pick up a guy laying there who clearly had the shit kicked out of him? Sure, I might call 911 or something but no way would I offer to take him home yet Donna does because she is a romance novel junkie and a good citizen. And that's the catalyst to this really unlikely pairing of Bryan and Donna though it doesn't look like it'll head that way. 

Another thing that is still concerning even at the end of the book is Bryan's anger. I seriously kept thinking, "how does his anger not freak Donna out?" Because I have to tell you, I would be like oh hell no, jerk. I am curious though if there is going to be a sequel because of the whole anger issue still being very present but also because how the book ends. And considering there isn't an epilogue like "Two Years Later" or something, what happens to Donna and Bryan? Surely it isn't all love and roses, so that makes me think there should be at least one, preferably two, follow up books. 

Overall, I'm going to say I liked this book and I would absolutely read another story by Monica and most definitely any follow up for this book. Keep up with Monica at her website HERE

Review done for Pump Up Your Book

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Into the Darkest Corner

I have been reading a ton of YA, romance and erotica novels as of late so it's about time I break it up a bit with a psychological thriller that makes me feel like maybe my OCD isn't that bad after all. Take THAT, Matt for making fun of my even number of swipes with the vacuum!

Into the Darkest Corner - Elizabeth Haynes

When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.
But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.
Until the day the phone rings . . .
I'm going to tell you right now that if ever I had a thought to divorce Matt and hit the singles scene like it's never been hit before, this book right here convinced me that Matt isn't that bad and I'd rather be single forever than date anyone. I'm sure dating has always been scary but I've only had an experience with one nutjob and thankfully it wasn't to this degree. Also? Elizabeth can craft a story perfectly so that it reads like a memoir and you have to remind yourself that this isn't real so you don't start checking doors and windows. 
Basically Catherine is a normal, twentysomething, on the cusp of real adulthood of having a career and basically having it all. Then she meets Lee who's gorgeous and charming as hell and her friends all envy her for this guy.  He's basically Adonis who is a little scary (pushing her into an office to have sex and then creepily stares at her through the monitor), very charming, alluring (she doesn't really know what he does for a job but whatever it is sometimes leaves him in a foul mood and beaten up), and he clearly loves her. Adores her. The relationship starts off just fine but as time goes by he kind of invades her life. Every attempt she makes to distance herself fails and her friends think she's either being ungrateful or just going nuts. Over time, Lee develops into a mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive partner which lands him in jail. 
The books flip flops from Lee and Catherine's relationship leading up to the event that landed him in jail, and the present day where you now have Cathy who is one shade short of being bat shit crazy. Rightfully so. When you find out just how bad things got for her, you're left wondering why wouldn't she be this way. She's obsessive compulsive about checking doors, checking rooms, checking things and you find out why as you read the book. She doesn't just pick random things to check, she has a purpose. But all the while, she almost accidentally develops a relationship with her upstairs neighbor and then basically... all shit hits the fan for her. 
This is an absolutely RIVETING book. I literally could not put this baby down and I will say, probably not the best thing to read before bed? Let's just say I had a few nightmares. Basically my fear is the dark, and it's also being attacked/abducted/etc. So YAY, it's all rolled into this. Normally I read lines in a book and think hmm.. that's something to note.. but then I forget. Not this book. One of the most disturbing lines in the book is when Catherine asks Lee (early on in their relationship) if he's a good guy or bad guy (trying to determine his job). His response seems innocent at this point in the book, "It depends if you're a good girl or a bad girl", but then when you find out what Lee is REALLY like, and what he did to Naomi (his previous girlfriend), it send chills right down your spine. 
I'm no relationship expert, but ladies if a guy ever gives you that line- run for the god damn hills. 
Of course, don't just rely on my awesome expertise, check out the rest of the blog tour HERE. She also has a website, Facebook, and Twitter

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Blood Prophecy: The Fated Three

Oh, you know I love me some teen paranormal romance, right? So obviously when I was contacted by Apostrophe Books I had to jump on this. I had to. So glad I did.

The Blood Prophecy: The Fated Three- TL Spencer
Blood Prophecy: The Fated Three
The darkness is rising. Thousands of years ago, a prophecy was foretold and now it has awakened…
17-year-old Selene Giovanni loses her father at a young age and is forever separated from her peers by the experience and an abusive mother.

When a young stranger, Gregori, starts at her school, Selene’s world changes dramatically. Her once dull and lonely life becomes exciting and dangerous.

With vampires and werewolves around every corner, Selene must make a choice between love, death and the fate of the world. And that is only the beginning…

Basically there are three novellas in this one book. Each novella focuses on a couple, but more specifically one of the three enchantresses. Selene and Gregori are first, then Sariel and Aynia, and then finally Dmitri and LaLinn. Each girl has a back story and there is a reason Selene is first- she's kind of the ring leader of the three. 

I absolutely loved this. It totals out at 300 pages on my Nook so I got through this really quickly- it's a rather fast read. Each couple has it's own love story with important lesson for successful relationship/personal struggle to get through. My favorite is probably Selene and Gregori though. Aynia was alright, I liked her a lot and totally understood why she's kind of angsty. LaLinn, though? Could NOT stand her. What a freaking whiner. Her parents are killed as a young child so she bounces from foster homes and eventually settles on a great couple who adopt her. But she's kind of a selfish person and really doesn't think about how her actions effect others, especially Dmitri. I was really sad for him because he basically know she won't ever love him like he loves her. That's kind of shit and depressing. It's like she's shacking up with him out of pity and survival. I still don't know if she really gets the whole soul mate/true love thing like the other couples did. 

But I will say if you like paranormal? You'll love this one. It's got vampires, shifters and different personal oddities like psychic behavior, healing, etc. So it's a little bit of everything rolled into one. I loved how there is enough action to keep you going but not so much where you are left completely confused and wondering what the heck is going on. Some of the language and conversation pieces are written a little odd but in hindsight it's because the male characters are vampires and really old. Obviously their speech would be different from a modern day person. 

Overall? Liked this book a lot. I think you'll really like it too especially if you are looking for fast reads that are enjoyable without feeling like you're having to really think about it. Go HERE to get more information and purchase the book. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell

Here's a book with a super creepy, pull-you-in-cover.

The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell - Fumi Hancock
The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell
When free-spirited and more than a little rebellious, seventeen-year-old Jewel Cardwell gained admission to Grayton Preparatory School, a prestigious, girls-only, top-notch private institution nestled in the South African farmlands of Limpopo, little did she know it would begin a trail of mysterious and unfamiliar events, changing her life forever! At Grayton prep, a battle line is drawn between ‘good and evil’ especially when there’s a full moon and dark forces swirl and turn up in the form of hideous monsters and frightening demons. With her school fr-nemies, rivalry and treachery become the order of the day and Jewel is forced to question everything she thought she knew as she struggles to stay alive in a dubious place riddled with demonic activity! Armed with a magical secret from her dying grandmother, a golden locket, she sets a new course in motion. In the middle of this whirlwind of events, she is caught between two boys: Darwin Morton, a lad she's known growing up, and Eric Broder, a soccer team leader with a silver spoon in his mouth. Why her love life has to get interesting now is a question she can't answer!

Right away this reminded me of the Harry Potter series because Jewel is cursed and she is immediately sent away to Grayton Preparatory School. The thing though is that I didn't think Jewel was as lovable as Harry because honestly? She's a bit of a brat and you can bet she's probably a handful at home. Armed with a chilling family secret passed onto her from her dying grandmother and this locket, she is quickly in the middle of a pretty harrowing adventure. And while her parents think she's going to a safe place, the place is basically a doorway to Hell with all of the demonic forces/evil lurking everywhere. 

Some problems with this book for me is that Jewel is a really angry person and for no real reason. In fact, her mother really is too and I just didn't understand any of that. A lot of the writing seemed a bit forced for me and honest to god, if I saw one more exclamation mark I was going to lose it. Those should be sporadic and reserved, you shouldn't count on there being two per page. Nothing is that exciting. I've seen some very rave reviews for this book and none of them really rang true with me. Sure, the book is good and there is enough to keep you going through it, but compared to some other YA books I've read recently, I'd have to put this one lower on the list. That's not to say you won't like it because if you are a big YA fan, you will love this. It certainly is not a boring book, there is a LOT of story happening in a relatively short book so if you prefer action packed books, definitely pick this one up. 

Review done for Pump Up Your Book

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wild About You

I'm so grossly late with this review it's embarrassing. I don't know why I can't be on top of it all of the time but if I could I'd probably be President or something.

Wild About You - Kerrelyn Sparks

It’s not every day that Elsa Bjornberg feels delicate, not when she hosts a home renovation show where she can effortlessly demolish a kitchen. But from the moment she meets Howard Barr, this bear of a man makes her feel like a woman. And the way he looks at her, as if she were a pot of honey he’d like to lick . . .
Howard is not like most men. For one thing, he’s a shapeshifter. And he always thought his celebrity crush would never amount to anything more than drooling at Elsa on TV. When his meddling vampire employer gets involved, the star is suddenly within his grasp—and within a hair of her life. For an ancient curse forbids their newfound love, and Howard is suddenly torn between his desire for her and his desire to keep her alive.
Real talk- a were bear is just weird for me. And it's not like it's a turn off, it's just really hard to picture in my head. So in my head, I envisioned him to being like Alcide in the Sookie Stackhouse. Wrong? Maybe. Also when Elsa is first introduced in the book, she felt like (an God help me but I can't help it), a special needs/carnival showpiece. You know, that person that has something wrong with them but yet that's what makes them a star quality? Because picturing a gorgeous, very tall woman swinging a sledgehammer is what that felt like for me. 
But all of that aside? Loved the book. Sure, it took me a bit to get to used to, but once I did, I wasn't disappointed. I just wish I had known this was in a series because I would have done some homework and maybe read some of the earlier ones because I believe this is book 13. Not that you have to read the series, this is definitely a stand alone book, but I felt like I would have loved it even more had I know the back story to how Howard got here, and learned a little more information about the vampires he essentially works for. 
This book is everything you want a romance novel to be- it obviously has romance between Elsa and Howard but it also has mystery, it has suspense, and it has relationships that you know would matter in real life. I actually flew through this book one evening before bed and it was worth it. I'm actually really excited to read some of the previous stories and then bookmark her future books. Kerrelyn is a really great writer that is believable. Sure, we're talking shifters and vampires but she writes it as this is just common stuff and no big deal. Very interesting her take on vampires too- not really like what most writers are doing with vampires in their books but still very traditional, if that makes sense? Maybe it feels weird because everyone else seems to have daylight tolerating vampires and Kerrelyn doesn't go that route and that's another reason I appreciated this book. No need to be different, just do the traditional but do it well. 
Kerrelyn has a website HERE that I encourage you to check out!