Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 100!!

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about upcoming books. I can't believe this is my 100th WoW!

Touched by Corrine Jackson

Remy O’Malley heals people with touch—but every injury she cures becomes her own. Living in a household with an abusive stepfather, she has healed untold numbers of broken bones, burns,and bruises. And then one night her stepfather goes too far.

Being sent to live with her estranged father offers a clean start and she is eager to take it. Enter Asher Blackwell. Once a Protector of Healers, Asher sacrificed his senses to become immortal. Only by killing a Healer can a Protector recover their human senses. Falling in love is against the rules between these two enemies. Because Remy has the power to make Protectors human again, and when they find out, they’ll becoming for her—if Asher doesn’t kill her first.

This is Book One in the Touched trilogy. (from GoodReads)

Like I said in my recent review of If I Lie, I think that Corrine Jackson is a fantastic writer, so I'm definitely looking forward to her next book! Touched will be released on October 29, 2012.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 46

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Bookish Confessions

1. I skim boring passages! Especially when the book is super long and there's a lot of description. I don't have time for all that.

2. I kinda want to read 50 Shades of Grey. I've been holding out because I have no interest in Twilight fanfiction, but I feel as though I'm the only one who hasn't at this point.

3. I will judge you if you say 50 Shades of Grey is amazing. We all know it's not.

4. I loved the Twilight series when I first read it.

5. My friend and I went to a Cinda Williams Chima signing and we were the oldest there besides parents. We were 17 at the time (so not super old) and everyone else was around 12. Oops.

5. I actually do think The Host is a good book.

6. I read 3 pages of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness and then returned it to the library. I didn't like it that quickly.

7. More Twilight confessions: I went to a Stephenie Meyer signing and have a signed copy of Eclipse. It was actually a lot of fun.

8. I did not like the Epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows nor do I think Harry and Ginny make a good pair.

9. I've been "reading" Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox for over a year. I started it in May 2011 and stopped to read something else. I haven't picked it up since.

10. I hate letting people borrow my books. I will avoid it at all costs, including "forgetting" to bring it to a friend's house.

Monday, August 27, 2012

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise. (from GoodReads)

When I started If I Lie, I had no idea what the secret was that Quinn had to keep. To me, that was going to make or break the book. If the secret wasn't a good one, an important one, then the book would be pointless. Because Quinn puts everything on the line to protect Carey: her friends, her reputation, even her family. Thank goodness for my curiosity the secret was revealed pretty soon into If I Lie and it was perfect. It made total sense and then everything just fell into place after that.

If I Lie is not a happy book by any means. Quinn is definitely a tragic character. She has to keep a secret that's eating her away and takes all the insults and harrassment that comes from being branded a "cheater." Even though she is innocent, she cares enough for Carey that she remains silent even as her entire town taunts her. I could not imagine a stronger character than Quinn because I don't know if I would be able to endure what she goes through. She is also punished not only for her actions, but the actions of her mother, who cheated on her husband, Quinn's Marine father.

But throughout If I Lie, the feeling of hope resonates. Quinn befriends an elderly veteran at the VA hospital, and their relationship is so sweet. George is such a great guy and it's lovely that he understands Quinn even though he's heard all the rumors about her. Reading the story, bit and pieces of Quinn's life and her relationship with Carey are revealed so you get even more of an understanding of what she's gone through.

Even though If I Lie is a very deep and serious book about the military, it was still a riveting read. I read it in about a day because I could not put it down! If you're looking for something thought-provoking, definitely check out If I Lie.

Rating: 10 out of 10!
Release Date: August 28, 2012
FTC: read on Pulse It

2012/Simon Pulse/276 pages.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going, California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again. (from GoodReads)

I was wary of reading Saving June because it has a very similar plot to Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel (and they have practically the same title; I didn't realize that at first). The only difference is that in Saving Zoe, Zoe was murdered instead of committing suicide. Though when I started this novel, I realized that it was its own book and was a very enjoyable read.

Harper is a lot different than June: June gets good grades and is the perfect daughter, while Harper is more of a rebel. So when June commits suicide, Harper is sad, confused and feels inadequate to her recently divorced parents. I felt bad for Harper because of her grief and guilt. Her and June didn't always get along, but you could tell through Harper's thoughts and memories that the two sisters really loved each other.

It was June's dream to make it to California, so most the novel is Harper road-tripping to CA with her best friend Laney and June's mysterious friend Jake. Road trip novels are always awesome, and Saving June was no exception. They drive all across the Midwest and it's a chance for Harper to heal and accept her sister's suicide.

An important part of the novel is music and its healing capabilities. Jake is somewhat of a music snob (he likes a lot of classic rock) and exposes Harper to a lot of new sounds. I absolutely loved the music references but I thought some of it was unrealistic. Harper doesn't know who Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones are? I don't believe that for a second. Even so, there are playlists in the back of the novel of the songs featured in Saving June which I thought was a nice touch.

Overall, I really enjoyed Saving June and thought it was one of the better novels I've read recently.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: received from Harlequin Teen

2011/Harlequin Teen/336 pages.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. (from GoodReads)

I thought that Anna and the French Kiss was such a great novel and I was so excited to read more of Stephanie Perkins's work. Fortunately, she didn't let me down because Lola and the Boy Next Door was a fun and engaging read!

Lola was very similar to Anna. In Anna, she is in love with a boy who already has a girlfriend. In Lola, it's switched. Lola has the boyfriend and there is another guy pining after her. It was nice to see this side because I feel like many YA books follow the Anna plotline with a girl wanting a taken guy. There was a lot of tension between Lola and Cricket and I was pretty much dying for them to get together. I really like the way Stephanie Perkins wrote their relationship because it was very cute.

I think everyone was excited that we got to see Anna and St. Clair again in Lola! I was really interested to see how they were doing since the last book. Unfortunately, their relationship seemed to have progressed to the obsessive because they were never apart. I didn't like how they were so dependent on each other and hope that Lola and Cricket don't end up that way.

The star of the book, Lola, was quite the character. She has two dads which I thought was awesome. I've never read a book where the protagonist has gay parents, so that was a first for me. She is also a designer and loves fashion. Sometimes she stretched the definition of clothes and would wear actual costumes to school. I thought that was a bit excessive, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

Just like with Anna, I couldn't put Lola down! Now I can't wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

2011/Dutton/338 pages.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What We Keep is Not Always What Will Stay by Amanda Cockrell

Fifteen-year-old Angie never used to think much about God--until things started getting weird. Then Angie falls for Jesse Francis, a disabled war veteran who's a lot deeper than most high school guys. But Jesse is battling major demons. As his rages grows more frequent and unpredictable, Angie finds herself losing control of the situation. (from GoodReads)

Pretty much the only reason I wanted to read What We Keep is Not Always What Will Stay is because I love the title. I absolutely adore titles that are phrases or sentences and can stand alone. The storyline isn't one that I would necessarily want to read, but I did so because of the title.

Luckily for me, I really enjoyed What We Keep! It's one of those books that as soon as you finish it you want to read it again right away. There were so many elements that I liked, such as the diverse cast of characters. Angie, her mother, stepfather, grandparents and friends were all fun to read about and I wanted to be part of her family. Even Angie's priest and the homeless man Felix who lives in her church are great characters.

Even though What We Keep is a very serious story about PTSD and the horrors that our military men and women have to face daily, it was still funny and light at some points. I love the way Amanda Cockrell wrote Angie's voice; it sounded just like a real teenager's. Overall, What We Keep was a very well-rounded story and I would definitely recommend everyone picking it up at some point.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2011/Flux/256 pages.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 99

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about new books.

Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Daisy Goodnight can speak to the dead. It’s not the result of a head injury or some near-death experience. She was just born that way. And she’s really good at it. Good enough to help the police solve the occasional homicide.

But helping the local authorities clear cold cases is one thing. Being whisked out of chemistry class by the FBI and flown to the scene of a murder/kidnapping in Minnesota? That’s the real deal.

Before the promotion can go to Daisy’s head, she’s up to her neck in trouble. The spirits are talking, and they’re terrified. There’s a real living girl in danger. And when Daisy is kidnapped by a crime boss with no scruples about using magic—and Daisy—to get what he wants, it looks like hers is the next soul on the line. (from GoodReads)

I think this sounds so good. It's like paranormal and mystery wrapped into one, plus Rosemary Clement-Moore is a really good author. Spirit and Dust will be released May 14, 2013.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 45

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Favorite Books That You've Read During the Lifespan of Your Blog

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I just watched the movie the other night (it's just as good the second time around) so this is on my mind. It's definitely one of my all-time favorite books.

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
This just might be my favorite classic, even though it's so hard to pick! I've only read it once so I should probably read it again.

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I feel like Anna rejuvenated the contemporary fiction genre and got me interested in it again.

4. Divergent by Veronica Roth
I'm so mad that I still haven't read Insurgent because I couldn't put down Divergent when I read it.

5. Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
Whenever I'm having a bad day I pick this book up and read about Violet's shenanigans. I love to laugh so I had to have at least one humor book on this list.

6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
When I first started The Mortal Instruments series I remember loving it so much. Even after six books and another trilogy added on, I still adore this world and I'm so glad Cassie is writing The Dark Artifices.

7. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
This is on the list because it blew my mind. I was forced to read it for summer reading and I ended up loving it. It was so meaningful and if I was a teacher I would definitely assign my students to read it.

8. Heist Society by Ally Carter
I randomly picked up Heist Society from a shelf in my library and I'm so happy I did. What a good book! I feel like it doesn't get enough love from the rest of the blogging community.

9. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti
I'm so glad I found Deb Caletti because she is an amazing author!

10. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
It's pretty deep for a summer novel and it takes place kinda sorta near me!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sprite by Leigh Michael

Annabelle Walsh thought she had it all. She was the star of her swim team, had a loving family, a great boyfriend, and to top it off, she’d be starting at UCLA in the fall. One day, she’d be referred to as Dr. Annabelle Walsh.

She was living every girl’s dream – until her life was turned upside down. All starting with finding out that she's not just a human, but also a water spirit. Half-human, half-sprite to be exact. Although not just any sprite, Annabelle is prophesied to be the only one who can save both the sprites and mankind.

With a mix of current events, anecdotes from Greek mythology, tidbits of folklore, and Leigh’s own imagination, we join Annabelle in her journey to restore order beneath the sea. Each step of the way her mind, body, and soul are pushed to the limit begging the question, how much can one half-human, half-sprite take? (from GoodReads)

I hate to say this, but sometimes there is a reason why you have to self-publish a book. I know that there are plenty of self-published novels that are great reads and it's unfortunate that they do not have the opportunity to get a big publisher behind their book. But if Leigh Michael tried to get her book published by a company (I'm not sure if she did or not), then I understand why they might have said no.

This is not meant to be mean at all, but no one should publish a book that reads as though it is a first draft and rough outline. Sprite is only 150 pages, which is the perfect length for some stories. However, this series was not mean to be written in novellas, especially because it's fantasy. Sometimes fantasy needs the space of a full novel and I felt that while reading. Sprite takes place mostly underwater, which is a huge change from normal stories. There was no world-building and very little detail was divulged about this new world Annabelle finds herself in. It just seemed so fake. She didn't even try to describe what was going on. I can't even picture this sea world in my head because no adjectives were given to me. This lack of detail pervades other aspects of the story, including the characterization, plot development, and folklore. Because the story was so short, everything felt rushed.

Annabelle is supposed to be half-human and half-sprite, which is a rarity in this world. The mythology had the potential to be really cool, but it wasn't explained very well. Any information that was given to the reader was provided in a huge info dump that was extremely tedious to read. After just finishing Sprite, I can't even tell you what the whole point was. Apparently Annabelle is "the chosen one" but I really don't know. Also, I wish the author did more homework on swimming as a sport because as a swimmer I found several mistakes which did not help with my dislike.

Sprite ends on a cliffhanger and a surprise twist but I kind of guessed it beforehand. There are more books being written, but I am definitely not going to be reading them.

Rating: 2 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from a friend

2012/CreateSpace/150 pages.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 98

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about new books.

Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons

After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back? (from GoodReads)

Article 5 wasn't the best dystopian ever, but I'm still interested in seeing what happens to Ember and Chase. Breaking Point will be released February 5, 2013.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - 44

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like making lists about books.

Top Ten Book Romances That You Think Would Make it in the Real World

1. Anna/St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss
This is pretty much one of the cutest couples. I love how you get to see their relationship in Lola and the Boy Next Door, though they do seem a little too attached.

2. Lola/Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door
Stephanie Perkins just writes the best romances!

3. Violet/Jay from The Body Finder
This couple doesn't get enough love as it should. I love how Violet and Jay started out as best friends that developed into something more. I think that's a good basis for a relationship.

4. Kat/Hale from Heist Society
What I love about this book is that it's written so realistically, even though it's about teens who rob art museums. This even translates over into Kat and Hale's relationship, which is really well-written.

5. Elizabeth/Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice
Once they get over their relative pride and prejudice, I think these two have a great future together!

6. Kate/Will from Perfect You
This is my favorite Elizabeth Scott novel and the romance is just so cute!

7. Annabel/Owen from Just Listen
This is my favorite Sarah Dessen book, which I should probably reread. All her male characters are great but I thought I'd add this one.

8. Quinn/Jake from The Secret Life of Prince Charming
Deb Caletti is a fantastic writer and this is just one of her many romances.

9. Amy/Roger from Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Road trip romances always take the cake! This is sorta a long distance relationship but I think they can make it work.

10. Clary/Jace from The Mortal Instruments
Any relationship that can withstand what these two have been through can last anything.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

...And I'm Back!

Hey Guys!

Sorry I haven't been able to post anything in the past week or so. I'm not sure how regularly people check this blog, but I am still here and reviewing! I had to send my laptop in for repairs which made it impossible for me to blog. I have some guest posts to share, as well as two reviews. I would get on that right now, but I leave for school on Sunday and am in the middle of packing/working/seeing my friends for the last time so I'll probably still be MIA until next week. Enjoy your weekend!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - 97

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be published.
Son by Lois Lowry

Told in three separate story lines, Lois Lowry's Son combines elements from the first three novels in her Giver Quartet - The Giver (1994 Newbery Medal winner), Gatherine Blue, and Messenger - into a breathtaking, thought-provoking narrative that wrestles with ideas of human freedom. Thrust again into the dark, claustrophobic world of The Giver, readers will meet an intriguing new heroine, fourteen-year-old Claire. Jonas from The Giver is here too, and Kira, the heroine of Gatherine Blue. In a final clash between good and evil, a new hero emerges.

The Giver is one of my favorite books so I'm so excited to return to that world! I haven't read Messenger yet, so I'll have to get to that before Son is released on October 2, 2012.