March 12th: It’s Monday! What’s that mean? Round to the up.

Yo, yo, people! I know I have been out of comminque and for that, I’m sorry but really I’m not since I was snowboarding and generally enjoying a life that included copious amounts of barbequed foods and smores.  I’m sure you understand.

Today’s roundup will seem a touch pathetic at first but then some exciting hints at things to come will stop making you seem sorry for us.   Okay I can’t contain myself and will just tell you all the fun stuff first before getting to this past week’s stuff!

So…the lovely Ellen, my blog buddy and friend, is out of the country on some African safari that I am not insanely jealous about. HONEST (ignore the teeth grinding and clenched jaw).

In her absence I have found two awesome guest bloggers to review some fresh new books for you:

#1 is a blog follower who stepped up to the plate in response to my call for help.  Yeah, she’s that awesome.

#2 is an established YA author who has a new book coming out soon that you just might get some inside scoop about.  You’re welcome.

One of my all-time fave YA authors, Tammara Webber, was good enough to give us a sneak peek of her newest standalone novel! And we’re passing it on to you this Friday, March 16th.  I’m talking cover, blurb, the works! Get excited for it cause you know I’m squeeing in my seat.


This week was sparse! Yikes! Need to correct that.

If I Can’t Have You by Lauren Hammond: Redheaded Robin has the hots for lifeguard, Drake, after he saves her from drowning. Several years later she makes a move and is caught in an emotional tug of war between him and his equally good looking brother, Elliot. I gave it 2/10 because it was pretty lackluster and a bit trite. Oh and badly written.

What The Heck Are We Reading?

1. Running Wide Open by Lisa Nowak: I’m really loving this one! It’s so refreshing to have a male protagonist and no lovey dovey crap. I think I’ll miss the romance here soon though which may prove a good thing for Book 2.

2. The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle: Hello there! I love covers with half-naked men on them, granted this “man” appears a little more pubescent than I’d like. Frankly I want a beefcake but beggars can’t be choosers, here. Irish myth and a lot of skin? Sign me up! Not the biggest fan of prose written in accent though…we’ll see how it goes.

3. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen: No clue about the premise really but like many women, am a sucker for the obviously teen-inspired cover.

4. A Strange Fire by LH Cosway: This is one of the books that an author approached me about reviewing. I love being thought of as some serious reviewer so I must admit that I gave an adament, “yes!” when asked to read it.  I might not have checked out the blurb about it yet but am really digging that cover. It reminds me a lot of John Green’s Looking for Alaska cover but hopefully there will be a lot less tears. Oh and is it just me or does A Strange Fire make you instantly think of Strange Fate by LJ Smith? I must admit, my heart started pounding when I saw the title.

Do You Want Us To Review Your Book? 

If so, check out our submissions page. We are shameless in our love of new books and rarely turn away anyone.  Be aware that as of right now, we are only accepting book submissions of books that are already published, be it on one’s own or through a publishing house.

And that’s it! See, told you it was rather a sad week for reviews, etc but hopefully the promise of fun stuff to come will keep you hungry for more.



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If I Can’t Have You by Lauren Hammond

If I Can’t Have You by Lauren Hammond

Publisher: S.B. Addison Books (January 31, 2012)

Format: Kindle Edition

My internal monologue as I get ready to write this review: Gah! What was I thinking?! That cover alone should have warned me to stay far, far away from this book and yet I didn’t listen to what was right in front of me.  Oh no, I bought this and now have only myself to blame because it really is as bad as the cover suggests.  Seriously though, what’s wrong with her arms? Am I the only reader who’s noticed that? Maybe I really am the only reader and that accounts for the fact that no one noticed she has Gumby arms! Sigh. Why do I do this to myself? At least the guy pawing at Gumby has a passably good body…and what is that they’re lying in? An ocean of rocks? Isn’t this set at the beach? Where’s all the water?


Robin Mason has been infatuated with lifeguard, Drake Robertson, since he saved her from drowning when she was 15.  Now that’s she’s off to college, she thinks this summer is the one where he will truly notice her. She and best friend, Whitney, make it their goal to ensnare the gorgeous Drake and when Robin does so almost immediately, she begins envisioning a picture-perfect relationship with him. But Drake has no desire to be attached and breaks Robin’s heart when she catches him rolling around in the bushes buck naked with her neighbor.  Her heart wounded, Robin attempts to pick up the pieces while Drake’s younger brother, Elliott, attempts to woo her.  At first she can’t see past Drake’s deception but eventually gives in to Elliott and realizes that maybe picking the wrong brother is all that she needed to find the right one.


For the love of all that is good and sweet, first that cover and now the book itself.  I promised myself since the last smaltzy love story I read that I would take a break. But of course I can’t resist a good romance and now, I’m paying for it. I don’t mean to be overly harsh but this book is just a big old mess. All of the relationships happen far too quickly and seem to be based on absolutely nothing. First Drake, a hot guy who has never shown Robin the slightest romantic interest, falls all over himself to be with her, then breaks her heart by fooling around with her neighbor, and then swings back around to attempt to win her back. Robin’s feelings for Drake are so flimsy yet all consuming that it just feels fake. Then there’s his equally gorgeous brother, Elliott, who claims he took one look at her (after bonking her in the head with a door no less) and knew she was the one for him. As in the one for him in a future that ends in marriage.  At 18 years old.  Now I have no qualms with love at first sight but I find it very hard to stomach an 18 year old boy claiming that he saw one shy girl and wanting her desperately for the rest of his life.  The speed of his confession and his pointed interested just feels completely forced and unreal. Likewise Robin’s reaction to both boys is wholly out of proportion to the length of time she spends with them. She seems almost manic and utterly dependent on their feelings. If she’s not deliriously happy basking in the glow of their gorgeous faces and bodies, she’s crying, sobbing, or running away from their confessions of love for her.  It’s Neediness 101 and Robin Mason deserves an A for all that effort. At its heart, there’s really not much substance to If I Can’t Have You.  It’s one girl stuck between two boys who seem to want her without knowing why.  It’s all pretty innocuous until the very end when it seems the author decided that her characters were better suited to erotica than YA fiction and all sort of sexy times come out of the woodwork.  But even those were peppered with neediness and tears and frankly they stopped being sexy right away. The premise of this book is great but the execution is sadly lacking. Add to it banal writing and poorly written sequences and you just have a mish mash that is quite dull.

Based on the following criteria:

How much did I like the heroine: 2. Robin was so whiny and so utterly dependent on whether Drake or Elliott loved her that I just disliked her immediately. Any girl that places all of her emotional eggs in one basket has deep seated issues and I didn’t really want to watch her fragile ego be destroyed by not one but two gorgeous love interests who happen to be related. Double ick btw.

How much did I like the love interest: Wait, wait. Is it Drake or is it Elliott? We don’t find out until about halfway through that Drake is a cad and by that time Elliott seems like such a prince in comparison that we immediately love him for not being a selfish, sex-obsessed teen like his brother.  I give him a 3 because I have a thing for blond surfer dudes but ones that become obsessed with a single girl and make some weird proclamation about all the girls they’ve been with before (at the age of 18 mind you) lose serious points.

How believable is the plot: 5. I’ve never met two brothers who happen to be gorgeous and fall in love with me simultaneously. Maybe there’s some jealousy there or something but I find that plot point highly suspect.  The young girl who becomes infatuated with the guy who rescued her years ago? Now that’s a premise I can get on board with.

How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 2. This writer needs an editor. Sometimes Robin would think the same thing in two separate paragraphs only using different words.  I remember thinking, “Now, wait, didn’t I already read this part?” But no, I hadn’t because she was just reiterating what she said three paragraphs earlier.  A good editor would clear that right up. There were lots of typos and grammatical issues as well as bad pacing and dialogue.

How much did I want to keep reading: 1. I didn’t. I didn’t believe that Elliott really wanted Robin. In fact, I kept waiting for the punchline where he turns out to be an even bigger cad than his brother who was just toying with Robin’s emotions. Only that didn’t happen and the book sank deep down into the depths of “Judith almost can’t finish this but will because the Kindle progress bar claims it’s almost over”.

Final Score: 2/10. This wasn’t one of my most enjoyable reading experiences. The overall story was subpar and the writing left a lot to be desired.  Sorry if this review feels a bit lackluster but I’m just reacting to what I’m given here, people.


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March 1st: What the heck is Judith reading?!

Hello, you! You’re just in time to get all the dish on what I’m reading this week. It must have been torture waiting to find out. Now, I have to admit that after a considerably harrowing book experience (<ahem> yes, I’m pointing the naughty finger at this book), I want to stay clear of romance for the next week at the very least.  My poor brain will thank me for it later while my eyes will be thanking me this evening.

1. Running Wide Open by Lisa Nowak: okay, I just started this and have to say, I’m hooked! Her writing style is refreshing and new. Bonus points for a male protagonist and not a girl in site to turn him into a sniveling mess.

2. If I Can’t Have You by Lauren Hammond: I know, I know. This story is supposed to be lovey-dovey and all about the sexy times. Then there’s that over the top cover which will probably make my fragile eyes bleed all over again…but I couldn’t help myself. I have issues, deep seated ones.

3. Paper Towns by John Green: no idea what this is about but loved Looking for Alaska so figured that it deserved a shot.

Last week I had a few other books on my reading list that I haven’t finished (and truth be told haven’t started either). That doesn’t mean I won’t get to them. It just means other stuff got in the way.

Now dish! What are you reading on this wintery Thursday?



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