Tuesday Reviews Day: Scarlet, by A.C. Gaughen

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Detail of SCARLET cover art, illustrator unknown

Another Book Riot inclusion is raised from the ashes of the TBR pile to the Completed list, but this time with mixed emotions. Maybe it’s because I love reading so much, maybe it’s because I don’t branch out of my comfort zone enough, who knows, but for whatever reason I don’t seem to read a lot of books that I just flat-out do not like. Most of my reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and it’s probably easy for y’all to think that either I only post paid reviews or I just am easily pleased with any book. Neither of those things are true.

Personally, I don’t like reading negative reviews of books before I read them, because I want to avoid the possibility of being influenced by someone else’s dislikes. If you’re like me in that, you may want to skip today’s review, although this week’s review isn’t as much negative as it is a flat-line.

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Friday Reads: How to Read Three Books at Once

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Image: Detail shot of a pencil bag with the words “So many books, so little time.”

A wild RECURRING POST appears! (Hint: Use FOLLOW, it’s super effective)

Bailey Poland, author of Haters: Harassment, Abuse, and Violence Online, does a weekly #fridayreads on Twitter, and I love following it. She RTs dozens of really interesting-sounding books every week, which is good for my reading horizons but bad for my TBR list, bookshelves, and wallet. (Full disclosure: I have not yet read Poland’s book.)

So, in the spirit of creating More Content, I’d like to start a weekly Friday Reads post of my own. Now that I’ve moved Tuesday Reviews Day to every-other-week, it’s much easier to stay ahead of schedule on reviews, but it makes it a bit harder to share what I’m reading with you in real time. I do have the Goodreads widget in the left rail, but this will give me a chance to expand on that a little more, without making you wait weeks for a full review.

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Saints and Misfits, SK Ali

Tuesday Reviews Day: Saints and Misfits, S.K. Ali

I’m addicted to books. I think everyone knows that by now, and I’m sure many of you can relate. The more books I can get my hands on, the better. I’m on my 3rd book box subscription (no, not all at the same time) and I think I might have landed on one I’m really going to love, but the jury’s going to stay out at least until I get Box #02, if not even Box #03.

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Tuesday Reviews Day: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Tuesday Reviews Day returns for 2016! I’m ahead of the game this year and I’m hoping to keep it that way. Look forward to some more YA reviews, plus a roundup in March of my No-SWCM Authors reading challenge. I’ll link you to all the reviews I wrote from March 2015 through March 2016, and hopefully have a few additional recommendations for my TBR pile and yours.

We’re kicking off 2016’s year of reviews with Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour.

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High school seniors and BFFs Emi and Charlotte are navigating the final months before graduation and college, juggling exams, crushes, breakups and jobs designing sets at a film studio. Emi’s brother leaves the girls his apartment while he’s traveling on business, but only if they do something “epic” with it.

When the girls get the chance to shop at a famous actor’s estate sale with their boss, they stumble upon a letter the late actor had written to his child no one knew existed. Emi and Charlotte seek out the woman to deliver the letter and fulfill the actor’s final wishes, but they learn she’s passed away, leaving behind a small child in the care of her best friend. The journey to find the lost granddaughter and set things right ends up changing more than the girls thought it would.

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How I found it: Book Riot YA box #03
Genre: Young adult; LGBT romance; bildungsroman
Does it pass the Bechdel test? Yes
Is it a standalone? Yes
So what worked? I liked the diverse cast of characters that managed to not make a huge deal out of its diversity; the character development was believable and even relatable at times. The writing style was beautiful, fittingly cinematic, and easy to get lost in, like a daydream. The ending wasn’t perfect, but when are they ever? It fit the story and it was a GOOD ending.
What didn’t work? While it wasn’t the most amazing book I’ve ever read, it was a really nice read. I don’t recall any part of it that I would have liked to see changed, no matter how much I hated Emi’s ex… [angry face here]

Overall: Someone I recommended the book to said that she liked it but it wouldn’t change her life. I can see that. It’s a romance, after all, and in my reading experience romances kind of are what they are. But for me, this book felt like a refreshing swim or a brisk walk in the woods. It was calm, relaxing, quiet. It was excellent for getting me back in the reading spirit, especially since the book I read immediately before it was pretty disappointing. The writing itself was beautiful, and it ran the gamut of emotions without feeling forced or rushed. This seems like the type of book that almost everyone will enjoy.

Happy Fangs-giving!

ClawsandFangs ImageNew Release from Molly Harper, writing as Jacey Conrad and Gia Corona: From Russia With Fangs! The companion novel to the best selling From Russia with Claws, this time we hear sister Irina’s story.

Synopsis: Between her family’s drunken antics and vicious verbal attacks from her so-called friends, Irina Sudenko Volkov is having the worst night ever. And that’s before she’s widowed.

Volatile, cheating, no-good Sergei’s death-by-assassin unleashes chaos in the werewolf criminal underground. Irina’s panicked Papa assigns Beta wolf Viktor Zhukovsky to Irina’s security detail until her husband’s killer is found. As Irina’s world crumbles around her, the perfect princess mask falls away and Viktor meets the sharp, passionate woman underneath. Their initial chemistry gives way to a deeper attraction when Irina begins to see the decency underneath Viktor’s gruff, tattooed exterior, despite his insistence that it doesn’t exist.

Their tendency to find themselves semi-nude and in enclosed spaces is a source of amusement to her sister, Galina, but each of them knows of the deadly consequences if their relationship is brought to light. Things get even more complicated when Papa Sudenko begins to match-make Irina and Andrey Lupesco, who also happens to be in a secret relationship with Galina. Family dinners are awkward. With danger closing in on all sides, Irina has to find her claws and learn to howl.

In the much-anticipated sequel to From Russia with Claws, readers get a new perspective of the lusty exploits of the untameable Sudenko family. Gia Corona and Jacey Conrad craft a delightful tale of the anything-but-average human Irina and the libidinous lycanthropes in her life.

Buy it on Amazon! http://amzn.to/216ghmu
And here’s Book One: http://amzn.to/1PQ5Hea
Buy it on Barnes and Noble! http://bit.ly/1NFMIhH
Add it to your TBR: http://bit.ly/GRFANGS

And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

About The Authors:

Jacey Conrad is a sushi-loving, pop culture nerd living in the South with her high school sweetheart.  She delights in horribly made mutant shark movies and watching Sean Bean die in his various cinematic incarnations.  To keep up with Jacey on twitter, go to twitter.com/JaceyConrad

Gia Corona loves boots, boys, and bourbon, not necessarily in that order. When she’s not actively stalking Michael Fassbender and his abdominals, she’s watching questionable television or reading comics. You can find her at twitter.com/Gia_writes

Top Romantic Movies, According to Jacey Conrad and Gia Corona

Gia and Jacey have very different ideas of what constitutes a good romantic movie, mostly because of Jacey’s tendency to see romance where there is none and ship ALL OF THE THINGS. So they sat down to list their top five “watch when you’re feeling sappy and need romance in your life” movies. 

Sliding Doors – I’m assuming this is a romance, there’s a romance in it anyway. I adore this movie because of the one liners and because John Hannah is utterly, ridiculously cute in it. Also because of the line, “I’m a woman! We don’t tell you what we want! But we reserve the right to get pissed off if we don’t get it. It’s what makes us so fascinating. And not a little bit scary.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Beauty and the Beast (Disney) – Seriously, you have to ask? He gives her a LIBRARY. Every book nerd girl had their ovaries explode when the Beast did that. Don’t lie, you know it’s true.

The Quiet Man – Oh Maureen O’Hara. The vibe of this movie is just so perfect. It’s Ireland (which has a special place in my heart because I went there on my honeymoon) and the townspeople are terrifically zany. And the romance between O’Hara and John Wayne is lovely. Also that brawl at the end is epic.

Sense and Sensibility – Alan. Rickman. As Colonel Brandon. Dear God, that man. When he’s staggering across the hills with Kate Winslet in his arms and his absolutely wrecked reading of “Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad”—SWOON! It just cemented my love of Alan Rickman that not even Love Actually could turn aside.

Pride and Prejudice (2005) I will always love the Gold Standard Colin Firth version, but if you don’t have eight hours to devote to watching a move, this is an excellent second choice. The music is absolutely gorgeous. I like the “earthier” interpretation that actually allows for the fact that people were living without running water or paved roads, so occasionally got dirt on their cheeks and clothes. Matthew MacFayden is not as polished as Firth as Mr. Darcy, but he has an aggressive, grumbly charm that I find very approachable and sexy. And he and Keira Knightley have chemistry to spare. I love that you get a little glimpse into their post-married life and the movie ends on a very sweet note. (PS, I’m actually shocked as hell that we both had a Jane Austen movie on our lists.)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall Maybe not the most TRADITIONAL choice in romance movies, but SO real in its depiction of a break-up and what happens when a relationship runs out of steam. To the point where it’s kind of uncomfortable. It was really refreshing to see a director/actor let a character be almost unlikeable in his wallowing and attempts to move on with his life (or not.) And when Peter (Jason Siegel) risks getting the crap beat out of him to take down the topless photo, without expecting any sort of “my hero” reward, you know that he’s grown as a person and a potential partner.

The Princess Bride No list would be complete without it. It is an action movie. It’s an adventure. It’s a magical story. But all of those elements are rooted in the belief that true love is worth fighting for, no matter what form it takes. And reading Cary Elwes’ memoir about making the film, AS YOU WISH, makes me want to watch it over and over to see the things that I missed.

Moonstruck “SNAP OUT OF IT!” Being married to someone whose personality is very different from my own, I always love seeing how Loretta’s pragmatic, sensible soul clashes but ultimately melds and merges with Ronnie’s intense but misguided passion. He helps shake off her grumpy old widow persona and her enjoy life’s pleasures. She helps him become less of a drama queen and connect with real life. They change each other for the better and the people around them are better for it.

Ever After It’s nice to see a fairy tale rooted in the tiniest bit of plausible reality. Danielle is spunky and smart, making the best of the hand she’s given. Henry is a prince not-yet-charming, but he’s willing to learn with guidance from the people around him. Yes, magical mice and glass shoes are wonderful, but seeing Leonardo DaVinci stepping in as fairy godmother was a unique take I really enjoyed, plus the costumes are gorgeous. Angela Huston is delicious as the evil Baroness. And the happily ever after features a self-rescuing princess, which is something I loved sharing with my daughter.

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Buy From Russia With Fangs on Amazon! http://amzn.to/216ghmu
And here’s From Russia With Claws: http://amzn.to/1PQ5Hea
Buy it from Barnes and Noble! http://bit.ly/1NFMIhH
Add it to your TBR: http://bit.ly/GRFANGS