Search This Blog

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Release Date: June 14th, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

In all of the books I’ve read, I don’t think there has ever been a family I’ve loved more than the Garretts. From the beginning, even before Samantha really gets to know them, I could definitely see why she spent so much time watching them. Sam lives a very clean and controlled life. Her mother has very specific ways she wants things to be and isn’t very pleased when things go outside of her lines. The Garretts are a big family, full of life and there is always something going on. Jase Garrett introduces himself to Sam one night and it changes everything. The more time she spends with Jase and his family, the more she falls in love with them.

There are a lot of characters in this book and Huntley Fitzpatrick has given them each their own distinctive personality. While reading I felt like I was really getting to know every character, even if I didn’t like what was learning about them. A lot of times the younger sibling characters are sort of generalized in a book and just serve as background to the story, but the younger Garretts were just as fleshed out and some of my favorite characters to date. Especially little George, he was such an awesome kid, I just wanted to hug him.

There is such a contrast between the way Samantha and her family live, and the way the Garretts live. Samantha’s mother is all about appearance and order, she wants things a specific way and expects her daughters to comply. While the Garretts lives are more about doing what makes you happy and living their lives. I really liked how Samantha fit in with Jase’s family so quickly. Considering all of the horrible things her mother had said about them over the  years, she might not have been so comfortable in their world, but it was just one more thing to prove that she is her own person and not her mother’s clone.
This book tells an amazing story about family, friendship, tragedy, love and finding out who you want to be. I loved every page and I can’t wait to go back and re-read it. I am such a fan and I can’t wait for more books by Huntley Fitzpatrick :0)

Blog Tour: Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore + Giveaway!

Release Date: May 29th, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through . . .ANGEL EYES
Brielle’s a ballerina who went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.
Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.
Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.
A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.

Brielle comes back to her home town after the death of her best friend. She's having a hard time dealing with life, because she doesn't understand why someone like her friend was taken so soon. I really liked Brielle as a character, she was just a girl trying to deal with her pain and guilt about what happened to her friend. Jake is the new guy at school and he is definitely interested in Brielle. He is there just at the right time for Brielle, because she really needs someone she can count on while she is trying to understand and grieve her loss.

I like multiple POVs in paranormal stories and I was glad to see that Angel Eyes had them. I feel like you get to see deeper into what is going on in the world, when you see it through more than one characters eyes. I liked that the story here wasn't exactly like so many other angel stories out there. It's not just about Brielle finding out she's an angel and having to deal with what that means, there are twists and other factors that kept it interesting. And the cold, I was so curious about the cold. Unfortunately, there were a couple of things that made this book less of a hit for me. I'm not really a religious person, but I can appreciate the angel/demon lore and really enjoy reading about it. The thing that pulled me out of the story a little with this one, were all of the religious undertones and Brielle's struggle with God. I understand the point that it served and it wasn't like it was preachy or out of place in the story, but it's not really for me.

Overall I thought Angel Eyes was a really interesting take on angels and demons, and there was enough mystery swirling around to keep me turning the pages. This book may not be for everyone, but there is a great story here and Shannon Dittemore has done a wonderful job telling it.

And now, for one lucky winner, I've got an ebook copy of Angel Eyes up for grabs!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

Release Date: May 29th, 2012
Publisher: Kensington
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

I’ve seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I’m supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I’m just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me—again.
Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects—and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I’m also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the bad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me?
It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Helheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can’t use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me—and I’m in for the fight of my life.

I really like spending time at Mythos Academy and I think Dark Frost was my favorite visit, yet. I’m a sucker for books with private school settings and this is made better by all of the mythology and magic around every corner. Gwen is such a likable character and she’s got plenty of spunk, which I love. I also think her magic is probably some of the coolest I’ve read about, especially after seeing all of the ways that it is evolving in book three. Gwen has got a lot of big stuff coming and at least she has got some kick butt magical abilities on her side.

She’s also some amazing friends and mentors. I really like how the students and teachers, or at least some of them, all come together and fight side by side when there is a problem. Sure these teachers are older, more experienced, and definitely have authority, but they don’t really condescend to the students. Except Nickamedes, who condescends to everyone. As the series goes on, Jennifer Estep has gradually branched out from the core group and we are slowly getting to know more students at the academy. I really like this about the books and now that we’ve seen little bits of Morgan throughout the series, I hope we really get to know her in the future. I feel like she has so much awesome character potential.
The reapers have seriously stepped up their game in book three. Gwen and the gang have to step and finally put all of those skills they've learned and training they've been doing to the test. It was so awesome getting to see them truly getting to live up to their potential, but it was also very sad. They are trained to battle and no matter how many great fighters you have, some people always get hurt in battle. Of course, with the threat of another Chaos War looming, the Mythos kids need that dose of reality so they can be truly prepared.
While this was my favorite of the series, and I am a big fan of the series as a whole, there were a couple of things that bugged me about the book. I was so over Gwen and Logan for most of this book, because it just seemed like the same back and forth. They would make a little progress, but then totally regress, because of the same silly things. Fortunately, once we started getting more information and got to see the bigger picture, it all started making more sense and I don’t mind rooting for them again. The other thing that really bothered me about this book was the constant beating us over the head with previously shared knowledge. I know in a series that it’s important to give a little refresher here and there, and I certainly appreciate it in moderation, but I felt like this time around I kept getting reminded of the same things over and over. It actually pulled me out of the story a couple of times and that was disappointing.

All in all, I really enjoyed getting back to class with the Mythos Academy kids. And despite a few minor gripes, this was an excellent addition to the series, with tons of action, humor, weapons, and Vic! I love Vic, he’s so freaking cool! If you’ve read and enjoyed the series thus far, then you definitely want to pick up Dark Frost. There is so much packed into this book and you won’t want to wait to see how it all plays out in book four. If you haven’t started the series and you are a fan of mythologies of all kinds, then you should definitely pick it up. You won’t be sorry :0)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Something Like Normal" by Trish Doller

Release Date: June 19th, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

I can't even begin to describe how in love I am with this story. Travis is such an amazing main character and I really enjoyed seeing everything through his eyes. He's seen and been through a lot, and it definitely comes through in his personality, but it doesn't completely own him. He's still just a guy, who sometimes does really jackass things and doesn't give them a second thought, at first. Once he starts spending more time with Harper, he starts thinking about how he should be better. The way he sees it, Harper is way too good for him, and unless he shapes up she'll never give him a real chance. Harper is a nice girl, who has a bad reputation, because of some rumors that Travis helped start when they were in middle school. Despite the unsavory nature of their shared past, Harper is intrigued by Travis and they start spending time together. The two of them are so fun together, oftentimes playful and light, which is such an excellent contrast to Travis' stories about being overseas.

This book is so emotional. We see Travis trying to come to terms with the things he's done and not being able to protect his best friend from death, and trying to be there for his mom while his family is going through something. These things are written so well and I felt like I knew exactly how he was feeling. There were so many times I wished I could just reach in the book and give Travis a hug. And while I loved watching the relationship develop between Travis and Harper, I also really enjoyed when we got to meet some of his Marine buddies. Groups of guys are always entertaining to me, because the dynamic changes and you see a different side.

I honestly can't think of anything that I didn't like about this book.  I'm still in a bit of a book haze about it, so I apologize if this is mostly incoherent fangirling, but this book grabbed me and affected me in a way most books don't. It will be getting a reread very soon and my finished copy will be proudly displayed on my favorites shelf. So it definitely deserves some fangirling and Trish Doller deserves all the praise she has been, and will undoubtedly keep, getting!

Definitely give this one a shot. It's an excellently written story full of emotions and real, layered people. There is a main character you can't help buy love and a whole cast of other characters that will make you fall in love with them, too. A must read :0)

*Cover photo & synopsis from Goodreads*

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Unbreak My Heart Blog Tour: Author Interview with Melissa Walker + Review!

I am so excited to be hosting Melissa Walker for the Unbreak my Heart  blog tour! She stopped by to answer some questions about the book, writing habits, and pirate ships! Clem's story is such a wonderful one to read and it's definitely a perfect book for the summer. If you haven't added it to your TBR pile yet, what are you waiting for?!?

I loved Unbreak My Heart! The idea of spending an entire summer on a boat is so interesting. Is that something you’ve actually done, or was this story your way of living vicariously?
I haven't sailed for a whole summer, but I spent a lot of time on my parents' boat growing up, and there were a few long weekends where I thought I might go crazy in those close quarters. Of course, it's also really great--I love the water and I always wanted to use it as a setting.

Olive is one of my favorite little sibling characters, ever. I wish I had a sibling just like her, do you know where I can get one? Haha. Seriously, though, what made you decide to have Clem’s sister be so much younger than her? 
I think there's a pre-puberty wisdom that I wanted to have in the story, so Olive had to be pretty young. But super smart. I love her too.

James is great, one of the nicest guys in YA, it needed to be said! Other than your own, do you have a favorite YA male lead?
I fall for SO MANY book boys. One epic crush: Adam from Gayle Forman's IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT.

Contemporaries are my favorite. They just make me smile and I never get sick of them! What inspires you to write contemporary novels, instead of something with paranormal creatures?
I'm not good at making things up! I mean, things are fictionalized, but contemporary life is what I see in my head, even when I close my eyes.

Do you get inspired by music when writing? If so, what type of music inspires you most during the writing process?
Yes, I listen to the CHEESIEST music while I write. Songs make me really emotional. Seriously, sometimes I'll put on utter schmaltz, like Celine Dion, just to make myself get sappy.

Are there any quirky rituals you have to do before or during the writing process?
I like to have an iced coffee by my side while I write, but I don't have to touch a doorknob three times or anything like that!

Can you tell us anything about what you’ve got coming next? Circus performers? Identical quadruplets?
I have a letter in the DEAR TEEN ME anthology, out from Zest in late October. And I'm working on a new book but I'm not talking about it yet... stay tuned!

Just for fun! If you were the captain of a pirate ship, which literary characters would you want as your crew?
I would probably choose all secondary characters. If I pick main characters, they'll try to take over. They're pushy that way.

Thank you, so much, for answering some questions! This is the spot where you can add any subliminal messages to persuade people to run out and buy Unbreak My Heart  :0)
Thanks for having me! Um, if you pick up Unbreak My Heart this week and email me to tell me, I'll send you a free signed bookmark. Incentive!

Release Date: May 22nd, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.

I was so excited for this book and it was even better than I imagined. I loved that it was told, in part, in flashback's of the previous year's events. We got to get to know the Clem now and see the aftermath, then slowly we learned what it was that got her there. When we first meet Clem, she is not a happy person. She's lost her best friend and is stuck spending the summer sailing, with her family. Even though a sailboat is a very small space, I think it would be such a cool experience to spend a summer sailing. I've never really been on a boat and this book definitely made me want to go. There are a ton of sailing terms, plenty of which made no sense to me, but it didn't take away from the story.

I really liked Clem. Even though she was mopey a lot, I thought she was a fantastic character. I've never lost a best friend the way she did, but I can only imagine that I would have been feeling exactly the same way. Fortunately, she meets James right away and their budding friendship is good for Clem, no matter how hard she tries to fight it at first. I loved James! He was such a happy and genuine guy, and all he really wanted was for the people around him to be happy. He was also pretty funny, I often found myself cracking up at him. And Clem's little sister Olive, was most definitely my favorite! She was just so darn adorable, but also extremely perceptive for a ten year. Since they were all stuck on a boat together, Olive sort of becomes a stand-in best friend for Clem and their relationship was such a fun one to read.

In the flashback's we get to know Clem's former best friend, Amanda. They have such a great friendship and it's easy to see why Clem is taking the loss so hard. Remembering all of their good times helps Clem to realize what she truly misses and also serves to show us why what she did seemed like such a betrayal to Amanda. (Sidebar: In one of the flasbacks Clem and Amanda are trying to make ranch popcorn, it sounded delicious and inspired me to try and make some of my own, and that popcorn ended up being the best tasting popcorn. So thank you for that, Melissa!)

This book had excellent pacing and never felt rushed. You get to see real growth in Clem and her relationships, but none of it felt forced. I'm so glad I picked this one up, it's such a fabulous contemporary read and it's definitely one I won't be forgetting any time soon :0)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham + ARC Giveaway!

Release Date: June 12th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: ARC
Genre: Young Adult

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends.

Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3. But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.

Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there. But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?

What could be better than a cross country road trip with your three best friends, or ex-best friends, as the case may be? This book packs so much fun, mayhem, laughter, tears, and girlbonding into one amazing story. I love a book that can deliver unique, kick ass characters, crazy adventures, and music. Reunited  delivers all of these in spades!

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are as different as any three girls could be, but they have two things in common, their love of the band Level3 and the fact that they used to be inseperable. High school, boys, and misunderstandings got in the way and the girls don't talk anymore. Until Alice finds out that Level3, the band they obssessed over when they were younger, is reuniting for one night only. Sure the concert is on the other side of the country, sure the girls haven't spoken in years, and sure a roadtrip in Alice's VW camper van seems like the craziest idea she's ever had, but when has anything been too crazy when it comes to Level3? So with the hopes of reconnecting with her former besties, Alice buys the tickets and sets the plan in motion.

I loved all three girls in this book. Alice was smart, organized, and so determined to make this all work out. Tiernan was sassy and more than a little rebellious. Summer is a rule follower, who also happens to be extremely popular, and a little bit sassy. Initially it's hard to see how the three of them were ever so close, but as the story goes on we learn more about them and their shared pasts, and you really start to see how much these girls cared for each other. And maybe, deep down, still do. I don't want to forget the Pea Pod, Alice's VW camper van, which is just as important a character as the girls. Their friendship, and Level3 obssession, blossomed and endured in that vehicle. And it carries the three of them on some awesome adventures along their trip.

There are a few cute boys thrown into Reunited  as well, but it's not really what the story is about and I found myself enjoy the girls journey with each other, even more than I needed the romance. Okay, I'm going to share something that got me totally geeked while reading, feel free to laugh at me. One of the characters has the same name as me. First and last, which is so silly, but I loved it! Haha.

Moving on.

This book is so much fun and definitely the perfect summer read. It's got a little bit of everything and I have so much love for the story that she has told here. And thanks to the awesome and so generous, Hilary Weisman Graham, I have got an ARC copy to giveaway to one of you! Check out the Reunited  book trailer below, then scroll below it for instructions on how to enter :0)

This book is the perfect summer roadtrip book and it's got plenty of good music stuff, too. So with that in mind, if you were going on a roadtrip with a few of your best girlfriends, what would your perfect playlist be? Playlist should have a minimum of five songs and a maximum of ten, and it will count as your entry into the giveaway. Email playlists to me at sarah(at) and at the end of the giveaway a winner will be chosen randomly. Their name and playlist will be posted on the blog!

Giveaway ends on Saturday June 2nd, at 11:59 PM EST. One entry per person. US/Canada only.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask :0)

*Cover photo and synopsis from Goodreads*

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - RENEGADE by J.A. Souders

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that showcases our most wanted upcoming releases.

Renegade by J.A. Souders
*Release Date: November 13th, 2012*

Publisher: Tor Teen

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren’t under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

This book had me at "underwater utopia". I am so excited to see the world that J.A. has created for this story and I can't wait to find out all of the ways it isn't what Evelyn has always thought it was. I'm also a huge fan of stories where the main character can't remember or doesn't have her own memories. I think it's so cool to read about their path back to remembering who they really are. Renegade sounds so original and has so much great story potential. I can't wait to read it :0)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Sweet Evil" by Wendy Higgins

Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Age Group: Young Adult

What if there were teens whose lives depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip to meet her father forces Anna to face the reality that hope and love are not options for her kind. When she confronts her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Wendy Higgins has written a completely unputdownable story with Sweet Evil! I'm a little ashamed to admit that it hadn't really been on my radar, but a couple of blogger friends couldn't stop talking about how amazing it was, so I tracked down a copy and got to reading. I was not disappointed! This book has a really original take on Nephilim and I loved the way that propelled the story. Also, this book is HOT! The sexual tension is so palpable you will be panting. I...just...Wow! anyway, our main character is a good girl, with a boy best friend, who likes to go see bands play. This is how we, and Anna, first meet Kaidan Rowe. He is, in Anna's words, "Sexy like it was his job or something." While he is definitely super hot and ended up becoming one of my new loves, when he first comes into the picture he's pretty much an arrogant ass. If I'm being honest, though, it's all part of his charm. Kaidan introduces Anna to who she really is and it doesn't take long before the stakes are raised and the adventure begins.

Anna and Kaidan have to hit the road, because there is a Nun with information about who Anna is and what she is supposed to do. Then there is the very angry demon who doesn't think Anna is fulfilling her potential and thinks she needs some "guidance" to get on the right path. While away from home, Anna gets to meet her father, whom she's never actually met. He's nothing like she expected and ends up being an integral part to her story. We also get to meet some more of their kind, old friends of Kaidan's, and they are so much fun. I am especially fond of the twins, even though Ginger was mostly a bitch. I found them completely amusing and I think it will be nice for Anna to have some girls who understand what she goes through.

Sweet Evil is an inventive paranormal with a new twist on demons, angels, and nephilim. It has an amazing cast of characters and I can't wait to find out where Anna's new life takes her. This is a book that you won't want to miss out on!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Make It A Movie Monday: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Make It A Movie Monday is hosted by Jenna @ Making The Grade. It's a place to talk about the books we wish  would be made into a movie and if we were making the movie, how would we do it!

My pick for this week is:
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

This is one epic road trip book! Amy and Roger are fantastic characters and all of the places the see and things they do would make an excellent feature film!

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour  Dream Cast:

Amy - Shelley Hennig - Actress (The Secret Circle )
She is so good at portraying a wide range of emotions, and given all of the ups and downs Amy goes through, I think she would be such a good fit. Plus, she's so darn adorable :0)

Roger - Robbie Amell - Actor (Revenge, True Jackson, VP )
This pick is a little more shallow...haha. I absolutely adore his smile and when I see him I think, College Guy. He always does a great job playing the nice guy, too :0)

Would you take a road trip with this Amy & Roger? Who would you choose?

Friday, May 18, 2012

SWIPE Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway!

Thanks for checking out my stop on the SWIPE blog tour, hosted by YA BOUND!

Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback
Age Group: Middle Grade

Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?
Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship. 
The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.
When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers?

Logan Langly lives in a constant state of paranoia. He's sure someone is watching him, sneaking into his home, and following him at night. No one believes him, of course, and they just think that Logan is a little crazy. Except Logan is starting to realize he's not as crazy as everyone thinks and he's more determined than ever to find out about The Mark and what happened to his sister.

Evan Angler has created an exceptional dystopian world with Swipe. The idea of becoming an adult when you turn 13 goes a little bit further here. Once you come of age you are able to take a pledge and get your mark. The Mark seems to open up the world to you. Once you have it you gain new freedoms and privileges, and for most of the people alive today, it's exciting and something to look forward to. Logan always looked forward to the day he could take the pledge and get his mark, but after his sister never returned from taking her pledge, Logan starts to wonder about what is really going on.

I really liked Logan. He may have been extremely paranoid and a little awkward, but I think he was a great character and someone younger people would find themselves relating to. Logan wasn't willing to give up and was determined to find out what really happened to his sister. That's an admirable quality in someone so young. He wasn't unafraid, but he wasn't so easy to give up, either.

I don't read a lot of middle grade books, but the story in Swipe sucked me in and had me guessing what was going to happen on the next page. So many new doors are opened at the end of the story and it sets things up nicely for book two, Sneak. Evan Angler has got himself a new fan, in me, and I look forward to reading more of Logan's story.

Check out the SWIPE book trailer below, and after that enter to win your own copy of the book in the Rafflecopter below!
US/Canada Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

Release Date: May 15th, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

KYLIE: Tijuana WHAT? I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY, and is this a wedding band on my finger.
MAX: It all started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics Okay, it was kind of hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded in TIjuana. WIth less than twenty-four hours before graduation. Awesome.
WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring thier passports across the border--but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.
LILY: I just walked in on my boyfriend, Max Langston, canoodling with Kylie Flores, freak of the century. Still, I can't completely hold it against him. He NEEDS me. It's even clearer now. And I'm not giving him up without a fight.

This book was one crazy, awesome adventure! It starts with an overachiever and a jock working on a school project, and ends up with an unlikely group of seniors stranded in Mexico.

From What I Remember has a killer prologue and once I read those first few pages, there was no way I wasn't going on this adventure with Kyle, Max, Will and Lily! When we first get to know the characters, Kylie is the typical overachiever, high school valedictorian and basically anti-social. Max is the typical popular jock with good looks and lots of money. Will is a gay kid who does everything he can to make sure everyone knows it and knows that he's not ashamed of it. Lily is popular, catty, rich and dating the most popular guy in school. Of course, no one is ever who they appear to be on the surface and we can thank a crazy, accidental trip to Mexico for us being able to really get to know these characters.

Kylie's computer get's stolen while her and Max are working on an end of the year school assignment. Of course, the computer is where Kylie's valedictorian speech is and she refuses to lose it. Her misguided chase of her computer, leaves her and Max trapped in the back of a moving van and crossing the Mexican border. After some scary and action-packed moments, they find themselves in Ensenada. Kylie's dad is from there and they end up a bar owned by an old friend of his. And that's where the adventure really begins.

This story actually has a lot of layers and loads of character development in the four main characters. We get to see them open up and embrace what they really want in their life. No matter how pompous, bitchy, tightly wound, obnoxious or boring the characters may have seemed in the beginning, by the end I felt connected to all of their stories and I cared about what happened to them.

This book was such a fun and crazy trip. You've got car chases, dolphins, plenty of drinking, mexican weddings, and an amazing cast of secondary characters. This is a story you definitely want to pick up, and I definitely look forward to more from these ladies. Enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Today is the day! Read The Ash-Born Boy and pick up your copy of The Near Witch!

It's May 15th!


The good news is that THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab comes out in paperback TODAY and you are really going to want to pick it up! The better news is, to celebrate it's release, "The Ash-Born Boy" is finally up over at Disney*Hyperion's website!!

So, what IS "The Ash-Born Boy"?

It's a free story Victoria wrote as a thank-you to her fans, and she wrote it to answer ONE question: "Who was Cole before he came to Near?"

Now, if you've already read THE NEAR WITCH, "The Ash-Born Boy" is guaranteed to change the way you see Cole.

And if you haven't read THE NEAR WITCH yet, don't worry, "The Ash-Born Boy" won't spoil anything!

Trust me on this, you should go read Cole's story, it's amazing and you won't be sorry :0)

If you are thinking you'd rather wait and read THE NEAR WITCH first, don't worry! Cole's story will stay up on Disney*Hyperion's website, and if it ever comes down, Victoria will carve out a space for it on her own site. It will always be available somewhere, and it will always be free.


Cole's story isn't the only goodie to go along with the paperback release. In the back of the paperback itself, you'll find the first chapter of Victoria's new book, THE ARCHIVED, which doesn't come out until January!

So what are you waiting for?

Help Victoria celebrate today by taking a look at "The Ash-Born Boy," and don't forget to buy/order/pick up your own paperback copy of THE NEAR WITCH!

Amazon i Barnes & Noble i IndieBound

Monday, May 14, 2012

Make It A Movie Monday: Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe + Giveaway!

Make It A Movie Monday is hosted by Jenna @ Making The Grade. It's a place to talk about the books we wish would be made into a movie and if we were making the movie, how would we do it!

My pick for this week is:

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

I love the story of Chloe and the KDRS crew! They are fun and spunky and it's exactly the type of story that would make an excellent Teen RomCom :0)

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe Dream Cast:

Chloe - Jillian Rose Reed - Actress (Awkward)
Jillian is so much fun on Awkward! She's spunky and outspoken, which is perfect for Chloe. I would love to watch her host her own KDRS show.
Duncan - Shane Coffey - Actor (Pretty Little Liars)
Duncan makes me want to hug him and Shane has definitely got adorable hugability! Plus he's so good at being the nice guy on Pretty Little Liars, or at least as nice as anyone can be on that show :0)
Clementine - Jane Levy - Actress (Suburgatory)
Jane's character on Suburgatory is crazy, cynical and sarcastic, and she pulls it of so well. Clem has definitely got the snarkiness and I think this would be a perfect fit!

Have you read Chloe? What do you think of my cast picks? Who would you choose?

Now you can enter for your chance to win a finished copy of Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe!
It's open International (as long as The Book Despository ships to you)!
Just fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Cover photo and synopsis from Goodreads*

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Age Group: Young Adult

Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

Jessi Kirby made an excellent debut last year with Moonglass, so as soon as I heard about her sophomore novel, I couldn't wait to have my hands on it. In Honor is, without a doubt, the best book I have read this year and very possibly, ever.

Kirby has a real knack for writing characters that you really get invested in. Honor and Rusty are so real and broken, and they are both dealing with their grief in very different ways. Their journey starts with a specific purpose and destination, but as they say, sometimes the journey is the destination. Along the way they begin to discover how to let Finn go. Honor also learns some hard truths about things she always believed or never understood, and in turn has to figure out some things about herself.

I have always been a fan of road trip stories, because it's always fun to get to see glimpses of the country that you might never see otherwise. Honor and Rusty definitely have some unique and crazy experiences and I wonder if Jessi Kirby has actually done or seen some of the things the two of them did. She painted an amazing portrait the country and their stops along the way. Since reading, I have been trying to figure out a way to make a trip to Arizona. I've never been, but I'd love to see some of the places they visit on their trip.

This book is honest, heartbreaking, hopeful and full brilliantly flawed characters. Honor and Rusty are excellent road companions and by the end of the story they will feel like friends. Jessi Kirby has cemented herself as one of my favorite authors and I will gladly read anything she writes in the future. I recommend this book to everyone, it's a road trip you will feel like you were a part of and a story you won't soon forget!

In Honor on Goodreads
Jessi Kirby's Website:

*Cover photo and synopsis from Goodreads*

Friday, May 11, 2012

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Age Group: Young Adult

Everything is in ruins. A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for? Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.
But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.
And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

I've never read the Poe story that was the inspiration for this book, but I don't think that matters, because I was still able to enjoy the story without knowing where the inspiration shone through. The whole book has an air of dark and creepy hanging over it, but considering the world has been decimated by plague and the survivors are hiding in their homes and behind masks, it wouldn't feel right any other way. This book is definitely one for your imagination to run wild with. You've got the steampunk attributes that are always fun to envision, but I think the thing I imagined most vividly and has stayed stuck in my mind, are the masks that people wear to protect themselves from the plague. They are an important part of the story, too, so you can't just forget about them.

I honestly don't really know what I think about Araby. She is so unsure of herself and everything else throughout the book, and it left me pretty unsure of her. She hasn't had an easy life and I can certainly see how she justifies some of the things she does, but her voice is definitely still forming. Near the end we start to get a little hint of what we might get from her in upcoming books and I'm really looking forward to seeing more. In this book all of the people surrounding Araby had distinct personalities and specific purposes, while she is still trying to find out what hers is. I actually think it works for the story. Normally I don't care to continue reading about a main character that doesn't seem to have much conviction about anything, but I think Araby's journey will be about becoming someone who fights for what she wants.

I really didn't care for the love triangle in this book. It felt too fast from both sides and I wanted a little more development than we got. Don't get me wrong, I really liked both of the guys and cared about what happened to them in the story, but the romances just didn't feel genuine to me. That aside, there was so much going on in this book that it did keep me interested. The mystery behind the plague and the building rebellion were definitely enough to keep me turning the pages. The end was quick and leaves a lot of things up in the air, but I am invested in who Araby can become and what their gang will be able to accomplish.

Masque will definitely appeal to people who want something a little dark, but can do without vampires or werewolves. It's not action-packed, but it doesn't need to be and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something a little different.

*Cover photo and synopsis from Goodreads*

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


All of you know I love books, since this is a book blog and all, but I also love taking pictures. And being goofy. I have an extra copy of a couple of my favorite contemps and I want to give them away to a couple of you! Except this time I don't want to do the same old comment, follow, like giveaway...

So w/ the input of some other bloggers, I came up with an idea.

The way to enter this giveaway is to take pictures of books doing cool things! You could have The Hunger Games making dinner, Shatter Me sweeping up a broken mirror, Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door having a tea party, or any awesome things you can come up with. Be fun, be creative, the wackier the better!

You will get one entry per photo with a maximum of five entries per person. Photos must be emailed to sarah(at) I'll be sharing some of the photos as they roll in, then they'll all be compiled into a video that will be posted along with the winners!
 At the end of the giveaway all of the entries will be tossed into a metaphorical hat and the first winner will be chosen at random. The second winner will be chosen based on creativity, by a non-biased third party (my mom).

Aren't they so pretty and colorful?!? One person will win a finished paperback of CATCHING JORDAN by Miranda Keneally and a second person will win a finished hardcover of THE DISENCHANTMENTS by Nina LaCour!

And of course there are a couple chances for extra entries:

- You can earn one additional entry if you take a photo of CATCHING JORDAN or THE DISENCHANTMENTS doing something cool. Limit one additional entry for this.
-You can also earn one additional entry if you tweet about the giveaway! Just be sure to use the hashtag #thebooklife
Thats up to seven entries total!

I know this is a bit unconventional, but these are two seriously awesome books and this is bound to be all kinds of fun. So get your thinking caps on and go to town. Books like to have fun, too!

And...this one is going to be International! The giveaway will end at 11:59PM on June 9th, 2012, so that will give you plenty of time to get creative :0)

Waiting on Wednesday - Time Between Us

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that showcases our most wanted upcoming releases.

TIME BETWEEN US by Tamara Ireland Stone
*Release Date: October 9th, 2012*

Publisher: Hyperion

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett’s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna’s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate—and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.

I love stories that have any type of time travel! I feel like I would be a master with a time machine, but since I haven't been given one, I like to read stories where people do get to bend space and time. I really like that this is a love story between two people whose lives are taking place almost 20 years apart. I can't wait to see how Bennett views the 90's and how different they are to him from his current time. And of course, how is their love going to survive, because changing things in the past is always said to change the future...

This one is at the top of my wishlist and I can't wait!

*Cover photo and synopsis from Goodreads*

"Hemlock" by Kathleen Peacock

Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.
Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.
Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

I'm such a fan of this book! This is the kind of story that reminds me why I keep reading paranormals, even when some of them feel a little redundant. Hemlock was nowhere close to being redundant. I really like the new take on werewolves and how they are out and known by the whole world. Being "infected" still isn't considered a good thing, but depending on who you are talking to, it's not completely terrible either. Unfortunately, in the town of Hemlock, there have been a string of gruesome werewolf attacks and some of them ended in death. When Mac's best friend Amy is one of the victims, it shatters their group's whole world.

Mac is such an awesome character. She comes from a difficult childhood, so it's definitely made her a little less warm and fuzzy in her teen years, but she has got so much spunk and isn't afraid to do what she has to for those she cares about. Granted, trying to solve the mystery behind a string of werewolf killings, isn't the best idea a teenage girl ever had. Fortunately, she has got some awesome friends in her life. Some more willing to help than others. She had such a great support system in Kyle, Serena, Trey, aunt Tess, and sometimes Jason. The mystery in this one was a doozy and it had so many twists and turns. Some parts were really shocking, others were easier to see coming, but all of them made reading such a fun ride.

And I really like the way Kathleen Peacock handled the love story for Mac. It all felt very genuine, and sometimes heartbreaking, but it moved at the perfect pace. I know that technically it is supposed to be a love triangle, but for now it feels more triangle-ish, which I really didn't mind. The relationships between Mac and the boys vying for her attention felt really authentic, and I am actually looking forward to seeing where it goes in the next two books.

This book has great action, an excellently told story, and compulsive readability. I only had just a couple of chapters left to read and I had to go to work. I spent the hours up until my break obsessing over what might happen. I don't usually read at work, but I had to with this one, because I couldn't wait to find out! I would definitely recommend this to someone looking for a different kind of werewolf, or anyone who is looking for a great action fillled story that will completely draw you in with it's wonderful cast of characters and exciting mystery.

*Cover photo and synopsis from Goodreads*

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"The Summer My Life Began" by Shannon Greenland

Release Date: May 10th, 2012
Publisher: Speak
Format: eGalley
Age Group: Young Adult

Elizabeth Margaret—better known as Em—has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time.

When I first started reading this, I was certain I wasn't going to like it at all. It starts out kind of stiff and the main character, Elizabeth Margaret, seems the same. I really didn't feel like I could relate to her character, but I kept going because it was a short read and I was curious to see how her character would change. A lot of things about this book were very predictable to me and some of the secondary plotlines seemed completely unnecessary, but I ended up enjoying it overall and was certainly a fan of Em by the end.

We start out with Elizabeth Margaret (Em, as her sister calls her) receiving a graduation letter from an aunt she didn't know existed. During this first part of the book most of her interactions with her family were so formal and wooden, the only times she really seemed human were when she was talking with her sister, Gwenny. Their relationship was one of the things I liked the whole way through the book. They may have had a very controlled and directed upbringing, but they could be themselves with each other, and were always one hundred percent in each other's corners.

Once Em got to her aunt's bed & breakfast I was hoping to see her explore more of who she was and what she wanted out of life, instead of what she was told to want. And we do get that, but some of it does feel a little rushed. I know she is only staying with her aunt for one month, but the pacing threw me off at first. Once we got a little further and she got more of a routine, everything felt better and more realistic. I loved Domino, the chef at the B&B, and he takes Em under his wing and let's her do her thing in the kitchen. It was cool that her dream was to be a chef, I love reading about characters that love to cook and reading the passion they feel about it. I love to cook, myself, so that aspect always sucks me in a little more.

There are a few little nitpicky things here and there, that bugged me, but I could overlook because I ended up enjoying where things were heading. There is one thing, however, that is still bothering me from the book. The love triangle. I know they are pretty common place these days, and sometimes they are necessary to move a story forward. Unfortunately, this one felt like it was added just because the author thought she had to have one. In my opinion, it served absolutely no purpose. It didn't do anything to drive the story forward, the second guy being in the picture didn't really effect Em's relationship with the first guy at all, and it never felt like the second guy in the triangle was ever really in the competition for Em's heart anyway.

Other than a few little gripes, and the triangle that boggles, overall I enjoyed this book. The second half of the story gets more emotional and invoved, and it felt like a good progression to where the characters ended up. This is a decent contemporary read and if you are looking for a summer read with some real emotion peppered in, you will definitely want to pick this one up!

*Cover photo & synopsis from Goodreads*


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...