Thursday, June 27, 2013

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Review: Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Between You and Me
By: Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Pub. Date: June 12, 2013
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 272
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. 

What happens when you are followed by millions . . . and loved by none? Twenty-seven-year-old Logan Wade is trying to build a life for herself far from her unhappy childhood in Oklahoma. Until she gets the call that her famous cousin needs a new assistant— an offer she can’t refuse.

Logan hasn’t seen Kelsey in person since their parents separated them as kids; in the meantime, Kelsey Wade has grown into Fortune Magazine’s most powerful celebrity. But their reunion is quickly overshadowed by the toxic dynamic between Kelsey and her parents as Logan discovers that, beneath the glossy fa├žade, the wounds that caused them to be wrenched apart so many years ago have insidiously warped into a show-stopping family business.

As Kelsey tries desperately to break away and grasp at a “real” life, beyond the influence of her parents and managers, she makes one catastrophic misstep after another, and Logan must question if their childhood has left them both too broken to succeed. Logan risks everything to hold on, but when Kelsey unravels in the most horribly public way, Logan finds that she will ultimately have to choose between rescuing the girl she has always protected . . . and saving herself.
I usually don't read books written by two authors. Most of the time you can tell very easily where the different authors voices begin and end, but Between You and Me worked for me. The story starts off showing the reader the busy life of Logan. She's successful at work, but not so much in her love life. Despite that, she has a great group of friends and she's ready to celebrate her birthday! That night she gets a call from her cousins assistant, asking Logan to come and visit. Logan hasn't seen Kelsey since they were children (15 years ago) so she goes right away.

Despite the synopsis, I still thought that Between You and Me was going to be a light hearted, fluffy summer read, but it was a lot more intense then that. But intense in a good way! We get transported to this rich and glitzy life filled with heartache and family secrets. I can definitely see this story as a movie! Logan becomes Kelsey's assistance and I loved seeing the inner workings of having to put on a show. There is so much to know and so many details!

The characters were very interesting. Both Logan and Kelsey had many ups and downs and it was hard to not feel for either of them. I wasn't a huge fan of Logan though. She was just such a pushover, I wish she was just a little bit stronger. Kelsey was definitely dealing with her life in the spotlight and it was sad seeing her downward spiral.

This is the first book I've read by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus and it won't be the last!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

By: Katherine Longshore
Pub. Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 416
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court--and to convince the whole court they're lovers--she accepts. Before long, Anne's popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice--but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart's desire and the chance to make history.

I am obsessed with anything that has to do with the Tudors, especially when Anne Boleyn is involved. Usually when you are reading fiction about Anne and Henry it's starts at the beginning of the end-a little bit before Henry switches religions and divorces Catherine of Aragon and begins his relationship with Anne. Tarnish starts many years before that and features a young Anne when she arrives back in England. I loved reading about a young and insecure Anne and watching her transform into the confident Anne we know of today.

In Tarnish, Anne is trying to figure out her away around Court without causing any trouble. After spending most of her life in France where things are completely different, she dresses funny and acts differently then the English. She definitely doesn't act like a proper English women and this is what I loved about Anne. She wanted to belong and fit in, but she wasn't willing to sacrifice who she was to get that acceptance. I also love that she would tell Henry off. She was one of the only young females at Court who refused to be his mistress. She had too much self respect for that, which made Henry respect her. Her life might have ended in a horrible way, but I think girls can learn a lot from her in that respect.

I always enjoy reading about how life was like at Court. It was rich and beautiful but also ridiculously stupid. I could never imagine living like that, but life was so different in the 1500's and it is so interesting to read about it. The setting in Tarnish was so wonderfully done and I felt like I was transported back to 1520's English Court.

I haven't read Gilt yet, but I definitely will be reading it soon! Katherine Longshore is hugely talented in her way of taking real life histories and turning those events into YA novels!  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

(Paper Gods # 1)
By: Amanda Sun
Pub. Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 377
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
I've been hearing such wonderful things about Ink so I was really excited to be able to read it. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed. There were parts of Ink that I really enjoyed, including the character of Katie and the mystery behind the art work and mythology. But for the most part, I don't think this story was for me.

After Katie's mother dies, she is forced to live with her Aunt in Japan. Katie doesn't know the language or understands the culture, but she is trying to make the best of it. I really loved her personality. Some of her lines where laugh out loud funny. She was fun and sarcastic, and just trying to make it through the day in a very strange land. But one day, after encountering a fight between Tomohiro and his girlfriend, Katie swears she sees a drawing move. But every time she tries to ask him about it, or talk to him in general, he is rude and nasty.

Tomo was such a jerk at points that it was hard for me to actually like him when we learn all about him and his secrets. Yes, he's been through a lot and he doesn't want to get close to people, but that doesn't give him the right to be an absolute douchebag. When he was being sweet, I really liked him and Katie together. They had a nice connection, though I still think she could have done better.

What I absolutely loved about Ink was the mythology of the Paper Gods. This is something I have never heard of before since I am not familiar with Japanese culture at all. I loved learning about something new and I love the way that Amanda Sun tied it into the story.

The eARC was filled with the drawings and sketches that was mentioned in the story. I thought this was a wonderful touch and it really made the story come to life!

While I feel that Ink was not for me, there were still so many things about this story that I enjoyed. I would definitely recommend it! Ink is a completely different and original novel than anything else out there! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cover Reveal: Nomad by JL Bryan

I am so excited to be part of the cover reveal of Jl Bryan new book, Nomad! How awesome looking is this cover?

By: JL Bryan
Expected publication: July 26, 2013

They took everything: her family, her home, her childhood.

By the age of nineteen, Raven has spent most of her life in the sprawling slums of America, fighting as a rebel against the dictatorship. When the rebellion steals an experimental time-travel device, she travels back five decades to the year 2013. Her plan: assassinate the future dictator when he is still young and vulnerable, long before he comes to power. She must move fast to reshape history, because agents from her own time are on her trail, ready to execute her on sight.

Author Bio:

J.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on English Renaissance and Romantic literature. He also studied screenwriting at UCLA. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Christina, dogs Violet and Tiger Lily, and cats Shadow and Sue. 

Author Links:

Review: Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Openly Straight
By: Bill Konigsberg
Pub. Date: June 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages:  336
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He's won skiing prizes. He likes to write.

And, oh yeah, he's gay. He's been out since 8th grade, and he isn't teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

So when he transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn't even know that love is possible.

This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate being different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.
I really loved this book! It was a wonderful combination of fun, laughter, and heart. The writing is so perfect and Rafe was so easily relatable. He's been out since 8th grade and coming out was very easy for him. His parents supported him and everyone at school and in the community accepted it without question. When he leaves his town and goes to an all boys school, he decides that he isn't going to tell anyone he is gay. He is tired of having the label as "gay kid" and just wants to be normal for a change. He ends up meeting a great group of friends, including one openly gay boy.

The characters were the best part of the story, They all were written perfectly. His parents were crazy and I loved every moment of them, his best friend, Claire Olivia and the new boys from school, especially Ben were all amazing. Ben and Rafe have a very interesting relationship, Ben thinks that they are exploring their sexuality together and has no clue that Rafe has already explored this side of himself.

I really just loved everything about this story. I plan on reading everything else that Bill Konigsberg has written. I am a fan for life!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: Touching Melody by RaShelle Workman

Touching Melody
(Forever First # 1)
By: RaShelle Workman
Pub. Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Polished Pen Press
Pages: 161
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Maddie Martin's first weekend at college is nothing like she's used to. It's wild, like the wilderness on which the University of Bellam Springs sits. Roped into going to a fraternity party, she literally runs into Kyle Hadley. The boy she's loved since she was nine. The boy she promised all of her firsts to. But that was before his father killed her parents.

Determined to stay away from him, she throws herself into her music. Practicing piano eases her heavy heart, calms the sadness, and pushes away images of Kyle's face.

Until it doesn't.

Her music professor asks her to play a duet for their annual Winter Gala. Doing so means she'll be assured another full ride scholarship. It's an opportunity she can't pass up.

But Kyle is the other half of the duet. And that means hours and hours of practicing.

Weeks of seclusion - just the two of them. And it's more than just music. It's passion like Maddie never believed was possible.

The inevitable happens. She falls in love with him all over again.

But, will loving him be enough to erase all the hate in her heart for his father? Can she look at him, and not see the evil in his family tree?

And maybe it's all a set up. Maybe Kyle is only pretending to care so he can finish what his father started, and kill her too.
Based on the synopsis, I was expecting something different. I spent the first few chapters confused because I thought that Kyle knew what his dad did to Maddie's parents. Once I realized he had no idea what his father had done, it all started to make a lot more sense. Kyle really had no idea why his best friend wanted nothing to do with him, but he kept on hoping that one day she would come back to him. I enjoyed the connection between Kyle and Maddie. Both had sad pasts-Maddie was the one who found her murdered parents and Kyle grew up without a mom and an abusive dad. They definitely needed each other and I hated that it took Maddie so long to be honest with Kyle.

Maddie was a character that I could not connect with. So many times I wanted to stop reading because of how much Maddie annoyed me. One minute she wanted to be with Kyle, the next she freaked out, passed out, and wanted nothing to do with him. This happened way to many times in the story and I could not take her seriously and I stopped caring about her.

I had some problems with the writing as well. The story is told in the POV of both Maddie and Kyle, which is something I always love, but since I hated Maddie, I didn't like half the book. Kyle was written a lot better and I enjoyed his parts much more.

Touching Melody is not one of my favorite books that I read recently. It wasn't horrible, but there were a lot of things that I didn't like about it. There were too many plot holes, or things that just didn't work. The story did get a lot better as the story went on, and the ending was absolutely adorable. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Review: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
By: Katie Alender
Pub. Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 304
Source: TLA

Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer was a book that I have never heard of until I saw ARCs of it at TLA. I was upset that I couldn't score a copy, but my friend loaned me hers! What an awesome premise- a ghost story featuring Marie Antoinette as a bloody murderer! What's not to get excited about? Unfortunately, despite the buildup of hype in my head, the story fell flat for me. I didn't feel connected to the characters and the writing just dragged on. The only reason I gave this book three stars, instead of two, was because I could tell that the author did a bunch of research to write this book, and it was definitely evident in the writing. I loved reading about the Queen, the Palace of Versailles, and The French Revolution.

Colette is so excited to go to Paris on a school trip. She's even more excited that she gets to go with her two best friends, popular girls Hannah and Pilar. We get a first hand view of their friendship and it isn't pretty. Hannah is clearly your stereotypical, rich girl. She's mean and manipulative and she thinks she is the only one that matters. There were so many times that I wanted to shake Colette for being friends with Hannah. The friendship was very realistic though. As teenagers, we don't always do what is right. We want to fit in above everything else. So while I couldn't stand that Colette and Hannah was friends, I understood why Colette maintained that friendship.

I wasn't a huge fan of Colette. She annoyed me throughout the entire book. It wasn't until the last quarter of the book that she finally started to grow up a little. My favorite characters were Jules, their tour guide while in Paris and Audrey, the "unpopular" girl. The two of them definitely jumped off the page much more than Colette did.

My favorite aspect of the story was the rich and detailed Paris setting. Everything was described so beautifully, I felt like I was on the trip experiencing everything right along with Colette. I've never been to Paris, but I always wanted to go. I especially want to visit the Eiffel Tower and Versailles, and this story has made me even more excited to finally get there.

The ghost story aspect was a little disappointing, though the murder scenes were pretty cool. You can figure out the reason behind the murders fairly quickly and it wasn't as epic I was hoping it would be. Though the twist at the end was very interesting.

I think this story is better for MG, or on the younger spectrum of YA. I think those age groups would definitely enjoy this story!  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Star Cursed
(The Cahill Witch Chronicles # 2)
By: Jessica Spotswood
Pub. Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley & TLA 2013

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.
With Born Wicked, it took me a little while to fully get into the story, but I was able to get into Star Cursed right away. It picks up a few months later with Cate being fully immersed in the Sisterhood-helping the poor, feeding the hungry, oh and learning spells to take down the Brotherhood. Cate has always been a strong and selfless heroine, and we get to see that personality even more in Star Cursed. Cate has given up her life and happiness to keep her sisters safe, and it is hard not to respect someone that does that. The romance between Cate and Finn has taken a back seat to taking down the reign of terror that the Brotherhood has in place, but I absolutely loved the sweet, stolen moments that the two of them shared.  

The Brotherhood is arresting more and more young girls, hoping to find the witch with the visions. Cate knows that in protecting her sisters, more and more innocent girls are being tortured and killed. There was a lot more action in Star Cursed because the Sisterhood are gearing up for the prophecy. Everything is a big mess, and the people that Cate thought she could trust, are the ones that are hurting her the most (cough, Maura, cough). I was never a huge fan of Maura, but I just wanted to slap the face off of her in this one. She was reckless and never cared about who she was hurting in the process of the "greater good".

The ending will definitely make you want to punch the wall, so be prepared. I am so interested to see how Jessica Spotswood will fix it. Here that Ms. Spotswood, YOU WILL be fixing it!!  

This is a series that definitely should not be missed! I can't wait to see what will happen next. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Left Drowning by Jessica Park

Left Drowning
By: Jessica Park
Pub. Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?

Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.
Wow. Just wow. This is one of those reviews where it is so hard to get my thoughts and feelings down on paper. From page 1 I was intrigued about everything. The writing was so good, the characters were all just so amazing and the plot was just, wow.

When her parents died, Blythe stopped living. She goes through the motions every day but she doesn't really experience anything. Everything changes when the Shepard siblings (Chris, Sabine, Estelle and Eric) walk into her life. I loved the Shepard family! They were so beautifully broken. They had a horrid childhood, Chris experiencing the worst of it, but they loved each other so much. I loved their connection and I loved how they "adopted" Blythe into their crazy bunch. She needed someone to help her, and while Chris and her had a romantic connection, Sabine and Blythe's connection stole the show for me. Sabine is fun and crazy, but he is also thoughtful and sad. Every time he appeared on the page, he just jumped out at me.

Chris and Blythe had a very interesting connection and it ran a lot deeper then either of them could have imagined. Chris did some things that I definitely did not agree with it, but when you see what his past was like, it's amazing he isn't more messed up. Chris experienced unimaginable things, and everything he went through was to make sure his sister and brothers were protected. It was hard not to fall in love with Chris!

Blythe had a very sad relationship with her own brother, one that made my heart hurt. They were so close before their parents died and after there is nothing but awkward, short talks. I loved watching their relationship finally start to change for the better.

I really loved everything about Left Drowning. I think I am the only person left in the world who hasn't read Flat-Out Love or Flat-Out Matt, but I hope to change that very, very soon!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review: Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Of Poseidon
(Of Poseidon # 1)
By: Anna Banks
Pub. Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 326
Source: TLA 2012

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.
My only regret in reading this book is that I waited over a year to read it! I seriously enjoyed every single second of this story. The characters were written beautifully and the plot was fast paced and fun! Not only was it fun, but it was funny. There were so many laugh out loud moments. Emma is so quirky and feisty! Galen is also funny, but in the I'm-not-trying-to-be-funny-I-just-am kind of way. From his facial expressions, to his confusions on dating and human way of life, I just loved everything about him. He definitely topped some of my favorite YA boys list-and he's a prince, a Syrena prince!

Besides the characters, learning about the mythology of the houses of Poseidon and Triton was my favorite thing about this book. I loved learning about what happened so many years ago that first divided the Syrena people, and the events that happened a little more recently that really changed everything for them. I loved how Anna Banks incorporated the lost city of Atlantis as well. The history of these two houses was written so perfectly. I know there is still so much to learn and I can't wait to find out the rest!

I have read a few mermaid stories, and I have enjoyed all of them, but Of Poseidon is definitely my favorite! I can not wait to read the second book in the series, Of Triton. Banks is such a talented writer, and her fun personality can definitely be seen in her writing. I will read anything and everything this lady writes from now on! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker

One Tiny Lie
(Ten Tiny Breaths # 2)
By: K.A. Tucker
Pub. Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 256
Source: Netgalley

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

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

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

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.
I was a huge fan of last years, Ten Tiny Breaths, and was very excited to hear that the follow up would be about Livie, Kacey's wise-beyond-her-years younger sister. One Tiny Lie is set three years after the events in Ten Tiny Breaths and follows Livie on her first year of college at Princeton. Since her parents died, Livie has done everything she could to be a good girl. She never drank, smoked, or even had a boyfriend. She did her homework and anything else she needed to do to get into a good school and become a doctor. But Kacey wants her to be a teenager for once and actually live a little. With the help of an unorthodox therapist, Livie is finally going to start living. Her first night of her goal was hilarious, and I think many people can relate to it-even the "I was so drunk, I got a tattoo" part.

Things get a little more complicated when she meets roommates-Ashton and Connor. Ashton is the one who she has an undeniable connection with, but he can be an infuriating jerk sometimes. Plus there is the little problem of him having a girlfriend. Connor is the boy she starts dating. He is sweet and intelligent, and everything she thinks she wants out of life. But let's face it-they had absolutely no connection. It was so bad, that it was painful to read at some parts.

I spent the first half of the book not being able to stand Ashton. He was a stereotypical rich and privileged jerk. But the more time you spend with him, the more you realize he is fiercely loyal to his friends, smart and holding in a lot of pain and sadness. I couldn't wait for Livie to peel all of his layers to find out the man Ashton really is and boy, was I impressed!

I always loved the sister dynamic between Livie and Kacey, and it was a lot more interesting now that Livie was older. Kacey was absolutely hilarious and some of the things she did was so embarrassing for Livie. But you can tell how much the two of them love each other. I also loved seeing some of the other characters from Ten Tiny Breaths. I didn't realize how much I had missed them!  

I am so glad that I read One Tiny Lie. I definitely recommend both of these novels!

Review: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
(Middle School # 1)
By: James Patterson, Chris Tebbetts and Laura Park (illustrator)
Pub. Date: June 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 288
Source: TLA 2013

Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he's got an ace plan for the best year ever, if only he can pull it off: With his best friend Leonardo the Silent awarding him points, Rafe tries to break every rule in his school's oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class-5,000 points! Running in the hallway-10,000 points! Pulling the fire alarm-50,000 points! But when Rafe's game starts to catch up with him, he'll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he's finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he's been avoiding.

Blockbuster author James Patterson delivers a genuinely hilarious-and surprisingly poignant-story of a wildly imaginative, one-of-kind kid that you won't soon forget.
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life wasn't even on my radar until I received a copy at TLA. I absolutely loved it and went out and bought the next two books in the series right away. 

Rafe is about to start middle school and that is the last place he wants to be. His home life is kind of crappy with a worthless step dad, an annoying sister and a mom who is always working to support the family. His only friend is a boy named Leo. With the help of Leo, he decides to make his middle school years as interesting as possible by breaking every single rule in the school code of conduct. While some of the things are a little outrageous, you have to realize that Rafe is only 11-12 years old. He doesn't know any better. As we get to know him better, we learn that there are definitely some mental issues going on, but I think they happen because of his loneliness and guilt.

The chapters are short, so it's a perfect filler if you only have a few minutes to read. There are a lot of fun drawings throughout the book as well. I am not a fan of James Patterson since he doesn't even write his own books, but there were many parts where I couldn't stop laughing. Whoever the ghost writer was is very talented!

Middle School would definitely appeal to middle school students but my main concern was the punishments. It was almost like Rafe was able to get away with everything, and the end made it seem like he gets rewarded for all of his "crimes". I am just afraid that readers will think they could get away with breaking all of the rules too.

As a teacher I could definitely appreciate some of the interactions between Rafe and his teachers. They were so realistic! I literally have had some of the same conversations with my 9th graders!

I really enjoyed Middle School and can not wait to read Middle School: Get Me Out of Here (book two) and Middle School: My Brother is a Big, Fat Liar (book three)!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Goodbye by Sarra Cannon

The Trouble With Goodbye
By: Sarra Cannon
Pub. Date: May 21, 2013

One night can change everything…

Two years ago, Leigh Anne Davis shocked everyone in tiny Fairhope, Georgia when she broke up with her wealthy boyfriend to attend an Ivy League university a thousand miles away. At school, she finds a happiness and independence she’s never known.

Until one terrifying night takes it all away from her.

With no place else to go, Leigh Anne heads home to reclaim her old life. A life she worked so hard to escape. On the outside, she seems like the same girl everyone has always known. But deep inside, she’s hiding a terrible secret.

That’s when she meets Knox Warner, a troubled newcomer to Fairhope. His eyes have the same haunted look she sees every day in the mirror, and when she’s near him, the rest of the world fades away. But being with Knox would mean disappointing everyone all over again. If she wants to save what’s left of her old life, she has no choice but to say goodbye to him forever.

Only, the trouble with goodbye is that sometimes it’s about courage and sometimes it’s about fear. And sometimes you’re too broken to know the difference until it’s too late.

About the Author:

Sarra Cannon grew up in a small town in Georgia where she learned that being popular always comes at a price. She is the author of the young adult paranormal Peachville High Demons series, which she first began self-publishing in October of 2010. Since the series began, Sarra has sold over 120,000 copies and recently signed a contract with Sea Lion Books to create a graphic novel adaptation of Beautiful Demons, the first book in the series. 
Sarra lives in North Carolina with her amazing husband, her new baby boy, and her teeny tiny Pomeranian, Snickerdoodle.

Author Social Media Links:


Friday, June 7, 2013

Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & Giveaway: Secret For A Song by S.K. Falls

Secret for a Song 
By S.K. Falls
Publication date: June 3rd, 2013
Genre: NA Coming-of-Age

Saylor Grayson makes herself sick. Literally.

She ate her first needle when she was seven. Now, at nineteen, she’s been kicked out of college for poisoning herself with laxatives. The shrinks call it Munchausen Syndrome. All Saylor knows is that when she’s ill, her normally distant mother pays attention and the doctors and nurses make her feel special.

Then she meets Drew Dean, the leader of a local support group for those with terminal diseases. When he mistakes her for a new member, Saylor knows she should correct him. But she can’t bring herself to, not after she’s welcomed into a new circle of friends. Friends who, like Drew, all have illnesses ready to claim their independence or their lives

For the first time, Saylor finds out what it feels like to be in love, to have friends who genuinely care about her. But secrets have a way of revealing themselves. What will happen when Saylor’s is out?


I decided to take a cab home because I could tell Zee was tired, even if she wouldn’t admit it.

Drew waited with me as I stood on the sidewalk outside, letting the snow dust my head and shoulders.

“You look good in snow,” he said.

I laughed, my cheeks heating up as I tipped my head back to look at him. “Are you drunk?”

He stepped in closer, blocking out the streetlight that glowed orange in my eyes. “Maybe just a little tipsy.” He smiled. “I really meant what I sang in there.”

“Which part?” My words were just a breath, curling into the air.

He brought his head down to mine, so our noses were almost touching. “I’ll tell you a secret, I’ll sell you a secret for a song,” he sang softly; the same song from the bar. “Someday I’ll tell you, and take you back home where you belong.”

I wasn’t one of those girls who cried at every emotional thing they saw or heard; I’d never been that way. That might’ve explained why, when the tears cascaded down onto my cheeks, I felt with my fingers to see what the hell was going on with my eyes.

“Hey,” Drew said, catching one of the tears with a fingertip. “Are you okay?”

I opened my mouth to say I was, but all that came out was a sort of sob-whine, and more tears. Drew responded by putting his free hand around my waist and covering my mouth with his.

I’d like to say that in that moment, I kept my head. That I remembered that I was lying to him, that my entire existence in his life was only because of a huge untruth, and that I intended to extricate myself from him and the rest of the group. I’d like to say that I stopped the kiss.

But in that instance, the only thing I felt, the only thing that mattered, was how hard I was falling for Andrew Dean.

I was falling for this scared, lonely, broken, brave man who sang songs about secrets, who lulled me into a whole new universe using nothing but his voice. I wanted him, all of him, and I pretended that I belonged. It was the biggest lie I’d told up to that point, and for someone whose entire life was carved out of lies of different colors and shades and shapes, that was saying a lot. 
About the Author:

Adriana Ryan is the pen name of writer S.K. Falls.

A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, I enjoy alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards in CharlestonSC where I live and imbibe coffee. My husband and two small children seem not to mind when I hastily scribble novel lines on stray limbs in the absence of notepads.

Since no writer’s biography is complete without mention of her menagerie of animals, you should know I have one dog that doubles as a footstool, a second that functions as a vacuum cleaner, and a cat that ensures I never forget that my hands are, first and foremost, for pouring cat food.
Author Links:


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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Release Day Launch & Giveaway: Faking It by Cora Carmack

Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

About the Author:

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

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Review: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Someday, Someday, Maybe
By: Lauren Graham
Pub. Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Bellantine Books
Pages: 352
Source: Netgalley

Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works.

Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet.

Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.
I was so excited to find out that Lauren Graham was writing a young adult book and I could not wait to get my hands on it. Someday, Someday, Maybe is a cute story about Franny, a young women trying to make it as an actress in 1995 in New York City.

One of the reasons I love Graham so much is how fun and quirky she can be, but she can also be serious when she has to be. That same personality is clearly evident in the writing and in Franny's character. Franny has given herself a deadline. If she can not become a serious actress during that time then she will go home. With her deadline quickly approaching she is doing everything she possibly can to achieve her dream.

I really liked Franny's character. At times she could be a little annoying and stupid, especially when it came to guys, but I also thought she was loyal, smart and true to herself. She reminded me a lot of me. Especially when she set all of those everyday goals for herself and never followed through with them! I thought she was written very realistically. I don't think it would have been hard for anyone to feel a connection with her. Franny grows a lot throughout the novel. She went from doing everything wrong, to finally figuring out who she is and what she stands for.

While Someday, Someday, Maybe is very predictable, it is still a fun, feel good, good time. I am very excited to see if Graham will continue writing YA! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Review: Burning by Elana K. Arnold

By: Elana K. Arnold
Pub. Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley

Ben: Having just graduated from high school, Ben is set to leave Gypsum, Nevada. It's good timing since the gypsum mine that is the lifeblood of the area is closing, shutting the whole town down with it. Ben is lucky: he's headed to San Diego, where he's got a track scholarship at the University of California. But his best friends, Pete and Hog Boy, don't have college to look forward to, so to make them happy, Ben goes with them to check out the hot chick parked on the side of Highway 447.

Lala: She and her Gypsy family earn money by telling fortunes. Some customers choose Tarot cards; others have their palms read. The thousands of people attending the nearby Burning Man festival spend lots of cash--especially as Lala gives uncanny readings. But lately Lala's been questioning whether there might be more to life than her upcoming arranged marriage. And the day she reads Ben's cards is the day that everything changes for her. . . and for him.
Burning is a very interesting story about a gypsy girl and a small town boy. Ben, who scored a scholarship to a college in California is about to move out of the small town he has always lived in. But he isn't the only one leaving. Once a booming mining town, Gypsum is nothing now, and more and more families are leaving by the minute. Ben just wants to enjoy his last few days with his best friends, Pete and Hog Boy. Lala is 17 years old. She loves her family, and lives by the gypsy way. Her way of life might seem strange to outsiders, but she lives by it. While she doesn't agree with some of the more old fashioned laws, she respects this way of life. When Ben and Lala meet, their attraction and connection is undeniable, and it will change the course of Lala's life.

I don't want to give anything away, making this review a little harder to write. I loved learning about the gypsy way of life, and learning what each of the tarot cards mean. Despite learning the laws and rules that govern this group of people and even understanding some of them, I couldn't help but feel that what Lala did, did not warrant the punishment she received.

I couldn't help but feel for Lala. She is a normal girl, who goes on facebook and loves to read Catcher in the Rye. She loves her family, but desperately wanted freedom. She wanted to marry who she wants, not who her parents choose for her. Without giving anything away, I enjoyed the ending. I understand why she did what she did.

Overall, I did enjoy Burning. It was a fast read. I would have liked a little more resolution in the end, but I was happy with it all the same. 

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