Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: Anew by Chelsea Fine

(The Archers of Avalon # 1)
By: Chelsea Fine
Pub. Date: December 7, 2011
Publisher: Acacia Publishing
Pages: 385
Source: Publisher

Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery...until she met a boy with a familiar voice.

Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet's determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he's kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.

Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet's world becomes even more muddled. While she's instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she's impossibly drawn to Tristan--and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past...might just be the death of her. 

I first fell in love with Chelsea Fine's writing after I read Sophie & Carter, which ended up being one of my favorite books of 2011. When I found out she was writing a new series, I was super excited! I don't know what made we wait to long to read Anew. It was amazing!

The story starts with Scarlet waking up alone in a forest with no memories of her life. The one thing that she does know is her name and her age. Fast forward two years, and Scarlet is now living in AvalonGeorgia. She has a guardian named Laura, who treats her like a daughter and a best friend, Heather. She still has no idea where she came from, but she makes due with what she has. Every year her town throws a Kissing Festival, and it is there that she meets Gabriel, who she is instantly attracted too. The two of them begin dating, and this is when her life begins to change. When she meets Gabriel's twin brother, Tristan, who she was never supposed to meet, her life becomes even more complicated!

There isn't much to say about Anew except that it is amazing! Ms. Fine is truly a talented writer. First, she completely ripped my heart out in Sophie & Carter, then she blows my mind with Anew. The writing flowed nicely, and sometimes I think authors find it difficult to write multiple point of views, but Fine was able to write Scarlet's, Gabriel's and Tristan's view points perfectly, sucking me into the story even more! The plot was fast paced and I was not able to put it down. I read it on a flight from Texas to New York. Best flight of my life!!

The characters were absolutely terrific and you couldn't help but fall in love with every single one of them. Scarlet's been through a lot and I felt for her. I couldn't imagine how difficult it must have been for her to not know anything about her past. I really enjoyed her as a character. She wasn't annoying and took everything that she learned about herself in stride. Her best friend Heather had to have been my favorite. She was hilarious! You could tell that she really cared about Scarlet, which was nice.

Then there are the Archer brothers! Holy crap, the Archer brothers! These guys were fantastic. Cute, funny, caring, I seriously fell in love with both of them, Tristan especially. Despite coming off as an ass, he was anything but, and I really liked that. I loved the banter between the two brothers. They were so funny and quick witted. Gabriel and Tristan each have distinct personalities, but where it counted they were exactly the same. The cared so deeply for Scarlet and were willing to do anything for her.

Anew is the kind of book that you need to read over and over again. What's not to love, it has everything, including an amazing cover! The second book, Awry is out now and it is even better then the first book!  

My dream cast for my Archers of Avalon series.

I chose actors from TV shows because, well…I’m a TV whore. Haha.

Scarlet Jacobs (main character)

Bio: Two years ago, Scarlet woke up in the woods without any memories. Now? She's just trying to figure out how to balance amnesia and homework. She has a hot boyfriend who's totally perfect…except Scarlet’s pretty sure he’s hiding something from her….
Likes: pancakes, sleeping in, and drawing
Dislikes: fashion, lying boyfriends, and hot guys telling her what to do

For Scarlet, I chose Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars. Lucy looks all innocent and confused, but we all know she’s got some gumption. If Pretty Little Liars has taught us anything, it’s that sweet-looking teenage girls can be ruthless. And also that trying to cover up a murder for half a decade is a bad idea. Just tell a grown up, yo!

Gabriel & Tristan Archer (main male characters, TWINS)

Gabriel Bio: Gabriel is cursed. And he’s been trying to break that curse for a long time—without success. It seems fate isn’t on his side. But having Scarlet in his life might just be the key to his happiness. If only he could tell her that.
Likes: Scarlet, reality TV, and history
Dislikes: cafeteria food, bloody weapons, and Tristan’s secret agenda.

Tristan Bio: Tristan has his own curse to worry about—not to mention the fact that, if he doesn’t find a way to undo the hex, Scarlet will die. Fortunately, he’s found a new way to break the curse that’s tortured him for so long. If only murder wasn’t frowned upon.
Likes: Solitude, weapons, and Scarlet.
Dislikes: Gabriel’s incessant good moods, witches, and sleepless nights.

I chose Tyler Hoechlin from Teen Wolf for my Archer brothers. I think he’s super sexy. And he’s this badass werewolf in Teen Wolf, so I think he’d make a badass Archer brother as well. Just saying.

Heather Baxter (Scarlet’s best friend)

Bio: Heather is obsessed with fashion and determined to give Scarlet a normal life--and wardrobe--despite her amnesia. But lately Scarlet's been hanging around with Gabriel Archer and, although he's delicious, Heather has her suspicions about him.
Likes: Shoes, kissing boys, and working at the Millhouse coffee shop
Dislikes: Tiny dogs that chase her, Scarlet's taste in fashion, and hot guys who lie to her BFF.

I tried—really tried—not to use any characters from The Vampire Diaries (since my series is about two brothers in love with the same girl also) but I just couldn’t help myself. My Heather character is blond, bubbly, sometimes annoying, and always loving. She’s totally Caroline from TVD (played by Candice Accola).

Nathaniel Fletcher (Gabriel & Tristan’s best friend)

Bio: Nate's been trying to help his friends fix their curse for years--and all their drama keeps interfering with his one great passion: video games. Even still, he's determined to help undo the wretched curse before it claims Scarlet's life. Again.
Likes: Slaying virtual dragons, Lucky Charms, and Star Wars.
Dislikes: Head Ghosts, rabid forest creatures, and being unable to cure Scarlet.

Adam Brody from The O.C. is totally who I picture when I write Nate. He’s funny, charming, quirky, and has a fondness for video games. ;) (BTW, how great was the first season of The O.C.? Raise your hand if you wanted to save Ryan and tuck him into your bed forever. Only for safekeeping, of course. *raises hand and waves it around*)

There you have it, folks! Archers of Avalon, TV style! :)  

About the author:
Chelsea lives in Phoenix, AZ where she spends most of her time writing young adult fiction, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs.  Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks.  She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.

Check out the other Anew tour stops!

September 17-BookshelfBanter-Review, Giveaway & Interview
September 18-ReaderGirls-Guest Post, Giveaway & Review
September 19- In Between Reading and Writing-Review & Giveaway
September 19-SimpleBooks-Interview, Giveaway & Review
September 20-PapercutsYA-Review, Giveaway & Guest Post
September 20-Book and a Latte-Review, Giveaway & Interview
September 21-DJ Librarian Dishes-Review, Giveaway & Guest Post
September 22-Moosubi Reviews-Interview, Giveaway & Review
September 23-Captivated Reader-Guest Post, Giveaway & Review
September 24-Hypable-Interview, Giveaway & Review
September 25-Starting the Next Chapter-Review & Giveaway
September 26-Novel Thoughts Blog-Review, Giveaway & Character interview
September 27-The Readiacs-Interview, Giveaway & Review
September 28-MundieMoms-Interview, Giveaway & Review
September 29-Head Stuck in a Book-Guest Post, Giveaway & Review
September 30-LadyBug Storytime-Review, Giveaway & Guest Post

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Author Interview: Back to Bataan by Jerome Charyn

Back to Bataan
By: Jerome Charyn
Pub. Date: July 1, 2012
Publisher: Tribute Books
Pages: 98

New York City, 1943. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific, while Jack Dalton is stuck attending Dutch Masters Day School. What Jack really wants is to enlist in the army, to fight...

Everything changes when Coco, Jack's "fiancee," throws him over for one of his classmates. Jack sees red and does something drastic. Then he runs away. Hiding out in a nearby park, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, an ex-convict who is as articulate and charismatic as he is dangerous. The Leader turns Jack's world upside down. To put things right, Jack must prove himself a braver soldier than he ever imagined.
Today, I have author Jerome Charyn on the blog answering some questions for me! 

What are your thoughts on the explosion of popularity concerning the YA genre?

I think it might very well be that it started with Harry Potter, that young adult writers are trying to tell good stories and adults have moved into that kind of dream.

You are the master of writing across a realm of different genres, what excites you about connecting with different audiences?

I’m not so sure that these are different audiences, I think we all love stories, whether we’re children or great-grandfathers, and when you move from genre to genre you are still telling a story like Scheherazade - and the king is always waiting for the next tale.

Your writing is so precise, yet evocative - how do you work at crafting your unique style of prose?

Everything begins and ends with the word, with the music of the sentence and as Tolstoy once said, “I’m always composing.”

Being a published author for nearly 50 years, what do you think of eBooks?
I think that this is a kind of logical step as we move from the internet into eBooks. 

Publishing is changing even as we speak. I think there now will be a more complicated dance between the eBook and the printed book, and as we’ve seen recently, successes in eBooks allow the author to move into print.

 What would be your advice to young people who aspire to a literary career?

It’s not worth the money – only write if you’re absolutely in love with it.

How much of your life is in Back to Bataan? How did you personally experience New York during World War II?

I think so much of the source of my writing comes from my childhood, I grew up during the War  - so many of the terrors and the magic of certain films have remained with me.  And all of this appears in the character of Jack.

Your older brother was a detective. Did your experiences with him influence the plot?

Not really, I think all writing is crime writing. And Back to Bataan is a crime novel with a very original twist.

Why did you decide to include the fascination with the famous as a theme - Gary Cooper, Eleanor Roosevelt, etc.?

These people were heroes to me as a child, particularly Eleanor Roosevelt, who was one of the most extraordinary women who ever live, and of course as a child I fell in love with Gary Cooper’s face and with his very slow drawl, that seemed so exotic to me.

Jack finds acclaim through his writing, yet feels guilty for exploiting other people (Mrs. Fink). How does a writer starting out work to bridge this gap?

You’re always cannibalizing other people and writers when you start to write, so it’s natural that Jack should be a young cannibal

 How important is the New York Times in your own life? Why did you decide to make it a form of connection between Jack and the Leader?

As a child, I didn’t even know that the Times existed – I grew up in a neighborhood without newspapers and books, so that when I first fell upon the New York Times, I was very, very greedy, and wanted to include it in Jack’s middle-class life.

Thank you so much Jerome!

Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since 1964, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Helpful Links: 

Back to Bataan website

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Eve and Adam
By: Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant
Pub. Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley

Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.

While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.

Eve and Adam is a surprise hit for me. The synopsis sounded interesting, but I had no idea how much I was truly going to love this book. It is so much more then what you think it is about. Secrets, intrigue, science and romance. It has enough to keep everyone happy. Even with all of this, it is still a light, easy read!

Being a light, easy read can be a good and a bad thing. It is a good thing because I was never bored, but on the other hand, the characters and the plot were never fully developed. I would have liked to know more about the story, especially about the character Solo. He was so interesting and intriguing but I never really got to know him.  

I loved Eve. She was smart and funny and she knew exactly how to deal with her cold-hearted mother. When her mom gives her the job of creating the perfect specimen, she creates Adam. Even though Adam was not born, but "created", he too was very interesting. I enjoyed seeing things through his eyes.

I think my favorite character had to be Aislin, Eve's best friend. She was funny and protective, and just all around a fun person! I also enjoyed the little connection between her and Adam.

Overall, I really enjoyed Eve and Adam and I am excited to see where the story is going to take us next. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Pledged by Gwynneth White

(Soul Wars Saga # 1)
By:  Gwynneth White
Pub. Date: June 13, 2012
Publisher: Self
Source: Author

Everyone has a soul mate. But what do you do when your soul mate would rather give his soul to the demons than be with you?

Seventeen-year-old Erin has a problem. Seth has been hers forever, but now an ancient curse is tearing him away. And the demons who invoked it will stop at nothing – even murder – to claim him as their own.

How can she win against a curse so binding that it has damned countless others to this same fate – an eternity alone?

The answer lies in the past. To find it, Erin and Seth must risk all, travelling back in time to a dangerous world where love is forbidden, and life – and death – hang on a pledge.

Follow Erin and Seth as they travel to ancient Shenaya and confront the curse that has plagued their families for millennia. Caught in a war between the Angelic Guardians and the Gefallen, the disembodied dead, they must fight to keep their souls in tact and their love untainted.

Pledged has a terrific premise-soul mates, time travel, and destiny. The author had a very creative way to introduce the book to us who were participating in the blog tour, and for that reason alone, I knew I had to read it!

The setting for Pledged is terrific. It takes place in South Africa, which I found original and interesting. The way it was described, I felt like I was there.

I loved the characters, Seth and Erin. They were honest and fun. They are soul mates, but Seth doesn't know if he should fight destiny or not. It was interesting to see him make the choices that he makes. I really enjoyed Erin, she was a girl who knew exactly what she wanted and I could respect that!

The story does get a little confusing at times, especially when the author was going back and forth thru time, but I eventually I got the basic idea. Besides that, I did enjoy the writing. The entire story kept my guessing. I never knew what was going to happen next!

I am excited to see where Gwynneth While will take us next in her Soul Wars Saga! 

You can purchase Pledged from Barnes & Noble and Smashwords!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Dearly, Beloved
(Gone With the Respiration # 2)
By: Lia Habel
Pub. Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 496
Source: Netgalley

Can the living coexist with the living dead?

That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Lia Habel’s spellbinding, suspenseful sequel to Dearly, Departed takes her imaginative mash-up of period romance, futuristic thriller, and zombie drama to a whole new level of innovative and irresistible storytelling.
I was so excited when I received a copy of Dearly, Beloved to review. I loved everything about the first book, Dearly,Departed, and I could not wait to get back into this zombie infested, futuristic, Victorian world. Dearly, Beloved did not disappointed and I am so excited to see where Lia Habel takes us next!

Dearly, Beloved starts with a very sweet moment between Nora Dearly and her zombie boyfriend, Bram Griswold. The two of them are just trying to have as much of a normal relationship as possible before the virus takes Bram forever. I seriously love the two of them together. They have a wonderful connection. Separately, Nora and Bram are wonderful characters, but together, they are just so much more. I couldn't get enough of the two of them together!

Nora is one of my all time favorite heroines. The world she lives in expects her to be weak and timid. But Nora is nothing like that. She is loyal and fights for what she believes in. No matter how tough times get, she never, ever complains and I respect her for that. She is honest, and she loves with everything she has. Bram is one of my favorite YA guys out there. So who cares that he is technically dead? He's good-looking, brave, sweet and smart. Overall, he is just an awesome bad-ass character. He doesn't allow the zombie virus to control his life. He does what needs to be done, while protecting his loved ones and what he believes in.

The secondary characters were also well written. We get to see a lot more of Nora's best friend, Pamela. Her brother became a zombie and it's Pamela that is trying to hold her family together. She acts like everything is ok, but inside she is breaking. We also see more of Bram's friends, who I loved in the first book!

Dearly, Beloved is told in the POV of six different characters: Nora, Bram, Pamela, Michael, Vespertine, and newcomer, Laura. While all of these characters were definitely a lot to handle at first (I seriously just wanted more Bram to be honest!), eventually it got easier to keep up. When the book was over I could see Habel's reasoning for the multiple POV, and it definitely sets things up for the next book!

My favorite thing about Dearly, Beloved (besides Bram of course) is the setting. I absolutely loved that it's set in a futuristic Victorian type setting. Corsets, long dresses, top hats, cell phones and computers! I love the originality of all of it!

There is a lot going on in Dearly, Beloved. At first it was hard to understand everything, but I swear, it gets easier. Besides there being a new strand of the Laz with no known cure, there is also a secret society that attacks zombies and zombie supporters. Bram and his ex-army friends are trying to hold everything together and keep the peace, but it gets harder everyday. They definitely have their work cut out for them!

I am not a big zombie person, but I am in love with the Gone With the Respiration series and I am looking forward to the next book!

Other books in the series: 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: The Wild Ones by M. Leighton

The Wild Ones
By: M. Leighton
Pub. Date: August 1, 2012
Publisher: Self
Source: Bought
Passion as hot as midnight in the South and love as wild as the horses they tame.

Camille “Cami” Hines is the darling daughter of the South’s champion thoroughbred breeder, Jack Hines. She has a pedigree that rivals some of her father’s best horses. Other than feeling a little suffocated at times, Cami thought she was pretty happy with her boyfriend, her life and her future.

But that was before she met Patrick Henley.

“Trick” blurs the lines between what Cami wants and what is expected of her. He’s considered the “help,” which is forbidden fruit as far as her father is concerned, not to mention that Trick would be fired if he ever laid a hand on her. And Trick needs his job. Desperately. His family depends on him.

The heart wants what the heart wants, though, and Trick and Cami are drawn to each other despite the obstacles. At least the ones they know of.

When Trick stumbles upon a note from his father, it triggers a series of revelations that could ruin what he and Cami have worked so hard to overcome. It turns out there’s more to Trick’s presence at the ranch than either of them knew, secrets that could tear them apart.

The Wild Ones literally has EVERYTHING you could want in a read, especially a summer read. Hot, witty characters, hot setting, hot plot, HOT everything! I want to be with Trick and I want to be friends with Cami. These two were just awesome and really made the story!

Patrick "Trick" Henley left college so he could work and help his mother with the bills. He is as selfless as they come. If his gorgeous looks and charming personality wasn't enough, he is the greatest older brother to his baby sister and also cares about animals. He wants to be a veterinarian! SWOON!! Camille "Cami" Hines is home from college for the summer and the second she meets Trick her life is changed. She can't stop thinking about him, despite having a boyfriend. The connection these two have is SIZZLING!! You need these two to get together because at this point, the sexual tension is killing the reader, so I can just imagine what it is doing for the characters!

See the problem with these two getting together is Trick works for Cami's dad, and Trick desperately needs this job. Cami's father would never approve of his daughter going out with the hired help. There is also a very deep family rivalry between the Henley's and the Hines! Who doesn't love a good Southern family rivalry story?!?

I also loved the secondary characters Rusty (Trick's best friend) and Jenna (Cami's best friend). These two definitely made the story much more interesting!

The Wild Ones NEEDS to be read. Seriously. Whatever you plan on reading next, put it to the side and read this one. You will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Andy Squared by Jennifer Lavoie

Andy Squared
By: Jennifer Lavoie
Pub. Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Bella Distribution
Pages: 264
Source: Netgalley
Seventeen-year-old twins, Andrew and Andrea Morris, have always been close. They share everything—from their friends to a room—and they both enjoy star positions on their high school’s soccer teams. All’s right with the twins...or is it?

When new student Ryder Coltrane moves from Texas to their small New York town, he spins Andrew’s world upside down. All of Andrew’s past relationship troubles begin to make sense and his true feelings start to click into place after Ryder comes out to him. His friendship with Ryder turns secretively romantic, but secrets, they soon find out, are hard to keep. Once rumors start to fly, so-called friends turn on them, and the boys’ relationship turns into a bomb about to explode. But Andrew never expected it would be his own twin, Andrea, holding a lighter to ignite it.

Andy Squared is a coming of age story about 17 year old Andrew and how by him realizing who he really is not only changes him, but affects the people around him as well.

Andrew and Andrea are as close as twins can be. They share the same friends, the same activities, even the same nickname- Andy. Andrew is definitely a playboy. After a few weeks with a girl he starts to find her annoying and breaks up with her. When new kid Ryder moves to town from Texas, things start to change for Andrew. He starts to put certain pieces of his life together and he realizes that he is attracted to Ryder. Never in a million years did Andrew ever think he could be gay, but it is undeniable. He wants to spend all of his time with Ryder and he wants to know what it would be like to kiss him.

I thought Andrew was a very well written character. The emotions he felt where realistic and honest to me. Even though this is something that I will never experience, I felt everything that Andrew felt. I also loved Ryder. He was so sweet and I liked how patient he was with Andrew. He never rushed him, and always made him feel comfortable.

I couldn't stand Andrea though. Her reaction to her brother's homosexuality was disgusting and I couldn't believe she did what she did to him. I thought it was a little unrealistic how easily Andrew forgave her for what she did. I would have been furious! It just goes to show what a great guy Andrew truly is! His parents reaction to him coming out felt very real to me. I liked how it was portrayed.

The only other thing I didn't like about Andy Squared was the cover. When I first saw it, I assumed the book was about some 80's rock singer with a drug problem. Anyone else see that?

Overall, I really enjoyed Andy Squared. It is a raw and honest portrayal about a teenager learning who he is really is and accepting it, despite what others think about it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys
(Raven Cycle # 1)
By: Maggie Stiefvater
Pub. Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 408
Source: Netgalley
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

To say I am a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater is an understatement. The women can seriously do no wrong. She can write a story about a bunny eating a carrot and I'll be interested! With this in mind, I tried The Raven Boys, even though I was a little skeptical. But who am I kidding, it's Maggie-freaken-Stiefvater, so of course The Raven Boys was amazing. The writing, the plot, the characters- there was nothing to not like about it.

The Raven Boys starts off on April 24th-St. Marks Eve. On this night, Blue and her psychic mom go to the church so her mom can see the souls of those that will die in the next 12 months. Blue isn't a psychic so she is never able to see anything. Until tonight, when she sees a boy who calls himself Gansey. By Blue seeing him this can mean one of two things-It's either her true love, or she kills him. Knowing she has to learn more about him, she goes to find out who he really is. Turns out he goes to Aglionby, a private boys school in her town.

There is a lot more to Gansey then meets the eye. For the past few years he has been trying to find the local burial place of Owain Glendower, who died in the Middle Ages. The legend goes that Glendower isn't really dead, but sleeping, and who ever wakes him will be granted a favor. Gansey friends, Adam, Ronan, and Noah also help him.

I loved these four guys together. They had a very interesting dynamic. Noah's story was the most interesting, and I totally did not see that plot twist coming at all! Rowan was definitely intriguing, and I can not wait to read more about him in upcoming books. Adam was my favorite. He's the poor kid going to Aglionby on half a scholastic. Unlike his friends, he has to work for what he has, and his home life sucks with an abusive father and a mom that doesn't care. I respected him a lot because despite having rich friends who would get anything for him, he doesn't look for hand outs. He does what needs to be done.

Blue was also interesting. She comes from a family of psychics, but isn't a psychic herself. I think she fits perfectly with the four guys. I am so excited to see what will happen next to each of them!

There is a lot of mystery and plot twists going on within the pages of The Raven Boys. This kept my attention the entire time, and I couldn't even put down the book for the last hundred pages or so.

Overall, I loved The Raven Boys and I can not wait to see what happens next! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Focus by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Because I have been super busy with my new job, I completely forgot to post this awesome cover reveal! I am so sorry about that! Here is the cover for Focus, book 2 in The Crescent Chronicles, which comes out in January 2013!

Freshman year of college is hard even when you're not tied to the future king of a supernatural society.

Allie dives into college head first with Hailey as her roommate and the city of New Orleans as her backyard. As things within  The Society heat up, Allie realizes that whether she’s with Levi or not, she's in far too deep to turn back.

This series looks amazing! I can't wait to read book 1! 

Flight (The Crescent Chronicles #1)
by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Published: August 16th 2012

Sometimes you just have to take flight.A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college.

Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi.

Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her.

About the author:

Alyssa Rose Ivy lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. 

Alyssa Rose Ivy on:
Website  ♦  Twitter  ♦ Facebook  ♦  GoodReads 

Giveaway time!!

* 1 paperback copy of Flight (The Crescent Chronicles #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy - (US Only)
* 1 ebook of Flight (The Crescent Chronicles, #1) - (International)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: The Unloved by Jennifer Snyder

The Unloved
By: Jennifer Snyder
Pub. Date: July 30, 2012
Publisher: Self
Pages: 220
Source: Author
Sometimes the love our heart needs to heal can be found in the familiar eyes of a childhood friend...

Julie Porter learned the hard way that trust is something which must be earned and not something to be given out lightly, those who say they love you are those who hold the power to hurt you most, and best friends can help you survive anything—until they move away.

Nick Owen knows a thing or two about a hard life. At a young age Nick learned how to take a hit and to make lemonade out of the lemons life tossed his way. Returning home after nearly two years of being away, all Nick cares about now is protecting his mom from the abusive hands of his father and catching up with his best friend—the girl who lived across the street, the girl he can’t seem to stop thinking about.

Finally reunited after two years apart, Nick and Julie are about to learn that age does nothing to protect you from life’s trials and tribulations, heartache and loss, but maybe together they’ll find a way to survive.
The Unloved is not your happy kind of book. The characters go through real, emotional stuff. It's honest and raw, and I loved every minute of it.

Julie and Nick are neighbors who were best friends growing up. Between Nick's abusive dad and Julie's druggie mom, the two of them only had each other. Two years ago, Nick was sent to live with his Aunt and Uncle, leaving Julie to deal with everything at home by herself. Nick's mom finally kicks the dad out, and Nick is able to come home. Nick is bigger and stronger, and vows to not only protect his mother if his dad comes back, but protect Julie too.

Poor, poor Nick. The first time his dad came back, he ended up getting the shit kicked out of him like the old days. All he wants to do is protect the women in his life, but it never works out for him. I thought Nick has it bad, but Julie's life is much, much worse. Her mom has the worst taste in men, and many of them have a thing for young girls. For most of her life she has had to fend off their looks, knowing one day it might get worse. She also has to deal with her ex boyfriend, who her mom is now sleeping with for drugs. Nick and Julie are broken characters who need each other. They both deserve to be happy, but for both of them, it is going to get a lot worse, before it can get better.

I really felt for these two characters. I couldn't believe what was happening to them and I was so connected to them, I wished there was something I could do to help them.

Overall, this book was heartbreaking, but in a good way. There really is a message of hope at the end, which I liked. It reminded me a lot of Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine, which was one of my favorite books that I read last year. The Unloved is definitely worth the read! It's a quick read that will leave you thinking about it days after you finish it.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

The Forsaken
By: Lisa M. Stasse
Pub. Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Pages: 375
Source: Borrowed
A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy.

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

When I first read the synopsis for The Forsaken I was intrigued. When I finally got my hands on a copy, I read it while on a road trip from Ohio to New York and it did not disappoint one bit! There is action, romance, and mystery. I could not have asked for a better book to read on a boring car ride home! The Forsaken is a wonderful start to what I see becoming an AMAZING series!

In this future dystopian world, 16 year old Alenna lives in the U.N.A (United Northern Alliance). The U.N.A. consists of what used to be Mexico, US and Canada. Every 16 year old must get tested to see if they are predisposed to violence. If they fail this test, they get sent to Prison Island Alpha, also known as "The Wheel". The Wheel is a dangerous place to live, and most don't survive the harsh living conditions.

When Alenna gets sent to The Wheel she is completely surprised, and she is sure that she was sent there by mistake. She is actually very weak when she first gets there. I loved watching Alenna grow into a brave, loyal and strong women while on the island. She experiences her first real friendships as well as first love.

Alenna quickly makes friends, notably the most popular guy in the group, Liam. Liam is honest, brave, and the groups best hunter. I thought that their chemistry was cute, but I thought their instant-love was a little unrealistic. Then again, things are different on The Wheel; they have to be.

The bad guy on The Wheel is called The Monk. I never really understood his reasoning behind his choices. Even when we learn who he really was (and whoa, I was not expecting that!!) and he explained how and why he was on the island, I didn't understand him. I really wish I did though.

Nothing on The Wheel is what it seems. Yes, there are savages, wars and deaths. But there are also groups of people who are good, who want to help and who want to get off the island. I thought the whole concept of The Wheel was very interesting and original. I had so many questions about it and it's occupants. So many of my questions were answered, but it just led to more questions! I can not wait for the second book.

The Forsaken is a fast paced, and original read. There was always something happening, and I was never bored. I could not turn the pages fast enough to find out the answers that the characters and I were seeking! I would definitely recommend this exciting read! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

By: Hannah Harrington
Pub. Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley

The story of a girl named Chelsea Knot who takes a voluntary oath of silence after her gossip-mongering ways yield unexpected consequences…
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret.
Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.
Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.
But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way. People she never noticed before. A boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

I knew this book was going to be so good. A girl who takes a vow of silence, because the last secret you spilled almost got someone killed?? WIN! I am a big fan of Hannah Harrington, and loved last year's, Saving June, so I was excited when I saw this on netgalley. It wasn't as awesome as I was hoping it would be, mainly because I hated the main character until the end, but it was still a very enjoyable read.

Chelsea Knot is the stereotypical girl. She LOVES to gossip. She will tell everyone anyone's secrets. Even if she is gossiping about her friends. She doesn't care who she hurts in the process either. She just doesn't think it is a big deal. One night at a party, she walks into a room and sees football player, Noah hooking up with a guy! Thinking this is the biggest news of the year, she tells her friends. Turns out her friends aren't as accepting as gay people as she thought, especially Noah's teammates.

Chelsea can not believe that she was the cause of the horrific hate crime that happened. Not only that, but everyone at school blames her for what happened. To repent, she takes a vow of silence, knowing this will never undo what she did, but she feels that this is better for everyone.

I hated Chelsea for most of the book. Even when she was trying to make amends, I couldn't get past what she did. I can understand that she didn't realize how anti-tolerant her friends would be about the situation, but did she really think it would be ok to out someone like that? During her vow of silence, she actually becomes friendly with Noah's friends. They were the only ones who didn't treat her like crap at school. It just goes to show how good some people could be, even in the face of a horrible situation.

Speechless isn't a light read. It's got some heavy situations in it. But for me, Speechless is mostly about forgiveness and acceptance. It is about being able to forgive those that have wronged you and about forgiving yourself for the mistakes you have made. Everyone does things that they wish they could take back, what matters is how you handle those mistakes.

As with Saving June, I thought the writing was beautiful. Harrington has a way of getting right to your emotions. I also thought the ending was beautifully written. Overall, a good read that I would definitely recommend! 

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