21 May, 2012 | By: Rhee

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century - Cover Reveal

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

How beautiful is this cover, guys? I love the dress and then the backpack just adds that bit of perfection to tie the modern day together with the past that Cat ends up finding herself in. Also the blurb sounds amazing. I can't wait to hopefully read this book sometime in the future!

Check out below for a brand new excerpt from My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century:

           “I thought I’d teach you a dance from where I come from,” I tell him. “One that’s much easier than that multi-step mess inside.”
            I place my left hand on Lorenzo’s shoulder and slip my right one into his. I pause to listen to the music floating over the tinkling voices and bubbling fountain, and begin counting the three-beat tempo. “One, two, three. One, two, three.”
            I stand still, only my head moving, slowly nodding with my words so he can hear the rhythm.
            When his head begins subtly bobbing with mine, I show him how to add his feet. He takes a tentative step forward with his left while I step back with my right, then we side step, close, and repeat the steps with our other feet, all while I lightly whisper the beat count.
            The breeze picks up, blowing my skirt and skimming my veil across the back of my neck. Chills run down my spine, but the warmth coursing through my veins from being in his arms provides a delicious contradiction.
            Lorenzo continues nervously darting his eyes to our feet, but he is dancing. As he relaxes into the movement, his shoulders rising and falling with the steps, the confidence he always seems to exude creeps back on his face, and he tightens the hold around me. Our faces are kissably close, our lips a hairs breadth away from touching. I stare into the chocolate depths of his eyes and the rest of the ball fades away. The only music guiding our steps is my light whisper and the erratic rhythm of our breathing. Time slows. Lorenzo grins.
            “I think you got it,” I say breathlessly, running my hand along the soft fabric of his shoulder, feeling the rock-hard muscles underneath.
            My body curls inward, pressing against his. The proper form for the waltz is a straight spine and shoulders back, but if there was ever a time to break the rules, this is it.

20 May, 2012 | By: Rhee

In My Mailbox (8)

This is just a nice and quick update from what's happened over the past month:

For Review:

Swipe thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers


I Hunt Killers and Tiger Lily thanks to Icey Books
Pretty Crooked plus goodies thanks to BookPerks


One Direction Collection Magazine

What did you guys get this week? Leave me a comment with a link so I can check it out!
18 May, 2012 | By: Rhee

Swipe Blog Tour - Promo Post

Apologies to Thomas Nelson and YA Bound for this being just a promo and not a review. The review will come shortly.

Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers?

Swipe was published on May 8th, 2012 and can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
17 May, 2012 | By: Rhee

Two Quick Things:

Hello guys! I know it's been a really long while since you've last heard from me but look! Here I am! It's been a really, really hectic month-month and a half but school is done (until Monday. Yay summer school) and I have no more finals or essays or tests to worry about at the moment which means:

A Life Pixelated will be officially back up and running as of midnight tonight! Yay! Thank you to all of you who have stuck with me during this insanely ridiculous time and keep your eyes peeled because I might just have a giveaway for the lot of you!

The second thing that I wanted to let you guys know is that Kaitlyn is no longer a part of this blog. She and I have had our differences and she has bowed out of the book reviewing scene so as of today this book blog is now just mine. It's kind of a sad thing and just wanted to let you all know that there will not be any more reviews from her and I might be asking if anyone's interested in doing guest or spotlight reviews in the future. Once I get ALP back on its feet of course.

So excited to be back guys! Can't wait to chat with you again about your loves and dislikes in the book world. (:

14 April, 2012 | By: Rhee

In My Mailbox (7)

This is a really rushed IMM as I am off to church or something like that because it's Easter eve for me. ENJOY!

Won: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver thanks to Nina at Nina Reads

Bought: One Direction magazines and One Direction 2013 Tour tickets

Leave me links letting me know what you got in your mailbox this week! I'll get back to you all I swear.
11 April, 2012 | By: Rhee

Quick Quick Update

It's been crazy insane busy this past week and a half. I haven't had a chance to get any reviews done but they will be coming soon. Hopefully tomorrow. I've had to deal with a lot of cars breaking down over the past week as well as things being broken/stolen/et cetera. It's been a heck of a time and my spring break was more work than break. But I will say that I read two books and plan on reviewing one on here and one on The Book Vixen so keep your eyes peeled for that.

So sorry again. Our contests are over for now and the winners either have already been contacted or will be shortly. I will edit the blog tomorrow and I am so sorry once again. It's been such a heck of a time.
08 April, 2012 | By: Rhee

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. If you don't already participate in IMM, you definitely should, because it's a lot of fun! It gives us a chance to show off the books we've bought, received from publishers/NetGalley, kidnapped from friends, rented from Libraries or have just stumbled upon through the week. Basically, it's just a really fun way to show off our books!

This is a really fast upload because I am a really busy person and life sucks so here goes!

31 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Kaitlyn's Review: Intangible


Title: Intangible
Author: J. Meyers
Pages: 340
Published: January 31st, 2012
Source: Received from Author

Summary: Twins Sera and Luke Raine have a well-kept secret—she heals with a touch of her hand, he sees the future. All their lives they’ve helped those in need on the sly. They’ve always thought of their abilities as being a gift.

Then Luke has a vision that Sera is killed. That gift they’ve always cherished begins to feel an awful lot like a curse. Because the thing about Luke’s ability? He’s always right. And he can’t do anything about it.

Review: So, this book was requested by the author to us (sorry it took so long! Reading is such a challenge lately, I need to kick it into high gear). I read it, and I have to say, overall, I was very pleased.

This plot has definite twists and turns, so this review might be vague… I fear giving away too many spoilers that make the book interesting!

First of all, the beginning gets your attention right away. The relationships are established, and the reader isn’t confused about who’s who or what’s what. That is one thing that is good about the narration: it’s clear, most of the time. I have to say in the beginning, I was kind of irked that the summary focused around the twins, but the book is a lot about Sera (even if they are the children of the prophecy, she undoubtedly takes a main spot in the beginning).

There are some things that feel forced about the novel. Some of the banter feels, I know this is dumb to say when reading but I think we all know the difference, scripted. Forced. And there were some flaws in the third person POV; while I adored that it switched from character to character, there were some problems with being told from the character’s point of view and a narrator’s. For example, it was in Marc’s narration: the use of “man” before sentences (like, “Man, she was hot.”) Except… it’d go on as if he wasn’t thinking the thought directly. I know, it’s weird! But it irked me in some parts.

I must say, though. The details are all there for the plot line: nothing is missed, and the reader can easily get a clear picture of each character and even the setting. There are little details that are added, that are usually forgotten in writing, and it makes everything jump off of the page a bit more. I especially liked the detail for their little coffee shop.

Enough about the writing though! What about the plot?

At first, I was intrigued, although only slightly. Twins with special powers and a prophecy… not the most unique thing ever. Except, the rest of the plot that comes to life as you read, is a wonderful twist on a plot line fantasy readers are relatively familiar with. I love the concept of the mark to show when they’re in danger and not (a clever little trick, you elves!) and I love so many other things in the books. I just hate that every detail, from the beginning, is imperative to not ruining the plot (I will say, though, the main antagonist woman reminded me much of Cinder’s Lunar Queen! Scary brilliant, both characters)!

I didn’t enjoy, however, the bit of the plot that is kind of pointed out by Jonas: that the twins do the very minimum to hide their powers, and no one in their town notices! I don’t know about you, but if half that stuff went down around me, I’d know something was up.

Ah. It’s really hard to talk about the plot, other than the basics: I do believe it flows, and the book is well-constructed and definitely thought out. I recommend this book for a good YA read. The main characters don’t get on your nerves too much, details are brilliantly written into the story, and the flaws aren’t that bad in light of the story that you get to enjoy.

Rating: ★★★ 3.5/5 Stars
24 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. If you don't already participate in IMM, you definitely should, because it's a lot of fun! It gives us a chance to show off the books we've bought, received from publishers/NetGalley, kidnapped from friends, rented from Libraries or have just stumbled upon through the week. Basically, it's just a really fun way to show off our books!

The Breakdown:

The Selection by Kiera Cass (thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss)

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeline George (thanks to Estelle at Rather Be Reading!)

Various Bookmarks! (thanks to Ashley at Book Labyrinth)

Unimportant update: Since I filmed this on Friday, the tickets for 1D hadn't gone on sale yet. Now that they have, Kaitlyn and I are not meeting up to see them in concert, unfortunately. There's always next time, right?

So what did you guys get this week? Leave me a link in the below so I can check out your books!
23 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review: Slipping Reality

Slipping Reality

 Title: Slipping Reality
 Author: Emily Beaver
 Pages: 272
 Published: July 2011
 Source: NetGalley

Summary: In a time of hardship and heartbreak, sometimes, reality just isn't enough. Slipping Reality is the story of fourteen-year-old Katelyn Emerson, who, when faced with the glaring reality of her brother's illness, rebels against the truth by slipping away into the depths of her own imagination. There, she finds the kind of support and comfort she feels she deserves. There, she does not have to feel so alone. And yet, as Katelyn's grasp on reality begins to unravel, so too does the story of a girl who grew up too fast and fell apart too soon. Emily Beaver's debut novel is a coming of age story that deals with the trials of young grief, insight, and growth where it's least expected.

Review: I tried. I really did.

When I started reading Slipping Reality, it was probably a few weeks ago, closer to the end of February, but I had to set it aside because after reading only fifteen pages, I was bored to the point that I wasn’t sure how to continue on. It wasn’t that there was a flawed plot, because I still think that the plot could create an amazing book if it were given more time and attention. It really had to do with a flawed character and amateur writing.

Before I say anything else, I want to say that it’s amazing that Emily Beaver write this novel at the age of fourteen and got it published. Having just graduated that awkward phase known as teenagerdom, I’m slightly jealous and definitely in awe that she’s managed to write, complete and publish a novel while entering high school. Kudos!

That being said, it was a bad decision to take on such an intense project and release it at such a young age. Maybe she’s experienced this exact feeling and somehow has managed to write it down in an almost diary-like fashion, but this novel needed time to mature in both writing styles and character developments. There’s only so many times that I can read about the Katelyn listening to her iPod, taking a shower and complaining about the fact that she’s given easy books to read in her English class before I start to go crazy.

The actual plot concept is really intriguing, and with editing, could make an amazing novel, but at the level of writing and characterization that it’s at, this is not something that I could put myself through, which is disappointing. I was really looking forward to reading this novel, and I’m really sad to say that it’s something that I couldn’t finish, let alone get over the halfway point. There was just too much showing, not enough telling. Too much of the same thing over and over. It wasn’t until about a fifth of the way into the plot that anything actually started to happen, and when it did, the uneventful, repetitive daily motions were introduced and the character went on internal monologues that were pages long and ended in resolving nothing.

It’s impressive that someone so young managed to publish their novel, but it’s unfortunate to say that it was a disappointment and could not be finished because of poor construction. I always hate to give novels bad reviews, and I hate it even more when I give a novel that I couldn’t manage to finish a bad review, but that’s just how it has to be, and hopefully the next attempt will succeed far better than Slipping Reality did.

Rating: ★★ 2/5 Stars
20 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Guest Post and Giveaway: Whispering Hills by Taryn Browning

As you all know, yesterday on the blog, I posted a review for Whispering Hills by Taryn Browning for the Whispering Hills Tour. Today, though, I'm excited to announce that we have Taryn on the blog to let us know about who she would pick for her dream cast of Whispering Hills. Yay!

Alexis: Victoria Justice
Victoria makes a great Alexis with her long, straight brown   hair and brown eyes. She has a girl next door kind of look that fits Alexis. With her soft features and sweet smile she blends into the crowd even though she posses an ability unlike anyone else in her high school.

Chance: Casey Deidrick

Casey looks exactly like I pictured Chance while writing Whispering Hills - from his spiky, messy hair to his dark brown eyes. He's mysterious but could easily be the captain of a high school sports team. His fashion sense and taste in music may be straight from the early 90's, but he's still totally HOT...and working on updating his wardrobe!

Summer: Lucy Hale

I love Lucy Hale in Pretty Little Liars. When she wears the more harsh, smoky eye makeup, light foundation and dark lips, she definitely has Summer's look. Underneath the heavy makeup and blackish purple hair Summer is a pretty girl - just very misunderstood. She has her own supernatural abilities, making her even more of an outcast. Fortunately, Summer could care less about fitting in.

Gabriel: Chace Crawford

Truth be told, I've always thought Chance Crawford was extremely good looking. In this picture he has the brooding, bad-boy charisma with a hint of sarcasm that Gabriel exudes. The hair is perfect. Give him autumn-colored contacts and he's good to go. (I know, it's such a shame to cover up those gorgeous baby blues.)

(My apologies, Taryn. The photos that you had picked refused to upload so I tried to find the exact ones and/or the closest to them!)

Thank you, Taryn, for stopping by the blog, and now, we'd love to offer you guys a giveaway so that you can have a chance to read Whispering Hills as well!

There will be three winners and each will win one of the prizes listed below:
  • 1 e-copy of Whispering Hills 
  • 1 Signed Dark Seeker Bookmark
  • 1 Signed Whispering Hills Bookmark

This is an international giveaway, so go on ahead and enter! The giveaway will close at the end of March.
Must be 13 or older to participate.

And here's the giveaway! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

19 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review: Whispering Hills

Whispering Hills

 Title: Whispering Hills
 Author: Taryn Browning
 Published: March 19th, 2012
 From: Received for Whispering Hills Book Tour

Summary: For as long as she can remember, 17-year-old Alexis Forbes can hear the thoughts of others. Most recently, she is disturbed by the dark, unfamiliar voice of a frightening killer: callous, cunning, charismatic…and dead.

She hears his every sinister thought. But she can’t tell anyone. No one would believe her. Alexis is suddenly being haunted by a terrifying past she doesn’t remember, and a ghost with a serious score to settle. Even Chance, the gorgeous new guy she’s falling for, has his own ghostly secret. He’s definitely not like any guy she’s ever met. Alexis soon discovers she has a connection to the dead and it runs much deeper than she could ever imagine. And if the sociopathic entity has his way, she’ll finally be sentenced to the fate she escaped thirteen years ago.

Review: Whispering Hills is a book that I was definitely excited to read when I found out about the book tour and I was so lucky that there was room for me on the tour! I have to say that I don’t regret it in the slightest. The book was really rather good and despite a few flaws, it was an enjoyable read that I finished in two days!

Alexis is seventeen years old and has been living in Whispering Hills her entire life. She’s just like every other teenager in her small town except for one small addition; she can hear people’s thoughts in her head. A new boy, Chance, shows up in her school this year and everything seems to change in her life thanks to him and his arrival.

I have to say that when I first started reading this book, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really liked it. The main character was written very well, and I have to say I liked Alexis a lot, which is something I can’t usually say for main characters. I’m all about the side characters and what they bring to the table, but Alexis ended up making me like her. Not nearly as much as Summer, I have to admit, but still, she was very likeable when it was all said and done.

Chance, on the other hand. I’m still not sure how I feel about him. The way that he came in and sort of took control over the novel, I wasn’t a huge fan about. I mean, I understand that it was important to the story line and that Alexis and Chance were intertwined in about a billion different ways (which really all just lead to one way but that’s not the point), but I just didn’t like the way he took over. All in all, he was an alright boy, but not one that I enjoyed.

The main reason I liked this book was for Summer and Gabriel. Summer’s just awesome, and I really want to be her. Or be her best friend, which I don’t think she’d like very much. Either way, it’d be awesome. Gabriel is just such an awesome, messed up character that I just wanted to know more about him. I’d really love to read a book in his POV and just see how he’s dealt with his life since the major incident in this novel. I’d love that more than life itself.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Whispering Hills. There were some problems that I had with it, mainly with the relationship between Alexis and Chance. I felt like I was riding the relationship rollercoaster with them, and I have to say it bothered me quite a bit, but other than that, it was good read. I’m really hoping that a sequel is in the works, but if not, I shall just continue to imagine what happened afterwards in Alexis’s life, as well as Summer’s, Chance’s and Gabriel’s.

If you’re looking for a good novel, or one that’s not the cookie-cutter YA novel, I’d definitely suggest that you give Whispering Hills a chance. It might just surprise you how good it is. It definitely did for me!

Rating: ★★★ 3/5 Stars
18 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox: The Late Edition. 

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. If you don't already participate in IMM, you definitely should, because it's a lot of fun! It gives us a chance to show off the books we've bought, received from publishers/NetGalley, kidnapped from friends, rented from Libraries or have just stumbled upon through the week. Basically, it's just a really fun way to show off our books!

The Breakdown:

Wither by Lauren DeStefano (read and loved; review soon)

Hunger Games Gift Cards! (Free thanks to the cashier at B&N)

From Publishers/Authors:
Kings & Queens by Courtney Vail (Big thanks to Courtney for sending me the physical copy!)

From NetGalley:
Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein (Thanks to Entangled Publishing!)


This has nothing to do with books but I bought One Direction's Up All Night Yearbook Edition Album this week and I love them and couldn't resist the urge to share.

So what did you guys get in your mailboxes this week?
Leave a comment with the link below!
15 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Our First Giveaway!

We're really, really excited to do our very first giveaway for you guys! Kaitlyn and I have talked about doing giveaways through the entire month of February and we wanted to plan one for March, so here we are!

Kaitlyn is being an absolutely awesome person this month and she's offering up a $20 Amazon gift card to the winner of our giveaway that you can use on absolutely anything that you want! How cool is that?

This contest is open to US only.
You must be 13 or older.
All we require is that you be a follower.

Winners have 48 hours to respond to emails before a new winner is chosen.

And that is it! (:

So go on ahead and enter in the rafflecopter form below! Good luck and happy March!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
14 March, 2012 | By: Kaitlyn

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It allows us to share what we're looking forward to read in the upcoming months or even years.

This post is coming to you from Kaitlyn! (Crazy, I know, right? I do want to take a moment to apologise to all you lovely followers. School and family stuff has been so hectic around here! I promise, I'm reading as much as possible. Hopefully, there will be a review within the next day or two from me!) 

Kaitlyn's Pick: 
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Publication Date: September 18th, 2012
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first. 

I like that with this book, even in the summary, the author shows her style of writing and such. While this is a bit different, I have to admit, I'm drawn in by the oddity of the plot! I can't wait till it comes out!

Rhee's Pick:
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Publication Date: June 12th 2012
Eighteen-year-old Luddite Elliot North has always known her place in this caste system. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. But now the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress and threatening Luddite control; Elliot’s estate is floundering; and she’s forced to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliott wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she abandoned him.

But Elliot soon discovers her childhood friend carries a secret—-one that could change the society in which they live…or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she has lost him forever.
This book has such a beautiful cover, and I have to say that's what drew me in, but the reason I'm dying to read it is because of it's plot. I love the sound of this futuristic novel and is it June yet?

So what are you guys waiting on this Wednesday? Let us know!
11 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review: Wanderlove


Title: Wanderlove
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Pages: 352
Published: March 13th, 2012

Summary: It starts with a question. Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

Review: When I requested this book on NetGalley, I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had just seen that a few other people I follow had requested it and while the concept sounded interesting, I wasn’t sure that it’d be at the top of my reading list.

I was so, so very wrong.

Bria’s struggling to get away from memories of a bad breakup and the looming, overwhelming concept of college rushing in just around the corner. She and her boyfriend, Toby, ended up badly and her dreams of going to an art school with him were destroyed by the breakup, so she’s off to another country in search of a much-needed vacation, only to find that she’s ending up with more than she expected. I jumped into this book, a little bit scared to travel with Bria, but mostly excited at the chance to escape into a country that I’ll probably never visit through a book that I normally wouldn’t have picked up off a bookshelf. Travelling with Bria down to Guatemala was an exciting experience, but ending up on the Global Vagabond tour was not. When Bria signed up for excitement and a chance to explore a new country, she didn’t expect to get saddled with a trip full of elderly people and end up just stopping at main tourist attractions.

To be quite honest, I didn’t either.

But then Bria meets Rowan and Starling and her entire trip becomes a new experience. Up to this point, I was just liking the novel, but Bria’s chance to start backpacking around a country she knew nothing about (and even go to another new country) was what made me fall in love with the novel. The experience and the desire to take a journey like this was overwhelming and I found myself clinging to this novel, forcing my nose closer and closer to my Kindle as I followed Bria everywhere she went, and experienced all of her emotions.

Overall, this novel far exceeded my expectations. I knew, based on others’ reviews, that I was going to finish reading Wanderlove and like it, but I never even knew just how much I was going to love. The chance to jump into uncharted waters and just experience fun was something so thrilling and breathtaking that I couldn’t bear to tear myself away from this book!

When I was nearing the end, the last thing I wanted to do was actually let it end, but the ending itself was just as amazing as the rest of the book. The descriptions in the novel were so beautiful that I could picture the scenery and all I want to do now is take a month off of life and go down to Guatemala and Belize and just explore the entire world. I can’t imagine a better idea of what to do for the month of April! Unfortunately, it’s not happening, but I know that the second this book hits the shelves, I’m getting a copy to have on my shelves. If I can’t backpack in real life, at least I can in the literary world, travelling alongside Bria and her companions through the exciting world of Central America.

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 Stars
10 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review Copy Cleanup (Challenge #2): Cuddle Up With a Book

The goal of the Cuddle Up With a Book Challenge is to share your favourite place to read. We love pictures - but if that's not possible, a description will do too (: Tell us why you love it! And maybe you have some reading habits you would love to share. Do you listen to music while reading? Or can you only read during the night?

My favourite place to read has to be on my bed, curled up under blankets with a cup of tea and a good book to read. As you can see, my laptop never strays too far away from where I'm reading, and my bed protector, Cameron, is there to make sure that the evil, invisible book gremlins don't kidnap my current reads while I'm gone. (They don't like the Kindle, though. It's not as tasty as a good book.)

When I'm not reading in my bed, I'm curled up in my favourite chair, beneath my electric blanket. There's really nothing better than a good, cozy reading spot.

If you look really closely, you can see my teacup mug, which is drenched in little pictures of cups as well as all the stuff that has to get done during the day. It's one of my absolute favourite mugs. Also, you can see my messy bookshelf. Eventually, I'll get it all nice and reorganised, but there hasn't been much time between school, work and reading!

So what does your favourite reading spots look like? I'd love to see them!

09 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. If you don't already participate in IMM, you definitely should, because it's a lot of fun!

(In the video, I lost my mind. When I said Hallowed, I meant Hemlock!)

The Breakdown:

From NetGalley:

Artemis Fowl & The Arctic Incident   The Shapeshifter's Secret   The Summer My Life Began

From Amazon:

Airel (The Airel Saga, #1)   Hollowland (The Hollows, #1)

For Book Tours/From Authors:

Kings & Queens   Intangible


Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian thanks to Jen at Red Hot Books
ARC of Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock thanks to Amanda at Short & Sweet Reviews
The Disenchantments Poster thanks to Penguin Teen
Draco's Wand thanks to Penelope at The Reading Fever


Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)

So what did all of you adorable people get this week? (:
Tell us in the comments!
08 March, 2012 | By: Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn's Review: Things Fall Apart

Title: Things Fall Apart
Author:  Chinua Achebe
Pages: 209
Published: 1958
Summary: THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society. 

The second story, which is as modern as the first is ancient, and which elevates the book to a tragic plane, concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries. These twin dramas are perfectly harmonized, and they are modulated by an awareness capable of encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul. THINGS FALL APART is the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within.

Review: I read Things Fall Apart in my English class. I had to write a report on it, fill out study guides, etc. It’s an older book, and definitely not the typical YA we’ve reviewed on this blog (for the most part).
It’s all about the destruction of the Ibo culture as a white man comes from Britain to colonize Africa; but the book focuses around one man, Okonkwo. He’s like the Hulk, really. Doesn’t think before he acts, and gets really, really mad really quickly.

Although a lot of people often don’t like the books they read in school, I liked Things Fall Apart. It’s a classic for a reason. Achebe’s style is superb. In order to get the western reader understanding the Ibo culture as much as possible, he spends much of the book in the exposition, getting the reader to know their customs and traditions. He also weaves African language into the text, teaching words (I will never forget the word egwugwu). I like learning when I read; whether it’s about philosophy, life, science, anything. I want to be exposed to something new. But when I read TFA, I learned so much about the African way of life. It breaks my heart knowing that imperialism almost completely wiped out a culture.

In a way, it reminded me a lot of the American Indian’s culture being wiped out. I mean, even in Disney’s Pocahontas, there’s a song that goes, “Savages! Savages! Barely even human.” But the thing is… even if these tribes in Africa, and the Indian’s tribes in the Americas… they weren’t savage. They had their customs, and we have ours. It’s sad, that people think they constantly need to be fixing everything. Even now-a-days, we see it. Trying to get everyone’s lives the same. Keeping up with the Joneses. It’s a vicious cycle, and who knows how many cultures we’ve lost to imperialism? Countless, I imagine.

This book really makes you think about all of that. Achebe is a brilliant writer, and even if Okonkwo is the tragic hero, I really like how the narration is kind of the voice of the tribe. The reader is not inclined to think that Okonkwo is right; in fact, in many occasions, we see where Okonkwo’s tragic flaw is evident to everyone around him.

And the ending! The ending was brilliant, even if it was short. If the reader was ignorant to Achebe’s purpose of the book, he pretty much spelled it out for the reader in just a paragraph without ever saying it. I loved it.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you’re looking for a change of pace from the usual YA novel. 

Review:  ★★★★ 3.5/5 Stars
07 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review: Wonder


Title: Wonder
Author: R.J. Palacio
Pages: 320
Published: 2012

Summary: I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

Review: Where do I even begin with a book that has quite possibly managed to change all of my feelings towards books just by reading it? When I requested Wonder from NetGalley, I thought that I was going to read it and end up enjoying it since the few people I know have given it good reviews. I never, ever expected that I was going to fall in love with this book the way that I did. Not only did Wonder give me the chance to reflect on the way that I think about certain aspects of life, but it also made me laugh and cry from happiness and sadness and all the -nesses in between.

Ten-year-old August has been through more in his life than half a dozen people and he’s still going strong. Suffering from a chromosome deficiency, he was born with severe facial disfiguration that twenty-seven surgeries hasn’t managed to fix. His parents finally decide that August should go to school, and enroll him in a private school where the principal has three other kids who’ve volunteered to help him adjust and watch out for him.

This book is definitely listed as one of my favourite reads of 2012. Probably the absolute favourite, right up there with The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I stayed up until 6am to try and finish Wonder, and was so disappointed that sleep needed to take priority to reading. Reading about Auggie’s life through his point of view as well as others’ (his sister, Via, his best friend, Summer, his other best friend, Jack, Via’s beau, Justin, and Via’s best friend, Miranda) gave me the chance to fall in love with, not only the plot, but each and every character just because I got a chance to see how they interacted in the life of Auggie and his family.

My favourite person (but least favourite point of view, unfortunately) was Via’s boyfriend’s, Justin. While I really disliked the way that Justin’s part was written in the same aspect of David Levithan’s Will Grayson (worse, actually, because I wasn’t sure where the characters were speaking at some points) I really enjoyed the way that he had with words, and the feelings that he had for Oliva were the most beautiful in the world. I found myself wanting to cry a little bit when I reached the end of his part, when he said:

"olivia reminds me of a bird sometimes, how her feathers get all ruffled when she's mad. and when she's fragile like this, she's a little lost bird looking for its nest. so i give her my wings to hide under."

I know the focus of the story really isn’t about Via, but I really, really liked the way that her character was written. She was so understanding and protective of her brother, where most teenagers would have been somewhat selfish in that aspect. She never asked for anything, never tried to have her wants and needs taken care of first. She put everything aside for Auggie, and I found that to be the best part of the novel. Even though the focus of Wonder was on August, I found myself loving Via most when it came to the characterisations.

Speaking of August, that boy… He’s amazing. I can’t even begin to imagine going through twenty-seven surgeries and then being brave enough to go to school and try and be normal. Being two years younger than everyone else was enough for me to hate school, so I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for him. August is such a strong, wonderful boy, and while they mistreated him so much in the beginning of the novel, he grew, as did those who hurt him and those who helped him. I loved seeing the transformation when these kids realised that it wasn’t about how their friend looked; it was about who he was as a person.

Wonder is a book that will probably always live with me, and I can’t imagine a day where I’ll find myself completely forgetting that I’ve ever read it. It’s one of those books that touches your soul and makes you realise that there’s more to humanity than what’s on the surface. If you have this on your to-read list, or even if you don’t, stop what you’re doing and go pick it up, because I guarantee that by the time you’re done reading it, you’ll realise just how wonderful Wonder actually is.

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 Stars
           I'd give it a million stars and it still wouldn't be enough.

Minor Updates

Please note, due to the fact that we were managing to confuse a few people, we have changed our email address from alifepixelated@live.co.uk to alifepixelated@live.com. To those of you who don't care, you may move along and ignore this update, but to those of you who do, the more you know...

Thank you and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Rhee & Kaitlyn
06 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It allows us to share what we're looking forward to read in the upcoming months or even years.

We're really excited to start Waiting on Wednesday and share what we're looking forward to reading with all of you!

Rhee's Pick:
Dark Companion
Dark Companion by Maria Acosta
Publication Date: July 3rd, 2012

When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She's even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper's cottage in the center of the birch grove.

Something's not quite right about the school -- or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She's also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother.

The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member.

Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school...and be bound to Birch Grove forever?

How awesome does this book sound? I just can't wait to get my hands on it! Is it July yet?

Kaitlyn's Pick:
Shadow's Claim (Realm of Blood and Mist, #1)Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole
Publication Date: August 21st, 2012

#1 New York Times bestseller Kresley Cole introduces The Dacians: Realm of Blood and Mist, a brand new paranormal romance collection following the royal bloodline of Dacia, a mysterious vampire kingdom within The Lore (Cole’s world of mythological creatures in her award-winning Immortals After Dark series)

Series opener Shadow’s Claim features Prince Trehan Daciano, a ruthless master assassin who will use every lethal skill he possesses to defend his imperiled kingdom—as well as his newfound princess. When an ancient secret threatens to destroy them all, can Dacia’s notorious prince of shadows keep his Bride alive against all odds?

  I think this new book by an author I haven't expierenced before, Kresley Cole, sounds interesting. I like that the plot seems (from what I can deduce from the synopsis) that the MC already has his love interest, and he's a wildly protective king. Definitely gonna pick this one up and give it a shot when it comes out in August!

So what are you waiting for this Wednesday? Leave us a link so we can check it out too!
05 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review: Unearthly

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)

Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly
Pages: 435
Published: 2011

Summary: In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Review: I really shouldn’t be playing favourites with what book I pick to review first, especially when there are still so many others that I need to get done and have been waiting for a lot longer than Unearthly has, but I may or may not have fallen for this book enough to know that if I don’t get the review down today, it’s going to be potentially swamped with Hallowed spoilers when I read it this week.

Initially, I had no desire to read Unearthly. I had read reviews from people who I’ve friended and thought that while it sounded like an adequate book, it wasn’t something that was going to be nearing the top of my to-be-read pile. Then, when I won a copy of its sequel, Hallowed, I knew that I had to read it or else I’d never touch Hallowed and the point of entering the giveaway would not exist.

Clara Gardner, who is a quarter angel, starts having these visions of her purpose. Her destiny leads her to move with her family to middle-of-nowhere Wyoming so that she can fulfill her purpose, which every angel must do. Along the way, she finds challenges that she has to overcome, such as befriending the boy who she will have to end up saving, Christian, and batting away some unwanted enemies while finding some surprising new friends.

I have to say, when I started reading Unearthly, I thought it was going to be just an alright book. True, there were some good parts and other bad ones, but overall, I felt like it was just an average book. Clara seemed like a well-written character, which I enjoyed, and I really enjoyed the way she and her mom interacted, as well as her brother, Jeremy. The fact that there was the angel part in there really didn’t seem to matter much during the first part of the book. There were moments when I sort of forgot that I was reading a book about angels until she mentioned that she had to continue hunting down her purpose and then it’d all rush back to me. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing. I’m just saying that there really wasn’t anything too special about the first half of the book.

It really was only when we got the point that we find out about Angela that I found myself really starting to like the book. The fact that Clara could relate to Angela was really awesome, and the fact that she was no longer alone and had someone to discuss all of her teen drama with was pretty exciting.

The only thing that I found a little bit frustrating was that there seemed to much stuffed into the book. I understand that certain things need to happen in the span of a book to set up a plot and break down all the boring and exciting details that are required to know in order to understand a character, but I honestly felt like there was too much time elapsing in the book. I found myself wondering when it would end multiple times, only to realize that I still had a percentage to go.

The angel storyline I wasn’t hugely keen on, but the ending is what really won me over in this book. In the span of the final twenty percent of the book, Cynthia Hand managed to take my reality of Unearthly and turn it upside-down, making me fall in love with everything about this novel. Kaitlyn and I were talking as I finished reading the book, and she was listening to me as I screamed from excitement and confusion and all the other reasons a person would scream as they finished up Unearthly. Despite its beginnings, the novel clearly ended up becoming one of my favourite reads this year.

If you’re looking for a good angel book and you’re late to the party (like me) check out Unearthly because it’s an amazing read in the end, even if the middle lags a little bit.

Rating: ★★★★★ 4.5/5 Stars
04 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

Review Copy Cleanup (Challenge #1): Show Me Your Pile

For more information about Review Copy Cleanup, click the banner in the right hand column and then participate with us so that you can review books in the future without all the stress of a huge pile of books waiting for you!

Here's my pile. Kaitlyn has none because she's less of a review requester and more of a 'whatever's on my bookshelf' person. I'll figure out a way to change that soon!

These are all in no particular order and are most likely showing up alphabetically because I'm scrolling through my Kindle to figure out what I need to read. That's how bad it is.

Neglected Past Review Requests:

Angel Evolution (The Evolution Trilogy, #1)   Five (Elemental Enmity, #1)   The New Death and others   Survival,  YA Paranormal Romance (Book 1 of The Guardians of Vesturon) 

From Publishers/Book Tours:

Hunted   Skater Boy   Whispering Hills


Better   Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)   Unshakeable Faith   Pure (Pure, #1)   Solitary    Slipping Reality   Wanderlove 

To be quite honest, I thought there were more books that I had to read and review, but apparently not! Yay!

What are your lists like?

03 March, 2012 | By: Rhee

In My Mailbox (2)

First off, I want to say to all of you beautiful, amazing, wonderful people out there, thank you so very much for helping our blog hit 1000 page views! That was a goal I was hoping for the end of the weekend, and the fact that we got there a day early is uber exciting! And to celebrate, I thought I'd make our In My Mailbox this week a video so you can see all the pretty things that showed up in my mailbox this week!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. If you don't already participate in IMM, you definitely should, because it's a lot of fun!

Breakdown for This Week


The Peculiars  Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)  Angel Eyes (Angel Eyes Trilogy, #1)  Spirit's Princess (Spirit's Princess, #1)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (If you missed it last week)
Rippler by Cidney Swanson (Not mentioned in video)

The Fault in Our Stars (Signed Copy) by John Green (courtesy of Heather @ The Flyleaf Review)
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (courtesy of Lisa @ Lisa's Gadgets 'n Book World)
Partials by Dan Wells (courtesy of Debbie @ I Heart YA Books)

What did you guys get in your Mailbox this week?
Leave us a link and we'll check it out!

Guest Post & Kaitlyn's Reivew: Freestyle Love by Marcus Lopes

Title: Freestyle Love
Author: Marcus Lopes
Summary: When it comes to one-night stands, Malachi Bishop has “rules”. No pillow talk. No sleeping over. No planning a future hook-up. First names only. It’s just sex, not a prelude to love. But when Cole Malcolm, a smooth-talking management consultant, woos Malachi into bed, the rulebook is tossed out the window. 

The one-time fling leaves Cole reeling: Malachi is his first real shot at happiness, his “forever” man, and he’s determined to show Malachi just how good they could be together. But Malachi doesn’t believe in happily-ever-after, and dodges Cole’s play for his heart. After all, Malachi is still mourning the loss of Taylor Blanchard, whom he hoped to love forever. Then there’s Zach Brennan, a handsome twenty-five-year-old and student at the college where Malachi teaches. Falling for Zach could destroy everything he’s worked for, but Malachi can’t help himself. 

Caught by love and in its betrayal, it’s a later affair with a beautiful stranger that changes Malachi’s life most dramatically. Now Malachi must confront his present and his past that bring into question the larger fantasies of home and his place in the world.

Guest Post, written by the author himself! Yay!: Keeping On

This afternoon the sunlight glistens on the snow that fell two days ago. The brown-green grass has finally been covered up. Although it feels colder than -8°C, it actually feels like winter, and it’s a great day to hit the ski slopes. Seated at my kitchen table, the warm sun beaming into the room gives a much-needed lift to the day as well as my spirits.

Over the course of the past few days, I’ve had to trick myself into writing. I don’t have any trouble completing my Morning Pages. I’ve been writing Morning Pages for over ten years so that comes naturally to me. It’s the “real” writing that I’ve been struggling with lately — doing the necessary work on a short story or the novel I’m working on. I tell myself that if I write 1,000 words on the novel, I can watch that episode of “Criminal Minds” that I just downloaded. If I rewrite the opening of the short story that’s been sitting on my desk for the last three days, I can take myself to Le Tassé (the neighbourhood coffee house) for my afternoon Americano. I feel like a little kid whose parents are trying to get him to behave by bribing him. It seems silly that I have to coax myself into writing sometimes, but as silly as it does seem, it works — especially on a day like today when I feel restless.

Maybe restless isn’t the write word. I’ve been anxious. As an artist, I have opened my art, and by extension myself, up to criticism. Just like I had to learn not to take rejection personally when I first started writing, now, as a first-time author, I’m learning how to cope with criticism. My good friend, Adrienne, recently reminded me that I need to “just stay grounded in your conviction that you're doing what you want to do and feel called to do and you don't need the approval of strangers.”

That’s what I’m trying to do, stay grounded in my art. After all, I held stubbornly to a dream and the dream came true. That took courage and faith. Sometimes I forget that. And what was it that Polonius said? Ah, yes, it was this: “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment. […] This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

I am being true to myself. Each day I do something to edge myself, and my art, forward. I have great friends who encourage me, and my art. I have to hold onto faith. That is why, just for today, I will keep on keeping on.

Before I post my review, I would like to give a big thanks to all those that made this blog tour possible, and of course, Marcus Lopes, the author who took the time to write this book. 

Review: Let me begin this review by saying it is not easy for me to write this. Especially when I picked this book out for a blog tour, something special that people will definitely see and someone will read. I even got a guest post from the author, which makes this harder, but I can’t lie. I can’t. There will be spoilers in this review, so if you think about giving this book a chance, read on with caution.
            I have to be straight forward: I was unable to finish the book. I got past the half-way point, but more on that later.
            I started this book and though it opened with sex, I thought maybe it was just due to the nature of the two meeting. Oh, no, I was wrong. All these characters think about sex—if they’re not thinking about how terrible their lives were or some philosophical ‘this world is hell’ shit. Seriously.
            I’m going to talk about problems with the plot (the very little that there was) before I talk about stylistic problems. Malachi is a very jaded man. He is a jaded man and is, in a sense, a ‘Gary-Stu.’ Every single male mentioned in the first half of this book, with the exception of 2 (who knows—even they might) have a thing for Malachi on some level—even though he was a jerk! Seriously! None of the characters could say one thing to Malachi without him either locking them out, walking away, or giving them a look of contempt and giving them a “Is this even real?” I also thought it would be more than just… his relationships. There isn’t a plot other than Malachi’s and the character’s love life and how they struggle through that. I should have suspected that from the summary, so that’s not really an issue, but I figured it was implied there would be more to the book than the summary implied.
            Malachi. Oh, Malachi. I dislike him as a main character very much. He is so goddamn whiny. In the beginning, he feels this need for Cole, yet when he’s given the second chance to reconnect Cole, he rejects him! I don’t care how jaded you are, Malachi. A man of your age, and not a teenager, should be able to ration that no matter what you have feelings and you shouldn’t constantly bitch about those feelings and then, when you get a chance, you deny yourself? Malachi really is just like a teenager. I feel like most of the men treated love like they were a bunch of teenagers. And I’m a teenager saying that! Maybe I’d have liked this book if I was a horny gay man in my early 30s. I also feel like Malachi’s goddamn storminess was so, so beat to death that any moments he had where I liked him in the book, they were so out of character and awkward it just felt forced.
            Actually, I don’t even know if they are on the level of “teenager-dom”. Because I tell you, these men got laid a lot in these books, and yet, all they talk about is sex! All they think about is sex! One of the many times Cole is rambling about how he wants to be with Malachi, it’s a sweet paragraph. Up until the bit he includes something like “curl up with him in bed, naked.” Really? Did it have to be naked? Does a good relationship equal one with jack-rabbit amount of sex? It shouldn’t.
            I’m sorry this review is jumpy, but I just…there’s so much to say. And I don’t know how to say it all. But here’s another point: I wish that with this book, the author had taken time to set up Zach and Malachi's relationship, rather than just shove it all into a few paragraphs. As a reader, I can hardly sympathize with Malachi-I can only take the author's word for it that he loved Zach. We never saw their love bloom. To me, as a reader, it seemed like any other lust-spurred love. The author told us it wasn't, but because he told and did not show, it is difficult to keep that in mind as Malachi mourns throughout the book. Which he never stops doing. Which isn’t healthy. And as someone who thinks more than he lives, he should probably realize that’s not healthy and go and get himself help.
            Now, I said I didn’t finish it, but I got past the half-way point. And I did. But the line that put the nail in the coffin for me was an exact moment in the book. It was just after the reader learns that Malachi leaves Cole, but after his chapter with Chad (once again, a relationship that the author TELLS the reader about, not SHOWS the reader). It’s in Cole’s perspective, and Cole is thinking about all the problems he’s having with Malachi and their relationship. And the line is: “That was the most painful of all to Cole, to think that Malachi no longer desired him.” Now, I believe that at this point there has been a 4 year fast forward since Malachi and Cole initially get into a relationship. You are in a relationship with someone for four YEARS and you’re scared that he doesn’t want to have sex anymore!? That is more concerning to you than the fact that he might not love you anymore? I stopped reading there, but I did go on to skim and to learn what happens, hope my interest would be caught by something… Needless to say, it wasn’t.
            I also dislike the set-up of the time scheme in this book. Whenever the characters go off on a tangent, they do. And then without warning, the author throws you right back into the “action” of the book. It’s confusing and it takes a moment to register.
            I think, however, with a LOT of editing, this book has potential. The philosophical ideas are a lot in this book, beat to death, but I think if they were hinted at, stated once maybe, narrowed down, it would be much easier to handle. I think, also, if the author took the time to focus on the more important bits in the novel, like the developing of relationships (and not just fast forwarding over 4 years of what the reader can assume was happy time between Cole and Malachi)…. I think those were the most important plot and character issues. It really does need a lot of editing, but there is potential in the story. And in the end, that’s what matters. 

Rating: ★★ 2/5 Stars

Guest Post & Review: Back to You by Natalie-Nicole Bates

Back to You

Title: Back to You
Author: Natalie-Nicole Bates

Summary: On the surface, Lynsey Reznor seems to have it all. She is beautiful, brilliant, and a successful true-crime writer who has been living the past decade in Miami. But what Lynsey lacks is what she needs the most—a family.

After the death of her mother, and yet another failed relationship, Lynsey makes an impulsive decision to return to her hometown of Unity. But Unity will present its own bittersweet memories, most notably, her first love, Nick Lincoln.

Twenty years ago, Nick broke teenager Lynsey’s heart when he decided to marry another. He had his own private reasons—reasons he never explained to Lynsey. Now she is back, along with a chance to reclaim her love. But Lynsey wants answers from him that he may never be able to give out of duty and guilt.

Natalie-Nicole Bates has been kind enough to let us read and review her book, Back to You on her blog tour. Today she has brought us an interview with her main character, Lynsey Reznor.

Today I’m pleased to get a chance to visit with my heroine, Lynsey Reznor, from my contemporary romance Back To You. Lynsey is going is going to talk a bit about her reasons for leaving Unity when she was a teenager.

NNB: Lynsey, thank you for agreeing to talk about your early years in Unity. Can you tell me about your life before you left at sixteen?

LR: Well, the only family I had was my mother. My father died when I was young—I don’t remember him. I had a normal childhood, I guess. My mother was always there for me. I loved her tremendously.

NNB: I understand you have always been a whip-smart cookie!

LR: I suppose so. I skipped over two grades, so I was actually sixteen in my senior year of high school.

NNB: When you were sixteen, you were offered a scholarship to a school in Lausanne, Switzerland. Did you feel torn between accepting the scholarship and staying on in Unity?

LR: Sixteen was a difficult age for me. I developed a crush on my best friend Suzy’s brother, Nick. I thought he liked me as well, but…he chose to peruse a relationship with another girl.

NNB: That must have hurt very much.

LR: My first love, my first heartbreak. It caused me to rebound to another guy.

NNB: Caleb Smith?

LR: Yes, Caleb. A decent guy, but he pressured me for a commitment I wasn’t ready for.

NNB: So you fled Unity?

LR: Pretty much. But I certainly don’t regret it. I even stayed on in Switzerland an additional four years. I feel quite grateful to have been able to travel and be educated in Europe. My French became fluid and effortless, and I learned to ski. All in all, a great life experience.

NNB: I heard there was also a romance with an Olympic ice hockey player?

LR: Ah…Jean-Luc. How I did enjoy my time with him. But the relationship ran in its course. We do remain friends to this day. He’s a coach with an NHL team now. Every time his team came to Florida we always would get together for dinner and speak to each other in nothing but French. He is still the smoothest man I’ve ever known.

NNB: Sounds like fun. Do you miss Miami yet?

LR: Not really. Like my time with Jean-Luc, my time in Miami was great while it lasted, but a thing of the past nonetheless. I am happy, excited, and looking forward to returning to my hometown of Unity.

NNB: Much luck, Lynsey, I wish you nothing but the best and I hope you find everything you are looking for in Unity.

Read more about Lynsey and her life in Unity in Back To You, available now at Bradley Publishing!

Back to you is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Bradley Publishing.


Review: This book, if anything, was a short story. I’m really disappointed in reading this novel and I almost wish that I hadn’t. It’s not because of the fact that it was a bad novel, although it really had its dull moments. The thing that I disliked about this ‘novel’ more than anything was that it had the potential to be a really, really amazing novel, but it fell so very short of its potential.

Back to You started off right with plot line, and while that could be alright in most books, it wasn’t okay in this one. The plot line started off and we knew nothing about the characters, but then all of a sudden we were learning everything about the characters and yet we were learning nothing of intense importance. It was important to learn that Nick had lost his wife, and it was important to learn why Lynsey had moved back to her hometown, Unity, but we didn’t learn things that were actually potentially important about the characters. It took halfway into the book for me to learn exactly what type of writing Lynsey did and when the author initially mentioned that there was a ‘new division’ in Unity, I thought it meant her job, not a housing division.

In addition to that, everyone and their mother was a cop. Street cop, detective, sergeant. Every single guy that was interested in Lynsey had or was in the police force one way or another. The town didn’t seem that big of a town either, so it made absolutely no sense that three people that she’d initially known since childhood were in the police force and then there was another man who she knew from somewhere else who was also in the force. It felt like an overdose of police and it made me wonder if anyone else in the town did anything other than work for the police.

For a novel that wasn’t even 30,000 words, it had a surprising amount of insignificant detail. I mean, it was a great concept to have our Mary Sue (Lynsey) visit her injured friend, Evan (another of the males who was not only on the police force but was also after her), but there was absolutely nothing about Suzy’s divorce that had any relevance to the novel. I breezed through this, mainly looking for a reason to get it done and over with.

Between the bad quality of the PDF (putting the PDF on my Kindle completely ruined the formatting and made it difficult to read) and the downright ridiculousness of the concept of four guys hunting after a girl who clearly had her heart set on the man she’d been in love with since she was sixteen, I felt like I was reading a bad soap opera. Nick and Lynsey exchanged these little sentences that ended or started with words like ‘sweetheart’, ‘honey’ and ‘my angel’ which made it so very obvious that they were meant for each other at the beginning of the novel. And the attempt at sex scenes in here… It was like watching a car crash; terrible, horrible, but unable to look away for fear of missing something important to write about in the review.

Overall, I managed to finish the novel, so I didn’t despise it, but it really could have been something had the author actually sat down and gone over this with some thought and edited it a heck of a lot more. Back to You had the potential to be an amazing novel, but instead it was just a boring, lukewarm short story that made me want to fall asleep rather than read it.

Rating: ★★ 2/5 Stars