Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Keep Holding On" by Susane Colasanti

Keep Holding On
Author: Susane Colasanti
Publication: May 31, 2012
By: Viking

"What's in front of you, is not necessarily the entire story."

This book may be small but it has the potential to make a big impact. It affected me personally because the subject matter is something I could identify with.

The summary and the cover leads the reader to believe it's a book about teenage romance with a few difficult issues thrown in but it isn't. The romance aspect is minor compared to the overall message of the book which is epic. Noelle has endured a life of neglect both at home and at school. She's so beaten down she can't even see that her boyfriend, Matt might not be the best choice for her. Julian, (the best part of the story in my opinion) is the boy she really wants to be with is beginning to show serious interest in her but he can't possibly like someone like her, can he?

Click here to read my full review...


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday
 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie
Publication: November 13, 2012
By: Dutton Children's Books

Reached (Matched, #3)

From Goodreads:

Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

Team Ky or Team Xander...decisions, decisions... ;)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dreamless (Starcrossed #2) by Josephine Angelini

Dreamless (Starcrossed, #2)
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publication: May 29th
By: HarperTeen
3 Stars

Beautiful Cover!

In the second installment of the "Starcrossed" trilogy, we find Helen Hamilton spending every night in Hades, in search of the Furies, those pesky little sisters who make the Delos' family members want to rip each others heads off constantly.  She's the only Scion able to descend and with the weight of both the mortal and the ancient Greek worlds weighing heavily on her shoulders, Helen begins to crack.  
Frustrated and angry, Helen can't even confide in Lucas, the one person she feels most connected to because they're supposed to forget the other even exists.  Just when things couldn't get any more complicated, a new guy shows up bringing with him danger and risk, not only to her mission but to her heart as well.

Time begins to run out with an unseen enemy who seeks to destroy them all.  Chaos breaks out in both worlds leaving Helen to wonder if she'll be able to complete her mission or if the pressure of it all will prove too much?

Click here to read my full review...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday
 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What A Boy Needs by Nyrae Dawn
Publication: June 12, 2012

From Goodreads:

A companion novel to WHAT A BOY WANTS.
Jaden Sinclair knows he'll never amount to why would he deserve a girl like Priscilla Mendoza?
Since last summer, things have been screwed up between Jaden and Pris. He knows it's his fault, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to go a few rounds with her new boyfriend. He also knows he’s the loser his dad calls him, but it doesn’t stop him from wanting her.
After getting a huge bomb dropped on him, Jaden lashes out and lands himself in jail. 
Everything in his chaotic life is turned upside down and to make it worse, his mom kicks him out in order to side with his dad. Yeah, he’s totally a prize for a girl like Pris.
Sebastian, Aspen, and Pris are all going places in their lives...and he knows he can't keep tagging along for the ride.

The group has one last chance for The Epic Adventure they've been looking for: a road trip to New York, where Jaden's friends will be going to college. Unfortunately, the more time Jaden hangs around Pris, the harder it is to keep the carefully constructed walls between them so she doesn't find out what a train wreck he really is.
When the trip ends, Jaden has to decide if he's ready to say goodbye to his friends, and the girl he loves. He knows what he needs, but will he be man enough to go for it?

I thoroughly enjoyed Sebastian in, "What A Boy Wants" but I also fell in love with his "boy" Jaden and wanted so badly to know more about his story. Well, Nyrae has given us "Jay's" story in "What A Boy Needs" along with another cover depicting a guy with temptingly touchable hair (which I'm a total sucker for.) *sits on hands* 

I'm really looking forward to reading this! *bounces with excitement* :D

What are YOU waiting for this week?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Angel Eyes (Angel Eyes Trilogy #1) (ARC) ~ Shannon Dittemore

Angel Eyes (Angel Eyes Trilogy, #1)
Author: Shannon Dittemore
Publication: May 29, 2012
By: Thomas Nelson
2 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson.

I thought this book sounded really interesting from the description and while there were some cool elements, the story fell flat for me.  

Brielle, an eighteen year old former ballerina has returned home after being away at a prestigious boarding school for the past few years.  She's come back broken and scarred after suffering a recent, tragic loss.  All she wants is to fade into the background of her old life but the new guy in town won't allow her to do that.  There's something about Jake that draws Brielle to him but she can't quite put her finger on it.  He's hot for one, like physically hot, to the touch, and there's the light in his eyes that draws Brielle in every time she looks at him.

The more she gets to know Jake, the more she realizes he could be one to help heal her brokenness and if he can't, he might be able to point her to someone who can.  It won't be easy though and Brielle will have to fight if she wants to overcome her pain.  She'll also learn that the battle she faces isn't always one easily seen but it's worth it if she wants a way out her old life and into a new one.  

Dittemore's prose is beautiful and the different character POV's adds a creative touch.  What I found to be difficult and slightly confusing was not only are the POV's switching back and forth but the characters themselves are switching back and forth between the Terrestrial and the Celestial realms (Essentially the physical and spiritual realms) with the bulk of the action taking place in the Celestial realm. 

Not all of the characters are human, some are angels and demons nor can all of the humans "see" what's taking place within the Celestial realm. That fact ties into the story but it's also what made it hard to follow along, for me at least. The battles are vividly descriptive but not gory which some readers will appreciate.  The romance develops rather fast but is pretty chaste - not a bad thing but I'm not opposed to plenty of kissing when necessary. ;)

It's obvious that Dittemore has a good working knowledge of the Bible and the scriptures within that discuss spiritual warfare and I enjoyed the verses that were scattered throughout the story.  I also liked that she chose to have the characters discuss topics such as free will, and the difference between God "making" bad things happen and God "allowing" bad things to happen in order to fill a greater purpose.  Showing how the choices we make can reach far beyond just ourselves was a good point to drive home as well.

I do think there are many readers who will enjoy this book and the ones to follow in the trilogy even if I wasn't one of them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

 Publication: April 24, 2012
by: HarperTeen

  The Temptation

His touch was electric.
His eyes were magnetic.
His lips were a temptation....
But was he real?

After crashing her car on an empty highway, Shane is miraculously saved by Travis, a mysterious cowboy who walks out of nowhere. She is instantly attracted to him, and for the first time, she believes in “soul mates.” But Shane soon discovers that Travis is dead and that strict rules from the Underworld govern kindred spirits of different dimensions. Breaking these rules could destroy both their souls. And while Travis is almost impossible to resist, temptation proves to be the kindest enemy they encounter.

Can true love surpass the power of pure evil? Part love story, part supernatural thriller, this first book in the Kindred trilogy will leave readers lusting for more!
I know I said I was going to wait until I hit 70 followers before I gave something away but I'm not the most patient person especially when it comes to giving stuff away. I can't help it, I just get excited! (I am the WORST when it comes to birthdays and holidays because waiting is torture for me.)

Giveaway is for my paperback copy that I received courtesy of (they ROCK!) and will be open for one week and is US only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Breaking Lauren by Jordan Deen

Breaking Lauren
Author: Jordan Deen
Publication: May 24, 2012
By: Black Rose Writing
5 Stars!

Seventeen-year-old Danny Cummings' life is far from a fairytale, but that's okay since he doesn't believe in happy endings. After spending a year in juvenile hall for maliciously beating his sister's boyfriend, Danny embraces his badass image. Spending most nights drinking, fighting and collecting gambling debts for his Uncle, Danny's life is out of control. His addiction to the bad boy lifestyle won't let him do anything about it, even with his family begging him to go straight. But, when fifteen-year-old Lauren McIntosh stumbles into one of his nightly escapades, the self-proclaimed anti-romantic can't concentrate on anything except Lauren and the fact that she's on the same path his sister was on. Danny knows true love happening for the villain is as common as gamblers paying their debt on time, but he's never backed away from a challenge before and he hates the idea that history will repeat itself.

Growing old with the man she loves—in the small town where she was born—is the only dream Lauren McIntosh has ever had; that is until her family is practically run out of town amidst rumors of arson and adultery. So, when she meets Danny at her new school and hears the rumors about his activities from her new friends, she wants nothing to do with him or the gossip that seems to follow Danny everywhere. After a dangerous and ill-fated attempt at sneaking out, she develops unwelcomed feelings for Danny that he seems to reciprocate. But, Danny’s unrelenting pursuit makes Lauren nervous, especially since he's the only one that wants to know the secrets surrounding her family’s move. Lauren can't tell if Danny's intentions are true or if he has other plans for their newfound and unlikely friendship. The only way to figure out is to let him in and that could destroy everything, including the popularity and social acceptance she desperately seeks.

Breaking Lauren is what you get when danger and innocence collide creating one intense ride! The sheer brokenness of these characters pulled at my heartstrings from the very beginning and kept me reading until I was finished.  Danny and Lauren are each damaged in their own way and at times I wasn't sure either of them could be helped.  When they're forced together through unexpected circumstances they discover that they're more similar than different and they might actually be able to help each other. 

Danny is caught up in a world of darkness that feeds off of his pain and while he doesn't enjoy it per se, he sees no way out. He's tried playing by the rules in the past, even standing up for what's right but that only ended badly.  Still shouldering the guilt, he does whatever necessary to dull the pain, knowing the relief is only temporary.  When he meets Lauren, he wants nothing to do with her initially, but can't seem to fight their connection.  Her innocence unnerves him because he doesn't feel worthy of her yet she seems to be the one person who understands him. The more time he spends with her, the stronger his need to protect her is.  His feelings for Lauren have the potential to save him or send him over the edge. 

Lauren has always lived in the shadow of her siblings, but when a series of events forces her family to relocate to California, she gets a chance to reinvent herself.  She dreams of a picture perfect life, the kind her mother tries to foster at home but like anything kept under a plane of glass, it can shatter if not handled with care.  She's consumed with becoming a cheerleader liker her sister and mother were, and longs to be part of the popular crowd. Josh Miller, the reining "it boy" is the guy all girls are crushing on and Lauren is no exception. When he turns his attention to her she can hardly believe her luck.  Josh and Danny are at opposite ends of the social spectrum and she's convinced that by going out with Josh, she'll have the life she wants. 

Lauren discovers soon enough that no one is who they seem and everyone has secrets. Despite the feelings she has for Danny, she continues to focus on her warped sense of reality which made me not like her very much sometimes.  She gets so caught up in appearances that she fails to see what's right in front of her.  Like magnets drawn together by unseen forces, Danny and Lauren continue to find themselves in each other's company. He makes her feel things she's never felt before and "gets" her in ways that Josh doesn't.  How long can she fight her feelings for Danny before she loses everything she's trying so desperately to hold onto?

This book is an intense roller coaster of emotions and left me wanting the next book NOW! Please and Thank you. :D


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Glimmer ~ Phoebe Kitanidis

Author: Phoebe Kitanidis
Publication: April 17, 2012
By: Balzer & Bray
3 Stars

I am a sucker for a pretty cover and this one is no exception! *stares at the pretty*

Every summary I've read for this book alluded to "zombies" and just to clear up any rumors, there are no zombies in Glimmer. (Not the brain eating kind anyway)

I will say that this story is nothing like I expected and I'm still trying to decide if I enjoyed it or not. I did like the alternating POV's.  It opens with the characters, Elyse and Marshall, waking up naked in bed together, neither having any memory of how they got there, each other or themselves.  Awkward much? Um, yeah!  They decide to trust each other to figure out what's going on and why everyone in town seems to know them but can't give them much information. (Because that's what you do when you wake up next to a nekid hot guy you have no memory of, right?  You hold hands, jump out a window and run off together. 0_0 )

The people in town are super strange, easily distractable, forgetful and seem to fall asleep suddenly whenever they're too stressed out and wake up unable to recall what they were previously upset about. (I think I suffered from a similar condition a few years ago because whenever I got overwhelmed I too would feel the sudden urge to nap but I always remembered what was bothering me when I woke up - bummer.)

Elyse discovers she can see ghosts and is the popular girl at school. So popular that all the girls want to BE her. Creepy. Her home life is bizarre too and dangerous.  Marshall finds out that he has special talents and his strange tattoo zaps the ghosts back to wherever they come from but only temporarily. Together, they'll uncover the secrets of their eerily happy town (some of which are heart breaking) and when they do, it will change their lives and the lives of everyone forever...or will it?

Faced with the choice to either save the townspeople or save themselves, Marshall and Elyse will have to decide whether falling asleep and losing their memories is worth it?  In doing so, they risk losing the relationship that's started between the two of them as well as their lives and right now, they're all they got.

Elyse is a strong female character but her weakness is her pride and unwillingness to forgive easily.

Marshall is protective, a bit selfish at times but he's also sweet and redeems himself. His weakness is allowing his feelings for Elyse to cloud his judgement. 

To order, click here...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday
 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Rebel Heart (Dust Lands #2) by Moira Young
by: Margaret K. McElderry
Expected Publication: October 30, 2012

From Goodreads: 

The Tonton have been defeated. Lugh has been rescued.
The heartstone has brought Saba and Jack together.
Now, Saba and her family head west to meet him and start a new life. All should be well.
But shadows of the dead are stalking Saba.
And another kind of shadow is creeping over the dustlands.
Then a messenger shows up.
With news of Jack.

"Blood Red Road" (Dust Lands #1) was a surprisingly good read for me! If you haven't read it yet, you should definitely check it out - Saba gives Katniss a run for her money and I LOVE Katniss! To read my review, click here.

I'm excited to see that this cover has Jack on it because, well, he is made of AWESOME!  I'm curious to find out if we'll hear from his POV but even if we don't I've no doubt this next installment will be just as fierce as the first one was.

What's YOUR WoW?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"From What I Remember" by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

From What I Remember...
Authors: Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas
Publication: May 15, 2012
By: Hyperion
4.5 Stars!

"Sometimes the best things in life begin as the worst ideas..."

"The Hangover" for teens with a touch of "Will & Grace".

Thank you to Netgalley for this book. It made me laugh, cry and swoon; sometimes all at once.

Each chapter opens with a line from a movie which is awesome in and of itself.  Kylie and Will are BFF"s and school outcasts, she being the high strung overachieving Valedictorian, and he the gay best friend whose always good for a laugh. (He's downright hysterical most of the time.)

Max and Lily, the school's "beautiful couple" are polar opposites of Kylie and Will and have their futures all laid out. (not to mention planned out for them) but all that's about to change.  When Kylie and Max are forced to work together on a final Senior project, a split second decision thrusts them into the adventure of their lives, leaving them to question everything they thought they knew about life, love and each other. 

After an insane 24 hours of drinking, carjacking a vehicle of stolen goods and running for their lives, they wake up in bed, donning matching wedding bands. Wait... WHAT?! They haven't even graduated yet?!  To make matters worse, Kylie can't remember how she ended up in bed with Max or why he seems so happy about it.  Don't they hate each other?  The person who really doesn't seem happy is Lily, and she's just walked in the door.  With only a few hours to spare before they walk across the stage and grab their diplomas, Kylie, Max, Will and Lily will have to make sense of the previous days' events but they'll have to make it back across the border first.

As with most stories, there's more to these characters than meets the eye. All are dealing with some pretty heavy issues like a parent dying of cancer, a sibling with Aspergers, homosexuality, broken families, and a parent whose a Bernie Madoff wannabe.  They don't always make the best choices but their time spent in Mexico is what helps to give them some perspective into life outside of High School.

While in Mexico, Kylie uncovers some things about her family that have the potential to impact them in a big way and she must decide what to do with the information. Will learns, that while it's okay to be different, pushing it to the limit just to prove a point can have some pretty dangerous consequences.  Max realizes that it's not just a waste to give up on a dream, it's also cowardly if you don't at least try. He also learns a few things about trust and love that made my heart break for him. *clutches chest*  Lily discovers it's hard to hold onto something you never really had in the first place. 

All four learn that people aren't always what they seem and you can miss out on something really great because you're too busy trying to get it all just right.   

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pretty Amy ~ Lisa Burnstein

Pretty Amy
Author: Lisa Burnstein
Publication: May 15th
By: Entangled Publishing

Thank you to Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read this prior to publication.

Pretty Amy should be required reading for all incoming High School freshman girls!  

Amy is raw and real; a roller coaster of emotions from snarky and bold to heartbreaking and sad to laugh out loud funny. 

Amy is part of a BFF trio with Lila - the pretty one and Cassie - the tough one.  She knows she's the back up friend, the wing girl, the leftover and she's okay with that.  It's better than being a complete nobody, right?  When the girls are stood up for their Senior Prom and end up crowned Jailhouse Queens instead of Prom Queens, Amy faces a summer of work and community service that gives her plenty of time to consider the choices she's made.  

Things at home have been strained and her arrest certainly doesn't help.  Amy's relationship with her mother is contemptuous at best but they do share some hilarious moments.  As her case moves forward and the threat of real jail time hangs in the balance, Amy struggles to find out who she is apart from her friends and the expectations of her mother.  In the end, she'll find out who her real friends are, meet some new ones along the way and that romance she's always dreamed of, just might show up after all.

"What I Didn't Say" ~ Keary Taylor

What I Didn't SayAuthor: Keary Taylor
Publication: May 1, 2012
By: CreateSpace

Say what you need to, now, don't wait!

Thank you to Netgalley and Keary Taylor for this heartwarming read!

OK, so I'm having trouble putting into words just how much I enjoyed this book so I'm just gonna keep it simple. (I know what you're thinking...when has Jen EVER kept anything "simple" *sticks tongue out*.) Read it, you'll enjoy it too. Pinky promise! 

Jake's story made me laugh, it made me cry and it broke my heart. (in a good way) What makes this so good?  Well, it's not only a story that shows the consequences of bad choices, however devastating those might be, but it also shows that something good can come out of a tragedy.  

When Jake's choice to drink the night of the Homecoming game ends in a horrible accident resulting in his never being able to speak again, he'll be faced with all the things he didn't get the chance to say.  Like, how he never told Samantha, the girl he's secretly been in love with for as long as he can remember, exactly how he feels.  Jake will have to find a new way to live with no voice and a new way to express himself.  He'll learn that family isn't always about blood and while life as he knows it will never be the same again, it's still full of surprises and just might turn out better than he ever could've planned or imagined.

Everyone is struggling with something, even if it's not as obvious as Jake's but you have a choice to make.  You can either choose to let whatever is happening, define you or you can choose to make something good come out of it.  Choosing the latter isn't always easy but it IS always worth it.

At the end of the book, author, Keary Taylor bravely shares her personal reasons for writing this and it made me cry.  ((hugs her)) 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Confectionately Yours #1: Save the Cupcake!

Confectionately Yours #1: Save the Cupcake!
Author: Lisa Papa
Publication: May 1, 2012
By: Scholastic

In this new series, life for seventh grader Hayley, is not as sweet as the cupcakes she bakes. Her parents are newly divorced, Mom is out of a job, her BFF is pulling away from her and her 8 year old sister is a few sprinkles shy of a funfetti cupcake.

To top it all off, one of the parents at school wants to ban cupcakes, forever! (clearly, this woman is an alien). Together with an unexpected ally, Hayley will fight with all the fondant she can roll out to "Save the Cupcake!".  She'll discover that life may not always happen the way we expect it too but that doesn't mean it's wrong, sometimes it's the angle we're seeing it from. 

Click here to read my full review...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) ~ Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5)

Author: Cassandra Clare 
Publication: May 8, 2012
By: Margaret K. McElderry
3.75 Stars*

The cover is beautiful and very close to how I imagine Jace and Clary to look.

*OK, I will attempt to explain my "star" rating but before I do, please remember that this is MY blog and MY opinion. I don't expect everyone who visits here to agree with me but I do ask that you be mature (code for "kind") in any and all responses that you leave. Readers will notice there are no hoops to jump through in order to leave your opinions here BUT nasty or profanity laden comments will be deleted. :)

From Goodreads:
The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

My thoughts...
*We get to find out what happened to Jace - YAY!
*We get to see the story unfolding from multiple points of view which was interesting.
*Simon's role in this book had me crying ALL THE TEARS.  (I *hearts* him almost as much Jace.)
*All of the characters are affected in some way by the end both physically and or emotionally.
*Sebastian was intoxicating in his evilness. (Wait, that should probably be a con but...)
*EPILOGUE! EPILOGUE! EPILOGUE! Cassie Clare could have quite possibly killed me by the end if she hadn't included this, so a HUGE thank you for that! ;)

*Not enough Jace. (Can there EVER be enough Jace though? I mean, REALLY?! *giggles*) 
*The torment of Jace was very painful to read and almost too much to take.  
*There were times where I wasn't exactly sure what was happening and there were
parts I could've done without but I think that's because I just really wanted to know what was going on with Jace and Clary. (Shallow, I know. Do not judge. *grins* )
*I wasn't really drawn into the book until halfway through and that doesn't usually happen with Clare's books. 
*I cried at the end and it wasn't for reasons you might think... 

I liked this but I didn't "love" this, and believe me, I really, really wanted to "LOVE IT SO HARD" hence the star rating. While I do lurve these characters and have grown quite attached to them, I have to be honest when I say, there were times I felt as if this storyline was being dragged out a bit. The torment that Jace and Clary have to go through is like a bad carnival ride and I wonder when they'll be able to get off of it and just be happy for longer than five minutes? I know that not all stories have a "And they lived happily ever after" ending but when is enough, enough?  Before you hate all over me or tell me to "Just stop reading!" keep in mind that I love them and just want them to be "OK". ((hugs them))  I am looking forward to seeing how it all ends...


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday
 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

"The Evolution of Mara Dyer" (Mara Dyer #2) 
by Michelle Hodkin
by: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Expected Publication: October 23, 2012

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2) 

 From Goodreads...

Two days after Mara walks into a police station in Miami at the close of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, she is committed for psychiatric treatment for what her parents believe is a mental breakdown. But what seems like a hallucination to everyone else is a chilling reality for Mara. Someone from her past has discovered her strange, disturbing secret and that someone wants her to pay. But she's about to discover that the price is more than she can bear.

Dark and thrilling, suspenseful and passionate, The Evolution of Mara Dyer will have readers breathlessly turning pages to find out what will become of Mara Dyer next.

I LOVED "The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer"! It was one of my favorite books of 2011 and I gave it as gifts to LOTS of people!  To read my review, click here.  I would DIE if I got an early copy of this book! DIE I tell you! (OK, so maybe not "die" but there would definitely be screaming, crying and lots of *chest clutching* in excitement. (This would take place in private lest people think I've gone all crazysauce and lock me away like Mara.)

The covers of these books are beautiful, intriguing and highly petable. I think they feel like velvet but the husband says it just feels like paper to him. He knows nothing. *rolls eyes*)   

Shortly after reading the first book, where I fell in LURVE with Mr. Snarkypants himself, Noah *sighs*, I had the chance to take part in a live chat with Michelle and some other bloggers - SO.MUCH.FUN!  We discussed the book, Noah, gators, Noah, background information about the story and whether or not Noah would be jailbait if he were a real person.  

I can NOT WAIT to read this!!! I want to know what's next for Mara and of course, Mr. Snarkypants. ;)

So what's YOUR WoW?

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

The Hunt (The Hunt, #1)Author: Andrew Fukuda
Publication: May 8, 2012
by: St. Matin's Press
3 Stars

Gene is different from everyone else he knows.  He has to be.  His survival depends on it.  He knows there's a short list of "don'ts" in order to maintain that survival, things like, don't sweat, don't show emotion and don't ever fall in love with one of them.

Every day is a battle to keep his secret but when he's picked to participate in a hunt that involves taking out what's left of the humans, his real battle begins.  Gene's not only in for the fight of his life, but his heart too, as he's forced to compete with the one girl who makes him feel things he knows he shouldn't.

Click here to read my full review...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Want So Wicked (A Need So Beautiful #2) by Suzanne Young

A Want So Wicked (A Need So Beautiful, #2)Author: Suzanne Young
Publication: June 26, 2012
By: Balzer & Bray

Beautiful Cover!

I sat down to read this not knowing what to expect because the end of "A Need So Beautiful" did not sit well with me, however, I did like the concept and I was curious to see what would happen next. (I do think it's important to have read the first book to understand what's going on.)

I DEVOURED this book in just a few short hours! 

When I finished, I wanted my review to be this... Harlin. THAT IS ALL! ;)

What I need to say...

The Shadows are coming and seventeen year old Elise will have to face them, whether she's prepared or not.  The problem?  She doesn't know who she is or what the Shadows are.  

When Elise moves with her older sister, Lucy and their Dad to Thistle, Arizona, her focus is on making friends, getting her first job and starting a new school. Things don't go so smoothly, especially when she begins to have visions, ones that involve seeing into other people's lives, random strangers who tell her about these Shadows and when she looks into the mirror, her reflection isn't always her own. Oh yeah, why does the name Charlotte sound familiar? What.Is.Going.On?!

Despite being beautiful, Elise has zero experience with boys (that's Lucy's expertise) yet she somehow manages to find herself caught between two cute but very different guys in a short amount of time. (This does not sit well with dear old Dad). Abe, her co-worker is charming and all kinds of cutesauce but he also has a bit of reputation around town. Elise likes him but his behavior confuses her at times, especially when Abe acts like she's his shiny new toy and he forgets the kindergarten lesson that, "sharing is caring".  She can tell he's harboring a sadness behind that Mr. Popularity act of his and has a desire to help him. 

Then there's Harlin, aka "Hotsauce on Wheels".  He's the mysterious new guy in town who Elise feels an immediate connection too, almost as if she loves him already but how can that be possible?  She just met the guy!  Harlin is laugh-out-loud funny, sweet and Dad seems to approve but Elise can sense a grief in him too and it breaks her heart.  They enjoy moments of witty banter that had me snorting and others that had me fanning my face. *fans face*

Being the object of two boys' affection isn't the only problem Elise has though.  The visions become more frequent, blurring the lines between waking and dreaming.  She learns that Shadows are the Forgotten who struggle with the Want and if she doesn't stop them, they will destroy everything that's good.  Familiar faces both good and evil return in this thrilling sequel that leads up to an ending that's as beautiful and shocking as it is heartbreaking.

I truly enjoyed Elise, even more so than Charlotte. *ducks flying tomatoes* I loved her wit and her heart.  She loves so deeply and chooses to see the good in people despite the choices they've made. 

I loved Harlin but, seriously, this IS Harlin we're talking about. *rolls eyes* ;) While it's obvious he's struggling with his grief over losing Charlotte, he hasn't lost any of his sense of humor.  I'd say he's my favorite character and it's not because of his looks. (Well, maybe a little bit) He knows his role as Seer is important but he's not entirely comfortable with it yet.  As we saw in the first book, he has a rebellious streak but he's very tender hearted and has difficulty letting go which makes him all the more swoon worthy. *hugs Harlin* 

Some of these characters make choices that just break my heart for them.  As I was reading it made me think of how people in our own lives make choices that leave us broken hearted and powerless to help them. But you know, it's really not our job to save or change people, only to love them.  

There's an EXCELLENT example of this that takes place in the ARC that I have which has a note in it explaining that it's an early copy and edits could still by made to the ending but  I really hope it makes it into the final copy.  (I've omitted the names to avoid any spoilers.)

Character 1: "I'm sorry I couldn't save you," I murmur. "I'm so sorry, (my omission)."
Character 2: "It was never your job to save me, (my omission). You were only meant to love me."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Submerged (Alaskan Courage Book 1) by Dani Pettrey

SubmergedAuthor: Dani Pettrey
Publication: April 15, 2012
By: Bethany House
3.5 Stars

Awesome Cover!

A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers.
Yancey, Alaska was a quiet town . . . until the truth of what was hidden in the depths off the coast began to appear.
Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a small town. She's returned to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash and is determined not to stay even an hour more than necessary. But then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.
Cole McKenna can handle the deep-sea dives and helping the police recover evidence. He can even handle the fact that a murderer has settled in his town and doesn't appear to be moving on. But dealing with the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge.  She broke his heart, but she is not the same girl who left Yancey. He let her down, but he's not the same guy she left behind. Can they move beyond the hurts of their pasts and find a future together?

I'll be honest, I usually steer away from Christian fiction because the stories are cheesy, for lack of a better word.  (Unless it's a Jenny B. Jones book b/c she ROCKS!) I am a Christian and while I don't care to read smut or stories filled with straight up evil, I also don't want to waste my time reading books that are over the top with the Christianese.  Why? Because it didn't work for me in real life and it's not gonna work for me in a book either. 

This was a unique book for me to review because Dani Pettrey is a Homeschool Mom, (like me!), she's friends with several of mine which means our paths have most likely crossed at some point (6 degrees) and my MIL is mentioned in the back of the book (shout out to Ms. Bobbie from the Joppa library!) :D  OK, on to my review...

Submerged is a well written, faith filled story that combines romance, suspense and shows the powerful effect forgiveness can have.  Pettrey's attention to detail sucks you right in and makes you feel as if you're there in the Alaskan waters with the divers. *shivers*  Her characters are believable and not without their continued struggles even after they've become Christ followers.  

The romance between the two main characters, Bailey and Cole is a little slow at first but only because she is battling old demons that being back home dredges up.  Cole is completely swoon worthy in his pursuit of her heart and is the kind of guy every girl could bring home. *sighs*  He's not without his own brokenness, all the characters have their own baggage to deal with but Cole has had his family and friends for support.  Friends like Landon, who I thoroughly enjoyed!  He was probably my favorite and I look forward to seeing what happens with his story. 

The mystery surrounding the murders grasps and holds the readers attention and the suspense had me on the edge of my seat in anticipation.  Who would survive?!  Who would end up another victim?!  This was definitely not your average Christian fiction book and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Book Basket

 I haven't done one of these posts in awhile but in case you're wondering here's what's in my Book Basket right now. (Yes, I have a black basket sitting next to my Red Reading Chair because I am a book nerd.)

 Some of these are for review from Young Adult Books Central, NetGalley and a few independent authors.  The rest are ones I hope to get too soon. *crosses all the things* 

One MomentThe GlimpseSubmergedDark Kiss (Nightwatchers, #1)What I Didn't SayVelveteen (Velveteen, #1)A Want So Wicked (A Need So Beautiful, #2)
Embrace (Embrace, #1) 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday
 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Hidden (Firelight #3) by Sophie Jordan
Publication: September 11, 2012
By: Harper Teen

Hidden (Firelight, #3)

From Goodreads...

Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning....

Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in the explosive conclusion to Sophie Jordan's Firelight trilogy.

A long time ago someone compared me to a draki, telling me that when I opened my mouth I breathed fire.  My response at the time was, "Well, sometimes people need to get burned." (Ouch!)  Ya know, if this series had been around then, I probably would've decorated my face to look like Jacinda's and gone in search of my own Will. Thankfully, I've learned to temper my words and those within scorching distance can just enjoy reading about fire-breathers and their hotsauce guys right along with me. 

What are you waiting to read?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Insurgent Day!!

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication: May 1, 2012
By: Harper Teen

"Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you."

I have been anxiously awaiting this sequel since I finished reading all 487 pages of Divergent in less than 24 hours last May!  I was NOT disappointed! In fact, I treated this like the opening of a midnight movie and began reading as soon as the digital copy was released around 1:00a.m. and finished 15 hours later.

Insurgent picks up right where Divergent leaves off and is full of action, intensity, lies, betrayal, romance and heartbreak. It had me feeling all the emotions!  I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to punch, kick and jump off stuff.  *puts on Dauntless t-shirt*

Tris and Four/Tobias are trying to navigate their way through the war that has begun between what's left of the factions. He has ideas about which side they should choose but Tris is conflicted about who to trust especially after secrets are revealed that leave her questioning everyone around her.  The only thing she knows for sure is she'll have to fully embrace her Divergence if there's any hope of saving those she loves or herself.  

She is struggling with her guilt and grief (over her parents and Will) and it's affecting all of the decisions she makes as well as her relationship with Four/Tobias. (This broke my heart for her.)  As she learned in Divergent, our choices can transform us but they also have the ability to destroy us and everything that's important to us.

The relationship between she and Tobias feels strained most of the time. There are things they withhold in an effort to protect one another but instead of helping it only hurts them.  It's obvious that he loves her and would do anything for her but he feels a responsibility to help and serve too which is all the more reason to *hearts* him. (I LOVE YOU FOUR!!) The things these two characters have to endure both together and individually, are truly heartbreaking. *CLUTCHES CHEST*  However, they also share some pretty swoon worthy scenes too. *fans face*
War and grief are ugly monsters but have way of both tearing people apart and bringing them together at the same time.  They reveal sides of us and those we love that can shock, surprise and disappoint and have us questioning just how well we know each other, if at all?  It's in those moments that friendship and love are tested, sides are chosen and forgiveness is offered or denied.  It's also in those moments when we find out exactly what we're made of.

I was prepared for an intense sequel but I was NOT prepared to have my heart in my throat the entire time I was reading. *cries*  There are a few twists and surprises and plenty of loss but you can't have growth and new life without loss. I am soooo excited to see how it all ends!