I hate to admit it, but I was only vaguely aware of the Hot Dudes Reading Instagram account bFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
I hate to admit it, but I was only vaguely aware of the Hot Dudes Reading Instagram account before Simon & Schuster Canada asked me if I’d like a copy of the book based on this sexy phenomenon. It was pretty much a no-brainer, though. A book dedicated not only to hot guys reading, but hot guys reading in public? Count me in!
This book is so much fun. Obviously the pictures make for fantastic eye candy, but it’s much more than that. The hilarious captions and hashtags had me laughing out loud. There were interviews interspersed throughout the book and I was impressed by how funny, articulate, and intelligent the guys were. Where are these guys in real life?? I hardly ever see guys reading on the bus in my city and if I do they’re George RR Martin lookalikes. Also, I rode the underground in London every day for a week last year and didn’t see any hot dudes reading. Not fair! Apparently it’s time to fulfill my lifelong dream of visiting New York City. That was another thing I loved about the book: getting to travel through NYC. The pictures were taken throughout New York on the subway, platforms, in parks, etc., so it was like getting to travel vicariously while admiring hot, smart guys.
If you’re looking for something that will make you drool and laugh, make sure to pick up a copy of Hot Dudes Reading. This is one of those books I know I’ll grab off my shelf when I need a good giggle...or when I need a dose of eye candy. ;-)...more
After reading and loving Deirdre Riordan Hall’s Sugar, I was excited to read Pearl.Find this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
After reading and loving Deirdre Riordan Hall’s Sugar, I was excited to read Pearl. This was a book that was full of heartache and tough subjects, but it was also beautiful, hopeful, and inspiring.
Pearl hasn’t had an easy life. As the daughter of a has-been rock star who’s more worried about her next fix than about her own daughter, Pearl has been left to fend for herself for a long time. The streets of New York City and her love of fashion are her only escapes. When she and her mother end up homeless, Pearl’s uncle steps in to deal with his sister and send Pearl to boarding school. This is the first opportunity she’s ever had to experience a somewhat normal life, and she’s determined not to mess it up.
This was a very character-driven novel, and Pearl had a great voice. She was smart, creative, observant, and she wanted so badly to find a place she belonged. She absolutely broke my heart at times. It can be hard enough to fit in and have a normal life, but when your past is as rough as hers and you’re worried that’s all you’ll ever be, or worse, that you’ll turn into the very person who made life so difficult, it can seem like a hopeless situation. She was a very real character - she made mistakes, she wanted to be loved, she had varied interests and big dreams, she was sexually active (I appreciated that, and how it was handled - it wasn’t some huge, life-changing thing, it was just a natural part of the story). I connected with her easily, and rooted for her from beginning to end, whether I wanted to give her a big hug or smack her upside the head.
The side characters in the book were equally interesting. Pearl’s new boarding school friend, Sorel, was incredibly volatile. She was like a teenage version of Pearl’s mother, which I suppose is why Pearl didn’t just write her off entirely, even though she should have because she was so toxic and treated Pearl like crap. Despite disliking Sorel and wishing Pearl would stay away from her, I understood why she didn’t, or couldn’t. On the other hand, Pearl’s roommate, Charmindy, ended up being a really great friend. They had little in common and came from completely different backgrounds, but Charmindy taught Pearl a lot about friendship, and it was a truly beautiful thing to watch. I also loved Shale, Pearl’s art teacher, and the lessons he taught her, not just about art, but about life. And then there was Grant...I didn’t think I was going to like him at first, but he grew on me and I ended up loving him. He was exactly the type of guy Pearl needed, and I enjoyed watching their relationship unfold. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t perfect, but it was realistic, which made their relationship easy to root for.
If you enjoy realistic, character-driven novels with beautiful prose and an overall hopeful message about life, love, forgiveness, and self-discovery, Pearl should be on your to-be-read list. While it deals with tough, often painful subjects, it does so in an open and honest way, and is ultimately a lovely and important coming-of-age story....more
After reading and loving four of AJ Pine’s books, I couldn’t wait for The One That Got Away,Find this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
After reading and loving four of AJ Pine’s books, I couldn’t wait for The One That Got Away, the first in Pine’s new Kingston Ale House series. While all her stories are wonderfully unique, I’ve come to expect a lot of humour, swoons, emotion, and sexiness, and The One That Got Away encompassed all those things.
Brynn and Jamie have been friends forever, but have been secretly in love with each other for the last ten years. I love friends-to-lovers stories, but especially when the friends have a ton of history like these two do. It made for a lot of fun inside jokes, shared memories, and a familiarity that made it easy to root for them. Both characters were well fleshed out and I loved the little personality traits and quirks each of them had, especially Brynn with her love of The Monkees (I went through a HUGE Monkees phase in my early twenties) and her tendency to gesticulate wildly and often end up injuring Jamie. Both characters were passionate, funny, and smart, and I loved getting their story from both perspectives. The cross-country road trip provided a great opportunity for them to explore their feelings for each other and figure out what they wanted, plus learn a few things about themselves in the process. Throughout the story, I did a lot of laughing, some swooning, and I even teared up a few times. There were parts that were so romantic without being over the top or cheesy. With their shared history and the obstacles they faced, it was all believable.
The One That Got Away is another winner from AJ Pine. Whether you’re looking for a friends-to-lovers story, a second chance romance with a twist, a road trip story, or just a super fun contemporary love story, this book is definitely worth picking up....more
I have a confession to make: until a few days ago, I was a comic book virgin. I know, I know,Find this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
I have a confession to make: until a few days ago, I was a comic book virgin. I know, I know, don’t revoke my Nerd Card just yet. As much as I love superheroes, I never got around to reading comic books, mostly because I had no idea where to begin (and partly because my BFF knows way more about superheroes than I do and I was worried if I started, I'd bombard her with never-ending questions and drive her nuts). Imagine my shock and pleasure when I was contacted by a member of Women Write About Comics and asked to review Midnighter for Midnighter Week. Apparently word of my nerdiness and my support of all things LGBTQ spread (yay!), and within a few days I had a lovely, shiny package of comic books for review from DC Comics.
Being almost completely unfamiliar with Midnighter and with Grayson, the story it spun from, I was worried I’d be lost, but I had no trouble getting into the story. I was instantly intrigued by Midnighter, a man who knows little about his own past before he was bioengineered to have enhanced abilities, superpowered healing, and a computer-like brain that allows him to see every possible way an opponent might attack, thereby rendering him pretty much unbeatable in a fight.
I love that Midnighter is who he is, whether he’s kicking ass or being a normal guy, sitting in a bar having a drink, talking to friends, dating, etc. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading - he was so brutal and lethal, I thought I might have trouble separating his superhero persona from the ‘real guy’ but I ended up really liking him and sympathizing with him. There was a nice mixture of him being badass Midnighter and being a regular guy, which I appreciated. He was confident, competent, cocky, smart, and had a dark sense of humour. The detailed artwork did a good job of reflecting his personality, and there were some pretty epic fight scenes. I liked how the artist gave snippets of what was happening within the big picture, so the reader could see things from different perspectives, and see certain things in sharper detail.
Overall, I think Midnighter was the perfect comic book for this newbie. It was fast-paced, had tons of action, great twists, humour, and more depth than I expected. I won’t lie, ‘gay superhero’ is what drew me to the story initially, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I anticipated. When I saw that I only had a few pages left, I was so into the story I was disappointed there wasn’t more. I can’t wait for the next installment!...more
Vampires, demons, and werewolves oh my! The Trouble With Werewolves is a fun, fast-paced story with an original premise.
As the adopted daughter of aVampires, demons, and werewolves oh my! The Trouble With Werewolves is a fun, fast-paced story with an original premise.
As the adopted daughter of a powerful vampire, Ellie is an errand girl to all manner of supernatural creatures. There was a nice balance of action, mystery, and humour in this story. Ellie is funny and smart, and while she has lots of personality, I’m hoping we’ll see more depth and growth from her in future books. I’m also looking forward to seeing where things go with the hint of romance, and the questions that arose toward the end.
If you’re looking for a new spin on the supernatural genre and you want something quick and fun with a few twists and surprises, you should check out The Trouble With Werewolves. This was a great start to what promises to be an interesting series, and I’m eager to keep reading!...more
When Ms Heger contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing Without Borders and poFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
When Ms Heger contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing Without Borders and possibly featuring it on Wanderlust Wednesday, I was intrigued. If you visit my blog often, you’ll know I have a wicked, never-ending case of wanderlust and a desire to travel...but that desire is contained mostly to Canada, Europe, and the US. I’ve never had much interest in visiting Central America, but it’s still fun to travel vicariously, and I'm so glad I accepted Without Borders for review because I loved it.
Annie is a great main character. She’s smart and driven, relatable, and caring. She needs something that will make her med school résumé stand out, so she travels to Nicaragua to join some old friends - native Nicaraguans - on a month-long medical brigade. The month is full of ups and downs, scary situations, and a lot of lessons and growth. Brooding, sexy Felipe makes a great love interest. He’s dedicated and passionate and genuinely wants to help people. The attraction and sexual tension between these two was palpable from the moment they met (which was hilarious, by the way). I loved that they were both pushed outside their comfort zones. Annie was in a new place that’s different from what she’s used to, dealing with situations that are completely out of the norm. It wasn’t easy and she had moments where she wanted to quit - where the things she experienced were almost too much to handle - but she picked herself up every time she fell and she kept going. For Felipe, he had to get over his preconceived notions, judgements, and assumptions, and open his mind to see that not all the ‘volun-tourists’ are going to end up dead weight or making upsetting judgements about the people, places, or conditions. I loved that these two were both flawed - they said and did the wrong things, they jumped to conclusions, they were both stubborn - because it made them and their growth real and believable.
Annie and Felipe weren’t the only great characters; Without Borders was full of wonderful side characters who made the story that much better, from Felipe’s sister Marisol, to Juan the brigade’s dentist, to Phillip one of the ‘volun-tourists’, to the people they met along the way. The characters and the setting were so vivid, I felt like I was right there with them, sleeping in a hammock, trudging through the oppressive heat of the jungle, or being jiggled around in the back of a truck or boat. The story was a real eye opener to the conditions some people live in. Not only poverty, but extreme poverty, little to no electricity or running water, not much food, illness, having to travel a long way to see a doctor. All of these elements made the story so wonderfully unique and different from all the other New Adult I’ve read.
Without Borders is funny, touching, and compelling. These characters and their story will stick with me for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of people say they want more New Adult that breaks the mould - well, this is it. Without Borders is a fantastic debut from Amanda Heger. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next....more
RS Grey has been on my radar for awhile now, and while I’ve owned a copy of With ThiFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
RS Grey has been on my radar for awhile now, and while I’ve owned a copy of With This Heart for several months, Chasing Spring was actually the first book of hers I’ve read. Between the beautiful cover and the synopsis, I was intrigued, and I’m glad I’ve finally read one of her books. It won’t be my last!
I liked the way the story was told alternately between Lilah and Chase, and then going back in time, first to when Lilah’s mom was a little girl, and then years later when she was a troubled addict who abandoned her family and made a mess of her life. It was a unique way to give back story and also give insight into Lilah and Chase as they are today at seventeen.
I’m not sure what it was, but there was something that prevented me from truly connecting to this story or its characters. As I was reading, I kept thinking ‘I should be feeling more here - my heart should be breaking, I should be tearing up’, etc., but I never really went past surface emotion while reading. I liked Lilah and Chase, but didn’t connect to them, and found it hard to root for them. There was a part of my heart/brain that knew they should be together - they had shared history, they knew each other well, they’d been through a lot together - but I don’t think there was enough of them together on-page for me to fall for them as a couple. They were barely friends when Lilah came back, then they were, then they couldn’t be together, but then they were anyway, and through it all, we rarely actually saw them together.
Chasing Spring is a story about family, friendship, redemption, and overcoming your demons. While it fell a bit flat for me, I seem to be in the minority, so as always I recommend checking it out for yourself if it seems like something you’d like. I enjoyed Grey’s writing, and will be reading more of her books soon. ...more
I loved the first two books in AJ Pine’s If Only... series, If Only and What If. When I heardFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
I loved the first two books in AJ Pine’s If Only... series, If Only and What If. When I heard there was going to be another book in the series, I was ecstatic. I wanted to know what would happen to these couples I loved so much, plus I’d hoped for a story that involved Miles from the second book. I Do is a beautiful, fitting end to the series, and made me fall for these characters even more.
When I heard I Do was told from multiple points of view, I thought it would get confusing, but it was easy to keep up. Pine took something that could have been a mess and did a brilliant job with it. All the characters had such distinctive stories and personalities, I never got lost. It was actually the perfect way to tell the story, because we got to know the characters so well in the first two books, it was nice to be back inside their heads and see things from each perspective.
One of the things I loved most about this book (and Pine’s other books) was that things weren’t easy for the characters. In If Only and What If, we got to see Noah and Jordan, Griffin and Maggie, and Duncan and Elaina get their happily ever afters, but with I Do we see what comes after the happily ever after. Each couple was madly in love, but they still had struggles and fights and misunderstandings. It was wonderfully realistic, and it made me continue to root for them the way I did in the previous books. I absolutely loved Miles’s story; I adored him in What If, so to get him as a main character instead of a side character was great, and his story was beautiful (and sexy!).
Reading I Do was like being reunited with old friends. It was a perfect ending to a series I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. It was laugh-out-loud funny, romantic, sweet, and full of feels. Noah, Jordan, Griffin, Maggie, Duncan, Elaina, Miles, and Alex will stick with me for a long time to come....more
I wanted to read The Turning Point from the moment I saw the cover and read the word ‘Italy’Find this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
I wanted to read The Turning Point from the moment I saw the cover and read the word ‘Italy’ in the synopsis. It was one of my most anticipated New Adult books of 2016, and it didn’t disappoint.
Sophia was smart, driven, and knew what she wanted in life. One of the ways I related to her was how focused she was - there have been times in my life where I’ve worked so hard I forgot to have a life. Her reasons for being driven were familiar too; having experienced serious loss several times myself, I know how hard it can be to open your heart or let people in. I enjoyed Sophia’s journey from someone who lived a very rigid, planned life to someone who was willing to take a chance, have some fun, and ultimately open her heart, learn to forgive, learn to love, and learn to truly live.
I love books with running jokes and nicknames, and The Turning Point had both. Sophia and Lucas met in a funny, unexpected way, and it became a running joke through the book, which was so cute and fitting. Their interactions ranged from funny to frustrating to touching to sexy. They had instant chemistry, but I appreciated that things didn’t happen instantly. There was a push and pull between them, and I liked that they waited to have sex while still having super steamy sexytimes. They really got to know each other, and learned some important things about themselves - and each other - in the process.
The Turning Point is a story about the power of love. I really enjoyed Sophia’s relationship with her mom and nonna, and the romance between Sophia and Lucas was so fun to read. There were some truly beautiful moments between them that will stick with me. I loved following them through Italy and watching them fall for each other. If you enjoy NA that will make you laugh, swoon, and think about life and love, I highly recommend The Turning Point....more
The Year We Fell Apart is an incredible debut from Emily Martin. It’s honest, realistic, andFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
The Year We Fell Apart is an incredible debut from Emily Martin. It’s honest, realistic, and emotional. I’ve been lucky enough to read a lot of books lately that cement my love of contemporary young adult, and this is another example of contemporary YA done right.
One of the things I liked most about The Year We Fell Apart was that it didn’t shy away from real issues. It was an honest portrayal of the messy, complicated relationships people often have in their teens. Friendship isn’t always easy, romantic relationships aren’t always easy, family life isn’t always easy, and the author dealt with all of those relationships in a way that was full of emotion and truth, while still managing to make me grin and laugh. Harper was flawed - she made mistakes, she did and said things she regretted - but she owned that and she learned from it. Her struggles were very authentic, and I enjoyed watching her growth.
I also liked the contrast of new friendship and old friendship - the friends who know everything about you, good and bad, and the people you’re just getting to know, who see things about you that surprise you, and are more supportive than you expect. I appreciated that despite being really close friends, Harper and Cory never had romantic feelings for each other. It’s so rare to see platonic boy-girl friendships in books, and I loved that. Mackenzie and Gwen were great additions to the story and while Harper was wary of befriending them, they ended up surprising her in a lot of ways and showing her things about herself - and friendship - she didn’t expect. As for Harper and Declan, they’d known each other forever, had been good friends, then a couple, and then basically nothing to each other. I enjoyed watching them reform a tentative friendship and get to know each other as the people they are now, and then slowly develop the romantic relationship they had before everything went wrong, only stronger.
The Year We Fell Apart is a beautiful, realistic coming-of-age story about friendship, life, and love. Harper gets second chances in many areas of her life, and she makes the best of them. I can’t wait to see more from Emily Martin in the future. ...more
The Distance From A to Z is a fun, adorable, romantic debut from Natalie Blitt. It eFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
The Distance From A to Z is a fun, adorable, romantic debut from Natalie Blitt. It encompasses everything I love about contemporary YA - realistic characters, great banter, strong friendships, and a slow burn romance.
This story was really different for a lot of reasons. I’m a sucker for boarding school/dorm-type stories, and I liked that Abby was a high school student who was admitted to an eight-week summer program to become fluent in French so she could potentially go to school in France, a place she’d always been fascinated with. I also liked the baseball element - the fact Abby hated it, and the reasons behind it (her family’s all-consuming obsession led her to not even want to hear about baseball, let alone watch it, discuss it, etc).
I loved the contrast between Abby and Zeke being complete opposites, but Abby and her roommate Alice being so similar they joked about being the same person. In some ways I connected more to Alice than to Abby - her anxiety (holy wow were some of the situations familiar) and her passion for writing. Their connection was one of my favourite parts of the book, and I appreciated that they taught each other some important lessons.
Another thing I loved: the French lessons. Being Canadian and half-French, I should be more fluent than I am, but I’ve always loved the language and I loved Abby’s passion for it. I was also quite impressed with myself that I understood most of what she and Zeke were saying (but I loved that the translation was always included, and in a fun, natural way - extra points for that). I liked how things were different for French Abby and French Zeke compared to their regular, English-speaking selves. They were like different people, their best selves, and they could forget about their differences and the outside world in general.
The Distance From A to Z was such a fun, light book. There were serious, real-life issues, but mostly it was a book that made me grin and giggle. And I won’t lie - I cried at the end. It was just so sweet! I can’t wait for more from Natalie Blitt. ...more
Having read and loved Trust the Focus and Focus on Me, I couldn’t wait for Out of Frame. MegaFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
Having read and loved Trust the Focus and Focus on Me, I couldn’t wait for Out of Frame. Megan Erickson has a knack for writing relatable characters, realistic situations, and a great balance of humour, feels, and sexiness.
Set during Spring Break, Out of Frame takes place on a cruise ship. Quinn and his best friend Jess are enjoying a fun week during senior year of college, and JR is part of the cast of a reality TV series filming on the cruise. Quinn is known for being shy, doing the right thing, and allowing other people - especially his overprotective parents and his ex who wanted to keep Quinn in the closest - to have too much say in his life. On the reality show, JR is known for being a jerk, a brawler, a guy with a short fuse. Both guys are so much more than what they appear, and I loved the way Erickson delved into these characters, showing their complexities, and their growth throughout the book.
I connected easily with Quinn especially, and saw a lot of myself in him - shy, kinda neurotic, funny little habits/quirks (the scene where they were eating crab and he pulled all the meat out of the shells before eating it...I laughed so hard because that’s the exact type of thing I would do). I absolutely loved his growth, along with JR’s. It was hard to believe the book took place over such a short span of time because their growth and the lessons they learned about themselves and each other were so realistic. It never felt rushed or forced. I got teary a few times because the tough lessons and decisions they made were so true to life and I was so proud of them. Also, I was ecstatic to see a character who openly identified as bisexual. It’s so rare to actually see it on page, and it worked perfectly for JR’s character.
Out of Frame is a realistic, romantic, funny, and heartfelt story about figuring out what’s right for you and what will make you happy, and having the courage to follow your heart. It’s cute and sweet, while still dealing with tough situations, lots of emotion, and a healthy dose of swoons and sexytimes. Trust the Focus is still my favourite in the series, but Out of Frame comes in a close second. No spoilers, but I loved the addition of the epilogue - I was actually bouncing in my seat when I started reading it and I wanted to hug my Kindle. This book was pretty damn near perfect from beginning to end, and I can't wait for more in the series!...more
I’ve read (and loved) most of Lia Riley’s books, so I’ve been excited about With Every BreathFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
I’ve read (and loved) most of Lia Riley’s books, so I’ve been excited about With Every Breath since the moment I heard about it. Sexy Scottish mountaineer? Travel? THAT STUNNING COVER?! Put that all together and you get a book that’s emotional, sexy, and hard to put down.
Two things I’ve come to expect from Lia Riley’s books: a surly hero and sexytimes that leave you needing a cold shower. With Every Breath makes it official - Riley is the queen of hotter-than-hot sex scenes, and nobody does brooding heros quite like she does. Tortured heros aren’t always my thing, but Riley has a way of writing complex characters who have a good (and usually heartbreaking) reason for being the way they are, and they end up tugging at your heart strings and making you sympathize with them. Of course it didn’t hurt that Rhys was crazy sexy and I could picture him (and hear him - RAWR Scottish accent!) with perfect clarity. He and Auden were both great characters and I enjoyed getting to know them.
This book is a case of instalove done right. A lot of people complain about instalove, but I don’t mind it if it’s done right. Rhys and Auden were two broken, confused people, and they didn’t ‘fix’ each other, but they showed each other things that helped them overcome some of their issues and start to heal. There was no magical, overnight solution and neither of them was instantly healed; it was clear they both still needed to work through some things, but they aided in kick-starting the healing process for each other. While the book sometimes felt like it had more sex than plot, the story was touching and I think its themes - forgiveness and realizing your own self-worth in particular - will resonate with a lot of people.
With Every Breath made me run the gamut of emotions. I laughed, teared up, and swooned. It was heartbreaking at times, but I was smiling and satisfied when I finished reading. Lia Riley has written another fun, original story that packs an emotional punch....more
Pirates and sea monsters and kickass girls OH MY! The Abyss Surrounds Us was my first read ofFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
Pirates and sea monsters and kickass girls OH MY! The Abyss Surrounds Us was my first read of 2016; it’s rare to start the year with a book that’s so amazing and sets such a high standard you’re afraid all other books will pale in comparison, but that’s what this book has done. It’s been a long time since I read something that captured my complete attention the way The Abyss Surrounds Us did. The story played out like a movie in my mind with every detail sharp and real and larger than life.
This book is full of great characters. I was surprised how quickly and easily I was sucked into the story and then I realized it was Cas’s voice. There’s just something about her, and I spent the entire book feeling like I was hanging on her every word and action. She’s strong, smart, passionate, and funny, and she felt so real. She started out seeming like a regular girl - mind you, a regular girl who risks her life every day dealing with sea monsters - and then morphs into this badass girl living among ruthless pirates and doing whatever it takes to survive, even when it means crossing into a grey moral area. The other characters in the book were equally real; I was immediately intrigued by Swift and terrified by Santa Elena. Every character served a purpose.
The romance wasn’t as much a part of the story as I’d expected/hoped, but it was done so perfectly I didn’t mind. Cas’s sexuality was another part of this story that made it unique: she was gay, but there was no coming out, it wasn’t an issue or an obstacle, it was just part of who she was, and I loved that so, so much. Don’t get me wrong, I will always support coming out stories, but I’ve been desperate for books where a character is gay and out and their orientation isn’t part of the story’s conflict. Cas and Swift’s relationship was complicated for so many reasons, but they had sizzling chemistry, and there were moments that were sweet and funny and achingly beautiful. I loved the push and push, the will-they-won’t-they, the tentative alliance, then friendship, then budding feelings.
The Abyss Surrounds Us is a pretty damn near perfect debut from Emily Skrutskie. It’s original, compelling, and had me gripping my ereader in a white-knuckled grasp through at least half the book. I can’t wait to see what happens in the second book! ...more