Where is Brandi?? I am packing for, driving to and from and playing at Disney with my family this week 29th-6th. I might be on the blog and commenting on yours some, but if not, will try to catch up when we return. Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: Scorched (Frigid #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Scorched (Frigid, #2)
Scorched by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Sometimes life leaves a mark…
Most days, Andrea doesn’t know whether she wants to kiss Tanner or punch him in the gut. He is seriously hot, with legit bedroom eyes and that firefighter body of his, but he’s a major player, and they can’t get along for more than a handful of minutes. Until now.
Tanner knows he and Andrea have had an epic love/hate relationship for as long as he can remember, but he wants more love than hate from her. He wants her. Now. Tomorrow. But the more he gets to know her, the more it becomes obvious that Andrea has a problem. She’s teetering on the edge and every time he tries to catch her, she slips through his fingers.
Andrea’s life is spiraling out of control, and it doesn’t matter that Tanner wants to save her, because when everything falls apart and she’s speeding toward rock bottom, only she can save herself.
Sometimes life makes you work for that happily ever after…

”add

Publishes in US: June 16th 2015 by Spencer Hill Press
Genre: NA contemp
Source: bought
Series? Frigid #2
My review Frigid

 **   Audience alert: this is a new adult book. It does contain sex scenes that aren't fade to black. If you are under 18, get your parent's advice if this is a book for you.

Buy it:Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Book Depository

Author stalk away: ~site Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter


    I love Jennifer's writing and pre-ordered this ages ago. She writes with humor and her characters are amazing and I connect so easily with them. Her romances are scorching especially in the NA category and I can't wait to see how she writes a hot firefighter and this new female lead.
  
    I liked Andrea, though it was obvious she was in a lot of pain. She drinks a lot and has to take pills to sleep. We see the vulnerability when the usually easy going banter between her and Tanner. There is tension between them but until the book started, its always been words, but now she's danced with him and given him a kiss, albeit on the cheek. They both find each other attractive but there has been the animosity because she sees him as a player and he sees her as someone who drinks too much. 

    I like Tanner, especially when we are in his perspective. He is legit worried about her and he does sweet things like help her fend off grabby hands, take her to her apartment and watch over to make sure she doesn't get sick. 

    We get to check in with Kyler and Syd and Tanner and Andrea are about to go to a cabin in West Virginia with them, although a different one than all went down in Frigid. 

    Tanner and Andrea get into some fights about how much she drinks, and she doesn't really acknowledge that it is a problem for her. She writes off her insecurities, and reasons that she could stop when and if she wanted to. It isn't until the end and some pretty scary consequences that really help her to accept and want help. To won up to that she makes bad decisions surrounding drinking, and that she has some imbalances that aren't helped by alcohol. 

     I appreciate her character growth and how she finally accepted that she had some problems, but that doesn't make her any less of a person. She began to value her friendship with Syd more, as well as putting the romantic advances with Tanner on hold while she works on herself. I like how he learns more about what she's going through and how he speaks up even about hard issues instead of ignoring. 

     The hope and change in characters made the ending wonderful, and I loved their journey together and the place that they ended up. 

Bottom Line: Great romance and exploration of Andrea's anxieties and drinking.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you like opposite sex in uniform?

Monday, July 6, 2015

It's not you: It's me: Forever for a Year by B. T. Gottfred


Forever for a Year by B. T. Gottfred


When Carolina and Trevor meet on their first day of school, something draws them to each other. They gradually share first kisses, first touches, first sexual experiences. When they’re together, nothing else matters. But one of them will make a choice, and the other a mistake, that will break what they thought was unbreakable. Both will wish that they could fall in love again for the first time . . . but first love, by definition, can’t happen twice.
Told in Carolina and Trevor's alternating voices, this is an up-close-and-personal story of two teenagers falling in love for the first time, and discovering it might not last forever.


”add

Publishes in US:  July 7th 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Genre: ya contemp
Source: Macmillan via netgalley
Series? no

Buy it:Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Book Depository

Author stalk away: ~site ~twitter ~facebook


Did not finish

     I have done this several times on my blog. Books that just don't work for me. I know my reading style pretty well, and I can tell whether I will like the book or not accurately about 80-90% of the time. If I finish a book, then there are aspects of that book that I enjoyed. I never talk about the author in a negative way, I only say what doesn't work for me. Normally if I finish a book, I give it at least 3 stars, meaning that I liked it.

       I wanted to read this one because I wanted to experience their firsts and falling in love, and I am also intrigued by what will go wrong and if things might be fixable. And if not, seeing if that can be made into a relatable story, one that is realistic since many high school relationships aren't in it forever. I wanted to get to know the characters and root for them even knowing that it probably won't be a HEA in the way that's the norm.

   However, I had problems connecting with the main characters. Carolina had a narrative style that felt like she was talking to me instead of a stream of consciousness or normal style. I got the weird feeling that she was trying to impress me.

   And me and Trevor got off to a bad start because his mom tried to kill herself a year ago, and while I understand that everyone grieves differently, he turns it into a joke and then the next it comes off like he doesn't care if she is there or not. I dealt with the suicide of my dad and even though I dealt with such as an adult, it just made my heart hurt and not in the therapeutic way that stories with that line can at times.

    That isn't to say that the writing is poor or the characters are poorly constructed, it's personal on my end.

Positive Reviews:

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Is there a promise or a line that a loved one can cross that's unforgivable?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Exclusive Giveaway: Dare to Dream by S.B. Alexander with author interview



 Dare to Dream by S.B. Alexander
Bad boy Kade Maxwell knows all too well the pain and loss of the death of a loved one after his sister’s death tore his family—especially his mother—to pieces. He longs for the day his mother can heal from the mental anguish and return home to live with her family again. He prays every day that God will keep his brothers safe and that his father will one day be reunited with his wife. He doesn’t dream of his future. In fact, he had nightmarish glimpses of what his life would’ve been like as an adult until he met Lacey. She’s a light that cuts through his darkness. Her beauty, her determination, and her dedication in overcoming her own tragedy energizes his belief that maybe—just maybe—he can dream again.
Lacey Robinson has suffered tragedy at the hands of a killer who took away her sister and mother. After a change of scenery and a new life, her PTSD is on the mend. With the love and strength from Kade Maxwell and the help of her psychiatrist, she’s been able to work on the triggers that cause her panic attacks and blackouts. With a clear head and a clear road to the future, Lacey dreams of three things: She longs to find the person who killed her family. She wants to play baseball for ASU so bad she can taste it. And she wants a future with Kade Maxwell. But with several roadblocks thrown in her way, she may not get everything she wants. A trip to California opens a door that could expose the killer. Aaron Seever is up to his psychotic, bullying antics, and Kade has his own path for the future, one Lacey isn’t sure includes her.
Kade vows to love and protect Lacey even if that means his life for hers. Lacey vows to push through her demons and show Kade and her family that she has what it takes to rise above tragedy, even if she has to run into the arms of a killer to save a loved one.
Strong language. Sexual content. Violence. Intended for audiences 18 years and older.

 
 

Bio from her site:
For those of you who know me, you know the ‘S’ stands for Susan in S. B. Alexander. I chose to use my initials since there were a few Susan Alexander authors out there.
My life has taken me places where I’ve met wonderful people and experienced life in different ways. After high school I decided to forgo college. I enrolled in a business program where I graduated in ten months with a certificate that allowed me access to Corporate America. But, somehow the idea to enter into an unknown world at nineteen-years-old was daunting. To face my fear, I decided if the world was my playground why not shoot for something bigger, so I joined the Navy. The four years in the military was a great foreground to learn about life and the world around me. But, as the cliché says, Life goes on.
I traded the military for college. I became a High School Math Teacher and loved it before deciding to revisit Corporate America. I’ve held many roles in my career from sales representative to sales manager, but I never lost my passion to write.
Other than writing, I love golf, music, the Boston Red Sox, hanging with family and friends and most of all sharing my stories with my fans.
Without readers, authors wouldn’t exist. So thanks to every reader out there for making a world where authors can call home.

Social Media links:


--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
#DaretoDream is a romantic suspense about 2 people who rise above tragedy to save each other & learn dreams are possible. #HEA #romance
--How did you get the idea for the story?
Dare to Dream is a continuation in Kade Maxwell and Lacey Robinson’s story from Dare to Kiss. The story was born out of my childhood dream to play boys’ baseball along with something tragic that had happened to me when I was a little girl.
--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
In Dare to Dream, I would love to have dinner with Kade’s father, Martin Maxwell. He’s a standup gentleman, protective father, loving husband, and an overall cool dad.
--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?
My current WIP is the next book in the Maxwell series. Dare to Love will be based on Kelton Maxwell, one of the triplets. I’m tentatively planning early 2016 for a release date. Dare to Love teaser excerpt:
Mr. Brewer climbed up on the platform. “Sit. And don’t make the new girl nervous. And keep your dick from making an appearance.” His voice was low. “I don’t need you with an erection when I have twenty-five females with raging hormones ready to attack you. Even though you’re one lucky bastard.” His voice lowered even more as he shifted his back to the class.
“Kind of hard for that when I think it shrunk for a week after standing out in the cold.”
He chuckled.
I eased down onto the soft fabric. “Besides, I only got hard once and that was my first day over a year ago. Since then I know how to control myself.” Fuck. With beautiful women, flowery scents, porcelain skins, long hair, thick lips, and the list went on, they made it difficult for me not to get a damn hard-on.
“Kelton.” Mr. Brewer’s gaze dropped to my dick.
“Sorry. You started me thinking about… Never mind.” I closed my eyes and thought about who was going to win the super bowl. The Patriots or the Steelers.

--What book(s) is your book’s “cousin”? (Similar kind of read, set-up or style)
Dare to Kiss
--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
I’m a big fan of the Elite Series, by Rachel Van Dyken. I love anything by Tijan, especially the Fallen Crest High Series. I also love paranormal, and my favorite is the Dark Protector series by Rebecca Zanetti.
I read mostly at night for a couple of hours. But I don’t read as much as I used since I’ve been writing and publishing.

--If a fairy godmother told you could be put into the world of your favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
What a great question. I would loved to be part of Claimed by Rebecca Zanetti, or any of her books in the Dark Protector series. It’s an intriguing world of vampires, shifters and unique otherwordly abilities. Not to mention, the sexy, alpha vampires who fight to protect their world, especially the king of the realm, Dage Kayrs.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
I do listen to music while I write, and usually by the time I’m finished writing a story I have a playlist. For Dare to Dream here are the songs that I listened to.
“Follow You Down” by Matthew Mayfield
“Lips Of An Angel” by Hinder
“Fear” by Blue October
“Broken Arrows” by Daughtry
“Love Gone Mad” by Stars Go Dim
“Hoping for Tomorrow” by Stars Go Dim
“Thinking out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
“Hanging By A Moment” by Lifehouse
“Without You” by Hinder
“Apologize” by OneRepublic
“Never Say Never” by The Fray
“One Last Breath” by Creed
“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
“Kickstart My Heart” by Mötley Crüe
“Outside – Original” by Staind
“My Destiny” by Katharine McPhee
“Diamonds” by Rihanna

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
The ability to transport myself anywhere in the world.

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love to play golf. I’m a huge baseball fan. So going to games is a blast. And my husband and I love to go to movies.
--What is one thing you would tell your 15 year old self?
Beauty is on the inside, and any respectable boy will notice that.


--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?
I want to thank all the readers who take the time to read and review books. Without them authors wouldn’t have a stage to showcase their books. I also want to thank all bloggers who work tirelessly to read, review and promote authors, and without them authors wouldn’t have a stage to reach readers far and wide.

Lightning round: this or that?
Vanilla or chocolate?
Vanilla
Video or Board Games?
Board Games
Summer or Winter?
Winter
Edward or Jacob?
Jacob
Hockey or soccer?
Hockey
Ebook or paper?
ebook
Salty or sweet?
Salty
Beach or mountains?
Beach
Phone call or email?
Phone call
Early bird or night owl?
Night owl
Dog or cat?
Dog
Messy or neat?
Neat
Ninjas or pirates?

Ninjas  




Exclusive Sponsored Giveaway: Dare to Dream by S.B. Alexander ebook (Int)
If under 18, must have parent's permission.
No Purchase Necessary
Open: 7/4-7/25
The Sponsor: publicist JKSCommunications - Literary Publicity
Winners will be chosen by giveaway host and notified by email. They will have 48 hours to respond.
Email addresses or physical addresses or any personal information will not be sold
Liability: Brandi Breathes Books is not responsible for lost or stolen packages
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Void where prohibited by law
-If you win a review on your blog and/or amazon is appreciated but not required.

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Short and Tweet Review: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman


Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Caden Bosch is on a ship that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.
Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.
Caden Bosch is designated the ship's artist in residence, to document the journey with images.
Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.
Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.
Caden Bosch is torn.
A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today's most admired writers for teens.

”add

Publishes in US: April 21st 2015 by HarperCollins
Genre: ya contemp mental illness
Source: Harper Teen
Series? no

Buy it: Amazon IndieBound Book Depository Barnes and Noble

Author stalk away: ~site ~twitter ~facebook ~blog


 

Karen at For What It's Worth and Mary at The Book Swarm occasionally post twitter-style reviews. Karen calls hers Short and Tweet, and I am going to borrow that review style here.

Tweet Review: (okay, okay, it would really be two tweets, forgive me?)
Intense dive into one young man's battle with mental illness. Through our unreliable narrator we journey on a vessel called Challenger, into the hospital and on his journey to decipher what is reality and what are delusions. Though I was a bit confused at times and skimmed a bit.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you ever had a dream you were convinced was real?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: Paperweight by Meg Haston


Paperweight by Meg Haston
Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.
Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.
Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn't plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.
In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?

”add

Publishes in US: July 7th 2015 by HarperTeen
Genre: ya contemp eating disorders
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Series? no

Buy it: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Book Depository

Author stalk away: ~site ~twitter ~facebook

 

    I wanted to read Paperweight because I am drawn to books about heavy issues such as mental illness and eating disorders. As most of you know, I deal with mental illness and I have always had a lot of body image issues and have struggled with not eating, binge eating and purging. Luckily the anorexic and bulimic behaviors are no longer something I personally struggle with, they are such vital topics to talk about. I find it therapeutic when reading books like these, when it is handled realistically, with sensitivity and doesn't hold back on the emotional involvement. 

    Stevie, the main character in Paperweight has just entered into treatment. She is not at the place where she wants help, or believes that she needs it. She actually wants her disorder to kill her, or at the very least, guilt over her brother's death, which she considers her fault, makes her want to die. That aspect, her feeling like her brother's death was her fault is another reason I was curious about this one. I know that survivor's guilt and grief has a way of distorting reality, so I wanted to know what really happened and how that ties into the person she is today, with the struggles she has. 

   I liked the relationships that she formed there, even though she was really reluctant at first. She had a very good therapist who was open with her, and was good at asking the right questions. She realized when she pushed too hard and she was awesome enough to apologize. Her roomie and her got off to a rough start, but I liked the bonds that they ended up forming. They shared parts of their past, and she realized what a non-judgmental and supportive friendship could be like. 

    The flashbacks showing her relationship with her brother were really nice. They of course are colored by her guilt and things she wished she had done differently. This is a great use of sibling dynamics, and I love how he was a big brother and tried to be there for her and also protect her. He was the only one who noticed and addressed her adversarial relationship with food and the weight that she lost. In her memories we also get to meet her friend Eden. They had a complicated relationship, but she is the one who introduced and facilitated Stevie's drinking. Stevie had to realize a lot about that friendship and that it was unhealthy for her. 

   The character growth in this one was pronounced but realistic. It took a lot for her to realize that she was sick and to have the desire to want to change, and beat her illness. Nothing was a miracle or over night cure, which is true to life, but it was a big catalyst that helped her want to change, and realize that she can honor her brother by living, instead of the warped idea that her death on the anniversary would somehow be big enough event for the year anniversary since he died. 

Bottom Line: Dark and realistic look at a girl in treatment for her eating disorder.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you have a nickname?