Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Foreman

Summary: It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

Kim's Review: Oh sweet Jesus, this book was perfect. It's been two years since I read If I Stay, so I had a hard time remembering most of it, but I still remembered how I felt while I was reading it, and I think this sequel is even better. While the first book is more full of drama and action, this sequel seems to focus more on the fallout. I really loved how the author jumped three years ahead for the second book instead of focusing on the typical drama that would follow after the ending of the first book, which would have felt boring and mundane. It's honestly just hard to explain why I loved this book so much more. It wasn't a sappy romance; it was realistic and honest, yet still had plenty of emotion. While I kind of doubt there would be a third book to this, I would LOVE to read one.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Review: Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements

Summary: Bobby Phillips is an average fifteen-year-old boy. Until the morning he wakes up and can't see himself in the mirror. Not blind, not dreaming. Bobby is just plain invisible...

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to Bobby's new condition; even his dad the physicist can't figure it out. For Bobby that means no school, no friends, no life. He's a missing person. Then he meets Alicia. She's blind, and Bobby can't resist talking to her, trusting her. But people are starting to wonder where Bobby is. Bobby knows that his invisibility could have dangerous consequences for his family and that time is running out. He has to find out how to be seen again before it's too late.

Kim's Review: I wasn't sure about this book at first, but I grew to like it as I kept reading. The premise of someone just waking up invisible one day is really fascinating, and I like how Clements followed through with it. He didn't come up with some wacky explanation for it - it was scientific and fairly plausible. I enjoyed Bobby's relationship with Alicia, as well as the subplots with possible government interference.

While this book didn't have that "WOW" factor to earn five stars from me, it was still a good, fun read. Going into it I was afraid that the plot, explanations, etc. would be too far-fetched, but I was proved wrong.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Published: June 18th, 2013
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 448

Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history.


Tarnish was simply amazing. The best historical fiction novels are the ones that trick you into wondering, maybe that person won't die a horrible death after all! Tarnish was about Anne Boleyn's life pre-Henry VIII, which was a refreshing and welcome way of telling her story. 

The idea of power in this book was intriguing. I loved how Anne didn't actively seek power, as one might expect going in blind. Anne's pure motivation is to be known. To be remembered for being who she was. For her words. As a woman, and an untitled one, her job is cut out for her. Tarnish examined Anne's struggles and how women were treated during this time period. It did it in such an honest manner, I just want to shove this book at my friends and scream 'READ IT!'

Even though the book takes on some heavy topics, it still had a blossoming love story. The love story was not the main plot, which I preferred rather than having it overshadow everything else. I can't say that I've ever read another book with Anne and Thomas Wyatt being the focus, rather than Anne and Henry VIII. Thomas was such a charming and slimy fellow, and he helped Anne discover who she was. Their love story obviously does not end well, but Tarnish will immortalize their (however fictional) love.

All in all, this book was amazing. Katherine Longshore is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I can't wait until she writes more!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kim's 2013 Christmas Wishlist!

So many awesome books have been released lately, I wish I could buy them all! However, I should probably narrow it down...so these are the top five books I hope to see under the Christmas tree this year!

 1. Rumors (Luxe #2) by Anna Godbersen 
After bidding good-bye to New York's brightest star, Elizabeth Holland, rumors continue to fly about her untimely demise.

All eyes are on those closest to the dearly departed: her mischievous sister, Diana, now the family's only hope for redemption; New York's most notorious cad, Henry Schoon-maker, the flame Elizabeth never extinguished; the seductive Penelope Hayes, poised to claim all that her best friend left behind--including Henry; even Elizabeth's scheming former maid, Lina Broud, who discovers that while money matters and breeding counts, gossip is the new currency.

As old friends become rivals, Manhattan's most dazzling socialites find their futures threatened by whispers from the past. In this delicious sequel to "The Luxe," nothing is more dangerous than a scandal . . . or more precious than a secret.

2. Just One Day by Gayle Foreman
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
From the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a dazzling new novel: a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home.

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.
Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet.

4. The Chaos (Numbers #2) by Rachel Ward
Adam sees “numbers” – when he looks in peoples’ eyes he can see their death-dates, just like his mum Jem used to. Adam has trouble dealing with his awful gift, and when he realises that everyone around him has the same series of numbers, he becomes deeply afraid of what might happen in 2025.

Desperate to find out what could be about to go wrong, Adam spends hours researching possibilities – war, nuclear accidents, killer viruses. He knows something big is coming, but what? And is there anything he can possibly do about it?

5. Every Day by David Levithan
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Happy Holidays!!! What books are on your wishlist?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review: Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

**Spoilers for Burned below!**

Summary: Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated. Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life, but is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?

Kim's Review: I love Ellen Hopkins' books so much. I've read all of her YA novels and have yet to be disappointed. Smoke is the sequel to Burned, and it's been at least a year since I read the first book, so I was worried I would be lost. However, Hopkins does a great job at explaining what happened, so going back and skimming through the first book was unnecessary. I really loved the plot and reading about the aftermath of the incident between Pattyn and her father. The author also kept the story entertaining and intriguing, especially considering that this sequel was never planned.

The characterization and emotions in this book are amazing; I felt so bad for Pattyn and Jackie. I also thought Hopkins did a great job at depicting how the incident affected the two girls mentally, giving both of them PTSD. I can't imagine having to relive that moment and have it running through your mind every day.

Again, this book was a fantastic sequel. I will never, ever stop endlessly recommending all of Hopkins' novels to every reader I come across. Her characters and stories are heart-wrenching, but absolutely amazing to read.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: Numbers by Rachel Ward

Summary: Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem's world is about to explode!

Kim's Review: This book was NOT what I expected it to be. There was a lot more action and suspense than I anticipated (given I didn't read the summary before starting), but I really enjoyed it. The idea of someone being able to see a person's death date just by looking them in the eye is definitely intriguing, and I think the author took it in the right direction. It took a while to get used to all of the British slang, but overall I couldn't find any flaws in the writing.

I was teetering between a three and four star rating throughout most of this book, but that last chapter made it earn the fourth star. Talk about a creepy ending! I hope I get to pick up the sequel sometime soon because I think there's a lot to be explored. Consider my expectations raised!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

In My Mailbox (December 1st, 2013)

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by the Story Siren! It's an opportunity to showcase what books you have purchased, borrowed from the library, etc throughout the week.

I admit that I didn't get any books for myself this week. I took advantage of Black Friday sales to get some books for my sister. And since she doesn't know the URL to this blog, I can show you the ones I got for her for Christmas! 


Adaptation is the only one out of these that I've read, and I loved it! Ash is by the same author, so hopefully it'll also be good. It seems pretty awesome by the synopsis. Oddly enough, I've read the other books in the Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings) series, but not the first one. I'm really counting on the chance that my sister will let me read some of them after, haha. 

What did you get this week?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Summary: It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

Kim's Review: I really enjoyed this book! It was a nice, short, relatively light-hearted read. I really liked the plotlines and the different twists and turns. Lauren and EB's relationship and their struggles were realistic and well done in how they dealed with them. My only complaint is that, even though it was written by two authors, I found it very difficult to separate the two narrators in my mind because their voices are so similar. Even after finishing the book, I still have trouble recalling which girl had which boyfriend/best friend/etc. It would be a lot easier if their "voices" were more distinct.

However, I loved both of the girls' romantic relationships, and I thought how they dealt with moving away from each other was very realistic and awesome. Even though they love their respective boyfriends, neither of them are clingy or annoying and are able to think for themselves, and that's something I always love to see in novels!

All in all, I think this book is fantastic. I seriously loved reading the development of Lauren and EB's friendship, and it would be awesome to see a sequel with the two of them finding their way around university life. If only it were easier to differentiate between the narrators, I could easily give this five stars.

This book will be released on December 24, 2013. Keep an eye out for it! :)

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review: The First Days by Rihannon Frater

Summary: Katie is driving to work one beautiful day when a dead man jumps into her car and tries to eat her.  That same morning, Jenni opens a bedroom door to find her husband devouring their toddler son. 

Fate puts Jenni and Katie—total strangers—together in a pickup, fleeing the suddenly zombie-filled streets of the Texas city in which they live. Before the sun has set, they have become more than just friends and allies—they are bonded as tightly as any two people who have been to war together. 

During their cross-Texas odyssey to find and rescue Jenni’s oldest son, Jenni discovers the joy of watching a zombie’s head explode when she shoots its brains out. Katie learns that she’s a terrific tactician—and a pretty good shot. 

A chance encounter puts them on the road to an isolated, fortified town, besieged by zombies, where fewer than one hundred people cling to the shreds of civilization. 

It looks like the end of the world. But Katie and Jenni and many others will do whatever they have to to stay alive. Run, fight, pick each other up when they stumble, fall in love…anything is possible at the end of the world.

Kim's Review: This was the first zombie apocalypse book I've ever read, and I went into it expecting gore and blood and action left and right. There was some of that in this book, and the fighting scenes were the best parts. However, I was pretty unsatisfied overall. One thing that grabbed my attention in the first few chapters was the fact that one of the main characters and narrators, Katie, was queer. This surprised me a little just because I felt it was an interesting angle to take. Throughout the novel though, it becomes more of a romance, and ends up seeming more like a novelization of a Lifetime movie than a zombie apocalypse novel. A lot of things frustrated me, mostly regarding how the author handles Katie's character and her relationships. Nearly half the book is about Katie talking to others about her sexuality and relationships. There's a lot of conversation about "turning her straight" or assuming she is in a relationship with Jenni, the other main character, who repeatedly mentions she is straight. Personally, I thought too much time was focused on Katie's sexuality and relationships. There are zombies out there who want to eat your brains, and every other conversation is about who Katie's attracted to? Seriously? I doubt Frater meant for it to come across as offensive, but it seems more like she's trying too hard to make a statement than anything else. This irritated me so much throughout the book, I can write a whole other book about it.

The writing was really simple; if not for the sex scenes and gore, it feels like it could be a book for a sixth grader. Therefore, I was not really sucked into the book, and at times picking it up felt like a chore. I hardly even cared for the characters. The dialogue also seemed fake; some of the things the characters said just felt awkward, like nobody would say it in real life. Considering this is supposed to be an adult book, not even YA, the writing and plot were underwhelming.

Unless my school's Zombie Book Club makes me, I'm not planning on reading the sequel. I can probably predict what would happen anyways, sparing myself the dull characters and boring love triangles.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

I've heard a lot about Eleanor & Park, about how great it was. I can say that I was let down by the hype. While Eleanor & Park is a cute and original book, it is not as groundbreaking as I was led to believe. 

Eleanor & Park was conflicted as to whether it wanted to be a dark, grisly look at abusive relationships, or a cute coming-of-age romance. It fell in between both of these, making it a weak attempt at both of them. I felt as if the book had great potential, but it did not develop any of it.

The romance was, of course, the center-piece. I felt like it got overly cheesy sometimes. But, I really did enjoy how unique it was. Eleanor & Park was original, you have to give it that. Nearly everything has been done before, and this book is the first one in a long time to look at romance in a different light. To quote that Selena Gomez song: "It's been said and done / Every beautiful thought's been already sung."  Eleanor & Park was a very original romance, even if it lacked in other aspects. This book examines each flaw, and each struggle that comes with holding onto love when it's slipping away from you. 

This isn't an entirely horrible two stars, but that's just what I think would accurately fit it. Give it a try, but don't buy into all the hype.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: November 13

Waiting On Wednesday: Showcase books you can't wait to read!

The story that began with Unwind continues.

Connor and Lev are on the run after the destruction of the Graveyard, the last safe haven for AWOL Unwinds. But for the first time, they're not just running away from something. This time, they're running toward answers, in the form of a woman Proactive Citizenry has tried to erase from history itself. If they can find her, and learn why the shadowy figures behind unwinding are so afraid of her, they may discover the key to bringing down unwinding forever.

Cam, the rewound boy, is plotting to take down the organization that created him. Because he knows that if he can bring Proactive Citizenry to its knees, it will show Risa how he truly feels about her. And without Risa, Cam is having trouble remembering what it feels like to be human.

With the Juvenile Authority and vindictive parts pirates hunting them, the paths of Connor, Lev, Cam, and Risa will converge explosively and everyone will be changed.

I cannot wait to read this book, the third novel in the Unwind series. I'll forever hate myself for forgetting its release date and therefore missing my chance to buy it while I still had money. Somehow, I have to hold out and wait until Christmas. Until then, I'm going to be dying waiting to find out what happens! If you have yet to read the first two books, I highly recommend you get to it - you'll get so sucked in to the story, it won't take long to finish!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Summary: The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

Char's Review: Seeing Willem’s PoV was enlightening and wonderful. It made up for yet another open ending. Don't make the mistake of thinking that this book takes place after Just One Day ends (like I did.) At first I was hesitant, because I, more often than not, loathe open endings. But Just One Year was written beautifully.

Just One Year didn't make me doubt the characters. It had the opposite effect, I now have much more confident in Willem. I understand him, and that makes me understand the connection he has with 'Lulu'. I feel like I can imagine my own ending, and for the reader to have that feeling is a blessing. 

So, as I said before, this book is basically a parallel to the one told from Allyson's PoV. Don't let that turn you off or bore you. There weren't any slow parts to this book. Even when it seemed like it was getting a bit droopy, it still had the can't-put-it-down effect.

If all love stories were written by Gayle Forman, the world would be a better place.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Currently Reading: The First Days by Rihannon Frater

Katie is driving to work one beautiful day when a dead man jumps into her car and tries to eat her.  That same morning, Jenni opens a bedroom door to find her husband devouring their toddler son.

Fate puts Jenni and Katie—total strangers—together in a pickup, fleeing the suddenly zombie-filled streets of the Texas city in which they live. Before the sun has set, they have become more than just friends and allies—they are bonded as tightly as any two people who have been to war together.

During their cross-Texas odyssey to find and rescue Jenni’s oldest son, Jenni discovers the joy of watching a zombie’s head explode when she shoots its brains out. Katie learns that she’s a terrific tactician—and a pretty good shot.

A chance encounter puts them on the road to an isolated, fortified town, besieged by zombies, where fewer than one hundred people cling to the shreds of civilization.

It looks like the end of the world. But Katie and Jenni and many others will do whatever they have to to stay alive. Run, fight, pick each other up when they stumble, fall in love…anything is possible at the end of the world.

I just started reading this book for my school's Zombie Book Club, and it's pretty good so far! This is the first zombie book I've read so I don't really have anything to compare it to, but it seems like the story is going to be good. I can't wait to see what happens!
Do you read zombie books? I'd love recommendations! :) 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith


This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Published: April 2nd, 2013
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 416

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs? 

Charlotte's Review:

My expectations for this book weren't too high (mostly because I wasn't too keen on the Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight) but it completely blew me out the water. The premise draws you in, and the adorableness keeps you there.

Graham was adorable, and Ellie was too. Even though the whole story is absurd on its own--I mean when has a movie star you've been emailing come to film a movie in middle-of-nowhere-Maine just to meet you?--but it was still believable and realistic.

All the subplots, like the relationship with Quinn, and Ellie's father, added to the novel and set it apart from the norm. This book made me want to move to Maine, and that's saying something.

This Is What Happy Looks Like has renewed by faith in Jennifer E. Smith and I can't wait to read more!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Review: I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

Summary: Protect the diamonds
Survive the clubs
Dig deep through the spades
Feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That's when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

Marissa's Review: It dawned on me the other day when I was looking through my favorites that I never actually wrote a full reaction to this book. The funny thing is that I actually read this almost exactly a year ago, which was around the time Hurricane Sandy happened. I never got the chance to type a review since we lost power for almost a week in a half, so I figured its very fitting to bring it back a year later. Plus, this is one of my favorite books and I always recommend this book. I've said this before and I'll say it over and over, I really truly believe that Markus Zusak is a genius. I mean, if The Book Thief alone doesn't convince you, then you definitely will be after reading this one. Even though this book was written before The Book Thief, I actually read this way after reading The Book Thief. Now, The Book Thief is one of those books I hold on a pedestal. It is literally one of my all-time favorites. So when I actually got around to reading this one, I was nervous. I was pretty much still reeling and I figured that it probably wouldn't be as good. Wrong. It's important to point out that you couldn't get two more different books than this one and The Book Thief. So its almost ridiculous to even try to compare the two together. I really liked this one though. 

My first initial reaction was that the ending was very abrupt. But then I re-read the last few pages, it really sunk in. I feel like there are many different angles people can take with this book (especially the ending) but the whole idea of this book is such a genius thing Markus Zusak came up with. Ed is basically just your regular guy who lives an extremely routine life and is trying to find some sort of meaning to it. He feels like he has always been a disappointment. When he stops the bank robbery, people finally notice him and declare him a hero. But Ed doesn't feel like one. So when he goes home and finds a card in his mailbox with three addresses on them, he is very confused. He visits each house and finds out that inside each house or place are people with all different stories. He starts to help out these people and as he does more and more cards are sent to him with different symbols like clubs, spades, and hearts. Each have a hidden meaning behind them. Not only is Ed helping people, but he is also learning things about the people he never even knew, people who he used to just pass by and even his friends who he sees and hangs out with everyday. 

But most importantly, he learns things about himself and as his feelings towards the world and his own life start to shift, he learns the true meaning behind the word hero. I think we can all take something from this book. I think this book should be one of those required reading books. This book really moved me though. All of the stories Ed learns from visiting the places on the cards were unique and very meaningful. There are so many things I love about this book and its really more of the little things in this book that I love the most. I really do think that everyone should read this and I definitely want to re-read it sometime. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Twisted (Deathwind Trilogy #1) by Holly Hook


Twisted (Deathwind Trilogy #1) will be released on December 15, 2013.  

Twisted (Deathwind Trilogy #1) is a spin off from The Destroyers Series
Sixteen-year-old Allie isn’t like other girls.  Instead of spending her summer break sitting around on the beach, she takes the epic vacation of a lifetime.

Tornado chasing.

And she’s not disappointed.  Just a few miles from the town of Evansburg, Nebraska, Allie meets her dream of seeing a tornado.  In person.  She can’t wait to tell her friends back home.  Never mind that her parents are going to kill her.

But her dream soon turns into a nightmare, and a strange event leaves her shocked.  Confused.  When she returns home to Wisconsin, something’s…different.  Allie now bears a curse so awful, it could destroy everyone and everything she’s ever known.

With her best friend, Tommy, Allie must return to the plains to find a way to reverse it.  She enters a world that she had never imagined, where she becomes a pawn in a fight to save the people of Evansburg from her fate…or to destroy them.

The cover will be revealed on November 15th!  If you are interested in participating in the cover reveal sign up here.  In the meantime here is the first chapter from Twisted!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

WARNING: Very mild spoilers below. Mostly stuff that's in the summary or pretty predictable from the start, but just to be safe, proceed with caution.

Summary: One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Kim's Review: This was such a perfect ending to the series. Painful, but perfect. The way everything is explained is so realistic - it seems like something that could actually happen in the future, and it is sort of scary to read about. Everything just clicks together, and it's weird to look back at the first book and be like "THIS was happening the whole time???" The whole idea of people "outside the fence," just miles away yet you never even knew they existed, is pretty creepy. It is fascinating to get to read about basically a whole new world and society and what was happening the whole time Tris was inside the fence.

It was a little hard to keep track of all of the new characters, but I still liked them and thought they were a great addition to the series. The only problem I had was that I couldn't really remember who some of the old faction members were, so I found it hard to feel for them because I didn't really "know" them. I suppose that's more my fault, though, for not rereading Insurgent some time in the last five months. Some of the more important supporting characters, like Caleb and Christina, really shined, and I enjoyed getting to see some insight into their characters and actions.

Lastly, I'm trying to keep this review spoiler-free, but THAT. ENDING. I don't think I'll ever be okay ever again. Damn you, Veronica Roth! (But also thank you for allowing me to get sucked into the insane world of Tris and Four - if Christina can forgive Tris, I suppose I can forgive you for the pain and suffering this book put me through. ;) )

Review: Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce


Cold Spell (Fairytale Retellings #4)
Author: Jackson Pearce
Published: Nov. 5th, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 336
Source: ARC

Kai and Ginny grew up together–best friends since they could toddle around their building’s rooftop rose garden. Now they’re seventeen, and their relationship has developed into something sweeter, complete with stolen kisses and plans to someday run away together.

But one night, Kai disappears with a mysterious stranger named Mora–a beautiful girl with a dark past and a heart of ice. Refusing to be cast aside, Ginny goes after them and is thrust into a world she never imagined, one filled with monsters and thieves and the idea that love is not enough.

If Ginny and Kai survive the journey, will she still be the girl he loved–and moreover, will she still be the girl who loved him?

I liked Cold Spell a lot, but not as much as Fathomless (the third novel.) Cold Spell was fairly average plot-wise. It was light on lore, and the clear cut goal didn't leave much room for unexpected plot twists. I thought it was very anticlimactic. Of course, I've never read the original Snow Queen so I can't compare it to that. 

For the people who have read the other books in this series, you'll be happy to know that there are references back to them! 

I liked all the supporting characters, but I didn't feel very empathetic for Ginny or Kai. I supported Ginny, but I didn't really sympathize for her. I wasn't upset with any of the choices she made but everything about her was a bit blah. I appreciated her development when she realized she could live without Kai, but she still didn't actually grow; she just realized she could live without him if she absolutely had to. It was a half effort, not a whole one. 

I liked Mora, but I thought her backstory was a little confusing for the average reader. I wish there had been more of her PoV, and more explanation of the Fenris. The lore that was there was very interesting, I just wish there had been more development of it!

I found this book to be fairly average. Pearce has a wonderful writing technique. If you read and enjoyed the other novels, you may be a little disappointed since it is the conclusion, but Cold Spell is charming nonetheless.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

So I met Veronica Roth today.

I went to an Allegiant Tour stop today, and got to meet Veronica and attend a Q&A. It was absolutely amazing, and she was so sweet! More under the cut because it has taken me this long to learn that Blogspot lets you do read mores and I want to take full advantage of it. ;)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

SummarySet over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

Marissa's Review: I adored this book. I literally zipped through it and spent the whole day yesterday reading it. This is a very meaningful story about first love and how two of the most unexpected people were able to find it with each other despite their differences. I loved this story because not only are Eleanor and Park unique but also their character and relationship development are done so nicely. The little things like sitting next to each other on the bus soon turned in to the best part of their days. This isn't just a story about love between two people. It's also a story about learning to love and find yourself, which both Eleanor and Park experience throughout the book. We learn from their relationship that first love definitely isn't easy and it has its ups and downs, but it isn't entirely impossible either.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Happy Allegiant Release Day!!!

IT'S FINALLY HERE!!! I'm so happy! I've been looking forward to reading this book for so long - after some technical difficulties last night, I (Kim) stayed up until midnight last night so I can start reading it on my Nook! I sure hope my teachers don't expect me to pay attention in class today because all I want to do is plow through this book and find out what happens!

Have you gotten your copy yet? What do you think so far? Feel free to talk in the comments below - but keep it spoiler free, please! :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Release Day: Hollywood Angels!

Hollywood Angels
Title: Hollywood Angels (Amateur Angel #2)
Author: Karri Thompson
Genre: YA Paranormal
Ashley’s back – and this time, she’s no amateur. She has a new assignment, someone who’s thoughtful, loveable, and caring – someone unlike her last assignment—Cannon Michaels, rock-and-roll bad boy, her celebrity crush, and the boy she loves. But will her next stint on earth will be any easier than the last? Can she forget Cannon and continue her role as a responsible guardian angel? Someone has followed Ashley back to earth, and this person reminds her of who she used to be – an untrained angel full of sorrow and regret – but this someone is rash and unpredictable, lacking the patience and training needed to watch and wait and keep his assignment from harm. What will Ashley do when she meets this unexpected angel? Can she suppress her human emotions while teaching him how to love and protect his assignment? If he doesn’t cut it as an angel, will he be replaced by another, tearing Ashley away from her true love? Find out when Ashley falls back to earth and lands in a city full of surprises – Hollywood, California.

About Karri Thompson
My debut YA novel, Amateur Angel, was released May 1, 2012. The next book in that series, Hollywood Angels, comes out October 21st. The first book in my upcoming dystopian trilogy, The Van Winkle Chronicles, will be released by Entangled Publishing Summer 2013.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Joint Review: Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Summary: Secrets, romance, murder and lies: Zoe shares a terrible secret in a letter to a stranger on death row in this second novel from the author of the bestselling debut, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

(We were both given an Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for our honest opinions.)

Kim's Review: I loved this book! When I'd first read the summary I thought it might be one of those over-dramatic love triangles, but it wasn't at all. Pitcher kept it simple while capturing the reader's attention and entertaining them with the million questions imevitably left in their head after reading a chapter. I also liked how on the outside, Zoe's family is pretty typical - two arguing parents and their three kids whose problems they are too busy to care about at first - but on the inside, it's quite unique.
The only bad things I can say about this book is that at first it was difficult to tell whether a certain part of the story was happening in the past or present, but you get the hang of it after a while. The last letter at the very end of the book seemed sort of unnecessary as well. I think just leaving it to end with Zoe's last letter would have sufficed.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It had some really creative ideas, and Pitcher kept me interested the entire time. I would love to read more of her novels in the future!

Charlotte's Review: Ketchup Clouds was really interesting. I wasn't expecting much from the synopsis because it came across as a bit immature to me, but I really loved it. While most of it is cute and the protagonist is relatable, there are darker aspects of it. Zoe came across as pretty self-centered at first, but I didn't dislike her for it. She can't be expected to be perfect, she's human. Her two romances contrasted one another so much. It was mystifying to remember that this was the same girl in each relationship (but in a good kind of way.)
The end of the novel didn't leave me with very much closure. There were a few big things that I would change, but they didn't hurt the book overall. I loved all the relationship dynamics, especially within Zoe's family. Her sisters were very interesting and I'm glad they got a lot of focus. Her parents were a force to be reckoned with. Many misconceptions that I began the book with were completely proved false by the end of it. I liked how the book was written, with letters to Stuart and also in present and past. The entire book I went back and forth, wondering who would be the one in the coffin. The end was very unexpected.

P.S. The fact that someone dies isn't a spoiler, it's included in the synopsis and is spoken of in the first letter!