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Review: Deceptive Cadence by Katie Hamstead

Title: Deceptive Cadence

Author: Katie Hamstead

Published: June 2015

Length: 323 pages (eBook)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Source: YA Bound Book Tours

My Rating: ❤❤❤

(from Goodreads)

Cadence Anderson has the perfect definition of happily ever after . . .

Until she doesn’t. A freak earthquake shatters her life as surely as her home, taking away everything she holds dear. She wakes in a hospital to find that her beloved husband and infant daughter have been killed, crushed by the earthquake’s wrath. Disoriented, injured, and alone, Cadence refuses to accept the loss. So when a man claiming to be her guardian angel appears and offers her a chance to go back in time to save her family, she doesn’t need to give it a second thought. She accepts.

Thrust back eleven years, she now faces the ordeal of high school all over again. But this time, she’s armed with all the knowledge of her adult life and the determination to do everything better, from preventing the loss of her best friend to avoiding her original, drama-inducing boyfriends. She’s focused solely on Austin, her future husband, and is content to bide her time until she meets him again.

But then James Gordon crosses her path. Cadence wants to remain single, but James has his sights set. He is determined to win her over, and he’s very hard to resist. As Cadence starts to develop unwanted feelings for him, she realizes he threatens to disrupt everything, changing the future and distracting her from her original goal. Now, Cadence must choose: deny the unpredictable and exciting path James offers her, or stay true to the life she had and is trying desperately to resurrect. Second chances are more complicated than they seem.

Deceptive Cadence combines the soaring emotion of a heartfelt romance with the innovative storytelling of magical realism, crafting a uniquely moving, intricate tale about love and loss that asks: what would you do if given the chance to right all your wrongs?

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I’m so bad. I got a review copy of this book over a year ago. Somehow, it got lost in my stack of review eBooks, and I just completely forgot to read it. Once again, I was looking for a book to cover my Monthly Keyword Challenge for February (it being May now, I obviously failed that), and I came across this book. I instantly felt bad that I didn’t read it when I should have, but then I got excited because I remember it sounding amazing! I get easily burned out with the same predictable plot lines, so this one definitely intrigued me.

WHAT I LIKED

The concept. Omg. I love it. Your husband and daughter die in a freak accident, and you get to go back in time to relive the past 11 years to try and prevent it from happening?! Yes! So many possibilities! So many possible outcomes! I just couldn’t stop reading. And I loved the fact that she was able to see what happened in the first timeline and then how things changed in the second timeline because of the different decisions she made. It’s the ultimate what if? game turned into real life. Awesome!

The beginning. I was literally crying within the first 10 pages. I didn’t think that was possible. This author somehow gave me all the feels IN 10 PAGES! Now that is pure talent. And I don’t mean one little tear. I was in tears for a good 10 minutes. I had to put the book down. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom, and seeing a mom lose her baby girl was just heartbreaking. I couldn’t believe what this book did to me in such a short amount of time. Crazy.

Cadence and James’ relationship. It was real. It grew gradually, from puppy love to the real thing. I love how Cadence gave him a chance even though she knew she would most likely end up with someone else. I love how James changed so much and just wanted to be a better person for her. I felt like I was watching two kids grow up together, learning how to live and love. It was refreshing, to be honest. I’m so tired of the insta-love thing. This was exactly what I needed.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

The fact that it’s so hard for her to make the ultimate decision. Okay, here’s the thing. (And I’m not giving anything away here. It’s all in the book blurb.) She is happily married with a beautiful daughter. She goes back in time and falls in love with someone else. That’s all fine and dandy. No, really. It is. I love it. BUT, when it comes to making the decision about whether to be with the new guy or your future husband who gives you your daughter, I don’t think the decision should be that hard. Maybe it’s just me, but here is how I look at it. If you choose the new guy, YOUR DAUGHTER DOES NOT EXIST! How can you live with yourself if you choose a life where your child does not exist?! Personally, I have a daughter, and I’m going through an ugly divorce now. If I could go back, even if I met the perfect guy, I wouldn’t change a thing. My daughter is my everything. Even if her dad is a complete ass, I still would’ve chosen to meet him and marry him, just to have her. Just my opinion, I guess…

The pace. At times, mostly in the middle of the book and the last quarter of it, I just felt like nothing was happening. The pace got super slow sometimes, and I got just a bit irritated. Perhaps it was just a little longer than it had to be.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

I liked it. I really did. There were so many positives about this book. It was very unique. I haven’t read anything like it. But I think the length of the book and the “difficult” decision just threw me off. So I have mixed feelings, which makes me have to go right smack dab in the middle for my rating.

3 out of 5 Hearts!


(This was part of why I cried so hard in the beginning…)
“How can I go on without you? You’re the calm to my crazy. I didn’t even know what love was until you. Please, please, don’t be dead.”

(I love how protective Cadence’s dad is!)
“It better be over, or I’m going to go down to that school to castrate him and anyone else who looks at you!”


(from Goodreads)

Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush,” and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.

After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughters, and their dogs.

She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing.

When her debut novel, Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, climbed into bestselling status, she believed she was onto something, and now has a slew of novels available, and is published through Curiosity Quills Press, Soul Mate Publishing, and REUTS Publishing.

Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports, and be a good wife and mother. She now works as an office lady at an elementary school to help support her family. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.

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Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway – Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Welcome to the I Heart Fictional People’s Dating the It Guy blog tour stop! This tour is hosted by YA Bound Book Tours! So sorry this is late! If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I have had some technical difficulties ever since I was forced to change my domain name. Apparently, scheduling blog posts falls under the technical difficulties category as well. And I’ve been away from home for the weekend working my butt off, so I haven’t had a chance to fix it. Finally, here I am. So check out my review! And we all love giveaways, right? 🙂

Title: Dating the It Guy

Author: Krysten Lindsay Hager

Published: March 21st, 2017

Length: 243 pages (eBook)

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: YA Bound Book Tours (for honest review)

My Rating: ❤❤❤

Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I’ve been wanting to join a blog tour since I came back to the blogging world, and when I saw this cover, I just knew I had to read this book. I absolutely love it. It’s gorgeous and instantly drew me in. And of course, I was curious about the plot of the book as well. Dating the IT guy? Intriguing.

WHAT I LIKED

Emme. I LOVE this girl. She is completely relatable. I found myself marking pages and making notes with just a simple “Yes!” because I just knew exactly how she felt or could relate to her thoughts or her little quirks. A lot of the time, the female main character just annoys me throughout the book, but Emme didn’t. She stayed realistic, and I genuinely cared about her and wanted to see what happened to this new friend of mine 🙂

It was funny! Omg. I was laughing so hard. Some parts just had me dying. And the best part was that it was done so seamlessly. It wasn’t like the author was trying too hard to be humorous and it was super obvious. It just came naturally. Krysten Lindsay Hager, I love your sense of humor!

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

Margaux. Okay, I tried to give this girl a chance. I really did. She’s one of Emme’s friends, so I wanted to like her. BUT she irritated me SO MUCH. She just seemed super selfish and self-absorbed and couldn’t be positive or happy for her friends. And maybe this is realistic because we all know people like this, but I just couldn’t stand her, and I was practically yelling at Emme to not take this crazy girl’s advice on boys.

The second half of the book. “Didn’t like” is too strong for this part. I guess I’ll say that I wasn’t as impressed with the last half of the book as I was with the first half. I was really into the first half. I read it super fast, and I couldn’t put it down. Then I reached a point where it kind of seemed to drag on a bit, and it lost its humor a little, and it kind of became just another book for me.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

If I was judging just the first half of the book, I would’ve given it 4 hearts, but the last half affected my opinion of the book unfortunately. However, I did like it, and I will definitely check out the author’s other books. Ultimately, if an author can make me care about a character and also have me laughing hysterically at the same time, then I’m a fan!

3 out of 5 Hearts!


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Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is also the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series (True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, and the soon to be released, Landry in Like) and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

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 Reading Challenges Met

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Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

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Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway – The Cupcake Witch by Poppy Lawless

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Welcome to the I Heart Fictional People’s The Cupcake Witch blog tour stop! This tour is hosted by YA Bound Book Tours!

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Title: The Cupcake Witch (The Chancellor Fairy Tales #2)

Author: Poppy Lawless

Published: November 24th, 2015 by Love Potion Books

Length: 98 pages (eBook)

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Source: Publisher via YA Bound Book Tours (for honest review)

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤

book blurb

(from Goodreads)

They say the course of true love never runs smooth.
That’s nothing a magical cupcake can’t solve.

Julie

Buttercream. Vanilla. Fondant. Dark chocolate. Brown sugar. Molasses. Baking has always been my true love, but it wasn’t until my mother’s death, and the unexpected inheritance of Serendipity Gardens, that my bliss called me. Bittersweet. But Serendipity Gardens has more to offer than just a potential shopfront. An unusual recipe box left to me by a distant relative might be the key to unlocking my dreams.

Too bad the most powerful family in Chancellor has plans that could turn those dreams to ruins—literally.

Too bad the son of that powerful family is just the kind of guy I’ve been looking for.

Horatio
I suppose being heir to the Hunter family’s Blushing Grape Winery should make me happy, but nothing could be further from the truth. With my mother gone, my father has taken me under his wing, and I despise everything about the way he does business. Sour grapes, indeed. Instead of raising money for charitable causes, my true passion, I’m chasing my father’s manifest destiny.

Too bad his dream includes paving paradise.

Too bad the property owner is the sweetest woman I’ve ever met.

The Cupcake Witch is a stand-alone sweet romance and book 2 of The Chancellor Fairy Tales series.

my review

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I absolutely loved the title and the cover. It sounded and looked like a cute fantasy that I just had to read. And of course, reading the blurb and seeing that a guy was involved made me want to read it even more.

WHAT I LIKED

The message. Both Julie and Horatio have never really followed their own dreams because of their parents. Their parents wanted different things for them, so they have always chosen to please them instead of themselves. Finally, they realize that they need to follow their own dreams, no matter what their parents or anyone else thinks. And I think that is a great message. We all have dreams. And we all have to deal with people and their opinions about those dreams. But no matter what, we should go after our dreams and do what we are passionate about. Sorry to go all after-school special on you, but it’s true! And I like that this book addresses that.

The characters. I loved every single one of them, even Horatio’s hard-headed father. Julie is driven and not afraid to go after what she wants. Horatio is ambitious but also very sweet and caring. And I loved the other characters too, especially Tootie, Violet, and Betty. Those ladies reminded me of the aunts in Practical Magic. LOVE THEM.

The plot. Girl, who may or may not be a witch, wants to be a baker and inherits very cute building. Boy needs building to tear it down and make it into a parking lot for his father’s new restaurant. Boy meets girl. Things change. Love the idea of this. Cute and intriguing all at the same time.

The writing. I had never read anything by Poppy Lawless before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I just have to say that she is amazing. I love the writing style! I want more!

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

The pace. Okay, there were a few issues I had, like the lack of background info about the characters or not enough witch stuff, but it all comes down to the pace. It was way too quick for me. There wasn’t enough time for all that stuff. I know it’s a novella, but it all just happened way too fast for me to care about the characters or get really invested in the book. This really would have been the PERFECT book if it was a full-length novel.

Horatio’s name. I’m sorry, but I just don’t like it. I did, however, love the fact that Julie agreed with me: “Who in the world names their kid Horatio these days?” Lol.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

I really, really liked this book, and I would have given it five very well-deserving hearts if it was longer. It had everything! Unforgettable characters, perfect plot, some awesome magic, a cute romance. But, it just felt rushed. That being said, I would definitely recommend reading this. I’m starting to think that I’m just not a novella-type reader. All in all, this book is really good, and I look forward to reading more by this amazing author.

four hearts

4 out of 5 Hearts!


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about the author

Romance author. Cupcake connoisseur. Certified herbalist. Beach bum. Fan of all things Starbucks. Holistic healing advocate. Surfer girl wanna-be. Lost guru. Maker of dandelion wine. Counselor. Paranormal buff. Etsy addict. Secretly Jedi. So not a geek girl. Gifted in sarcasm. Hot wife. Ninja mom. And now, I’m ready to share a whole head full of witty, mouthy, smart, lovely, heart-warming, and hot characters with the world. Are you ready?

Poppy Lawless is the author of the forthcoming series Love & Chocolate releasing in 2015 and The Glass Mermaid. Poppy holds degrees in English and Psychology. She is a counselor in the field of mental health and is a trained herbalist. Poppy’s new series blends the best of romance with a Practical Magic or contemporary Bewitched appeal.

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Reading Challenges Met:

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Bookish Bingo: Holiday 2015

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The Mad Reviewer Reading Challenge

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway – Ascenders by C.L. Gaber

Welcome to the I Heart Fictional People’s Ascenders blog tour stop! This tour is hosted by YA Bound Book Tours!

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Title: Ascenders

Author: C.L. Gaber

Published: April 20th, 2015 by Big Picture Media

Length: 372 pages (eBook)

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance

Source: Publisher via YA Bound Book Tours (for honest review)

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤

book blurb

(from Goodreads)

Walker Callaghan doesn’t know what happened to her. One minute she was living her teenage life in suburban Chicago…and the next minute, she was in a strange place and in a brand new school with absolutely no homework, no rules, and no consequences.

Walker Callaghan, 17, is dead.

She doesn’t go to heaven or hell. She lands at The Academy, a middle realm where teenagers have one thing in common: They were the morning announcement at their high schools because they died young.

These high school kids are now caught in a strange “in-between” zone where life hasn’t changed very much. In fact, this special teen limbo looks a lot like life in a quaint Michigan town complete with jocks, popular girls and cliques. “There are even cheerleaders in death,” Walker observes. It’s not a coincidence that the music teacher is a guy named Kurt who “used to have this band.” The drama teacher, Heath, is crush worthy because back in his life, he starred in some superhero movie.

Principal King explains the rules — there are none. Why? You can’t die twice.

There is no homework.
No tests.
No SATS.
You’re just there to learn because the human brain isn’t fully formed until you’re 24.

By the way, you can’t get hurt physically, so race your Harley off that hillside. But falling in love is the most dangerous thing you can do …because no one knows how long you’ll stay in this realm or what’s next.

“Losing someone you love would be like dying twice,” Walker says.

* * * * * *
Walker Callaghan has just arrived at the Academy after a tragic car accident. “Is this heaven or is this high school?” she asks.

She finds out her new life is a bit of both as she falls in love with tat-covered, bad boy Daniel Reid who is about to break the only sacred rule of this place. He’s looking for a portal to return back to the living realm.

He needs just one hour to retrieve his younger brother who strangely never arrived at The Academy. Bobby is an Earth Bound Spirit, stuck at a plane crash site that took both of their lives as their rich father piloted his private jet nose-first into a cornfield on Christmas Eve.

Walker loves Daniel and risks it all to go with him.

Have they learned enough to outsmart dangerous forces while transporting a young child with them? Can their love survive the fragmented evil parts of themselves that are now hunting them down as they try to find a way back to the middle?

At the Academy, you learn the lessons of an after-lifetime.

my review

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I saw the cover and was immediately intrigued. It’s mysterious and creepy. I love it. Then I read on the bottom of the cover: “High school for the recently departed.” I was hooked. I have definitely never read anything about high schools for dead kids. I had to read this. Plus, it looks like a bit of a romance. Count me in!

WHAT I LIKED

The romance. Walker and Daniel. I absolutely loved their relationship. It starts out rocky because Daniel clearly likes to be left alone and doesn’t want anything to do with Walker. But Walker is persistent, and they end up being sort of friends, which eventually turns into something more. I love the gradual growth of their relationship. I love that he slowly lets her in. I love that they need each other, even when they don’t realize it. I just LOVED them. And I want to see more!

Unique plot. First you got the main part of the story: everyone at this school is dead, and they’re caught in between, like a limbo-sort-of place. Then, you have Walker, who meets Daniel, who is trying to get back to life to save his younger brother. Awesome. Love, love, loved it. It’s probably the happiest I’ve ever been to read about dead people. This is so unlike anything I have ever read, so I was on the edge of my seat.

The family bonds. This had me feeling all the feels. Walker’s relationship with her mom. Daniel’s relationship with his siblings. It was all so heartbreakingly wonderful. In a world where there could be so much heartache and sadness, the love that these people have for each other is incredible. Sorry, I don’t mean to get all sappy, but it got to me. C.L. Gaber did an awesome job.

The deceased celebrities! Ahh! Can you imagine going to a school where Kurt Cobain is your music teacher, Heath Ledger is your drama teacher, and Walter Payton is your coach?! Being dead may not be so bad after all! Of course, it got me a little teary-eyed reading about all of them, especially Heath. He was one of my favorite actors, and his death still gets to me. But, it was really nice to see him and the rest as characters in this book. Plus, it was done so well. I loved it.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

Hmm. I didn’t give this book 5 hearts because there was just something that bugged me, and I just can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it was the high school stereotypes or the constant references to a particular character’s weight or everyone making fun of Walker’s name (which got old). These were all very minor issues and did not ruin the book for me, but I guess it kept me from feeling that “OMG” feeling.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

Really good book! I want more. Like right now. It ended perfectly, but there was also a bit of a cliffhanger, and I just HAVE to know more. I’m so curious as to where this story is going to go. And now that I have heard that there are two more books in the series, I’m so upset that I have to wait, but at the same time, I’m ecstatic that I get to read more about these awesome people! I will be impatiently waiting for books 2 and 3!!!

four hearts

4 out of 5 Hearts!


buy links

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about the author

C.L. Gaber is the author of the ASCENDERS SAGA and co author of Jex Malone. A well known entertainment journalist, she lives in Nevada with her husband Ron, bonus daughter Sabrina and two unruly dogs. ASCENDERS 2 is due out in early 2016.

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Reading Challenges Met:

Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

Around the World

Chapter Break Bookish Bingo

The Color Coded Reading Challenge

Full House Reading Challenge

Literary Pickers Challenge

The Mad Reviewer Reading Challenge

Story Sprites

Cover Reveal: Touching Fate by Brenda Drake

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I am super excited to be part of the cover reveal for Brenda Drake’s Touching Fate! Not only does the book sound awesome, but I am also LOVING this cover. So, without further ado…

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Touching Fate

by Brenda Drake

Release Date: 10/13/15

Entangled Teen: Crave

Summary from Goodreads:

Aster Layne believes in physics, not psychics. A tarot card reading on the Ocean City Boardwalk should have been a ridiculous, just-for-fun thing. It wasn’t. Aster discovers she has a veryunscientific gift—with a simple touch of the cards, she can change a person’s fate.

Reese Van Buren is cursed. Like the kind of old-school, centuries-old curse that runs in royal families. Every firstborn son is doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday—and Reese’s is coming up fast. Bummer. He tries to distract himself from his inevitable death…only to find the one person who can save him.

Aster doesn’t know that the hot Dutch guy she’s just met needs her help–or that he’s about to die.

But worst of all…she doesn’t know that her new gift comes with dark, dark consequences that can harm everyone she loves.

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About the Author

brenda drakeBrenda Drake, the youngest of three children, grew up an Air Force brat and the continual new kid at schooluntil her family settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Brenda’s fondest memories growing up is of hereccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was onlyfitting that she would choose to write young adult and middle grade novels with a bend toward thefantastical. When Brenda’s not writing or doing the social media thing, she’s haunting libraries, bookstores,and coffee shops or reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

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