Wednesday, October 31, 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.

Sweet Peril (The Sweet Trilogy) by Wendy Higgins
 Publication: April 30, 2013
By: HarperTeen

*excuse me while I drool all over this cover* 
Sweet Peril (The Sweet Trilogy, #2) 
From Goodreads: 

Anna Whitt, daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a claim. She’d been naive about a lot of things.

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

Dear Santa,

Please bring me a Kaidan Rowe Barbie doll. That is all.  Oh wait, I'd also like to have Anna's dress that she's wearing on the cover and the body to fit into said dressThere will be extra cookies in it for you.


Sweet Peril is one of my MOST anticipated/would do anything/not above bribes books!  What's your W.O.W.?


Monday, October 29, 2012

Rebel Heart (Dust Lands #2) by Moira Young

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

I LOVE this cover!

"We don't choose the time we're born in, he says.  The only choice we got is what we do while we're here.  To make it mean somethin'."
Nothing is certain and no one is safe in the second book in the highly praised Dust Lands trilogy, which MTV's Hollywood Crush blog called "better than "The Hunger Games."It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba's world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh's freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road," a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Margaret K. McElderry books for this ARC. I could not WAIT to read the next installment in the Dust Lands Trilogy and believe me when I tell you, it does NOT disappoint!  This is an intense, thrilling sequel that will have you on the edge of your seat with your heart in your throat.

Rebel Heart picks up where Blood Red Road leaves off; with Jack making his way back to the "Lost Cause" and Saba, Lugh, Emmi and Tommo heading west with plans to reunite soon.  Saba and Jack have both admitted feelings for each other and it's those feelings they focus on while separated. However, like any good sequel with a budding romance, things will get worse before they get better.  With a new enemy on her heels and others who would seek to claim her heart, Saba will be in for a fight not just for her freedom but for her sanity as well. 

All that Saba's been through in the past months, losing her Pa, her time in Hopetown, the bizarre connection with DeMalo and the battle to rescue Lugh begins to catch up with her and takes an overwhelming toll. She can't seem to escape her personal demons but she's convinced everything will be OK once she and Jack are together again. But when an old acquaintance shows up with devastating news of Jack's whereabouts, Saba 's world threatens to crumble completely leaving her devastated and questioning all she believed to be true.

Hurt, betrayed and deceived is how Saba and several others feel with an intensity so strong it begins to cloud judgements as they make their way through The Waste.  It's feelings like these that can lead us to make choices we may later regret.  My heart broke for these characters as I sat helpless in my red reading chair while Lugh tried desperately to regain some kind of normalcy within his family. Poor Emmi is right on the cusp of adolescence but is still treated like a child despite her courage and fierce love. Tommo is no longer a boy yet still needs a man around to guide him and Saba...Oh, Saba...I went from wanting to hug her to shaking some sense into her. I wanted to yell, "WHAT.ARE.YOU.THINKING?!"  *clutches chest*

I fell in love with Jack in Blood Red Road and I think I love him even MORE now. While I wanted him to ride in and save the day, that doesn't always make for a good story.  We find out more about Jack and what kind of man he is and let's just say, he's full of surprises.  One of my favorite quotes from the book is when he's describing Saba, 

"But ohmygawd Molly, she shines so bright, he says. The fire of life burns so strong in her.  I never realized till I met her...I bin cold my whole life, Moll." ~ Jack  

I thoroughly enjoyed the world building in both Blood Red Road and Rebel Heart. Moira Young paints such a vivid picture, you feel as if you're walking through the dusty Waste right along with Saba; blood and grime collecting under your fingernails and you swear you smell just as bad. The language of her world is all it's own too and she uses words like, "sarcastical" which made me feel right at home. 

You know, none of us have any control over when we're born but we DO have control over the choices we make while we're here.  We can choose to do our best, knowing we're going to make mistakes or we can choose to be angry about what life's dealt us and live a life of bitterness and regret.

This was such a FANTASTIC sequel and I'm really looking forward to what the future holds for Saba, Jack and Lugh! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Like Moonlight At Low Tide: Sometimes the Current Is the Only Thing That Saves You by Nicole Quigley

Like Moonlight at Low Tide: Sometimes the Current Is the Only Thing That Saves YouAuthor: Nicole Quigley
Publication: September 25, 2012
By: Zondervan

Beautiful cover!

"I had walked into the middle of his own personal rebellion. Most of our friends partied and broke their parents' rules. He talked about God and broke his friends' rules." 

For Missy Keiser, returning to Anna Maria Island, Florida, means two things: her mother made another poor decision with men, and Missy will have to reenter a world where she’s known as “Messy,” a social pariah who dared to have a crush on Sam King, the most popular boy in school.

But much has changed in the three years she’s been away. Missy’s next-door neighbor is no longer an elderly woman but Josh, an intriguing boy who seems genuinely interested in her. At school, she’s surprised to find few people remember who she once was. And any remaining taunts of Messy are silenced when Sam King gives her his nod of approval.

Just as things seem to be perfect, Josh’s sudden distance, her mother’s latest relationship implosion, and her brother’s strange behavior threaten to ruin it all. Missy is forced to decide between the boy she’s always wanted, a boy who is intent on trying to save her, and the brother she’s known all her life. And her decision could have consequences she can never undo.

Thank you Netgalley and Zondervan for this e-ARC. This is a beautifully written story with a powerful message about love, forgiveness and discovering your true worth.  Missy has not had the easiest life, whether it be because of her mother's reckless lifestyle or the bullying she's endured at the hands of her classmates and my heart broke for her.  She may have left Middle School as an awkward preteen but when she returns to start the second half of her Junior year, she's anything but awkward and everyone is taking notice, including Sam, the school's "It" boy she's crushed on for years.  Missy is so caught up in the past and the way she was treated before that she can't see how beautiful she is now so all the attention she receives is nerve racking for her.

Sam and the popular crowd are all Missy has ever wanted and she's convinced that if she can just fit in, it will mean she's finally worth being loved.  Missy soon discovers that getting everything we think we want can still leave us feeling empty and unsatisfied. (Been there. Done that.) Josh, her next door neighbor is cute, kind and popular in his own way but seems to prefer hanging out with his youth group friends over the regular teen party scene. Josh also has a front row seat to the mess that is Missy's home life but instead of judging or gossiping about it, he's just there for her. He shares his faith with Missy, trying to get her to see that she's worth more than what some boys want from her and that God's grace is enough to cover anything we could ever do.  Josh also has a way of showing up at just the right time which only adds to his swoonability.  Missy isn't sure what to make of Josh's God but can't deny that she like the way she feels about herself when she spends time with Josh.  Sam is nice too and he also makes her feel all the feels but she isn't convinced Sam understands her the way Josh does.  Missy soon finds herself caught between her feelings for both boys but the drama of her home life always seems to take center stage.

Her Mom continues to make poor choices but she crosses a line when she decides to get involved with someone who has influence in Missy's brother, Robby's life. Missy's status at school seems to hit and all time high and just when she thinks her life couldn't get any better, tragedy strikes, bringing with it a storm that leaves her devastated and guilt-ridden for the boy she couldn't save. Things go from bad to worse when the one person she wants most pulls away with no explanation leaving her alone and hurt. In a gut-wrenching conclusion that left me glued to my seat, Missy finally has to decide what she believes about herself, her life and whether or not God really does exist. 

I really enjoyed this! These are strong characters, the topics relevant to today's teens and the message wasn't pushy or preachy.  I'm also familiar with the area in the book (I have family in Sarasota and Bradenton) which always makes a book more interesting.  I look forward to seeing what Nicole Quigley comes up with next. 


Elixir (Covenant Series #3.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Elixir (Covenant, #3.5)Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication: November 27, 2012
By: Spencer Hill Press

"There is love, which means there is always hope." (Yes. This.)

Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex.
Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for.
Even if it means making war against the gods.

This cover is so cool!

Thank you Spencer Hill Press for the chance to read the e-book version early. *flails* 

Holy Half-bloods, I didn't think it was possible to love Aiden St. Delphi any more than I did but OH.MY.AIDEN!  I have been anxiously awaiting this novella for several reasons, the most obvious being, this is Aiden's POV. (Duh!)  AIDEN! *shakes you to make sure you're paying attention* the uber hot Sentinel whose always so guarded (no pun intended) with his feelings and having the chance to get inside his head and heart is better than winning the lottery! 

Let me back up a second and say, if you haven't read DEITY yet, DO NOT READ this until you do! Why? Because it picks up right where DEITY leaves off and you will have missed out on all the important things!  (You may also want to STOP reading this review.)

Elixir is the perfect addition to The Covenant Series and not just because it's Aiden's POV. (If you can't tell, I'm Team Aiden)  It has all of the elements I love so much like humor, romance and action, although the action in this novella is more the battle Aiden wages with himself. He feels responsible for what's happening to Alex yet helpless to fix it but a little comic relief is never far away, especially when his brother Deacon is around. 

"I know." Deacon grinned. "I'm just awesome." 
"And modest." ~ Aiden

Surrounded by others who are concerned for Alex as well as the fate of the human race, Aiden seems to be the only one determined not to give up on her or give in to the fear.  His struggle to do what's best for Alex, despite her new split personality, is both endearing and heart-wrenching. *clutches chest*  But he is determined to protect her no matter the cost and he doesn't shy away from encouraging her to fight because he knows what Alex is made of, what she can do.  He wants to help her overcome this change that is threatening to rob her of who she is even if it means risking his own life to do it.

Time is running out and a war is brewing but you know what, if war is what the gods want, then I say, "BRING IT ON!"  *hides behind Aiden* 


 AmazonBarnes & Noble

Friday, October 26, 2012

Finale (Hush Hush #4) by Becca Fitzpatrick

Finale (Hush, Hush, #4)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Publication: October 23, 2012
By: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

OMP! I love this cover!

Fates unfurl in the gripping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Hush, Hush saga.

Nora is more certain than ever that she is in love with Patch. Fallen angel or no, he is the one for her. Her heritage and destiny may mean they are fated to be enemies, but there is no turning her back on him. Now Nora and Patch must gather their strength to face one last, perilous trial. Old enemies return, new enemies are made, and a friend's ultimate betrayal threatens the peace Patch and Nora so desperately want. The battle lines are drawn—but which sides are they on? And in the end, are there some obstacles even love can't conquer?

OMP! (OhMyPatch) It's always sad to have to say goodbye to a series with characters we've thoroughly enjoyed but a good ending makes it all worth it.

The war between the Nephilim and the fallen angels is about to begin and Nora and Patch are at the center of it.  Being the new leader of the Nephilim army is more than Nora bargained for, (or should I say, "swore an oath" for) and really, all she wants is peace between the races so she and Patch can ride off into the sunset on his Harley and live happily ever after! (Seriously, who DOESN'T want?!)  Instead, Nora will face the fight of her life against those wishing to destroy her and against herself when she falls victim to a new kind of weapon that threatens to steal everything from her, including her life.  She'll find out who her friends "are" and she'll discover her real enemy is someone she never expected. 

Finale has it all.  Love, loss, betrayal and an epic battle of good versus evil.  All of the people we love and a few that we don't are there but not everyone will survive. (Get the tissues ready.) Patch is still Patchilicious but he's more subdued and his slightly inappropriate innuendos aren't as plenty.  However, facing the possibility of being forever separated from the love of your life does have a way of putting a damper on one's attitude. *hugs him and doesn't want to let go*  As usual, he never wavers in his willingness to do whatever it takes to protect Nora, even if it means sacrificing himself. *CLUTCHES PATCH*

Nora has come a long way from the naive girl we met in Biology class. She's turned into a  strong young woman who knows what it means to put others first and whose willing to stand up in the face of fear. *fist bumps her*  Her strength isn't just physical though, she has values too, ones she isn't afraid to stick to despite the temptations. *clears throat* The tall, dark, hotsauce with wings kind of temptation to be exact. ;D

The romantic tension between Patch and Nora has been thick from the moment they met in Hush Hush, so thick in fact, only an archangel's blade could slice through it. *fans face*  Their relationship has grown from one of simple attraction to full fledged love and I thought the way Becca handled the "question" on every reader's mind was done in a way that was unique and held a beauty all it's own. The words...OMP!  *hi fives her*

Fans of this series should not be disappointed with how this story ends.  Will they cry?  Yes.  Will they experience symptoms of extreme withdrawal?  Most likely.  *hands you a cupcake and tells you to remember what Patch would say*  
"Call me Patch. I mean it. Call me."  *hits speed dial!*

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters To Their Teen Selves Edited By E. Kristin Anderson & Miranda Kenneally

Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves
Edited By: E. Kristin Anderson & Miranda Kenneally
Publication: October 30, 2012
By: Zest Books
5 Stars! A Must Read

Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends--and a lot of familiar faces--in the course of Dear Teen Me.

Thank you Netgalley and Zest Books for this e-ARC.
Do yourself a favor, whatever age you are, and READ.THIS.BOOK!  It seriously rocks!  Each of these stories will touch you in some way, whether making you laugh so hard you cry or sending you into a full-on "ugly cry".  You'll be able to identify with at least one of these authors or several if you're anything like me. You may even be inspired to share your own advice with your teen self, or take action like I did after reading Jodi Meadows' story.  Her heartfelt reminder about the fragility of life gave me the "kick in the pants" I needed and for that, I'm grateful.  A BIG "THANK YOU!" to each of these brave authors for taking the time to pen their memories!

Wednesday, October 24, 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.

False Sight (False Memory #2) by Dan Krokos
Expected Publication: August 2013
By: Hyperion

False Sight (False Memory, #2) 

The fact that there isn't an official summary for this book posted yet (at least none that I could find) makes no difference to me.  
I love this cover. I love these characters. I love this story and I can't wait to read it! :D

What's your W.O.W.?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse

Author: C.J. Skuse
Publication: November 1, 2012
By: Scholastic
4 Stars!

"Don't Dream it. Be It."

She's got it bad, and he ain't good -- he's in her garage?

"I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me..."

Gonna have to face it: Jody's addicted to Jackson Gatlin, frontman of The Regulators, and after her best bud Mac scores tickets, she's front and center at his sold-out concert. But when she gets mashed in the moshpit and bodysurfs backstage, she's got more than a mild concussion to deal with. By the next morning, the strung-out rock star is coming down in her garage. Jody -- oops -- kind of kidnapped him. By accident. With a Curly Wurly candy bar. And now he doesn't want to leave.

It's a rock-star abduction worthy of an MTV reality series...but who got punk'd?!

Thank you Netgalley and Scholastic for this ARC.  When I opened this book and saw that it starts off with lyrics from Pearl Jam's Black, one of my favorite songs of all time, I knew I was going to enjoy it!  Once I started, I couldn't put this book down and spent the better part of the first 100 pages, laughing out loud (literally) until I cried.  

At first, Jody's obsession with Jackson seems a bit over the top and her concert experience extreme, but in all honesty, if you swapped out me for her and Joey McEntire from N.K.O.T.B. for Jackson and The Regs, then you get an idea of what my own teenage obsession looked like. (Fainting spells and all.)  

But when Jody finally gets Jackson where she wants him, she quickly realizes that often times the dream is better (and a lot nicer) than the reality.  Now she's stuck with a rockstar whose going through some kind of withdrawal not just from pills but from life itself and she isn't prepared to handle it on her own.  Her BFF Mac (who I adored) has always been there to clean up her messes but even he can't get her out of this one.  Besides, Mac's got enough to worry about with his own life which includes helping to care for his 2 year old sister, Cree and fending off rumors about his sexuality.

Then there's Jackson...he is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  One minute he's calm and semi-rational and the next he's worse than Cree when she's missed her nap.  Speaking of Cree, there's a scene involving her, Jackson, and a cat door that had me laughing until my stomach hurt.  

Like most things, the situation goes from bad to worse and before it all ends, they'll all learn some hard lessons about love, friendship and what's really important in life.  The truth hurts sometimes but it can also be the one thing that sets us free to live the life we really want too. 
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Monday, October 22, 2012

 Halloweenish Things

Halloween is right around the corner and it got me thinking about things I find "scary".  "Scary" doesn't have to be a bad thing (unless we're discussing the food section of this post), it just has to elicit some kind of reaction. Here are just a few things that "scare" me. Enjoy!

Top 5 Scary Good Reads 
(In no particular order)
One common factor that all of these picks share is an element of "creep".  (I mean this in the best possible way!)  It could be a ghost, vampire, the Apocalypse,  or the sheer fact that "It could really happen".  All of these stories are unique and scary good!

If you're interested to see what I thought, click the titles to read my review.  (PS - If you're looking for a horror story, I'm afraid you'll have to search elsewhere. I don't "do" horror.)

1.  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin 
This book as well as it's sequel, "The Evolution of Mara Dyer" will mess with your mind. :)

2.  Ashen Winter (Ashfall #2)  by Mike Mullins 
This gave me nightmares because it could really happen and a good friend happened to be vacationing in the vicinity of where the catastrophic event takes place.

3. This is Not a Drill by Becca McDowell 
"It could really happen"
Not your average vampire story.

5.  Shade Trilogy by Jeri Smith-Ready 
Ghosts you will fall in love with.

Top 5 Scary Fun Costumes

1. Tris Prior (Main character from Divergent)
I had the faction tattoos and the birds on my neck.

2. Cupcake
This really shouldn't come as a surprise except maybe that this was 2 years ago.
3. Casper (The Friendly Ghost) 
I was this ghostly guy several years in a row. 

4. Darth Vader
Our whole family dressed at Darth Vader that year.

5. Pac-man
Yes, the video game.

Top 5 Scariest Movies

1. Poltergeist (This is WHY I don't "do" clowns.)

2. Poltergeist 2 (Creepy preacher dude. That is all.)

3. Nightmare on Elm Street

4. Psycho (The Original)

5. The Ring

Top 5 Scariest Foods

1. Meatloaf

2. Sardines

3. Peas

4. Spam 

5. Any food that looks like, smells like, sounds like or is named after a body part. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

How To Be A Detective by Dan Waddell and Jim Smith

How To Be a DetectiveAuthors: Dan Waddell and Jim Smith
Publication: October 9, 2012
By: Candlewick Press
5 Stars!

Think you have what it takes to be a crime scene investigator or a junior Sherlock Holmes? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Fingerprinting suspects. Dusting for prints they left behind. Combing over the scene of a crime to spot near-invisible clues. Guaranteed to keep sleuths busy and on the case, these lively instructions and hands-on activities cover everything from securing a crime scene and gathering evidence to following footprints, tracking suspects, and interviewing witnesses (and knowing when they are lying!). Among this guide’s special features are:
- A handy magnifier
- An ink pad for taking fingerprints
- A make-your-own periscope kit
- A foldout poster featuring a case to be solved!

I have never had so much fun with a kids book before!  How To Be A Detective starts off with a letter from the Investigator Extraordinaire himself, Sherlock Holmes and is jammed packed full of cool stuff!  A packet with all of the tools a good detective needs is attached, including an ink pad and a kit to make your very own periscope.

In a, "lift the flaps" style, the reader uncovers clues, tips and other helpful information like how to dust for fingerprints, footprints and even lip prints.  

Click here to read my full review...

Friday, October 19, 2012

This Is Not A Drill by Beck McDowell

This Is Not a Drill
Author: Beck McDowell
Publication: October 25, 2012
By: Nancy Paulsen Books
5 Stars!/A Must Read

Two teens try to save a class of first-graders from a gun-wielding soldier suffering from PTSD

When high school seniors Emery and Jake are taken hostage in the classroom where they tutor, they must work together to calm both the terrified children and the gunman threatening them--a task made even more difficult by their recent break-up. Brian Stutts, a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq, uses deadly force when he's denied access to his son because of a custody battle. The children's fate is in the hands of the two teens, each recovering from great loss, who now must reestablish trust in a relationship damaged by betrayal. Told through Emery and Jake's alternating viewpoints, this gripping novel features characters teens will identify with and explores the often-hidden damages of war.

*I won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.  Intense, heart-breaking and hopeful, this little book delivers a realistic punch and is unputdownable.  The story of two teens being held hostage along with a roomful of frightened first graders takes an honest look at the far reaching effects of war and the damage PTSD can do.  It also shows how forgiveness and the willing to sacrifice oneself can provide hope even in the most dire situations. 

Told from alternating POV's, McDowell manages to capture all the emotions of a life-threatening situation, fear, panic and anxiety and infuses it with humor that only a child can lend.  Emery and Jake are both familiar with loss but nothing in their pasts, either separate or shared, could've prepared them for Brian Stutts.  Having returned home a changed and damaged man, his character evokes feelings of pure disgust and gut-wrenching sadness.  The thought that our government frowns upon those who need help as a result of doing their job, is deplorable. "We" send them over there and "we" need to take care of them when they return without judgment or bias.

The situation Emery and Jake find themselves in, forces them to deal with their own issues while allowing them to learn a few life lessons. Both are strong characters despite being flawed and both are eager to do whatever necessary to protect the kids, even if it means risking their own lives. They're no doubt forever changed by this experience and discovering what matters most could be the biggest lesson of all. 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hey, thanks for stopping by Jenuine Cupcakes!  I'm really excited to be a part of the Losing It Blog Tour! 

*hands you a cupcake* 

*and a fan for your face*

Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible-- a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

Finished drooling over the cover yet? 

OK, good because there's lots of fun stuff to enjoy, like an interview with the fabulous Cora Carmack, a giveaway an-- *snaps fingers* Hey! I know the guy is cute but I'm gonna need you to focus here because I share my .02 about Losing It* too.   
*Losing It is New Adult and for those who aren't familiar with this fast growing genre, it usually encompasses the college age/twenty somethings and features more mature subject matters.

"Sometimes it's the scary things in life that are the most worthwhile."

Kissing, laughter, drama, and heart racing romantic tension, Losing It has it all!  I was so excited to have a chance to read this and enjoyed so much about this story, especially main character, Bliss Edwards. She's spent most of her life "in control" but when she meets Garrick, almost all of her resolve flies out the window. (I can't say I really blame her.)  Their first encounter starts out well with witty banter and kisses hot enough to make you forget your name but quickly spirals into awkward leaving them both wondering, "What just happened?"  Things go from bad to KILL.ME.NOW when Bliss discovers Garrick is her new teacher. (OhEmGee) If the thought of seeing him every day doesn't do her in, the shame of their secret just might.

When her life begins to imitate the art she loves so much, Bliss will have to decide what's worth holding onto and what she needs to let go of.  She learns some tough lessons about love, forgiveness, and friendship while discovering that following your dreams is never easy but the things we want most in life are always worth the risk. Always.
Carmack tells the story of one young woman's struggle to live life the best she can with equal parts humor, heartache and romance. Even if you don't agree with everything these characters are doing, you can't help but admire their genuineness. Bliss is funny, beautiful and sweetly awkward making her completely relateable. Kelsey and Cade (I *hearts* him, btw) are the kind of BFF's who occasionally push the limits but who are always there when you need them. Garrick, with his good looks, brains and talent, is the total package. *swoons*

This story addresses the topics of virginity, sexuality and love and I think Carmack handles these with both sensitivity and maturity. *hi fives her* In a day and age where one-night stands, random hook-ups and "friends with benefits" have become socially acceptable, it's refreshing to read a story where the characters don't take virginity lightly and often go to hilarious lengths to avoid discussing it. (Humane Society anyone?) Sex should be a physical expression of love between two people, and as Bliss learns, it's kinda hard to love someone you just met. (Love, the real, long lasting kind, takes time.) There's also nothing wrong with choosing to save yourself for marriage either. :)

Interview time:

1) What inspired you to write Losing It?

Oh gosh. A lot of things. The idea came to me because I just have a tendency to think of really awkward, terrible situations. But then I filled it in with truths from my own college years, and in many ways it became a tribute to my time at university. Bliss is very much so a blending of myself and a good friend. I don’t want to give things away, but I’ll tell you that one part with an accordion and a certain party and its consequences were most definitely inspired by real events. I promise I didn’t fall in love with my professor though. :)

2) What song best describes Bliss?

Hmm… that’s difficult. I don’t know if this song describes Bliss so much as represents how she wants to be and feel, but Many the Miles by Sara Bareilles. It’s all about living to the fullest and new experiences. Or in honor of Bliss’s theatricality, I think she could identify with the song My Junk from Spring Awakening.

3) What do you hope readers will take away from Bliss's story?

I think I just wanted to show a very different kind of leading lady. There have been plenty of books about the pretty girl or the shy girl or the broken girl, but no one talks about the awkward girl. She’s generally a secondary character good for a few laughs. I wanted to show a character and a relationship that was a little more realistic, without necessarily losing that heightened sense of romance that to which readers are drawn. And I think Bliss’s situation is something a lot of girls, possibly every girl, can identify with in some way. Virginity and awkward go hand in hand.

4) What's the last book you read that you loved?

Ooo… good question. Probably On Dublin Street by Samantha Young or Prodigy by Marie Lu or Bridge to Terabithia. I try to vary my reading. :)

5) Do you have a go to writing snack?

Anything chocolate will do or a glass of wine. I write best when I’m relaxed or just having fun with my characters.

6) If you could have dinner with any author, literary character or superhero, who would it be and why?

Ooo… author has to be J.K. Rowling. That’s predictable, but J.K. Rowling is my Queen! Literary Character would be hands down Daemon from the Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

7) If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?

Wasting away into nothingness. Oh, wait, you probably meant as a job. Well, I’ve had a lot of jobs (and I’m not that old). So, I would probably continue to do the same, hopping from career to career until I found something I loved as much as writing. It would definitely have to be something creative. I don’t handle monotony well.

Thanks so much Cora!

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Wednesday, October 17, 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.

 Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Publication: March 1, 2013
By: Sourcebooks
Things I Can't Forget
From Goodreads:
Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

Having just read Catching Jordan and Saving Parker, I'm wishing I had this in my hands, RIGHT NOW!

What's your W.O.W.? 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beta (Beta #1) by Rachel Cohn

Beta (Beta, #1)
Author: Rachel Cohn
Publication: October 16, 2012
By: Disney-Hyperion

Cool cover.

In a world constructed to absolute perfection, imperfection is difficult to understand—and impossible to hide.

Elysia is a clone, created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen year old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of teenaged clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to be created.

Elysia's purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air there induces a strange, euphoric high that only the island's workers—soulless clones like Elysia—are immune to.

At first, Elysia's new life on this island paradise is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, the most privileged people in the world who should want for nothing, yearn. And, she comes to realize that beneath its flawless exterior, there is an undercurrent of discontent amongst Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care—so why are overpowering sensations clouding Elysia's mind?

If anyone discovers that Elysia isn't the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When Elysia's one chance at happiness is ripped away from her with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she's always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.

Thank you to Netgalley & Disney-Hyperion for this ARC.  Beta is the first Rachel Cohn book I've read and I really enjoyed the way she writes.  The story is well written with an interesting concept but I felt like most of the book dragged and didn't get really engaging until the last 1/4 and then it ends.  Granted, it's a game changer at the end, which I'm sure was crafted in order to create anticipation for the next book but, still. 

I had trouble connecting with Elysia's character and I'm not sure why. I was indifferent to her until near the end when everything seems to come at her all at once and by that point, I was left feeling frustrated and sad. I also had trouble keeping certain character's names straight because they were so similar and that was distracting.  

I just don't know that this series will be for me but I know there are a lot of readers who will love it!

Of Blood And Bone (The Minaldi Legacy #1) by Courtney Cole

Of Blood and Bone (The Minaldi Legacy, #1)Author: Courtney Cole
Publication: September 16, 2012
By: Lakehouse Press

As a little boy, Luca Minaldi was told he was a monster.
As an adult, he knows it is true.

He lives in Malta, a fairytale-like place filled with sunshine and sea, beauty and secrets. And Luca’s darkest of secrets is the best kept of them all.

Eva Talbot arrives in Malta for the summer to finish up her doctoral dissertation. When she meets Luca, a mysterious and handsome shipping tycoon, there is an instant attraction, a disturbing and beautiful energy that she has never felt before. But she senses the darkness that lives within him.

Eva is hired to care for his mother, who suffers from dementia, but it is Luca who Eva will eventually risk everything to save. Her life becomes a swirling chaos of darkness and romance, of secrets and mystery. And the question that emerges will become the most important answer of all.

Can she save Luca from the darkness that plagues him without losing herself?

The answer is a matter of life or death.

*There are a few things mentioned that could be viewed as "spoilery" but I will do my best not to get too detailed with those.

Dark, mysterious and hauntingly romantic are the first words that come to mind when I think of this book. It's a story that draws you in and holds you captive until the last page, if for no other reason than wanting to solve the mystery surrounding Luca Minaldi. It's well written, the characters are engaging and the setting makes me want to book a trip to Malta TODAY! (I just need to have some of that "Spawn of Satan" spray on hand. *shudders*) 

Like any romance, there are pros and cons to this one. The fact that both Eva and Luca are willing to look past each other's shortcomings is good and Luca's devotion to his mother is commendable, all things considered.  The downside is the co-dependency that seems to arise as a result of what they're dealing with and the physical side of their relationship certainly pushes the limits. There are a couple of scenes that are very graphic and violent in nature and some readers may have trouble with them, especially if they've ever lived through a similar experience. 

I found the mystery of "Luca" intriguing and thought I'd figured it out but there are enough plot twists to keep you guessing. I enjoyed the alternating POV's and the lighthearted banter between Eva and Luca especially in the beginning. It will be interesting to see where this new series heads next!

You can find out more about Courtney Cole and her books at the following links.

Website | Twitter  | Facebook | Facebook Fan Page

Find Of Blood And Bone (The Minaldi Legacy #2) on Goodreads

Monday, October 15, 2012

Send Me A Sign by Tiffany Schmidt

Send Me a Sign
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Publication: October 2, 2012
By: Walker Childrens
4.5 STARS!

Here's a sign for you...make sure you have tissues close while reading this.

Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death.

Thank you Netgalley and Walker Children's Books for this e-galley. I read this in one sitting, staying up until 1:30a.m. in order to finish it, something I almost never do.  It's well written with engaging characters, but make no mistake, this book will break your heart and ugly crying may ensue. Your reaction may be more severe if you happen to know kids who are battling the same kind of cancer as Mia. (Talk about a "sign".) 
Mia Moore is obsessed with "signs".  She looks for them in anything and everything making life choices based on what she perceives as an answer.  The problem with this way of thinking is that is doesn't account for coincidence nor does it allow her to see what's right in front her because she's so focused on seeing what she wants to see.  Finding out she has Leukemia completely blindsides her and sends her into a tailspin of questioning her life, family, friendships and the validity or her "signs".  Mia is surrounded by lots of people who care about her but Guyver, her longtime BFF and neighbor is the only person she tells at first.  She fears that if her friends or her would-be boyfriend, Ryan knew, then everything would change because they might treat her different.  The problem is, everything already changed the minute she received her diagnosis.

I liked Mia but there were times she drove me crazy, especially where Guyver was concerned.  It's so blatantly obvious how he feels about her but she somehow manages to miss that "sign".  She worries too much about what other people think and her Mom is to blame for that. Their relationship is one that revolves around perfection and Mia struggles with how her cancer has marred that facade of her life. Most of the time her mother seems to worry about how Mia's cancer is affecting her.  She's incredibly selfish and many times I wanted to smack some sense into her.
Mia's friends are oblivious to her condition throughout much of the book and...

Click here to read my full review...