Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eve (Eve Trilogy #1) ~ Anna Carey

Eve (The Eve Trilogy, #1)
Author: Anna Carey
Publication: October 4, 2011
By: HarperCollins
5 STARS! A MUST READ!

"I love you! I love you I love you!"


I LOVE THIS BOOK. SO. HARD!

It took me less than 24 hours to read this and I neglected ALL THE THINGS in order to finish it.

It's been sixteen years since a plague wiped out most of the Earth's population leaving Eve and countless other children orphaned.  Eve, along with several hundred other girls have been fortunate enough to grow up within their safely guarded school where they've only heard stories of the danger that awaits outside the walls. Danger like wild dogs, disease, savages and worst of all, boys.  

Now eighteen and on the cusp of a bright future filled with promise in the New America, Eve can think of little else but life as a teacher.  All that changes on the night before graduation when Eve learns the horrifying truth of her school's real purpose.  If she wants to survive, she'll have to leave the only place she's called home.  Her journey will take her to places she's never heard of and test everything she's ever believed to be true.  

Along the way, she runs into Arden, a girl from school who tried to warn Eve about what the real deal was but Eve wasn't sure she could trust.  Now, out in the wild, they'll have to find a way to work together to ensure their survival.

Caleb is a guy Eve meets and he's, well, he's all kinds of wild and dangerous! *swoons* I LOVED Caleb!  Eve thinks she knows it all and you can't really blame her - it's what she's been told all of her life but Caleb is so patient with her.  (Their first few exchanges are laugh out loud funny!)  He's strong, brave and incredibly selfless and kindhearted.  Caleb tests everything Eve's ever learned about guys, having been separated from them her entire life. Slowly, he wins her trust as well as her heart. *sighs*

When it's discovered that Eve is being hunted by troops, she and Caleb go on the run again.  All she hopes for now is a life free from fear with Caleb by her side, but Eve soon finds that freedom has a price and hers will cost either her heart or her life. *clutches chest*

This story was so interesting and had a little of everything...action, adventure, love and loss and grabs hold of your heart right up to the very end.  *CLUTCHES CHEST*    


*POTENTIAL SPOILERS*
This book had SO MANY interesting things running through it... The main theme that jumped out at me was LOVE, different kinds but LOVE none the less. Here are a few others that I liked:


*The idea that if you educate a girl enough she won't desire to have to love. (DUH!)


*How IVP had gotten out of control to the point that the girls were considered "sows" or "brood mares".

* The Trail had an "Underground Railroad" concept to it - others willing to give theirs lives to help others even it meant risking their own lives.

*OMCupcake!  When the little boys are running after the truck with Eve & Arden screaming "I LOVE YOU!" that almost wrecked me! *sobs*


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

W.O.W.: Insurgent (Divergent #2)

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine 


Divergent was my FAVORITE book of 2011! *flails* I can NOT wait to read Insurgent! *more flailing*



Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Veronica Roth
May 1, 2012
   
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. 



An example of HOW MUCH I LOVED Divergent...


<--I dressed up as "Tris" for Halloween.


                  
                With tattoos -->







What are YOU waiting to read? 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

HAPPY SLIDE DAY! ~ Jill Hathaway

Slide
Author: Jill Hathaway
Publication: March 27, 2012
By: Balzar & Bray/HarperCollins
5 Stars/A Must Read!


I love this cover!


If you had the ability to see the world through someone else's eyes, even for just a few minutes, would you want to?  
 
Vee Bell seems like your everyday narcoleptic but what really happens during her episodes is much more than nodding off.  Vee doesn't just pass out, she slides into the minds of other people, giving her a chance to experience the world as they do. 

Last year, she slid into someone she thought was her friend who just stood by and did nothing on the night that changed Vee's life forever.  Most recently, she slid into the mind of a killer just as he or she finished off her sister's friend Sophie. 

The worst thing about her ability is she can't share it with anyone, not even those closest to her.  She'll have to find a way to prove that Sophie's death wasn't suicide and that how she knows this information isn't as crazy as it sounds.

Click here to read more...







 





Monday, March 26, 2012

"Such A Rush" by Jennifer Echols

Such a Rush
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publication: July 10, 2012
By: Gallery/MTV Books
5 STARS!

"Love isn't something you have to deserve"


I can't post my review until closer to the release date BUT here is my completely unprofessional, teaser review... 





OH.MY.WORD!  I LOVED THESE CHARACTERS SO.HARD!

This is Jennifer Echols best work yet!

You have to pre-order this book, like, yesterday!

READ IT! 

LOVE IT! 

That is all.

Vee, Rollins & Zane "SLIDE" into "The Hunger Games"

 It's always fun when I can combine several things that I love into one thing. Call it what you want, killing two birds with one stone, multitasking, casseroling, what-evs, I call it FUN!  
I got to have some fun this past week with friends, cardboard, movies and books I love. 

Thursday marked the opening night of "THE HUNGER GAMES" movie and like any crazed fan of the book series, I wanted to see it at midnight.  My friend April and her teenage daughter Morgan came with.  (That's April on the left and me on the right rockin' the Mockingjay T my other friend Erinn gave me.)  
 (BTW, I was really hoping for a cardboard cutout of the "boy with the bread" but alas, all our theater had were these banner things which meant April and I had to stand on a bench to get close enough for a picture. Morgan was mortified and convinced we would get kicked out before the movie even started. *rolls eyes*  This was their first outing with me. I do stupid stuff all the time and have yet to kicked out. Yet.)




In honor of "SLIDE DAY" which is this tomorrow, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, the day that Jill Hathaway's debut "SLIDE" releases, I figured I'd bring along a few extra teenagers of my own. I wasn't sure if Vee, Rollins or Zane had read THG yet but I thought they might wanna have their picture taken with Katniss and Peeta too. ;)






I also thought handing out signed "SLIDE" bookmarks would be a smart idea too. 







If you've already read "SLIDE" and picked your "team", be sure to head over to http://imlovingbooks.com and grab a TEAM ROLLINS or TEAM ZANE sticker.  






Finally, who says cardboard boxes are just for kids to play with? There are worse ways to entertain oneself than putting a Lego pinata on your head and rockin' the robot ya know. ;)  



 











Saturday, March 24, 2012

Somebody to Love ~ Kristin Higgins

Somebody To Love
Author: Kristin Higgins
Publication: April 24, 2012
By: HQN
3 Stars



Thank you to Netgalley!

This was a light, quick read filled with equal parts romance and humor.  Kristin Higgins always manages to write characters who have depth and charm and are able to entertain while simultaneously breaking your heart.

Parker's father is a Madoff wannabe who not only loses the family's fortune but both her trust fund and her young son's as well leaving them virtually penniless.  Her only saving grace is a forgotten beach house left to her by a great aunt.  Having never laid eyes on the house, she makes plans to fix the house up and sell it as soon as possible in order to jump start her life again.  What her plans don't involve are falling in love with the one person she can't stand, her father's right hand man James Cahill.  James is everything to her father that Parker is not, including the son he never had.  James also happens to be very, very easy on the eyes. (VU-RY. Mm-kay?)  When James offers to help Parker with the house, she balks at first but quickly relents when she realizes she needs his skills and more importantly, his friendship. 

Things get complicated (and all kinds of friendly.ALL.KINDS.) fast when it becomes clear that the history Parker and James share (one she doesn't like to talk about) might not be so far from either of their minds.  The longer they spend together, the more Parker begins to wonder if James could be what she's been searching for all along.  James starts to realize that Parker could be the only person who can help him heal not only his past but his heart as well. *sighs*

This story is not without it's romantical parts and it's steamy parts *fans face* but underneath lies a bittersweet story of two broken people in search of love.  Fans of Kristin Higgins' other books will recognize the sites, sounds and familiar faces of the waterfront town in which Parker's new home is located.  


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why Jennifer L. Armentrout & Her Books ROCK!

It's no secret that I tend to crush (hard) on my "book boys" but I went TOTAL fangirl on Jennifer L. Armentrout today!  *flails*  Like, I want to bake her cupcakes or something!  BTW, I'm not the type of fangirl who screams/cries/stalks people but I do bake and when I want to show my appreciation for someone, I bake them cupcakes. (or write a blog post about them. *giggles like a girl*)

Here goes...

~Her name is Jennifer. Um, hellew? Best.Name.EV-AH!

~Her middle initial is "L"?! *gasps* does that stand for "Lynn"?!  IDK but OHMYGOSH MY MIDDLE NAME IS LYNN!  *squeals*  takes a breath  *calms down*

~She lives in West Virginia and she's proud of it!  DUDE!  Do you even KNOW how awesome that is?!  (My husband has family from there and let's just say, "pride" isn't the first thing that comes to their mind.)

~Her husband is a cop and a K-9 one at that.
Man in uniform brandishing weapon + Man's BFF used as a Weapon = *MAJOR PROPS*  (As the daughter of a cop I KNOW the awesome that IS the job her husband does.) I also wonder if said husband w/butt kicking job wasn't the inspiration for Aiden's character? ;)

~ She writes wicked cool stories. Some are about half-bloods, pures and demi-gods  (think mythology) who battle daimons (demons) and others are about aliens of light who battle aliens of darkness.  *do not even roll your eyes before you've read the books*
 
Speaking of the books... (My review of Pure will be in a separate post)

I'd already read Obsidian and Shadows but when I saw ALL THE PEOPLE on the Twitter FREAKING OUT about Pure, I thought, "Hmm, maybe I'll check out The Covenant Series."  

I mean, what did I have to lose? I'd just read a couple of other books that were a little on the "heavy" side and I needed something else anyway.  Kinda like when you're served a dinner that's not quite what you were hoping for but you barrel through it to get to dessert because, really, who doesn't like dessert? (There are a few people out there who don't but I am convinced they are aliens.)  In fact, if I know what dessert is and it's something I lurve, I'll often times eat that first. :)

So, I went on Amazon and saw that there were three books in the series so far, Daimon, Half-Blood and Pure and after a couple of clicks, life ceased to exist for the next 30 hours as I read them in order because HOLY HALF-BLOOD were they good!  I was completely sucked in like a baby daimon sucks the aether out of a pure.  These books have it all!  There's love, romance, battles, heartbreak and kissing, lots of kissing. *fans face*

The heroine is Alex, this total badars girl who doesn't take junk from anyone yet she still has a girlie girl side to her.  She's incredibly brave, knowing she was born to rid her world of evil no matter the cost, even if it means possibly losing her own life.  She challenges authority, breaking lots of rules but not just because she's trying to be difficult, but because those rules are wrong and unfair to begin with.  She's witty and sarcastic, with a great sense of humor and while she knows she's not riding the ugly train, she has no idea just how beautiful she really is.  

The two main guys, Aiden and Seth agree she's the most beautiful girl they've ever seen and are constantly having "words" with each other.  Their exchanges are very entertaining and create quite the interesting love conundrum.  Why didn't I say love triangle?  Wellll, because it's complicated. 


(If Alex had a Facebook profile, her relationship status would totes read: "It's Complicated")

The love conundrum involves a forbidden love and a fated love with Alex caught in the middle. The gods, or fate seem to be in control but we won't know for sure until the final book. Both Aiden and Seth have their pros and cons but if I had to choose, after having read to this point, I'd have to go with Aiden.  I just.lurrrve.him.  (If he dies, I will probably die too so please don't kill him, K?)


So, I've come to the conclusion that Jennifer L. Armentrout is made of awesomesauce and her books are like dessert for me - just the right about of decadence and deliciousness and if given the choice, I will read them first. ;) *licks fingers*


 My Review for The Covenant Series: (My Pure review will be in a separate post)

Daimon (Covenant, #0.5)
4 STARS!  Cool Cover

In "Daimon: The Prequel To Half-Blood" (Covenant # 0.5)  Alex and her Mom, Rachelle have been away from the Covenant for three years, living in Miami among the mortals.  All that changes when they're viciously attacked and Alex is forced to flee and return to the Covenant, the one place her mother never wanted her to go. The closer she gets though, the more dangerous her journey, as she's hunted down by the very creatures she was born and trained to kill.  

The daimons have found her and will stop at nothing until she's dead but Alex, being the strong and stubborn half-blood that she is won't give up that easily.  Thankfully, she gets a little help from some familiar faces, one in particular whose haunted her almost every day for the past three years. 

Turns out though, her fight isn't just against the daimons and she'll have to face the consequences of having left the Covenant in the first place, a fate that could be worse than death. 


Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)  5 STARS!  BEAUTIFUL COVER

In "Half-Blood", Seventeen year old Alex is back at the Covenant, the one place her mother warned her never to return, the place they fled for three years, although Alex was never told why.  Here she's among her "kind", half-bloods, as well as pures and there are rules they must follow...so.many.rules which have never been Alex's strong suit.  The number #1 rule of the Covenant is: Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.  This creates a little problem for Alex considering she's got the hots for Aiden, the dark haired, gray-eyed Sentinel whose blood runs pure.  

I liked Alex in "Daimon" and I LOVED her in "Half-Blood"!  She shows great strength, both emotionally and physically considering all she's been thorough and even her stubbornness is less a weakness than it appears to be.  She's constantly putting herself in danger for those she loves and even for a few people she doesn't particularly care for.  She's a Sentinel at heart and knows it's her duty to protect others no matter the cost.  While she's often perceived as reckless or immature for breaking the rules, in reality she's fighting the injustice of the old ways.  She believes things should be fair and equal for everyone, that one breed shouldn't consider themselves better than the other and that's admirable.  


The guys in this series aren't too shabby either...


Caleb is Alex's long time BFF and everyone should be so lucky to have one just like him.  He knows her better than anyone else, is loyal almost to a fault and he's hilarious! 

Aiden is the one all the girls drool over but can only dream about and I can't say I blame them.  He's tall, dark and all kind of hotsauce but he also has a tortured past, allowing him to understand Alex in a way that few others can.  It's obvious that he has feelings for Alex but he's wants to do what's best for her, even if it means denying what he feels in order to keep from breaking the rules. To keep her safe. *swoon*

Seth is the new guy on the island and he's all mystery, electricity, snark and hormones.  (Alex doesn't know what everyone else sees in him because all he does for her is annoy the crap out of her.)  He's tall, blond and beautiful and has these strange markings that show up whenever he and Alex touch.  He's the visual opposite of Aiden and they're not exactly ready to strike up a bromance but their witty banter is highly entertaining.

Alex has a lot on her plate in Half-Blood but remembering not to break all the rules before graduation may be the least of her worries.  If she fails in her duty to become a Sentinel, she could face a life of servitude.  Even worse, if she gets turned into a daimon herself, she'll be hunted by Aiden and that would be all kinds of awkward.




Monday, March 19, 2012

SLIDE by Jill Hathaway Interview & Giveaway!
 (US Only)


Jill Hathaway

 
Jill Hathaway is the author of "Slide", one of my FAVORITE debuts of 2012!  If you aren't familiar with the story, here's my quick synopsis...

If you had the ability to see the world through someone else's eyes, even for just a few minutes, would you want to?
Vee Bell seems like your everyday narcoleptic but what really happens during her episodes is much more than nodding off. Vee doesn't just pass out, she slides into the minds of other people, giving her a chance to experience the world as they do. "Slide" is fast paced, interesting and keeps you on your toes the entire time, a real thriller. (I was late for stuff because I didn't want to stop reading.) It's not without it's hot boys either (there's several to choose from) and romance that's both swoon worthy and heartbreaking.   

I was honored and excited when Jill agreed to let me interview her.  Here's what she had to say...

Where did your idea for Vee's unique "sliding" ability come from?    
My original idea was for a girl to find herself standing over a dead body with a knife in her hand, unsure of what just happened. The sliding idea evolved from that. 

Do you know anyone personally who suffers from narcolepsy?  I ask because I had a boss once who suffered from it and it was always a little awkward to witness.  I used to wonder what went on in his head when he nodded off but never had the courage to ask him.  If "Slide" had been written then, it might have made me a little self conscious. :)
Haha, that would be awkward! I actually don't know anyone with narcolepsy. I watched some videos on YouTube of people having episodes and did some research on the Internet. 

Speaking of Vee's ability, it does create an interesting dilemma for her.  On one hand she has the opportunity to use it for good (to help catch Sophie's killer) but it's also a major invasion of personal space and privacy.  How is she able to reconcile that? 
That's a GREAT question. I don't think she ever completely reconciles that. Vee knows what it's like to be violated, and she knows what she's doing is a form of that. That's a moral question that I hope to explore more in further books.

Vee and Mattie are sisters who obviously love each other even though they don't always get along.  Do you have any sisters?  
I do have a sister, but it's not quite the same because mine is 9 years younger than me. We're only now getting to the point where we are very close. Before, we obviously loved each other, but didn't have all that much in common. 

In the book, music is a big influence in Vee's life, 90's alternative rock music in particular.  Did that genre of music play an important role in your writing process?   
Oh, for sure. I commute to work every day, so I'd listen to my tunes and daydream about what was happening in Vee's life. Then, when I got home, I'd write it.

How do you balance writing with teaching and everyday life?
Very carefully. Ha! Um, I draft my books during the summer, and I revise on the weekends during the school year. It's a pretty good one-book-per-year process. 

If you had to choose one song to define Vee, what would it be?  Rollins?  Zane? 
Vee- "Sour Girl" by Stone Temple Pilots
Rollins- "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters 
Zane- "Falls On Me" by Fuel  

"Slide" is a thriller but it's not without it's romance and cute boys.  Zane and Rollins both care for Vee but are total opposites in personality and physical appearance.  In your opinion, what do you think is Vee's biggest conflict concerning Rollins and Zane?  Why might she be drawn to one more than the other?

This is really hard for me to answer without spoilers. Vee cares deeply for Rollins, but he's seen her more vulnerable than she'd like to admit she could ever be. So I think that definitely throws a wrench in any possible romance. Zane and Vee have experienced a similar kind of loss, and that's really what draws them to each other.

I have to say, my favorite character was Rollins. (Thank you for writing him!) He's not your typical "hot boy" with his lip ring and snarky attitude but as I said in my review, he was definitely Vee's "knight in shining leather"!   Who was your favorite character, and why?
Ha, probably Rollins, as well. He's got a lot of depth to him, and he puts others' needs above his own.

Can you tell us how many books will be in the Slide series?  
Two for now. 

Will we find out more about Vee and Mattie's mom in future books and whether or not her narcolepsy resulted in a sliding ability?
Yes, more in the second book.

If you could slide into anyone, who would it be and why? or why not?
I'd slide into Jared Leto's girlfriend. Ha, it's obvious why. 

Thanks again Jill!
To find out more about Jill, find her at http://jillscribbles.blogspot.com/


Slide by Jill Hathaway


To read my full review of "Slide", head over to YABookscentral.com and be sure to check out all the other great YA books we have there! 
http://www.yabookscentral.com/yafiction/11304-slide






ARC & Signed Bookmark Giveaway!

I loved this book so much and I want ALL THE PEOPLE to read it!  To help that along, I'm giving away my ARC of "Slide" as well a signed bookmark. (The bookmarks were generously donated by Jill.) 
 
I received my ARC courtesy of YABC.  While it pains me just a teeny bit to part ways with Vee, Rollins and Zane (epescially Rollins), I'm willing to do it for one lucky winner (US Only).  

The contest will be open for one week and the winner will be chosen on March 26, 2012. You must be 13 years or older to enter. Good luck!









Sunday, March 18, 2012

"The Starboard Sea" ~ Amber Dermont

The Starboard Sea: A Novel
Author: Amber Dermont
Publication: February 28, 2012
By: St. Martin's Press
3.5 Stars

This is an intense story about one young man's search to find the best path in life after a series of heartbreaking losses leave him struggling to differentiate the thin line between friendship and love and learning how to forgive himself.

Jason Prosper, a snarky eighteen year old whose grown up in a world befitting of his last name, has a love and natural talent for sailing. He's good looking enough and he's never lacked for anything whether it be girls, friends or material things but none of those have ever mattered much to Jason.  He's always felt at home, sailing the seas with his childhood friend and crew partner, Cal, but when Cal commits suicide during their junior year at Kensington Prep, Jason is devastated.

Click here to read more...





 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why I Read YA & Who You Calling Old?

I can NOT tell you how many times I've been asked, "Why do you read YA and aren't you too old?" in the past year so lemme clear a few things up. (I'm only speaking for myself here)

1) For the record, there is STILL a "3" in my age and there will be for a "few" more years. *steps off soapbox*

2) YA is NOT a reading level. (It's not like the Bob Books my kids learned to read with, where they start with sight words and then get progressively harder.  *sighs*

3) Isn't YA all about vampires and werewolves? Um, No. While there are some books that have the bloodsuckers and furballs, YA goes through trends. There are so.many.other stories with butt-kicking warriors, time travelers, aliens, space explorers, faeries, angels - you name it.  There are ALSO some great contemporary stories because YA has something for ALL THE PEOPLES!  *does cartwheels*

4) As a Christian, should you really be reading all that fantasy stuff?  Wouldn't a better choice be to stick with "Christian" books?  Doesn't the Bible warn about that kind of *junk*?  Whoa...stop, drop & roll, or at least take a breathe...  I'll *try* to answer this in several parts.  I say *try* because this question always feels like a no win situation but here goes...

God gave us an imagination for a reason and it's a shame not to use it.  I have found that a lot of the fantasy in YA and MG stories are allegories for the age old battle between good vs. evil. (Not all, but many are)  C.S. Lewis did this with his "Chronicles of Narnia" series and Tolkien's "Lord of The Rings" is another example.  (That one in particular isn't really just about a bunch of short dudes with hairy feet, holding hands and playing with a pretty gold ring is it?)

Granted, there is some dark stuff out there and yeah, we definitely should steer clear of that but that's where discernment comes in.  Being able to tell the difference between right and wrong, darkness and light is important and if you shelter yourself or your kids too much then you limit your ability to develop discernment. (This may seem ironic coming from a homeschool Mom but it's not.)

*steps back up on soap box*  My biggest pet peeve is people who RAVE about Harry Potter but slam ALL THE OTHER NON HP THINGS. I don't get it. I really don't and I didn't even read HP. (see #10)  *steps down again*

I think the word, "Christian" should be a verb - as in Christ follower; doing the work of Jesus; loving and serving people. NOT an adjective used to describe a book, music or a type of person. 

As believers, we're not supposed to judge or argue with one another and basically, what might bother one person, may not bother another. (Romans 14 explains this better than I can and it's worth checking out.)

For me, the genre of Christian fiction has been lacking save for Jenny B. Jones ("There You'll Find Me" and Krista McGee ("First Date") both of whose books are AWESOME!  Jenny also writes "growed up" books too, like "Save The Date" and you can visit her at http://www.jennybjones.com/

BTW, there are quite a few YA authors who write books with interesting characters, some fantasy, some not, that are just plain FUN to read and who also have a ticket to ride the "J-train" but are represented by traditional publishing houses. 
5) Do I really want my kid reading "Insert Title of Book EVERYONE ON THE PLANET is Reading?"  I don't know, but that's one of the reasons I began reviewing books, so my friends and fellow parents would have an idea of what's in it.  When do a review, I try to point out anything that might be seen as a negative, like excessive violence, colorful language (f-bombs & such) or sexy parts. (kissing doesn't qualify as "sexy" IMHO)  You can read my review and then decide for yourself if you or your kid should read it. 

6) Do you ever stop reading a book because of the content?  YEP!  There are plenty of books I've chosen to set aside because I didn't care for the topic, the characters, or it was so boring I thought it was gonna make ma eyeballs bleed. 0_o

7) Do you agree that boys in books are better? Hmm, well, I DO *hearts* my book boys SO HARD, BUT they're not real. *cries*  And while it IS nice to spend time with them, real live boys are always better kissers. ;) 

8) Do you only read YA?  Nope, I read "growed up" books too when I need a break from the teen angst and love triangles.  

9) What do YA & MG stand for?  YA = Young Adult, MG = Middle Grade. (Don't feel bad, I only just this about a year ago.  I'm still a newbie.  Yet another reason not to call me "OLD")

10) Will you ever read "Harry Potter"? Probably not because it has owls and I don't "do" owls. :P


Don't Miss Your Chance!

http://juliekagawa.blogspot.com/2012/03/giveaway-immortal-rules-signed.html

Monday, March 12, 2012

Never Eighteen ~ Megan Bostic


Never Eighteen
Author: Megan Bostic
Publication: January 17, 2012
By: HMH Children's Books
4 Stars! 

Warning: Tissues required!

I like the cover but the mustang should be red considering it's red in the book. I'm not sure why that bothers me but it does a little.

This book isn't very big but packs a huge punch, right to the heart.  Seventeen year old Austin has terminal cancer and most likely won't live to see his eighteenth birthday.  There's still so much life left in him and even though he won't get the chance to live it, he wants to make sure those around him do.  In this heartbreaking book about love, loss and learning to let go, Megan Bostic shows us just how precious life really is. 

Austin doesn't have much time left so he wants to make it count not only for himself but for the people he cares about.  With the help of his long time BFF Kaylee, he sets out for the weekend to check a few things off his bucket list, things like, overcoming his fear of heights, atoning for a mistake he made years ago and finally working up the nerve to tell the only person he's ever loved exactly how he feels before it's too late.  *sighs*  They stop along the way so Austin can pay visits to various people and share with them his feelings about how they've affected his life over the years. Each of these people are dealing with their own issues and Austin wants so badly for them to be able to move on, to see that life is short and shouldn't be wasted.  

Austin struggles at times with the reality that his own life will soon be over and the jealousy that goes with it, yet he has the need to make sure those he's leaving behind will be okay once he's gone.  Your heart can't help breaking for his character who won't get to do all the things his friends will, go to college, get married, have kids, etc. (let the sobfest begin...) 

True to his selflessness, Austin even attempts to care for those he loves after he's gone.  He plans out his memorial service in a letter he leaves that will have you laughing one minute and will rip.your.heart.out the next. (I went into the "ugly cry" by the end) I wanted so badly for this story to end a different way even though I knew from the start it wouldn't. *sobs* 

Yeah, it's sad and it was SNOTFEST2012 by the time I was finished reading (about 2 hrs) but it has such a good message - life is short!  None of us are promised a long and healthy life so we should make whatever life we have count and not just for ourselves.  Love fully, forgive completely (and quickly) and live as if tomorrow depends on it.

Author Megan Bostic has set up a nevereighteen.com with lots of cool stuff like Austin's playlist. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

There You'll Find Me ~ Jenny B. Jones


There You'll Find Me
In Honor of St. Patrick's Day this week & ALL THE IRISH THINGS, I wanted to highlight one of my FAVORITE books from 2011!  It will do your heart good in more ways than one and have you planning your trip to the Emerald Isle by the end. Enjoy!

Author: Jenny B. Jones
Publication: September 4, 2011 (Original review  9.4.11)
By: Thomas Nelson
5 STARS! 



Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC.  It's rare that I find a story that I absolutely love but "There You'll Find Me" is one of them!  A MUST READ!!! This book was well written, smooth flowing with characters who are full of real life flaws making them relatable.  This is a story about love and loss, forgiveness and grace, healing and recapturing the hope that only God can give.  

The past two years have been rough for 18 year old Finley Sinclair, beginning with the death of her older brother Will at the hands of terrorists and ending with a series of bad choices that have left her feeling empty inside; unable to hear God's voice.  In an effort to fix things in her life, she decides to follow in Will's footsteps and heads Ireland to finish out her Senior Year of High School. Equipped with Will's journal, depicting all the places he visited while staying in Ireland, and a fierce determination she hopes to retrace his steps and get back what's been missing in her own life.   Along the way she meets some interesting people who help her to see that sometimes, trusting and releasing control is the only way to be able to truly see and hear God.

Like any teenager, Finley has to navigate her way through friendships, boys and mean girls at school but she also has her on going battle with grief to deal with.  Her coping skills aren't the best and she finds herself in a series battle with food and body image issues,  She is described as being 5'8', a size 9 (juniors) and athletic build (she was a cheerleader back home) with brown hair but she's convinced she's overweight and unattractive.  She's surrounded by stereotypical "Hollywood" types as well as the Irish girls she encounters at school who she sees as being as tiny and beautiful. She fights a daily battle with what she sees in the mirror verses what the world sees when they look at her.  Thankfully, she has people who love and care for her and want to help her but she has to be willing to give up control.  

One of the people she meets who doesn't fit into her well laid plans is 19 year old Beckett Rush.  Their first encounter is both awkward and funny and certainly isn't their last.  Beckett is a native Irishman who is tall, blonde, gorgeous  and just happens to be Hollywood's current "It boy".  Finley knows "his type" and she's neither impressed nor interested.  Through a series of humorous events and witty banter, Beckett ends up as Finley's tour guide of Ireland and they both discover that things aren't always what they seem from the outside. (You can't always believe everything you see on t.v. or read in the checkout line.) As the line of their friendship begins to blur, they both have to figure out what it means to be who you truly are and to live a life that has meaning.  

(Side note: You can't help but love Beckett, especially me considering there are sparkles and fangs involved. *wink *wink)

Erin, the daughter of the host family that Finley is staying with is kind, compassionate and genuinely cares for others.  She sticks by Finley when things get tough and she's willing to be honest with her even if it's difficult.

Beatrice is the Principal's daughter and the girl who makes everyone else's life a nightmare when she doesn't get her way.  (We are not fans of her.)

Mrs. Sweeney, Finley's project for the semester is a feisty old broad who has both a lot to teach her young helper as well as a lot to learn from.  

Sister Maria is Finley's music tutor and one funny nun!  (I spent 8 years in Catholic school.  I can attest to the lack of humor some nuns have.)  She is loving and patient with Finley while also imparting wisdom.  She helps her to understand that sometimes it's not that God isn't speaking to us but that we weren't listening.  She explains to Finley that sometimes we hold onto our anger, our control like an addiction because it's easier then letting go. (I could so relate to this exchange it was scary)

"To truly try means to accept God's love, his healing, to accept the world can be ugly, but your heart doesn't have to be. It takes courage, Finley the warrior.  You haven't held on to your anger and bitterness in search of healing, but as a banner of your hurt.  Because it's real and visible and strong, " she said.  "But so is God's love and so are those arms he's holding out for you." 
"I read my Bible and I see nothing. And when I pray, I feel…nothing. I'm so sick of that.  That…emptiness."

"And yet it becomes like an addiction, doesn't it?" Sister Maria's crystal-blue eyes seared into mine. "Because it's something you've come to know and trust.  Closing your heart to God and the rest of the world won't fill those raw places. It just makes more room for Satan to settle in your heart.  Makes his lies easier to believe - that you're not worthy, that God doesn't truly care.  That he didn't care about your brother, your family, or you.  Finley, you can't hear the Lord's voice over all that distraction, even over the sounds of your own pretty music."

This was a clean book which was refreshing, no profanity, no sex yet it had plenty of romantic tension and I enjoyed the Scripture that was woven throughout it.  Jones, did a wonderful job of describing the layout of the Emerald Isle.  My Dad's family is from Ireland so I've had the opportunity to visit Dublin, Galway, eaten in a few pubs and even kissed the Blarney Stone so I was picturing those places while I read.  I was also listening to Celtic music while reading which brought the whole book to life for me.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

STARTERS (ARC) ~ Lissa Price

Starters (Starters, #1)
Author: Lissa Price
Publication: March 13, 2012
By: Random House/Delacorte Press for Young Readers
4 Stars!

Thank you NetGalley and Random House!

"HOLY.CROW. was this a good read!" That's what popped into my head when I finished this book.  BTW, I have no idea where the "crow" came from because there weren't any mentioned in the story and usually the words that pop into my head have to do with the plot or sugary confections, but a bird?  Yeah, even I can't explain that one.  

STARTERS is a well written, interesting story full of heart pounding suspense, and has twists and turns that will leave you guessing right up to the very end!  There's even a little romance thrown in for good measure. Acutally, this romance has the potential to break your heart but you'd have to be sure you know whose heart your breaking to begin with. *wink*

The Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty and forced Callie and her little brother Tyler into a life of hiding on the streets. Their friend Michael is another victim of the war and together they do whatever it takes to survive, even if it means stealing or risking their lives over a cookie.  (OK, so Idk that I'd risk my life over a cookie.  A cupcake?  I.will.kill.you.in.your.sleep. )  When Callie learns about Prime Destinations, a place where Enders (seniors who long to be young again) can go to rent the bodies of teens, and pay big bucks to do so, she decides she's just desperate enough for the money.  Tyler is sick and needs medicine and it's only three rentals, how bad can it be?  What Callie doesn't know, or isn't told, is that her renter has a hidden agenda, one involving more than just reliving her youth.  

When Callie's microchip (the one placed inside her head to facilitate the rentals) malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rental, she has a choice to make.  Does she go back to Prime Destinations and explain what happened or does she continue on per her contract?  After all, this is her chance to have the life she never had.  Pretending to be her renter, she lives the life of luxury, driving sports cars, wearing the latest fashions and dating gorgeous Blake, who happens to be the grandson of a powerful Senator.  

Callie knows the things in her renters world aren't real, but who else is pretending like her and whose a renter?  Who can she trust?  Things get more complicated the closer she gets to Blake and even more frightening when she discovers the true intentions of the man behind Prime Destinations.  She'll have to decide if honoring her rental contract is worth the cost...and it will cost her, more than she ever imagined.  

I have to admit I had a little trouble getting into this one at first.  The premise of a hundred year old person "renting" a teenagers body like a rental car kinda creeped me out and I even contemplated moving on to another book but I'm so glad I stuck with it!  The twists are really unexpected, the romance heart wrenching and the end left me both satisfied and anxiously awaiting the next book.  STARTERS, is just the beginning...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Galahad Legacy (Galahad #6) ~ Dom Testa

The Galahad Legacy (Galahad, #6)

Author: Dom Testa
Publication: February 14, 2012 (Read March 2012)
By: Tor Teen
3 Stars



In this final chapter of the Galahad series, the epic journey of 251 teenagers sent into space to save mankind comes to it's end.  They don't go gently into that dark wormhole though, especially now that Council leader Triana has returned from her mysterious trip and brought something or someone back with her.  Life aboard the Galahad is once again thrust into chaos as the crew is faced with new challenges and a decision that could alter the course of their entire mission.


Click here to read more...

 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cosmic Storm (Galahad Series #5) ~ Dom Testa

Cosmic Storm (Galahad, #5)
Author: Dom Testa
Publication: September 27, 2011 (Read March 2012)
By: Tor Teen
3 Stars

 

A little too Sci-Fi for me. While this is book 5 in a series, you don't have to read the first four in order to know what's going on because author, Dom Testa gives enough background story to catch the reader up.  (Btw, I couldn't help feeling like a few people were missing aboard this mission.  I mean, where the frex was Amy? or Elder?!  No offense but if I'm gonna take a trip across the frexing universe I need a dose of Elder in there.  Bon is supposedly the ships "hottie" but he's too broody for me. *sighs*)

When their Council Leader Triana disappears, the crew is faced with choosing a new one to take her place.  Gap seems to be the obvious choice, being next in line and all but when an unlikely candidate is offered up, the balance of power begins to tilt.  Add to that the unexplained flashes of light, the growing hostility among the crew members, (it's like a regular "Fight Club" aboard ship) the engineers unable to stop the breeches in the radiation shields and the Galahad is in near chaos. Triana's absence has an affect on each of the Council Leaders but seems to make Bon even moodier (if that's even possible) which only raises his "hot guy" status among the ship's female passengers.

Click here to read my full review...


*This is a clean book with no language or sexy parts to worry about.

Monday, March 5, 2012


PRETTY AMY by Lisa Burnstein 
Cover Reveal and SNEAK PEEK



Expected Publication: May 15, 2012
By: Entangled Publishing

Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing.

Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.


You can find PRETTY AMY here: 



About the Author: 

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She wrote her first story when she was in second grade. It was a Thanksgiving tale from the point of view of the turkey from freezer to oven to plate. It was scandalous.

 She was a lot like Amy when she was in high school.

 She is still a lot like Amy.
  

You can find Lisa Burnstein here:



 Fun Stuff:

Lisa will be hosting a Worst Prom Photo contest in the weeks leading up to AMY's release on May 15. So make sure to dust off your old prom photos—the more tulle, bows, and big hair the better!—and watch Lisa's site, http://www.lisaburstein.com, for details on how to submit/enter to win a beauty package. 






 Lisa's junior prom photo ->