July 2014 Recap

Nicole Read

Ashley Read


Nicole's Pick

Ashley's Pick

July Reviews

July Highlights

  • Post: To support Cassie and her new feature #SummerSlimdown, Nicole talks about her fitness journey - lessons learned, favorite workouts and a new favorite recipe! 
  • Post: In another Thoughts for Thursday post, Ashley talks about meal planning and the service that makes it nice and easy for her. 
  • Post: It all started with a comic... Nicole picks apart her bookshelves in this fun little activity
  • Life: Nicole went to China for two weeks (and then was bed ridden with sickness the week she returned)! A recap will be up on the blog next week! 
  • Life: Ashley is super excited to see Nicole this weekend and enjoy her bachelorette party! 

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Title: The Art of Lainey
Author: Paula Stokes
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Pages: 384
Source: eBook

Summary from Goodreads:
Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?


The Art of Lainey definitely had its strengths. The incorporation of Sun Tzu's The Art of War as a guide for Lainey to win back her ex-boyfriend was a pretty brilliant premise. It was fun watching her apply ancient Chinese military strategy to her dating life, I must say. And I feel like I learned some battle strategy along the way. As for Micah, he was a pretty swoon-worthy fake boyfriend. Not only was he hot - I'll take a tattooed, mohawk-sporting, punk-loving male lead any day - but he was also really sweet and did some pretty cute things for Lainey. He was easily my favorite part of the story. I also really appreciated that Lainey was athletic, an attribute that I love seeing in female leads.

But one big thing kept me from really enjoying this book. That is, Jason was an ass, and it took entirely too long for Lainey to realize that.

Seriously, this put a damper on my entire reading experience. Every new thing that I learned about him, and the truth about how poorly he treated Lainey, only made me dislike him more. For Lainey to justify his actions and their relationship up until the very end, and be so very dependent on him, frustrated me beyond belief. I get that she was with him for a long time and wasn’t sure who she was without him. I wasn’t expecting her to get over him immediately. I expected there to be some growth and discovery. I just hoped that she would see the error in her ways much sooner than she did.

Because of her hang up on Jason, I couldn’t like Lainey as much as I think I otherwise would have. If I am being completely honest, I found her to be a little weak-minded. But most unfortunately, I couldn’t feel what was growing between her and Micah. This wasn’t a book overflowing with cutesy moments and lots of obvious feels. It was much more subtle and slow-burning than that. You needed to pay attention. But the fact that Lainey clung to Jason like white on rice, tainted every development that was made with Micah. Le sigh.

Bottom Line

While I did like The Art of Lainey, it didn't wow me as much as it did others. I guess how wow’ed you will be will depend on your tolerance for Lainey’s feelings toward Jason. Her excuses for him, and desperation to be in what appeared to me to be an unhealthy relationship, wore me out and hindered my overall reading experience. But otherwise, this book hit the mark.


Ten Authors We Own The Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is
"Ten Authors We Own The Most Books From"

Ok, so we have decided to focus ONLY on the physical copies that we purchased - no ebooks, audiobooks, or ARCs. And we kept it strictly Young Adult.

Nicole's Top Five

J. K. Rowling

Don't ask me where book two went. It fell victim to 10-year old Nicole's whims.

Stephanie Meyer

Yes, I own a box set of the Twilight series. No comment.


Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Title: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Pages: 352
Source: BEA

Summary from Goodreads:
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.


What I loved most about Let's Get Lost was the way the story was told. I loved having the stories of 4 strangers - Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia - with Leila being the only constant among them, until Leila's own story was given in the end. I thought it was really interesting meeting Leila this way - seeing her through the eyes of those whose lives she impacted in some way. It made her all the more intriguing and I couldn't wait to have her whole story. But I really enjoyed meeting Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia first - 4 totally different people, with 4 totally different stories. And I loved watching how Leila interacted with each of them, how she helped them. I thought it was all really great.

What I loved second most about Let's Get Lost was the feel of this story - it really appealed to my passion for exploration and my desire to make the most out of each day. Leila's goal was to see the northern lights but she was in no real hurry and so she made a real adventure out of her trip. She was open to meeting new people (obviously) and trying new things, going wherever the road, or life, may take her. She seized every opportunity and you could feel that she was really living. I felt more alive just reading her story and living vicariously through her. It was the cross country road trip you dream of having.

In it's entirety, I found Let's Get Lost to be absolutely delightful. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I thought it was unique, thoughtful, and exciting. Most definitely memorable. Kudos to Mr. Alsaid for such a wonderful debut!


Stacking The Shelves (82) - July 26th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

Upcoming Reads

What books are stacking your shelves??


Boomerang by Noelle August

Title: Boomerang
Series: Boomerang #1  
Author: Noelle August
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Pages: 304
Source: EW

Summary from Goodreads:
Welcome to Boomerang.com, the dating site for the millennial gen with its no-fuss, no-commitments matchups, and where work is steamier than any random hook-up

Mia Galliano is an aspiring filmmaker. Ethan Vance has just played his last game as a collegiate soccer star. They’re sharp, hungry for success, and they share a secret.

Last night, Ethan and Mia met at a bar, and, well . . . one thing led to another, which led to them waking up the next morning—together. Things turned awkward in a hurry when they found themselves sharing a post hookup taxi . . . to the same place: Boomerang headquarters.

What began as a powerful connection between them is treated to a cold shower courtesy of two major complications. First, Boomerang has a strict policy against co-worker dating. And second, they’re now competitors for only one job at the end of summer.

As their internships come to an end, will they manage to keep their eyes on the future and their hands off each other, or will the pull of attraction put them right back where they started?


After reading the synopsis for Boomerang, I just knew I had to read this book. Competing for a job against the guy you just had a one night stand with and still find attractive is right up there on my list of most entertaining premises ever. And this book was every bit as fun as I thought it would be.

The situation Mia and Ethan found themselves in was just the right set up for awkward moments, mixed feelings, office drama, sexual tension, close-calls, healthy competition, witty banter - you name it. All of which made for one hell of an enjoyable reading experience. I had several laughs with this one - the toaster panties being the most noteworthy.

I think Mia and Ethan were the perfect set of characters for this storyline - young, hot, ambitious, funny and interesting enough to make them memorable but not so interesting that they had baggage (if you know what I mean). Their attraction seemed a little superficial, but again, it worked at this point in the story. I would expect their connection to go a little deeper as the story progresses.

And there was lots of other personality outside of Mia and Ethan's romance that added to Boomerang's greatness. There were some pretty amusing secondary characters and a really great friendship between Mia and her best friends. I also loved that Boomerang was a dating website and both Mia and Ethan had to go on some blind dates for "market research". Honestly, everything about this book just worked for me.

I am always a little hesitant reading new adult because they tend to be a hit or miss for me. But Boomerang wasn't too issue-heavy or too sex-heavy or any of the other trends that seem to be common in new adult these days. It was the perfect new adult read for me.

I highly recommend this one if you are in the mood for a rom com (of sorts) or dying to know what toaster panties are. It was highly entertaining.


Thoughts for Thursday (28) - A Little Bookshelf Fun

Welcome to Thoughts for Thursday! This feature is our outlet to talk with you about whatever we currently have on our minds. It might be bookish, it might not! Now for this week's thought:

A Little Bookshelf Fun

So it all started with this comic published by Tom Gauld (pictured below), which BookRiot used to create a fun little bookshelf activity, that Kay (It's a Book Life) shared with us all and then participated in herself. Since we can't let BookRiot and Kay have all of the fun, I decided to join in.

This activity was kind of hard for me because I don't own a lot of books. I only have one bookshelf! I didn't really start buying books until about two years ago, and I've only been buying my favorites since then so I either own books I love or ARCs that I received from conferences, many of which I still need to read. But here is my best effort... 

1. Read - This is easy since I've been reading almost entirely from my bookshelf lately. Conversion by Katherine Howe was the last book I read from my bookshelf. And it was good! 

2. Intending to read - I still need to read most of the books on my bookshelf so there are no shortage of choices but I've already committed to reading Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas next. But I am real tempted to say f it to my reading schedule and read The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas next because this book is in my top five most anticipated 2014 releases and April from Good Books and Good Wine just sent it to me and my self control isn't that good. 

3. Half-read - Umm... I DNF Teardrop by Lauren Kate but I definitely didn't make it half-wa. And really this book shouldn't even be on my bookshelf. I don't want it. But that's the closest I've got... 

4. Pretend I've read - Again, I don't think there is a book on my bookshelf that fits this category. The closest book would probably be The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson because I talk about this series being the best ever as if I've read the whole thing and I've only read the first book so far. 

5. Saving for when I have more time - Definitely S. by Doug Dorst. I bought this book immediately after Joy showcased it on her blog because it might be the coolest book I have ever seen but I haven't actually read it yet. I am waiting until I have ample time to devote to it so I probably won't read it until I finish school. 

6. Will never read -  I don't hold on to books I don't plan on reading, so I'd like to think every book on my bookshelf has an equal chance of being read but I guess there are some I am losing interest in, like, Secrets and Lies by Jacqueline Green and I'm not sure i'll ever read Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith because it seriously intimidates me.  

7. Purely for show - Hmm. I did get The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton just because this book is gorgeous but its also supposed to be really good so I do plan on reading it. But i'd probably want to own it regardless because it's purrtty 

8. Read, but can't remember a single thing about it - Ok so this is a little bit of a stretch but I'm going to say The Giver by Lois Lowry. I read that book so many years ago and I remember the basic concept and that I loved it but all of the  details are really fuzzy. I could definitely use a reread. 

9. Wish I hadn't read - The Eye of Minds by James Dashner, I guess. It's the only book that I still own that I finished and strongly disliked. Again, I don't know why I still own this. Anyone want it? 

And that's it! Thanks! :) 


Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux #2
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date:August 14th 2012
Pages: Paperback, 366 pages
Source: Bought

Summary from Goodreads:
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…


Jennifer L. Armentrout has me sold on the Lux series.  Even though I was super hesitant to start the series, I am enjoying every minute of it!  The banter between Katy and Daemon has me laughing out loud.  Every time he is clever and plays to her bookish nature, I just love it.  How can you not laugh at the quote below.

"Wanna hear about them?  Although, I'm much better at the show part rather than the tell."
"Somehow, I believe you."
"If you didn't, I could always give you a teaser." He paused and I could hear the smile in his voice. " You bookish people love teasers, don't you?"

Onyx picked up right where Obsidian left off, strong tension between characters and crazy bad alien drama. It is a perfect blend of romance and action.  Similar to Obsidian, JLA makes references to bloggers/readers that just make me smile.  I also really appreciated the surprises in the story, there were a couple of things that I was just not expecting at all and I am really curious how they will play out in the rest of the series.  The book gives enough closure while still leaving more for book three. 

"You're a terrible liar.  You want this.  Just as badly as I do."
My mouth opened, but no words came out.
"You want this as badly as you want to go to ALA this winter." 
Now my jaw was on the floor. "You don't even know what ALA is!"

Although I really enjoyed Onyx, it was missing a little something.  At times the plot could of moved a bit quicker and the story could have progressed more but all in all it was a great book. 

Bottom Line

Obsidian is still my favorite so far however Onyx was still a enjoyable, fun read. It is full of sexual tension, evil aliens, and shocking moments.  I cannot wait to continue the series and see what develops between Damien and Katy! I highly recommend trying the series as long as you are okay with aliens. 

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