Release Week Review | The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

Hello everyone and happy Thursday! 
This review was supposed to go up as an "Early Review" on Monday but #VacationProbz

I'm back to review a book from vacation and in all honesty, I would only do this for a Jeaniene Frost novel. 

Here is the blurb you can find on  the back cover of the novel:

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.
Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

Jumping right into the story, we meet Ivy who is busy looking for her sister, Jasmine, after her disappearance and the death of both her parents. 
 Ivy has felt as if she was a hair short of clinically insane her whole life as she has believed that she is seeing things - creatures not short of being called monsters and rooms that mirror those she is currently in but slightly altered (to name a few)- but after finding a mysteriously sexy man named Adrian waiting for her inside her hotel room, she discovers that those monsters she has been seeing are in fact, real and a part of a fate she is slowly realizing she will not be able to fight. 
What we have here is a war between Archons (think heavenly angels) and demons. The difference Frost has brought to this age old tale of Angels vs. Demons is the involvement of descendants of 2 of the most famous family tree lines in the history of the world.
I don't want to say much. Honestly, it's not so much because of spoilers as it is because discovering these twists and turns is a part of what made The Beautiful Ashes such a great read for me. Learning Ivy's descendance and what her exact role will be in this war is a story line that developed well throughout the novel and helped create a steady and somewhat fast-paced plot. 
Although The Beautiful Ashes was one of my most anticipated books to read this summer because I truly adore Frost's Night Huntress Series, I was worried about entering this new world. I think the problem for me and other readers as well is that when you fall into a series/world that a particular author has created - and it was nothing short of a-freaking-mazing - you either a) worry that this new one will not come close to the awesomeness of the prior or b)expect this world to be similar by having like characteristics in any form. Thankfully, I did neither and completely ignored that this was a Jeaniene Frost novel. Honestly? I think you should do the same. Not only is this book in a different genre and kind of aimed for a different age-range, but the world is a completely different one.
End result? One of my top 3 reads of the summer. 
I thoroughly enjoyed Ivy's analytical viewpoint - she sees the problem and considers all angles before jumping in. She knows she could be right or end up looking like an asshole but she does it, anyway. 
Ivy's relationship with Adrian also reminded of one of the many reasons why I fell in love with Frost's Night Huntress novels (hey, I'm allowed one positive comparison, okay?); she creates the kind of love/ romantic relationship that is both unique and imperfect in a fantastical world. It's also not the main focus of the novel but an interesting and increasingly developing plot point. 
Overall, 4 stars to The Beautiful Ashes. Cannot wait to pick up the next novel in The Broken Destiny Series. 

Basic info. about this book:

Name: The Beautiful Ashes
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Review Source: Provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: Harlequin
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Rating (out of 5): 4.0

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository 
*because I'm out of the country & uploading via iPad, it is insanely difficult to add buy links. 
You can, however, purchase The Beautiful Ashes via Barnes & Noble and Amazon as well!

Author online: goodreads | website | Twitter

So, that's it! I will be seeing you soon but until then, hope all is well :)

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club:
Book Depository Affiliate:

Until next time-



Random 'On Holiday' Update

Hello everyone & happy Friday!

I am currently on vacation but I think I may have forgotten to mention that in a previous post so... this is it! I have many pictures and reviews coming your way, soon but for the next week or so I will most likely be absent from any social media-ish activities.

Have any of you gone on holiday this summer/year? If so, where have you been? 

Also, is it just me or do you guys like to say, "on holiday," as well? It sounds so fancy and British and just better than me saying, "I'm going on vacation." Whatever. I'm just trying to be cool.

Anywho, that's it for my petite update. I'll be seeing you in about a week. :)

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club:
Book Depository Affiliate:

Until next time-



Marie Reviews: Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James

Hello everyone and happy Friday!
Today we are joined again by Marie who is reviewing Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James. Here is her review:

Jane looks back on her life with the deepest love and appreciation when her sister, Cassandra, finds a letter briefly mentioning the events of a summer from long ago. In 1971, Jane was fifteen years old and all she wanted to do was finally be ‘out’ like her sister; to attend balls and powder her hair like the most regal ladies of the time was her deepest wish. Her older brother Edward, in the meantime, just got engaged and was inviting his family to the estates of future relatives for a month of celebrations devoted to the couple. Still two years away from seventeen, how was Jane going to enjoy all the festivities of the summer, especially in the company of wealthy families?

The novel follows Jane’s life throughout that life-changing summer where she finally gets a glimpse of what it is like to live amongst aristocratic families. We are introduced to a multitude of complex characters whom Jane learns to love and respect. While the list of characters is long and some characters fall short simply due to length, it is still amazing how well-developed most of them are. Most are written as part of a role we come to expect of the snobby rich - the daughter who marries for money, the mother who only cares about appearances - but are then rounded out to give them a uniqueness that turns them into individuals different from just their intended stereotype (although most still carry their flaws with them throughout).

A commendation to James must be given for creating a truly sensible character in Jane; who at first acts like a proud and shallow teenager then subtly transforms into a young woman who has opened her mind to maybe not judge those of the upper-class so harshly. James truly captures the wit and style of Austen’s writing and expertly writes it into the character itself, keeping true to the Jane we love. It was never difficult to imagine Jane Austen was actually like this as a teenager. Although at times I did want to shake her of her teenager tendencies of insecurity and fits of jealousy, one of my favorite aspects of this novel was how well-written Jane’s character was when we know James is writing between a very fine line of representing Austen properly as a historical figure yet also making her a realistic teenager.

Lest I forget, this novel is centered around the notion of Jane falling in love for the first time. Here is where I’d like to keep things vague simply for the reason that I think it’s worth checking out this not-so-traditional romance. With Jane’s obsession of attending grand balls and finally being a member of society, she of course is also obsessed with the idea of love. It is the main object of her thoughts and writings at the time simply because she has read and fantasized about it for so long. During her summer she meets a certain young man with whom she very quickly falls in love. In the process, she instead learns more about herself, her society, and about that true kind of love, with a much deeper sense of understanding than she had originally sought out.

The only negative I found with this book making it only a decent read was the tedious-ness with which most of the book had to be tackled through. I will mention, however, that that particular cause was never from the author’s writing who remains steady throughout, but instead to my own personal preference in writing. I have never been a huge fan of classic writing styles and find the events of the times, particularly these in the Romantic Period, to be incredibly boring. We have to experience with Jane the inordinate amounts of time spent just sitting in room making small talk.

If you’re a fan of classics or Jane Austen, then I would highly recommend this novel as it definitely does justice to its namesake and brings you back to an era not often indulged in these days. Even not being the biggest fan of classics, like myself, I very much appreciated the believable characters and representation of the times brought to us by the author.

Basic info. about this book:

Name: Jane Austen's First Love
Author: Syrie James
Review Source: Provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: Penguin Group - Berkley, NAL/ Signet Romance, DAW
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating (out of 5): 4.0

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository | B&N | Amazon

Author online: goodreads | website | Twitter

So, that's it! I hope you enjoyed Marie's review as much as I did. If you would like to contact her or just comment on the review, simply comment below!

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club:
Book Depository Affiliate:

Until next time-



Mash-Up Monday #2 | Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing & Living Well - Review & Recipe

Hello everyone & happy Monday!

I'm back today with a second Mash-Up Monday post & this one is all about the book Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing & Living Well by Carly de Castro, Hedi Gores and Hayden Slater.

So, as some of you may know, I juice. Yeah, it's a thing. The juicer I own is one my boyfriend gifted me for Valentines Day (he's a romantic, that one) and it is the Bella High Power Juice Extractor - 1,000 Watts. If you happen to have any trouble with deciding which type of juicer to purchase, Juice has got you covered.

* I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review *

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was extremely informational and I have already gone ahead and purchased a copy for myself as I sort of "go-to" for any juicing questions and recipes I may be in the market for (pun intended).

If you are a beginner to juicing, this is the book you want in your life. It is full of juicing how-to's, recipes and breakdowns of all the vitamins and minerals you can find in almost every kind of fruit or vegetable. Juice also has recipes adapted for specific wants/needs like healthy eating or you're sick and need a pick-me-up kind of juice - it has it all!
Definitely recommend. :)

Basic info. about this book:

Name: Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing & Living Well
Author(s): Carly de Castro, Hedi Gores and Hayden Slater
Review Source: Provided by Publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Genre: Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Beverages
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: B&N | Amazon

&& Now here is one of the recipes I adapted from Juice:

"Roots 3" Recipe:
Adapted from Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing & Living Well Cookbook by Carly de Castro, Hedi Gores and Hayden Slater

Ingredient List
3 Beets (the recipe calls for red beets but I had golden beets so that's what I used!)
1 Fuji Apple
1/2 Lemon, peeled (except I didn't have a lemon so I used a full Lime, peeled, instead)
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
natural sweetener - optional & add to taste

Yield: Roughly 12 oz.

Juicing is one of the easiest things to do because the machine does all the work for you. All you really have to do is wash the ingredients and prepare the amount you need.

The big tip given in regards to this recipe was to make sure that the beets are scrubbed well. No, this does not mean that you have to peel the beets (believe it or not), but you have to make sure that you give them a nice scrub as well as removing any green tops they may have come with.

Also make sure that you remove all of the peel off of the lemon or lime you are using - including the white which can make your juice taste bitter. I like to cut off the top and bottom so it stands upright on my cutting board, and then cut down the sides, around the natural shape of the lime.

I like to do the same with the ginger ; cut off a top and bottom so it stands upright, and then cut down the sides.

A tip? Make sure that you cut the apple right before placing it in the juicer. If you plan to prep this ahead of time and feel the need to cut your apple up, as well, make sure that you rub some lemon juice over it to prevent the apple from turning brown on you.

So, that's it! A simple and delicious juicing recipe. All you have to do is stick it all in the juicer and let the machine do its work!
Don't have a juicer? Blend it all up! You might just have to strain it after blending, but I promise it's worth it.

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club:
Book Depository Affiliate:

Until next time-



Short Review | Lay It Down by Cara McKenna (Desert Dogs #1)

Hello everyone & happy Sunday!

Hope you are enjoying a nice relaxing Sunday at home. I am working today but it's cool - will be going on vacation & celebrating my birthday in Miami with my family & friends at the end of the week ^_^ Can't wait!

Anyways - On to the book review :)

Here is the blurb that can be found on the back cover of the book:
Backbreaking days, wild nights, and the hard hum of steel between your thighs...

That’s a life well lived, according to the Desert Dogs—four friends who call Fortuity, Nevada, their badlands home.

Vince Grossier is the self-crowned outlaw king around here. But when Fortuity’s slick new mayor invites a shady casino development to town, the invaders’ cutthroat takeover tactics quickly turn deadly. With police turning a blind eye, it’s up to the locals to fight back, and Vince is on the front line. The pretty photographer hired by the developers might be the key to infiltrating the enemy. And a temptation too good to pass up.

Finally free of a controlling ex, Kim Paget’s not looking to be taken for a ride—not on the back of some tattooed roughneck’s bike and definitely not in his bed. But when she finds evidence that her bosses are rattlesnake-dangerous, Kim must entrust her safety to the man who threatens danger of a whole different kind.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. And, I should say that while the blurb made me curious enough to request it, I was still a bit put-off by the man on the motorcycle on the cover. While he does look... inviting *cough cough* men on motorcycles don't really do it for me. I am happy, however, that I gave this book the chance it deserved because while it was a semi-easy read, it was interesting, compelling and sexy enough to keep me turning its pages.
Lay It Down starts off in Alex's point of view. Who is Alex? Well, he just so happens to be the friend mentioned in the above blurb - ya know, the one that dies. So already, you kind of know what the final mystery is - Was he murdered? Was he simply drunk driving?
The big mystery here is not so much how he died but why. There seems to always be a new addition and solution to the grande mystery and you are immediately engaged and kept that way throughout the novel.
The relationship between Vince and Kim is sweet and combustive all at the same time. Vince is a real macho-man; he fixes cars and bikes as well as breaking rocks for a living. He's done some hard time, rides a motorcycle and I honestly don't think you will  meet a man with much more testosterone. He isn't all hard-ass all the time, though, and spends his time at home helping to watch over his ill mother. Which, by the way, seriously intrigued me - the mother, not Vince (in this situation, anyways). I don't want to give it away but I will say that there is an extremely minor paranormal element (if you can even call it that) in this novel that I was pleasantly surprised to stumble over.
Kim seems to also be surprised by this "soft side" to Vince and is hypnotized by his body and shocked - as well as turned on - by his complete lack of discretion.
Overall, Lay It Down is a great, easy read, perfect for summer - or any time throughout the year, really. The plot moves at a steady pace and I will say that I never found myself waiting for a particular scene to pass, feeling as if the plot was slow-moving at all.
Also, those sexy-time scenes between Vince & Kim? Hot as hell.

Basic info. about this book:

Name: Lay It Down (Desert Dogs #1)
Author: Cara McKenna
Review Source: Provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: Penguin Group - Berkley, NAL/ Signet Romance, DAW
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating (out of 5): 4.0

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository | B&N | Amazon

Author online: goodreads | website | Twitter

I know I know, I've been on a kind of contemporary kick lately. I promise this won't last long. Honestly, I feel like all I read is Paranormal or Sci-Fi or Urban Fantasy (don't judge me) and I wanted to change it up a bit. While the change of genre has been interesting, I am a Paranormal Junkie on the real - no shame here, people! So enjoy these contemporary reviews - or not, whatever - because the Para stuff will be back, soon!

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:

Until next time-



Release Day Review | Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday!
Hope your work weeks are looking good, so far, and August is treating you well. 

So, the first book I received at RT14 was Virgin. Erin Galloway from Berkley sat in front of about 30 of us bloggers/reviewers and just gave this whole speech on how awesome this book is. Honestly, I was kind of sold (but not really). You know me - I'm a paranormal girl. I dabble in Historical Fiction here and there and some classics but even contemporaries seem daunting to me at times. Do you really want to know what sold me on this one? Sex - and by "sex," I mean the lack thereof.

Ellie is a 21 year old college student who is a virgin. No, she is not a virgin my choice - she is not religious, waiting for "the one" or waiting for marriage. It just seems that she's had a rough time of making any positive sexual experiences with the opposite sex in her 21 years of life and has decided that it is time to lose her V card.

While Ellie's story is interesting (to say the least) and you empathize with her while wishing she would just wait - damnit - the story is exceptional because of Sanghani's expertise in drawing the reader in with her humor and relatable story-telling. I cannot even explain to you how many times I had to stop reading because I was laughing to the point of tears, remembering some long-lost conversation with a best friend - or 3 - talking about the same embarrassing, hilarious and terrifying subjects.

The supporting characters seem to mirror who Ellie wants to become - her friends Lara and Emma - and help move the story along at an even pace. They also seem to have stories of their own (aside from the obvious) that I kind of wish Sanghani will explore in a future novel. These girls are outgoing, open-minded and have an extremely active sex life - everything Ellie wishes she was and/or she had.

The only negative I could think of is Ellie's complete determination to losing her virginity was at times frustrating. She seemed at some points to become so obsessed with trying to have sex that she lost focus of her life. I remember worrying about whether she would finish writing her dissertation or not because of a certain boy on her mind - really, Ellie? 
The novel also makes references to younger girls losing their virginity (around ages 13/14) and while it was not a problem for me to read, it might be for some of you. No details or anything like that to worry about but Ellie briefly explains the ages in which most of her classmates got down and dirty.

Aside from that, the book was phenomenal. I absolutely loved it and would definitely consider rereading this one at a later date and have already mentioned it to 5 of my friends (who are anxiously awaiting their turn to read it).

Definitely a book for a modern woman or at least a woman with an open mind. :)

Basic info. about this book:

Name: Virgin
Author: Radhika Sanghani
Review Source: Provided by Publisher (at RT14) in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: Penguin Group - Berkley, NAL/ Signet Romance, DAW
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Chick Lit, New Adult
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository | B&N | Amazon

Author online: goodreads | website | Facebook | Twitter

So, that's it! I hope you enjoyed the review and I will be seeing you very soon!

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:

Until next time-



Marie Rants & Reviews Loving The Prince by Nicole Murphy

Hello everyone and happy Sunday!
Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to Marie - a new reviewer here at Jannelle Reads! This is so exciting for me because 1)Marie is an extremely close family friend who I've known my entire life and 2)It means more reviews, people! We are both working women with a passion for the written word so I am ecstatic that she is diving into this journey with me (sometimes, anyways).

Here is what I would like to call a Marie rant. She might go off on a tangent (or two) but I think this will give you all a great feel for the novel and/or expose you to a semi-unique review style - the rant.

Ok, so maybe I’m new to this whole YA Sci-fi/romance trend (is it really a thing?), but I’m beginning to think that maybe these two worlds are too different to be written together as one cohesive novel. I know I may be jumping the gun on judgement a bit considering this was my first experience with this new genre, but to be fair I’m used to reading some of the greatest science fiction writers out there; along the lines of Asimov and Adams - that’s some stiff competition! The greatest appeal of science fiction is its capability of formulating for the reader an expansive and completely unique perspective of a universe that is completely imaginary yet totally possible. And it all begins with description.

On the side of YA romance novels, we have all read them and we have all developed the same love/hate/why-am-reading-this-and-loving-it relationship with them. So of course, we know what to expect: unknowingly beautiful reclusive girl falls for the most gorgeous and exciting guy in existence by some inexplicable attraction they seem to have towards each other upon first meeting. We get it. We love it. We devour it.

So here’s my point: how can these two fundamentally different genres be combined into one story that’s deserving of being both a good science fiction read and a sweet YA romance? Now that I've tried to explain my biases going into this, I can only hope you now understand how skeptical I was to this book as I was starting out. Loving The Prince falls short on all accounts.

The main character, Cassandra, is heir to her family’s kingdom and Head of Distribution to her family’s mining export business. Her great-great-grandfather is the current Prince and he has chosen Cass as his successor upon his demise, which is no time soon (we think). The novel focuses on a dilemma Cassandra faces when there is a secret consortium that plots to topple her family’s business. Throughout the novel, Cassandra tries to piece together evidence from crimes and politics to figure out who is throwing off the balance in her world. Oh, and there’s mind reading powers.

The main love interest in this novel also acts as a secondary point of view for the action, and that’s Kernan. A well-trained and loyal security officer who has taken the bullet for a couple high-profile charges and now wants to settle down at age… who knows. Extremely attractive, respectful, and intelligent. Of course we love him, and of course he instantly falls in love for our main protagonist even though their love is forbidden.

The novel falls short on some important aspects that can never be overlooked. It was difficult believing in this world due to a serious lack of descriptive imagery. I didn't find out Cassandra’s actual age until 44% into the book - 27, in case anyone is wondering. And, who even knows what “soft curves” are? The only description we’re given of Cassandra’s looks is when she is standing in front of a mirror and notes she has brown, semi-curly hair and soft curves. That’s it. I’m all for imagination, but I think Cassandra’s looks significantly changed in my mind about 3 or 4 times.  I understand an author’s preference for wanting to keep a world open to interpretation, but when it gets to the point where it’s both distracting and frustrating, it just isn't fun anymore. 

Imagery is the most important aspect of any novel that intends to create a substantial and believable world, especially one where they constantly travel between the planet, the moon, and within its own countries with shuttles and pods. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a novel to fully immerse yourself visually in their world, this is not it.

Pro? The politics and the searching for clues is what drives this novel forward, the only saving grace that is then totally quashed with the final “ah-ha!” moment of figuring it out using a method she could have just used from the beginning, only to learn what she has always already known. Shoddy character-work only comes second to the lack of details in this book in it’s difficulty to read. I was astounded when I found out Cassandra’s age considering her manner changes from professional businesswoman to emotional teenager at the drop of a ‘where-is-Kernan?’. The side characters in this novel are shallow and easy to understand/predict. The love/hate relationship with her sister was interesting to a degree. It is also to be noted that there is a unique religion stated in this series explained in a couple of lines as an aside to explain why they use the word “Peace,” as in “Peace save us all,” without no further explanation beyond “that’s the religion and that’s why we say that”. Also, there’s mind powers.

If you've read this far, then I commend you. This is all my terribly biased opinion and take from it what you’d like. It was a strange experience to read this book in all its attempts to bring together two genres that I could scarcely see working together cohesively, and it was disappointing to read this specific novel whose attempt was extremely overreaching and at times blatantly lazy.

If you happen to pick up this book from the library, or download/read/return it in two days like I did, then definitely let us know what you think!

Basic info. about this book:

Name: Loving The Prince
Author: Nicole Murphy
Review Source: Provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: Escape Publishing - Harlequin Enterprises, Australia Pty Ltd
Publication Date: August 1, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Rating (out of 5): 2.0

Recommend? No.

Where it can be purchased: B&N | Amazon

Author online: goodreads | Twitter

Hope you enjoyed Marie's first rant/review and we will both be seeing you very soon!

(to contact Marie, simply comment below!)

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:

Until next time-

Marie & Jannelle

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