Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cover Reveal: Rua by Miranda Kavi

I am so excited to be apart of the cover reveal for Miranda Kavi's Rua. This book looks so good and the cover is beautiful! Without further ado, I present you the cover of Rua.

Rua by Miranda Kavi
Expected Pub: September 3, 2012

A girl with an unknown destiny.

A boy from a hidden world.

When Celeste starts at a new school in a small, Kansas town, she hears whispering voices, has vivid nightmares, and swarms of blackbirds follow her every move. She is oddly drawn to aloof Rylan, the other new student who has his own secrets.

The exact moment she turns seventeen, she wakes to a bedroom full of strange creatures, purple light emanating from her hands, and Rylan breaking in through her bedroom window.

He knows what she is . . .

Intriguing and deeply romantic, RUA is page-turning YA novel with a supernatural twist. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

(The Lynburn Legacy # 1)
By: Sarah Rees Brennan
Pub. Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 370
Source: Netgalley
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the- Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Let me start by saying that I am in love with The Demon's Lexicon series, so I was really excited when I saw that Sarah Rees Brennan was coming out with a new series. I was even more excited when I saw Unspoken on netgalley! I waited patiently for my approval, and started it as soon as I could! I am happy to say that Unspoken did not disappoint! It was very different and unique from other books out there.

Since they were children, Kami Glass and Jared Lynburn have been able to talk to each other in their minds. They never thought that the voice in their head was a real life person, but when Jared moves from the US, back to his family home in England, the two meet for the first time, instantly connecting them even more then they originally were. Jared is definitely what you would call a "bad boy", but Kami completely understood him, and when everyone told her to stay away from him, she knew she could trust him. I loved Jared and Kami together.  I loved how the two of them had private conversations in their heads around their friends. Ahh, they were just so cute.

I loved Jared. Sweet, broken, tortured Jared. Everyone thinks he is this evil person, even his family, but Kami knows the real him. I so wanted to just give Jared a hug. I would have loved more POV from Jared. Hopefully in future books we will get this. Kami was also a very awesome character. She's strong, funny and brave. I liked how take charge she was and how she really wanted to find out the answers to the Lynburn mystery!

There was so much to enjoy about this book. I especially loved the world building and trying to figure out the mystery behind the Lynburn family and the connection between Kami and Jared. From page one, I was completely engrossed in the story. What killed me was that ending!! Holy crap. It made me want to die but got me even more excited for the second book. I'll be waiting for this book for a while since I am writing this review in March and the first book doesn't even come out until September!

I would definitely recommend this book. If you haven't read anything from Sarah Rees Brennan yet, what are you waiting for? I promise, you will thank me later!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

By: C.J. Redwine
Pub. Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 315
Source: Edelweiss
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.
From the first moment I heard about Defiance I knew that I wanted to read it, and boy does this book not disappoint! From page one I was captivated with this story and it's characters.

In the city of Baalboden, the Commander rules his people with an iron fist. On one hand, he promises to protect them from the cursed one, but on the other hand, he kills those who do not follow his law. One of those laws being that every female must have a male protector. They are not allowed to even leave their house without one. When Jared, Rachel's father, does not come home from his courier mission, the Commander pronounces him dead. Her fathers will states that Logan, the boy she proclaimed her love to two years earlier is her new protector. This makes things very awkward since Logan did not return the favor. Rachel, convinced her father is still alive, will do anything to find him, with or without Logan's help. This is when the action starts, and it is non stop until the end!

I loved Rachel! Her father raised her to be strong and independent. She's kick ass and can protect herself in any situation. Because of everything that happened to her in such a short amount of time, I can understand the reasoning behind some of her choices. Some were stupid, but again, they were understandable.

Logan was absolutely amazing! He is definitely the broken type-orphaned and lonely, he became the apprentice to Jared when he was younger. After watching his mother be murdered at the hands of the Commander, he was labeled a social outcast. He was starving and living on the streets when Jared took him in. He owes his life to Jared and takes his job as Rachel's protector very seriously and also cares very deeply for her. What's not to love about him? He's a sexy nerd who can fight like no other. He's also sweet and loyal and would do anything for those he cares about it. If I participated in the book boyfriend meme, Logan would definitely be my top pick!

I loved the romance between Logan and Rachel. They have known each other for years but ever since Rachel told Logan her feelings, and he did not reciprocate, their friendship has been on the outs. Now they are forced to be together again, and I think the way their relationship was written was perfect. It made complete sense how it all came together. Rachel and Logan are hands down, one of my favorite YA couples!

The Commander is a terrifically written villain. He's scary and brutal! The things that he has done to people are heartbreaking, especially when you learn the full story of what happened to Logan's mother. Rachel was determined to get revenge on the Commander for all of the terrible things he has done in his life. I admired Rachel for not giving up on that revenge, no matter how difficult it seemed at times.

Defiance is so easy to get into. It's fast paced and action packed. There was never a dull moment and I literally could not put this book down! The writing was captivating and interesting, and I thought the story was very original. I also love that it was written in the POV of both Logan and Rachel. It was just perfect and made me understand these characters so much better!

I also thought the cover was perfectly simplistic in a big way. Does that make any sense? I really got a sense of the story from the cover. The artistic department at Harper are geniuses!

I would HIGHLY recommend Defiance. I can not wait until I can have a finished copy of this book on my shelf!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares
(Anna # 2)
By: Kendare Blake
Pub. Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 304
Source: Southern Book Bloggers ARC tours
It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live--not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

I absolutely loved Anna Dressed in Blood, the first book in the Anna series. I read it in one day, and was completely enthralled with Anna, Cas, and the rest of the cast of characters. I was very excited to receive an ARC of Girl of Nightmares through the Southern Book Bloggers ARC tours. Girl of Nightmares did not disappoint and I thought it was a perfect ending to the Anna series!

Six months ago, Anna saved Cas, Thomas and Carmel by sacrificing herself, and Cas can't stop thinking about her and what she did. When Cas starts to see her in random places he knows something is wrong. She is beat up, she has cuts all over her body and she looks scared. Cas knows exactly what he has to do, he has to save her, even if that means him dying in the process. Even when everybody else tells him to let her go, Cas still will stop at nothing to help her.

I loved Cas so much Anna, and in Girl of Nightmares, he has same sarcastic humor that made me fall in love with him and kept me laughing out loud. For example, when Cas said "He smiles at me like he's Yoda and I'm just a dumbass without the force", I nearly fell off my bed I was laughing so hard! Cas has grown since the first book and for the first time, he has friends who go along with him on his hunting escapades. I love how loyal and protective he is of Thomas and Carmal. The three of them really care for each other.

Anna is not as prominent in this book, but she is always in the background. When we do see her, we see the fierce ghost that she has always been, the ghost that would do anything for Cas.

Girl of Nightmares is about a lot more then just ghost hunting and I was interested to see where the story was going to take us. We learn more about the history of the athame and the secret society that created it.

The ending was absolutely perfect! Everything made so much sense and I was very happy with it. I don't think I could have asked for anything better.

Side note: When I first saw a picture of the cover for Girl of Nightmares, I was not impressed, but seeing it in person, I think it is amazing! I wish they would have kept it completely red on the finished copy.

Overall, the Anna series is a creepy, fun and original read. I would highly recommend it!

Books in the series: 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Altered by Jennifer Rush

By: Jennifer Rush
Pub. Date: January 2, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 323
Source: Borrowed
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. Anna’s father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.
I was intrigued with Altered the second that I saw the ARC at TXLA. How can you not be instantly attracted to that cover? Then I read the synopsis and knew that I wanted to read this book ASAP. I wasn't able to score a copy at TXLA, but the lovely Stephanie, from Steph's Book Corner sent me her copy. I started it right away and had a very hard time putting it down.

My favorite part had to have been the characters. Sam, Trev, Cas, and Nick have been prisoners in a lab for the past five years. They have no memory of their lives before the lab, and the only person who makes their lives bearable is Anna, the daughter of the man who runs the lab. She provides them the things they want, such as books, foods, and even the special type of conditioner that Nick uses. I instantly wanted to know as much I could about these boys. Who are they? Why were experiments done on them?  I so needed to know the mystery behind the boys captivity.

It was hard not to love each boy, even Nick who was always acting like a jerk. There is Sam who was their leader. Sam is secretive, smart, and hides every part of himself to those around him. Trev, who loved reading Classic literature and was Anna's best friend. Cas, outgoing, fun, and always brought light to every situation and lastly, Nick who is basically angry all of the time. I didn't learn as much as I would have liked to learn about the boys in Altered, but I am hoping we will in future books! I think out of the boys, Cas was my favorite. I can't wait for his back story!

When the boys escape from the lab, Anna goes with them on their search of trying to figure out what the hell happened to them. I liked that she helped the boys, but she was a little naive for her own good. I actually couldn't stand her for most of the story, she was too annoying for me. Even when Sam was the biggest jerk to her, she didn't even question it, which really angered me.

Altered was very fast paced and I loved that about it! The writing was very good and I never knew were the story was going to go next. Once you think you have something figured out, Jennifer Rush goes into a completely different direction. Altered was very original and full of action.

I think Altered is a book that would appeal to both teenage boys and girls. Described as a mix between Prison Break (a show that I loved!) and Dollhouse, I can definitely see the comparisons!

Altered is not to be missed and worth checking out when it releases. 

Meet the boys of Altered: (Click on the name to be sent to Jennifer Rush's website!)

                  Cas                   Trev                  Nick                  Sam

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Kissing Shakespeare
By: Pamela Mingle
Pub. Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 352
Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school's staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she'd like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he's a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen's really from. He wants Miranda use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn't convinced she's the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it's her only chance of getting back to the present and her "real" life. What Miranda doesn't bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.
Kissing Shakespeare is a fun, cute and quick read that I really enjoyed. The main character, Miranda, loves all things Shakespeare. She knows all of his plays, sonnets and poems. On the night of her HS production of The Taming of the Shrew, student Stephen Langford tells her that he needs her help right away. Turns out Stephen is from the year 1581 and needs Miranda to save William Shakespeare from joining the priesthood or else all of his classics will be gone forever. Meredith, of course, thinks that Stephen is crazy until she is transported to 1581 and meets Will.

I think what I loved most about Kissing Shakespeare was the relationship between Stephen and Miranda (who is now pretending to be Olivia, Stephen's younger sister). They were so cute and sweet together and I could not get enough of them. I really enjoyed Miranda's character. She was part of something that she would never believe was possible and I think she handles it very well. She was so real and funny. While I did love Stephen and Miranda together, I still thought that that Stephen was a stupid boy. He had no idea how to deal with girls! I also loved young Will. Before he was a famous writer, he was just a boy trying to figure out what his path in life should be.

I also enjoyed the historical aspects of Kissing Shakespeare, specially how much religion was apart of life back then, and you could be persecuted for believing in something different. The Jesuits were a real thing and I think Pamela Mingle did a good job incorporating them into the story.

What first drew me to Kissing Shakespeare was the cover. I love the pink and even though I don't think the cover fits with the story, it still holds your attention to want to read the synopsis. The story is filled with mystery, romance and history and I was very pleased. The ending was bittersweet but I think it had to happen that way. I just hope it means that there will be a book two eventually!

Overall, I think Kissing Shakespeare is worth reading. I enjoyed it very much. Sometimes you need a light, fun read and Kissing Shakespeare is perfect for that!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blog Tour: Review, Guest Post & Giveaway ~ Want by Stephanie Lawton

By: Stephanie Lawton
Pub. Date: June 7, 2012
Publisher: InkSpell Publishing
Pages: 318
Source: Publisher
Julianne counts the days until she can pack her bags and leave her old-money, tradition-bound Southern town where appearance is everything and secrecy is a way of life. A piano virtuoso, she dreams of attending a prestigious music school in Boston. Failure is not an option, so she enlists the help of New England Conservatory graduate Isaac Laroche to help her. She can't understand why he suddenly gave up Boston's music scene to return to the South. He doesn't know her life depends on escaping it. Julianne must face down madness from without, just as it threatens from within. Isaac must resist an inappropriate attraction, but an indiscretion at a Mardi Gras ball-the pinnacle event for Mobile's elite-forces their present wants and needs to collide with sins of the past. Will Julianne accept the help she's offered and get everything she ever wanted, or will she self-destruct and take Isaac down with her?

When I first saw the cover for Want, I knew I had to read it, so I was very excited to be asked to join the blog tour for it. Want is not your typical YA, there are a lot of very serious problems and complications throughout it.

Julianne has gone through so much in her 17 years of life. Her mother is mentally unstable and beats Juli on many occasions. To deal with it, Juli "scrapes" her arm, a form of self-mutilation. But there is some light in her life, and that is the piano. Juli is beautiful piano teacher and her dream is to play professionally. When her teacher has a stroke just months before her big audition, his nephew, Isaac, a piano genius, steps in and becomes her teacher. Isaac is 10 years older then Juli, and hides many secrets about himself.

Isaac was a very interesting character. He could be very sweet and generous, but he had a mean and controlling side in him as well. I could never figure him out. Even when we learn his secrets, I still couldn't understand him. I was a little disappointed with his character development, but I also understood his reasons for doing certain things, especially towards the end.

Juli on the other hand was a very strong and brave character. The scenes with her mother were heartbreaking and I just wanted to give her a big hug. Even though she had some admirable qualities, I couldn't stand other things about her! She was the biggest idiot in the world. Some of the conclusions she came up with completely baffled me. Despite this, I still wanted her to have a happy ending, she deserved it.

Juli and Isaac had a very complicated relationship, but they were both so broken, that somehow it worked. Isaac's best friend Dave definitely changes the dynamic between them, and it was nice to have at least one character be a happy person!

Want started off a little to slow for my liking, and I had some issues with the writing. I felt it was a little choppy at times. There were also many plot holes that I wished would have been answered. I don't like being left with questions.

Overall, while there were some things that bothered me about Want, I did enjoy it. It was an interesting story and very different from other stories out there. I would definitely recommend it. 

I also have the author, Stephanie Lawton visiting the blog today. 

From all the books you have read, have there been any stories or characters that changed you or made you see something in a different way?

First, thanks so much for having me and this is a great question, though I could probably write a dissertation on all the characters and books that have changed me!

One of the most recent reads that stuck with me is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky. A friend and YA blogger had been bugging me to read it, so I finally caved a couple months ago when they were filming the movie.

It was such a thin little thing with a weird yellow cover that I didn’t expect much. I thought the first couple pages were pretty simple, but I liked the epistolary format. Next thing I know I’m laughing, crying at the big reveal and turning the last page.

There are two other YA books that still haunt me: Sea by Heidi R. Kling and A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young (I’m dying to get my hands on the sequel!). Sea is an underrated hidden gem that gutted me then put me back together with hope for the characters’ happiness. It’s set against the tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2004, and left me both sobbing and smiling at the end.

A Need so Beautiful is unlike any book I’ve ever read. It’s so moving and spiritual, yet it doesn’t espouse any particular religion or denomination, nor is it preachy. It’s elegant, lyrical and wonderfully deep.

There are two non-YA “classics” that also stick with me years after reading them. The first is “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays: First Series (1841). It’s a bit lofty, but I read it in high school at a time when I needed to hear those words—that my thoughts and opinions carried just as much weight as the next person’s. You grow up listening to everyone else’s opinion, the experts’ opinions, then you’re grilled on them so you can spit them back out for a test. Emerson’s essay made me realize that I could turn down the Kool-Aid everyone was trying to shove down my throat.

If you’ve read Want, you won’t be surprised that the final book I’ve chosen is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath because it is SO. MESSED. UP. It was the first book I read about major mental illness and completely fascinated me because it made me squirm. Written in the 1960s, it’s seriously outdated for a modern audience, but there’s a delicious twistedness that really translates to this generation. That it’s somewhat autobiographical, and the author committed suicide shortly after its publication, makes it all the more tragic and gripping.

Now, enough about me. What books are on your list of life-changers and why? 

Giveaway time! 

Want to win an e-copy of Want? Just fill out the form at the bottom to enter! Good luck. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: America, You Sexy Bitch by Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain

America, You Sexy Bitch
By: Michael Ian Black & Meghan McCain
Pub. Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Pages: 309
Source: Mandy's Blogger Book Club
In the summer of 2011, McCain and Black embarked on a balls-out, cross-country tour. Along the way, they spoke to politicians, gun lovers, abortion-rights advocates and opponents, gay parents, flag burners, Muslims, poker players, Tea Partiers, Minutemen, veterans, teen moms, bikers, fast food workers, and a hooker or two. They toured the White House. They fired semiautomatic weapons. They stopped and ate at every Olive Garden along the way. But mostly they talked to each other about their differences, their similarities. It’s Chelsea Handler meets Hunter S. Thompson in a political cannonball run across America.
Let me just start by saying that I would have never ever picked up this book if I saw it in the bookstore. Sure, the title is completely awesome, but it is something I would have never thought I would enjoy. I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort level and decided to join Mandy's Blogger Book Club. Mandy has been blogging for a few years now on her very cool site, The Well Read Wife. One day she decided she was going to start a book club. A little while later she purchased 50 books of America, You Sexy Bitch and sent them out to the first 50 people who signed up. How cool is Mandy? Seriously pretty cool! Anyway, again I am so happy that I read this book, not only was it super informative and made me see things in a different light, but it was super funny as well. No just a little laugh funny. Full on, I'm about to pee my pants from laughing so hard funny.

One drugged out on Ambien night, Michael Ian Black tweeted Meghan McCain with "We should write a book together". Her response, "sure!", and thus America, You Sexy Bitch was born. Michael is the liberal, peace loving democrat and Meghan is probably the most modern republican you will ever meet. She owns guns, he's never fired one. She believes in freedom and America and the troops, and well, Michael doesn't really know what to believe when it comes to America and war. The two of them are the complete opposite in every sense of the word, but they decide to go on this road trip together and find out what really is happening to America. They talk to cowboys, soldiers, stoners, anarchists, politicians, and strippers. They get drunk, they get high, they go to strip clubs, they visit a Military Base, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Graceland. They saw so many different parts of America. Every single thing they did, I found interesting.

What was most interesting to me about this book was how much it made me think. I consider myself a liberal democrat, very much like Michael. I'm a New Yorker. I moved to Texas in October of last year and Texas is a very Republican state. As Michael states, "but that is exactly why I'm doing this road trip; my job, as I see it, is too confirm all the worst stereotypes about Republicans I hold so dear (p. xvii). This is exactly how I felt, maybe it's a Northern thing. But as Michael learns, and I learn as well, Republicans might not be so bad. I found myself agreeing with Meghan and what she was saying for most of the book, even more then I agreed with Michael. A book that can make you see politics in a different way is a genius book in my opinion!

I really enjoyed America, You Sexy Bitch and I am so happy that I gave this book a try. It was just all around a fun book, with a very interesting concept. Nothing is better then a road trip and a good time. Kudos to the authors for respecting each other enough to do this, and to respect the parts of America that not everyone gets to experience. I can't wait to read Meghan's other book, Dirty Sexy Politics

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day
By: David Levithan
Pub. Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

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

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

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

Every Day is one of those novels that you will be thinking about long after you reached the end. I finished it last week, and I am still thinking about A. A isn't a boy, or a girl. A just is. A has no gender, no sexuality and no body. Every day A wakes up in the body of somebody else. A has no idea why this happens or where he came from. Throughout the story, I always thought of A as a boy, so in this review, I will use he/him.

A is one of the most interesting characters I have ever came across in YA literature, maybe in adult lit as well. A has no friends or family and is not able to form attachments. A has been in love once, but he was only able to email the boy he fell in love with. They were never able to meet again.  All A has is memories of his past in other's peoples lives. A is such a good person. No matter what body A was in, he didn't cause any problems. I thought it was so interesting that despite everything and being a different person every single day, A was able to hold on to his own personality. In every person he was in, you could see he was still A inside. A sees humanity in a way that nobody else experiences and A's voice was so interesting because of this.

A's love interest in the story is Rhiannon. A met her when one day he woke up as Justin, the jerk boyfriend. When A met her, he threw away all of the rules, and didn't act like Justin, but as A would act. It was beautiful and heartbreaking. A realized he needed to continue to see Rhiannon, and in different bodies, met Rhiannon in different circumstances and places. Once Rhiannon knew the truth, it was beautiful that she knew who A was because she was able to see him in the eyes of the person he inhabited. I wasn't a huge fan of Rhiannon. At first I really liked her, but I didn't connect to her the way I was hoping I would.

I thought it was very interesting how A didn't consider himself gay or straight. He just was. He's kissed boys and girls, he's been in love with a boy before, and he fell in love with Rhiannon. What was interesting about this was I know many people who say they same thing. They don't consider themselves gay, straight or bi. They just are, and they fall in love with people, not their gender.

The ending of Every Day was bittersweet. I understood the reasoning behind it though. What A did for Rhiannon was so touching.

I would strongly recommend Every Day. In true David Levithan fashion, the writing is emotional and raw and I think this book will appeal to a wide range of readers. Be sure to add this to your bookshelves on August 28th.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Awry by Chelsea Fine

(The Archers of Avalon # 2)
By: Chelsea Fine
Pub. Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Firefall Publishing
Pages: 495
Source: Bought
Three curses. Two brothers. One love triangle.

Sometimes love is meant to be. But sometimes love...is the death of you.

Seventeen-year-old Scarlet has just died. Only, dying isn't unusual for a girl under a centuries old curse that left her semi-immortal.

This time, though, she comes back to her current life instead of awaking in a new one, and she realizes the curse is changing. With the help of the immortal Archer brothers, Scarlet must piece together her life and try to break the curse before her impending death comes again. 
The Archers of Avalon books is easily becoming one of my favorite series. Secrets, curses, evil witches, and hot boys! It seriously does not get any better then that. Chelsea Fine is proving, once again, what a terrific and talented writer she is. I could not have asked for a better second book in the series and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of book number three, Avow, due out in December.

Awry picks up at the second that Anew left off, with Scarlet dying in Tristan's arms. But this time, the curse is changing. When she dies, her body doesn't disappear like it usually does and comes back decades later. This time, she wakes up right away. Leaving Tristan, Gabriel and Nate utterly baffled. They realize that something isn't right and they desperately need to find the Fountain of Youth as soon as possible, or they might lose one of their own forever. 

What made Awry so amazing werre the flashbacks. Besides being written in Scarlet's, Tristan's and Gabriel's POV in present day, we also get to see their POVs in 1538 and we see what they were like before the curse. I got to see a whole other side to all of them and it was very interesting. Everything made so much sense and many of the questions I had after reading Anew were answered. I loved every single second of the flashback scenes.

My favorite aspect of this series is the characters. Tristan is absolutely amazing. From 1538 to the Tristan we know today, he really is just a beautiful and perfect person. His story is heartbreaking. He puts the weight of the world on his shoulders, when he doesn't have too and he never complains. God, I just love Tristan. We also get to see how perfect Tristan and Scarlet really are for each other. They are exactly the same person and they are adorable together. They truly are soul mates. I love present day Scarlet. She is funny and sweet, but 16th century Scarlet is kick ass and little by little, Scarlet remembers a bit more of who she was and it is an awesome transformation. I loved Gabriel in Anew, and don't get me wrong, I still love him, but I saw another side of him in Awry, and I did not like what I saw. I think it was wrong that he kept blaming Tristan. Like Tristan doesn't feel enough pain and guilt, he needs to be subject of Gabriel's anger too. If it wasn't obvious before, can you tell I am in love with Tristan?

The supporting characters are written perfectly as well. Nate is so hilarious, and we got to see another side to him, which was very sweet. Nate really surprised me with his awesomeness! Then there is Heather. I usually hate the sidekick/best friend but I absolutely love Heather! She's funny and cute and 100% protective of Scarlet.

Awry is a fast paced book that will keep you wanting more and the writing is absolutely perfect. With multiple point of views, in different time periods no less, you wouldn't think that it could be pulled off so flawlessly, but Fine makes it seem effortless. The writing flows so nicely and it's all put together brilliantly.

If you have not started this series yet, what are you waiting for? Awry was perfect, and I can't wait to get to hang out with these characters again in Avow

Books in the Series:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn
By: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Pub. Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 370
Source: Netgalley

Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.
Holy crap! I was not expecting such an amazingly fantastic read. I read Burn for Burn within two hours. I literally could not put it down. I've never been a big fan of books about revenge, I always found them to be immature in a way. But I fell in love with the cover and I am a fan of both authors, so I decided to give it a shot. Yes, it is a book about revenge, but the three girls have so much character and are so interesting and the book is about a lot more then revenge. There is also a little hint of something supernatural that is going on, and I can not wait to see what happens next!!

The story is told in the POV of Mary, Lillia and Kat. The three of them come from different backgrounds and social statues, but they each have a story that causes them to want to get revenge on someone else. Mary just moved back to Jar Island. Even though she has lived their most of her life, she went to a private school on the mainland and the only person she knew from her hometown was Reeve. But Reeve ruined her life completely and she is sick of letting what he did destroy her. She wants to move on. Lillia is the popular girl but when she finds out her best friend, Alex might have slept with her 15 year old sister, she knows she is going to have to do something about it. Lastly, there is Kat. She was once friends with the most popular girl in school, Rennie, but when Rennie thought Kat wasn't cool anymore, they stopped being friends. All three girls come together to seek revenge on the three people who have hurt them.

I absolutely loved how the story unfolded. Piece by piece you learn who these girls are and what happened in their lives that caused them to seek revenge. Some of the things they did weren't that bad, while others could have some horrible consequences.

I really enjoyed every single character in this book, especially the three girls! At first it was a little hard to keep them straight, but once I figured it out, I realized how completely different their voices really were. I really liked Alex and always had a feeling that something wasn't right with what he did to earn his punishment. Even though Reeve was an asshole, he definitely intrigued me. I hope to learn more about him in upcoming books.

Burn for Burn was a great read, I couldn't help but eagerly await what was going to happen next to the victims, but their are always consequences for your actions and I think the girls are going to learn that sooner, rather then later! I can't wait for book two. I need it now!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dreaming Anastasia Deleted Scenes Tour + Guest Post!

Today, I am so excited to feature a deleted scene from Joy Preble's Dreaming Anastasia, the first book in the series. If you have not read these books yet, I suggest picking one up as soon as you can!

Here is a bit of background on the scene from Joy:

“It occurs after Anne and Ethan have found Professor Olensky murdered in his office. They are desperately trying to figure out what to do and being chased by Viktor's henchman Dimitri. And my initial impulse was that I very much wanted them to share their first kiss on that El train platform. It felt like the perfect moment -- the classic 'everything is going crazy and this is the person I've been running from but really he's exactly the right person for me' passionate kiss... followed by danger looming and breaking them apart.”

And then, we’re alone.

The wind’s whipping our hair and Ethan’s still holding my hand, our fingers lacing together. Neither of us says a word. The wind swirls a piece of newspaper around on the track and a couple of pigeons peck at the platform across the tracks, looking for bits of food.

“I’m sorry,” Ethan says as a twenty-something guy wearing an unzipped grey hoodie over his green scrubs plops himself down on the bench across the tracks and the pigeons, startled, fly off to search for other crumbs. He lets go of my hand and thrusts both his hands in his jacket pockets.

“You’re right. It is your battle. Probably as much as it is mine.” He blows out a breath.

“We were all so certain after the assassination that at any moment we could find a way to fulfill the prophecy. Get Anastasia back. Restore the Romanovs to power through her. But we didn’t. Ten years passed, then another ten. Then – well, it’s easier than you think for the years to slip by. Each time I though I’d found the girl who could do this, it turned out I was wrong. And each time, I think I just slipped a little farther from the person I used to be. The person who was so clear of his purpose. I never gave up, but I think I stopped trying as hard.”

Ethan stops. Looks down the track for a bit. There’s no train in sight. Across the way, a tall girl in a denim mini and black leggings joins scrub suit guy on his bench. She’s bobbing along to whatever is playing in her headphones. Everywhere I look, it seems, the world is going on like normal. Except I know it’s not.

Ethan’s gaze holds mine, his blue eyes so tired and sad that I feel like crying except I think I’ve used up my quota of tears today. “If Viktor’s betrayed us,” Ethan says, “it’s because I let him. Because I just stopped paying attention. And that part, I do have to bear alone.”

I’m not sure what to say to him. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is one of those times where I probably don’t need to say anything. But he’s standing there in such pain that I start talking.

“We’ll find her, Ethan,” I say, even though I’m not at all sure that’s ever really going to happen. “I mean, you found me, didn’t you?”

And then we just stand there. The wind dies down for a bit, although I can tell from the clouds that it’s going to pick up again soon. Underneath my feet I can feel a slight vibration. Far down the track, our train is coming. Ethan steps closer to me. My heart beats harder: thump, thump, hop in my chest.

I study his face. Those blue eyes. That shaggy chestnut hair all tousled from the wind.
He’s going to kiss me. And I guess it should be weird or whatever. But it’s not. It’s just me and him – and okay, the two strangers across the way – and all the other stuff just sort of drops away. Because when you’re going to kiss someone – really kiss someone – it’s got to be just about that and not anything else.

And then he does. Kiss me, I mean.

He bends down a little, cause he’s taller, and presses his lips to mine. And it’s way better than the kiss on the forehead. And way, way better than the dream kiss since this time he’s just kissing me, not trying to suck the life out of me. His lips are warm and full and sweet, and they feel good against mine.

So I kiss him back.

“I almost lost you, too,” Ethan whispers against my lips. His breath tickles and little sparks tingle their way down my spine. “Here, I’ve just found you, and I almost lost you.” We kiss some more. I reach up and wrap my arms around his neck. I rest one hand on his shoulder – right where he’s got that lion tattoo etched into his skin.

In novels, you always read phrases like ‘they kissed and time stood still.’ And until now, I’ve always thought what a load of crap that was. Cause even when I was making out with Adam Greene, time was marching right along.

And maybe it’s because Adam was a sort of slurpy kisser. And that’s why my mind kept wandering to images of Buster lapping water from his dish.

Or maybe he just wasn’t the right one.

But right now, time is still. And Ethan’s lips, and his hands that are resting against the small of my back, are filling my head so completely there’s no room for anything else.

But then our train pulls up to the platform. The doors open, and I let Ethan take my hand and lead me inside. We settle into our seats as the train gives a lurch and starts up again, headed downtown. I’m sitting next to the window. Ethan’s looking at me like I’d always hope someone who’d just kissed me would look at me.

And then he’s not. Looking at me, that is.

Because he’s looking out the window beyond me. Back over, I realize as I turn my head, to the staircase that leads up the platform we just left. Watching as the familiar figure of Dimitri rushes into view, just as the train picks up speed and carries us away.

Thank you so much Joy for sharing that very juicy scene! To make things even better, Joy also shared an essay, titled "What’s Love Got to Do with It?: The Anne/Ethan Romance!"

The guiding force of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series is the relationship between Anne and Ethan. Anne knows from the second she catches blue-eyed Ethan stalking her at the ballet that there is just something about him. And in fact, he proceeds to turn her life upside and sideways because it is Ethan who peels back Anne’s normal world and reveals a world of Russian fairy tales brought to life, of a hidden princess and an illegitimate royal son driven by vengeance. When they touch – and I always knew that their story would begin with a physical touch setting things in motion—everything changes.

Anne is no longer just the girl who dances ballet and goes to school and mourns the death of her brother to cancer. She is a girl with power to save a princess, power to right ancient wrongs and ultimately, the power to break a curse that is holding her birth grandmother captive. But power comes with a steep price. And when Anne accepts Baba Yaga’s bargain so she can save Ethan in book 2, she steps into the witch’s forest in a way she has up until then refused to do. Of course, I wanted her to do this for love, even if she has trouble admitting that’s what it is.

This is problem for Anne and Ethan: they do not come easily to loving each other. Or rather, Ethan comes easily to loving Anne, even if he feels that he does not deserve her or a second chance at life. Which is exactly what she gives him when she rides out of the witch’s forest with Anastasia, allowing Ethan to regain his mortality. While Viktor yearns to live forever, Ethan wants only to have what he lost for a cause that was never what he believed it to be: to live and die in the proper time. That he has found the love of his life makes him both deliriously happy as well as guilty as hell.

And Anne, well, she’s a smart girl. Even when she’s not, she has Tess watching her back, making sure she sees things as they are. Anne sees loving Ethan as an impossibility. He is too old even if he looks young. He has secrets and a long, long past. She is only sixteen. And yet I think she loves him from the moment he tells her his story. But she holds back; she is indecisive. In fact, these traits hurt her in all aspects of her life. She has trouble committing. Ethan, on the other hand, is an all-in kind of guy.

So what did I do to these two? I made them inhabit a reverse fairy tale. It is Anne who ends up saving Ethan over and over. It is Anne who is the hero. And ultimately, it is Ethan (no spoilers for book 3 quite yet) who needs redemption and forgiveness before he and Anne can be together. A happily ever after, but hard won. And not without suffering and sacrifice. This is after all, a Russian fairy tale. No one knows endurance like the Russians.

And so it goes: Ethan and Anne, circling and circling love, each running from the other, each doing the hero’s job. The question becomes, will they figure out that they belong together before it’s too late?

Of course they will!

But with these two, love isn’t simple. I think that makes them equal parts of smart and stupid. Not forbidden love. Not crazy love where the passion burns out everything else—and I think we all need some of that in our lives.

When Anne and Ethan finally figure out that they belong together, it will be a love that entwines them like two puzzle pieces, marveling at how perfectly and easily they fit. And how foolish they were not to know it.

The last book in the Dreaming Anastasia series, Anastasia Forever hits bookstores on August 1, 2012!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

Until I Die
(Revenants # 2)
By: Amy Plum
Pub. Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 353
Source: Bought
Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

Until I Die is the second book in the Revenants series. There was nothing that I did not enjoy about this book. We learn more information about Revenant lore and about some of our favorite Revenants. There is also the beautiful Paris setting that completely sets the tone for the book.

Until I Die takes places a few weeks after Die For Me ended. Vincent and Kate have taken their relationship to the next level but their relationship does not come easy. If Vincent wants to stay with Kate he has to resist the urge to save humans and get himself killed. But that isn't the only problem these two lovebirds face. They are also trying to figure out their future because eventually they will have to accept the fact that Kate will die and Vincent is immortal.

One of my favorite things about this series are the characters. Vincent and Kate are absolutely perfect together. I love how sweet they are and how much trust they have for each other.  Usually I can't stand couples who are completely obsessed with one another. I find it annoying, but with Kate and Vincent, I think it's just perfect. Vincent is one of my favorite males in YA literature. He loves Kate so much and he is willing to take so much pain just to be with her and make her happy. The other Revenants also play a prominent role in the story. Jules and Ambrose are my favorite! We get to meet some other Revenants and I enjoyed getting to know them too.

Besides the characters, I also love the Paris setting. The descriptions are so vivid I felt like I was there right along with Kate. Paris seems like such a beautiful place to visit. I only hope that I am lucky enough to go and visit there one day.

There is also action and plot twists within the pages of Until I Die which kept me captivated the entire time. It was a fast paced read with terrific writing.  It ended on a completely WTF moment and I am eagerly awaiting the third book in the series, If I Should Die!

Other books in the series:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Follow Friday # 30

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read! It's a great way to meet new blogger friends!

This weeks question is:  

What drove you to start book blogging in the first place?

In the last months of 2010 I started to read a whole lot of reviews on goodreads and I thought, I could do that! So in January 2011, I made it my New Years Resolution to start a book blog, and I did! I'm embarrassed at some of my earlier reviews, but I am happy to say that have gotten so much better.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols

Such A Rush
By: Jennifer Echols
Pub. Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: MTV Books
Pages: 320
Source: ARC from Publisher
A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.  

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.

I am such a huge fan of Jennifer Echols! She is one of my favorite contemporary authors, and I have no idea why I haven't read any of her romantic comedies. I must read them soon! Echols has done it again with Such A Rush. I was hooked from the first paragraph, and stayed in my happy Jennifer Echols place for the rest of the book!

Leah has spent her entire life in trailer parks that were located right next to airports. From the time she was a little girl, she knew her only way out of the trailer was to fly. She has always wanted to be a pilot, and at 14 finally gets a job at an airport. It is there that she learns to fly. I thought Leah was awesome. She has her pilot license people! It seriously does not get any cooler then that. I really admired Leah because when I was growing up, I secretly wanted to be a pilot. I was totally that girl (and still am) who stares at the planes until you can't see them anymore in the sky and wonders where it's headed. In HS, I even contemplated joining the Air Force, but I was too scared to go for it. Leah wasn't scared. She was brave and kick-ass.

When Leah's boss/teacher suddenly dies, his teenage twin sons, Alex and Grayson take over the business, well Grayson takes over and Alex follows along. I really enjoyed the brother dynamic. There were definitely some issues between them, but you can tell how much they loved and cared for each other, especially with everything they were going through with losing their father and their older brother in Afghanistan. Alex was the sweet and thoughtful brother and Grayson was supposed to be the "I don't care about anything or anyone" one, but I loved Grayson! He had some really sweet moments that made me root for him. He also had some moments that totally made me want to punch him though too! I loved watching Leah and Grayson's relationship unfold. It was very interesting to watch.

Grayson was keeping way to many secrets throughout the story and you could tell that he was holding himself together by a thread. There were many times that I thought he was going to completely break down. I wanted to know these secrets so badly, and this definitely caused me to read faster and put the book down fewer times! 

The plot was fast paced and interesting, I especially enjoyed the blackmail aspects that were going on between Grayson and Leah. I am also a huge fan of the way that Echols writes. What I love most about it is that her stories and characters are just so realistic. I really feel that everything that goes on in her books can happen in real life.

If you're an Echols fan, or this is your first book of hers that you are trying out, I don't think you will be disappointed with Such A Rush. I highly recommend it, along with everything else she has ever written.

Thank you so much Gallery Books/MTV (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) for sending me a review copy of Such A Rush in exchange for an honest review!   

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: Haunted by Joy Preble

(Dreaming Anastasia # 2)
By: Joy Preble
Pub. Date: February 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 290
Source: Borrowed
Anne Michaelson is trying to forget everything that happened last year. But it's hard to do when her heart aches for Ethan and there's a wild-haired woman stalking her...

Ethan Kosinsky is embracing his newfound mortality. But something is drawing him back to the girl he left behind-back to Anne and back to the magic...

A mysterious stranger is hunting Anne wherever she goes. No one sees her but Anne. When she searches for the woman's identity, Anne exposes secrets about her own life- things that will change her life forever. And when the gorgeous Ethan returns, her life gets a lot more complicated.

Anne thought her journey with the Romanov family had ended, but it was just the beginning...
The Dreaming Anastasia series is a very original and enjoyable series and Haunted did not disappoint. There is still enough mystery, romance, family secrets and Russian lore to keep you very satisfied. After the events in Dreaming Anastasia, all of our favorite characters have changed, and while they thought it was all over, they realize in Haunted that it is just beginning. New threats threaten to tear them apart and it's up to Anne, once again, to try and save everyone.

Anne has been dealing with a lot since the end of DA, but pretends everything is ok. She has a nice, normal boyfriend, Ben, but her best friend Tess knows something is up. Turns out Anne's been having nightmares of Baba Yaga, is being stalked by some crazy lady in the water that only she can see (which turns out to be a Rusalkas, a Russian mermaid), feels guilty for Anastasia choosing to die, and not only that, but her power is getting stronger. On top of everything else, Ethan decided to leave America, so he can give Anne a normal life, not realizing that what she really needed is him.

I loved Ethan so much in DA, and he is just as sad and broken in this one. He loves Anne, but thinks it's best to stay away from her. He also isn't immortal anymore. He spent the last 100 years thinking one thing, to realize it was all a lie. Now he needs to learn what it's like to be mortal again.

Haunted dives deeper into Anne's family secrets and we learn a lot more about her moms biological mother, which was very interesting. I really enjoyed the parts with Anne and Ethan too. They have such a great connection and they both deserve happiness. I also loved that the book is written in different POVs. I really get a much better feel for the story and all of the different characters.

Haunted is a fast paced and enjoyable read. I am excited to see how it all comes together in the last and final book, Anastasia Forever.

Books in the series:

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