In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.
On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. In The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.
Bubby: The plot was good, the characters were great but the best part of The Kiss of Deception was definitely the way Mary E. Pearson structured the novel. We’d have a segment from Lia’s point of view, a section from the prince’s side of things and then one from Mr. Assassin Boy. And the kicker was that for most of the book you have absolutely no idea which boy is which. We only know them as Kaden and Rafe. Is Kaden the prince? Or is it Rafe? Only one way to find out!
Sissy: I totally didn’t know who was the prince and who was the assassin until it was revealed when the assassin kidnaps Lia. I got it all wrong and was surprised but glad. This tale leads you on a merry chase, literally and figuratively. First of all, when Lia flees on her wedding day with her maid Pauline, she knows where she’s going but not how to get there or what she’s going to do when she arrives. She has to take on a whole new persona and hide from unknown villains. She doesn’t know who to trust, even though her heart is trying to give her clues.
Bubby: Her heart is doing her no favors. It tells her to trust BOTH of the boys – even the one who’s been sent to kill her.
Sissy: But her heart definitely makes her lean in a certain direction. Her new life as a hard-working bar maid prepares her for the rough road ahead when she gets kidnapped and her life takes on a decidedly un-princess-like turn.
Bubby: You’d think there would be a clear-cut bad guy in this story but there really isn’t, except for the shadowy leader of the barbarians who we really don’t get to know much about. And there is one other big nasty scumbucket but I can’t reveal who. You’ll know him when you see him. You’d think the assassin would be the bad guy, but even as you hate what the assassin is doing, you still feel for him and wonder what he could have been under different circumstances.
Sissy: There are lots of delightful side plots and characters that fill out the story and make it so delectable. When I got 95% into the book and realized that things weren’t going to resolve, I threw myself onto the floor, banged my fists and said “Fie!” And when is book 2 coming out? Quick, Bubby, google it and tell me!
Bubby: She’s working on it, but no publication date yet. Boo.
Sissy: The way Mary E Pearson did end this first book was so yummy. So poetic, so fateful. So clever. You must read it!
Bubby: I must admire Mary E Pearson for her versatility as an author. She has written several other YA books but they are all very modern or even futuristic. The Jenna Fox series is really well done and my teens just ate it up but I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite. Just not quite my thing. But this book. Is. Magic. Everything I am looking for in a YA Fantasy novel.
Sissy: The Kiss of Deception is a delicious romantic adventure saga with a touch of magic. All you have to do is look at the fantastic cover art and you will have a preview of the wondrous story ahead. 4.5 bubbles.
Bubby: Practically perfect in every way. 4.75 bubbles.
Desperate to escape an arranged marriage and the life her high-ranking government official father planned for her, Cat Hunter does the unthinkable. She runs away from her homeland Tellus, disguises herself as a boy, and stows away on an air ship. She’s ready for life in a new land where the general population isn’t poverty stricken and at the mercy of the cruel officials. What she isn’t quite ready for is meeting Fox, a crew member aboard the Stormdancer—which turns out to be a smugglers’ ship. So begins an epic adventure that spans both land and sea.
Bubby: I highly advise you to pop over to lucysaxon.com and learn a little more about this amazing teen author. She seems pretty dang cool. And the book is pretty dang cool too.
Sissy: Lucy Saxon actually wrote the book when she was 16, can you believe it? She’s very clever and imaginative and I’m blown away at the world that she has created in Tellus. The heroine, Cat, flees a horrible home situation and finds a wonderful alternate family aboard the ship Stormdancer. This book is filled with wonderful characters and exciting adventures. I didn’t like the surprise ending, if I’m being honest, but the writing is great.
Bubby: I am not overly fond of the ending either but it makes sense. Every scene is described with vivid intense detail – you really feel like you are right there in the different lands of Tellus, fighting for truth and justice! Wonderful writing throughout. It looks like there will be 6 books in this series but they will be written as stand-alone books that just share a timeline and a setting. I can’t wait to read more from this new young author.
Sissy: Saxon does the steampunk thing well. There are futuristic gizmos and gadgets aplenty alongside a more Victorian-type society. This juxtaposition is intriguing to me and made the adventure that much more complex. I give this debut a solid 3.75 bubbles.
Bubby: Lots of fun. My teens will really enjoy this and so did I. 3.5 bubbles.
Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at her top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart.
Five years later, Rachel returns home for the first time to celebrate her best friend’s wedding. Still coping with her grief, she can’t stop thinking about the bright future she almost had, if only that one night had gone differently. But when a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now she has her dream job as a writer and a stylish apartment, but the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened, and not even she can predict the astonishing truth. (From Netgalley.com)
Bubby: Then and Always has just skyrocketed to the top of my all-time favorite books list. Turns out it was released in 2013 in the UK under the title “Fractured” and guess what? It made tons of best book lists over there too. And for good reason. There is a massive plot twist right in the beginning of the book, another about 1/3 of the way through the book and one or two more thrown in for good measure. Not to mention the ending. The ending! I so want to talk about THE ENDING! I must admit that I was bawling by the last page, but not necessarily because I was sad. The ending is perfect. And heart-wrenching. And oh so good.
Sissy: Bubby read this first and told me I had to read it right away because it was one of those fantastic books. She said to me, “It’s like oh no! And then, what’s happening? And then wait, what? But ok, this is good, no! No! Wait! Oh, that’s so sweet!” Bubby was waving her arms about like a crazed loon and getting choked up just trying to describe the plot so I gave her a sedative and started to read Then And Always for myself. And guess what? Bubby was right, although I managed to convey that sans tears and lunatic ravings.
Bubby: First off, I don’t recall being QUITE that dramatic about the whole thing. And secondly, of course I was right. I always am.
Sissy: Right. *cough, cough.* This book caught me in its spell immediately and wrung me out with its emotional intensity. A good, “must continue reading until I drop” intensity, not a painful one. Rachel goes through so much in a short period of time, you can’t help being all involved in her feelings and reactions. Jimmy is sweet, loyal, loveable, and heartbreaking. Andy is complex. Cathy needs to be put down. The relationship between Rachel and her father is so lovely, you want to weep (I just wanted to weep; Bubby did all the actual weeping).
Bubby: I am a deeply emotional woman who feels things strongly. Thus, I cry.
Sissy: People who cry during boy band videos have issues. Still love you, though.
Bubby: That was one time! Back to the book. I fell in love with the character of Rachel. I wanted so much to fix her life for her, to make her happy. I cheered when she was happy, cried when she was sad, and got really ticked off when that *unmentionable word* Cathy did what she did (more than once, mind you!). Every aspect of this book is so well done; the writing, the characterizations, and, oh my gosh, the plot? So original, and so riveting! It’s almost impossible to believe that this is Dani Atkins’ debut novel.
Sissy: The problem we are having in reviewing “Then And Always” (aka “Fractured” in the UK) is that the whole plot-twisty premise of the thing prohibits us from saying much, because we are not spoilers! As Bubby said, the story line is so unique and original, it was a captivating joy to read. You’re just going to have to trust us on this one.
Bubby: Did I mention THE ENDING? It played out in my mind like a movie montage, complete with violin music and a slow, misty fade-out. Dani Atkins needs to be locked in a room with a laptop and some chocolate so that she can produce a novel every three months. And I will buy them all. Oh, there’s this one little bit where you think its going to get all naughty/steamy, but don’t worry. We shall protect you from too much naughty, never fear! I give it 5 bubbles.
Sissy: I’m not sure of your methods, but okay! Lock Ms Atkins away so I can read more (searching for non-over-used adjectives) splendiferous books like this! 5 heartwarming/wrenching bubbles from me!!
Click HERE to buy Then And Always by Dani Atkins at Amazon.com
©2014 Bubble Bath Books
We received a copy of this title from Netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Catch up with Ethan, Lena, and Link as they finally graduate from high school and get ready to leave the small Southern town of Gatlin. But when Dark Caster Ridley makes an appearance, the sometime bad girl can’t resist picking a fight with her sometime boyfriend, Link. Angry and rebellious as ever, Ridley ends up alone in New York City and becomes entangled in the dangerous underground Caster club scene, where the stakes are high and losers pay the ultimate price. (From Netgalley.com)
Bubby: Now all you Beautiful Creatures addicts, don’t get too excited. This is NOT a new book but rather a teaser novella/short story that introduces the new book, Dangerous Creatures (coming out May 20th). All of our favorite characters are back but this time around the focus is on Ridley, that naughty lollipop wielding Caster girl.
Sissy: Yes, Ridley is naughty and if I were her mother I would lock her in her room and duct tape her to the wall! This novella made me mad because la la, yes, it gets you a glimpse into the life of Ridley and whets your appetite for the new book, but the story just leaves you hanging. This is rightfully called a teaser!
Bubby: But it was fun to read anyway! 3.5 lollipops. I mean bubbles.
Sissy: Yes. Still mad. 3 bubbles for me.
Click HERE to buy Dangerous Dream by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl at Amazon.com
©2014 Bubble Bath Books
A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself. Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter’s town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam’s girlfriend while he’s in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn’t at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what’s real and what’s fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds – her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?(From Netgalley.com)
Sissy: I! Loved! This! Book! Call me a star-spangled sapster, call me a stuck-in-my-teenagehood starry-eyed lulu, but what the heck! Catch A Falling Star is the sweet and delightful tale of unlikely love that every teenage girl dreams of.
Bubby: Well, then. Star-spangled sapster? I like it! And I loved the book too. It was delicious. The romance, both scripted and real, between Carter and Adam was quite nice and well done but it was the relationship of the three friends that I enjoyed the most. Alien Drake and Chloe have got to be some of the best friends ever written. And yes, you read that right. It’s Alien Drake. You’ll see why when you read the book.
Sissy: Carter Moon is as real of a girl as real can get. She works hard in the family diner, helps her dad keep it all together while activist mom is off doing her thing –
Bubby: And don’t forget that she loves her delinquent brother in spite of himself. Just like I love you.
Sissy: Right. She’s good to her troubled brother John, just like Bubby is always feeding and caring for the poor unfortunate Sissy. Not. And our hero, the actor Adam Jakes starts out being a real spoiled brat stinkpot but we find hidden layers of goodness as we peel off the outer crunchiness, much like a deep-fried onion. Bubby is so stunned by my depths of literary philosophy that she can’t think of a thing to say. After that, I should just give my bubble count and shut down the review, right?
Bubby: Let’s write a blog, she said. It will be fun, she said. Had I only know the full extent of her insanity before I agreed, you’d not be reading this right now!
Sissy: Bubby knows in her soul that her life would be completely pathetic and boring without me, which is sort of how Adam thought all his fans felt about him.
Bubby: Oh, so much I could say here. To be safe (Sissy is giving me that impending violence look) I will just stick to how I feel about Catch A Falling Star. And avoid speaking further of my sister’s many and varied personality quirks. So. I have decided that no matter how good the celebrity life may seem on paper, it is actually pretty horrible. To be expected to be perfect at all times, be available to everyone 24/7, to project the perfect “image”, it’s just all too hard. I can see why so many celebrities are messed up. Adam seems to be in this category at the beginning of the novel. Fortunately for him, the staged romance with Carter shows him what he’s missing.
Sissy: When you’re so handsome and good-looking like Adam, it is hard to get over yourself and let people into what’s inside. It’s also hard for people to see past your looks. It becomes really tiring for me when all the time people can’t see past my gorgeous face. I just want to say, “Look! There’s a real person here!”
Bubby: I am thinking that NOW it’s time to shut down the review. Sissy has obviously missed a pill or two recently and I think I need to limit her exposure to the public!
Sissy: I was going to say that in Carter, Adam finds the one person who sees him, really SEES him and in the end he cannot let her go. Love it x 100! I also liked how they started out each chapter with “Yesterday’s Sightings”, which is the three friend’s blog about the sky and the stars and their philosophy of relating star sightings to real life.
Bubby: I loved that also. Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson is a winner. A great read for teens and adults alike. 4.5 bubbles.
Sissy: Great read.
Bubby: I just said that.
Sissy: Okay, Ms. Snobby Thesarus-Pants. It was a splendid, tip-top treatise. 4.5 froths of effervescense.
Bubby: That was better.
Click HERE to buy Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson at Amazon.com
We received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Former TV celebrity host Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house, on an isolated country estate, Honeychurch Hall, several hundred miles from London. When Kat arrives at the house, she discovers that Iris has yet another surprise in store. Iris has been writing in secret for years and reluctantly reveals that she’s actually Krystalle Storm, the famous bestselling author of steamy bodice-rippers. The gentry upstairs and those below stairs at Honeychurch Hall regard the newcomers with suspicion and distrust. When the nanny goes missing, the loyal housekeeper ends up dead, and Iris is accused of the murder, Kat realizes she hardly knows her mother at all and wonders if she is—indeed—guilty. Although the six hundred year old estate has endured wars, corruption and Royal favors, it’s the scandals, secrets and lies of the last few decades that must remain buried at all costs. (From Netgalley.com)
Sissy: I really liked this book but I had some issues with it. I liked the setting, the backstory of the main character, Kat, all the secrets and intrigues and the hidden life of Kat’s mother Iris. My issues were that the story jumps around all over the place and I had a hard time keeping it all straight and I couldn’t visualize Honeychurch Estate and really needed a map.
Bubby: I’d like to blame your “issues” on your advanced age and senility, but I can’t. I happen to agree with you on all points. I have to say, however, that the plot is really excellent and the characters are so much fun that I enjoyed Murder At Honeychurch Hall anyway. I loved Iris. She is a total nutcase. Sissy, can’t you just picture our mother hiding in the back bedroom writing romance novels when no one was looking? I swear, I want to be Iris when I grow up. Irascible, eccentric and a famous writer who lives on an estate in England. Perfect.
Sissy: I don’t know about Mom writing “bodice rippers” but I certainly would get a kick out of finding out that she had a secret life while pretending to fit into the role of devoted wife and mother. One of my favorite things in this book was how Iris took every situation and tried to turn it into a scene for her book, much to Kat’s chagrin.
Bubby: Hey, maybe that’s what we should do. Our kids and their romantic issues and trials – suddenly become fodder for a best-selling novel. I can see it!
Sissy: My kids wouldn’t mind. They’d just say, “Hand over the money, Mom!” Back to the book, though. One thing that makes it interesting is that you never quite know who you like and who you can trust amongst the characters. Sometimes you think they are guilty or just unsavory people but then they’ll do something to change your mind and you never know until the end how it’s all going to shake out.
Bubby: As I’ve said before, I can often predict “whodunnit” by the middle of the book. Not this time. I had no idea until the bitter end, when suddenly all the tangled threads of the story came together and it finally all made sense. There was a total ah-ha moment for me at the end there. I still want to know more about Kat – her life as a tv star before the time period of this book and what’s going to happen with her now – and more about Iris’s strange and wonderful childhood, of which we only get a little glimpse.
Sissy: Ah, yes. Gypsies and traveling boxing troupes. Illicit relations between the upstairs and the downstairs –our author, Ms. Dennison has plumbed the depths of her imagination nicely. The one character I hated throughout the whole book was David, Kat’s married boyfriend. The outcome of that relationship our resident Miss Marple, aka Bubby, could see coming a mile away.
Bubby: Seriously? Does any intelligent woman really think that the married man she’s sleeping with is going to actually leave his wife and children and comfortable situation to be with her? Really? It’s like the biggest cliche out there. And yet it still happens every day. Wise up, women of the world! If he’s married, he’s not available! Even if he thinks he is.
Sissy: Well, to sum up, this is a highly imaginative (albeit somewhat confusing) mystery romp. If Ms. Dennison would provide an illustrated map of the grounds and a chart of relationships, perhaps my feeble mind could grasp it better. Nonetheless, I would love to read more about Kat and the indomitable Iris. 3.5 bubbles.
Bubby: A fun mystery read. 3.5 bubbles from me too.
Click HERE to buy Murder At Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
We received this title from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber has won the hearts of millions of readers with her moving and inspiring stories. Now wedding bells are ringing in the tight-knit community that gathers around A Good Yarn, a store in a pretty Seattle neighborhood. Knitters come to the store to buy yarn and patterns but somehow they leave richer in friendship and love.
Bubby: Sometimes you just want a lovely romance novel with a guaranteed happy ending. Debbie Macomber always comes through and Blossom Street Brides is no exception.
Sissy: Bubby stole my line. I was going to say that Debbie Macomber always delivers. So yeah, what she said.
Bubby: Wow, Sissy. That was so insightful!
Sissy: Bubby says I have to say something useful now. Macomber weaves a great tale of love and relationships, obstacles that you know will eventually will be resolved, and you enjoy the journey of how that comes to pass. Blossom Street Brides played like an a-list chick flick on the screen of my mind.
Bubby: It may be a bit early for a beach read, but with Spring Break upon us, this is a perfect vacation novel. 4 bubbles from me.
Sissy: If you deserve a happy afternoon of reading (and who doesn’t?) this is the book for you. 4 bubbles.
Click HERE to buy Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber at Amazon.com
We received this title from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review
©2014 Bubble Bath Books
Chira Kelly thought she didn’t need anyone…until she met Ben. Because of one ugly rumor, Chira lives as an outcast at her school. Which is fine with her, because she works better alone. Always has, always will. And at least she has her one and only true friend, Tasha. When Tasha insists that they join a group to visit a possibly haunted abandoned old schoolhouse, she’s wary, but joins her friend. Because of that decision, their lives are in jeopardy as a malevolent spirit targets the group. Tragedies and accidents pick them off one by one, and Chira finds herself drawn to the one person who can see the truth. But can he protect her?
Sissy: The story begins by introducing us to Chira, a young adult protagonist who is so complex, yet extremely well fleshed out by the author. She has a dodgy home life with a verbally abusive step-father and a mostly absent mother. Her school/social life is just as bad. But she is strong, independent, determined, and very relatable. We next meet our hero, Ben, explained in his own words “…I’m a Shadow Maven. I see the truth that most people can’t, like impressions or demons.” Does this whet your appetite? How about a haunted house, unexplained “accidents,” and a sweet, slow-paced hint of romance? I knew it–you want to read it!
Bubby: So, I don’t do haunted houses. Or scary movies. Or anything like that. I am a wuss. Scary books are the only exception. Unfortunately, I did not realize that First Impression was going to be creepy/scary, and so I managed to completely freak myself out and had to stay up all night in case the axe-wielding zombie demons came. Seriously, though, it was a great story ( and there really are no zombies or axes).
Sissy: Bubby is indeed a right gaping scaredy cat. I didn’t even blink an eye–just enjoyed thoroughly this first YA paranormal mystery from Pauline Creeden. I only remember having nightmares from a book on two occasions–once from an early Mary Higgins Clark and the other time from an early Orson Scott Card. Ghastly and disturbing, they were, but this is not anything like those. I can’t say much more without spoiling things, except I was surprised often and didn’t guess who (or what) dunnit. Mwahahahahaha!!
Bubby: And now I’m scared again! Great story, great characters. Just read it with the light on…4 bubbles
Sissy: What a milquetoast! Read it in the darkkkk….aaaagh!! 3.9 moaning bubbles from me.
Click HERE to buy First Impression by Pauline Creeden at Amazon.com
We received a copy of this title from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014