Monday, November 20, 2017

Sunday's with Sam - The Sunday Post

Sundays with Sam is a combination of Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

My Week in Review

I know, you're thinking, "Sam, it's Monday, not Sunday." This is true, but since I had a blog tour, I just moved my Sunday post by one day. Things will be back to normal next week. This week's discussion was quite interesting. We discussed yet another thing we love to hate: instalove. Most people were ok with the idea that there can be a spark, but people want to see the buildup and the relationship develop, while others were ok with it, especially when the book is a straight romance.

These announcements were EVERYwhere and I was excited:

On the Blog:

I was pretty excited about my acquisitions this week. I picked up so ebooks I had been wanting that were either free or deeply discounted, and the highlight, was being approved for Sophie Kinsella's new book. I am such a super-fan of her's, and am so excited to get the opportunity to read this book early.



Won from Goodreads
A post shared by Sam Kozbial (@kozbisa) on

What I Read Last Week

Another good reading week. I had two 4.5-star reads. One was a great mystery and the other was a hockey romance, which is kind of a surprise, as I don't usually give that high a rating to contemporary romances, but it was so good.
  • The Truth Beneath the Lies by Amanda Searcy: This was a great thriller, that pulled me in from page one. There were things I figured out, but there were some things I was NOT expecting. ★ 1/2
  • All About Mia by Lisa Williamson (audiobook): I enjoyed this complicated family story. Mia was living up to an image not defined by her, but rather for her, and it was great to work through her sister issues and find herself in the process. ★ 1/2
  • Any Way You Slice It by Kristine Carlson Asselin: This was a fun romance with hockey, reality TV, and pizza. ★ 1/2
  • Ready to Fall by Marcella Pixley: This was a really interesting exploration of grief, and I cried many tears - happy and sad. 
  • Run Away with Me by Mila Gray: A really good second chance romance, which had some OTT moments, but they served a purpose. The romance and friendship was quite wonderful, so it was easy to overlook. 
  • Slammed by Victoria Denault: Loved this one! It was a combination of the characters, the romance, and the story. It really worked for me, and has made Denault a new go-to for my hockey romances. ★ 1/2
  • Good and Gone by Megan Frazer Blakemore: Another complicated sibling story, which is worked out on a road trip. I went into this without really reading the synopsis carefully or any reviews, which I think was a good idea, because they reveal something that I feel had more weight because the reveal confirmed my suspicion. 

What I Am Currently Reading

I am listening to This is Not the End, which was a Can't-Wait Wednesday pick, and it is so interesting. It's technically SiFi, but it reads contemporary. There are some really weighty issues in this one, as the main character is grappling with the decision on who to use her resurrection on: her best friend or her boyfriend, who both died in a car accident she walked away from, or her brother, who was paralyzed after a climbing accident. I am currently reading another Can't-Wait Wednesday book, Foolish Hearts, and it is such  a "me" book. I  am loving it!

What I Plan to Read

I still have a few November ARCs, but decided to move on to the December ones, since there are not too many. I have heard good things about Meader's hockey book, so I am excited to read So Over You, and I just adore Stephanie Kate Strohm, therefore, I cannot wait to read Prince in Disguise.

How was your week?
Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Blog Tour: Not Now, Not Ever

Not Now, Not Ever
Lily Anderson
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer.

1. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer's going to be great.

Friday, November 17, 2017

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

I Never
Laura Hopper
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4  out of 5 stars
Janey King’s priorities used to be clear: track, school, friends, and family. But when seventeen-year-old Janey learns that her seemingly happy parents are getting divorced, her world starts to shift. Back at school, Luke Hallstrom, an adorable senior, pursues Janey, and she realizes that she has two new priorities to consider: love and sex.

Inspired by Judy Blume’s classic Forever, I Never features a perfect, delicious, almost-to-good-to-be-true high school relationship . . . and it doesn’t shy away from the details. Destined to be passed from teen to teen, this is a young adult debut that will get readers talking.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Love and Other Train Wrecks - Leah Konen

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for Love and Other Train Wrecks!

Love and Other Train Wrecks
Leah Konen
Series: n/a
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Waited on by: Sam
A twenty-four-hour romance about two teens who meet—and perhaps change their minds about love—on a train ride to Upstate New York in the middle of a snowstorm

One train ride. Two strangers.

Noah is a hopeless romantic. He’s heading back home for one last chance with his first love, whom he broke up with when he went off to college.

Ammy doesn’t believe in true love—her parents being prime examples. She’s escaping from a mom who can’t take care of her to a dad who may not even want her. That is, until one winter night when Noah and Ammy find themselves in the same Amtrak car heading to Upstate New York.

After a train-wreck first encounter between the two of them, the Amtrak train suddenly breaks down due to a snowstorm. Desperate to make it to their destinations, Noah and Ammy have no other option but to travel together. What starts off as a minor detour turns into the whirlwind journey of a lifetime, and over the course of the night they fall in love. But come morning their adventure takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Can one night can really change how they feel about love...and the course of their lives forever?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My Book Legacy

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is...

My Book Legacy!

This week, we were challenged to think of books we would want our future family members to read. My daughter has greatly influenced my book choices, and I have read many of her favorites, but alas, she has not read any of mine. Therefore, I am making this list for my future grandchildren, in hopes that they will appease their Maw Maw and read a book that was either a favorite or very meaningful to me.

Little House in the Big Woods
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Series: Little House, #1
Publisher: HarperCollins

This is a series that defined my childhood. I read the books. I watched the show. I was enamored with the time period and the lifestyle. When I look back now, I love the things the show represents. It's about family, community, and the resilience of the human spirit. The Ingalls family suffered some major setbacks, but they had their faith and each other.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Now Is Everything - Amy Giles

Now Is Everything
Amy Giles
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Now Is Everything is a stirring debut novel told in alternating THEN and NOW chapters, perfect for Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Niven fans, about what one girl is willing to do to protect her past, present, and future.

The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret.

Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed.

When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sundays with Sam - The Sunday Post

Sundays with Sam is a combination of Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

My Week in Review

Not much going on this week. I had a day off, because I had three doctors' appointments. I am scheduling a procedure that may help with my dry eye. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am in the high percentage of people, who enjoy relief from the procedure. Fingers crossed!

Grey's Anatomy showed its 300th episode, and as a fan from the very beginning, I was excited to share this milestone. The episode delivered too. I swear, I cried a bunch of times during the episode. Just loved it. Here's a list of easter eggs that were hidden in the episode.

Friday, November 10, 2017

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

Offsetting Penalties
Ally Mathews
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Isabelle Oster has dreamed of being a prima ballerina her entire life, so when the only male dancer backs out of the fall production, she’s devastated. Without a partner, she has no hope of earning a spot with the prestigious Ballet Americana company. Until hot jock Garret practicing stretches in one of the studios gives Izzy an idea, and she whips out her phone. But does she really want this badly enough to resort to blackmail?

All-state tight end Garret Mitchell will do anything to get a college football scholarship. Even taking ballet, which surprisingly isn’t so bad, because it means he gets to be up close and personal with the gorgeous Goth girl Izzy while learning moves to increase his flexibility. But Izzy needs him to perform with her for the Ballet Americana spot, and he draws the line at getting on stage. Especially wearing tights.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a bit of blackmail, a lot of sarcasm, and an ending guaranteed to melt your heart.
I utterly love when a romance forms between an unlikely pair, and when I saw football and ballet thrown into the mix, I knew I wanted to read this book. I am happy to report, it did not disappoint!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Off Topic: Sephora is My Happy Place

Off Topic is WLABBs place for discussing non-bookish things. This week, I am talking about

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Blog Tour: Saving It - Monica Murphy

Saving It
Monica Murphy
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars
Eden: Josh Evans and I have been best friends forever. He knows all my secrets, and I know all of his. So when he randomly asks me to help him lose his virginity, I sort of flip out. That’s a question that sends your mind to places you’ve seriously never considered before. Like, you know. Having sex. With your best friend. Except Josh doesn’t want to have sex with me—he wants me to help him find a girl. A nice girl who’s funny and smart and cute. Except he already knows a girl just like that…

Josh: Eden Sumner is my best friend. So of course she’d be the person to help me find my perfect match, so I can drop my V card before I head off to college. Except the more we search, the more I realize that maybe the right girl has been by my side all along. I don’t need Eden’s help in finding me a girl to love. I’m pretty sure I’m already in love with Eden. But now she thinks I’m only after one thing…with anyone but her.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is what happens when American Pie meets Friends with Benefits. It contains two best friends, plenty of angst, and lots and lots of sex talk. Reading this might have you looking at your best friend in a different light!
I am a fan of Murphy's NA and adult books, so I was interested to see what she had to offer in the YA realm. I found Saving It to be fun, light, and flirty and I was throughly entertained.

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Forgotten Book - Mechthild Gläser

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for The Forgotten Book!

The Forgotten Book
Mechthild Gläser
Series: n/a
Release Date: January 2, 2108
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Waited on by: Sam

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters with Leadership Potential

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is...

Characters with Leadership Potential!

Since today is election day, this top ten list will highlight characters from books I read mostly within the past year, who I think could possibly grow into great leaders.

Speak Easy, Speak Love: Beatrice
McKelle George
Series: n/a
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Beatrice was such an empowered woman, with a strong voice, who used her wit and her will to make things happen. There were many times in this book, when she had to wiggle out of some tight spots, and that is a great skill for a leader to have.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: The Hidden Oracle - Rick Riordan

The Hidden Oracle
Rick Riordan
Series: The Trials of Apollo, #1
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It is no secret that I am a fan of Uncle Rick's work, given that I have written numerous glowing reviews for his work, and The Hidden Oracle is no exception to my love for his books.

The Hidden Oracle follows Apollo (that's right, the actual Greek god Apollo) as he is cast down from Olympus and stripped of his godly powers. Now an awkward, powerless mortal, Apollo must follow the whims of young demigod Meg in order to appease Zeus and restore his godly powers.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sundays with Sam - The Sunday Post

Sundays with Sam is a combination of Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

My Week in Review

All is quiet in these parts. I fell behind on my blog hopping, because I was wrapped up in my books. Today is my dad's birthday, and it's really special, because this time last year, he was in the hospital. They didn't expect him to ever leave, and now, one year later, he doesn't need the oxygen and they found no cancer in his lungs. So, I am very grateful for today.

Friday, November 3, 2017

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces
Lynn Weingarten
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Bad girls get it done.

Sasha’s all-time favorite person is her best friend Xavier. He’s smart, funny, and strange. He’s not just nice but kind. He’s endlessly forgiving, even when maybe he shouldn’t be.

So when Xavier lets his ex, Ivy, slither her way back into his life, Sasha knows she needs to protect him. And not just because she can’t stop thinking about the night she and Xavier almost shared a rum-soaked kiss. No, it’s because Ivy is poisonous. The last time they were together, Ivy cheated on Xavier and he just barely survived.

Sasha has a plan: pose online as a guy to seduce Ivy, proving that cheaters never change. But she soon learns to be careful who you pretend to be—because you can never truly know the darkness inside of someone. Including yourself.

Told in multiple points of view.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Discussion: Cheating - is it a Deal Breaker?

This Week’s Topic: Cheating - Is it a Deal Breaker?

I like to read reviews after I have read a book, and when I was reading reviews for In Some Other Life, I was surprised to see how one plot point basically ruined the entire experience for so many readers. The plot point I am taking about, is the main character's boyfriend and her best friend carrying on behind her back. Yes friends, cheating. I am not a fan of cheating, but it did not spoil the whole book for me. Why? It was a jumping off point. It was that catalyst, that sent the MC into self-examination mode, and precipitated the entire alternate time line portion of the story. There was a lot of other story aside from the cheating, and I was able to enjoy those parts in their separate space. 

Another book, which suffered a similar wrath was 99 days. Although I thought the main character made a poor choice, it was not technically cheating. To paraphrase Ross, they were on a break.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Winner Take All - Laurie Devore

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for Winner Take All!

Winner Take All
Laurie Devore
Series: n/a
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Imprint
Waited on by: Sam
For Nell Becker, life is a competition she needs to win. For Jackson Hart, everyone is a pawn in his own game. They both have everything to lose.

Nell wants to succeed at everything—school, sports, life. And victory is sweeter when it means beating Jackson Hart, the rich, privileged, undisputed king of Cedar Woods Prep Academy. Yet no matter how hard she tries, Jackson is somehow one step ahead. They’re a match made in hell, but opposites do attract.

Drawn to each other by their rivalry, Nell and Jackson fall into a whirlwind romance that consumes everything in their lives. But when a devastating secret exposes their relationship as just another game, how far will Nell go to win?

Visceral and whip-smart, Laurie Devore’s Winner Take All paints an unflinching portrait of obsessive love, toxic competition, and the drive for perfection.
The first thing that caught my attention was the setting. I went to public school, but for some reason, I love books set in prep schools. There is just something about the sort of trouble rich, privileged kids can get into. I was also drawn to the two main characters. They both are driven and want to be number one, so you know this will be a torrid and troubled romance. I often pick the light and fluffy, but a dark romance can be quite delicious if done properly, and this one has the promise of taking me on a wild ride.

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!