ARC Review: Dirty Little Secret

June 17, 2013

Dirty Little Secret
Author:  Jenifer Echols
Series: Standalone
Publisher: MTV Books
Release Date:July 16th,2013
Source: Via Edelweiss 
Thank you so much for providing me with a copy to review!


Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

Jennifer Echols has always been one of my favorite authors. This is because after reading her books I get such a feeling of just relief and happiness for all of the characters. When reading one of her books, I am always so immersed; I read it in one sitting. Also, her books are always short and fun stories to read in-between other novels. However, this one was a lot longer and just made it so much better, than the rest, but I still wish it would have been longer!

Bailey has always traveled the world with her sister to blue grass festivals since she was little and always was a duo. Until one day, a producer signs her sister and decides that he just wants her sister and not the duo. First of all this doesn’t sound bad at first right? Well, gets worse because than she is pretty much exiled from her family and her parents don’t even care that she’s just lost her dream. This is really bad parenting in my opinion. I mean come on who does that to their child. Anyway, she starts to rebel and her parents decided to create all these new rules. Rules that are so stupid and inconsiderate to Bailey – she is banned from playing music.

Bailey struggles at the beginning of this book because her family won’t even talk to her. Her grandfather might have been the one shining star in her life throughout this book because he gets her a job at the mall. This job at the mall starts it all because this is where she meets the hot, heart breaking, Sam. Sam *Sigh just saying his name makes my mind do flips. Sam and Bailey have a really good connection. Not too long after meeting, Bailey is faced with the hardest decision yet. Should join his band or continue to live under the rules of her, not so great, parents.

I have to say this book was all about country music and I love country music. This aspect of the book just made the book come to life. I can honestly say that as much as I love country music and know about country music, I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about it that really shocked me.

 Sam was your supper hot, heart breaking, lead singer and guitarist. While, Bailey is a teenager trying to find her way back home – the music industry. Sam, I just want to say his name over and over again. Sam is a person who hides his feelings. He is very confident until, you get to know him. In this book, Sam is a very Dynamic character because he has all these layers that you wouldn't expect from him. He’s faced with so many struggles throughout his life that your heart aches for him and you can’t help, but love him; even when you want to be mad at him. Sam’s intentions were always good, but because of the things that happen in this story, you might not always think so until the end.  Thinking of Sam makes me want to go re-read this because while he wasn’t the main character he defiantly caught my heart.

Bailey, shocked me throughout this whole book. I loved her transitions throughout the story because they were just amazing. She finally decided to live her life how she wanted and stopped being jealous and bitter towards her sister. 

I have to admit, I loved this book with all my heart and I had some favorite scenes that made me laugh and made my heart flutter. While, there were other scenes that had me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next.

In the end, this book captured my heart 100%. The country music and great dynamic characters in this book will capture everyone who reads it. Even if you’re not of fan of country, you better go put your cowboy\cowgirl boots on and go read this because I promise you, you will fall in love. You might even learn a few things about country music. 

|Review|Game On by Monica Seles

June 13, 2013

Game On by Monica Seles

Series: The Academy
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Source: Review copy provided from publishers
 * Thanks so much! I enjoyed this book so much.

The Academy is an International Sports Mecca for teen athletes of all sports. There are only two ways in. Deep pockets or enough talent to score a scholarship.

Young tennis star Maya's dreams have finally come true when she earns a scholarship to The Academy. Plucked from her small town, Maya moves to the sports training facility/boarding school to (hopefully) start the beginning of her pro career. But Maya's fantasy of The Academy doesn't quite match the reality. Because where there are hot, talented teens, there's a lot of drama. Meet the players:

Cleo: Maya's rebel/punk roommate who is nearing the top of the golf world.
Renee: The gorgeous swimmer with enough money to buy her way into The Academy.
Nicole: A tennis star who feels threatened by Maya (but she'd never admit it).
Travis: The son of The Academy owner--perfectly groomed to be the next NFL star.
Jake: Travis' younger brother--the bad boy to his brother's good.

At the Academy nothings as it appears to be... or is it? 

Maya is a tennis player desiring to make her dream come true -- to go to the Academy and make it pro, but the Academy isn't all it appears to be. Maya is a relate able character that tries to find the best in people and is focused on her dream. When first arriving she meets her new roommate, Cleo, a spunky, Asian, golf player trying to make it big in hopes of providing for her family back home and making an impact of the image of golfers. Maya soon finds out that accomplishing her dream isn't as easy as she thought it would be. At the Academy, everything is based on how much money you have and stereotypes. Can Maya break through that and accomplish her dream? Will she fall in love with Travis, the sweet, loving guy who is hot and the quarterback of the football team or his brother Jake, a guy who is just opposite from his brother in everything he does. Oh and did I mention, their dad's the owner of the Academy. How will Maya hold up in the tough world of the Academy?

Maya is a regular girl that is thrown into this new world without a clue of the social structure of this Academy. She finds out rather quick that everything is based on how much money you have and that she's a nobody until she makes it big. Maya is a girl that is trying to find her place at the Academy along with trying to make friends and how to handle the guys. I really started to dislike the academy because everything is so stereotypical that nothing seemed unique about this book. The question that came to mind was, is this really how this book is going to be? My question was soon answered later with a no.

One character I quite adore is Cleo. She is, like I said before, a spunky Asian. I just couldn't get enough of her. When you think of a golf player you think a man or women who is calm and collected, but they all dress alike. (Forgive me I just went to a golf tournament.) Cleo is the opposite of your normal,calm and collected golf player. She is unique and defiantly pushes the limits on these standards of golf players and I love that because she is testing the boundaries on her society.

This story has so many ups and downs, secrets, and betrayals that I am dying to write about! You do not know how bad I want reveal it! It's so hard to write this review because at one point I really loved some characters, but now that i've read the whole book, my opinion on them has completely change and I'm not sure how to feel yet. However, I know that this book is destined to keep you on your toes trying to figure out what is going to happen next in this love triangle and who you have to watch your back against.  There were so many characters I grew fond of and some of them proved to be worthy of that fondness. While others, proved to be just who I thought they secretly were!

In The Academy: Game On the Academy is turned upside down! Characters who you think you know and love just might not turn out to be who they appear to be.In a world of lies and desiccate there is only so much you can do before you get burned.After reading this, I want more! I can't wait for the second one and for some characters to finally get what they deserve!!

The Academy: Game On is a book that tests the boundaries on friendships,relationships,and how far you are willing to go and change for your dream.Will Maya make it at the Academy? 

Be sure to find out by reading :) 

ARC Review: Famous Last Words by Jennifer Doktorski

June 3, 2013

Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Henry Holt and Co,288
Release Date: July 2nd,2013

Sixteen-year-old Samantha D’Angelo has death on the brain. Her summer internship at the local newspaper has her writing obituaries instead of soaking up the sun at the beach. Between Shelby, Sam’s boy-crazy best friend; her boss Harry, a true-blue newspaper man; and AJ, her fellow “intern scum” (aka the cute drummer for a band called Love Gas), Sam has her hands full. But once she figures out what—or who—is the best part of her summer, will she mess it all up?F
As Sam learns her way around both the news room and the real world, she starts to make some momentous realizations about politics, ethics, her family, romance, and   most important—herself.

This book had me from the very first couple of sentences from the summary. I am currently taking a journalism class, which is pretty much writing in the school newspaper and yearbook, and just a story about a teenage student who writes just intrigued me.! Who knew this story would turn out to be so much more than that and so scandalous, but so sweet at the same time!

Sam, Samantha, is the main character in this story and might I add that she is an amazing writer. Sam has a summer internship at the local newspaper which sound awesome right? Except that she's writing the obituaries instead of a lead story. The thing about Sam is that she doesn't care what she's writing as long as she's writing. Her friend,Shelby, may tease her and say her jobs lame and that she's not living her life .. etc, but Sam doesn't care because she's doing what she loves and does best -- writing. This is what I love about Sam she doesn't really care what others think about her as long as she's doing something she enjoys, she could care less and I really connect to her because of that. 

As the story progresses, Shelby just starts to annoy the living hell out of me. I hate saying it, but she really does. She calls Sam all the time wants her to do things out of her comfort zone,Sam feels bad, goes and Shelby then, always, leaves her alone to do nothing. She also whines and complains a lot to because Sam is always working instead of hanging out with her. I don't really see how her and Sam are best friends -- they are nothing a like with no common interest and they are always fighting.I understand how best friends are and how sometimes we have friends that bring out the best in us because we are to shy, but Shelby just didn't do that for me and I couldn't connect to her character at all.

Throughout this story there is a mystery element that I really enjoyed. Being an intern, Sam doesn't really get to experience much besides making phone calls to the people who's died families. So when she finally gets a good,mystery, case to work with, I jump out of my seat for joy and then hurry up and sit back down for the ride because there was a lot of twist and turns to this fun mystery. I felt like I was kind of watching or reading Nancy Drew and I liked that a lot. 

Another thing I didn't see coming, though it is in the summary, is the romance part of this story. There is just so many things going on throughout this story -- Sam trying to find herself and who she is, her trying to solve the mystery, making new friends who are just like her & getting closer to her family, that I just didn't expect it.  

Sam really struggles throughout this story with herself. Sam is normally the shy girl who just has always been Shelby's shadow. She is finally making friends that actually have common interest with her and the guy who becomes her love interest is the guy you never would have expected because they've always been friends. I did, however, see it coming because I guess I read to many contemporary stories, but it was slow and progressive! I don't hate insta- love, but I like a story better when it doesn't have ista-love because I like getting to see the characters fall in love with each other and you really get to see that in this story and that makes me love it even more. 

With this being said, the ending was amazing and breathtaking. I didn't want it to stop! In fact, I wish it would have been longer because I really connected with Sam and the person she became and was. 

If you like contemporary stories with a little Nancy Drew this is the story for you and I promise you Sam-I-Am will leave you laughing,inspired, and in love with her and her secret guy ;) 
So don't miss out!