Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Book Title: Open Road Summer
Author: Emery Lord
Published Date: April 15th, 2014
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Order Links: AmazonThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
This book made me want to blast some country music and have an impromptu dance party.

I needed a book to wow me after a recent reading slump and so on Twitter the other day, I asked if Open Road Summer would do that for me and the response was a resounding YES. Boy were they right. This book had it all, country music, friendships, boys and family and of course those all important feels. Unlike other debut books, this didn't FEEL like a debut book, it didn't feel like a brand new author wrote it.

Emery Lord writes like she's been writing books all her life. The writing is beautiful and I am so thankful for that. Oftentimes when a book cover is that gorgeous, the writing is lacking. Not in this case. It was beautiful and emotional and evocative so major kudos to Emery Lord for that. 

Dee and Reagan have been friends since they were 8 years old. They've seen each other through everything and now they are excited to spend the summer together. Reagan is the wild child and that wild child behavior got her into some trouble that included community service and a bad boy. Dee is an accomplished singer who is an up and comer in the country music scene. They couldn't be more different in the family department either. Yet, none of that matters to them. They remain best friends despite disagreements and the usual ebbs and flows in a friendship.

Sweet and sexy Matt Finch appears on the scene shortly after a scandal threatens to halt Dee's burgeoning career. Matt is everything that Reagan is not and on paper he seems to be a better match for Dee. Yet Dee is still hung up on Jimmy, the boy she left to follow her dreams.  Matt Finch was adorable and sweet and kind and basically my perfect boyfriend. He's a good fit for Reagan though and there's definitely mutual attraction between them early on. 

Something else that caught my eye while reading this book, was the progression of Reagan's relationship with her stepmom Brenda. Initially Reagan paints Brenda in a very negative light, but by the end of the book, things have definitely improved between the two of them. I really liked seeing that storyline and how it played out.

I absolutely adored this book and it is absolutely getting 5 stars from me. I am definitely going to be pushing this book on all of my fellow YA Contemporary lovers.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blog Tour: A Life, Forward by Tracy Hewitt Meyer

Book Title: A Life, Forward (Book 2 in Rowan Slone series)
Publish Date: April 7th, 2014
Genre: NA
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon
Synopsis:
Her father is gone. Her mother is in jail. And Rowan Slone has left her dysfunctional, violent past behind. With college looming on the horizon, she has a new job that she loves, and a safe place to call home. She is close to achieving everything she ever wanted-a sense of family, a sense of purpose, and a sense of self.
But there are cracks in Rowan’s life that threaten to send her future crumbling to the ground. When her relationship begins to suffer, her father returns and her long-held secret is discovered, Rowan must find the courage to fight for the most important thing yet-herself.

Review:
When we first met Rowan Slone, she was dealing with a horrible home life that involved her abusive father, her drama-filled sister and her obese and depressed mom. Things had been like that since Rowan's brother Aiden had died in his crib 7 years ago. Rowan carried the guilt with her wherever she went and when things got too bad, she dealt with the pain by cutting herself.

Now her father's gone, her mother's in jail and Rowan is living with her boyfriend's family. But things aren't so good in the romance department either. Mike is away at college and things seem to be drifting apart between them. Rowan misses him so much and it doesn't seem like he misses her at all.

Now her father is coming back around. She doesn't want him around her but when he drops a bombshell on her, Rowan starts to feel guilty for pushing him away. Now this is where I really wish there had been more development in this storyline. I thought that it was too rushed and things were resolved way too quickly. 

I had an issue with Rowan this time around. She was too dependent on Mike for happiness. Yes she had had a rough childhood and teenage years. She longed for approval and acceptance from her family that when she got together with Mike, she made him her whole world. Yes, Mike is to blame as well. He could have tried harder to keep their relationship afloat but he didn't. I don't know if he was really into her or if he just wanted to save someone.

Watching Rowan slowly figure out what she wanted in life and taking steps to make sure she achieved her goals was great. She clearly wants to make something of her life and she's not willing to allow anyone or anything to stand in her way.

Loved Jess' storyline as well. So glad that Rowan was by her side throughout everything that Jess went through. Jess needed someone on her side as she dealt with unexpected surprises. Rowan's unfailing loyalty to her friend is wonderful to see. So often in YA books we have frienemies. Not in this book. Not with Jess & Rowan.

For the most part I did enjoy this book. I thought certain things were rushed and I wanted more on certain storylines and Rowan was a pain in the butt at times. She finally started to focus on her dreams again, which was a welcome reprieve from how she was in the beginning of the book. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed book 1 but I did enjoy it. I will be giving it 4 stars.

About the Author:
Tracy Hewitt Meyer is a multi-genre, multi-published author of new adult fiction as well as adult paranormal and contemporary romance. She has a B.A. in English and a Master of Social Work, both of which feed her true passion-a love of writing. Born and raised in the beautiful state of West Virginia, Tracy now lives in the mid-east with her family, a goldendoodle, and a bearded dragon.

Connect With The Author:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #39

This feature is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

I'm baaaaack!

Things have been a little weird for me lately. Dealing with my first legitimate blogging slump has caused there to be no reviews for nearly two weeks. Of course that is because I am fighting a monster of a reading slump. I'm sad, frustrated and aggravated as I don't like not having consistent blog posts up. Not to mention, there was two recent health scares for my mom & grandmother, so of course I didn't feel like blogging OR reading. Thankfully, the health scares have passed and hopefully my reading & blogging slump has passed along with it.

Yesterday was my 1 year book blogging anniversary so I bought myself three books in celebration of it. I'll be buying a few more this month as I came in under budget (yay me) Over the past couple of weeks, I've gotten 5 books from Edelweiss. Also, I participated in Andi's Spring Book Exchange and received book 1 of a series I've been dying to start. Thanks again Lindsay!

More book mail included a book I had won from Goodreads and a book that a fellow blogger had seen me dying for and had offered to send me a copy. So thanks Lena!

Let's see what I got this week.

Bought
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Received for Review

-Edelweiss-
Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir
Boomerang by Noelle August
The Returned by Jason Mott

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Gifted

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
The Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

Won
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

So, definitely let me know if you've read any of these or if you're wanting to. Definitely leave your Stacking the Shelves links in the comments so I can stop by.

Bloggers Mentioned
Andi of Andi's ABC's

Saturday, April 26, 2014

My 1 year Blog-o-versary is finally here!

Well I made it!

Last year on this very day I decided to start book blogging. I had no idea what to expect or if I would make any friends (making friends as an adult is HARD) but I had always loved books and I had always loved blogging, so I took the bull by the horns and started blogging about books. I learned a lot as I went along. I made mistakes, but I'd like to think that I changed over the past year.

Twelve months ago I didn't know anything about ARC's or E-ARC's or NetGalley or Edelweiss. I had never heard of BEA or ALA. Now I can rattle off those terms in a matter of seconds and know what they mean. Sometimes, I still feel intimidated by certain things but not always, and not nearly as much as I was at the beginning of this.

This year also brought me in contact with some of the kindest individuals I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with. Meredith, Pixie, Kara, Steph, Bekka, Kat and Andi to name a few. Thank you ladies. At times I wanted to quit. I was sad and frustrated by some things, but you seven helped me more than you will ever know. Of course there are so many other ladies (and yes even a few guys) who have been there supporting me, that there's no way I could name them all. Thank you all so very much. You don't know how much I appreciate you.

There are so many moments that stick out to me as important in the past year, I doubt I could name them all.

  • Getting my first review book in the mail.
  • Getting my first pieces of swag in the mail.
  • Getting auto-approved for HarperTeen's titles through Edelweiss.
  • Winning my first book through GoodReads.
  • Filming and positing my first vlog on YouTube.
  • Getting my first print ARC from Scholastic.
Those are only some of the moments that have stuck with me since I began this journey.

Let's not forget the writers. The beautiful, amazing and talented writers that have been amazing to work with. There's no way I could name them all and you know what? I'm not even going to try.These writers have been supportive and kind all across the board and I am grateful to be able to collaborate with them as I, along with so many other bloggers, work to show the world how talented and underrated these writers are.

The publishers, they have all been awesome. Harper Collins, St. Martin's Press and Scholastic, to name a few. I look forward to working with all of you more in the future.

Thank you, to each and every one of you who has been a part of my journey so far. I love and appreciate all of you so very much.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Stone of Destiny (The Danaan Trilogy Book 2) by Laura Howard

Stone of Destiny (The Danaan Trilogy Book 2)
by Laura Howard
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Blurb:
Allison thought it was crazy enough when she found out her father, Liam, wasn't entirely human. But now she has to join his magical allies to unravel his former mistress's plans. Aoife wants to keep Allison's parents apart forever.

Despite Allison's efforts to keep Ethan, the only guy she's ever cared about, out of this supernatural mess, fate keeps throwing him back into the mix.


Will Allison be able to find the amulet that holds the enchantment Aoife placed on Liam and destroy it? Are Ethan' s feelings for Allison strong enough to endure the magic of the Tuatha De Danaan?

Links
Amazon:
Kobo:


The Forgotten Ones
Book One in The Danaan Trilogy

About Laura:
Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An Explaination

Hello everyone,

 You may have noticed that I have not posted anything in about a week. This was totally unplanned and it was only yesterday that I really realized how long it's been since I posted anything. I have a couple posts drafted and several reviews scheduled but nothing for awhile. This blogging slump happened to coincide with yet another reading slump. I have started several books but nothing is really grabbing me lately. I'm sad and frustrated as I have piles of books piling up everywhere, many of them I am dying to read, but I don't want to start any of them. I don't want to run the risk of not being able to enjoy a book because of the reading slump.

I don't do filler posts that much anymore unless it's an author I love or a book I enjoyed. When I was starting this book blogging thing, I did a lot of promotional posts. I don't do them much anymore. I usually do 1 meme, and as many reviews as I can fit in. I don't want to post more than one post a day. I don't focus on keeping a certain schedule anymore. It doesn't work for me. What I do focus on is having fun with this adventure. If I happen to have a week or two where I don't post anything, that's okay.

This coming Saturday I will be celebrating my one year blog-o-versary. It's exciting and it's honestly not a milestone I thought I would get to. I'm sure I'll have a post up for that day, maybe not a full fledged wrap-up post, but I'll definitely acknowledge the bloggers and writers and publishers that I have been fortunate enough to work with this past year.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

Book Title: The Secrets Of Lily Graves
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Publish Date: May 13th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
With the intrigue of Pretty Little Liars and plenty of romance, bestselling author Sarah Strohmeyer weaves a story of secrets and lies—set in a funeral parlor.

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.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
This book had been floating pretty far under the radar among my fellow book bloggers so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. What I got was a mind-blowing, hangover-inducing twisty ride that I never wanted to get off of.

Lily Graves lives in a home with her mother, grandmother and aunt, all of them being morticians. That was so totally awesome. I completely enjoyed that aspect of it. I had always found funeral homes & the morticians that run it, incredibly fascinating. So a family of morticians was awesome and unique.

Then there was her best friend Sarah. Lily & Sara had been friends their entire childhood. They bonded over the fact that they were "freaks" Sara had a deformed hand & Lily and her family lived in a funeral home. Despite Sara's family's very strict rules, Lily and Sarah's friendship had lasted a long time.

After Erin is found dead, things begin to change for everyone. Lily & Matt, Erin's boyfriend are now surrounded by suspicious people. No one believes that Lily and Matt had nothing to do with this. Even Sara doesn't believe that Matt is innocent.

So now Lily must figure out what the police department cannot figure out. Who killed Erin? Was it suicide or homicide? If it was a homicide, who was responsible? Lily must figure all of this out before another life is lost.

Now this book was filled with twists and turns, most of them, I didn't even see coming. The tangled web of lies and deceit had been weaved so brilliantly that once I finished reading I was left with a massive book hangover.

I absolutely loved this book and it should surprise no one that I am giving it 5 stars. The pacing was quick and exciting, the beginning was awesome and it allowed for me to be immediately drawn into the story, which absolutely loved. The ending absolutely blew my mind and it was crazy-awesome, twisty and shocking. I would totally recommend it to anyone that likes mysteries because while this was a thriller, it was also a mystery and a very well written one at that.I literally have nothing else to say about this crazy ride except, you need to read it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Book Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Release Date: May 13th, 2014
Publisher: Delecorte Press
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
This book has been very highly regarded among my fellow bloggers so when I was granted access to this title, I was excited. I had very high hopes for this book. Upon finishing it, I felt let down in a big way.It wasn't this amazing book that had reduced me to tears. It was a pretty "meh" book for me overall.

From the beginning, I knew that this book was going to be different. I hated the writing style. It was lyrical and it bored me. I thought the male love interest was a colossal jerk and I couldn't understand what Cady saw in him. Also I really didn't like Cady all that much. At times, I felt sympathy for her, but I never really warmed up to her the way I wanted to.

Through the first 70% of the book, I was bored. It seemed like the book was too long for not much to happen. Maybe it had to do with the insanely slow moving plot that only picked up in the last 30% of the book. Maybe it had to do with the characters. There seemed to be too many of them and not enough time was devoted to really developing them the way I would have liked.

Now the last 30% was like someone completely different wrote the book. The writing was less lyrical and more straightforward and the feels were there in a way that they hadn't been in the first seventy percent. It was like it was a totally new book. That was really disconcerting to me.This book lacked fluidity throughout.

I'll admit that in the last 30% I teared up. I didn't full on sob like a baby, but tears were produced. In the interest of not spoiling things, that's all I'll say about the ending. Oh and that things aren't always how they seem.

If I was rating just the first seventy percent of the book, it would get only one star. If I was rating just the last 30% of the book, it would be getting 4.5 stars. I'll average it out to three stars. I hated the first seven-tenths of the book but I loved the last three-tenths of the book.Overall I didn't hate the book, but I didn't love it either.However, I know many other people loved it, so some of you may as well.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria

Book Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaria
Publish Date: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from a fellow blogger. 

Review:
This book is going to be a very hard book to review. First of all, you need to put away any preconceived notions you have about this book. I know I had to. Secondly, if you aren't kicked in the feels by the time you finish reading it, then you are dead inside. Okay, maybe not dead inside, but at least for me, it was a book full of feels. It's a book that I had a hard time getting into. It was slow at first and I was getting sad and disappointed by the fact that I wasn't loving it.But it grows on you and before you know it, you don't want to put it down.

Laurel has gone through her parents divorce but nothing hurt as bad as it hurt when her big sister died. She blames herself for it and she's convinced that her mom does also. Why else would her mom have moved so far away from her, leaving Laurel to split her time between her Aunt Amy & her dad.

Laurel starts off writing a letter to a dead person as part of a school assignment, but it gets bigger than that and soon she is writing many letters to many dead people. She talks about her friendships with Kristen, Tristan, Hannah & Natalie. She talks about maybe, possibly, falling in love with Sky. Most importantly she uses these letters as a way to grieve for May.

Through these letters, we grow to learn what exactly happened to May and what happened to Laurel as well. Laurel also learns that May wasn't as perfect as she thought she was and that she was flawed but did her best to hide that from Laurel, most likely, because she wanted to protect her little sister.

I ended up loving this book, but it wasn't an easy road and it wasn't until about page 150 that I really began to fall in love with this book. From that point on, I spent most of the book in tears, even sobbing by the time I had finished the book. Dellaria broke me in the feels but in one of the most honest, and beautiful ways possible. I would love, love to give this book a full 5 stars but knowing how long it took me to even get into the book, I have to give it 4 stars. I would absolutely highly recommend it to anyone. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #38

This feature is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Hi everyone, hope this was a great week for you. My week started off great and continued to be great. I got two books in the mail. One was for an ARC tour and one was my prize from Octavia's Twitter giveaway. I also received some swag & was approved for a few NetGalley titles. I also received an e-book for an upcoming blog tour that I am participating in. I did not purchase anything this week as I have 4 pre-orders coming at some point this month and I'm already significantly behind in my reading.

However, I did go to my favorite bookstore on Monday. I haven't been there since before I started blogging so I was excited to see all the YA titles that they have there. I even pushed some books on people who were standing & looking at the books in the YA section. I am really not shy at all.Especially when it comes to telling people about the book that they are currently holding and it just happens to be one I loved.

Now, the books.
Bought
-
Received for Review

-NetGalley
We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
The Right Thing by Amy Conner

-ARC Tour-
The Geography Of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith

-Blog Tour-
A Life, Forward by Tracy Hewitt Meyer

Gifted
Swag from Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer.

Won
Scan (Scan #1) by Walker Jury & Sarah Fine

Be sure to leave the links to your Stacking the Shelves vlogs or posts so that I can make sure to stop by.

Weekly Blog Wrap-Up
Monday- Review of After The Storm by Marie Landry
Tuesday- Review of Great by Sara Benincasa
Wednesday- No Post
Thursday- No Post
Friday- No Post
Saturday- No Post

I know the blog content is slipping again and I apologize for that. Hoping to be swinging in the right direction again soon.

Bloggers Mentioned

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Review: Great by Sara Benincasa

Book Title: Great
Author: Sara Benincasa
Release Date: April 8th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In Sara Benincasa's contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, a teenage girl becomes entangled in the drama of a Hamptons social circle, only to be implicated in a tragedy that shakes the summer community.

Everyone loves a good scandal.

Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reason for drawing close to Naomi-to meet the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather. But Jacinta's carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

Based on a beloved classic and steeped in Sara Benincasa's darkly comic voice, Great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthrall readers.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
In high school we had to read the Great Gatsby for English class (I think it was Sophomore English but I'm not 100% sure) I loved it. I gobbled it up in two days while the rest of the class grudgingly read the assigned chapters for two weeks. I loved reading the book and anytime I heard someone complaining about it, I got annoyed. Obviously, I also know that a movie adaptation was made. I did not go see it because I was certain that it was going to be a poor adaptation of the book.

So when Great became available via Edelweiss awhile back, I was excited but anxious. The idea of retelling a classic terrified me because I loved the classic so much and I wasn't sure how the retelling would live up to it.

Well I didn't need to be concerned. It was a very well done retelling of The Great Gatsby. The opulence was there with Jacinta's parties and her outfits, not to mention the location of the story, most of it taking place in the East Hamptons. That screams money & opulence right there. I was also really excited to see that there was an LGBT element in the book. That was an awesome surprise and I kinda cheered when I got to that point. YAY for more LGBT characters in YA.

I am really not sure how I felt about Jacinta. My feelings about her kinda flip-flopped throughout the entire book. That was frustrating to me as I never knew how I would feel about her from one page to the next. When secrets about her are revealed, I did feel empathy for her and that's when I started to have positive feelings about her and towards her.

Delilah was interesting. I couldn't quite figure out if she was a good person or if she was just trying to use both Naomi & Jacinta at times. I don't feel like I got to know her as well as I wanted to.

Naomi was a fun character. She clearly was nothing like her mom.She wasn't into the fashion, she cared about other people and she was there for her friends and family when they needed her. I didn't understand her choice of "boyfriend" while she was visiting her mother. I put the term boyfriend in quotation marks because it seemed like all they did was make out.I never really warmed up to the guy, but Naomi I loved.

One character I wish I had seen more of was Skaggs. She was woefully absent from the book, but when she did appear, she was awesome. She was the one to tell Naomi that she was basically being a bad friend to Skaggs because Naomi had become so involved in her life in the East Hamptons that she seemed to forget about Skaggs.

The ending was heartbreaking and even though I knew something incredibly sad was coming, it was still hard to read it. That's where tears nearly fell. The ending. I was genuinely happy with how it ended though. It remained very loyal to the original which thrilled me.

The beginning was on the slow side and it took me a little while to really get into the story. Even as I was pulled into the world, there were still times were the pace had slowed down a bit too much and I found myself bored. Also I wanted a bit more character development for Delilah. It didn't feel like I knew her as well as I knew Jacinta & Naomi which bummed me out a little bit. 

I am giving this book 4 stars because overall, I would recommend this book because it was a good, fun read and the resemblance to The Great Gatsby was uncanny. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: After the Storm (Angel Island #2) by Marie Landry

Book Title: After the Storm (Angel Island #2)
Author: Marie Landry
Release Date: April 8th, 2014
Publisher: Marie Landry
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Companion to Waiting for the Storm (My review is here)
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:
For most people, starting senior year at a new high school would be a nightmare, but for Ella O’Dell it’s the new beginning she desperately needs. Two months after her mother’s death, she’s ready to leave behind the rebellious, unhappy person she became when she found out her mom was dying. 

When Ella meets River Maracle and Sadie Fitzgerald, she begins to learn it’s okay to be herself, even if that means being different. River and Sadie aren’t ashamed of their misfit status—River grew up on a reservation, and his mother is the school counselor; Sadie stands out with her funky homemade clothes, and is a master at ignoring the whispered rumors that have plagued her since the beginning of high school. 

Ella finds a kindred spirit in Sadie, and something more in River. After almost a year of pretending to be someone she’s not, she finally embraces life and allows herself to have fun without constant guilt. But despite her budding happiness, something is off with her new life. She doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but Angel Island is a small place, and she soon realizes her demons are harder to outrun than she thought…

After the Storm is a standalone companion novel to Waiting for the Storm.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
When we met Ella O'Dell in Waiting for the Storm, she was not kind to anyone, even herself. Especially herself. She dealt with her mom's death by rebelling in a big way, putting herself in danger more than once. It's not until the end of Waiting for the Storm that Ella has a breakthrough. This breakthrough continues on into After the Storm.

Now Ella's about to start her senior year at a new school. She won't be the girl whose mother died, since most people don't know about her mom, but since Angel Island is teeny tiny, she'll definitely be the girl who partied hard all summer. She'll be considered a "fun girl" an "easy girl" and Ella wants nothing more than to leave that time in her life behind. She wants to reinvent herself into a new Ella.

She had never been the type of girl to have loads of friends before her mother got sick but while her older sister, Charlotte cared for their mother, Ella went out and became popular. Ella doesn't want the pressure that came with popularity anymore. She wants to find herself in more ways than one.

She meets Sadie and River on her first day of the new school. Sadie has been assigned to be Ella's buddy in the beginning. Sadie has been best friends with River since he came to the Island. Both Sadie and River have their own secrets and as Ella gets to know each of them separately and together, she gets a glimpse of their lives.

Sadie was a complete standout for me. She had adopted this "I don't care what anyone else says or thinks" mentality when it came to her outfits and her mannerisms. But as Ella discovers, Sadie's got her own demons that she has to face every single day of her life. After we got a glimpse into Sadie's home life, I just wanted to hug her. 

Now River was a fun character. He really was an awesome guy. I loved that he didn't let the fact that his mom worked at the school bother him. Most teenagers would have been mortified that their mom worked at their school. He was wonderfully patient with Ella which I loved. He understood that she didn't want to rush things and he respected that. He knew that she had a rather colorful past but he wasn't going to let that ruin what they were building together.

"You're the girl I care about. Whether you've slept with a dozen guys or you're a virgin. What matters is who you are now." River

As much as I loved River, he still doesn't beat out Ezra in my list of swoony boys on Angel Island. Speaking of Ezra, I was thrilled to see that Charlotte and he were major parts of this book. We got some great Ezra & Ella moments and even some great Ezra & River moments. Clearly, these boys adore the O'Dell ladies.

My all time favorite scene in this book was with Charlotte, Ella and the candle. I sobbed so violently during that part. It was written beautifully and even just remembering that part, makes me tear up all over again. I loved that there was so much sister bonding in this one. Obviously we didn't get a lot of it in the first book. I would also say that this book was even more emotional than Waiting for the Storm.

Watching Ella figure out what she wanted and who she wanted to be in life was hard sometimes and so rewarding at other times. Watching her realize that she needed to stop punishing herself was beautiful and incredibly emotional. Especially when it came to River. Over the summer she had hooked up with a fair number of guys. She used her body simply for sex. She allowed boys to use her body simply for sex. Watching her become more aware and confident in herself was beautiful.

"I want to be powerful in all the right ways. I don't want to be wanted for my body." Ella

Tears. Instant tears.

River helped her to realize that she was worth more than just her body. That her heart was worth protecting as well. He helped her see that having and enjoying sex did not make her a slut.

"I've also learned that enjoying sex with a guy who genuinely cares about me doesn't make me a slut." Ella

Ella did a whole lot of growing and learning in this book which I loved. She learned a lot about herself and about her friends and family. She learned a lot about respect and standing up for herself and others. She learned to love herself for possibly the first time. This book was absolutely beautiful and amazing and full of heart. It's totally getting 5 stars and if I could give it more, I would. I cannot wait for Sadie's story. I already know it's going to be amazing.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #37

This feature is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Hi everyone, this week was a much better week than last week was. We found & bought a car to replace the one that was totaled last week. It's such a pretty car and we all love it. Book wise, it was a good week as well. I gave up restraint and downloaded a few more books off of Edelweiss. I am pretty sure we have established that I have no self control when it comes to books. I also bought Katie McGarry's e-novella that was free on Amazon. I was approved for a NetGalley book as well.

Things on the blog started out really good this week but then I hit a wall. I normally have a Friday discussion post up but I just really didn't want to do blog related things the rest of the week mostly because I was dealing with a potentially devastating family issue. So sorry about that, you guys.

Oh well, onto the books.

Bought
Red At Night by Katie McGarry

Received for Review

-Edelweiss-
Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson
Feral by Holly Schindler
Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley

-NetGalley-
Searching For Sky by Jillian Cantor

Gifted

Won

Weekly Blog Wrap-Up
Monday- Review of The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young
Tuesday- Review of The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Wednesday- Review of The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting
Thursday- No Post
Friday- No Post
Saturday- No Post

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting

Book Title: The Taking (The Taking #1)
Author: Kimberly Derting
Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA.SciFi
Series: Book 1 in The Taking trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day. 

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. 

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

Diclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
Normally alien/SciFi like this really is not my thing. I am very picky about my SciFi but when I saw it on Edelweiss awhile back, I considered it. Even at the end of 2013 I wasn't totally sold on it but I knew I wanted to expand my horizons book wise. So a couple of days ago, after my blogger friend Andi had bugged me for what seemed like the thousandth time, I picked it up and I devoured it.

Sixteen year old Kyra has everything a teenager could want. She's got a doting boyfriend, parents who love her and love each other and she's a rising softball star. Things change abruptly after a fight with her father after a softball game. The fight was over college and her plans to go to college in the fall with Austin, the aforementioned doting boyfriend.

A blinding white light changes everything.

When she comes to, she initially believes that she just fell asleep behind a dumpster. Strange yes, but what is even stranger is the world she finds waiting for her. She learns that it has been 5 years since anyone last saw her. Yet she hasn't aged a day. Everything is different now. Her parents are divorced, Austin is away at college and in love with Kyra's longtime best friend Cat.

And Austin's brother Tyler has grown up.

Now I am really not a fan of the whole insta-love thing. It just doesn't make sense to me. Insta-love doesn't exist. Insta-lust definitely does and normally I would have labeled the thing between Tyler & Kyra as insta-lust but somehow I didn't mind it. I rooted hard for Kyra & Tyler. There are so many swoony scenes for the both of them, but my favorite involves sidewalk chalk and a birdcage.

I loved this book. I loved the characters so hard and so much. I do hope that we see more of Simon & Willow in the next book because I really did like them. When Kyra begins to accept that maybe her father isn't as crazy as her mother says he is, there's an absolutely heartbreaking scene between Kyra and her mom. Her mom who used to be her best friend. I had a hard time with that scene because I kept thinking of my own relationship with my mom. 

I love books that are full of twists and turns and this book definitely brought that. In addition it also brought the feels in a big way. I was a wreck at the end of the book and it took me several minutes to calm myself down and stop crying. Derting combines, SciFi, Romance, and Contemporary all into one book. That is so hard to do and Derting did it. Not only did she do it, she did it amazingly. Even if you aren't really into SciFi or if you are picky about it like I am, read this book. You will not be sorry. I am giving this book 5 stars and I cannot wait to see what happens next in this trilogy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

Book Title: The Break-Up Artist
Author: Philip Siegel
Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. 



After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she'll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

Disclaimer: I participated in an ARC Tour for this book & read it with On The Same Page ARC Tours.

Review:
I honestly was not sure what to expect with this book. I knew it could go in many different directions, but I didn't know what direction it would go.I absolutely did not expect to relate to Becca so easily, but I did. Even though I didn't really go through the whole friends abandoning me in favor of their boyfriends in high school, I went through that in college. 

One of my childhood friends got a boyfriend and she could not stop obsessing about him. At one point I completely lost it and started yelling at her at a movie theater in front of the popcorn stand about how she didn't seem to value friendship as much now that she was dating (and BTW the guy was a CREEP) After that our friendship basically ended. But I digress.

I know of several people who are seemingly unable to have time with their friends & time with their significant others. It's frustrating especially when the friends lose out to the significant other. I understood why Becca was so upset that her onetime friend Huxley had basically abandoned her when Steve came into the picture.

It's hard to explain to someone who has never gone through it but it really hurts that a friend would rather couple up and shut out all the single friends rather than bring the new significant other around the friends so that they can all spend time together. Or even better do something with their friends and without the significant other *gasp*

Becca is afraid that things are about to repeat themselves with Val and her new boyfriend Ezra and she does not want to lose another friend to the over-hyped bogus concept of love. But what she doesn't expect is to fall for Ezra herself. Especially since she doesn't believe in love. 

It's hard for Becca to believe in love when her sister was left at the altar by someone that she loved. Love has come to make no sense to Becca. All she's seen it lead to is heartbreak after heartbreak. Becca has a very narrow view of what love looks like. To the point where she doesn't think that her parents are in love anymore. There's none of that affection, that is so rampant in high school, in her own home. 

So she starts this business of breaking up couples and the business is booming. It definitely helped being anonymous though.She knows if her name gets out, then any chance of a social life is over. Not that she actually has one now, but she won't be able to recover from this.

I really enjoyed this book even though parts were hard to read because of my own history with losing my friends to coupledom. Both Becca and her sister transform in different but no less awesome ways. I didn't particularly love Val or Huxley and that's because of their insistence on putting romantic relationships and social standing at the highest level and leaving their friendships to crash and burn.I also didn't love Ezra. I started to, but then when we got to learn more about him I no longer liked him.I didn't particularly love the ending because I thought it left a lot of questions. Sometimes I'm okay with it and sometimes I'm not. This time I was not.

So this book will be getting 4 stars from me. It was a good read, a quick read and one that I think everyone should read.Having a balance between your friends & significant other is so important and not one that people think about enough.