Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: Bounce by Noelle August

Bounce by Noelle August
Series: Boomerang #3
Published: August 25th, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow
304 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Acquired this book: Via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

{Read my review of Rebound}

Playing the occasional club gig just isn’t cutting it for twenty-two-year-old cellist Skyler Canby, who’s trying to support herself and her mother back home in Kentucky. Persuaded by her best friend Beth to accompany her on an audition for the first feature film launched by Blackwood Entertainment, she figures why not? Beth’s a shoe-in for the lead, but maybe Skyler’s newly dyed pink hair will help her stand out enough to score a small speaking part.

Never in her wildest dreams does Skyler imagine she’ll land the lead role or that she’ll have her shoes knocked off her feet by the kiss her audition partner, Grey Blackwood, plants on her—a kiss that feels very real and not at all “acted. ”

After throwing a party that causes thousands of dollars of damage to his older brother’s home, reckless musician Grey Blackwood gets roped into working off his debt on the set of his CEO brother’s newest project. Grey spends his days fetching coffee and doing odd jobs around the studio, but he lives for nights when he performs with his band. He knows if he can stay focused, success as a singer is just around the corner. But that’s tough with a distracting pink-haired girl occupying his every waking thought.

Skyler and Grey have every reason to resist each other. But, like a song neither of them can get out of their minds, they have no choice but to go where the music takes them.

Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger, aka, Noelle August, are one hell of a dynamic duo. The first two books in the Boomerang series, Boomerang and Rebound, were fantastic. I completely fell in love with the characters, the writing, and everything else about these books. Having “met” Grey previously, I was excited to learn Bounce would be his book, and I quickly fell in love with his and Skyler’s story. In fact, I think it might be my favourite of the series.

I loved Grey and Skyler, separately and together. They were both really well fleshed-out and believable. Both were flawed, made mistakes, and did and said the wrong things at times, all of which made them feel very real. Grey has never really had to think about anyone but himself, whereas Sky is almost always thinking about her struggling mother and brother back in Kentucky, trying to help them however she can while still having her own life. Grey and Sky seem completely different, but they have a surprising amount in common...not to mention an instant connection, chemistry, and a bond that won’t seem to break, no matter how much they try to deny its existence. Their interactions ranged from funny to sweet to heartbreaking to swoony and sexy.

Both characters had amazing growth through the book, but Grey’s impressed me most. Watching him slowly morph from a screw-up kid who didn’t think about much other than himself and his music to someone who wanted to right the wrongs of his past, figure out his future, and prove he was worthy of love and respect, was incredible. He learned so much, and it all felt really natural and genuine. His family’s patience and Skyler’s presence in his life made him want to be a better person, and he worked hard at it. It didn’t happen overnight and there were no magical solutions.

There were fantastic secondary characters in Bounce, too. It was nice to see familiar characters again, like Mia, Adam, and Ali. I loved the strong friendship between Sky, Mia, and Beth. My favourite secondary character, though, was Garrett. When we first met him, I thought I was going to hate him, but he was absolutely hilarious, and for someone so scatterbrained, he noticed a lot more than you’d expect. His interactions with Grey were some of my favourite scenes in the book, and I loved the progression of their friendship from grudging (on Grey’s part) to something important and meaningful.

After loving Boomerang and Rebound so much, I didn’t expect to love Bounce as much as I did. For some reason, I didn’t think it was possible for Noelle August to hit it out of the park three times in a row, but that’s exactly what they did, and that’s so rare and wonderful and exciting for a reader. Bounce made me giggle, swoon, and tear up. It was sweet, funny, sexy, and ultimately a beautiful story about redemption, family, friendship, love, and life. If you haven’t read the Boomerang series, I highly recommend all three books!

"Music is where I belong. Music is my home. Music doesn't ever leave, or give you up, or smack you around, or treat you like someone else's dirty laundry. It doesn't want you to be better than you are. It doesn't make you feel forgotten, or unimportant, or ashamed. Music is all. It's everything. Home." ~ 32% of the ARC version of Bounce

Have you read Bounce or any of the other Boomerang books? What did you think? If you haven't read them, do you plan to? What's the last book you read that you didn't expect to love as much as you did? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wanderlust Wednesday: Montmartre and Sacre Coeur, Paris

When I went to Paris in 2011, there were two big things I didn't get to do that I was looking forward to doing this time around: the Musée d'Orsay (which I'll be talking about in a future Wanderlust Wednesday post), and Montmartre. For those of you who don't know, Montmartre (meaning 'mountain of the martyr') is in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. It's best known for the gorgeous church in the pictures below, Sacre Coeur Basilica, as well as the fact it was (and still is) a popular hang-out for famous artists in the early 20th century (think Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Modigliani, just to name a few), plus it's famous for it's Red Light District, including Moulin Rouge (which I'll also be talking about in a future WW post).
Our hotel was quite close to Montmartre, so I was hoping we'd get to do some exploring there on our own, but since we only had two days in Paris, we just didn't have time. Luckily there was a group dinner there the night before our Contiki group parted ways. The tour Krista and I signed up for was London and Paris with possible extensions, so we were all together in London and Paris, but then people could choose to leave after Paris, stay in Paris a few extra days, or go on to Amsterdam or Rome. The last official night we were all together as a group, there was an optional dinner, and everyone went.
We were dropped off and had time to take pictures and get up the never-ending stairs in front of Sacre Coeur. I'm bummed I didn't get to see inside the basilica, but at least I got to see it this time, and it's on my list for next time! It was a beautiful evening, so there were a ton of people hanging out, drinking beer and wine on the steps, and taking pictures. We got to see a bit of the area (beautiful old buildings and cobblestone streets) as we walked to the restaurant. I needed an ATM, so Krista and I got to see a bit more of the area as we wandered around, got lost twice, and then finally found our way. It really is a beautiful area, and I'd love to spend more time there and explore properly next time.

I'm happy I got to eat two fancy French meals in Paris: one at Moulin Rouge, and one at the restaurant in Montmartre. It was a three-course meal and we got to choose between several different appetizers and entrées - I had French onion soup, boeuf bourguignon, and brie and an amazing cake in cream sauce for dessert. It was delicious. Each place setting had a glass of rosé, and then there were carafes of red and white wine on the table. Everyone else at my table was drinking the white, so I may or may not have drank an entire carafe or red wine myself...and then had an awesome buzz while walking through the streets of Montmartre to our bus, which took us to the Eiffel Tower to see the city at night.

Have you been to Montmartre? What did you think? If you haven't been, do you hope to go someday? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Series: Standalone
Published: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: Washington Square Press
352 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary women’s fiction
Acquired this book: Via Edelweiss in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

{My review of Forever, Interrupted || My review of After I Do}

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

Taylor Jenkins Reid never fails to amaze me. After reading and loving her other two novels, Forever, Interrupted and After I Do, I put TJR on my auto-read list, and she’s definitely earned that spot again with Maybe in Another Life.
29-year-old Hannah Martin is a drifter. Her parents and sister moved to London while Hannah was still in high school, and ever since then, Hannah has felt a bit of a disconnect. Despite living with her best friend and being treated like a second daughter by her family, Hannah’s had trouble finding that sense of home and family. She moved around, worked in jobs that would get her through, and made some poor decisions in relationships. When her last disastrous relationship ended, she moved back to Los Angeles to live with her best friend Gabby, and Gabby’s husband, Mark. The three of them go out to celebrate Hannah’s homecoming, and Hannah sees her first love, Ethan, who she's stayed friends with all this time, but hasn’t seen in ages. They reconnect and Ethan asks if he can take Hannah home. From there, the story splits into chapters alternating between what happens when Hannah goes with Ethan and what happens when she goes back home with Gabby and Mark.

I loved Hannah. She was quirky and had tons of personality. She was flawed, relatable, and had a great voice. Her best friend Gabby was a stellar secondary character. She, along with many of the other secondary characters, were really well fleshed out and added so much depth to the story. Hannah and Gabby’s friendship is one of the best examples of a strong, healthy female friendship I’ve ever read. I love when characters learn that home isn’t always a place and family isn’t always just the people you share blood or grew up with. Sometimes home is a person or a feeling, and sometimes family is the people you collect along the way, the ones who are always there for you, no matter what. TJR explored that in a beautiful, poignant, believable way. Hannah was aimless, a wanderer with no true home, but she found a home in the people she loved and who loved her.

I’m one of those people who believes everything happens for a reason, so this story really appealed to me. I liked that while some things were drastically different between Hannah’s life scenarios, some things remained the same. It really made me think about how some things are meant to happen and some people are meant to be in your life, even if it’s not in the capacity you’d think or want. A lot of the lessons Hannah learned were triggered by different circumstances, but she often came to the same conclusion or learned the same lesson. Despite the feeling of destiny woven through the story, I appreciated that Hannah learned the importance of taking responsibility for her actions and learning from her mistakes.

Maybe in Another Life is a beautiful and thought-provoking story about second chances, family, friendship, love, and fate. As with all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, I ran the gamut of emotions while reading. I laughed, I cried, and I rooted for Hannah every step of the way. If you're looking for contemporary fiction with humour, emotion, and romance, you can't go wrong with any of TJR's books.

Life is long and full of an infinite number of decisions. I have to think that the small ones don’t matter, that I’ll end up where I need to end up no matter what I do. My fate will find me. ~ Taken from 10% of the eARC of Maybe in Another Life

Have you read Maybe in Another Life? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you ever wonder how different your life would be if you’d made a different decision? Do you wish you could do anything differently? Do you believe things happen for a reason? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

ARC August Week 3 Update

I can't believe we're heading into the last full week of August! I haven't read quite as much as I'd hoped, but I've managed to knock out several books so far, so I'm happy with that. I didn't realize August would be so busy - I've been out a lot (which is a big deal for this little hermit), I've had my niece and nephew quite a bit, I've been deep into revisions of my seventh novel (the cover of which was revealed earlier this week in case you missed it!), and I've been reading stuff for my critique partner, plus beta reading for another writer friend. *phew*

I finished two books this week, and somehow I'm currently reading three.

What I read this week:
  • Royalty, Rockstars, and Billionaires by Athena Wright 
  • As You Breathe Again by Molli  Moran
Currently reading:
  • Bounce by Noelle August
  • The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie
  • Who Do You Love  by Jennifer Weiner

Hope to read this week:
  • Finish all of the books I'm currently reading
  • Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

How are you doing with your ARCs? What's your favourite book you've read so far?
Feel free to leave a link to your goals or updates post(s) and I'll check them out! I'm also tweeting and posting on Instagram about my progress with the #ARCAugust hashtag, and trying to like/comment on as many posts as I can!

Thursday, August 20, 2015


It's cover reveal day for my seventh book, Something in the Air! I'm so excited about this cover, you guys. I had the image in mind long before the book was finished. I searched and searched, but kept coming back to this one. I love how the girl looks so happy and at ease with the guy. This is how Rose feels with Declan; he's the first person who's made her feel seen. She can be herself with him, say anything, do anything, and that's an amazing feeling. I think (and hope) this cover really captures that.

Ready to see it? ;-)

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Something in the Air by Marie Landry
Contemporary New Adult
Publication date: November 3rd, 2015
Add to GoodReads
Her life hasn't gone as planned, but she's about to realize that sometimes the best things happen when you stop expecting life to be a certain way...

When Rose Morgan put off her college plans to help her mother through a difficult time, she thought it would just be a bump in the road of her journey. She got a job to help pay the bills and started picking up the slack at home. But three years later, her bumpy ride hasn’t smoothed out yet, and Rose feels stuck. She’s working at a job she hates and living with a manipulative mother. She’s tired of feeling like her life has stalled, tired of the resentment and anger building inside her with each passing day.

Then Declan Connelly appears in her life, and even though the hot Irishman is seriously tempting, Rose is determined not to let him in. She’s afraid to suck anyone into her bizarre life, especially someone who seems too charming for his own good. She soon learns there’s more to Declan than his sexy accent and charismatic personality, though. He’s a good man, and he wants Rose in his life, baggage and all. He’s got his own, and he isn’t scared away like she originally feared he would be.

Everything in Rose’s life is changing quickly. It’s finally her time--time to figure out what she wants and what her future holds. Time to get swept off her feet and not fight it. But when her plans might take her away from all the amazing new things in her life, including Declan, Rose has to make a choice. Is she willing to chase her dreams, even if it means letting go of love?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wanderlust Wednesday: The Roman Colosseum


Rome was Krista's most anticipated place on our UK and European adventure. She's always been interested in Roman history and mythology, so she had a to-see/do list about a mile long. I've always been fascinated with Rome too, but in a more...passive way, I guess? It was somewhere on my 'someday' list, but until we started planning our trip, I didn't know if I'd ever actually get there. Imagine my surprise when arrived in Rome and I was completely, madly in love with the city. 

The Colosseum was one of my top things to see in the Eternal City. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment when we emerged from the metro and there it was, larger than life. I had to remember to keep walking and get out of the way so I wouldn't get plowed down by other people coming out of the underground! It was an amazing sight.

Here's a tip if you're planning a visit to the Colosseum: there's an 'inclusive' ticket that includes the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Walk a short distance past the Colosseum to the Roman Forum and buy your ticket there (12 Euro as of June 2015). You'll wait maybe ten minutes in line at the Forum, as opposed to possibly a couple hours at the Colosseum. When you get to the Colosseum, you'll see two lines: one to buy tickets, and one to breeze right in with your pre-bought ticket. Also, the ticket is good for two days, so you can split it up if you want and do the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill one day and the Colosseum the next day!
Krista and I were both sort of struck speechless as we looked around. It was incredible to stand there, knowing the place had almost 2,000 years worth of history, much of it bloody and gruesome.

Have you been to the Colosseum? What did you think? If you haven't been, do you hope to go someday? Are you interested in Roman history? Gladiators? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

ARC August Week 2 Update

How are we already halfway through August?? I had hoped to have at least four ARCs read by now, but I've only finished 2 and DNF'd another. It's been such a busy month, I haven't had as much time to read as I'd like, but hopefully I can pick up the pace a bit this week and knock out at least a couple more books.

What I've read so far: 
  • Every Word by Ellie Marney (ALL THE STARS. Review to be posted the first week of September)
  • The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (ALL THE STARS again. Review to be posted hopefully this coming week)
  • From Italy With Love by Jules Wake (DNF. I have a love/hate relationship with chick lit. I love when it's funny but not when it's silly and the characters are just sort of...there.)  

Currently reading:
  • Royalty, Rockstars, and Billionaires by Athena Wright 
  • Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner
  • As You Breathe Again by Molli Moran 

How are you doing with your ARCs? What's your favourite book you've read so far?
Feel free to leave a link to your goals or updates post(s) and I'll check them out! I'm also tweeting and posting on Instagram about my progress with the #ARCAugust hashtag, and trying to like/comment on as many posts as I can!
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