Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (February 26)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme is a chance to share upcoming books that you're most excited about.

Why I'm Waiting...

When I first spotted this book on some blogs, I was immediately grabbed by the cover. The cover picture is just amazing, and of course made me want to know more about the book. After following up on Goodreads and reading the premise, the book sounded so intriguing that I knew I would definitely need to pick this one up. 


Please feel free to share about your favorite go to authors and your links to books your highly anticipated reads below. It's so exciting to read about everyone else's picks and find new books to add to my TBR list!

 Tale of Two Doxies

Monday, February 24, 2014

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesday (February 25)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, here are the rules:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on the page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure what you choose to share doesn't give to much away, you don't want to ruin it for others!)
* Share the title & author, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser!

"I've never begged a girl for anything in my life, but nothing about this memorial is going to be easy. With Harper there…I don't know. Maybe it won't be so bad." (pg. 154)

Top Ten Tuesdays is a great weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where you get to share fun book related topic top ten lists. It is also another great meme for finding great new books, authors and blogs! 

This week is a Tuesday Rewind, where you get to choose from any previous topic, I chose…

Top Ten Books You'd Like to Reread 
(if only I had the time, and a smaller TBR pile!)

So, in no particular order, here is my list of books I'd like to find the time to reread:

The entire series because it was so amazing and is still to this day one of my all time favorite reads.

Again I'd have to say the entire Lioness Rampant series, because these were also amazing and still remain some of my favorite books even though I first read them as a child.

I first read this book in high school, and fell in love with Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennet. I wanted my own Mr. Darcy, it also got me started on my love of Brit Lit and all things Austen.

After reading all the Austen I could, I had this book recommended to my by our school librarian. I decided to read it for a class, but I ended up loving it and writing a paper on it because I loved discussing it so much.

I read these as a kid, and I remember loving the series, but I honestly don't recall a lot of it anymore. I'd love to reread and appreciate them all over again.

I loved this series (the Heather Wells series) by Ms. Cabot, it helped to cement my love of all things by Meg Cabot. The story is just so funny and fun, I would love to reread and experience the characters all over again.

Well 1. I love Jennifer Crusie books, they are the best romantic comedies and 2. the new cover has a dachshund on it - a doxie?! Yes, I need to reread it (and yes I bought the new addition just so I could have the dachshund cover!)

Loved these! The characters, the drama, the mystery and "secrets". I had so much fun reading these, and they are the reason Ms. Peterfreund is on my auto buy list.

These were so fun! I love heist movies, books and I had never read a YA heist book: it was so good and it was a series! Ally Carter did a fabulous job (as always) and these are such a great fun, pick me up read, I really want to reread them all.

Loved this book, it was so fun and it made me laugh out loud at several parts. I have actually reread this one before, but I'd love to read it again for the light-hearted good time it provides.

I love Gone With the Wind. Love it. I loved the movie, and in high school I thought "Hmm..the book is pretty much always better than the movie, I should read that." - and guess what? Yep, the book was 10x better than the movie (which I love) and had so many great new details and pieces that did not make the movie version.

This Contemporary YA Romance is one of my absolute favorites, I loved the male lead. This book is so sweet, and it's been long enough that I really don't remember what happened.

Okay, so that was actually 12. So I guess I made a top 12 list, I thought this was going to be easy and I'd only be able to come up with 10 at most. Then I came up with about 20 and finally forced it down to 12. So, next time I'll aim to hit just ten. :)

How about you - what were your Teasers or Top Tens this Tuesday? Feel free to comment and leave a link to your Teaser and/or Top Ten below so I can visit and check it out!

Happy Tuesday!

 Tale of Two Doxies

Sunday, February 23, 2014

In the Mail - Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols

E-Arc - Blog Tour Book:

I decided to do a special post of an e-arc I just received from Edelweiss. I am so excited to say that I received an E-ARC of Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols and that I will be participating in a Blog Tour for it hosted by Itching For Books. This contemporary romance looks like a perfect fun, light, rom-com type read, and I am so excited to have to opportunity to read and review it! 

The blog tour is from May 12-16, so I will be reading and posting a review then - so please feel free to stop back and check it out. In the mean time, I've listed the book blurb and a quick blurb about the author. To add this book to your TBR list on Goodreads, click the link above or the picture of the book below.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review: Diamonds & Deceit by Leila Rasheed

Title: Diamonds & Deceit
Author: Leila Rasheed
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA, Historical Drama
Pages: 432

My Thoughts

Diamonds & Deceit is the second book in the At Somerton book series (the first being Cinders & Sapphires). This second story picks up where the first left off, it once again sweeps you back in time to the earlier 1900’s. Rasheed picks up weaving the story of the Averley family and their staff in this thrilling estate drama. Once again, we are drawn into the intricacies of the “upstairs” and “downstairs” world and entangled within the dreams, schemes, and scandals as those involved make their way forth into a rapidly evolving society and world.

This was another light, engaging read that I quickly whipped through in only a day. The story this time focused more on the “upstairs” characters as Rose has now joined their ranks. Rose however is trying to negotiate this change and so we do get a very interesting plotline from that alone. As I’ve said before, I am a huge fan of period piece dramas – so for me this was an excellent read. I loved the whole premise, and how Rasheed seamlessly moved the story from the first book to this one. The story hummed along, and I found myself whisked away to another time with “seasons”, society balls, and exquisite manners. I felt wrapped up in the story and each character’s drama.

For fans of historical dramas, English Estate dramas, and of Downton Abbey – this book is for you (but make sure you read Cinders & Sapphires first!).


I enjoyed a great many things about this story, not the least of which was the fact that it was reminiscent of Downton Abbey. I loved the romance and the time period of the story, and found myself truly invested in a fair few of the characters. I truly enjoyed seeing the growth in a fair number of the characters over the course of the two books. I also loved that Rasheed did not shy away from showing multiple sides to her characters, giving them dreams, wants, needs and most importantly flaws. I like that you could see the good and the bad in the characters, which of course made them feel more realistic and sympathetic. 

Another highlight for me was the fact that Rasheed chose to have the character focus (and often the place) change from chapter to chapter. I liked seeing and experiencing the world from multiple perspectives, and learning more about each character. This provided a nice flow to the story, pulling me in more and helped me to appreciate each character and to understand each more fully.

Finally, I really enjoyed the exploration of relevant world issues of the time: women’s right to vote and to education, the changing roles in society, family dynamics in this time frame, Indian Independence, interracial relationships, etc. I especially enjoyed the exploration of family roles and the implications of a blended family at this time. It was an interesting addition to the plot line around the limitations of women in “high society” at the time and familial duty.


One area that I might make a wish about would be in the transition. While I was able to easily fall into the story and pick up where the last story left off, I think it would be harder for someone who had not just finished the previous book. It might have been nice to have some transitioning/ease in for those who might have gone awhile in between readings and/or is picking this book up to read first. With so many characters and interwoven storylines, I think this would be helpful, even in the form of a few pages of character introductions before the start of the story.

Another wish I suppose, might be for more chapters or focus and development on some of the “downstairs” characters. The second book focused primarily on “upstairs” cast, and while it was great, I still would have liked to see and/or hear a bit more from downstairs as well.

Overall, I found this to be a delightful read, and I cannot wait for the next installment – so many questions! This book left me wanting more and very sad to leave behind the beautiful world it created. The epilogue gave a few tie ups to lose ends and answers but not nearly enough! It also left us at the start of a war, all I can say is Ms. Rasheed please hurry up and get book 3 out please! If you haven’t had the chance, I would definitely recommend this breezy, splendidly fun read.


If you enjoyed this book and are looking for more Historical Drama type reads try:

Secondhand Charm – Julie Berry
Wildwing – Emily Whitman
The American Heiress – Daisy Goodwin
Ruby Red – Kerstin Gier
Keeping the Castle – Patrice Kindl
The Hawk and the Jewel – Lori Wick           


 4 out of 5 Doxies –   Liked it a lot, definitely worth a read!

 Tale of Two Doxies

Stacking the Shelves (February 22)

Stacking the Shelves
- Hosted by: Tynga’s Reviews

Description: Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

E-Book/Kindle Reads:


Let me just start by saying that I've had a pretty excellent book week and I am very happy with my finds and purchases :). To start with, I went and bought the second book in the At Somerton series by Leila Rasheed - Diamonds and Deceit...I read the first book Cinders & Sapphires in a day, and I had to know what happened! (...and feed my Downton Abbey withdrawals.) I have already finished this one (again a one day read!), and will be posting a review shortly, but it did not disappoint! Plus look at that cover - gorgeous right?

My other two purchases were The Captive Maiden and Where the Stars Still Shine. I love both of the covers for these two books, and I've had my eye on The Captive Maiden for awhile now. I am a sucker for fairy tale retellings, and this one happens to be a Cinderella retelling. I've also heard great things about the author (Melanie Dickerson), but have not had the chance to try her out yet. 

Where the Stars Still Shine was my Kindle deal of the week, it was only $1.99. For that price who can resist a beautiful cover and intriguing premise? I think both sound like excellent reads, so I'm very excited to try them out.

Book Buys:


My bookstore finds this week include three new to me authors, one of whom I've seen around on other blogs and have been meaning to try out. My first buy was Something Like Normal by Trish Dollar (who also wrote Where The Stars Still Shine my $1.99 Kindle deal of the week buy). This one looks really good, and I love the topic she's tackling, so I'm really looking forward to this read. I have to say, I'm a bit of a sucker for YA books that try to open up discussion around tough, relevant, real life topics.

My other two choices funnily enough both include the word secret in their titles. Maid of Secrets and Manor of Secrets are both historical drama type reads, I always love a good trip back in time. 

Manor of Secrets instantly appealed to me, not only because of the cover - have you looked at this cover? But also because of the time period and the fact that it reminds me of Downton Abbey (have I mentioned that I love that show?). 

Maid of Secrets on the other hand, involves a historical setting and a "secret society of protectors" in the court of Queen Elizabeth. Secrets, intrigue, a royal court setting, and espionage? I'm sold! I think it sounds very intriguing and fun, cannot wait to try it out.

How about you - what are your favorite genres or plot features that have you "sold"? Anyone else buy any great new reads this week? Please feel free to comment and share a link to your new reads below. 

 Tale of Two Doxies

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme is a chance to share upcoming books that you're most excited about.

Why I'm Waiting...

I have only read a few of Elizabeth Eulberg's novels so far (The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice), but I'm very excited to try this one. I think the cover looks really sweet, and it sounds like a really fun YA Contemporary Romance.


Please feel free to share about your favorite go to authors and your links to books your highly anticipated reads below. It's so exciting to read about everyone else's picks and find new books to add to my TBR list!

 Tale of Two Doxies

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

 My Thoughts

Keep Holding On is a Young Adult, Contemporary Drama told from the point of view of Noelle Wexler. Noelle is a girl who lives in the suburbs with her single mother, who struggles to accept their poverty and is all but absent from her role as mother. Noelle struggles to get through her daily life, with a disconnected mother, and to get through high school, where she is bullied and doesn’t fit in primarily because of her economic background.

This story touched upon several important, relevant topics for today’s teens: bullying, fitting in, socio-economic differences, consensual relations, suicide, and abuse. It would be a good fit for fans of Susane Colasanti, those that enjoy Contemporary Teen reads, and those looking to read a book about bullying. Personally, I have enjoyed many of Susane Colasanti’s books and was looking forward to this one in particular due to the subject matter. This was a short, quick read, and as always Colasanti’s writing was great. While I wanted to love this one because of the important subject that was being tackled, it was not my favorite.

The parts that I enjoyed most about the book would be the subjects that the book was seeking to address. I also enjoyed Sherae (Noelle’s best friend) and Simon as characters, and I really loved that Colasanti tried to end on a positive note. I liked that in the story, the teen characters tried to look for ways to have a positive impact and to affect the culture surrounding them.

I wish that I could whole-heartedly endorse the story, because I do feel passionately about so many of the topics that are being addressed. I think it is so important for there to be contemporary YA reads that address the tough topics, that are relatable, and that give voice to these issues and a safe way to bring about discussions.

For me, the varieties of topics touched on were too big to contain in so short a story. It felt as though many were glossed over as a result, though I do understand that the focus was supposed to be on bullying, I wish that a bit more attention were paid to some of the other topics that arose. I think the hardest part for me was that I had trouble understanding and relating to the main character, Noelle.

Noelle didn’t ring completely true to me, and I didn’t really like her – which made it harder to relate to her and appreciate her struggles. For me, there were a variety of ways that Noelle didn’t match up to what we learn of her. Not the least of which was the fact that she was claiming to be poor, undernourished and starving but that she would rather scrounge for nothing than accept the humiliation of the school meals? This part really bothered me the most. I knew people in school that were on the free/reduced meal programs; I have also had students that are on those programs. When you are as hard up as Noelle was claiming, you don’t turn away what could be your only meal(s) of the day. I have worked with students who cried when they knew we didn’t have school because they depended on the breakfast and lunch to be a solid source of sustenance that they might not have otherwise. I could go on, but that is beside the point, so I’ll leave it at the fact that this part was very distracting and bothered me throughout the story.

Overall, I found this to be a very tough book to read and review. I think it hits on an excellent topic, and I think there were some great parts but there were some issues that I had trouble getting past. However, I do think this book is worth a read, and I appreciated that the author was trying to highlight such an important topic in a form that I feel many teens could relate to and enjoy reading. I also love that Ms. Colasanti chose to leave the book on a high note, and tried to give a hopeful outlook for those out there struggling. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Colasanti, because I have enjoyed many of her books.


If you enjoyed this book and are looking for more YA Contemporary topic  reads try:

Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
Just Listen – Sarah Dessen
Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson
Perfect You – Elizabeth Scott
Something Like Fate – Susane Colasanti


 3 out of 5 Doxies –   Really enjoyed it, give it a try!

 Tale of Two Doxies

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (February 15)

Stacking the Shelves
- Hosted by: Tynga’s Reviews

Description: Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

So, technically I'm supposed to be on a bit of a book budget...but of course I found so many good reads and I had to indulge in at least a few! :)

             Click on the book image to it's Goodreads page.

                         E-Book/Kindle Buys:


I'm very excited about my two Kindle purchases this week! I got both Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed and Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Let me start by saying that I have been interested in both of these for a while now. 

Both of course have beautiful covers, and that is how I first stumbled on Cinders & Sapphires. Add to that wonderful cover, an intriguing premise, and a promise of Downton Abbey-esquse historical drama - and I was of course sold! This one was a very quick and enjoyable read that I have already finished, for a full review click here.

Cruel Beauty was my other Kindle purchase this week, and it is a retelling of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast (one of my absolute favorites!). I am sooo excited to get started on this one, I have heard many good things about it already!

Bookstore Buys:


My bookstore finds this week include two new to me authors, and the third book in a series I have been reading. I came across Unleashing Mr. Darcy on another blog, and was instantly intrigued. Allusions to Austen's Pride & Prejudice (my favorite classic) in modern day NY, with dogs - yes please! Very excited to check this one out - sounds fun, cute and romantic. :)

Next up, is a YA author that I've been meaning to try for awhile (I keep seeing others reading her books). Racing Savannah had a great cover, and the story sounds sweet. Finally, The Grass is Always Greener is the third book in Calonita's Belles series. I'm excited to read the next book in the installment, and if you haven't had a chance to check out this contemporary southern belles/family drama read go ahead and check out the first book here.

Anyone else buy any great new reads this week? Please feel free to comment and share a link to your new reads below. 

 Tale of Two Doxies

Friday, February 14, 2014

#FF Feature & Follow (February 14)


The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host has their own Feature Blog and it is a great way to learn about new blogs and network with fellow bloggers!

Activity of the Week -  

Find a "new to you blogger" and feature their button on your post this week. Tell us why this blogger stands out to you.

A new to me blog that I really enjoy would be Missie's A Flurry of Ponderings. I really enjoy the format of her blog and her posts, they are neat and easy to follow. Particularly, I've really enjoyed her reviews which she breaks into Likes and Gripes, which make them a quick and easy to read. If you haven't had a chance already, I'd definitely recommend visiting her blog :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog, I'm excited to see what blogs everyone else has shared. Please feel free to comment below and leave a link to your #FF or to your most recent post. Happy Valentine's Day <3 and happy reading!


 Tale of Two Doxies

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed


My Thoughts

Cinders & Sapphires is an English Estate drama following the family and staff of the Somerton Estate set in 1910 England. Within the pages you will find yourself whisked away to another time and place, wrapped up in the intricacies and lives of both the “upstairs” (high society) and “downstairs” world. Find yourself entangled in their dreams, schemes, scandals, and dramas.

This was a very fun, easy, and light read. This would be a perfect fit for fans of Downton Abbey, and YA historical dramas and romances. The story had allusions to Cinderella, and was definitely reminiscent of Downton Abbey. Personally, I am a huge fan of period dramas (and of Downton Abbey!), so when I saw a Young Adult historical drama that sounded Downton Abbey-esque I was in! I definitely enjoyed this one very much, I read it in a day, and I found it to be a quick, refreshing, and easy read. I also found that it helped with my Downton withdrawals. I loved the whole premise of the upstairs/downstairs, the estate politics, the manners, etiquette and values of the time, and the looming threat of the ever-changing modern world infringing on all they know.

For me, feeling as though I’m being transported to another time and place always makes a book more enjoyable. I found myself, wrapped up in the drama and intrigue of the book. I loved that you got to meet so many characters, and that you were able to get some depth and fleshing out of a fair few. I enjoyed that the main heroines had forward-thinking, unusual dreams (for the time). I also enjoyed the references to actual issues of the time: the Indian Independence Movement, British Imperial Rule in India, Women’s Suffrage, Women’s Education, etc. These kinds of things always keep me interested and add some nice historical tension and authenticity. They also make me want to go read more about the events so I better understand the history.

I did get a hint of insta-love (which is not something I like to see in a read), although on further reflection it did kind of fit with the time and courtship/romance beliefs. I will also say that at the beginning it did jump around a bit and seemed to switch viewpoints suddenly, but as I got to understand the characters this wasn’t an issue any more.

Overall, I found this a truly enjoyable read, and I honestly cannot wait to start the second one. I would definitely recommend this one as a fun, light period piece romance – or to help fill the Downton void for you Downton fans.


If you enjoyed this book and are looking for more Historical Drama-esque reads try:

The American Heiress – Daisy Goodwin
Ruby Red – Kerstin Gier
Keeping the Castle – Patrice Kindl
The Hawk and the Jewel – Lori Wick


 4 out of 5 Doxies* –   Liked it a lot, definitely worth a read!

*I debated my rating on this one for a bit, going back and forth between a 3 or 4 Doxie rating. However, after weighing it out, for the genre, age, and type of read it was – it really made me happy overall. Also, I went and bought the second one as soon as I finished, which made me decide I’d give it a 4. J

 Tale of Two Doxies