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Saturday, June 30, 2012

July TBR :0)

Hey guys! My TBR list is back this month. I didn't do one for June, mostly because I forgot, then once I thought about it we were already halfway through the month. Whoops!

I've got a few days off around the 4th of July holiday, so I'm having an impromptu read-a-thon, in an attempt to shrink my TBR down. I'm also focusing on re-reading some of my favorites this month, so I've got a TBR of re-read books for July, too. Then there is the TBR for the rest of the month, so I've got a lot of reading ahead of me in July :0)

July 4th Read-a-thon TBR:

Kiss & Hell by Dakota Cassidy (already halfway done)
Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery
Eve & Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Just Flirt by Laura Bowers (already halfway done)
Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

Re-read List:
(I realize that the majority of these are contemps, I'm predictable that way...haha)

Switched by Amanda Hocking
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
In Honor by Jessi Kirby
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

July TBR:
7 Clues to Winning You by Kristen Walker
Drain You by M. Beth Bloom
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Auracle by Gina Rosati
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenthal
The Possession of Cassie Quinn by Kathryn Knutson
The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols
Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
Never Enough by Denise Jaden
Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Plus a couple of the reads from THIS post!

So I know this is a very ambitious list for this month, but I have had a reading bug and I love to take advantage when those come along. If I can't make the time for everything, the re-reads will obviously get cut first, but with the big chunk of down time at the beginning of this month, I am feeling optomistic :0)

What are you guys reading this month?!?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crazy for Indie Reads :0)

I've been really into Independent reads lately. I've kind of gone a little ebook crazy, in fact, filling my Nook library with all kinds of goodies! So I thought I'd make a list of some of the books that I'll be reading in the upcoming weeks. I am really excited about all of these. Some of them I have heard amazing things about, others I haven't seen around, but they've piqued my interest.

Intangible by J. Meyers

Easy by Tammara Webber

Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie

Anew by Chelsea Fine

Dirty Blood by Heather Hildenbrand

Entangled by Nikki Jefford

The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines


*All links go to Goodreads

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (1)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and was inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox posts.

Thanks for stopping by my first Stacking the Shelves post! I've been slacking on the mailbox posts, so this is the first one I've done in quite some time. All the titles shared are listed below the video w/ links to Goodreads :0)

Also, sorry about the fact that I can never remember to look at the camera and not the computer...haha.


The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy


Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols
The Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond
While He Was Away by Karen Schreck
7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker
Kiss & Hell by Dakota Cassidy
My Way to Hell by Dakota Cassidy
Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost


I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Wanted by Heidi Ayarbe
ReVamped by Ada Adams
Vizcaya by Lina Rivera
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
Auracle by Gina Rosati
Wake by Amanda Hocking
Over You by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Meeting Trish Doller & the Something Like Normal Release Party + Giveaway!

On Satuday my friends Shanon, Olivia, and I road tripped to Ft. Myers for the release party of Trish Doller's phenomonal book, Something Like Normal. We met up with Jenna and Nanci, and got some food before heading over the Barnes & Noble where the party was being held. Courtesy of of Tropical Storm Debby, we got pretty wet going to and from the car, but it just added to the road trip adventure.

Shanon, Me, Nanci, and Jenna

The Barnes & Noble that Trish had her party at is also where she works, and it is a great store. It's so big and there was so much to look at. I think we probably circled the store a few times just checking everything out :0)

Shanon and Me

We got there early, but once they had the chairs set up and Trish arrived we all got to sit and chat for a bit before the party officially started. Trish is so cool and it was a blast just hanging out and talking with her. They had a table set up for her to sit behind, but she decided she'd rather sit on the table, which made everything feel so much less formal and just a fun experience.

Jenna and Me
Trish told us about her first book that was supposed to be published in 2010, but because of some changes at the publisher, it never came to be. She said she thinks it was supposed to happen that way, though, because she's not sure Something Like Normal would have become what it is if the other one came out first. That's such an awesome attitude and I'm so glad Something Like Normal exists, so I think I'll agree with her :0)
She also told us a lot about a Marine that helped her throughout her writing process. She said she couldn't have finished the book without him and I think it's really cool how close of friends they've become. She also revealed what Harper's tattoo is and it is really cool! We also got a small snippet from the project she is currently working on and I'm sure it's going to be an awesome story. It's not a book yet, though, so we'll have to wait for that one.

Trish and Me

She read some awesome excerpts from the book, and talked about Charlie and how she really wanted to make sure he was a character in the story, even though he is dead. If you haven't read it, Charlie had so much personality and definitely brings a lot to Travis' story. Then it was time to get our books signed! And of course take pictures!

Getting my books signed!

Trish showing her love for Miranda Kenneally's CATCHING JORDAN :0)
This was definitely my favorite of all of the author events I've been to and I am so glad that we made the trip! There is no doubt that I will be at the one for her next book and any of the ones after. Trish is so cool and if you get the chance to attend one of her events, or if you are stalking her and "run into" her in public, definitely make it a point to meet her :0)

Shanon, Trish, Me, Jenna and Nanci
And! I picked up an extra signed copy for one lucky person! All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below and keep your fingers crossed, because you WANT this book :0)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 22, 2012

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Age Group: Young Adult

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity.

I’ve been slowly dipping my toes back in the vampire genre and I was really intrigued by the premise of Team Human. Vampires and humans co-exist in the world, but our narrator isn’t in love with one of the undead, in fact she is pretty much against them. When her best friend falls in love with a vampire, as far as Mel is concerned, it’s the worst thing that could possibly happen.

Mel is a pretty awesome character. She’s opinionated, so funny, and fiercely loyal to and protective of her friends. I liked her right from the start and I really enjoyed seeing everything unfold from her point of view. The vampires here are pretty typical. They can’t go out in the daylight and they drink human blood, but they also try to co-exist with humans peacefully. There is even a vampire police force. So cool. One thing that sets them apart, though, is if the transition to vampire doesn’t work some people turn into zombies. Shuffling, mumbling, and decaying zombies. A Terrible side effect of trying to become a vampire, but a seriously cool aspect to the story.

This book isn’t really action packed, which I was concerned about when I first started read, because I wasn’t sure how it would hold my attention. The thing is, before I realized it, I’d read a hundred pages and it had felt like twenty. It’s so well written and full of so much humor, I just kept flipping the pages to find out what was going to happen next. The mystery that drives the story is a good one, and while I pretty much had it pieced together before it was solved on the page, I still wanted to see how the characters solved it and what the ramifications would be.

As far as I know, this is a standalone, and it works perfectly that way. Everything is wrapped up nicely and the mystery has a satisfying end. If you are someone who loves the vampire genre, someone who doesn’t really care much for it, or someone who is trying to get back into it, I think this book is perfect. It’s just a cool book that was so much fun to read, whether you’re Team Human or Team Vampire :0)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kowalski Family Series by Shannon Stacey

Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

I am an absolute sucker for love stories, especially those about high school sweethearts reconnecting later in life. Joe and Keri's story fit the bill perfectly. Joe still pining, Keri in major denial, a couple of weeks in the middle of nowhere with his whole family, and wild things are bound to happen.
Joe was positively swoony and so good at pushing Keri's buttons. She was relentlessly snarky at first, but I loved that Joe wasn't willing to give up so easily.
I also really liked the secondary story in this one, revolving around Joe's sister Terry, and her fledgling marriage. I loved control freak Terry and I really enjoyed watching her realize some truths about herself. I also really liked how Terry and Keri's pasts were connected. It added another awesome level to the book.

Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey

The second book revolves around youngest brother, Kevin Kowalski, and his one night stand with Beth ending up with her pregnant. I think Kevin is my favorite Kowalski (don't tell the rest of them) and I was so excited to get to know him and his bar a little better.
I wasn't completely sold on Beth at first, her independence wasn't as endearing to me, as I think it was probably supposed to be. I totally get that she doesn't know this man who has all of the sudden become a part of her life, but her constantly pushing away his offers of help was just silly. Of course, as the story went on and she warmed up to Kevin and his family, I warmed up to her.
The secondary story in this one was about Kevin's bar manager, Paulie. She is the kind of gal you want to hang out with on the weekends. Loud, crass and all kinds of attitude, not to mention so much fun. It was great reading about how she dealt with her past walking through the door of Jasper's.

Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey

The third book about the Kowalski's has my favorite story line. I'll let you in on a little secret, if a book features a scenario where characters have to live together and pretend they are a couple, I will read it. No questions asked. These stories give the best kind of background for blossoming love and plenty of lust, too.
Sean Kowalski is definitely a little rough around the edges, having just gotten out of the military. Considering a complete, and possibly crazy, stranger knocked on his door and let him know that they have a fake future together and then asked him to move in with her and pretend for her gram, he handled it all pretty much in stride.
This one was just so much fun. The teasing and bickering between these two was so good and the sexual tension was through the roof.
And Emma's grandmother, Cat, was the kind of lady I hope to be at that age. She had all kinds of spunk and was as smart as a whip.

Shannon Stacey and her Kowalski family have completely won me over. The books are smart, funny, hot, and so romantic. I devoured these three so quickly and I can't wait for more from Shannon. I definitely think these are worth everyone checking out. Excellent love stories with just enough steam to keep things interesting :0)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Reads for the Summer :0)

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post their top ten lists on different bookish topics.
This week we're sharing the top reads on our TBR lists for this summer. I am such a fan of summertime reading and there are so many good books on my TBR, but I'll try to narrow it down :0)

The Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond - I've heard some good things about this one and it sounds like the perfect kind of contemp to read at the beach.
Dualed by Elsie Chapman - This one actually just popped up on my radar last week and I was able to snag it off of NetGalley right away, so now I can't wait to dive in. It sounds extremely cool. Fighting yourself to the death, um, yes please!
Daisy's Back in Town by Rachel Gibson - I have been devouring adult contemps like they are iced tea on a 90 degree day, and this seriese sounds so darn adorable. I've actually got the rest of the series to read this summer, too!
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobahn Vivian - Okay, so Jenny Han's summer series is one of my favorite contemp series. When I got this in the mail it immediately went on my summer TBR. I am always down for some revenge girl bonding.
While He Was Away by Karen Schreck - I don't really know what to expect from this one. I've heard so many great things, but people have also said it isn't what they thought it was going to be. Intriguing.
Over You by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Krause - I'm off and on w/ these authors, but this one sounds so darn cute and fluffy. Another beach read!
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis - Who doesn't like fairy tales? After many, many recs I decided to finally pick this one up.
Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery - Yet another adult contemp series I am looking forward to starting.
Ten by Gretchen McNeil - This book sounds creepy as hell and I can't wait to read it with all of the lights on...haha. Who am I kidding, I'm definitely reading this one during the day!
Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire - I love books that toy with memory or living a different life and this one sounds fab.

What are you guys reading this summer?!?

Today I am so excited to be participating in the cover reveal for Cindi Madsen's ALL THE BROKEN PIECES!! The book sounds fab and has an absolutely gorgeous cover!

Scroll down to peep at this excellent cover and then scroll a little further to read an exclusive excerpt of ALL THE BROKEN PIECES before it hits stores in Decemeber :0)

What if your life wasn’t your own?
Liv comes out of a coma with no memory of her past and two distinct, warring voices inside her head. Nothing, not even her reflection, seems familiar. As she stumbles through her junior year, the voices get louder, insisting she please the popular group while simultaneously despising them. But when Liv starts hanging around with Spencer, whose own mysterious past also has him on the fringe, life feels complete for the first time in, well, as long as she can remember.
Liv knows the details of the car accident that put her in the coma, but as the voices invade her dreams, and her dreams start feeling like memories, she and Spencer seek out answers. Yet the deeper they dig, the less things make sense. Can Liv rebuild the pieces of her broken past, when it means questioning not just who she is, but what she is?


Exclusive Excerpt of ALL THE BROKEN PIECES:

Olivia reached up, feeling the tender spots on her head. Her fingers brushed across a row of—were those little ridges made of metal?
            “Careful. The staples are almost ready to come out, but it’s still going to be sore for a while.”
            Staples?!Her stomach rolled. I have staples in my head? She lowered her now-shaking hand. “Can I get a mirror?”
            Mom looked at Dad, then back at her. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Not until you’ve healed a little more.”
            Mom patted Olivia’s leg. “You just relax. We’ll be back in a few minutes.”
            The two of them left the room, but when Mom swung the door closed, it didn’t latch. Olivia could hear their voices in the hall.
            “I still think we should…” She couldn’t make out the rest of Dad’s muffled words. “…know if I can do this.”
            “…late for that,” Mom said. “We’d lose everything, including…” Her voice faded as they got farther away. “…have to move.”
Olivia could tell the conversation was tense, but the words were impossible to decipher now. Holding a hand in front of her face, she turned it back and forth. A plastic tube ran from her arm to a machine next to her bed. She peeked into her nightgown and stared in horror at the long red stripe running down her chest.
            You’re alive. You shouldn’t be thinking about looks.
            Lowering her hand, she scanned the room. I wonder how my face looks. From the way Dad stared at me, plus the fact Mom won’t let me see a mirror, it must be bad.
            Brains are more important than looks.
            That’s what ugly people say.
            Olivia put her hands on her head and squeezed. “Stop it,” she whispered to her arguing thoughts, hysteria bubbling up and squeezing the air from her lungs. What was happening to her? Why didn’t she recognize her parents or know where she was? Who she was? Tears ran warm trails down her cheeks. “Just make it all stop.”

All the Broken Pieces, by Cindi Madsen is available for pre-order on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble Be sure to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

And make sure to find Cindi online:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Endlessly by Kiersten White

Release Date: July 24th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Age Group: Young Adult

Try as she might, Evie can’t seem to escape her not-so-normal past. And what was supposed to be a blissfully normal school break is ruined when a massive group of paranormals shows up at her house, claiming that Evie is the only one who can protect them from a mysterious, perilous fate.
The deadly war between the faerie courts looms ever closer. The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its future rests solely in Evie’s hands.
So much for normal.

Evie has never had it easy. From tagging and bagging paranormals for the IPCA, taking on an evil minded girl who can suck the very soul from a paranormal, dealing with a possessive ex, to being messed with by a crazy kid who can do things he shouldn't be able to. Life's an adventure, or something. All Evie wants is to be normal and she's finally getting it, because she is %100 percent done with IPCA and faerie paths. She's going to live her normal life, at her normal school, with her not quite normal boyfriend.

Except the knock on her door from a strange women, who claims to be in charge of her assignments at the IPCA, gets her thinking that maybe normal was too much to hope for. When she meets with Raquel to get things straightened out, things aren't right and she starts to worry.

I am an Evie fan through and through. She is what keeps me coming back to this series and I will definitely miss her now that the books are done, but boy did I love her in this last book. She's struggling with who she is, what she can do and what she wants to do, but through it all she is still the Evie I've grown to love and I was always in her corner. I loved the main conflict in Endlessly. There was so much going on and the story would turn a corner where you least expected it. Definitely kept me on my toes. And that ending, I won't give it away, because you really need to experience this book for yourselves, but it was such an awesome ending. After all of the back and forth within herself, and from others, Evie finally figured out what she needed to do. I cheered for her. I think Paranormalcy  will always be my favorite of the series, but this is defiintely a close second and such a great ending for our characters.

If you haven't picked up the first two books in this series, get on it! Kiersten writes with so much humor and heart, you'll be turning pages like crazy. If you've alread read the first two, then definitely pick this up as soon as you can on release day. You won't be disappointed :0)

*Cover photo and synopsis from Goodreads*

Saturday, June 16, 2012

ReVamped by Ada Adams Review + Giveaway!

Release Date: February 20th, 2012
Format: Paperback
Age Group: Young Adult

Nineteen-year-old vampire Dawn has led a sheltered life within the confines of her father’s presidential headquarters. Upon being sent on a mission to revamp four goofy misfits into guardians of a peaceful little town of Angel Creek, Dawn believes that all her dreams have finally come true. What starts off as a simple task, turns into something unexpected, changing Dawn’s life forever and leading the action-loving, thrill-seeking vampire teen on a path of mystery, danger and intrigue.

When a human girl is kidnapped by a group of rogue vamps, Dawn discovers that there is more going on in Angel Creek than meets the eye. And it all connects to Ethan, the cute newcomer who seems too perfect to be true, Sebastian, the mysterious vampire with a turbulent past, and even Dawn herself. Dawn must not only succeed in revamping the troubled recruits, but must also prevent the vampire race from being overtaken by a malevolent villain who has a strange and obsessive fascination with her. As threat escalates, romance blooms, and ghosts from her past begin to surface, Dawn is sure of only one thing: her life will never be the same.

It takes a lot to get me to read a vampire story these days. A few years back after reading a certain story about beautiful, sparkling, undead creatures, I went crazy devouring every other vampire book I could get my hands on. Then I got burned out, big time. I dabble from time to time in the genre, but it takes a really unique angle and some serious selling by other readers whose opinions I trust. That is how I ended up with ReVamped in my hands. It had high praise and a synopsis with the promise of something new. And Ada Adams delivered!
Dawn is such a cool character. She’s a vampire, she is completely kick-ass and capable of defending herself, but she’s also completely socially awkward and a little sheltered. Having spent her whole life at her father’s mansion, training to be a practically unstoppable warrior, she doesn’t really know how to deal with people. And it was her awkwardness around the folks of Angel Creek, when she first arrived, that endeared me to her. I want to be her friend and you will, too.
Dawn is in town rounding up a ragtag team of misfits, who will become the guardians of the town. Unfortunately, none of them are particularly good at being vampires, let alone able to protect the people of Angel Creek. These guys were so much fun and had me cracking up all over the place. I think Seth is definitely my favorite of the misfits, but I’ve got a soft spot for Sophie and her love of books.

Of course, there are cute boys, too. Ethan is the adorable, human bartender and has Dawn swooning from the first time she sees him. Then  you’ve got Sebastian, the seriously hot and broody vampire. Both guys gave me reasons to love them and both of them really seem to care about Dawn, but for the first time in a while, I haven’t actually picked a team. I have this terrible habit of reading a book and completely falling for guys that are on the outskirts of the story. I decide the girl needs to have that boys love in her life and then I am always so disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Well, I’m doing it again folks. An outside of the triangle guy has captured my heart and I am so desperately hoping he captures  Dawn’s, too!

AND! Because I love you guys and I love this book, I'm going to give away an ebook copy to one lucky reader! AND, AND!! Because Ada Adams totally rocks, she is going to send out a bookmark and stickers, to the lucky winner. They are gorgeous, guys, so trust me when I say you want them :0)
To enter, just leave a comment on this post about what catches your eye in a paranormal these days, and be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you win! Easy, peasy :0)

I'll pick the winner on June 25th!
(The winner will receive their choice of either a Kindle or Nook version of the book, so please be sure you have a way to read one of those.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just a little update...

As I am sure is obvious by now, I love YA fiction. I love it so much, in fact, I have read nothing but YA for the last couple of years. Recently, though, I picked up an adult contemporary novel and devoured it in one sitting. Ever since then I have been reading adult fiction like crazy. So with this newly formed addiction to adult fiction, as well as YA, I have decided to branch out a little on the blog. Up to now, everything on The Book Life has been YA oriented. While it will still mostly be YA, I am going to start reviewing some adult books and doing some posts involving adult fiction. I think that's the best part about blogging, as my reading tastes are growing and changing, my blog can also grow and change. I'm really excited to put a little variety here on The Book Life and I hope you all will enjoy hearing about some awesome adult fiction titles, too!

I also want to say thanks to all of my wonderful followers and all of the friends I've made in the blogging community. I'm coming up on my first blogoversary at the beginning of next month, and it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun without all of you! So here's to great books, great people, new things, and many more wonderful blogging years :0)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle

Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: eGalley
Age Group:

What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything. Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance. Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….

I'm one of the rare few who doesn't actually like the original Romeo & Juliet. I've always found it extremely depressing, unromantic, and wildly inappropriate. That being said, I love Romeo & Juliet retellings. So when I heard about this book I immediatly put it on my wishlist. When You Were Mine is less of a retelling, though, and more of a reimagining from a different point of view.

I'd never given much thought to the character of Rosaline in the original story. She's a very minor character and we only hear about her briefly, so I was really interested in her story and how it tied in with the tragedy of Romeo (Rob) & Juliet. I loved Rose, she had such a great voice and all kinds of attitude, while being sweet and shy at times. Rose has got feelings for her best friend and the boy next door, Rob. And she's pretty sure he feels the same way, because before he left for the summer there were moments. Of course, now that the summer is over and he is back in town, she is really nervous about seeing him. What if he doesn't feel the same way? What if his feelings changed over the summer?

She didn't need to worry, though, and things seems to be going great for her and Rob. Well, except for one small problem. Her cousin Juliet. Honestly, I liked Rose better after she and Rob weren't in each others lives. She always had her best friends , but she starts branching out a little more in school and becomes a little more Rose. While this story isn't really anything like Romeo & Juliet, they are in the story, and we all know their lives end in tragedy. It's sad and it's hard watching Rose deal with the guilt she has over it, but it also serves as a final step for Rose to move on with her life and be the girl she is now.

This was excellently told and so clever. It's about time someone wrote about other characters from this world.  I didn't even know I wanted to read Rosaline's story until I found out she was getting one. Definitely recommended :0)

Friday, June 8, 2012

"This Is Not A Test" by Courtney Summers

Release Date: June 19th, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: ARC
Age Group: Young Adult

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

I am a huge fan of Courtney Summers and her ability to write incredibly real and flawed characters. Her books always make me cry and feel a myriad of emotions while reading. So when I heard that her next book was going to have zombies, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Zombie stories are usually humorous, or just full of insanely violent zombie fighting, and I couldn't figure out what angle this story was going to take. Let me tell you, this book is classic Courtney Summers brilliance. Yes, this book has zombies and there are acts of violent zombie fighting, but this book is not about the zombies. This book is about the characters, what they've gone through and what they are currently going through. I have to say, this is the most beautifully written and deeply layered zombie story I have ever read. I loathed, I cringed, I cried, I hoped and cried some more. Well done, Courtney, well done.

The story is told from Sloane's perspective. Sloane has a lot of secrets that have nothing to do with the current zombie apocalypse. She's very guarded and apprehensive, and we can tell right from the beginning that she doesn't exactly want to be holed up with the group of kids from her school, waiting for help to come. Despite her desire to just give up, she feels like she owes it to the rest of them to keep acting like she's hoping they will all be saved. Not everyone in their group gets along and they are pretty much divided down the middle. Cary has sort of taken charge of the group and is the reason they have gotten as far as they have, but a tragedy that happened along the way, has made him the enemy of Grace and Trace. Trace is tired of following Cary and begins challenging his every move. Rhys has sort of attached himself to Sloane, but after witnessing some things, he's not so sure he wants her around at all.

All of these teenagers are trapped inside their high school, under the worst circumstances imaginable, and the story that unfolds from that is so amazing. I didn't expect to be so deeply invested in a story with a zombie backdrop, but I really shouldn't be surprised, because Courtney Summers never fails to knock it out of the park. Everyone needs to run out and get this book as soon as they can. It will knock your socks off and you won't be sorry!

Friday, June 1, 2012

"Keep Holding On" by Susane Colasanti

Release Date: June 14th, 2012
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Format: ARC
Age Group: Young Adult

Between Noelle’s difficult home life and the bullying she endures at school, all she wants is to get out of her small town. Noelle would give anything to be with Julian Porter. But staying with her emotionally distant boyfriend is safer. When things heat up between Noelle and Julian, she has to decide whether she can be her true self with him.

This book made me so emotional. I knew that it dealt with bullying a little, but I didn't realize how deep into the subject it got. It is so real and terrifying, because the things that happen to Noelle and the other kids at her school, happen to teens all over the world. And just like in the book, parents and teachers often do little to stop any of it from happening. I went through so many emotions while reading this. I was so sad for Noelle and the awful relationship she had with her mother. I was angry for her and some of the other kids, because of the way they were treated by the bullies at school. I was appalled, because so many of the adults just ignored it or looked the other way. I was also grateful for Noelle, because she had a couple of great people on her side and that isn't always the case for bullied kids.

Noelle is very poor, in a very rich town. She often has to take lunches that consist of mayo and mustard sandwiches, and the mean kids constantly torment her during the school days. Noelle was luckier that some of the bullied kids, because she had an excellent best friend, who didn't care about any of that stuff. Sherae might be one of my favorite characters in YA, at least that I have read recently. She was an excellent friend to Noelle, she didn't care that her family had money and Noelle's didn't, she loved her for who she was and not what she had. Sherae was always trying to convince Noelle that she was better than she saw herself and she desperately wanted her to stand up for herself. A little further into the story Noelle makes a second friend, Simon, who also only likes her for her. He's also above caring about the social hierarchy and just wants Noelle to be who she is. I wish every bullied kid had friends like these two. I'm sure it would make high school so much easier if you always had someone in your corner.

The adults in this book, except one teacher, left a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, I think it's probably a pretty acurate portrayal of how adults handle bullying. It's almost as if they think avoidance will make the problem go away. Or maybe the don't want to get involved because it's too much of a hassle. I don't care how inconvenient it is, if you see a kid getting bullied, you are the adult and you are supposed to try and help them. I don't even want to get started on Noelle's mother. There are so many things that are wrong with that women and the way she treats her daughter, once you start the book, you will understand.

I think this is a book that both teens and adults should read. It's terrifying and tragic, but it's what is happening all over the country. We see it in the news, but do we ever really pay attention. I may not relate to Noelle, because our teen years were very different, but I definitely feel for her and any kid who gets tormented like she did in this book. I think this is a must read.


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