Saturday, August 31, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #54

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and features books you've added to your shelves, both physical and virtual.

I was so excited to pick up Good by S. Walden this week! I loved Going Under and this book sounds like another great one. I loved The Collector too, so I was psyched to pick up the sequel The Liberator.

Good by S. Walden

The Liberator by Victoria Scott

For Review:
Relativity by Cristin Bishara

Unspoken by Jen Frederick

Sia by Josh Grayson

Now and Then by Brenda Rothert

Dead Girls Don't Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

A Little Too Far by Lisa Descrochers

Waiting on the Sidelines by Ginger Scott

Marine Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Taylor-Made Life by Kary Rader Blog Tour and Review

A Taylor-Made Life Blog Tour & Giveaway

They lived the life they were given; they loved the life they made.
Cheerleader Taylor Smith doesn’t want to die a virgin. Unfortunately, if the terminally-ill leukemia patient doesn't find a lover or a stem-cell match within months, her fear will become reality. When her cancer mentor is revealed to be a hottie entrepreneur from California, it seems fate might finally be on her side.
Tech-geek Gavin Taylor has everything he ever wanted, except someone to grieve for him when he's gone. With his melanoma cancer beyond the help of his riches, he agrees to participate in a cancer patient mentoring program where he's matched with a dying teen from Texas. Despite his immediate attraction, the Silicon Valley whiz intends only to provide friendship and happy memories to the beautiful, young woman who is determined to win his love.

When it's discovered that his frozen sperm and her harvested eggs could lead to a cure, Taylor's mother offers to be a surrogate. And Gavin must decide if he can risk the heart he has never given and a child he'll never know to a girl he just met.


Author’s Bio:

Kary Rader is a part-time Twitter sage, stay-at-home mother of three, and slave to the characters and worlds inside her head. Always creative, she's drawn to stories with fantastical worlds and creatures. With a little bit of magic and divine guidance, there isn't anything that can't be accomplished with words. It's the power of words that creates and destroys. Vanquishing evil and injustice while finding eternal love in the process is all in a day's work. With the help of her critique partners and master cartographer imaginary places come to life.

My Review:

This was an intense read for sure and a definite tearjerker (I was able to tell merely from the summary and cover that I’d be bawling by the novel’s end). Although I loved the underlying message of Gavin and Taylor’s story, I think the romance was a little over the top and it kept me from fully investing in the novel as much as I would have liked.

The pacing was very quick and if you’re not a fan of insta-love in novels than beware because the romantic development is lightning fast. However, I think it worked fine for me because it is obvious that their situation is unique and they may not have a lot of time together because of their cancer diagnoses. The video game love between the characters made for a nice meet cute scenario.

The romance was a little out there for me and I just couldn’t buy how much the characters go through in such a quick time. I saw chemistry between the two, but the leap from friends to so much more (won’t say exactly to avoid spoilers) was too jarring for me. I did like them though and was hoping for a happy ending although I knew going in it was a book about cancer patients.

If you consider yourself a fan of emotional books that touch on heart-wrenching subjects, then I’d definitely recommend this novel.  

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Giveaway: $25 Gift Card to Amazon, a Charm Bracelet, a Crochet Hat, and SWAG for A Taylor-Made Life, and Queen of Jastain. 

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.

Publication Date: May 14, 2013

Parallel was a fabulous read! I absolutely adored the premise and I thought the execution was phenomenal. Lauren Miller is a great debut author and I can’t wait to read more of her work.

The setup had an “It’s a Wonderful Life” feel to it: Abby wakes up in a parallel universe where her life has gone in a completely different direction. Instead of being an actress, she is a freshman at Yale. Abby’s life changes each time that her parallel self makes a different decision. I loved the suspense of the novel and not knowing what was going to happen to Abby each morning when she woke up.

The narrative switches between past and present, but it wasn’t jarring. I liked reading about college Abby and high school Abby’s respective journeys. There is a love triangle and there were a lot of romantic twists because of the collision of the parallel universes. I was very happy with how it was resolved and I thought Abby ended up exactly with the right person.

I also loved the friendship with Abby and her best friend Caitlyn. Although they were constants in each other lives, I felt it was realistic how the book depicted the ups and downs of female friendship during high school and college. Abby’s professor was also enjoyable and offered plenty of comic relief. He also served as a convenient plot device to help explain the parallel universe theory. His explanations made it easier to understand the science behind the collision of the parallel worlds.

I adored the end and I thought the author tied everything together perfectly. If you like paranormal romance and young adult books, this is a must read.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book for review!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Aberrant by Ruth Silver Book Blitz and Giveaway

Aberrant (Aberrant )
Release Date: 04/17/13

Summary from Goodreads:
In the
future Dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and
offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for
everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question,
including the government's match in marriage and "The Day of the Chosen",
a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means
hasn't existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker
accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and
is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly
to an end as she's arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her
existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from "The Day
of the Chosen." The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave
danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.

With Joshua's help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run.
Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home
and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach
the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay.
Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands.
Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and
bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must
quickly adapt to survive.

Available from:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg

About the Author

Ruth Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She has written under three unique pseudo names and penned well over a hundred stories.

She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor's in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, "Deuces are Wild", which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories.

Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She runs her own book blog and also enjoys photography and traveling.

Her favorite YA genre is a mix of Dystopian & Fantasy which is evident in the upcoming release of her latest book, Aberrant. Slated for release April 2013 by Lazy Day Publishing, it is the first in a trilogy.
***Author Links***
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png


Joshua came into my room, ignoring all rules as he helped push the dresser further from the wall, knocking it to the floor allowing me more than enough room to grab the journal and go. I tossed it inside the pack and Joshua put the map inside before we stepped out of my bedroom. I glanced down the hall, not sure what I expected to see. To the right the dormitory had been hit, and a roar of smoke and fire filled the confined space. Jacqueline was gone. Hand-in-hand we ran in the opposite direction toward the staircase.
My eyes burned. Coughing, I refused to let go of his hand as we stepped outside. Drones weren’t the only things attacking Haven. Tanks rolled into town. A few soldiers jumped off, taking over the perimeter, guns drawn. I paused, gripping Joshua's hand as we were shrouded in smoke. Just a few feet away, a soldier lifted his weapon and unleashed fury on a group of innocent people. I covered my mouth with my hand to keep from crying out when a child no older than three hit the cement. His eyes remained open as blood seeped from his head. He didn't move. Didn't blink. It took only a moment to realize he’d died instantly. All I could do was stand there in shock.
"We have to move," I heard Joshua's voice, but it didn't register. The smoke swirled around us and gunfire erupted in every direction. He grabbed my arm. "Olivia, I need you to focus." I nodded once, trying my best to clear the cobwebs from my mind. I couldn't, though. I wanted to run out to the child and protect him, but it was too late. I was too late. They were here because of me, innocent blood on my hands. I felt the heat radiating from the dormitory and my eyes flashed back. "I need you here with me, Olive."
"I am," I insisted, knowing if I didn't focus we'd both be dead. I spotted more soldiers – their standard issue uniform and the Cabal crest on their jacket sleeve told me all I needed to know. The government had come looking for us. "Which way?" I couldn't see the exit. With the smoke enveloping us and the fear coursing through my veins, I forgot the direction we'd come from.


1 signed paperback of Aberrant (US only)
3 scrabble tile necklace charms & signed
bookmark (INT)
3 bottlecap keychains & signed bookmark (INT)

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review and Blog Tour Stop: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

Book & Author details:

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard 
(The Danaan Trilogy #1) 
Publication date: April 30th 2013 
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Allison O’Malley’s plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she’s been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison’s mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn’t trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother’s sanity.



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. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

Author Links:

My Review:

This was an awesome New Adult fantasy novel that had me hooked by the end. I loved the mythology of the Danaan and I’m eager to read the sequel to learn more about Allison’s heritage and her abilities.

The beginning was a little slow and this is one of those cases where I’m so glad I hung in there and decided to continue reading. Because by mid-point, I was hooked on the story and interested to see the connection Allison and her mother had to the fairy like creatures known as the Tuatha de Danaan.

The characters were likable and I thought it was touching how much Allison cared about her mom and was protective over her. She really only wants her mom well again and takes a lot of risks to help make this a reality, proving her courage.

I wasn’t crazy about the romance in the book, but I think Ethan could end up growing on me. He was a little wishy-washy and I much preferred Aodhan. I’m hoping he ends up as a romantic interest in the next book, he was very intriguing and I’d love to know more of his back-story.

The mythology was interesting and completely new to me. I thought the author did a good job making it easy to grasp the lore surrounding the Danaan. The names were tricky, but I appreciated the authenticity. Although it wasn’t a major cliffhanger ending, there is still so much more to be told about the Danaan.

I really liked this book and I’m impressed that it’s the author’s debut. I’ll be on the lookout for the follow-up when it releases later this year.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I received this book as part of the tour from Xpresso Book Tours. 

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Rule by Jay Crownover


Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight--A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want--and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

Publication Date: December 30, 2012

I thought if there were one book I’d totally love, it would be Rule. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I didn’t adore the story as much as I hoped. I’m not sure if it was because of the main characters or the constant back and forth between the two, but I was left underwhelmed.

Shaw was annoying and I felt like she tried too hard to be the “cool” girl. She doesn’t hassle Rule about his self-destructive tendencies and becomes an enabler of sorts. I’m also a little over books where all other female characters besides the heroine and her best friend are considered trashy and slutty.

Rule was a tad bit more interesting, but I’ve read too many books lately with the same bad boy caricatures as the leads. I liked his friendships and the tight relationship with his brother and it made him more likable.

The pacing was good and the romance didn’t feel contrived. There was a natural development and since Rule and Shaw have known each other for years, it was interesting to read about them taking the leap from friendship to something more. However, the drama and constant make-up/break-up grew tedious. I was curious to see how the Remy situation would be addressed and it kept me reading to find out how Rule and his family would move on from his twin’s death.

Although I’m feeling like this is a middle of the road book for me, I’d still recommend it. There are loads of stellar five star reviews online and plenty of fangirls of Rule, so I’m in the minority on this one.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this novel for review!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #53

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and features books you've added to your shelves, both physical and virtual.

For Review:
Under Your Skin by Sabine Durrant

Imperfectly Perfect by A.E. Woodward

Engines of the Broken World by Jason Vanhee

The F It List by Julie Halpern

Stay with Me by Elyssa Patrick

Deadly Game by Cara Lockwood

All of You by Christina Lee

Poor Little Dead Girls by Lizzie Friend

Love Struck by Chantel Simmons

Friday, August 23, 2013

Breaking the Reins by Juliana Haygert Book Blitz

Breaking the Reins
by Juliana Haygert
Release Date: 08/19/13

Summary from Goodreads:

Horses, mansions, tea parties, and lies are twenty-year-old Hannah Taylor’s life. To others, her family and her relationship with Eric is perfect. But she knows the truth. She lives it.

After a fire takes her grandma's life and kills her horse, Hannah's immaculate life spirals out of control. Her father disapproves of her decision to run her grandma’s ranch instead of focusing solely on learning the family business; Animal Control brings her Argus, a mistreated horse that she can't turn away even though she's not ready for another horse; and her boyfriend, Eric Bennett, a world famous polo player, becomes possessive and authoritarian. Despite her best efforts to disguise it, Hannah grows wary of him.

Then, Leonardo Fernandes struts onto the polo scene. A cocky rookie with a messy life of his own, he’s drawn to Hannah and isn’t afraid of showing it, even when Eric makes it clear she is his and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Hannah suffers for Eric’s jealousy. The abuse only gets worse when Leo steals the title of best polo player in the world from Eric.

But the title isn’t enough for Leo. He wants Hannah too, and she can’t deny her attraction to him either. Somehow, she must find a way to break free from abusive Eric before he breaks every bone in her body.

**New Adult Contemporary Romance Novel**

Praise for Breaking the Reins:

“Breaking The Reins by Juliana Haygert is a real treasure. It’s a sexy, heartbreaking and romantic ride you won’t want to miss.” —Sawyer Bennett, USA Today Bestselling author of Off Side, Off Limits, Off the Record, and Off Course.

“A breath of fresh air in the New Adult market. Juliana Haygert’s new contemporary novel is one not to be missed!” —Magan Vernon, international bestselling author of The Only Exception

“A swoonworthy love interest and a fantastic backdrop make Breaking the Reins a New Adult read you don’t want to miss!” —Alyssa Rose Ivy, bestselling author of The Crescent Chronicles, Clayton Falls Series, and The Hazards of Skinny Dipping.


We exited the stable, and I worked up the nerve to invite him to stay longer, to have dinner with me and talk a little.
I opened my mouth, but he spoke first.
“I should get going,” he said, his tone low.
My heart sank. “Oh. Okay.”
He turned to the path leading to the parking lot, and I caught up with him.
He showed me a lopsided grin. “Are you doing the guy thing? Walking me to my car?”
I shrugged. “It’s my house. I can do whatever I want.”
His smile was gone, and his eyes were serious. “And you want to walk me to my car?”
I returned the stare. “I want to,” I said, not sure where this bold feeling was coming from.
As we approached his car, butterflies assaulted my stomach. What was I doing? I was encouraging him. Perhaps I should stay behind and say goodbye from the path.
I couldn't make up my mind, and then we were standing by his SUV’s door.
Every nerve in my body came alive when he turned around and stepped too close to me, his body hovering inches from mine, his intense eyes on mine. His gaze flicked down to my mouth, and I inhaled a sharp breath.
Groaning, Leo put his hands on my waist, whirled us around, pushed his hard body on mine, and pressed me against his car.
“You said you wouldn’t try anything.”
“I tried to resist,” he said, his voice breathless. “I told you. It’s hard. Especially when I notice you don’t want me to resist. I cannot resist it.”
I put my hands on his chest with every intention of pushing him away, but the muscles of his pecs under my palms caught my breath, and I melted. I was melting, and there was nothing I could do.
“You have no idea how much I want to kiss you right now,” he said, his breath brushing against my lips, and I shivered.
“I think I do,” I whispered.
“Please, morena, tell me I can kiss you.” His hand clasped around my nape. “I need to kiss you.”
Intoxicated, I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him down to me. I kissed him. Without wasting one millisecond, Leo kissed me back. I felt him relaxing in my arms, as if he had finally won a fight and now could celebrate the victory. He moaned when I entangled my tongue with his. His hand on my neck slid up, his finger entwining in my hair, and his other hand slipped under my tank top and clutched my waist. He took control and changed the rhythm of the kiss, his soft lips slowing down against mine, but his tongue going deeper. It was erotic, and my body was on fire, screaming for his.

About the Author:
New Adult author and contributor at NA Alley blog.

While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.


2-ebook copies of Breaking the Reins (INT)

1-ebook copies of Destiny Gift (INT)

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater


The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after..

Publication Date: September 17, 2013

I don’t know what it is about this book and its predecessor The Raven Boys, but I am absolutely in love with the series. Instead of rushing through this book, I took my time, wanting to savor not only the lovely writing but also the fantastic cast of characters.

The plot is intricately woven and you must have read the first book before diving in. Honestly, I feel like I should have reread The Raven Boys before revisiting Gansey and his friends’ quest for Glendower. It would’ve been helpful having a refresher to remember the large cast of secondary characters and their different supernatural abilities. However, a few chapters in, I was captivated once again.

Dream Thieves almost has a gothic feel to it—the writing is haunting and beautiful. I’m a huge fan of the author’s style and I’m certainly interested in checking out her other series. The dialogue is also full of wit and I loved the humor immersed in the characters’ interactions. Descriptions of ley lines may not sound that interesting, but I became invested because of how much I connected with all of the characters.

This novel centers mostly on Ronan and I liked finding out more about his family history. I felt like he was in the background for most of the first book and this book really was his story. But no worries, all the other central figures have a strong presence in the book including Blue, Adam, Gansey and Noah. Some of the characters are beginning to crack under the pressures of Cadeswater and Glendower and I really hope everyone gets a happy ending (I believe there will be four books in total).

I honestly can say that this is a must-read series. It is original and fun and the story stays with you long after you finish the book. It’s YA, but it is probably one of the few young adult books that I’d recommend to all ages.  

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this novel for review!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight


A stunning debut novel in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter's life, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can't believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who's never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate's faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she'd done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of "spontaneous" suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:

She didn't jump.

Sifting through Amelia's emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall's roof that day-and why she died.

Told in alternating voices, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, of love and betrayal, of trusted friends and vicious bullies. It's about how well a parent ever really knows a child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save.

Publication Date: April 2, 2013

I’ve seen this book compared to Gone Girl a lot and since I found that book hard to put down, I looked forward to picking up this one as well. Reconstructing Amelia was a well-done suspense novel that touched upon a lot of hot-button issues like teen bullying.

The book opens with Kate being called to the school to pick up her teen daughter. Amelia has been suspended for cheating, something very uncharacteristic for her. Before Kate arrives, Amelia has fallen from the roof in an apparent suicide. In the weeks following, Kate makes it her mission to find out what really happened to her daughter.

I liked the alternating POVs (Amelia and Kate) and it made me especially connect with Amelia as a character. It was easy to see she was a good and smart girl who was manipulated by the people around her. Kate’s character was harder for me to connect with. She was really naïve as a mother and I also didn’t feel her grief over losing her daughter. Amelia is Kate’s entire world and I just didn’t feel her anguish over that being taken away.

As far as the mystery aspect, I thought it was well done. There were a few great twists that had me thrown. Some of the plot was predictable, but I still found it interesting how the author weaved all of the different pieces together to reconstruct what had happened to Amelia.

This was a good read that I’d recommend for anyone looking for a character driven suspense novel. This is the author’s debut and I think she did an excellent job.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this novel for review!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigal Haas

Goodreads Summary:

Paradise quickly gets gruesome in this thrilling page-turner with a plot that’s ripped from the headlines and a twist that defies the imagination.

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.

But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone ever imagined...

Publication Date: July 16, 2013

If you don’t like books that mess with your head, then avoid this novel! Because it will leave you reeling and it’ll stay with you long after you’ve finished. The novel had a ripped from the headlines feel and was definitely inspired by the Meredith Kercher/Amanda Knox and Natalee Holloway cases.

The characters weren’t likable, so it did keep me guessing on who could’ve murdered Elise. The author did throw me off several times as the book chronicles the days leading up to Elise’s death and the murder trial of Elise’s best friend Anna. The timeline jumps around to paint a complete picture of Elise and Anna’s complicated friendship. The friends have their ups and downs and their past indiscretions end up as fodder for the trial.

I thought there was several thought provoking parts of the book including how the media can warp the most innocent things. Photos of Anna are released to the media and she is publicly tried because of her improper emotional responses following Elise’s murder and pictures of the two girls partying.

This was a quick and gripping read and will keep you up late at night to see not only who killed Elise, but the outcome of the trial. The ending will have you reading the last pages over and over again to try and grasp the mind freak you’ve just been put through. Highly recommend for mystery lovers and young adult readers.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this novel for review!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover

Goodreads Summary:In the follow-up to Colleen Hoover’s #1 New York Times bestseller Hopeless, the charming and irresistible Dean Holder tells the passionate story that has melted thousands of hearts.

In Hopeless, Sky left no secret unearthed, no feeling unshared, and no memory forgotten, but Holder’s past remained a mystery.

Still haunted by the little girl he let walk away, Holder has spent his entire life searching for her in an attempt to finally rid himself of the crushing guilt he has felt for years. But he could not have anticipated that the moment they reconnect, even greater remorse would overwhelm him…

Sometimes in life, if we wish to move forward, we must first dig deep into our past and make amends. In Losing Hope, bestselling author Colleen Hoover reveals what was going on inside Holder’s head during all those hopeless moments—and whether he can gain the peace he desperately needs.

Publication Date: July 8, 2013

Total book hangover after this one! As much as I thought I was over alternate POV books, Holder was able to suck me in and force me to pull an all-nighter to finish this amazing book.

I have a bad track record when it comes to books with a lot of hype. It was the reason I held off from reading Hopeless for a long time. Once I did finally read it, I loved the story and fell in love with the characters. The reason I held off from reading Losing Hope was I thought it would be boring. I already know the story between Sky and Holder and didn’t see what else could be gained by reading his POV.

Not only was Losing Hope far from boring, it had me in tears more than once. There are so many heartbreaking moments in Holder’s story and his painful losses were difficult to read about. The book wasn’t a total downer and had plenty of sweet and funny moments.

I didn’t know it was possible to fall in love with Holder more than I already am, but the book changed my mind. He’s protective, fiercely loyal and amazingly eloquent at expressing his emotions. Actually, a few times, his inner monologue made me question the believability of a male character thinking in this way. But it is a romance, so I like the fantasy that a guy like Holder actually exists.

The plot certainly enhanced Hopeless. Although the bulk of the novel takes place during the same time frame as Hopeless, the beginning gives readers more insight into Holder’s life before he saw Sky in the convenience store and their lives after the events of Hopeless.

If you haven’t read this series, then you must pick them up NOW! I don’t know if Losing Hope totally works as a standalone, so I’d suggest reading Hopeless first.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book for review!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #52

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and features books you've added to your shelves, both physical and virtual.

I'm back from my cruise! I hope everyone had a good week and I'll be catching up on comments and emails this weekend =)

For Review:
Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

Into the Dark by Bree Despain

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Out of Play by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry

Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Faking It by Cora Carmack

Goodreads Summary:

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

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

Publication Date: June 4, 2013

I loved Cade from Losing It and was very excited to read his story. Although it wasn’t as terrific as the first book, I still enjoyed Faking It and I’ll definitely continue reading more from the author.

What I like most about the books is the author’s writing style. There were a lot of great one-liners and I loved hearing Cade’s inner monologue. He was very easy to connect to as a character and his self-deprecating sense of humor had me giggling.

Max was a little harder to like and I tried to sympathize because of her past, but I still wanted to shake some sense into her because Cade was freaking amazing! The romance between the two characters was sweet, albeit predictable. I mean over and over again it’s reiterated how different the two of them are and this is why it could never work. I get it: he’s the golden boy and she’s just so edgy.

The tone got more serious as the novel went on, but I didn’t totally feel emotionally invested. I liked the book, but not sure if I’d reread Faking It like I plan to do with Losing It. Maybe it’s because I’ve read so many great books lately and I didn’t feel like this one was memorable enough. I’d still recommend the series for fans of New Adult books and it was nice to see characters from the first novel pop up.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book for review!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: Absent by Katie Williams

Goodreads Summary:

When seventeen-year-old Paige dies in a freak fall from the roof during Physics class, her spirit is bound to the grounds of her high school. At least she has company: her fellow ghosts Evan and Brooke, who also died there. But when Paige hears the rumor that her death wasn't an accident--that she supposedly jumped on purpose--she can't bear it. Then Paige discovers something amazing. She can possess living people when they think of her, and she can make them do almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get to the most popular girl in school and stop the rumors once and for all.

Publication Date: May 21, 2013

Absent ended up being a surprisingly thought-provoking read. It had a great underlying message and along with Paige’s ghost I felt her heartache and anger over her premature death.

The book opens with Paige and two other ghosts haunting their former high school. The teens all died on the school grounds and can’t leave. Instead, they are forced to roam the halls and watch as their classmates move on.

Paige wasn’t likable at first, but I loved her growth as a character. Paige has to face that the things she found important in life, no longer matter as much in death. She becomes obsessed with trying to stop the rumor that her death was a suicide. Along the way, she learns of how much she had lost by not taking the time to look beyond the labels she created for her fellow classmates.

This was a quick read, but for the most part, the characters and the plot were still fleshed out well. I finished the book in two sittings because I was eager to solve the mystery surrounding how exactly Paige fell off the roof. I liked the twists thrown in and I didn’t see the end coming.

There are a few heart-wrenching scenes and I did get choked up once or twice. I found it particularly sad as Paige realizes she wasted her heart on the wrong boy who was a popular jock that forced Paige to have a secret relationship and wouldn’t be seen in public with her.

Readers of young adult books who want something more than a fluffy read will definitely enjoy Absent.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book for review!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Guest Reviews: The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken and Come Back to Me by Coleen Patrick

Jessica is reviewing two more books on the blog today: The Bet and Come Back to Me.
Goodreads Summary:

"I have a proposition for you." Kacey should have run the minute those words left Seattle millionaire Jake Titus's mouth. It's been years since Kacey's seen her childhood friend Jake, but the minute Jake mentions his ill grandmother, Kacey is ready to do anything for the sweet old woman. And if that means pretending they're engaged for her sake-so be it.

But Kacey wasn't counting on Jake's older brother Travis still being there. She calls him "Satan" for a reason: she's never forgotten the way he teased and taunted her. Yet when they meet again, Travis's gorgeous smile is a direct hit to her heart . . . and Kacey's more confused than ever. As the days pass, only one thing starts to become alarmingly clear-she never should have accepted Jake's deal . .

Publication Date: March 26, 2013

Jessica's Review:

The writing is solid and the book is entertaining, but I really didn't like Kace. She allows herself to repeatedly get used by Jake and puts up with so much shit, sorry, that you slowly lose respect for her. I liked Travis, but even lost some respect for him for allowing Kace to put up with Jake and for not growing a pair sooner and saying how he felt. Kind of wimpy in my opinion.

3.5/5 Stars

Goodreads Summary:

Whitney Denison can’t wait to start over.

She thought she had everything under control, that her future would always include her best friend Katie… Until everything changed.

Now her life in Bloom is one big morning after hangover, filled with regret, grief, and tiny pinpricks of reminders that she was once happy. A happy she ruined. A happy she can’t fix.

So, she is counting down the days until she leaves home for Colson University, cramming her summer with busywork she didn’t finish her senior year, and taking on new hobbies that involve glue and glitter, and dodging anyone who reminds her of her old life.

When she runs into the stranger who drove her home on graduation night, after she’d passed out next to a ditch, she feels herself sinking again. The key to surviving the summer in Bloom is unraveling whatever good memories she can from that night.

But in searching for answers, she’ll have to ask for help and that means turning to Evan, the stranger, and Kyle, Katie’s ex-boyfriend. Suddenly, life flips again, and Whitney finds herself on not only the precipice of happy but love, too, causing her to question whether she can trust her feelings, or if she is falling into her old patterns of extremes.

As she uncovers the truth about her memories, Whitney sees that life isn’t all or nothing, and that happy isn’t something to wait for, that instead, happy might just be a choice.

Publication Date: April 10, 2013

Jessica's Review:

The writing was good, but the story was too predictable and it just doesn't stand out. I've read a few books dealing with this same topic, but this one didn't capture and hold my attention like some. Also, the only character worth anything or worth liking in the story is Evan. It should be the main character, the one whose voice is telling the story, but that didn't happen for me.

3/5 Stars

Thanks to the publishers for copies of these books for review!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review: The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

Goodreads Summary:

Sometimes life takes you off course . . .


Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett thought she knew exactly where her life was going. But after a wild night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she shocks everyone-including herself-when she decides to leave the only life she's ever known and set out on her own. Grabbing her purse and her cell phone, Camryn boards a Greyhound bus ready to find herself. Instead, she finds Andrew Parrish.

Sexy and exciting, Andrew lives life like there is no tomorrow. He persuades Camryn to do things she never thought she would and shows her how to give in to her deepest, most forbidden desires. Soon he becomes the center of her daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But there is more to Andrew than Camryn realizes. Will his secret push them inseparably together-or destroy them forever?
Due to sexual content and language, this book is recommended for 17+ – Adult Contemporary Women’s – New Adult Fiction

Publication Date: November 15, 2012

This book drove me a little crazy if I’m being completely honest. There were parts I completely loved and then other sections where I had a few WTH moments. The book was intense and emotional and the author certainly kept me guessing about what direction the story was going.

The novel opens with Camryn having a falling out with her best friend. She’s also still reeling from the loss of her first love who died in a car accident. Feeling depressed and lost, she takes off on a bus with no exact destination in mind. Along the way, she meets Andrew, another lost soul of sorts, and they begin a relationship.

The first half of the novel was a little slow as Camryn and Andrew get to know each other on the bus trip. There’s a creepy guy on the bus with them and when Andrew comes to the rescue, they ended up growing closer. I liked Andrew from the get-go and Camryn was for the most part relatable. I enjoyed the dual POVs as well and thought it was sweet to see how natural their feelings developed for one another.

Spoilers Ahead

Although the first half was slow, I still liked it a lot and thought it was on the way to being a 4 or 5 star book for me. However, the second half went in an unexpected direction and I felt like I was reading a completely different novel. It wasn’t bad per se, but I felt like everything that happened was too much. In the second half, the couple falls in love, Andrew loses his father, Camryn discovers Andrew has terminal cancer, Andrew goes into a coma, Andrew survives and Camryn is pregnant.

I don’t mind sex in novels, but the explicit sexual content in this one felt like it came out of nowhere. I thought the whole dominant and submissive angle was also an odd choice.

End of Spoilers

This is a very popular book and highly rated on Goodreads and Amazon. Although some of the book didn’t work for me, I’d still recommend it to readers looking for a romantic new adult novel that features a memorable road trip.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: In the After by Demitria Lunetta

In the After (In the After #1)In the After by Demitria Lunetta

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

This book is probably one of my favorite YA reads of the year. This was a shocker since it wasn’t heavy on the romance and that’s usually one of my favorite aspects of a book. I loved the main character and her transformation from whiney teen girl to dystopian survivor bad *ss.

We are introduced to Amy, three years after an apocalypse that includes the wiping out of most of humanity due to mindless creatures that hunt and devour humans. Amy is alone in her secured home, but is forced to sneak out into the night to gather supplies for survival. I loved the first half of the book that includes Amy finding a young girl named Baby that has also survived.

Amy’s relationship with Baby was touching. In many ways, they are each other’s salvation in a hopeless world. Amy is naturally maternal and I loved how they learned to communicate by their own version of ASL (they can’t speak because the creatures are attracted to noise).

The second half was completely different than the first, but still interesting. As Amy interacts with more survivors, I had to question who was worse: the creatures or the humans? There’s a hint of a romance, but it doesn’t develop into much. It worked though because it may have been annoying if Amy was getting all swoony when everyone is dying around her.

The creatures were freaking scary! The author’s descriptions of how they looked and how they killed their victims had me cringing. Any book that gives me nightmares like this one did definitely deserves five stars. I thought I was getting over the dystopian genre, but I really enjoyed In the After and look forward to the sequel.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this novel for review!

View all my reviews