Sunday, April 13, 2014

Update on Dandelion Dreams!

Hey guys! I know it's been a while since I've posted anything. Life has been insanely busy for me lately. I haven't finished a single book since my last review post *sobs*


Update on reading and reviews

I'm currently in the middle of reading Paper Towns by John Green. I'm on page 71 of 305 so I think I'm doing fairly well. I think my biggest problem for not reading anything isn't necessarily that I don't have the time--because I always have at least a few minutes to spare each day for a little reading--but I've kind of been in a reading slump. I was reading Blood Crown by Ali Cross, which I was enjoying but because it's dystopia, I just couldn't get into it like I wanted. My mind kept wandering and I just wanted to pick up something else. I thought that maybe if I could pick a book to read strictly for myself and on my own terms that it would help me to get out of the slump and so far it's working! Obviously, I still need to read Blood Crown and another book that I promised to review. I just needed a little break from the must-reads and read something that I want to read.

After I get Paper Towns and my review books out of the way (and yes, I WILL still continue to review my want-to-read books), I'll probably just go through my Kindle and read the books in alphabetical order because I'm so overwhelmed when I try to figure out what to read! And if I'm not into the book, I'll just skip over it to come back to later or just simply DNF it and be finished with it.

I'm hoping to get back into blogging and posting at least one post a week but I'm not sure when that will begin. SOON I hope!


Update on life

Work is going well. I'm so glad that I'm making money again! It's nice to be able to look at a shirt and say "hey, that's really cute! I think I'll buy that!" and actually have the money to buy it. Of course, there are bills to pay as well and it's nice to have money again to be able to pay them. I no longer feel stuck. I'm currently looking for a new place. Preferably a house to rent but they all seem to be out of my budget right now. And I'm about to sign my oldest up for Kindergarten! HOLY CRAP TIME FLIES BY! He graduates in May from preschool and I just simply cannot believe it. I look at the picture he took at the beginning of the year for the yearbook and then I look at him now and he just looks SOOOO BIIIIIIIG now.

My littlest is growing like a weed too. He can almost sit on his own and he's started his babbling. He talks all the time and whenever we give him a little stuffed animal he talks away to it. And grins and hugs them. It's just the cutest thing!

So that's all that's going on in my life right now. Mainly working, looking for a place and taking care of my little ones. I'll soon  be working even longer hours since the busy season is starting to pick up. Probably 10 hour days. Luckily we get paid extra for overtime which means I'll have even more money to put towards getting a new place! I do miss being home with my babies though. That's been the hardest part about working. I just miss them so dang much!!



And now because we've been having such amazing weather here this weekend, I leave you with a lovely picture of some flowers from my yard. Enjoy! :)


Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Tour Review: The Sowing by K. Makansi



The Sowing

Author: K. Makansi
Publication date: August 19, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Goodreads
Purchase: AZ | B&N
Remy Alexander was born into the elite meritocracy of the Okarian Sector. From an early age, she and her friends were programmed for intellectual and physical superiority through specialized dietary regimes administered by the Okarian Agricultural Consortium. But when her older sister Tai was murdered in a brutal classroom massacre, her parents began to suspect foul play. They fled the Sector, taking their surviving daughter underground to join the nascent Resistance movement. But now, three years later, Remy’s former schoolgirl crush, Valerian OrleĆ”n, is put in charge of hunting and destroying the Resistance. As Remy and her friends race to unravel the mystery behind her sister’s murder, Vale is haunted by the memory of his friendship with Remy and is determined to find out why she disappeared. As the Resistance begins to fight back against the Sector, and Vale and Remy search for the answers to their own questions, the two are set on a collision course that could bring everyone together—or tear everything apart.
*I received a copy from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review*

I joined this tour because I LOVE a good dystopia. It's always my go-to book. Especially when it has aspects of romance to it. I'm a sucker for romance. Bring the two together and in my opinion, you have gold. When I read the synopsis for The Sowing, I was instantly intrigued. I'm very pleased that I ended up liking this one.

The Sowing is told in two points of view between Remy who is part of the Resistance and Vale who just so happens to be the son of the chancellor and is also in charge of hunting down and disbanding the Resistance. It was really interesting going between the two, especially when certain events would intertwine and you would know something that one of the characters didn't because of what happened when you were reading the point of view of the other and I wanted so bad to just shout out and tell them the truth or to stop what they were doing because it wasn't a good idea. 

Remy still harbors some feelings for her previous crush Vale even though she knows that he's still in the Sector and part of something that she knows is wrong. Vale also still has some feelings for Remy and refuses to admit that a big reason for his mission to find the Resistance has to do with his want to find her. But then there's this other guy in the mix who just kind of sneaks in there when a series of events happen and I honestly like him better. There's just something about Soren that I like better than Vale.  Maybe it had something to do with being inside of Vale's head and for some reason, as much as I enjoyed reading in his point of view, I just didn't really click with him as much as I did with Remy.

While a few things about the story bothered me, like how I knew sometimes what was going to happen before it did and how certain things came far too easily, I loved reading the two points of view and watching each of them search for answers and sometimes finding out that the truth isn't always what they want to hear. I enjoyed the world being centered around genetically modified crops that allow enhancements fitting to a persons occupation and what their body needs. I would really like to know more of the back story of how the country came to be and what happened during that time. It was all so fascinating. I'll definitely be picking up a copy of the sequel when it comes out! 

I rate this book:
.5

Author

About K. Makansi

K. Makansi is the pen name for the writing triumvirate consisting of Amira, Elena, and Kristina Makansi. Two sisters and their mother, the three women developed a passionate interest in science fiction as a way to write about issues of food sovereignty and food justice. Elena is pursuing a degree in environmental studies at Oberlin College in Ohio, and will graduate in May of 2014. Amira was a history student at the University of Chicago whose day job working in the cellar of a winery (and constantly being splattered with wine) keeps her busy when she’s not writing. And Kristy owns and operates Blank Slate Press, an independent publishing company based out of St. Louis, and is a partner at Treehouse Publishing Group, a company providing editorial and design services to aspiring authors. When not writing or reading, the three can be found having animated discussions around the dinner table, sharing a good bottle of wine, or taking long walks in the park eagerly plotting out their next book.
Author Links: Website |  Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

Open internationally
--25$ Amazon Gift Card
--Signed copy of The Sowing

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This honest review is part of The Sowing Book Tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. For more stops, check out the Tour Schedule.








This tour is brought to you by:

Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Tour Review & Giveaway: That One Summer by C.J. Duggan



That One Summer

Author: C.J. Duggan
Series: Summer, #3
Release date: 12/17/13
Goodreads
Loving Chris Henderson would be wrong. Diabolically disastrous. I mean, what is there about him to love? He’s moody, bossy, brooding, a control freak, and that’s on a good day … but there was one achingly obvious fact that haunted my every thought, every minute of every day …

He sure could kiss.

As the countdown to the new millennium begins, there is one thing everyone agrees on: no one wants to be in Onslow for New Year’s Eve.

So that can only mean one thing: road trip!

No longer the mousey, invisible, shy girl from years ago, Tammy Maskala is finally making up for all those lost summers. A new year with new friends, which astoundingly includes the bossy boy behind the bar, Chris Henderson.

She likes her new friends (at least most of them), so why does she secretly feel so out of place?

After chickening out on the trip, a last-minute change of heart sees Tammy racing to the Onslow Hotel, fearing she’s missed her chance for a ride. The last thing she expected to meet was a less-than-happy Onslow Boy leaning against his black panel van.

Now the countdown begins to reach the others at Point Shank before the party is over and the new year has begun. Alone in a car with only the infuriating Chris Henderson, Tammy can’t help but feel this is a disastrous start to what could have been a great adventure. But when the awkward road trip takes an unexpected turn, Tammy soon discovers that the way her traitorous heart feels about Chris is the biggest disaster of all.

Fogged up windows, moonlight swimming, bad karaoke and unearthed secrets; after this one summer nothing will ever be the same again.
*I received a copy from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review*


The setting: an Australian Summer road trip with sexy boys, best friends and one gorgeous, brooding, mysterious boy = my cup of tea! For real. I loved That One Summer. When I realized that this was set in Australia I was completely hooked. Even more so when I discovered the road trip and all the romance that was to come. Another awesome thing about That One Summer: You don't have to read the other books in the series to read it and understand what's going on.

Tammy Maskala is the kind of girl who hates confrontation and going outside of her comfort zone. The stress of it all can easily bring on a major migraine, one that requires medication. She has a mantra that she always keeps in the back of her mind: Positive, positive, positive. But for her it's not always so easy. The smallest thing can set her stress level soaring, even if it's a little game of Murder in the Dark or always being stuck with the handsome, uptight and a little intimidating Chris Henderson. So when her group of friends decide to go on a road trip for the Summer holidays, it's no wonder that she has her reservations and almost decides not to go. But that little hiccup causes her to be left behind to hitch a ride with Chris, while her best friend Amy leaves early with the rest of the group. What Tammy wasn't expecting was to enjoy the time spent with Chris, even if he is infuriating and keeps most of his thoughts to himself. And the most infuriating thing of all is the fact that she can't seem to get him out of her head.

I really liked Tammy, even though she did have a tendency to doubt herself most of the time and keep to herself. She always felt out of place around her new friends though her best friend Amy was among them. She was emotional and often jumped to conclusions, often times the wrong one, but honestly I couldn't fault her for it. I probably would have done the same thing in her situation. Actually, I know I would have. She really reminded me of myself throughout most of the book. Even though I was hoping for her to respond in a different way, she almost always responded the way that I would have whether it was the right response or not.

I completely fell for Chris Henderson. He's sexy, mysterious, broody, and completely infuriating. Always keeping his emotions in check and never letting himself lose control. It's interesting to me that the brooding mystery man with a hidden tenderness is almost always the love interest in YA these days, but I understand why that is: more times than not, it works. We always end up falling for him. It's always this guy that has the most attention when it comes to fangirling. As readers, we tend to gravitate towards the Chris Hendersons. And I'll admit it, I'm not ashamed to say I fall into that group more times than not. I definitely did when it came to Chris Henderson.

This is a bit of a spoiler so you can skip if if you want!! The biggest thing that bothered me came at the end of the book, when Tammy has finally let loose and let go of all the stress she usually carried with her. It felt like the whole reason she changed is because of a guy. Now I know that love can move mountains and all that, but it just felt like the sole reason her mood changed was because she got the guy. I personally had hoped that she found that strength deep down in herself. I mean, it wasn't in flashing neon likes that said "I'm better because of Chris. If it weren't for him I'd still be a stressed out uptight shy girl". But the feel I got from what was said was that the time she spent with Chris caused her to feel positive and confident. I don't know.. it just didn't sit well with me. End spoiler!

That One Summer was such a delight to read. I loved the Australian setting, I loved reading all of the Australian words (some of which I still have no clue what they mean!), but it made it authentic in my mind. I loved the road trip and all of the humorous situations that Tammy seemed to find herself in because she so desperately wanted to avoid confrontations. I loved the romance between Tammy and Chris, even though it seemed to take FOREVER for them to admit their feelings for each other. Communication is not their strong suit. I loved the subtle ways Chris let her know he cared for her even if she questioned his intentions. That One Summer is the perfect Summer read. I'll definitely be picking up more C.J. Duggan books, especially the others in the Summer series.

I rate this book:

Author

About C.J. Duggan

C.J Duggan is a Number One Best Selling Australian Author who lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia. When she isn’t writing books about swoony boys and 90’s pop culture you will find her renovating her hundred-year-old Victorian homestead or annoying her local travel agent for a quote to escape the chaos.

The Boys of Summer is Book One in her highly successful Mature Young Adult Romance Series.

***Giveaway***

1 winner will get ebooks of Book 1-3 of the Summer series (INT)

RULES AND RESTRICTIONS:
Contest is void where prohibited. Entrants must be 13 or else have parent or guardian’s permission to enter. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner’s name will be selected. Winning entries will be verified for authenticity.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This honest review is part of the That One Summer Book Tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. For more stops, check out the Tour Schedule.








This tour is brought to you by:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Some Changes Coming to Dandelion Dreams

You may have noticed that over the past week that I have been posting a lot less. That's going to be a frequent thing from now on unfortunately. I was called back to work a month earlier than I thought I would be and will be starting on March 3rd, which is really exciting, but also makes things difficult for me in the blogosphere. I had several things planned for the month of March that I'm not sure I'll have time to do now. But most of what you'll see on Dandelion Dreams from now on will be reviews. These reviews will be ones that I have already committed to. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep up with a meme or two but as of right now I'm not going to say anything for sure.

To all of the authors that have given me your books, I will get the reviews up as soon as possible. I'll try to get them up by the time I told you I would but since those reviews were supposed to be up in March, my work schedule is now taking up the time that I thought I was going to have to read them. I'll now be speed reading through my breaks at work trying to get the books read so I can get reviews posted in a timely manner. I will also be emailing you about it so we can discuss other options such as postponing the review to a later date or doing a promotional post in March and then having my review to come at another time.

To all of my blogging friends, if you want to keep in contact with me please don't hesitate to email me! I would love to keep in touch with all of you still :)

With that being said, I should probably go and get some reading done!! I'm wasting precious time haha

Until next time....


Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead


The Fiery Heart

Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines, #4
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


I was so reluctant to read The Fiery Heart after being so disappointed with The Indigo Spell. I felt like Richelle Mead had gone off track in The Indigo Spell. There was so much of the story line from the previous books missing in it. I was also really excited to continue reading this series because of how The Indigo Spell ended. Sydney had finally given in to her feeling for Adrian and then Zoe shows up to be a part of the mission which causes a lot of problems. She still continues with her relationship with Adrian, which I was very happy to see, but she has to hide all of her feelings for him from everyone else, especially her sister. And she has to keep her magical things at Adrian's to make sure that Zoe doesn't find it.


I felt throughout the entire book that Zoe was going to be a big problem in Sydney's life, and she was. Not just because of her Alchemist ways, but because she just really wasn't a nice person. She was really bratty and selfish and she was insanely jealous of Sydney. It showed through in every conversation she had with her. All Zoe wanted was to be an Alchemist and be the best and it didn't matter to her how she got there. I DID NOT like that about her at all. It wasn't ambition. It was a weakness: she was insecure and needed acceptance that it was clear throughout the book she wasn't going to gain from the one person she wanted it from. And Sydney wanted so badly to show Zoe that none of those things are important, but it was nearly impossible for her to do because Zoe has been so brainwashed. I just really hated their relationship. Mainly because they both desperately wanted to have a great sisterly relationship, but neither of them could get there because they couldn't make the other understand. Well, mostly Sydney. She had to hide her true self and that caused so many problems with the two of them. I know that a lot of Zoe's attitude and personality came from her upbringing, but Sydney went through that same upbringing and didn't turn out as bad as Zoe. During one of my goodreads status updates about the book, I called Zoe a bitch. And I meant it. She is one. There's no denying that.


Okay, rant about Zoe is over. But now I'm going to talk about how much I hated her father. He was callous, and cruel and showed no sign of emotion whatsoever, even to his own daughters. In fact, at one point he says to Sydney: You look like you've gained some weight too, so it's smart to back off. All of Sydney's insecurities about her weight suddenly makes so much sense. It's her fathers fault. He pretty much called her fat, and clearly he's always been like that if she's had so much trouble eating her whole life. After that comment Zoe made sure not to get anything fattening either which just shows even more that Zoe is desperate for his approval. Gosh he makes me sick. Every time Sydney talks to him he makes me angry. I really hope he's put in his place and SOON.


In the beginning of The Fiery Heart, there was a significant amount of info dumping. I mean, for several chapters I felt like I was basically reading a summary of what had happened previously and a lot of explanations as to what dhampirs, Moroi, Strigoi, Alchemists and the Warriors are. I don't know anything about writing books or book marketing and such, but I feel like if someone is reading the fourth book in a series, and a spin-off series at that, they probably already know all of that stuff. At the very least it could have been explained in a different way, like showing it rather than saying "such and such is this and such and such is that". It didn't blend with the story well. After all the info dumping, the story went so much smoother. I really loved reading about Sydney and Adrian's relationship from both points of view. I absolutely adored being inside Adrian's head! It's no secret I'm a huge Adrian fan. I have been since the first time I met him in the Vampire Academy series. I would have definitely chosen Adrian had I been Rose, but I do think that Sydney and Adrian make such a great couple so I'm glad she didn't choose him.


One thing I was thrilled to discover while reading The Fiery Heart is that the story is finally back on track with all the learning about why Strigoi turned back into their respective "species" (I'm going to call them that for lack of a better word! Lol) can't turn back into a Strigoi, and what Sydney's blood has to do with it. I even have it in my notes about how happy I was. None of that was present in The Indigo Spell, which I kind of understand now that I've continued on with the story. It was all about magic and finding Marcus and Sydney had to come to terms with her magical abilities and be completely okay with it. And she had to learn about a few things before she could truly fight back against the Alchemists and know in her heart that they were in the wrong, not her. However, I still think that a complete absence of the key elements in the story line was a huge deal. They should have at least been mentioned. Luckily we learn a lot about each of those topics, as well as what's been going on at Court. My favorite VA characters made a few appearances in this one and I really liked that, although I hated that Adrian couldn't show them all how much he's changed and why. I really like the person Adrian has become and I hope that what happened at the end of The Fiery Heart doesn't force him back into his old ways.


Speaking of the ending... HOLY CRAP. I am so eager to get Silver Shadows in my hands!! I'm absolutely dying to find out what happens next and I really hope that it is in a dual point of view as well. I think it was a very good choice to add Adrian's voice into the mix. I'm so excited to continue on with the Bloodlines series and after reading The Fiery Heart, I really think Richelle really stepped up her game.


I rate this book:

The Bloodlines Series


Silver Shadows is expected to be published July 29th, 2014


Author

About Richelle Mead

Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She's a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.
Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


Quotes

But really, I just had to face the truth: My boyfriend was insanely sexy, vampire or not, and I couldn't keep my hands off him.

"It's Adrian Ivashkov logic. Don't try to understand it. Just roll with it."

It was nice to see one woman finally immune to that accent. That wasn't to say Rose wasn't a sucker for accents. She just preferred hers from the other side of Europe.

We were on the verge of one of the biggest breakthroughs in our race's history, and everyone was looking to me to figure it out. Me! What were they thinking? I was no genius like Sydney. I was just a slacker guy who fought the temptation of his liquor cabinet every day and couldn't finish The Great Gatsby.

"Did you know," she said, "that it's a lot harder to put organs back in the body than it is to get them out?"
I closed my eyes and silently counted to five before opening them again. "Please tell me you haven't eviscerated someone."

"I had an accident." That seemed to snap Trey from his daze, and a smile curved his lips. Whereas Angeline's antics made me want to pull out my hair sometimes, he found them endearing.
"That seems to happen a lot," he said.
"It wasn't my fault," she insisted.
"It never is."
"I just have bad luck."
"Or you're just trouble."
"You got a problem with that?"
"No problem at all," he said in a low voice.

"Easy there, Lancelot," Adrian said. "I don't think bowing is required when she's in jeans and bunny slippers."