Thursday, February 28, 2019

#DeannaPlays: Spyro Reignited - Spyro The Dragon Review

Deanna Plays is a monthly feature on this blog where every third Thursday of the month I talk about something related to video games. Sometimes these are reviews of the games themselves, sometimes it's a list of books to read if you play X, and anything in between!

I've been busy working on my novel writing, so I have kind of been slacking on the blog, so this one is a whole week late! Today, is the start of a three-part review for Deanna Plays where I'm going to talk about Spyro Reignited. Spyro Reignited is the remake of the original three Spyro games, but today I'm talking about the first game Spyro The Dragon!

Monday, February 25, 2019

#AudiobookReview: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Format: Audiobook narrated by Carly Robins
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic
I'm not really one who reads a lot of adult romance books, mostly because I prefer "fade to black" romances, but this book had been recommended a lot so I thought I would give it a try. The concept is almost like a reverse Pretty Woman, so I kind of dug it.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

#AudiobookReview: I'll Give you The Sun By Jandy Nelson Narrated by Julia Whelan & Jesse Bernstein

I'll Give you The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Brillance Audio
Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Format: Audiobook narrated by Julia Whelan & Jesse Bernstein
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
The New York Times Bestselling story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, Jenny Offill, Emma Straub, and Rainbow Rowell

“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”

At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. 

Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. 

The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world. 

This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once. 
Okay, I'm like low-key obsessed with boy and girl twins, they are kind of my thing. In my current WIP the main characters has a twin brother, so this was like the perfect book for me. I also like the concept of twins being at odds with each other. I like subverting the idea that twins are attached at the hip and do everything together, because they are individuals and have their own thoughts and feelings about things. It was really cool to see how Noah and Jude grapple with their conflict via the past and present narrative in this story.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

#ARCReview: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Romanov by Nadine Brandes
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
Format: egalley*
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov.
The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.
Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.
Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are either to release the spell and deal with the consequences, or to enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .
That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.
I was super excited when I got access to Romanov by Nadine Brandes. I haven't read this author before, but I was kind of obsessed with the Russian Royal Family in high school, so I thought this was a perfect book for me. I am fascinated by the Romanovs and all the secrets they hold, and I was kind of obsessed with the idea that Anastasia escaped and lived her life on her terms. Even though know we know that her and Alexei were just buried somewhere else. This book seemed like a perfect fit for me, but in the end I felt just "okay" about it.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

#ARCREVIEW: Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee By Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 26th, 2019
Format: egalley*
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
From the Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent Kingcomes a contemporary novel about two best friends who must make tough decisions about their futures–and the TV show they host–in their senior year of high school.

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show’s guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder. 

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he’ll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous…and momentous.

I've never read any of Jeff Zentner's other books, but I am a sucker for contemporary reads, so I thought this one would be a great book to read. I thought this one would be a funny read, and it was, but it also dealt with a lot of seriousness, like loss and abandonment. It was a pretty interesting read all around, and I definitely recommend it if you like books that know how to be both funny and serious.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

#Review: Just one of the Boys by Leah and Kate Rooper (Chicago Falcons #1)

Just one of the Boys by Leah and Kate Rooper
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Release Date: October 2nd, 2017
Format: Kindle
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Alice Bell has one goal: to play for the elite junior hockey team the Chicago Falcons.But when she’s passed over at tryouts for being a girl, she’ll do anything to make her dream a reality...even disguising herself as her twin brother. With her amazing skills on the ice, Alice is sure she’ll fit in easily. That is, until she starts falling for one of her teammates...
Hayden Tremblay, star of the Falcons, can’t keep himself out of the penalty box. Constantly living in the shadow of his older brother, Hayden’s losing his passion for hockey. But when he gets shown up on the ice by the Falcons’ new rookie, Hayden’s determined to teach the kid a thing or two. Little does he guess that “Al’s” surprises on the ice are just the beginning...
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush title proves that wonderful things can happen when you’re brave enough to go after your dream. Dream hockey player, that is! Warning--a few locker room scenes are included.
Um...where has this book been all my life? This is definitely the type of book I have been looking to read for a long time. Girls that play hockey, boys who are completely clueless with a real She's the Man feel to it, this book was awesome! If anything about the interests you, I would definitely recommend this book to you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

#Review: Tied up in You by Erin Fletcher (All Laced up #2)

Tied Up In You by Erin Fletcher
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Release Date: July 10th, 2017
Format: Kindle
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Everyone says hotshot goalie Luke Jackson is God’s gift to girls, but the only girl he wants is his best friend, Malina Hall. He’s always known how brilliant she is, but now that he’s “accidentally” kissed her, he can’t stop thinking about her…or wanting to kiss her again.

Problem is, things have been a little…awkward since the kiss. Because she likes him, too? Hopefully, but even if she did, their futures—and the ridiculous schedules that come with them—are in the way. And now one of his teammates is showing interest, and the guy has more in common with Malina than Jackson ever will.

As her best friend, Jackson should get out of the way. But if there’s one thing he’s learned from hockey, it’s that you have to go for what you want, even if it means falling flat on your face. And he’s definitely falling for Malina.

Disclaimer: This book contains a hot hockey player who goes after what he wants, a super-hot, super-distracting shirtless workout, and the kind of best friends to lovers romance every girl in the friend zone has dreamed of.
Tied up in You by Erin Fletcher is a companion novel to All Laced Up, but you can read this one without having read the first book. The characters in the first book appear, but you don't necessarily need to know anything that happened in the first book to enjoy this one. I love series like that, and if you haven't noticed it's kind of the type of books I have been flocking to lately.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

#Review: Winging It By Cate Cameron (Corrigan Falls Raiders #3)

Winging It (Corrigan Falls Raiders #3) By Cate Cameron
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Release Date: May 16th, 2016
Format: Kindle
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, ice-melting kisses, and a swoon-worthy hero. This fake relationship romance will have you wishing for a hockey player of your own…
Natalie West and Toby Cooper were best friends growing up, on and off the ice. But when Toby’s hockey career took off, their friendship was left behind. Now Natalie has a crazy plan to land her crush—Toby’s biggest rival—and she needs Toby’s help to pull it off.
When Nat asks Toby to be her fake boyfriend, he can’t say no. Not when it means getting his best friend back. But Natalie is all grown up now, and spending time with her—even when it’s just playing hockey together—stirs up a lot of feelings, old and new. Suddenly pretending to be interested in her isn’t hard at all…if only she wanted him and not his enemy.
This book is the third in the Corrigan Falls Raiders series by Cate Cameron, but I feel like you can read Winging It, having not read Center Ice or Playing Defense. Although, if you have you will recognize some of the other characters in this book. I enjoyed this book a lot because it uses two romances tropes that I love -- best friends to lovers AND fake relationships!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

#Review: Playing Defense (Corrigan Falls Raiders #2) By Cate Cameron

Playing Defense (Corrigan Falls Raiders #2) By Cate Cameron
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Release Date: March 14th, 2016
Format: Kindle
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Sixteen-year-old Claudia Waring has never kissed a boy. Never been popular. Never been to a hockey game. All that’s about to change. Assigned to tutor Chris Winslow, a prank-loving, gorgeous hockey player, Claudia’s perfectly planned life immediately veers off course. And she kind of likes it. But as fun as Chris is, she knows she'll never fit in his world.

After his latest prank lands him in hot water, Chris has to get serious about school or lose hockey. Not an easy thing for someone as carefree as the defenseman. The biggest problem, though, is how much he wants to help his cute, buttoned-up tutor loosen up a little. But while confidence has never been a problem for him, around Claudia, Chris is all nerves. Why would a girl as smart as her ever fall for a jock like him?

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, swoon-worthy kisses, and sexy hockey players. It may cause you to watch a hockey game…or ten.
I read the first book in Cate Cameron's Corrigan Falls Raiders book Center Ice, and enjoyed it so I was pretty stoked to read the second book. I like the way this series is set up because it's more a companion novel that a direct sequel. Although it was cool to see that Tyler and Karen were still together and they play a huge part. Also, I loved the lovable goofball Chris in the first book that I was excited to read a book about his romance.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

#ARCReview: Right Girl Wrong Timing (Offsides #3) By Natalie Decker

Right Girl Wrong Timing
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: March 12th, 2019
Format: egalley*
My Rating: ★ 1/2
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Adaline Frost’s life officially sucks. Now that her BFF has found her true love, Addy is constantly stuck being the third wheel. On top of that, she hasn’t started her junior project yet, so her advisor pairs her up with what could only be described as the “Reject Breakfast Club.” Instead of the weirdo and the troublemaker, Addy is forced to work with two stoners, a popular girl, and her crush, Austin Reed, the jock who broke her heart.

Austin Reed is sick of being labeled “dumb jock.” If he doesn’t get an A on this project, he can kiss his future goodbye. Austin thought he’d gotten lucky being partners with the very nerdy Adaline Frost, but boy was he wrong. Addy jumps down his throat about his being late and calls him names like “manwhore” on the daily. She has no idea Austin works before and after school in order to help his mom with the bills. Yeah, he’s made mistakes and has had lots of girlfriends, but he doesn’t need Adaline Frost to remind him of it every time he sees her.

When I saw the description for this book, I thought it sounded right up my alley. I love a good contemporary romance, and enemies to lovers is a trope I enjoy. I hate to admit it, but this one just really missed the mark for me. It seemed like I could read this one without having read books one and two, but the book starts out explaining why Adaline and Austin are fighting, and it just felt like I missed some things. I think you can still read this one without reading the others, but I do think it makes it feel a little disjointed.

Monday, February 4, 2019

#DeannaListens: Women's Hockey Digest

Deanna Listens is a monthly feature on the first Monday of every month...err sometimes when I remember to do it, I created to showcase some of my favorite podcasts. 

This month, I'm talking about something a little different, because it's a non-book podcast. Shocking, I know. I'm getting back into being an active hockey watcher and I'm starting to get into the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) so I thought it was cool to discover that there is a podcast that interviews a lot of the badass women in the league. Today I'm talking about Women's Hockey Digest. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

January Wrap Up

Did January go by for everyone else as fast as it went for me? I wasn't as active on the blog as much as I wanted to be that month, but that's because I was writing more and got back into working on my book. Maybe one day I will get that book published. Who knows, but I'm going to try.

I looked back into what I had queried before and it was clear I was NOT ready to be published, and I'm not sure if I even am now, but my story feels completely different now. I'm still toying with the opening, and I'm not sure if I like it, like I might re-write it AGAIN. I gutted half the novel and re-wrote it and now I'm feeling a lot better about it. It still needs some work, but I feel like what I've actually written is much better than what I had before. Any progress is good, right?

Saturday, February 2, 2019

#Review: All Laced Up by Erin Fletcher

All Laced Up by Erin Fletcher
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Release Date: October 10th, 2016
Format: Kindle
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Everyone loves hockey superstar Pierce Miller. Everyone except Lia Bailey.
When the two are forced to teach a skating class to save the rink, Lia’s not sure she’ll survive the pressure of Nationals and Pierce’s ego. Not only can’t he remember her name, he signed her bottle of water like she was one of his groupies. Ugh.
But if there’s one thing Lia knows better than figure skating, it’s hockey. Hoping to take his ego down a notch—or seven—she logs into his team website under an anonymous name to give him pointers on his less-than-stellar playing.
Turns out, Pierce isn’t arrogant at all. And they have a lot in common. Too bad he’s falling for the anonymous girl online. No matter how much fun they’re starting to have in real life, she’s afraid he’s going to choose fake-Lia over the real one...
Disclaimer: This book contains a swoony hockey player (and his equally swoony friends!), one-too-many social media accounts, kisses that’ll melt ice, and a secret identity that might not be so secret after all...
I've mentioned that I'm working on a young adult romance novel that has to do with hockey, so I've been looking for comps. Entangled Teen's Crush imprint has definitely come in handy, so I've been reading a lot teen romance that has hockey in it somehow. So um...get used to it! I immediately bought Erin Fletcher's All Laced Up because it sounded so cute and it definitely did not disappoint!

Friday, February 1, 2019

#ARCReview: The Boyfriend Whisperer 2.0 by Linda Budzinski

The Boyfriend Whisperer 2.0
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Release Date: February 19th, 2019
Format: egalley*
My Rating: 
GoodReads ★ Amazon 

Alicea Springer was Boyfriend Whisperer Enterprises’ top success story. That is, until her dream date, Ty Walker, dumped her a week before prom. Now it’s senior year, and Alicea has taken over the business and given it an upgrade using an automated matchmaking program designed to help her classmates find their perfect match. 

Alicea has no interest in using the program herself. She already knows who her perfect match is … Ty. She doesn’t need an app to tell her that (or worse, match her up with someone else). In a moment of weakness, Alicea allows her friends to convince her to give the program a try. To her horror, it matches her with the last boy on earth she'd ever want to date — Darius Groves, the class deadbeat. 

When she and Darius are paired up for a class project, Alicie learns there's more to him than his bad reputation. But the more she spends time with Darius, the more she questions their match. They have so little in common. Why did her program match them? 

Can Alicea defy the odds and make a match of her own heart’s desire? Or will the matchmaker remained unmatched?
The Boyfriend Whisperer 2.0 is actually book two in a series, but I think you can read it fine as a standalone as well. I didn't read the first one, and I think it does a good job of filling in the gaps for you. You don't really need to know what happened in the first book to understand what is going on in this one. Although, I do think I'm going to go back and read the first book at a later date.