Sunday, July 5, 2015

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (Review)



Series:
To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2
Genre:
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Publication.Date:May 26, 2015
Pages:337 (hardcover)
Published By:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Website:Jenny Han 

What I Thought Was True on Goodreads
My review copy:
Borrowed from the library

Where to get:
http://www.amazon.com/What-I-Thought-Was-True/dp/0803739095 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breaking-the-rules-katie-mcgarry/1119564024?ean=9781460341438 http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780803739093



Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

(Goodreads)

But Peter doesn't kiss me, not the way I expect. He kisses me on my left cheek, and then my right; his breath is warm. And then nothing. My eyes fly open. Is this a literal kiss-off? Why isn't he kissing me properly? "What are you doing?" I whisper.

"Building the anticipation."
I still find it very surprising, having a boy in my personal space. I still get nervous when he puts his arm around my waist or reaches for my hand. I don't think I know how to date in the 2010s. I'm confused by it. I don't want what Margot and Josh had, or Peter and Genevieve. I want something different.

I guess you could call me a late bloomer, but that implies that we're all on some predetermined blooming schedule, that there's a right or a wrong way to be sixteen and in love with a boy.
His words sting just the way he intends them to. "I hate that saying. What does it even mean? Of course I want to have my cake and it it too - otherwise what's the point of having cake?"


I simply adored To All The Boys I've Loved Before so when Jenny announced she decided to write a sequel titled P.S. I Still Love You, I was thrilled! More Lara Jean, more Peter, more Kitty, more! And now that I've read it?

Meh.

Don't get me wrong, Jenny's writing and story telling aren't suffering. They're not the issue. Jenny is a superb writer and her scenes and characters were spot on. She does an amazing job of showing her readers what is happening and inserting us into the story. Her characters read like sixteen/seventeen year olds, or a rather mature ten year old in the case of Kitty, and all have separate personalities giving P.S. I Still Love You that spark of realism that is needed in any piece of literature.

My issue, and given it's 4.2 Goodreads rating this is my issue, is that after reading P.S. I Still Love You I don't know know if it was necessarily needed. I love the ambiguous ending of To All the Boys I've Loved Before and while I craved this sequel, my feelings toward it are tempered.

Lara Jean did experience growth, and I loved the addition of John Ambrose McClaren, but the love triangle?! No. It didn't do it for me and Lord knows I love me a good love triangle. I can understand the stupid arguments between Lara Jean and Peter (what high school students don't have stupid arguments?) but it didn't feel like anything was really solved. More like, pushed into the dark recesses of the basement closet underneath that old rug. They're gonna creep back up, kids! There did seem to be a high level of unnecessary drama, but then again these are high school students and aren't their lives fraught with unnecessary drama?

If you are a fan of Jenny Han and Lara Jean, I do think you should read P.S. I Still Love You, especially if the ending of To All the Boys I've Loved Before caused you to curse the heavens. However, if you thought it ended perfectly and are content with "Dear Peter," then maybe skip this sequel and lose yourself in Han's Summer series.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley (Review)

Own the Wind (Chaos, #1)

Genre:
Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication.Date  April 2nd, 2013
Pages:406
Published By:  Grand Central Publishing
WebsiteKristen Ashley

Own the Wind on Goodreads
My review copy:Bought

Where to get:


Too hot to handle...

Tabitha Allen grew up in the thick of Chaos—the Chaos Motorcycle Club, that is. Her father is Chaos' leader, and the club has always had her back. But one rider was different from the start. When Tabby was running wild, Shy Cage was there. When tragedy tore her life apart, he helped her piece it back together. And now, Tabby's thinking about much more than friendship...

Tabby is everything Shy's ever wanted, but everything he thinks he can't have. She's beautiful, smart, and as his friend's daughter, untouchable. Shy never expected more than friendship, so when Tabby indicates she wants more—much more—he feels like the luckiest man alive. But even lucky men can crash and burn...

(Goodreads)

"Tonight. Tomorrow. Next week. Next month. That safe place is me, Tabby."
He'd eat her cookies, they were brilliant or they sucked. If Tabitha Allen made it, he'd eat anything.
This was because he was holding me gently, rolling me, moving me slowly and carefully, like he didn't know I was awake and he was making a grave effort not to wake me.
Sweet.
Very sweet.
"Always and forever, baby, you're stuck with me."


With Ride Steady, the third book in this series, just having released recently, there's been lots of talk about it. Literally, I have heard only good things. So I figured it was about time I started this series. Plus, I was really in the mood for a Kristen Ashley book. So I bought Own the Wind, picked it up, and surprise surprise, I freaking loved it. (Please tell me you're noticing my sarcasm. Me loving a book by Kristen Ashley is kinda the norm.) 

However, I was not aware that the Chaos series is a spin-off of the Dream Man series. I haven't read those ones yet, but I can say I'm about ten times more excited than I already was to do so. I probably missed some stuff reading THIS book (and, let's be honest, I'll probably read the next two Chaos books before I go back to the Dream Man books, too) first, but I had zero trouble following along with what was happening. So that's good info for you. And it's more than likely I'll be re-reading this one at some point (because I loved it), so I'll catch everything I missed then.

When it comes to MC novels, I can be wishy-washy. I have to be in a very specific mood for bikers, otherwise I get irritated. Not sure if I was in the mood for a biker book when I picked this one up, but I was certainly in the mood for a KA book, and let me tell you--she writes her bikers PERFECTLY. And by that I mean, I was completely down with this group. 

Specifically, I was down with Shy in this story. He was rough and badass, but he also had a delicious dose of sweetness in him that never failed to make me happy. He was kind and genuine. He was so incredibly easy to fall for. There was ONE thing regarding him not too far in that made me twitchy, but he makes up for it tenfold in the rest of the book. I got over it. And I ended up completely smitten with Shy.

Tabby was cool, smart, stubborn, and all-around a darn good leading lady. She was by no means perfect, but I had a wealth of respect for her. I definitely did not mind spending a majority of this book in her head.

The romance between Shy and Tabby was beautiful. The way they started with friendship and then shifted into more, falling in love all the while. The way they interacted with each other. The way they fought--and then always ended up working it out. Everything about them was fantastic. Shy wasn't a sweet, living the dream kinda guy...but he did it. With Tabby. And it was gorgeous. Honestly, I was caught between giving Own the Wind four or five stars, but the warmth these two filled my heart with--especially after reading that epilogue--pushed me firmly into five stars. No doubt about it.

Kristen Ashley always spins stories that pull you in and hold you steady through the whole ride. Own the Wind was no exception. There's something amazing about her books that I can't help but crave. With all quotes, context is important. But I feel like that goes above and beyond with Kristen Ashley's books--because everything is heaped with so much meaning and beauty... It can be real, it can be raw, and it can be extraordinarily sweet. This book had it all, and I enjoyed every moment.

Overall, Own the Wind is an absolutely addicting book I LOVED, and I wish I'd picked up sooner. I fell in love with Shy, adored the romance, and ended up with another favorite KA book to add to my list. If you're wanting to read an MC book and aren't sure where exactly to start--I must say, this is definitely not a bad place. ;)


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Baby and Parenting: Mulberry Teething Bracelet Review







Please note: this review was originally posted to Evie's Lifestyle one year ago. This is a re-post. Victoria is now 16 months, though she still very much enjoys playing with this teether!

Got a teething baby? Welcome to the club! Oh the joys of sleepless nights (and just when you thought you could finally get some sleep, too, silly you!) and constant whining.. whining... whining... I won't lie, I was slowly approaching the point when I was willing to let my child chew on my phone, cause this seemed to be the only thing that a) held her attention long enough and b) was easy for her to grab and hold (my future tech whiz!). 

We tried many different chew toys - from the ones filled with liquid that you can toss into the freezer for the awesome (or awesomely short-lived?) cooling effect to the fancy shaped ones, like Sophie the Giraffe. The last one really is a nice chew toy, by the way, just not for a 5 month old baby that is still a bit uncoordinated and, therefore, fully capable of poking her eye out with it (true story). 

And then I discovered the wonderful Chewbeads and their Mulberry Teether bracelet/chewing ring. And while my life didn't get a whole lot easier - I still don't get much sleep and I'm still mostly covered in Victoria's various liquids from which her saliva is the most pleasant one - it definitely got bearable again. Hallelujah! 

We got the teether in turquoise and orange, because I know how much Victoria loves bright colors. It immediately caught her attention - shake that thing in front of her eyes and she's sure to reach out for it. The look is one thing, but the texture is just as amazing. I just love how soft the beads are. They're made from silicone and don't have any unpleasant smell. V loves chewing on them! They provide enough friction for her to be able to hold them without any problems. She seems very content just sitting there, chewing on her bracelet, for as long as 30-45 minutes at a time. Not even mommy's shiny new phone can hold her attention for THAT long. 

With all the other chew toys we've tried, Victoria would quickly get very frustrated. She's got Korean blood in her, mind you, so it doesn't really take long for her to get annoyed and throwing things around. This is by far the only teether she didn't get frustrated with. It's so easy for her to hold, put in her tiny mouth and chew, she really doesn't seem to have anything to be frustrated with at all. Moreover, looking at her sitting in her stroller or excersaucer, chewing on the Mulberry Teether, I can tell she's relieved and satisfied. She will chew on it until she gets tired enough to take a nap. Everyone is happy! 



I won't lie to you, I have my own agenda in owning this particular teether. It's stylish and makes for a fantastic accessory! I have tried wearing it a few times while carrying Victoria in the carrier, and she was happy to have something to chew on while we walked the dog together, or did grocery. It's really quite a convenient baby product. You don't have to worry about it falling to the floor and getting dirty, you don't even have to think about it, really, you just wear it, and baby will do the rest. 

Last, but not least, the Mulberry Teether doesn't contain any harmful substances, such as BPA, phthalates, cadmium, lead or metals. It's perfectly safe for your child to chew on, and that's always the first thing I check before I make any purchases. 

To sum it all up: The Mulberry Teether from Chewbeads is a product I feel 100% comfortable recommending to all moms. It's hard for me to even imagine a better teether for my baby. Give it a try and I promise you, you won't regret! 

Other colors:
Black&White | Green&Pink | Gray&Yellow


Disclaimer: I received a free sample of the product from BellyDanceMaternity.com, a NY based baby/maternity store that has sadly closed since. This did not influence my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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