Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: THE LADYBUG GIRL Doll from MerryMakers, Inc.


by MerryMaker's 



OUR REVIEW

Ladybug Girl is the sweetest little thing to come into my home in a very long time. Perfectly made to withstand the hands of time, she will add joy to everyone around her. Whether or not you and your little ones are familiar with her books, she will fit right in and help little imaginations grow and you will both enjoy creating new adventures for Ladybug Girl to carry out and earn her polka-dotted wings. 

MerryMakers Ladybug Girl Doll
Ladybug Girl aka Lulu, is a little girl who loves to put on her ladybug costume and make pretend that she is a superhero. She uses her superhero powers to create new adventures everyday right in her own backyard. All of her books encourage children to use their imagination and creativity for playtime - as long as you put your mind to it, their is no end to having outside fun! And to never be afraid of who you are. Dress up and go with the flow!

This little plushie is the perfect size for a little one to hug and carry around with them; although, her hair is stringy, so I recommend her for kids who no longer put things in their mouth. Even so, she is really well made and endured the hands of my one-year-old who immediately smiled and laughed as soon as he saw her. With a careful curiosity, he was drawn to her beautiful wings and boots - the pattern and color really caught his eye. Without ever being told or shown to do so, he immediately began to make pretend that she was flying and made swooshing noises. Ladybug Girl has made quite a first impression on him.

My older boys are familiar with Lulu's stories and adventures and admired how cute she was and said that even though they were older they were completely sure that their classmates would find Lulu adorable and entertaining. They remember the few toys that they had that were in books when they were smaller and fondly went over sweet memories they had with their books and toys - how the toys enhanced their connection to the story; how they learned to care not only for their toy, but the book too; and how it helped them remember the story, pay closer attention, so they can play with their plushies accordingly. 

I had always liked (and still do) having a stuffed doll to go along with our children's books. Many people think that it is a sales gimmick to get us parents to buy more things. But I wholeheartedly disagree with this. As I mentioned previously, whenever one of my kids showed any interest in a book, especially a child who has had hardly any interest in reading, an interactive tool may be the perfect thing to get your child to try it out. 

It brings me much joy to see so many characters are being brought to life! We adore Ladybuyg Girl from MerryMaker's and I know that we will be adopting a few more as time goes on. I highly recommend these sweet plushies - definitely check them out! 


*A Ladybug Girl Doll was sent to us from MerryMaker's, Inc. for an honest review. 
All thoughts are our own.




Other favorite book-toy dolls:






ABOUT THE COMPANY - MerryMakers, Inc.

MerryMakers was founded in 1993 with the goal of providing carefully designed dolls and toys based on the very best children's books, museum collections, and other characters for customers around the world. We handle all stages of product development, from design to the manufacture and delivery of finished products.
In addition to our line of licensed dolls, we make custom products for a wide variety of clients, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, Colonial Willamsburg, and publishers in the US and abroad.




View MerryMaker's current 2014-2015 CATALOG here:
MerryMakers 2014-2015 PDF Catalog

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #77: November 2014 Book Haul (Part 2) and Comic Book Haul #1


Hello my wonderful and amazing bookish friends!
Seriously, you guys are the bestest!!!

First, a very big and belated Happy Thanksgiving to all of my U.S. friends!
Hope you had a wonderful holiday with family, friends and good food :)


Temperatures have dropped drastically, winter has decided to come early and even though I'm a huge fan of winter, I am completely unprepared and have been freezing my butt off, lol!...
funny thing is - temperatures began to drop as I was reading SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch, and when I finished reading it earlier last week - let's just say that the Winterians would have been pleased that I was freezing my butt off, lol! The perfect book for this time of the year! I will be reviewing it soon, but know for now - I'm giving it a 5-BEE rating :) I highly recommend it!!!

Also, very recently, I have discovered my love for comic books again! 
I have read a few graphic novels in the last few months, and I have been itching to get back into comic book series and have decided to embrace my inner nerdgirl and finally got myself to my local comic book store! To say that the guys at the store were a bit shocked to see me strut in is an understatement, lol! But, they kept their chuckles to a minimum and were very helpful for everything that I am currently looking for. I have quite a list, and in their words:
"Please don't be offended, but for a girl, you are going to keep us quite busy!"
Mind you, all of the stores workers are over the age of 50 (except for one, lol!) and were quite happy to see a girl come in, knowing "her stuff" and are more than eagerly to help me find what I'm looking to read :) I'm really excited to start sharing my comic book love, pull lists, tradebacks, etc. with my boys and all of you!!! 

For now, here's my official haul for November :)
It's unexpectedly quite large, and I am very grateful and thankful for my lovely books!

(Please note, that the majority of my haul is Young Adult. Otherwise, books that aren't will be noted with either (A) for Adult, (NA) for New Adult, (MG) for Middle Grade, and (C) for Childrens books.)



*What I received for review...
From Harper Teen:
- TWISTED FATE (ARC) by Norah Olson
- PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD (ARC) by Michelle Falkoff
- GEEK GIRL: Model Misfit (Geek Girl #2) (ARC) by Holly Smale
- MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES (ARC) by Jasmine Warga
- A WICKED THING (ARC) by Rhiannon Thomas
- SHERLOCK HOLMES IN A STUDY IN SCARLET (Sherlock Holmes #1) (ARC) by Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle, Illustrated by Gris Grimly

From The Novl/Little Brown:
- LOVE, LUCY (ARC) by April Lindner

From Macmillan:
- TUCK EVERLASTING (PB) by Natalie Babbitt
- BO AT BALLARD CREEK (PB) by Kirkpatrick Hill (MG)
- BO AT IDITAROD CREEK (HB) by Kirkpatrick Hill (MG)

From Author:
- FRAGILE REIGN (Mortal Enchantment #3) (PB) by Stacey O'Neale

From Merry Makers: 
- LADYBUG GIRL Doll


*What I received in book giveaways/trades/swaps...
- DEAREST (Woodcutter Sisters #3) (ARC) by Alethea Kontis from HMH
THE STEPSISTER'S TALE (HB) by Tracy Barrett from a swap
- GEEK GIRL (UK PB) by Holly Smale from my #OTSPSecretSister Daphne of

From my #OTSPSecretSister Daphne :)
*What I purchased from Book Outlet...
DELIRIUM STORIES (PB) by Lauren Oliver
WAIT FOR YOU (PB) by J. Lynn (NA)
THE INTERESTINGS (HB) by Meg Wolitzer (A)

*Comic book haul...


Marvel Comics: 
- THOR #1 and THOR #2 by Jason Aaron, Illustrated by Russell Dauterman
- MS. MARVEL Volume 1 (Issues #1-6) by G. Willow Wilson, Illustrated by Adrian Alphona
- MS. MARVEL #6: Healing Factor by G. Willow Wilson, Illustrated by Jacob Wyatt
- MS. MARVEL #7: Healing Factor Part II by G. Willow Wilson, Illustrated by Jacob Wyatt
- MS. MARVEL #8: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson, Illustrated by Adrian Alphona
- MARY JANE #1: The Real Thing, MARY JANE #2: The Loyalty Thing, MARY JANE #3: The Money Thing and MARY JANE #4: The Trust Thing by Sean McKeever, Illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa
DC Comics: 
- BATGIRL #35 and BATGIRL #36 by Cameron Stewart, Illustrated by Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr


Thank you SO much for stopping by today!!!

Please let me know if there is anything you would like to see either here on the blog 
or on my booktube channel :) 

Don't forget to leave a comment with your link so I can visit you too, please!!!
xoxo

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #111: MECHANICA by Betsy Cornwell (YA)


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This is where we get to 'spotlight' books that we are anxiously waiting to be released!!!
The ones that we are dying to get our hands on and read into the wee hours of the night!!!
And, quite possibly, to make our shelves look pretty too :) 


What I'm currently waiting for... 


by Betsy Cornwell
Expected release date: August 4th, 2015
Published by: Clarion Books
Genre: Young Adult Steampunk Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, eBook

SUMMARY

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have pushed her into a life of dreary servitude. 

When she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar on her sixteenth birthday 
— and befriends Jules, a tiny magical metal horse — 
Nicolette starts to imagine a new life for herself. 
And the timing may be perfect: There’s a technological exposition and a royal ball on the horizon. 

Determined to invent her own happily-ever-after, Mechanica seeks to wow the prince and eager entrepreneurs alike.








Why I'm waiting for MECHANICA...

It's a STEAMPUNK RETELLING of CINDERELLA!!!

PLUS!!! Look at that GORGEOUS cover!!!

It's STEAMPUNK!!!!!!!!!!

I. Need. This. NOW!!!

I never get tired of retellings :)
The wait for this book is going to be a very long, and slow, torture... ugh!


SO, what are you waiting for this week???

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Release Day (Excerpts and Giveaway): FRAGILE REIGN (Mortal Enchantment #2) by Stacey O'Neale (YA)


http://jenhalliganpr.com/book/fragile-reign/

Mortal Enchantment #3
by Stacey O'Neale
Release date: November 25th, 2014
Published by: Phoenix Reign Publishing
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Paperback, eBook


SUMMARY

It’s been a week since all hell broke loose…

Rumors of King Taron’s weakened powers have left the air court vulnerable. Kalin is desperate to awaken her akasha powers, except she doesn’t know how. Tension within the court is at an all-time high. Pressure is mounting for her to ascend to the throne, but a halfling has never ruled over any court. To solidify her position, the council has advised her to marry Sebastian—a high ranking air elemental she’s never met and her betrothed. 

Will Kalin sacrifice her relationship with Rowan to strengthen her court?

Rowan and Marcus return to a fire court in turmoil. Liana’s death has fueled the fire elementals’ distrust against the air and woodland courts. The unbalanced elements have set off natural disasters all over the mortal world. Rowan takes the throne to restore balance, promising to unite the fire court. But not all elementals are happy with his leadership. Many are secretly loyal to Valac, which means Rowan needs to find allies for his cause.

Can Rowan unify the court of fire before the elements destroy the world?



PURCHASE LINKS


EXCERPT #1: ROWAN

After Marcus left, the lack of sleep and overuse of my power had finally caught up to me. My lids were heavy, making it hard to keep my eyes open. I laid down on the nearest bed, sinking into the softness of the vanilla scented pillows. I could rest here until tomorrow, and then meet Kalin on the beach at sundown. As I closed my eyes, I imagined her in that sexy sundress with the ocean breeze wafting through her red curls. My lips tingled remembering the raspberry taste of her kisses. With all this craziness going on, she was the one thing that made sense. The only person who could make me forget about everything for a little while.
Kalin was the one I wanted. The only one I needed. I shook my head. What was wrong with me? It was too soon to be thinking about this stuff, right? It had only been a few weeks. And what did I know about real feelings, anyway? Had it not been for Marcus, I would never even know what it felt like to care for someone. Love was never part of my life. My mother thought love was a weakness—a totally worthless emotion compared to power and control. 

But that still didn’t explain how I was feeling. Why everything seemed better when Kalin was around. Why my fingers ached to touch her. Why her pain shattered me to the core. I put my hands over my face. Or, maybe the lack of sleep was making me delusional. With a smirk, I gave in to the darkness that was overwhelming me and fell asleep.

EXCERPT #2: KALIN

Being betrothed totally sucked. Having powers I couldn’t control sucked. Not being able to help my ailing father sucked. Pretty much everything about my life right now sucked on an epic level of suckage. I forced a smile as I stood beneath the stone archway next to the council members, pretending to be excited to meet Sebastian. The same way I pretended not to notice my decisions were being made for me. Like everything in my life wasn’t out of control and falling to pieces right in front of me.
The mountain wind caught hold of the bottom trim of my yellow full-length gown. I pushed it back down with my gloved hands. The council insisted that our first meeting was to be a formal affair, so I had to dress like I was going to a prom. Ariel, of course, tried to make the best of it. She thought a princess makeover might improve my mood. Unfortunately, all of her efforts combined with the way-too-tight bodice on this gownjust added to my overall disdain.

After speaking with Dad, we decided it was best for him to keep Mom away from all of this. At the moment, I had to go along with the engagement. I was hoping I could gain my akasha powers and never have to tell her about this whole disaster. Although I understood Dad’s motives, I was still pissed that he never told me about the betrothal. There should have been a discussion between us. Lots and lots of them until he saw my side and then changed his mind. An overwhelming sense of despair lingered in the pit of my stomach. If I couldn’t ignite my akasha powers, would I really have to follow through with this and marry a stranger?

Mortal Enchantment Series

GIVEAWAY

(Bumbles and Fairy-Tales will not be held responsible for any lost, damaged, unclaimed, etc. prizes.)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Stacey O'Neale

Stacey O'Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she's not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.
Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.



Release Day: (Excerpt and Giveaway): THE SHAPE OF MY HEART (2B Trilogy) by Ann Aguirre (NA)



The 2B Trilogy, #3
by Ann Aguirre
Release date: November 24th, 2014
Published by: Harlequin HQN
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback, eBook


SUMMARY

Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore. 

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves. 

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete.




EXCERPT

So many questions ricocheted around my brainpan, but Max’s shoulders were pulled up almost to his ears, his chin nearly on the table. Without looking at me, he shredded the napkin in his hands into four pieces and then in half again. The waning sunshine streaming in the smeared window behind him haloed his hair, so that the highlights shone blue instead of tawny or copper.
            “You don’t have to tell me a bedtime story,” I said gently.
            “No, you need to know. So you understand what’s going on and why it’s so tense when we get there.”
            “Okay. If you’re sure.”
            “I’ll set the stage.” His tone was brittle, uneven, and the bits of paper in his hands kept getting smaller. “I was sixteen, just got my license. My dad was drinking, acting like a fuckhead. Business as usual. When he started in on Mickey, I grabbed the keys. Figured I’d get us both out of there for a while. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but taking off is kind of my specialty.”
            “Between your bike, the garage office, and the place you showed me by the river, I’ve picked up on the pattern, yeah.”
            “I thought I was doing the smart thing, you know? But I was driving too fast and some asshole blew the stoplight. T-boned us. Mickey got the worst of it… weeks in the hospital without knowing if he’d make it. Then once he stabilized, we found out he’d never walk again.” He curled a fist and slammed it onto the table, making the pizza box dance. “Ironic, huh? I was worried that my dad would hurt Mickey but I’m the one who—”
            “Not true,” I cut in. “That’s a textbook accident. Don’t tell me you blame yourself.”
            “It’s impossible to do anything else. No, wipe that look off your face, Kaufman. I didn’t open up to make you feel sorry for me. I just want you to know the deal going in. I mean, my dad’s the biggest asshole I ever met and he hates me, too.”
            “What about Mickey?”
            “We weren’t talking much when I left. Every day I think, what if I’d put up with my old man’s shit for five minutes more? What if I’d picked a fight with him instead of grabbing those keys? I—” His voice broke on a shuddering inhalation.
            Until this moment I didn’t realize how much weight Max carried on a daily basis or how good a job he did hiding it. I came out of my chair and rounded the little table before I consciously decided to make a move. Standing beside him, I hovered, unsure what to do. He answered the question by wrapping both arms around my waist and pulling me onto his lap. Unsettled, unnerved, even, I let him press his face into my shoulder, resting a hand on his head.
            His breath warmed the skin of my throat, rousing an inappropriate shiver. Now is not the time. It wasn’t like I’d never noticed his hotness; he specialized in a scruffy, soulful appeal that women of all ages seemed unable to resist. But it was so much better for him to call me Kaufman and confide in me instead of flirting. At the moment, Max needed a friend. I stroked his back for like five minutes before he raised his gaze to meet mine.
            “Sorry. The closer we get to Rhode Island, the worse I feel.”
            “It’s understandable. You have to be worried about how your brother will react when you see him.” The rest of his family sounded like jackwagons. Though he’d only told me about his dad, if he had any decent aunts, uncles or cousins, they would’ve stepped up when his old man went upside his head with a bottle. A scar like that would take eight or ten stitches, minimum. I imagined Max as a scared kid with blood gushing from his scalp, and all of my protective instincts roared to life. People had been calling me a bitch since I was fifteen, and I was ready to wade in against Max’s family. Yeah, the funeral might be tense and shitty, but if his family said one fucking word—



PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon / B&N / BAM / Indiebound




GIVEAWAY

(Bumbles and Fairy-Tales will not be held responsible for any lost, damaged, unclaimed, etc. prizes.)



Make sure you grab the entire 2B Trilogy!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Ann Aguirre

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. 
She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets.
Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.





Friday, November 21, 2014

Book/Movie Trailer Friday #4: CINDERELLA by Disney Studios


I have a new addiction: BOOK/MOVIE TRAILERS!!!

I'm an "old lady" who doesn't do much late Friday nights except read, 
catch up on some Big Bang Theory episodes or watch a few episodes of Gilmore Girls... 
and maybe bake a cookie or two... 
until I discovered that there are a lot of book trailers out there! 
And more and more are being made and released, and I cannot help myself! 
I'm going to start sharing a few of my old and new favorite book/movie trailers :) 

However! Today is a bit different since it has been a while since I have shared a book trailer. I found Disney's new CINDERELLA movie trailer and I. Am. In. LOVE!!!


Doesn't the movie poster remind you of a few bookcovers???
The books that immediately came to my mind is the Everneath Trilogy by Brody Ashton...


If you are a true follower to my blog, you must know by now that I am all about the fairytales, no matter how the story is told!


And, I am so excited to see Helena Bonham-Carter in a role that has her wearing all white! lol




Expected release date: March 13th, 2015

Cover Reveal: REBOUND (Boomerang #2) by Noelle August (NA)


by Noelle August
Expected release date: February 10th, 2015
Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks (HarperCollins)
Genre: New Adult Romance
Format: Paperback, eBook

Image Map

SUMMARY

At Boomerang, one night can change everything…

Adam Blackwood has it all. At twenty-two, he’s fabulously wealthy, Ryan Gosling-hot and at the top of his game in the business world. His life is perfect, until a scandal from his past resurfaces and threatens to knock the tech wunderkind down and throw his company, Boomerang, a hook-up site for millennials, into chaos.

Alison Quick, the twenty-one-year-old daughter of a business tycoon—and the very ex-girlfriend of Boomerang’s former intern, Ethan—has a problem of her own. After nearly flunking out in her senior year of college, she has one chance to redeem herself to her father by proving that she deserves a place in his corporate empire. That means spearheading her father’s plan to sink big money into Adam’s company and launch it into the stratosphere—provided Adam has no skeletons in his closet.

When the two meet, their sizzling chemistry makes it tough to keep things strictly professional. But when Alison discovers Adam’s secret, she knows she should bring it right to her father, who’ll leverage it for his own gain and use it to ruin Adam. The only problem: she’s falling for Adam—hard.

Will earning her father’s approval come at the price of losing her first real love? Or can Adam and Alison leave behind past mistakes and conquer the world—together?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Noelle August

Question: What do you get when friends pen a story with heart, plenty of laughs, and toe-curling kissing scenes? 

Answer: Noelle August, the pseudonym for renowned editor and award-winning writer Lorin Oberweger and New York Times bestselling YA author Veronica Rossi, the masterminds behind Boomerang

You can visit them at NoelleAugust.com, @Noelle_August,


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Get your $10 BOOK OUTLET "Black Friday Bucks" NOW!!!


My bookish friends, this is one sale that you definitely do not want to miss!!!...

http://promo.bookoutlet.com/PARTNER5
Sign up for BOOK OUTLET's  newsletter 
and you'll earn $5!!!
SHARE BOOK OUTLET's Black Friday sale news 
and you will earn an extra $5!!!

That is a TOTAL of $10 towards books!!!
You can apply the $10 to your total order OR just spend the $10!!!
(Don't forget shipping costs are additional!)

AND, BOOK OUTLET's Black Friday sale is 30% OFF ALL BOOKS!!!
ALL BOOKS! At 30% OFF!!!

How fab is that!!!

Your vouchers will be emailed to you on November 26th...
and you must use your BOOK OUTLET BUCKS between November 27th - December 1st, 2014.

If you follow my book hauls here on the blog or on Instagram, you will have noticed that I frequently shop at BOOK OUTLET and have been buying books there for about a year now. I have never had any problems with any of my orders. All of my books have been perfectly packaged and delivered before or by the delivery date. I am extremely happy with their amazing prices and sales. I highly recommend them to all of my bookish friends :)


Click HERE now and start sharing!!!

Happy book shopping!!!

Waiting On Wednesday #110: VANISHING GIRLS by Lauren Oliver (YA)


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine. 

This is where we get to 'spotlight' books that we are anxiously waiting to be released! The ones that we are dying to get our hands on and read into the wee hours of the night and, quite possibly, to make our shelves look all pretty too :)


What I'm waiting for...


by Lauren Oliver
Expected release date: March 10th, 2015
Published by: HarperCollins
Genre: YA Contemporary 
Format: Hardcover, eBook


SUMMARY

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.
 






Why I'm waiting on VANISHING GIRLS...

I only have one sibling, a sister. So stories about sisters always peak my interest. 
My sister and I are extremely close, I cannot imagine anything ever coming between us, let alone, separating us to the point of not being on speaking terms... breaks my heart just thinking about it!

I really liked Lauren Oliver's Delirium trilogy, even the ending!
I loved her middle grade, The Spindlers! And I really enjoyed her adult novel, ROOMS!
(I have to finish reading Before I Fall; I still need to get/read Panic!!!)
However, I must admit - her middle grade and adult writing style was really more what I look for. Compare those books to her young adult books, I prefer the others...
So, I'm really, really looking forward to reading another Young Adult novel by her... even more so that it is another stand-alone.


What are you waiting for this week???

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU by Julie Cross (YA)


by Julie Cross
Release date: October 7th, 2014
Published by: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback, eBook


SUMMARY

Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she's living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own — most of which involve placing first at every track meet… and one starring the Royals' super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn't just a game. It's life. And sometimes, it can break your heart.



MY REVIEW

This is my first time reading a book by Julie Cross, and after hearing about how wonderful her and her books are, my expectations were pretty high. And she delivered beautifully!
First, can we just swoon over the beautiful black and white cover with a touch of yellow - I love this color combo! Next, it isn't easy to balance a story that covers so many important life changing moments - new love, "career" choices, family decisions and personal growth, all while doing it in the public eye. There is a lot to take in, and the author gives us all the details we need to watch it all unfold...

Annie is a 17-year-old that is doing well in school, loves to run and hopes to get a scholarship through track soon. She lives with her dad, a retired baseball player and cancer survivor, and helps take care of her maternal grandmother, who has Alzheimer's.
When her father is offered a position to coach in the major leagues, Annie knows that this is an opportunity for her father that he cannot say no to. Baseball was his life, he left due to his illness and didn't return because of it. And when he tried to make a comeback of sorts, Annie's mother left, and he decided to stay home with Annie to give her the most stable life that he could manage for her. Annie knows that this will be good for him, he deserves this and wants him to be happy. She convinces her dad that this is not only a good opportunity for him, but for the entire family.
Within a weeks time, Annie finds herself in a new city. They're now living in a bigger home, there's a nurse to help take care of grandma and Annie will be attending one of the best private schools that offers one of the highest ranking track teams in the state. Annie is a bit out of her element here, but is determined to not only make the best of it, but to take advantage of all the good things that are finally happening to her and her little family.

And then Brody happens.

How Annie and Brody meet is hilarious and memorable. From the moment these two say their first few words to each other, I knew that their story was going to be fun to follow. The initial love/hate relationship is right on target. Which then turns into a friendship that blossoms into something possibly more. The immaturity that they both display and learn from grounds them to their true personalities. The tug and pull that they both do to each other just makes them stronger. Everything that they go through, say and end up with was so realistic and relatable. The age difference and the fact that they're both in such different places in their lives really creates a lot of problems for their relationship. Trust is a huge factor. And acceptance is key. In the end, I really did not know where they were going to end up. Together or not, they're both really strong and determined characters, and I loved that even though they'd had their moments, in the end, they both thought of others before themselves.  

I have to admit - at first I was a bit disappointed that the author did not go into more details regarding Brody's past and family. We are told what he did, what happened and this is just it. Nothing really happens for him. It made me sad. But, I understand that in reality that this is the way things go for some people, unfortunately. And it made my heart ache for him just a bit more.

Another part that I have to point out is the amazing family dynamic that the author created - absolutely beautiful. The father-daughter relationship was so spot on and refreshing. It was so nice to see such a strong bond between them. With Annie's mother breezing in and out of their lives so much, her father did everything for her and supports her in everything that she does. And Annie's admiration for him was so sweet and heart melting. They had many moments that made me get all tear-eyed.

Contemporary fans, especially those who love baseball, will really enjoy Annie and Brody's story. I hope we get to see more of them - even if it is just a cameo appearance in another story. I'd love to see them in their future...   


*An eARC was sent to me for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.




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ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Julie Cross


Julie Cross lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast and longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former gymnastics program instructor with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. 
Outside of her reading and writing credentials, Julie is a committed— but not talented — long-distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar-weather survivor, and expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym-shoe addict.


 
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Images by LabyrinthofDreams