Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review: An Endless Summer by C.J. Duggan


An Endless Summer

Author: C.J. Duggan
Series: Summer, #2
After a rebellious summer night that almost claimed her life, Amy Henderson – the Onslow publican’s only daughter – is sent away to suffer a fate far worse than any other punishment:

Boarding School.

Three years on, a now nineteen-year-old Amy returns to Onslow for the summer. What once was a cauldron of activity with live bands, hot meals and cold beers, the Onslow Hotel now lies dark, deserted and depressing. All fond childhood memories of loitering on the hotel stairs and eavesdropping on customers’ colourful conversations are in the distant past.

How had her dad let it come to this?

With the new threat of putting the Onslow up for sale, Amy reluctantly turns to a local tradesman for help: Sean Murphy, the very same Onslow boy who saved her life all those years ago. With his help and that of some old friends, the task is clear: spend the summer building the hotel back up to its former glory or lose it for good.

In an endless summer, Amy soon realises that sometimes in order to save your future, you have to face your past, even if it’s in the form of a smug, gorgeous Onslow boy.

I am just flying through this series!!! I LOVE the Onslow Boys and I LOVE the Summer feel! And the romance doesn't hurt either ;-)

After an unfortunate accident that nearly got her killed, Amy Henderson is sent away to live in the city and attend an all-girls boarding school far away from her home town of Onslow and her best friend Tammy. Three years later, she returns to find her old home worse for the wear and determines to make a few, or should I say A LOT, of changes to make sure the Onslow Hotel stays up and running. But the odds seem to be against her. 

Amy is a bit of a firecracker. She's hot-headed and stubborn. She tends not to think before she acts, or speaks. She just DOES. And deals with the consequences later. When I first began An Endless Summer, I wasn't sure how I felt about being inside of Amy's head. She seemed a bit immature at first, and throughout a lot of the book actually. Even though she was working hard to save the Onslow, she just seemed to have this childish, spoiled attitude to her which probably came from growing up with a materialistic mother and a father who fueled the fire. Even with her confident air, Amy always felt like a shadow, as though she was always out of place or in the way. She's determined not to be little Amy, the publican's daughter anymore and she has a point to prove. 

I was thrilled to see all of my favorite characters back in An Endless Summer, with a few new characters. By the end of the book, I had grown to like Amy a lot more than I had in the beginning. Her relationship with Sean probably helped with that a lot. I'm officially a HUGE Sean fan now ;-) 

After now reading three of the books in this series, I think I can now say that this has becoming one of my favorite book series and I'll probably reread it every summer! And even though I've already read That One Summer, I'm definitely going to reread it again now before continuing on!

I rate this book:

The Summer Series


Novella



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Review: The Boys of Summer by C.J. Duggan


The Boys of Summer

Author: C.J. Duggan
Series: Summer, #1
It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘Onslow Boys’. Every time they swaggered in the front door of the Onslow Hotel after a hard week’s work, their laughter was loud and genuine as they settled onto their bar stools. I peeked through the restaurant partition, a flimsy divider between my world and theirs. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw them, saw him... Toby Morrison.

Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins.

To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets.

How did she let her friends talk her into working?

After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer of working expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos.

All with the one boy she has never been able to forget.

It will be a summer she will always remember.

Warning: sexual references, and occasional coarse language.

Being that it's Summer-time, I figured I should catch up on my Summer reading. As in, reading books about summer. The Summer series by C.J. Duggan focuses on that feeling you get as a teenager when the summer just begins and you've got this insane excitement coursing through your body and you're thinking of all the ways to make THIS SUMMER the most perfect summer EVER. And most of the time it doesn't turn out just the way you planned, but then you realize that's okay.

I started off the Summer series earlier in the year with That One Summer, the story of Tammy and Chris. I fell in love with the feeling that C.J. Duggan's story left me with, as well as the Onslow Boys and of course Chris. Seeing as this series is one of those that you can read out of order, I decided to pick up the first of the series. The story of Tess and Toby. They were side characters in That One Summer, but in The Boys of Summer they are the main focus. And I absolutely LOVED it. It had its ups and downs, and a few events that left you with your mouth hanging open. It's the perfect tale of a shy, introverted girl who takes a Summer job that's a bit out of her comfort zone to appease her two best friends and ends up gaining all the confidence she had been lacking, as well as falling in love with the boy of her dreams. And it's just the story you need for summer time. One that brings you back to the days of your youth and first loves, new feelings and new adventures.

I'm definitely going to be finishing this entire series this summer. And probably revisiting That One Summer along with it. And rereading it every summer just because I can. ;)

I rate this book:

The Summer Series


Novella



Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa


The Forever Song

Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden #3
Vengeance will be hers.

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

Monster.

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions - her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost - the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

THE FINAL HUNT IS ON.

Julie Kagawa has always been one of my favorite authors ever since I read The Iron King. Her story-telling is enticing, drawing you in with each word. Like most of her books, The Forever Song centers around a journey. Allie, Jackal and Kanin are on a mission to stop the horrible, sadistic vampire Sarren from destroying the whole world. With as many twists and turns as possible of course. One of which I never saw coming, but was secretly thrilled about. Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly a secret. ;)

The Blood of Eden series has been on my list of favorites since I read the first in the series. Following Allie on her journey of becoming the kind of vampire she wants to be has been a great adventure. Her short-comings made her all the more real as she tried and failed at times to contain the monster inside of her. Sometimes not even wanting to and succumbing to the numbness and anger.

When I first began the story, I was sure there was going to be a love-triangle between Allie, Kanin and Zeke. I am absolutely thrilled to say that wasn't at all the case. Julie could have definitely taken it there if she had chosen to, but she didn't and I'm rather glad for that. In a world of love-triangles at every turn in the YA world, it was so nice to see that Kanin and Allie never reached the point of romantic feelings. He was after all her sire, a.k.a. blood-father. They were family. It would have definitely been a little weird for her to fall for him.

One thing I definitely want to point out that I thought of this morning after a particularly disturbing dream that reminded me of not only the rabids in the Blood of Eden series, but also the virus-stricken people in I Am Legend, is that some elements of this series remind me of I Am Legend. Such as the rabids. And a certain other thing that I won't mention because of spoilers. And then I realized that I would LOVE to see the Blood of Eden series become a movie!! I mean, it would be rather gory, but you know how the movie industry is. They can definitely tone it down to fit the younger audience as we've seen in several book-to-movie adaptations these days. Example, The Hunger Games.

If you're looking for a vampire book to keep you guessing and bring on the drama, suspense, and heart-racing moments then this is the series for you.

I rate this book:

The Blood of Eden Series





Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: Paper Towns by John Green


Paper Towns

Author: John Green
Two-time Printz Medalist John Green’s New York Times bestseller, now in paperback!

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life — dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge — he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues — and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
This book was bought by myself with my own money.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

When I found out that Paper Towns by John Green would be hitting the theaters soon, I just new I had to pick it up and read it. I mean, after LOVING The Fault in Our Stars and falling in love with his writing, I couldn't pass it up. I went into reading Paper Towns just knowing that I would enjoy the story, especially with the intriguing premise. I mean, who doesn't love a story about a guy falling head over heals for the mysterious, adventurous girl-next-door and then being thrown for a loop?

We meet Quentin Jacobson who is the perfect student and seemingly perfect child. He never does anything wrong, always does his schoolwork and has never missed a day in his life. He grew up being close friends with the crazy mysterious Margo Roth Spiegelman, but as they grew older, they grew apart. She was the popular girl in school that everyone loved and wanted to be like, and he was one of the outsiders. When Margo shows up at his window one night, close to graduation, asking for a ride around town for an adventure filled with revenge on some of the people who had bullied him, he was in. He had high hopes that he could make her fall for him and that this night would be the chance of a lifetime. But there was a huge twist. When he got to school the next day, expecting to see her, she was gone. She had ran away again and no one knew where she was. Q leaves it up to himself to follow her clues and find the girl of his dreams before it's too late.

Paper Towns, for me, was one of those stories that had me feeling like I was on a roller coaster. Not as in the emotional ups and downs, but in the speed of the story. In some instances, it was fast-paced and my heart was racing and I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. In others, I was thinking, "Is this ever going to end? This is getting so boring". There was a lot of times where Q was just going over the clues Margo left behind, over and over and over again. Never really finding anything new and it was as if I was reading over every second of every day of his life, even the boring stuff that I cared absolutely nothing about. I thought that I was going to be taken on an adventure all over the country and SPOILER ALERT!! I wasn't. I was really bummed about that. I had also thought at one point that I was going to end up in tears over her suicide because for the longest time John Green made it seem as though she would be dead when Q found Margo. Thankfully that wasn't the case. I was very happy about that. END SPOILER!! The end sped up for me again once things really started heating up and Q realized a bunch of different things at once and they all raced to the place they thought she was going to be.

I do really love John Green's righting style. I've heard that it's rather pretentious but I love that about it. In a way, Q was as I imagined John Green himself being. If that makes sense? As far as Margo goes, I'm going to leave a quote straight from her own mouth and this is exactly as I perceived her to be from the beginning: "I was the flimsy-foldable person, not everyone else. And here's the thing about it. People love the idea of a paper girl. They always have. And the worst thing is that I loved it, too. I cultivated it, you know? Because it's kind of great, being an idea that everybody likes. But I could never be the idea of myself, not all the way." Everyone loved the idea of her, but they never really loved her. She seemed like this wild, crazy, adventurous, gorgeous, perfectly created, God's-gift-to-man, but she isn't. She's just a normal person like everyone else and she needed to show them all that.

Paper Towns was a wonderful story, but the pacing seemed so slow at times and I couldn't give it a 5-star review. I will of course continue to read John Green's books because he's a pretty awesome guy and he writes pretty awesome books.

I rate this book:

Author

John Green's first novel, Looking for Alaska, won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award presented by the American Library Association. His second novel, An Abundance of Katherines, was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His next novel, Paper Towns, is a New York Times bestseller and won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best YA Mystery. In January 2012, his most recent novel, The Fault in Our Stars, was met with wide critical acclaim, unprecedented in Green's career. The praise included rave reviews in Time Magazine and The New York Times, on NPR, and from award-winning author Markus Zusak. The book also topped the New York Times Children's Paperback Bestseller list for several weeks. Green has also coauthored a book with David Levithan called Will Grayson, Will Grayson, published in 2010. The film rights for all his books, with the exception of Will Grayson Will Grayson, have been optioned to major Hollywood Studios.

In 2007, John and his brother Hank were the hosts of a popular internet blog, "Brotherhood 2.0," where they discussed their lives, books and current events every day for a year except for weekends and holidays. They still keep a video blog, now called "The Vlog Brothers," which can be found on the Nerdfighters website, or a direct link here.
Author Links: Website | Twitter

Favorite Quotes

Please be aware of spoilers!!

"Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one."

"If I am ever told that I have one day to live, I will head straight for the hallowed halls of Winter Park High School, where a day has been known to last a thousand years."

"Yeah. I'm a big believer in random capitalization. The rules of capitalization are so unfair to words in the middle."

"Let's just please not get in trouble," I said. "I mean, I want to have fun and everything, but not at the expense of, like, my future."

"That's always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people would want to be around someone because they're pretty. It's like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste."

"My heart is really pounding," I said.
"That's how you know you're having fun," Margo said. But it didn't feel like fun; it felt like a heart attack.

"I, however, did not like to run. Or, for that matter, engage in any kind of physical exertion."

"This fear bears no analogy to any fear I knew before. This is the basest of all possible emotions, the feeling that was with us before we existed, before this building existed, before the earth existed. This is the fear that made fish crawl out onto dry land and evolve lungs, the fear that teaches us to run, the fear that makes us bury our dead."

"I mean, at some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you'll look back down and see that you floated away, too."

"The longer I do my job," he said, "the more I realize that humans lack good mirrors. It's so hard for anyone to show us how we look, and so hard for us to show anyone how we feel."

"But isn't it also that on some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings the same way that we are? We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals."

"Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a find and precious thing. She was a girl."

"I liked standing just outside the couches and watching them--it was kind of sad I didn't mind, and so I just listened, letting all the happiness and the sadness of this ending swirl around in me, each sharpening the other. For the longest time, it felt kind of like my chest was cracking open, but not precisely in an unpleasant way."

"It is so hard to leave--until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world."

"I hope I get pulled over," he says. "I'd like to see how the cop responds to a black man wearing a Confederate T-shirt over a black dress."

"What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person."

"Forever is composed of nows."

"I'm not saying that everything is survivable. Just that everything except the last thing is."


Saturday, May 3, 2014

I am a BeautiControl Independent Consultant!


Hello lovelies! This is sort of an update post on myself and what's going on in my life right now. This week I joined some amazing girls in becoming a Spa Girl as a BeautiControl Independent Consultant. I am SUPER excited about this opportunity! Our products are amazing and I can't wait to share them with you. Yes, YOU.

What is BeautiControl?

BeautiControl is a company that specializes in quality cosmetics and skin care products to bring you healthier skin and a relaxed Spa experience right to your home. BeautiControl provides services to the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and gives women the opportunity of a lifetime to make their dreams come true!

Why did I choose to become a Consultant?

Two girls who I grew up with and are friends of mine started their own business with BeautiControl when they tried out BeautiControl's acne line. Both struggled all through their adolescent years and even after that with acne and scarring. After using the acne line, their faces became clearer and the scarring became less noticeable. It was disappearing before their eyes (and mine), giving their face a healthy beautiful glow. You could see their new-found confidence radiating through, and the love they had for their skin and this product made them want to share it with everyone they knew. Including myself. Now a Consultant, one of those friends allowed me to try the Instant Manicure and Extreme Repair Hand Creme for my hands. With my job, I handle cardboard ALL DAY LONG and my hands become so dried out and cracked. It's often painful. After one use, my hands automatically felt better. More than better. AMAZING. I couldn't believe how soft my hands felt. Not oily or greasy. But SOFT. I just knew I had to become a Consultant for myself and share my love, and their love, for these amazing products with the world. And also earn a little extra cash while doing so!

Dandelion Dreams and Dare to Dream BeautiSpas

 As of now, I will be incorporating my business into my blogging world. I don't want you as my readers to think I'm shoving my business down your throats. That isn't my intention. Every now and then I will review one of our products and give you my HONEST opinion. If it wasn't for me, then I'll tell you. If I think you might like it, I'll tell you. If I loved it and think you must ABSOLUTELY try it, I'll tell you. That will hopefully be starting this week. I'm going to try to review our Instant Manicure and hand creme. I'll go over how you apply it, how it feels, how much I liked it, and so on. There will absolutely still be book reviews on Dandelion Dreams,  but because I have so little time to read, they will be few and far between. I don't want to let my blog slip through my fingers so I am bringing two things that I love together and hopefully you'll find a love for BeautiControl as well!

I'm from another country. Can I buy your products?

As of right now, the only countries we sell to are the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. If you live in these countries, then absolutely yes! Feel free to visit my BeautiPage and try out these amazing products!

Can I become part of your team, and how?

YES! Absolutely. All you have to do is go to my BeautiPage, click on Opportunity, and fill out the agreement! PLEASE NOTE: There is an initial start up fee. You can start your own business for only $99 with our Starter Spa Case! Or you can go all out and buy the Premium Spa Case for $349.


Is this legit? Can I really make money from this?

Definitely! This is a legitimate business. You CAN make money selling BeautiControl products, and LOTS OF IT. For example, a friend of mine made $850 during ONE SPA. That's not from the retail price, but her actual profit. Can you imagine getting that much money in approximately one hour??? It's within your reach!


So what am *I* earning by being a Consultant for BeautiControl?

Right now, I'm just getting started. I have to go through training and setting up my first spa, which I'm inviting everyone I know to because I want them all to try these wonderful products, relax and have FUN. Not to mention, that this year I can earn a FREE trip to Paris for TWO!! Among a few other AWESOME rewards ;)

I'm so excited to begin this wonderful journey and I can't wait to make my dreams come true!

Please feel free to follow the link below to my BeautiPage to learn more about BeautiControl and our fabulous products, buy them, and/or become a part of my team!


http://www.beautipage.com/kellysandidge/