Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead
By: Ava Dellaira
Pub. Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Pages: 323
Source: Netgalley

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.

Love Letters to the Dead has the most interesting concept in YA that I have ever heard. It's about a girl named Laurel that starts writing letters to many different dead celebrities, including Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger and River Phoenix. They were all people who died before their time, just like her sister. Through writing these letters, Laurel is dealing with her sisters death and everything that goes with that. Her voice was very real and relatable, and it was very easy to connect with her. While I enjoyed the characters, I wasn't the biggest fan of the story after a while.

The first 75 pages or so I was completely hooked. But then I started to get really bored. It all seemed really repetitive. I can't really put my finger on it, but I know that I wanted more. More what, I am not sure, but just more.

I did enjoy learning about Laurel's dad, Aunt, and mother. I could not stand her mom, and I felt so bad for Laurel because of it. Laurel was so young, and she has had to deal with so many things. Reading her story was heartbreaking. She did have a wonderful support system in the form of her friends, and I was happy that there was light in her life too.

While I wasn't the biggest fan of Love Letters to the Dead, I have heard many others raving about how amazing this book is, so I would still recommend it!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

The Scar Boys
By: Len Vlahos
Pub. Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pages: 256
Source: Edelweiss

A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock 'n' roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world...even if you carry scars inside and out.

In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay--help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores--Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life.

The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality.

The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the handsome, charismatic Johnny rescued him from the bullies and then made the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovered that playing music transported him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally had something that compelled people to look beyond his physical appearance. Harry's description of his life in his essay is both humorous and heart-wrenching. He had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. While he's looking back at the moments that have shaped his life, most of this story takes place while Harry is in high school and the summer after he graduates.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Edelweiss and Egmont USA. 

The Scar Boys starts off with Harry telling the story of his life. He doesn't remember much of anything before he got the scars. He just knows he was an innocent, lonely child looking for a friend when a few boys from his neighborhood thought it would be a good idea to tie him to a tree. When a nasty thunderstorm rolls in the kids run home and leave Harry tied up. Then lightening hits the tree and catches fire-thus changing Harry's life forever. The first few chapters were so hard to read. It completely broke my heart.

Harry has gone through so much in his life. He has scars on his face and neck and has dealt with so much pain and bullying because of the way he looks. I loved that despite what Harry went through, he was still a good person who saw good in the world. He wasn't a bitter teenager like I imagined he would be. His first friend is Johnny. Johnny accepts him no matter how he looks. Though sometimes I couldn't tell if Johnny actually wanted to be Harry's friend or if he was just using him because Harry was such an easy target. Johnny was very controlling and even a little manipulative. I'm glad that Harry finally stuck up for himself and I love that it showed Johnny actually did care about Harry and their friendship.

I was not expecting to love The Scar Boys as much as I did. It is a beautifully written coming of age novel and I am so glad that I gave this one a shot. It's also extremely fast paced, which I love! The ending was so beautiful and sweet and I was left feeling very happy. I can't wait to read what Vlahos comes up with next! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: Grim edited by Christine Johnson

Edited By: Christine Johnson
Pub. Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 480
Source: Netgalley

Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today.
I'm not a big fan of classic fairy tales or short stories, but I still wanted to read Grim. So many awesome authors, including some of my favorites, Ellen Hopkins, Julie Kagawa and Sarah Rees Brennan wrote stories for this book so I knew it had to be a must read. Turns out, despite the fact that I loved the authors, I still really am not a fan of classic fairy tales or short stories. I found most of the stories to be boring, but I really believe that is only because of my preferences. I feel that many others will find the stories fun, twisted, intriguing and interesting!

My favorite story was Beauty and the Chad, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and written by Brennan. This story was so much fun! I absolutely loved Chad and he was so hilarious! This story definitely made the whole anthology worth it.

Though I was not a big fan of the other stories, I thought that they all had very interesting and fleshed out characters. Even being short stories, I still very much cared about every single one of them.

Grim might not have been the book for me, but I have a good feeling that many others will love it! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Release Day Launch: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I am beyond excited to participate in the Release Day Launch for Jennifer L. Armentrout's WHITE HOT KISS! WHITE HOT KISS is a young adult paranormal romance being published by Harlequin Teen TODAY! This is the first full-length novel in The Dark Elements Series and one you'll want to grab as soon
as you finish reading this post.  

White Hot KissABOUT WHITE HOT KISS: One kiss could be the last. Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.  

EXCERPT: “I don’t think of Zayne that way!” She laughed. “What man-parts-loving female in this world doesn’t think of Zayne that way? I can barely keep myself breathing when I see him. All the guys in school have squishy waists. I can tell Zayne doesn’t. He’s the awesome sauce with extra sauce.” That he was and he so didn’t have a squishy waist, but I tuned Stacey out at that point. I really did need to cram for this test and I also didn’t want my fantasies involving Zayne to occupy my mind right now. Especially after I’d woken up this morning, carefully tucked under the covers. The bed had smelled like him: sandalwood and crisp linen. “Oh, sweet baby Jesus in a manger,” Stacey murmured. I clenched my jaw, cupping my hands over my ears. She jabbed me in the side with her elbow. At this rate I’d be covered in bruises before lunchtime. “Our bio class just got a billion times more interesting. And hotter, lots and lots hotter. Holy mother, I want to have his babies. Not now of course, but definitely later. But I’d like to start practicing soon.” The cell wall is a thick and rigid layer covering the plasma something, something plant cells… Stacey stiffened all of a sudden. “Oh my God, he’s coming—” Composed of fat and sugar— Something slender and shiny fell from who knew where, landing in the middle of Sam’s notes. Blinking tightly, it took me a couple of seconds to recognize the faded and half peeled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sticker covering the back of the silver cell phone. My heart slammed against my ribs. Gripping the edges of the notebook, I slowly lifted my gaze. Unnaturally beautiful golden eyes met mine. “You forgot this last night.”

Amazon Barnes and Noble Kobo iTunes

 Now that you have a taste for this fabulous new series, here are the details for the AMAZING international giveaway!!! Harlequin Teen is giving away a large Harlequin Teen Tote. Tote Includes: • Harlequin TEEN branded tote • The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa (trade) • Pawn by Aimee Carter (hard cover) • Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (hard cover) • Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter (hard cover) • 2 copies of White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout • 1 pair of black harlequin branded socks (they are so comfy!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author PhotoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout: # 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.   She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.  
Links:   Series Website: Website: Twitter: Facebook: Jennifer L. Armentrout Goodreads: WHITE HOT KISS Goodreads:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: Before You Break by Christina Lee

Before You Break
(Between Breathes # 2)
By: Christina Lee
Pub. Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: Intermix (Penguin)
Pages: 226
Source: Netgalley

The star catcher of the college baseball team isn't supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working the suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Penguin. 

Before You Break is a much heavier novel then it's companion, All of You. The characters were dealing with pain, guilt and sadness caused by suicide and death. Ella, who is still trying to deal with the suicide of her brother works at a suicide hotline. One of her callers is a guy named Daniel, who ends up hanging up on her. It doesn't take long to learn that Daniel is Daniel Quinn, and frat brother to Ella's boyfriend. Quinn is dealing with the guilt of his best friend from high school and lives everyday for his friend.

In many new adult books today, it's always the girl that needs saving and it's the big, strong guy that helps her through it. I loved that in Before You Break, it was the big, strong guy that was the one who needed saving. Ella and Quinn had an amazing connection. Not only did they have hot scenes together, but they had this beautiful emotional connection as well. I loved reading their scenes together and watching Quinn deal with what happened.  

I really enjoyed this story. I thought it was beautifully written and I can't wait to read what Christina Lee has in store for us next. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Better off Friends
By: Elizabeth Eulberg
Pub. Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Point
Pages: 288
Source: Netgalley

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Scholastic and Netgalley. 

Elizabeth Eulberg is one of my favorite authors. I have read all of her books and have loved every one of them so I was extremely happy when I was approved for Better off Friends. I absolutely loved it! The story is about two best friends, Macallan and Levi. They have this wonderful friendship and it seems like nothing could penetrate it, even when they each gets respective boyfriends and girlfriends. I loved the personalities of both Macallan and Levi. They both were so easily relatable and they had one of the best chemistries I have ever seen. I just love the way they connected with each other! I felt so bad for everyone else around them, because they would never be able to get in between these two!

The story is told in the point of view of both Macallan and Levi. I have always been a fan of duel POV and Eulberg did a wonderful job at getting inside these two characters heads. Also, in between each chapter were conversations between them which I absolutely loved! I can't get over how cute these two were together!

I think the cover is just perfect. It's so sweet and simple and I love everything about it. It fits the story and just sets the tone for what is inside. Overall, Better off Friends is a great story that I highly recommend!  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: 16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler

16 Things I Thought Were True
By: Janet Gurtler
Pub. Date: March 14, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley

Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue

When Morgan's mom gets sick, it's hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn't as far away as she thought...

Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue

Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan's getting to know the real Adam, and he's actually pretty a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone?

5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue

With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She's not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend...and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can't imagine living without.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire.

16 Things I Thought Were True was a surprise hit for me. It seemed like a pretty good contemporary, which I was in the mood for, so I decided to try this one out. I ended up loving it! It was a very quick read with a lot of heart.

After years of not knowing anything about her father, Morgan's mom finally tells her about him. This leads Morgan on a road trip to Canada with two people that she works with, Amy and Adam to meet her dad for the first time. The three of them were so much fun together. I enjoyed watching them bond and go from three people who didn't know anything about each other to best friends.

I absolutely love the fact that Morgan was a twitter addict. She didn't have many friends in the real world, but she was definitely twitter famous! I loved her updates and her hashtags. This aspect made Morgan so relatable! It is so much easier to be outgoing and yourself behind a computer screen, and it's something that a lot of people struggle with it. I loved watching Morgan break out of her shell.

My only issue was the timing of the road trip. I understand that Morgan just found out who her father was and is desperate and excited to meet him, but her mother was in the hospital. She couldn't wait a few more days to go meet him? This gave me the impression that Morgan is an extremely selfish person.

Overall, I really enjoyed 16 Things I Thought Were True and it is one of my favorite Janet Gurtler books!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood
By: Victoria Scott
Pub. Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Scholastic and Netgalley.

When I first started this book I really had no clue what to expect, but I ended up really liking it. There were some faults with it, but I am hoping that those questions will be answered in the next books, so I didn't let it effect my rating. Fire & Flood starts with Tella being really angry with her parents. Her brother is sick and she has no clue why her parents decided to move them to the middle of nowhere. But then, Tella receives this strange recording device inviting her to compete in a the Brimstone Bleed, a game in which the winner will receive a cure for someone they love. Not knowing what to expect, Tella knows she has to see what it is because she will do anything to save her brother.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I hated The Hunger Games and I have seen a lot of reviews comparing Fire & Flood to it. Sure, the main character has to participate in certain "games". But she isn't forced, and you can choose to leave. Some die, but it isn't a fight to the death. I think Fire & Flood is so much better then The Hunger Games and I don't really see those similarities that everyone keeps talking about.

At first I wasn't a fan of Tella. At all. I thought she was a very selfish person. But once I got to know her better, I found her to be a very relatable teenage girl that was easy to connect with. I was also a fan of Guy, though he was your stereotypical YA boy. I wish he didn't take so long to explain things, which leads into one of my issues with the book. Even though we learned a little bit about how the games came to be, I wish we would have learned more. I still don't really understand the whole point of the Brimstone Bleed.  

I really liked the whole idea of the Pandora. The Pandora's are genetically engineered animals that hatch from eggs. The point of the Pandora is to help the competitor win the games. I absolutely loved Tella's Pandora. She named him Madox, and Madox was the cutest, little bad ass you have ever seen!

Overall, I really enjoyed Fire & Flood and I am so excited for the next one!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Rescued by Priscilla West

(Wrecked # 2)
By: Priscilla West
Pub. Date: February 24, 2014
Publisher: Self
Pages: 200
Source: Author

The conclusion to USA Today bestselling author Priscilla West’s New Adult Novel Wrecked.

Lorrie’s semester started off hopeful but ended in disaster. Now, she’s even more lost and confused than she was at the beginning of the year. As Lorrie flees to the only family she has left, she has to come to terms with how things ended with Hunter.

Hunter has fought for so long to keep the truth from Lorrie in an effort to protect her, but that has only caused more heartache and pain.

Realizing his mistake, Hunter has made a vow to get Lorrie back, but is it too late?

Will Hunter be able to overcome his own demons and help Lorrie through her pain, or are they destined to keep hurting each other?
I received this galley from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I was such a huge fan of last years Wrecked, and was so excited when an eARC of Rescued appeared in my inbox. I read it in one sitting as soon as I finished the book I was currently reading and it definitely did not disappoint. Hunter and Lorrie will always hold a place in my heart. While I am glad there story is finished, I will definitely miss them.

Wrecked ended with Lorrie breaking up with Hunter and never really knowing what the secret that he is keeping from her. If you haven't read Wrecked yet, I suggest you stop reading this review as it will now contain spoilers. Hunter is determined to get Lorrie back, but first he has to tell her about his MS. Everything came together when he was honest with her. I loved their relationship. Hunter is so sweet and amazing and Lorrie was so understanding and patient with Hunter and taking care of him when his MS got really bad.

I felt that the way Hunter dealt with his illness was very realistic. He had good and bad days but he was determined to get better every step of the way. He wouldn't allow himself to feel sorry for himself. I had to respect him and how he dealt with everything.

Priscilla West is such a talented author. This story has broken my heart over and over again and also put it back together numerous times. I can't wait to read what she comes out with next!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Chapter Reveal: Four Years Later by Monica Murphy

New Adult bestselling author Monica Murphy winds up her sensational series with this sexy story of two college kids with nothing in common but a bunch of baggage and a burning attraction.
Over. That about sums up everything in my life. Suspended from my college football team and forced to cut back my hours at The District bar because of my crappy grades, I can’t keep turning to my sister, Fable, and her pro-football playing husband, Drew, to bail me out. I just can’t seem to find my own way. Weed and sex are irresistible temptations—and it’s messed up that I secretly hand over money to our junkie mom. A tutor is the last thing I want right now—until I get a look at her.
Chelsea is not my type at all. She’s smart and totally shy. I’m pretty sure she’s even a virgin. But when she gives me the once over with those piercing blue eyes, I’m really over. But in a different way. I won’t deny her ass is killer, but it’s her brain and the way she seems to crave love—like no one’s ever given her any—that make me want her more than any girl I’ve ever met. But what would someone as seemingly together as her ever see in a screwed up guy like me? 

Four Years Later by Monica Murphy, Excerpt

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.

Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse
(Winner's Trilogy # 1)
By: Marie Rutkoski
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Pages: 368
Source: Borrowed from a friend

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love. 
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
The Winner's Curse seems to be the most talked about book lately, and I was so excited when my friend Jenn lent me her copy to read. I started it right away, and loved every single moment of it. Marie Rutkoski did a wonderful job with the world building. The writing was fast paced as well, and there was never a dull moment. The story is told in duel point of view, which is something I am always a fan of.

While at the market, Kestrel and her friend stumble upon a slave auction. The next thing she knows, she spends way too much money on a slave. Once back at the house, Arin becomes the blacksmith for the home. Eventually the two of them start to spend time together and this is where the story really starts to take off. Arin was such an interesting guy. A slave for 10 years, he is very good at hiding his thoughts and feelings. You can tell right away that he is full of secrets and I enjoyed so much learning about him. Kestrel was someone I never really warmed up too. I never trusted her, and fact of the matter is I just didn't like her. I didn't think she was a good person. The ending definitely made me see her in another light though, and I am interested to see what happens with her and Arin in the next book.

The Winner's Curse deals with two different groups of people-the Valorians who are the conquerors and the Herrani, the conquered. About 10 years ago, the Valorians came in and basically destroyed the Herrani way of life. What made this so interesting, and also very sad, is that the Herrani are now slaves in their old households. It almost broke my heart when I learned about Arin and his past. The way that Rutkoski introduced their history was interesting. I enjoyed that she added pieces on the information throughout the story, instead of all at once.

The last quarter of the book was so exciting! I couldn't put the book down and I was so eager to find out what was going to happen. I am eagerly awaiting the next book!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

The Deep End of the Sea
By: Heather Lyons
Pub. Date: February 13, 2014
Publisher: Cerulean Books
Source: Author for blog tour

What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

There are so many stories written lately about the Greek Gods and Goddesses in today's time. But none of them deal with Medusa, the evil monster who loves turning innocent men and women into statues. The Deep End of the Sea is about her, and while she believes herself to be a monster, she isn't. She is just as innocent as her victims and I loved that about this story. Heather Lyons has taken something that has been done over and over again and put a completely new and fresh spin on it.

Medusa was just an innocent maid to Athena when Poseidon raped her. When Athena saw the two of them together she didn't care that Medusa was forced and banished her to live for eternity as a monster alone. Medusa, in her 2,000 years tried to never hurt anyone, but mistakes happened. I absolutely loved her. She was so sad and lonely and I felt so bad her. Her only companion was a blind Greek man and Hermes, who thought his sister was wrong in her punishment.

I loved seeing all the Gods and Goddesses in another light. Hermes was absolutely wonderful. He was sweet and caring and I love how he took care of Medusa. My favorite couple was Hades and Persephone though. Now they were adorable together!

I enjoyed the twists and turns at the end. I really had no idea how this story was going to go, but I enjoyed every moment of it. I highly recommend it!

Review: Liberty by Ginger Jamison

By: Ginger Jamison
Pub. Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Kimani Press
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley

When Ryan Beecher returns home after a long deployment overseas, Lexy barely recognizes her husband. The man who left Texas for Afghanistan was cruel and abusive. The man who comes back to her is a badly injured stranger with amnesia—and no memory of their life together.

Lexy can't believe how much Ryan has changed. The wounded marine is now gentle, caring and tender. And his touch awakens yearnings she's never felt before. As he takes them both to the point of no return, can Lexy trust this lover who seems to live only for her pleasure…as he seeks his salvation in her healing embrace?

A poignant and erotic story of longing, secrets and second chances, Liberty explores the limits of desire and the boundaries of love.

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Harlequin and Netgalley.

I'm usually not a romance person, but from the time I first heard about Liberty I knew that I wanted to read it. Though the story was very predictable and I knew from the first few pages how it was going to turn out, I still really enjoyed it. It was a quick read and I loved the characters.

Ryan has come back from Afghanistan with no memory about his life before the war. He used to be an extremely abusive jerk, and Lexy was ready to serve him divorce papers when he came home. But Ryan is definitely a new man. He is sweet and romantic and really just wants to take care of Lexy. But the more he learns about the man he was, the more he realized that he can't be Ryan. He might not remember anything about himself or his past, but he knows that he would never hit a women, especially the kind of abuse and torture that Lexy has experienced. I really loved Lexy. She has been through so much, and I am glad that she was finally able to stand up for herself.

Even though I am not a huge romance fan, only reading a few books in this genre, I really enjoyed Liberty. It is definitely one of those books that leaves you believing in true love.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: Me Since You by Laura Wiess

Me Since You
By: Laura Wiess
Pub. Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: MTV Books
Pages: 368
Source: Edelweiss

Sixteen-year-old Rowan is still reeling from her father’s suicide four months ago, after he failed to stop a man from leaping off an overpass to his death. The only witness is Eli, a teenaged boy wrapped deep in mourning for his own father, killed in action in Afghanistan. When Rowan and Eli meet, they recognize kindred spirits, and begin to navigate grief and its aftermath together.

Rowan can’t understand how her father could choose to leave her, and acts out, pushing away friends and taking risks with her safety. Rowan’s mother, wracked with her own guilt and sorrow over failing to save her husband, stops going to work and collects stray cats for comfort. Grief, fractured and unpredictable, rules their lives now. Rowan is lost—and sinking. But Eli represents a lifeline for Rowan, and as they struggle to make sense of what’s gone and what is left behind, they begin to fall in love. Me Since You is Laura Wiess at her finest—a beautiful, gripping and painfully honest examination of adolescence.
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Edelweiss and MTV books.

I have been reading a lot of books about loss lately, but I still decided to give this one a chance. It sounded similar to another book I read and enjoyed, The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle. While there were some similarities, there was also many differences as well.

I thought the book was going to start with after her father's suicide. But that was not the case. This gave me a great sense of her life before her father died, but it also made me even sadder, knowing what was going to happen soon. The day starts off like a normal day, Rowan and her friends decide to skip class, but she is caught by her cop father. When a call comes in about a man threatening to commit suicide, her father runs to the scene but is unable to save the man or the man's son who also died. While it really isn't his fault, her father feels like it is and slowly falls into a deep depressing, eventually killing himself as well. While dealing with her pain and sadness, Rowan becomes friends Eli, whose father died in Afghanistan two years before and is the one who called 911 when the man was on the bridge. It was hard reading this book. But good.

The story is written beautifully and definitely pulls at your heart strings. Reading Rowan's pain was truly heartbreaking, but necessary. I definitely needed a light, fun reading after this one!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Three by Kristen Simmons

(Article 5 # 3)
By: Kristen Simmons
Pub. Date: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley

Ember Miller and Chase Jennings are ready to stop running. After weeks spent in hiding as two of the Bureau of Reformation’s most wanted criminals, they have finally arrived at the safe house, where they hope to live a peaceful and quiet existence—but all that’s left is smoking ruins.

Devastated by the demolition of their last hope, Ember and Chase follow the one thing left to them—tracks leading away from the wreckage. The only sign that there may have been survivors.

Because of their high profiles, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amid the ruins of abandoned cities as they follow the tracks down the coast, eventually finding refugees from the destroyed safe house. Among them is someone from Chase’s past—someone he thought he’d never see again.

Banding together, they search for a place to hide, aiming for a settlement a few of them have heard about… a settlement that is rumored to house the nebulous organization known as Three. The very group that has provided Ember with a tiny ray of hope ever since she was first forced on the run.

Three is responsible for the huge network of underground safe houses and resistance groups across the country. And they may offer Ember her only chance to tell the world her story—and to fight back.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Tor Teen and Netgalley.

I am a huge fan of the Article 5 series, so I was excited to receive a review copy of Three and started it right away! It is always scary to read the last book of a trilogy, but Kristen Simmons finished this series perfectly! I could not have asked for a better ending for these characters who I love so much.

In such a short amount of time, Ember was forced to grow up completely, especially after experiencing the death of her mother. I loved watching Ember grow from a predictable girl who would never think about breaking a rule, to someone who basically started a revolution. What made it even better was that she always had Chase by her side. I loved Chase and their relationship was so sweet and honest. I don't remember Chase being so broken in previous books, but he was completely falling apart in Three. He is struggling with who is and who he wants to be, but I love that he never kept anything from Ember. He was always so honest with his feelings when it came to her.

It's been a while since I read the first two books, so I felt that Simmons did a wonderful job reminding us about events and characters from previous books without overloading us with information.  This is a series that I definitely did not want to end, but I am so happy with the way it did. I am excited to see what Simmons has in store for us next!

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