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Thursday, April 25, 2013

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: May 14th, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: ARC

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?
I absolutely adore the Hex Hall series, so I was incredibly excited when I found out that it was getting a spin-off and our lead girl was none other than the delightfully spunky Izzy Brannick. I had heard rumors of a spin-off and when I finished the last book in the Hex Hall series, I so hoped it would be Izzy's story we got next.
Izzy's world is quite a bit different than the one we grew accustomed to in Hex Hall. There are still prodigium, to some extent, but the Brannick's are all about putting them away. Not going to lunch with them. I will admit, I missed hanging out with all the prodigium in this book, but I loved watching Izzy try and adapt to the regular world. What's not to love about a girl who watches teen soaps to try and get an idea of what school will be like (remind me to tell you sometime about my theory that any problem in life can be solved by relating it to things seen in a Dawson's Creek episode).
I like the sort of parallel we get here between Izzy and Sophie. In the Hex Hall series you have Sophie coming out of the normal world and into a world full of prodigium, and we get to see her learn and adapt. With Izzy, she's coming out of a world where all she knows is prodigium and magic and into the normal world, where we get to see her learn and adapt. We get to meet some cool kids and go on the journey with them to try and figure out this mystery at their school.
This book has still got Rachel Hawkins signature wit and writing style, great characters, a solid story arc, and some twists to keep you on your toes. While I wasn't quite as charmed with it as I was hoping, I still think it's an excellent start to this new series and I can't wait to see where Izzy's story goes next :0)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Losing It by Cora Carmack

Release Date: February 26th, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow
Format: Paperback

Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible-- a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She’d left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.
Oh how I love this book! Bliss Edwards is all kinds of awkward and I love her oh so much for it. The premise on this one is just perfect for all kinds of awkward moments and humor, and Cora Carmack definitely delivers on both fronts.
I loved Bliss and Garrick's initial meeting at the bar. She straight up called him out on his chosen reading material and from that moment on I knew her and I could be friends. Garrick realized how special she was too, and so begins Bliss's journey to devirginization. It gets a little steamy and we get some awesome inner dialogue, and then we get the freak out. Personally, I thought her excuse for bailing was hilarious. I know some people thought it was kind of cheesy, but how can you not laugh at this:
"Stop! Cats! Stop..."
(Okay, I'll admit that probably makes more sense when you read it with the whole scene surrounding it, but I don't want to spoil the greatness that is that scene!)
Of course, it isn't until she walks into class the next day and Garrick turns out to be her teacher. That's when things get real. While I'm not a fan of stories that have a student/teacher relationship, that mostly applies to high school. I figure all people in college are adults, so therefore, who cares. And this student/teacher relationship was particularly swoony. I don't think it hurt that Garrick has a British accent, because any guy who calls you love with a British accent is automatically swoon worthy. Trust. (Sidebar: I have personal experience with this. This particular young man wasn't your typical male lead from a book, but as soon as he started speaking with his beautiful accent I was done for. By the time he called me love, I was ready to forget that he was wearing a creepy trench coat and buying graphic novels...just saying.) So Garrick had a lot of points in his favor with me from the beginning, but as I got further into the story it became very obvious that he deserved all the love I was giving him. He was such a sweet and patient guy, plus he was good with cats.
Garrick isn't the only guy in Bliss' life, though. Cade, her best friend and the boy who secretly loves her, was so freaking adorable. I'm a huge fan of stories with best guy friends, and usually I love best friends falling in love, but as much as I loved Cade in this story I never really saw him with Bliss. I am, however, overjoyed that he is getting his own story.
Overall, this book was full of humor, friendship, love and awkwardness. I wholeheartedly recommend it and if we're ever at a bookstore together, I will pester you until you buy it. It's good, ya'll, and you won't be sorry you picked it up :0)

A personal update :0)

I don't do a lot of personal posts on here, because it is a book blog, but since it's my book blog and my focus has shifted slightly in the past few months, I figured what the heck. I am pretty excited about some upcoming life changes and I just really wanted to share them :0)
A little while ago some of you may have seen my post about my starting the adventure of writing a book, and I have to admit it's coming along quite nicely! I've been writing a story about a girl named Grace, and her journey to finding a brother she hasn't seen in years. I love Grace and I'm so excited to be telling her story, but this evening when I went to Starbucks to get myself some quality, solitary writing time a new character popped into my head and she was demanding to be heard. So a little over an hour and a few thousand words later, it appears that I am now writing two books.

Six months ago I had never entertained the thought of writing anything, let alone multiple things at once. So I am extremely nervous, but also extremely excited. Maybe someday these characters in my head and their stories, will be something that you guys will be able to read :0)
Now onto some other changes I am excited about, but are completely unrelated to books. I'm not getting any younger and aches and pains I've been having recently have never made that more clear. I'm trying to take my health more seriously and in that vein, I have decided to take up running. I'm scared as hell about this, because for as far back as I can remember, I have hated running. Legitimately hated it with a passion, but it's solitary and good for me, which are two things that I need. Plus, running clothes and shoes have gotten super cute :0)
I've also decided to become a vegetarian. It's something I've been mulling over for some time and have been researching it extensively, so I finally think I'm ready. I've found some excellent recipes that I'm really excited to try and I really just think it will make me feel better overall. I have never done anything like this so if anyone has tips, or yummy recipes they want to share, send them my way!
Alright, now that I have bored you all with personal junk, I give you a cute dancing kitty!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby

Release Date: May 14th, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: eGalley
 Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.
After reading Jessi Kirby's 2012 release, In Honor, she immediately moved to my auto-read/buy list and I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of Golden. Not only was I stoked to read it because I love this author and her extremely impressive storytelling abilities, but I also loved the fact that the main character has ties to Robert Frost. This was particularly noteworthy to me, because Robert Frost is one of my all time favorite poets, so this was something Parker and I shared right off the bat.
Yet again Ms. Kirby has managed to suck me into a world and keep me there until I turned the last page. In Golden we get two different stories, but they are weaved together so well. Parker becomes fixated on the story of a girl who went to her high school years before, but tragedy struck and her life ended much to soon. While helping a teacher with a project, she comes across this girls journal and her morbid curiosity gets the better of her. This takes Parker and her friends on a journey to find the truth and in the process they all learn a little more about each other, their friendships, and themselves. And I am a huge fan of Jessi Kirby's endings. They aren't sad, but they aren't exactly happily ever after, either. They are satisfying, but yet leave you wanting just a little bit more.
I think what I loved most about this book is that you get a little bit of everything. It's part mystery, part romance, part road-trip, and all heart. While it didn't hold quite as much magic for me as In Honor did, it's still a story I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend to anyone and everyone. I can't wait to put this one on my bookshelves :0) 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cover Reveal: ONE TINY LIE by K.A. Tucker

Hey guys! Today you get to feast your peepers on the cover reveal for K.A. Tucker's upcoming novel ONE TINY LIE! It's an awesome cover and it sounds like it's going to be an awesome read as well! The publisher, Atria, has cooked up a cool little video to unveil the cover and below I've got a bigger image of it, so you can stare until your hearts are content :0)

Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents' tragic death and Kacey's self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would...and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fits Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.
Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.
The ebook is set to release on June 11, 2013, so get to pre-ordering and lock in your copy on release day :0)


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