Monday, May 26, 2014

Review: Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii
By: Vicky Alvear Shecter
Pub. Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Pages: 336
Source: TLA

When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . .

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

When I first saw this book at TLA this past April, I knew I had to read it. A Pompeii love story? I’m sold! I really enjoyed Curses and Smoke. You can tell the author put in a lot of research into learning as much about Pompeii as she could, including the culture, people, and Mt. Vesuvius. There were so many interesting things that I learned that I did not know before!

The story is told in two different point of views. The first is from Tag, a medical slave who dreams of being a gladiator and wining his freedom and Lucia, whose father owns Tag. The two of them were childhood friends, but as they are older now, that innocent friendship they once shared had turned into something more. These two are as star crossed as they come, since it would have been illegal for a slave and master to get together. To add to their issues. Lucia is set to be married off to some old rich guy who she can’t stand. With the back drop being Mt. Vesuvius and knowing that it is going to erupt at any moment, definitely made it hard for me to think they could have a happy ending, but I was so hoping that they would. I loved how much Tag cared about Lucia and his father. He has only known slavery and had been through a lot in his short life, but he was so sweet and caring, especially when it came to Castor, the little slave boy Tag took under his wing. I also really enjoyed Lucia as a character. Being a women in ancient times was very hard, but I loved how strong and independent she was. I also loved that despite what everyone else said she loved to read, she loved science, and she stuck to her beliefs.

What really angered me about the story was the ending. As I said earlier, I knew it couldn’t have ended well for these two, being that they live in Pompeii on the eve of the eruption, but the way it ended was probably the worst and stupidest thing I have ever read. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but once you read it, you will understand.

I also am really upset that they changed the cover. The cover of the ARC really shows what the story is about. I think the new cover, with a girl looking at an erupted volcano is completely dumb. I will post the ARC cover at the bottom of this post and you can judge for yourself.

Overall, I really enjoyed Curses and Smoke. I also love that the author added a few pages of Pompeii history to the back of the book.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Say What You Will
By: Cammie McGovern
Pub. Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 352 pages
Source: Edelweiss

John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Say What You Will is one of those YA books that stand out from all the rest. The story was beautifully written, and the characters will always hold a place in my heart. Amy and Matthew are two of the most well written characters I have ever read about. The author did a fantastic job bringing these two, and their disorders to life.

Amy has cerebral palsy. She is a completely normal girl, with normal teenage girl thoughts, but she is trapped in her own body. She needs someone to help her change, feed her and go to the bathroom and since she can’t talk on her own, she uses a voice box to get her thoughts across. You can tell the author did so much research in getting her disorder correct. Being in Amy’s mind, you would forget that she even had a disorder, and that is what I loved about her. She was so insightful and in-tuned with everything. I hated how much her mom tried to control her and her life though. But you could tell the mom did everything to protect Amy. But that is what was so great about Amy, she didn’t want to be protected. She wanted to face life on her own.

Matthew has OCD. Since he refuses to seek any help for it, his thoughts and actions are getting worse and worse. It gets to the point that he believed everything he does or doesn’t do will have a consequence, and that consequence is usually the death of someone he cares about. Matthew is one of the sweetest and most caring individuals I have ever read about. It’s hard not to fall in love with him!

When Matthew and Amy become friends, it’s like fireworks! These two had the most amazing connection and one of the best ones I have read in YA. I loved that while each of them had their problems, they wanted nothing more than to help the other one get through their issues.

Cammie McGovern is truly a wonderful author. I can’t wait to read her other books and see what she comes up with next! 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross

The Girl with the Windup Heart
(Steampunk Chronicles # 4)
By: Kady Cross
Pub. Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley

In 1897 London, a final showdown is about to begin.

London's underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part-automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End's most dazzling circus.

Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison, and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends.

Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist's maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields.
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you netgalley and Harlequin Teen.

The Girl with the Windup Heart was the perfect ending for a series that I loved. This series was my introduction to steampunk and I loved spending time with Finley, Griffin, Jasper, Emily and Sam. I loved watching these characters, who have been through so much, find peace and happiness. I loved watching Finley and Griffin’s relationship grow into something truly special, and I especially loved watching Finley grow into her powers and become more confident with herself.

This story focused on Jack and Mila’s relationship. Mila’s storyline was truly fascinating and I think she was the perfect girl for Jack! I enjoyed watching her transition from automation to human. Jack is such an interesting guy and I loved finally getting to learn his backstory! I understand this guy so much more now.

What I enjoy so much about Kady Cross’ stories is that the female leads are all strong, independent ladies. For the time period in which the story is set, this is a huge deal. I also loved that the guys loved the ladies for this, and never tried to put them down.

I hated the parts where Griffin was lost in the Aether. My heart just broke for him. He was so lost and lonely. I just wanted him to be ok!

Cross sucked me completely into another book and I am so excited to found out what her next series is going to be about!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: The Sound by Sarah Alderson

The Sound
By: Sarah Alderson
Pub. Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 320
Source: Edelweiss

A British nanny looking for a low-key summer finds buried secrets, murderous attention, and unexpected romance when she visits the Nantucket Sound.

The Nantucket Sound is a beachfront playground for the privileged and elite, where the sunny days are filled with scenic bike rides, backyard picnics, and bonfire parties.

But all Ren Kingston—a visiting Brit still reeling from heartbreak—really wants is a quiet summer as a nanny for one of Nantucket’s wealthy families. Getting acquainted with handsome Jeremy and his young group of trust fund, private school kids was not part of the plan. Neither was befriending the local bad boy whose reputation is more dangerous than charming.

After a dead body is found next to The Sound’s postcard-perfect view, Ren starts to wonder where the real threat lies. Because it’s becoming clear that her newfound “friends” are much more than they seem. They’re hiding secrets. Secrets that Ren wants no part of.
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Edelweiss and Simon Pulse.

I hadn’t heard of The Sound until I started reading all of these reviews talking about how great this book is. Turns out The Sound is already a big deal in the UK, and I am happy that I got a chance to read it.

The story is told through the perspective of Ren. A British girl who came to Nantucket to work as a nanny. Right away she fits in with a group of locals and she meets a guy named Jesse, who’s the town bad boy. Fresh out of juvie, Ren’s new friends warn her to stay away from him since he just served time for almost killing someone. But Ren can’t seem to stay away, and Jesse isn’t exactly who he seems. To make matters even more interesting there is a serial killer lurking around the small, peaceful island and no one knows who it could be, or who is going to be next on his list.

I really liked Jesse and Ren together. I liked that she wanted to make her mind up about him and wouldn’t listen to small town gossip about him. She knows that there is more to his story, and I couldn’t wait to find out what that story was!

This is the first story I have read from Sarah Alderson, and it definitely won’t be the last! The Sound was a fast paced and quick read, with a mystery that kept me guessing until the very end!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: The A-Word by Joy Preble

Follow the Blog Tour here:

The A-Word
(Sweet Dead Life # 2)
By: Joy Preble
Pub. Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Soho Press
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher

Jenna Samuels is about to turn fifteen. It's been almost a year since her stoner brother, Casey, bit the dust. Almost a year since he returned as her guardian angel, along with his "angel boss," Amber Velasco, the hot twenty-something former EMT. Almost a year since Casey and Amber used up their one-time-only angel power of flight to save Jenna from the evil Dr. Renfroe, swooping down to catch her as she tumbled off the balcony at the Houston Galleria. In short, a lot of A-word shenanigans and a mostly happy ending.

Except now Casey's begun to wonder why he's still hanging around—not that he minds protecting Jenna. She's a handful, but there's got to be a bigger picture, right? Something to distract him from his on again/off again, doomed relationship with cheerleader Lanie Phelps, who has no idea her boyfriend is, well, dead. After all, he can't use his angel wings anymore. Neither can Amber.

Enter Bo Shivers, Amber's "angel boss"—a mysterious A-word guy Jenna and Casey didn't even know existed. Whiskey-guzzling. Handsome in a grizzled way. Unpredictable. Okay, make that crazy. Bo lost his angel wings in an earthly flight a long, long, long time back—and he's been a thorn in Angel Management's side ever since. But Bo knows something is coming. Something big. Something that was worth forfeiting wings for Jenna... something that might just change everything for everyone.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you SOHO teen.

I loved last years The Sweet Dead Life, so I was so excited about getting the chance to read the follow up, The A- Word. Jennie has grown a lot since the events from the first book, and I still felt so bad for her.

A lot has happened to Jenna after the events in The Sweet Dead Life. She’s learned that a crazed madman has been poisoning her family. Because of this her family is still not whole. Her mom is distant and her dad still lives (part time) in Austin. If that wasn't enough, her brother, Casey, saved her life in a public place, and now management (aka-the head Angels) are punishing him. Jenna is happy that Casey is still around, and she hopes that he stays her guardian angel for a long time to come.

Jenna is only 15 and has already dealt with so much. I felt so bad, especially because all of her problems are connected to things that she isn't allowed to talk about with anyone. She always has to lie to her best friend, and she hates doing it. But Jenna is also growing up and is interested in boys, and I loved watching her innocent flirting with her crush, and eventual boyfriend, Ryan. Ryan was so sweet and perfect for Jenna.

I really enjoyed watching Jenna grow into her own. In the first book, she was a very weak 13 year old, and not just because she was dying. She just didn't have a lot of confidence, her family issues were tearing her apart, and after her brother died she felt she would never be ok. But in this story, I loved how much more self-assured she was. She wasn't afraid to stick up for herself or speak her mind. She even surprised herself sometimes after she said something!

I loved the writing in The A-Word. It flowed so nicely. Jenna was so funny, there were so many times that I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I am so nervous for the next book in the series, but I am excited for how the series will play out.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

The Forever Song
(Blood of Eden # 3)
By: Julie Kagawa
Pub. Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 416
Source: Netgalley


Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster?

With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.


Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Harlequin Teen.

It's always stressful to read the last book of a series that you love. You've already invested so much time and energy with the story and it's characters. You've watched them grow and make mistakes and you honestly care about all of them. I was really scared going into this one, especially with how The Eternity Cure ended. I really had no idea how anything was going to turn out for Allison, Zeke, Kanin and Jackal. But I should have had faith in Julie Kagawa. She created the perfect ending that left this reader extremely satisfied.

What I loved so much about this series is watching Allison grow and accept who she is. She might be a vampire, and she struggles everyday with being a monster, but she also knows that she wants to be good and she wants to help people. I loved the father/daughter relationship she had with Kanin, the brother/sister relationship she had with Jackal, and I especially loved the sweet, caring relationship she had with Zeke. I really had no idea how that whole storyline was going to play out, and I was very worried. The connection these two shared was undeniable, and I loved how they helped each other deal with their vampire issues.

Julie Kagawa is truly a talented author, and one of my favorites. I will read anything this lady writes and I am so excited for her new series about dragons!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: Shattered by Tracy Wolff

(Extreme Risk # 2)
Pub. Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Loveswept
Pages: 176
Source: Netgalley

Ash Lewis has poured every last ounce of his blood, sweat, and tears into reaching the very top of the professional snowboarding world—until the unthinkable happens. After the biggest competition win of his career, Ash’s mother and father are killed in a tragic accident. Unable to handle the idea of going back out on the snow to pursue the dream his parents shared with him, Ash feels that he has no choice but to walk away from snowboarding forever. Then he meets Tansy Hampton.

Wild, fun, and impulsive, Tansy has a different look and a new passion every week. As a cancer survivor who spent the past several years waiting to die, Tansy has a fresh perspective on life—even if she doesn’t have a clue about what she actually wants to do with it. But she’s determined to find out, and that means making the most of her time while she still can.

From the very beginning, their chemistry is intense. But while Ash can’t stop chasing the ghosts of what can never be, Tansy stays firmly focused on the possibilities the world holds for her—and for them. She’s already picked up the pieces of one shattered life. Now she’s determined to help Ash do the same.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Shattered is the second book in the Extreme Risk series. I haven’t read the first book, but I don’t think it took anything away from the story. Shattered was a fast paced and emotional read, which I really enjoyed.

Ash is at the top of his snowboarding game. He is one of the best in the business, but while on the way to watch him compete, his parents are killed in a car accident and his younger brother is left needing constant care. It’s hard not to feel for Ash and what he was going through. His thoughts were so broken, I just wanted to be able to fix him. When Tansy came around, she was just what he needed to begin the healing process and get his life back under control. Tansy was a wonderful addition to the story. She has overcome a lot in life, including battling cancer. Between both of their issues, this story was full of angst and emotions, but I really enjoyed every minute of it.

These two characters deserved so much happiness in their life, and while reading I sometimes felt that they wouldn’t get it, which scared me! I am looking forward to seeing these two again in the next book. I definitely want to go back and read the first book in the series! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review: In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim DiBartolo

In The Shadows
By: Kiersten White and Jim DiBartolo
Pub. Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley

From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. 

Oh my god! This was the most interesting, different and original book I have read in a very long time! Two stories are being told at the same time. The first is a regular story, written by Kiersten White. The second is a story told through art work, illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo. I loved this concept so much! When I first heard about this book, I thought the pictures were just illustrating the first story. It was so interesting when I realized how wrong I was! It took me a long time, almost about 85% of the book before I realized how the stories were connected, but once I realized that, BAM, everything made sense!

In the Shadows is told in third person, in way of five different characters, sisters, Minnie and Cora, brothers, Thomas and Charles, and Arthur, a young man boarding at the sisters home. I really loved each one of the characters. They were all written so well. For such a short book, its shows how talented White is to make us feel connected to five different characters, and still be able to tell a complete story.

The artwork is absolutely stunning. I was reading an eARC copy and I was so impressed! As soon as it came out, I had to buy myself a finished copy, and the artwork was just as gorgeous!

The story was so interesting and dark. There are witches, spells and family secrets. I was enthralled the entire time and had to know what was going to happen. In the Shadows is a fast, quick and refreshing read and I will be recommending it to every person that I know!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Second Star
By: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Pub. Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Pages: 256
Source: Netgalley

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Farrar Straus Giroux.

I am a huge fan of retellings of classic stories so I was so excited to read Second Star, a Peter Pan retelling. Though it was a lot darker then I was expecting it to be. Wendy Darling is convinced her brothers, John and Michael are still alive, despite the police closing the case and declaring them dead. Wendy's search leads her to the home of Pete and his friends, a group of orphans that survive by stealing food from others, sleeping in abandon homes, and who love to surf.

I enjoyed the characters, but I wish they were more fleshed out. I felt the only one I knew well was Wendy and Jas. Jas was supposed to be the bad guy, but there is more to him than meets the eye and I thought Wendy and Jas had a wonderful connection. I would have liked to know more about Pete. I felt that even at the end of the story, I still didn't know anything about him. Pete and Wendy lied to each other from the very beginning, but Jas was nothing but open and honest with her.

I also would have liked a more concrete ending. I didn't like the back and forth of if everything was real or not. Did Wendy imagine Pete and Jas and the rest of the gang? Is Wendy crazy? Is Wendy a drug addict? I guess the very end was supposed to leave the reader feeling happy with their questions answered, but for me, I was left more confused and with more questions. It does seem like their could be a second book, but the story could also end here.

Overall, I did enjoy Second Star. I wish the end was a little different, but overall a nice retelling.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Wish You Were Italian
(If Only # 2)
By: Kristin Rae
Pub. Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 323
Source: Netgalley

Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

I have never been a huge contemporary fan. I usually end up finding them a little silly and over the top. But every once in a while I get in the mood to read one. I am so happy that I decided to read Wish You Were Italian! The story was absolutely adorable, the characters were so much fun, the writing was fast paced and interesting and everything felt so realistic! If every contemporary was like this one, I would be a fan for life!

Pippa is forced to attend on art program in Florence, Italy for the summer by her mother. She would have much rather stayed home with her best friend, Morgan, but since she is in Italy, she has decided to make the best of a crappy situation. After some thinking, she decides that instead of going to the art program, she is going to see all the parts of Italy that she always wanted to see, including Pompeii and Rome. With the extra money her father gave her, she sets out for the adventure of a lifetime. Along the way she meets the most interesting and lovely people.

The setting was absolutely breathtaking. I really felt that I was visiting all of the sites right along with Pippa and doing everything she was doing. I was insanely jealous of her as well. The story just made me want to go to Italy even more!
I really connected to the character of Pippa. She was a normal girl who didn’t take herself too seriously. She didn’t get along with her mom, but still wanted to make her happy. I loved watching Pippa grow and become more confident in herself. I also loved the connection she had with Darren, the cute American she meets on her first day in Italy. It was so cute how they kept meeting up! She also had an interesting relationship with Bruno, the Italian hottie whose family she ends up staying with.

Wish You Were Italian has easily become a favorite of mine! The ending had me swooning completely, it was so sweet! I cannot wait to see what Kristin Rae comes up with next!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

The Secrets of Lily Graves
By: Sarah Strohmeyer
Pub. Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 304
Source: Edelweiss

Growing up in a house of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. She knows that perfect senior-class president Erin Donohue isn’t what she seems. She knows why Erin’s ex-boyfriend, hot football player Matt Houser, broke up with her. And she also knows that, even though she says she and Matt are just friends, there is something brewing between them—something Erin definitely did not like.

But secrets, even ones that are long buried, have a way of returning to haunt their keeper.

So when Erin is found dead the day after attacking Lily in a jealous rage, Lily's and Matt’s safe little lives, and the lives of everyone in their town of Potsdam, begin to unravel. And their relationship—which grew from innocent after-school tutoring sessions to late-night clandestine rendezvous—makes them both suspects.

As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim. 
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray.

The Secrets of Lily Graves  was an extremely fast read. The writing just flowed. I started reading, not really knowing what to expect and the next thing I knew I had about 50 pages left. I was so interested in the mystery surrounding the death, and I really had no idea who the killer was.

One night, Erin beats up Lily because Lily and Erin's ex, Matt were (kind-of) together. The next day, Erin is found murdered, but it looks like a suicide, and Matt is the main suspect. At this point we don't know much about Matt, but it looks likely that he is the killer. As the story progresses, we learn how Lily and Matt started to form a connection and we see that Matt is actually a great guy. But as the police do more investigating, it looks like Lily had something to do with the murder as well. Now Matt, Lily and Lily's best friend have to figure out who the killer is. While this story has been done over and over again in YA, I really loved the way that Strohmeyer did it. It was a mystery with a small town murder, but it was also a sweet, cute story about two young people in love.

I seriously did not see that ending coming from a mile away! I couldn't believe it. I especially was not expecting the different plot twists that were thrown at us either. I really enjoyed The Secrets of Lily Graves and excited for Strohmeyer's next book!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cover Reveal: Melt by Selene Castrovilla

We're so excited to take part in the cover reveal for MELT by Selene Castrovilla! Check out the cover below, and let us know what you think in the comments. Then be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed ARC of MELT, and a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card!

MELT by Selene Castrovilla

MELT by Selene Castrovilla | Last Syllable Books | August 2014
Melt is a brutal love story, set against the backdrop of The Wizard of Oz. Sixteen year old “good girl” Dorothy just blew into the small town of Highland Park – where the social headquarters is Munchkinland (Dunkin’ Donuts.) There, she meets Joey – a “bad boy” who tells no one about the catastrophic domestic violence he witnesses at home. Can these two lovers survive peer pressure, Joey’s reputation, and his alcoholism? And then there’s his family's secret – about to be unleashed.Told in dual first person, Joey's words are scattered on the page - reflecting his broken state. Dorothy is the voice of reason - until something so shattering happens that she, too, may lose her grip. Can their love endure, or will it melt away? Melt is based on true events. It is both a chilling tale of abuse, and a timeless romance. It will hit you like a punch in the face, and also seep through the cracks in your soul.

Add MELT to your Goodreads TBR!

What do you think of the cover?

Selene CastrovillaSelene Castrovilla is an award-winning teen and children’s author who believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. She is the author of Saved By the Music and The Girl Next Door, teen novels originally published by WestSide Books and now available digitally through ASD Publishing. Her third children’s book with Calkins Creek Books, Revolutionary Friends, was released in April. She is also a contributing author to UncommonYA. Selene holds an MFA in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons. Visit her website for book excerpts and more information!

Enter to win a signed ARC of MELT along with $25 Amazon or B&N gift card! (US/CA only) ***Any contestant that uses dummy or contest only accounts to enter will be disqualified.***

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars
By: E. Lockhart
Pub. Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 240
Source: Netgalley

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE. 
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Random House Children's Books and Netgalley.

It's been a really long time since I've read a book that has literally left me speechless at the end. My friend wanted me to tell her about it, and all I could say was, "holy shit, this book is awesome!" The writing flowed beautifully, almost lyrical in a way. The story kept me guessing until the very end!

The story is told in the perspective of Cadence Sinclair Eastman, the oldest grandchild and heir to the Sinclair fortune. Every summer, Cadence and her entire family go to Beechwood Island, which her grandparents own. Cadence, along with her cousins, Johnny and Mirren, and Johnny's (almost) cousin/friend, Gat, call themselves "The Liars". During the summer they are as close as can be, but then they go back home to their individual lives and hardly speak. But during summer fifteen, an accident happens, leaving Cady suffering from migraines and nausea. No one will tell her what happened because the doctors think she needs to remember on her own time. When she finally goes back to the island, two years later, so many things are different, yet so many things are the same. She just wants to know what happened, but no one will tell her anything. When she finally starts to remember, things start to get intense!

This is a really hard book to review because I don't want to give anything away. All I can really say is read it. Read it as soon as you can. It is easily a 2014 favorite and I am so excited for others to start reading it so I can talk about it with them!

I can not wait until May 13, so I can have a copy on my bookshelf of this beautiful book!  I highly recommend it. You will not regret it!

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