Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cover Reveal: Live Through This by Mindi Scott

I've got another upcoming fall release cover to reveal for you guys this morning, so before we really get to the what's it about, etc, let's just get to the gorgeous thing you're here for:



Is that cover not absolutely gorgeous? I love it, and I will say, it absolutely fits with the book in so many ways. So what is this book about? I've got the summary for you, but take my word that you don't want to miss this one. There's so much sweetness and roughness mixed in to one aching yet satisfying story. It's an amazing book. But what else would you expect from the author of one of my favorite books ever? Oh, and Seth fans? There's some Freefall Easter eggs in this one...

Now for the summary! 


Sometimes hiding the truth requires more than a lie . . . 

From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her from the annoying drama. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a stepdad and mom who would stop at nothing to keep her and her siblings happy and safe. 

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted fa├žade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now, Coley and Reece are getting closer, and as Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling. 


Live Through This is hitting shelves October 2, 2012 from Simon Pulse, so make sure you keep it on your radar! And in the meantime, you should totally leave a comment to let Mindi know what you think of her new cover.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

SUMMARY:

Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.

Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.

She’s been warned.

Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes , the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything—including herself.

She’ll be betrayed.

Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be hell to pay.


OPINION: 5 STARS

This book is so absolutely amazing, from the writing to the characters to the overall story and atmosphere. Moulton's growing talent shines in this book, and will leave readers craving more. Ellie's characterization in this installment is stunning. She accepts her responsibilities more, and faces things even more head on. I adore this girl, and I think she is such a fabulous heroine. Building on her changes is how much the entire emotional atmosphere of this one shifts. Angelfire was fun and not too serious and a little flirty. Wings of the Wicked is emotional, raw, and takes things darker and more in depth. Yes, there is still the wit and fun, but this one has more, and I ate every bit of it up.

Beyond Ellie, the other characters are just as perfectly built and developed. From new characters introduced in this book to ones returning from Angelfire, they will leave their own distinctive mark on readers. With a great depth despite being side characters, Moulton definitely knows what she's doing with them. Then there's Will, with his sexiness and endearing awkwardness, and his infallible devotion to Ellie (and, okay, his sword....). Readers will see deeper into Will with this book, some of it's aching, some frustrating, and other parts of it just make you melt. The romance is kicked up, made sexier and sweeter, and the centuries old bond between the two just continues to grow in such an amazing way. Without focusing on the romance, yet having a near constant undertone of it driving the book even softly, Wings of the Wicked holds the perfect mix for the fighting buffs and the romance addicts.

How much Moulton has grown as writer from Angelfire to Wings is so clear, and so well done. The same kick butt fight scenes are back, and the random banter, but there is still an extra depth to everything, a talent being honed that is showing through and promises of a great final installment. The overall story is brilliant, very well executed and put together, and so absolutely engaging. With tons of twists and turns along the way, and plenty of secrets revealed, there is always something to keep readers gripped and unable to put the book down. Unafraid to hit on some rough stuff with this one, and going all out in some respects, Wings of the Wicked is a striking and powerful second installment.

Details:
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Reading level: Ages 14 and up 
Hardcover: 528 pages 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 31, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cover Reveal + Contest: Forget Me Not by Carolee Dean

Today, I've got something awesome and special for you guys: The cover for Carolee Dean's fall release Forget Me Not. I am so excited about this book. I adored Take Me There - it's definitely a book that will always stick with me and just happens to be a male POV, and you all know how much I adore those- and now I have another book of hers to drool for!


So before we get to the what's it about, what can you win, and other good stuff.... I give you the cover:






Is it not gorgeous and intriguing?

Now for what the book is actually about, so you can join me in yearning away for this one:

Ally is devastated when a scandalous photo of her is texted around school. With her reputation in shambles and her life essentially over, she hides out in a back hallway, trying to figure out where everything went wrong. 

Elijah has spent time in that hallway too. He landed there after taking a whole bottle of sleeping pills. Now he can see ghosts, and he knows what Ally has yet to suspect—that she's already half dead, and one choice away from never coming back.


Elijah has loved Ally for years and would do anything to save her from her in-between place. But if she’s going to live, Ally must face her inner demons, and find the will to save herself.


Does that not sound utterly amazing? This one is set to be released October 2, 2012!

So if you're as eager as me for this one, then you're in luck! I have an ARC of Forget Me Not, along with a copy of Take Me There, up for grabs for one lucky winner!

To enter, just fill out THIS form!

This contest is US Only and ends February 10.

No entries will be accepted in the comments, but admit you should totally still tell me your thoughts! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Author Word Associations: Syrie and Ryan James

Stopping in today is mother/son pair Syrie and Ryan James, author of Forbidden! To celebrate the release, I've thrown a list of random words/phrases at them, and they're telling us the first thing that comes to mind for each. So let's get to it!





RYAN

Elves: Tolkien

Snow: Eskimos

Hairball: Yuck

Policeman: Badge

Chips: Poker

Belly Button Lint: Innie

Okapi: Deer

Mad Hatter: Batman

Swiffer: Daily

Sprite: Coke

Care Bears: STARE!

Green: Blue

Hot Chocolate: Mint

Dentist: Again?

Guitar: Sexy



SYRIE

Elves: fairies

Snow: ball

Hairball: cat

Policeman: protect

Chips: potato

Belly Button Lint: gross

Okapi: animal

Mad Hatter: Alice

Swiffer: dust

Sprite: beverage

Care Bears: cute

Green: Giant

Hot Chocolate: yum

Dentist: ouch

Guitar: play


Thank you, Syrie and Ryan, and congrats on the release!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Character Interview + Contest: Lindsey from The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Stopping in today is Lindsey, from Emily Danforth's The Miseducation of Cameron Post! She's Cameron's friend and confidant, and now she's answering some of my questions!


Describe yourself in 3 words. 

Real; unafraid; riot-grrrrl. 

What was the first thing you thought when you woke up this morning? 

If the swelling from this tongue piercing doesn’t go down soon it’s going to be another week of just milkshakes for sustenance. This thought was followed closely by an intense craving for a bacon and cheddar omelet mashed between the two halves of an everything bagel, which I could not possibly eat with my tongue in this kind of pain. 

What's the most important thing you look for in someone? 

In a grrrl I’m dating or making out with it’s personality first, then sense of style. My tastes vary widely, but you have to have some sense of style—your own style—not the one the GAP is selling to you. In friends it’s loyalty, honesty, and interests. Oh, and taste in music. You bring your Tom Petty Greatest Hits tape into my car (I’m looking at you—Cam Post), and I’ll need to correct that poor decision but fast. 

If you could tell Cameron one thing, what would it be? 

Stop mooning over Queen Cowgirl or Princess Bovine or whatever the runner-up title your not-so-secret straight girl crush didn’t officially win, anyway. It’s not worth it and it’s going end in heartbreak. I mean it Cam: not worth it and going to end in heartbreak. Come out to Seattle and stay with us. My mom will let you squat here awhile. Hitchhike if you have to. Or I’ll send you bus fare for the Greyhound. Just leave now and answer to the consequences later. And write a grrrl back or pick up the phone, would you? What the hell’s going on out there in cowboy country, anyway? 

What kind of reptile would you describe yourself as? 

I never would do that. It’s not my style to compare myself to the reptilian. But if I must choose an animal I’ll go with tabby-orange alley cat, please.


Thank you, Lindsey, for stopping in and congrats, Emily, on the upcoming release!

This one hits shelves February 7, so be sure to check it out!

And in the meantime, Lindsey is bringing you guys a contest for some mixed book related swag, including an mixed tape of songs from the book era just like the ones Cameron and Lindsey make, a signed bookmark, stickers and pencils.

To enter, just fill out THIS form.

This contest is US Only, and ends February 1.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Review + Contest: The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

SUMMARY: It starts with an itch you just can't shake.

Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat.

A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?


OPINION: 4 STARS

From a science aspect, this book is great. Crewe has done a fantastic job of creating her own virus, yet mirroring plenty of viruses that do exist and more importantly, keeping true to how quickly and unexpectedly they can spread. Right down to involuntary responses caused by the virus, and a surefire way for it to keep spreading, Crewe has clearly done her research.

Kaelyn is a great character, definitely a loner of sorts yet very kind and perceptive. Her growth and change are smoothly handled, and the way she branches out as the story progresses brings a great life into her. The story stays focused very much on her, written in letter form and therefore giving focus to some things that do feel a bit more mundane.  The rest of the cast is well done, with some characters having bigger roles than others, and a sense of sorrow surrounded several of them who do become ill.

Plotwise, however, this one was a bit slow, with plenty of waiting around and wondering. While this is definitely a realistic aspect of something like this, it's also harder to read and stay interested with. Still, the overall plot has a great arc, with most everything tied up, although there was one aspect left open that this reader would have liked some closure on. Stopping otherwise at the perfect point, this is a book that will make readers think, and also creep them out just a bit.


Details:
Source: ARC received from Big Honcho Media in exchange for an honest review 
Reading level: Ages 12 and up 
Hardcover: 320 pages 
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Publication Date: January 24, 2012


Want more from Megan and The Way We Fall? Check out her website, and enter for your chance to win a copy of the book as well as a Minimergency Kit

To enter, just fill out THIS form.

This contest is US only, and ends January 31. No entries will be accepted through the comments, but you know you want to leave one still.

 And check out the book trailer, to help get you excited for this book, which hits shelves today!



 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Author Interview: Brodi Ashton

Hitting up today is debut author Brodi Ashton, who's awesome book Everneath is hitting shelves tomorrow. This one has some great characters, and a fun twist on the Persephone myths, so let's get to the interview!

Would you find it harder to never get back to say goodbye to everyone, or having to admit you got sucked in to the Everneath?

Definitely harder to never get to say goodbye.

What was your favorite part about building the Everneath and it's rules/confines?

Once I had the characters down, and their goals, so many of the rules and definitions fell into place. Book 2 is a different story, though.

Amongst your friends and closer readers, which boy seems to be getting more attention: Cole or Jack?

haha! My friends and closer readers are definitely vehement about which one they like! But if I were to poll them all, Jack would probably win. As a side note: I always wanted to write a human boy who people would root for, even though he didn't have any supernatural abilities. Jack is human, and yet he gets most of the votes.

If you could pair Nikki, Jack and Cole with any character from any book, who would you pick for each?

Can I pick from a television show? Because Cole should totally be with Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But Nikki and Jack... I feel like I would be betraying them to put them with anyone else. No one else would understand each like the other.

What kind of office supply would you describe yourself as? 

Glue. At least, that's what I want to be. My husband would say I'm more like that one office supply that acts like a tornado, coming into a room, destroying everything, and leaving it for others to clean up. What office supply is that?


Thank you, Brodi, for stopping in and congrats on the release!

Make sure you guys go check it out tomorrow. You don't want to miss it, plus the cover is just gorgeous...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

SUMMARY: Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...


OPINION: 4 STARS

Though slow to start, once Everneath picks it up, it's gripping and imaginative. There is stellar characterization in this one, not just for Nikki but Jack and Cole as well. Nikki is a fantastic character to root for, someone who knows the mistakes she's made and is hit with several moments of rough realization about the choices she's made and what lays ahead for her. The way she has to pull herself back together after being returned to the Surface, and the steady strengthening of both her character and her body and emotions is a notable aspect of the book. Jack has a sweetness to him and despite the mistakes he seems to have made, he's endearing and memorable. Then there's Cole, one of the most well done 'bad guys' around, with an intensity and inherent charisma to him that will have readers torn between melting and kneeing him in the crotch. With hints of something possibly good lurking underneath a dark and dangerous exterior, Cole goes beyond the typical paranormal guy trying to seduce the girl. Genuinely believing in what he does, but also clearly fond of Nikki even if not always for the right reasons, he is definitely a favorite character for me.

I really like the concept behind this one, and the way it's executed. Though the ending is predictable, it is still potent and a bit breaking in all the right ways. With some mystery built in, but also a very heavy emotional element, and not just because Cole literally feeds on emotions, once I got into this one, I couldn't put it down. Perfectly tied up to work as a standalone, but having plenty of room for great stuff to come in the next installment, Everneath will leave readers in a good place while also ensuring they'll be drooling for more. Ashton does a fabulous job of bringing in the mythology and twisting it to something that is very clearly her own, without anything seeming wrong or too convenient. With a heavy character focus, yet story driven as well, this one is likely to appeal to even those readers who prefer an internal story as much as it is those who love the new worlds that paranormals offer.


Details:
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 24, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Release Day Top Fives: Fracture and Tempest

Two of my very favorite books ever are being released today: Fracture by Megan Miranda and Tempest by Julie Cross. These are both debuts, and man are they just amazing. I kind of want to be them when I grow up...

So, because I think EVERYONE needs to read these books, here are my top five reasons to get them:

Tempest by Julie Cross:

5. The plot is brilliant. And a bit of a mind meld. I think my brain broke a few times while reading.

4. There's romance, but not, yet it's also a big factor, yet it's in the background. No, that makes no sense. Yes, it's true.

3. Is there a dark side to time travel? I am going to go with yes, after reading this book, and the reasons why are kind of amazing.

2. Characters. Julie has some of the best characterization around, from the big characters to the smaller ones. And even better? It fits according to whatever year they are in, and shifts again as the time shifts. Holy wow.

1. There's a hot boy. And he just so happens to be the main character. And he is also in my Boy Closet.


Fracture by Megan Miranda:

5. Megan is awesome and I want more books from her, so if everyone buys her books, then the publisher will buy more and then I can read them. Help a girl out.

4. Cover. The cover is gorgeous, but it also fits SO well. You will appreciate it more after you read the book. How can you stand to miss out on THAT?

3. Decker. I mostly love him, but also harbor a little lingering anger towards him. He leaves me feeling twisty. But he is still in the Boy Closet. Mostly.

2. There is a lot of science stuff in this one, but it's twisted just right to be truthful, while still a little supernatural-ish. And it's brain science related, and my major was neuroscience, so I admit it. I am biased. And awed.

1. Brilliant story. Honestly, I picked this book up expecting to read one chapter, because of one little thing on the back of the cover that actually irked me, and I did not stop reading. I went in annoyed (for a personal reason), and came out stunned. Yeah. That.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Author Interview: A.C. Gaughen

Stopping in today is Scarlet author A.C. Gaughen to talk about her debut... and boggarts.


Scarlet makes the front page headline! What does it say?

SUBVERSIVE THIEF MUST DIE!

What was the hardest aspect of writing a female character pretending to be a male, particularly in voice?

Scarlet has always had her own, very odd way of talking in my head. Her experiences played into it far more than her gender; her time as a thief in London and the secrets she’s hiding combined to form a voice that is consciously, constantly covering something up. She’s very cautious and suspicious even in the quiet of her own mind, and she sees the world in a very visual way. Honestly I love writing in her voice!

If you could pair Scarlet with any character from any book, who would you pick for her?

Heathcliff! Hands down. Didn’t even have to think about it. They would make broody, angsty babies together. Scarlet needs a guy with a few emotional scars. And Heathcliff has to realize the whole Cathy thing isn’t going to happen...

What form would a boggart take in front of you, and what would happen when you cast Riddkilus?

My boggart would clearly be a legion of gigantic, remarkably spry spiders. And when I cast Riddkilus, a huge fireman’s hose of water would spray them all away and create this blue, shimmery web of protection around me like you see in the Products that Kill Bugs commercials.

What single music lyric describes you the best?

“There is a darkness deep in you, a frightening magic I cling to”--Snow Patrol, “You’re All I Have”


So there you guys have it! A little sneak peek at Scarlet, and a look inside the author's head! This one hits shelves February 14, so keep it on your radar!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thoughts on Reviews... and Some Changes

This is a more personal post, something I don't often do around here. But lately, I've been thinking a lot about my review style. Yes, my reviews are long. When I get going on a book, I have a lot to say. My brain works in an analytic way, especially towards characters, so that's how I choose to do my reviews.

But those reviews do take awhile for me to write. I write and type fast, I can put the thoughts together usually pretty easily. But even still, it's a good twenty minutes on average for each of my reviews. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but when I step back and look at it like that, wow is that a lot of time for each book.

And I am very, very behind in reviews. I have a ridiculous number of ones that need to be written. 2011 was a hard year for me, for reasons I won't go into. I let a lot of things slide, I didn't have the mental or physical energy to stay on top of things, then I hit that point where I felt so far behind catching up seemed impossible and it just kept building.

There are plenty of days I come home completely exhausted, at least mentally. It's one thing to wind down with a book, to to just go with the flow and let the story reveal. Tearing through an entire book in an evening work is not a big deal to me. Trying to revise SlackerBoy, write new words on a different manuscript of mine, work on a review, or anything that takes more mental focus... I just didn't have it in me, sometimes for weeks at a time.

So should I have just stopped blogging?  I don't think so. I still read the books, and anyone who follows me on twitter knows I talk endlessly about the books I love. More often than not, I feel like I sway more people on twitter to buy a book because I loved it than I do on my blog, so my words are still getting out there. Should I just take a big hiatus, stop doing anything on my blog because my author related posts far outweigh my reviews? Again, I don't think so.

But the question I have been sitting on is do I just let those reviews go, never type them, or do I change my style?

And after a few weeks of debating, I'm going with the second one. Part of me feels like it's a hit to the authors who are going to get what is essentially a mini review, but then again, it seems like it's worse to have never posted a review of any kind. To help me catch up in my backlog, I will probably post 2-3 at a time, maybe even having the extra benefit of one book catching the eye of someone who came to read a review of the other book posted with it.

Also, because I am very close to querying SlackerBoy, as soon as I finish this last revision that I am just under halfway through on, there might be more changes around here, particularly with my review style. Even books sitting in my to read/review piles will start getting smaller reviews, rather than the same format for all of them.

Does it mean I didn't like a book, or didn't like it as much, if the review is shorter? No. It just means I am having to do a little something for myself, and I hope all of you, authors and readers, understand that.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: Beautiful by Amy Reed

SUMMARY: When Cassie moves from the tiny town where she has always lived to a suburb of Seattle, she is determined to leave her boring, good-girl existence behind. This is Cassie’s chance to stop being invisible and become the kind of girl who’s worth noticing.

Stepping into her new identity turns out to be easier than Cassie could have ever imagined…one moment, one choice, changes everything.

Cassie’s new existence both thrills and terrifies her. Swept into a world of illicit parties and social landmines, she sheds her virginity, embraces the numbness she feels from the drugs, and floats through it all, knowing that she is now called beautiful. She ignores the dangers of her fast-paced life…but she can’t sidestep the secrets and the cruelty.

Cassie is trapped in a swift downward spiral tinged with violence and abuse, and no one—not even the one person she thought she could trust—can help her now.


OPINION: 5 STARS

The Short Version:
Striking, raw, and enticing, Beautiful is an unflinchingly real spiral of pain and self destruction. Throwing readers right into the downfall, and holding nothing back throughout, Cassie is a stunningly done character with so much lurking underneath. Laced in steel yet holding a softness to it that will pull readers in, Beautiful is a book like no other.

The Extended Version:
Cassie is a perfectly done good girl turned bad, refusing to let her fears consume her even as she finds herself immersed in a completely new world. From her first hit of acid to her first time with a boy, Cassie is a rapid path to total destruction that is an impossible to ignore roller coaster. Harboring a depth to her that lurks throughout the entire book, and creative in some of her ploys to get herself into and out of various situations, she is a very smart girl with a pain etched far into her that drives much of her actions. Jaded in some ways, and still a little girl in others, the constant shift in her mindset is stunning and real.

While there is a range of characters Cassie interacts with, from in your face Alex to scared of the world Sarah, the story keeps a tight focus around Cassie. Still, each person has a specific and noticeable impact on her, be it good or bad. Ethan has a gentleness to him despite the situation, leaving readers to wonder just how much he does care for Cassie yet holding a barrier there as well because of the situation, and his character is easily one of the more stand out ones in an already memorable cast. Justin is another favorite, trying his best to fit in in a world that seems to want nothing to do with him, and taking his chances where he can when it comes to Cassie.

Launching straight into the action, and holding nothing back even in the most uncomfortable of situations, Reed has written a truly compelling story. With undercurrents of bigger things going on, and a gutting moment where everything will click for readers, there is a vehemence to this book that is impossible to describe, unsettling to feel, but worth it to endure. Seeped in a very heavy emotional air, readers will be so far invested into Cassie’s story there won’t be room for frustration or anger towards her or those around her beyond what she herself feels. Perfectly paced and beautifully scripted, this one is impossible to put down after page one.

The writing is engaging and vivid, giving life to Cassie and showing both the girl she used to be and the girl she is becoming. Hinting at something deeper lurking under the surface, but having a very in the moment constancy to it, Reed’s writing remarkable. Some of the descriptions are completely unique, and every single one is so clearly Cassie, and yet Reed has a way of letting readers know what is between the lines without blatantly including it.

Disastrous in so many ways, and decimating to read, Beautiful is potent, impacting and courageous. Cassie is a character readers will root for and love, and one they will remember long after the last page is done. Physically painful at times, and a book this reader couldn’t put down, Reed has crafted a compelling and raw story.


Details:
Source: Purchased
Reading Level: 14 and up 
Paperback: 256 pages 
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: October 5, 2010

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

SUMMARY: Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy--or as difficult--as it seems.

Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about the many roads that can lead us home.


OPINION: 5 STARS

The Short Version:
Gutting and emotional, How to Save a Life is a beautifully woven tale of grief and new beginnings. With a dual perspective between two opposing characters, both stunningly done in their characterization and development, there is an alluring, engaging, and poignant narrative to this book. Holding some wrenching and heartbreaking moments, and with a fantastic story line, How to Save a Life is brilliant and striking.

The Extended Version:
Jill is the kind of character who has plenty of flaws, ones she is both aware of and blind to, but they are built into her character so seamlessly that the reason for each reaction is easy to understand, yet no single thing is easily pinpointed as a direct cause/effect. Her sorrow and anger over her father’s death is palpable and painful, and the effect it’s had on her both emotionally and personality wise are jarring. Pushing away the people close to her, and bitter towards things that she knows shouldn’t affect her, Jill is a poignantly done and highly relatable character. Her frustration even towards herself not only helps readers understand her side, but will make them want to root for her.

Mandy is somewhat of a mess, definitely a product of her upbringing and someone who has had a hard road in life. She is definitely a little off in some ways, and her views on things is different than not only Jill’s but what many readers might share as well. Regardless, she is just as easy to rally behind as Jill’s character, creating a fantastic dissociation and mixed feelings for the readers. With a bold determination in her, and a strong sense of trying to figure out her own way in this world, Mandy is a phenomenally well done character.

Adding to the amazing cast is Jill’s mother, a woman who is grieving in her own way but who is also resolute in moving forward and having someone to care for. Loyal to her daughter, but not necessarily at the expense of herself, and trusting and understanding of Mandy, she is also a character readers will sympathize with. Dylan, Jill’s boyfriend, is a gentle soul, who tries his best to be there for her and understand what she is going through, yet also is unable to just brush off the sometimes cruel way in which she treats him. Making a few choices of his own that will challenge readers, and having a strong presence throughout, Dylan is a great compliment to this cast. Rounding things out is Ravi, a guy a few years older than Jill who used to go to her school, now cropped back up in her life. Making her feel new things, and giving her something more to look forward to in her days, the changes he inspires not only in her but the choices she makes as well.

A very character driven book, made more in depth by the two, dueling perspectives, the plot is perfectly paced and engaging from the start. With both heavily emotional and humorous and fun scenes, there is a great mix of feelings and backdrops throughout this one. Though there are several subplots, Zarr keeps things on track for the main point without jumping off track for too long. Bringing in some thought-provoking elements, and unflinching in its honesty, this one pulls in as many internal, personal moments as bigger picture ones.

The writing is gorgeous, with two very distinct voices for Jill and Mandy and a smooth narrative style tying them together. Smoothly transitioned between chapters, and building both characters in a positive and negative light, Zarr’s talent and natural skill at writing shines. With beautiful descriptions and new ways to view things, there is a constant emotional air to this one.

Holding plenty of elements that will make readers think, and with a well developed, stellar cast of characters, How to Save a Life is a breathtaking must read of a novel. With characters who are fully fleshed, flawed but filled with hope and promise, and subtle intricacies and relationships between them, this one will engage and grip readers. With an addictive quality, and a strong emotional connection, How to Save a Life is impossible to put down or forget about even after the last page.

Details:
Source: ARC received at ALA 
Reading Level: 14 and up
Hardcover: 352 pages 
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  October 18, 2011

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Review: Truth (XVI #2) by Julia Karr

SUMMARY: Nina Oberon’s life has changed enormously in the last few months. When her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council–ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all sixteen-year-old girls have. The one that announces to the world that she is easy prey to predators. But Nina won’t be anyone’s stereotype. And when she joins an organization of girls working within the Resistance, she knows that they can put an end to one of the most terrifying secret programs the GC has ever conceived. Because the truth always comes out...and the consequences can be deadly.


OPINION: 3 STARS

The Short Version:
Picking up smoothly where XVI left off, but admittedly lacking in a few areas, Truth delves deeper into not only everything Nina must deal with but the bigger picture of the world she lives in. Her development expands from thef irst book, and her relationships with the other characters is one of the best aspects of this novel. Though rushed in the ending, and leaving a few things hanging, there is still a great sense of accomplishment at the end of this book.

The Extended Version:
Nina continues to have the great inner strength seen in XVI, with a perceptive look on the world that takes her far. Intelligent and creative, she has a fierce determination in her even at the roughest of moments. Though faulted in a few ways, she is still a great character to get behind overall. Her love for her family is notable and beautifully done, driving many of her actions without being her only motivation.

The rest of the cast comes and goes as needed, giving both Nina and readers a kick into motion at times and a breather at others. From her sprightly little sister to her closest friends, Nina has a lot of great people in her life. The characters drive this book, making readers care about them throughout.

The overall flow of this one had a choppy feeling, with some scenes that almost seemed to be not needed due to how short and sometimes random feeling they were. More episodic in nature, Truth almost felt as though it had too many subplots going on and not enough space to flesh them out in. Nina has a lot thrown at her in this book, almost too much considering everything that happens by the end, and the bigger focus of the book is on how she deals with it. While there is an emphasis on the truth coming out, things in the end felt almost too easy for the build up. The final ending was not quite as satisfying as this reader would have liked, and the last thirty pages of the book felt way too rushed considering the slow pacing that sometimes led there. Taking a few detours as well, some that didn't seem to add too much to the book, Truth wasn't quite the follow up this reader had hoped for.

Still, the world itself is well built and expanded, and the overall conspiracy type thing going on is delved into more. Pulling in plenty of elements from the world we know, and twisting things easily to fit her purposes, Karr doesn't stray from the world she created in XVI. While this book is called a companion rather than a sequel, readers would likely feel out of place if they didn't read the first one. With a deeper look into higher ups in the system Nina is ruled by, and coming up with new ways to get around things, there is a great sense of underground resistance throughout the book.


Details:
Source: ARC received from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Puffin
Publication date: January 19, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review: Cracked by K.M. Walton

SUMMARY: Sometimes there's no easy way out.

Victor hates his life. He has no friends, gets beaten up at school, and his parents are always criticizing him. Tired of feeling miserable, Victor takes a bottle of his mother's sleeping pills—only to wake up in the hospital.

Bull is angry, and takes all of his rage out on Victor. That makes him feel better, at least a little. But it doesn't stop Bull's grandfather from getting drunk and hitting him. So Bull tries to defend himself with a loaded gun.

When Victor and Bull end up as roommates in the same psych ward, there's no way to escape each other or their problems. Which means things are going to get worse—much worse—before they get better…


OPINION: 4 STARS

The Short Version:
An intriguing blend of humor, grit and realism, Cracked puts a new twist on bullies without making blatant excuses. With two broken, beaten down narrators, and a well integrated dual story, readers will rally behind both boys while their hearts bled for them. Though lacking in depth in a few areas, the overall story is bold, engaging and one to be remembered and talked about.

The Extended Version:
Victor is more than just the stereotypical kid who's bullied, and has a certain softness about him that remains despite the numerous things that are hardening him to the world. With parents who are anything but supportive, and a strong desire for some kind of human interaction and affection, Victor's mind is an incredibly interesting place. Closed off yet perceptive, willing to try at least a little before his internal alarms fire and he retreats, Victor is the kind of beat down boy readers will inherently want to protect and stay behind until the final page. His development is fantastically done, with not one single point where he is suddenly strong, but rather several smaller triggers that add up in a great way. Allowing himself to finally something more, Victor goes through tremendous growth.

Bull, in a lot of ways, is the classic bully, the kind of guy who doesn't care if he hurts someone and who in some ways seems to get off on it. But then the reader will get a look not only at his home life but his childhood, and though Walton doesn't use this to excuse what he does, she masterfully integrates it into the boy he is. His dislike of Victor is palpable, with concrete reasons, rather than simply relying on the "I don't like him" kind of excuse often seen. Despite his upbringing, there is a goodness within Victor that is fueled as the story really kicks in, and readers will find themselves rooting for him. As in need of a human connection as Victor, Bull goes through his own strides of growth and development, changing his overall outlook not only life but towards other people.

The supporting cast is very strong, with several distinct personalities and changes seen even within those other characters. The way they interact with Bull versus Victor, too, comes through in a great way, and this reflects back to build and develop both boys as well. While the resolution with a few key characters was a little too easy and instant, overall, Walton has a knack for wonderful characters.

Though this one is very internally narrated, at least in the first several chapters, Walton does a great job of keeping readers gripped and into the story. Pulling in plenty of wit and gentle humor, there are plenty of breaks in the intensity and emotion without losing interest. The pacing stays steady, blending in hints of romance with the grief and self enlightenment aspect. Though a few scenes didn't go as in depth as this reader would have liked, and giving the book, overall, a little bit lighter of a feel, there are still some hefty moments and memorable elements.

The psych ward setting is well done, blending seamlessly into the book and keeping things simple enough for readers to imagine being there as well. Keeping it much more teen friendly than the typical structured prison feeling of many psych ward stories, Walton allows for great character development through this freedom and down time. Outside of the ward, the setting is just as vivid, particularly whe it comes to Bull's home.

While the two voices did sound similar in some ways, they are both still very clearly boy, with enough differences to let the reader know which boy is narrating without needing the chapter titles after a certain point. Without relying on simply using rough language to define the voices as male, and providing a realistic view on the world and new places, this is definitely a book for those who love male protagonists. While it is gritty, and holds nothing back in some aspects, thsi book will still find itself a spot within a female readership without being an instant turn off.

A well crafted plot and smoothly blended dual story lines, Cracked is gritty and engaging while still having plenty of humor along the way. Stellar character interactions and development drive this book, and pull the reader in easily. Delving deep into the hearts and minds of the two protagonists, and showing both sides of bullying without excusing either side, Walton's debut shows huge promise.


Details:
Source: ARC received from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Reading Level: 14 and up
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 3, 2012

Author Interview with Haiku Answers + Contest: Janet Lee Carey

Photo by Heidi Pettit
Here today is Dragonswood author Janet Lee Carey, but instead of answering my questions normally, I've challenged her to answer only in haiku form. So check out the interview, and then enter to win a copy of the book!


A little note in Haiku, Kari

All of these haikus
Were written while on Maui
Near the town – Haiku

Describe Tess.

Sees visions in fire
Desired she stirs a tempest
A thief’s stolen kiss

Would you rather be human, dragon or faerie in the world you’ve created for Dragonswood?

Fey dragon rider
Ember light, dark forest maid
Vanishing/Appear

If you could pair Tess with any character from any book, who would you pick?

Ranger Aragorn
Summoned armies from the dead
Heart of a true King

Which Death Eater, besides Voldemort, would you want to fight?


Bellatrix Lestrange
For killing Sirius Black
A curse to the heart

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

Two to gobble, Kari:

Tasty pine nut treats
squirrel steals nuts in twilight wood
Wash down with moonlight

Coconut delights
Swim in warm Hawaiian sea
Summer wind on tongue

Something more about the book Dragonswood?

Enter this story
Magic forest Dragons Fey
Read to dream again


Thank you, Janet, for answering my questions and awesome job on taking up my challenge!

Dragonswood hit shelves last week, so check it out!

But if you can manage to wait, now is your chance to win a signed copy of Dragonswood and Dragon's Keep!

To enter, just fill out THIS form.

This contest is US Only and ends January 16.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Author Interview: Caroline Starr Rose

Stopping in today is 2012 debut author Caroline Starr Rose to talk about her book May B. which hits shelves this week! This is a middle grade historical novel in verse, so get ready for it!


If you found yourself in May’s position, what would be your hardest thing to overcome?

Despair. I don’t know I’d be able to pull myself out of the downward spiral she initially experiences.

What aspect of May’s character was the most fun for you to write?

Gosh, this is hard. Could I give you two? I love this girl’s bravery. Writing the scenes where May realizes she’s been abandoned, letting her hit bottom, and then watching her grow in confidence has been so satisfying. In many ways, she’s entirely separate from me, not a character I’ve created but a living girl, someone who has challenged me to be more brave.

I also loved writing scenes that involved May’s brother, Hiram. Because much of the book hinges on solitude and despair (with some hope thrown in), there aren’t a lot of light moments. The scenes with Hiram help add dimension to May’s character, give us a sense of their competitive, close bond, and ease some of the heaviness of her situation.

If you could pair any character from any book with May as her best friend, who would it be?

Francie Nolan from A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. They both feel deeply, face challenges at school, and are courageous souls.

You find Narnia in your closet! What do you do?

Enjoy a cozy tea with Mr. Tumnus.

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

Anything peanut buttery and gooey would fit me pretty well.


Thanks, Caroline, for answering my questions and congrats on the release!

Want more of Caroline? Check out her website, blog, facebook and find her on Goodreads.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Character Interview: Linus from Love & Leftovers

Yep, I've stolen another YA boy to interview! This time, it's Linus from Sarah Tregay's recent release Love & Leftovers. You know, the sweet rocker boy who breaks and melts your heart and leaves you warm and gushy on the inside? Yes. That one. So meet Linus, and then enter for your chance to win a L&L swag pack!


What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?

Before or after I hit snooze eight times? Well, before I hit snooze I was jamming with Ian and Katie—the sound, the lyrics and the beat were all coming together. After I hit snooze? I can’t remember a single chord. Dang it.

How therapeutic is songwriting for you, especially the ones you wrote for the talent show?


I don’t know what I’d do without music. It’s like that blue notebook that Marcie is always writing in—and guarding with her life—a way to express myself. But unlike Marcie’s notebook, I like to get my ideas out there—amplify the crap out of them and rock the auditorium.


It’s weird, but I thought that playing those songs at the talent show would set me free, get all that emotion off my chest and into the air—but it didn’t work. Now I didn’t just feel like—insert four-letter word here—because I’d lost Marcie, I felt even worse because I really hurt her.

What's your favorite memory with Marcie?

We had this sleepover in Katie’s back yard like we were little kids in scouts. We set up a tent, had a campfire—the whole kumbaya. (Our friend, Olive, is a girl scout. It was her idea.) And us guys were supposed to go home at midnight. But we didn’t. It was pretty crowded in the tent (um, sleeping bag) and that was okay with me.

What's it like to kiss Marcie?

Kissing Marcie is like closing my eyes and having the world disappear. It’s just me and her alone with the sweet press of her lips. And she has this ticklish spot on the inside of her upper lip… touch it and she’ll totally melt.

Boxers or briefs?

You think any guy would admit to wearing briefs? No. But really, boxers and skinny jeans are a pain in the… never mind. You know what I’m saying.

What kind of office supply would you describe yourself as?

Apparently, I’m recyclable—maybe like a sheet of scrap paper. Like, use me once and toss me in the recycling bin. But then, when you realize I’m still good for something, you’ll pull me out again. Jot down a few more notes, a to-do list, a love letter, a sad song, then you’ll put me in your pocket and love me once again. 


Thank you, Linus, for stopping in, and congrats, Sarah on the release!

Love & Leftovers is out now, and it is a fantastic book so make sure you guys all pick it up.

To enter to win a swag pack, including a bookmark with a guitar pick charm and some postcards, just leave a comment and a way to contact you. US addresses only.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Author Interview: Robin Bridges

Hitting up the blog today is debut author Robin Bridges, here to talk a little about herself, her book The Gathering Storm, and shoes. For you historical lovers, this is definitely a book you want to know about!




Describe your book in four words. 

Spooky, romantic, bloody, chilly 

What aspect of writing this historical setting did you enjoy the most?

Looking at old paintings and photos for research- I loved all of the dresses and the elegant palaces!

What god/goddess would be your nemesis? 

Gozer from Ghostbusters


If you could pair Katerina with any character from any book, who would you pick for her?

The wizard Howl, I think. He’s just the type of guy Katerina would fall for.

What kind of shoe would you describe yourself as?

Killer bunny slippers!
Buy Them!


Thank you, Robin, for stopping in, and now I totally want those slippers...

The Gathering Storm hits shelves January 10, so keep it on your radar!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book Review: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

SUMMARY: Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances… a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life…and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last….


OPINION: 5 STARS

The Short Version:
Both emotional and hilarious, Bittersweet is a gentle romance that perfectly weaves in several stunning elements. With a main character who is a little broken, but also very witty and fun, and a small but well rounded cast, readers will fall in love with their stories fast. Vivid and noticeable in voice without coming across as trying too hard, and boldly built in setting and playout, Bittersweet will warm hearts.

The Extended Version:
Hudson is an amazingly done character, a bit of a mess and harboring a lot of guilt over everything that’s happened. Taking on everything that’s thrown at her, and not so much resentful as just downtrodden and aware that it’s not quite normal or fair to have so much responsibility, she is an easy to like character. As things progress, Hudson’s behavior is sometimes less than stellar, morphing into selfish and even jerk territory, yet every time, her reasons for it and emotional reactions that incite it come across clearly and poignantly. Her overall development is absolutely stunning, taking dips here and there while still working towards something different in the end as well. From her awkwardness around guys, to her pain over one friend and her growing troubles with another, there is a very teenage and beautiful element to Hudson, yet a range of readers of different ages will love her.

Josh is sweet and gentle, perceptive and caring. There when she needs him, but also not completely willing to be a doormat, Josh is both endearing and quietly charming. Thinking things through, and biding his time, more than rushing into things, Josh’s feelings are clear even in the most easy of moments. With a rawness to his character that adds to the story without being overdone, and a clear attraction between himself and Hudson without either rushing towards it, Josh is the kind of boy every girl wants.

Rounding out her family is Hudson’s mom, a woman who certainly has her faults but who clearly loves her daughter intensely, and her little brother, called the Bug, who is easily one of the best little brother characters ever. Her best friend Dani is also a great character, having a strength to her that doesn’t her crumple in the face of Hudson’s rough moments yet also doesn’t have her being done entirely over small things. Then there’s Will, another charming hockey boy who has his own sort of twists to throw into things.

The pacing of this one is fantastic, absolutely gripping and intriguing from start to finish. With several story lines weaved together and merged by the end, yet none of them taking too prevalent a role at the expense of the others, Ockler’s timing and plotting is amazing. Adding in some original elements in terms of the chapter titles, and blending several elements to make a warm but heartrending story, this one is definitely a must read for fans of both romance and the rougher stuff.


Details:
Source: ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review
Reading Level: Young Adult  
Hardcover: 384 pages 
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: January 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This week's pick is Revive by Cat Patrick, coming May 8, 2012 from Little, Brown.

Summary: As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined.



My Thoughts: I absolutely love this concept. A drug that can bring people back, set basically in our otherwise normal world? Yes. Please. The implications of this are fantastic, and I love that even in the summary, it's clear Cat is going there with it. I cannot wait to see how far she goes into all this, just how much trouble Daisy might find herself in, and the bigger picture going on that she doesn't even know about.  Also, I love this cover. It's enticing, and pretty, and a little mysterious.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Character Book Picks: Nate from Unraveling Isobel

Stopping in today is Nate, the hot, broody boy from Eileen Cook's newest Unraveling Isobel... but instead of answering some of my (face it) really random questions, Nate's going to be talking about books! Fitting, yes?


My favorite room in the house is our library. It’s in the wing that we’ve shut off because we can’t afford to fix and heat it. (This is one of the downsides of living in a house the size of a hotel.) The library has floor to ceiling bookcases and one of those ladders that hangs off a rail on the wall so you can reach the books at the very top. I like to hang out in there, build a fire in the fireplace, light some candles and read.

Most of the books are really old, dating back to when the house was built in the 1800’s. I know it’s weird, but I actually like reading all those old classics, The Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, and pretty much anything by Dickens. Don’t get me wrong, I love new books too, the Hunger Games and spy thrillers, stuff like that. My mom also used to love the library. Her favorite book was Alice in Wonderland. When my sister and I were little she would read us a chapter a night out loud.

My current favorite stuff is by Edgar Allan Poe. I like his short stories like the Tell Tale Heart. Poe writes creepy stuff, but that doesn’t mean I believe in ghosts. Given everything that’s been happening around here I felt I should point that out.


So there you guys have it! A little look at Nate and his reading preferences. Unraveling Isobel is out today, so don't wait to get to know him!

New Release Top Fives: Under the Never Sky, Bittersweet, Unraveling Isobel, Don't Breathe a Word, Cracked

So, today is a seriously epic and amazing and awesome release day. Get your wallets ready, because you don't want to miss any of these titles... and to convince you, here's my top 5 reasons why you want each of these awesome books.


Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi:
5. The air can kill you. Yeah. That would majorly suck.
4. Kick butt female character. No, seriously. Aria rocks. Yeah she's naive in some ways, and she gets scared, but she is a little firecracker.
3. Brilliant story. There are so many unique elements, and such an awesome blend of past and future, and just... so much detail and intricacy. It makes me a little jealous because I'm not sure it's something I could ever do and Veronica NAILS it.
2. Amazing worldbuilding. Its two worlds, built into one and clashed against each other and it sort of makes my brain hurt to really think about it but it's just. Wow.
1. Perry is seriously hot. And sweet. And badass. And awesome. And hot.


Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler:
5. It's by Sarah Ockler. Do you actually need more reasons?
4. Beautiful writing, so full of voice, with a ton of intensity and depth and fun and awesomeness.
3. Cupcakes. Every chapter title is a cupcake and its description. Sure, it'll make you crave anything with sugar. But it's also fantastically creative.
2. Hot hockey boys. Yes. Boys. As in plural. As in more than one of them. As in that is a lot of sweat and sticks and awesomeness.
1.Winter time romance! There is plenty of emotion and depth to this one, but it's also a seriously cute romance. That takes place in the wintertime. And in places other than Texas right now, it's wintery. So it fits.

Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook:
5. There's ghosts. Or insanity. Either way, it's a grab the popcorn kind of show.
4. Huge creepy mansion. Welcome home.
3. There's mystery. And drama. And bad things could happen. And it's all put together just so incredibly well.
2. Broody hot boy. In boxers. Who might also be a great kisser.
1. Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious in such a smooth, not over the top, not forced way. Eileen writes humor like I can only wish I ever could.


Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala:
5. This is not a teenage girl just throwing a tantrum and running away from home. Not by a long shot. You can't even begin to guess the full story.
4. Detailed. From life on the streets, to the search for Joy, to, well, everything... Holly does not skip out on the realism and specifics.
3. Creed. Oh my god this boy. Such a gentle soul, so soft and sweet, but also a bit rough around the edges. Just. Him. Yeah.
2. Emotional. Seriously, Holly always makes me HATE characters of hers with the burning intensity of a million suns. She also makes me love others. Want to hug them. Want to fight for them. All of it.
1. It's just amazing, and breathtaking, and stunning, and plenty of other similar words.

Cracked by K.M. Walton:
5. There's romance, sort of. More like hints of that good feeling, without it taking over. Mostly it's just cute.
4. Perfectly timed humor, even in some rough situations.
3. Male POV. Times two.
2. It's a bullying book, but it sort of shows both sides, without just ignoring the fact that it's still bullying.
1.Two very different characters, and you will side with both. At the same time. Talk about conflicted.



Yeah... 2012 is just beginning and it's already off to an amazing start! Now make sure you guys pick these titles up! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Character Interview: Decker from Fracture

So stopping in today is a character who I seriously do love, but who also made me pretty stinking angry in the book. And even now, months after having read Megan Miranda's (amazing) debut Fracture, I still am very conflicted towards this guy. Sometimes I want to hug him, other times I want to smack him. But when given the chance to ask him some questions, I jumped all over it because face it, he's still pretty awesome. He's punchably awesome. Yes. That.

So with that, I bring you guys Decker! Best friend to Delaney, and the boy who pulled her from under the ice.


When Delaney fell through the ice, what was your first reaction?

For a split second, I thought that it was all some sick joke. That the universe was like, See, jackass? You leave her there because of pride? Watch what happens next. And then I realized it wasn’t about me. At all. So I ran.

So, I'm pretty sure there are a few scenes where readers just might hate you, or, you know, strongly dislike at the moment. What do you have to say in response to that, especially since we only get Delaney's view of things?

Pretty sure I don’t have the answers you’re looking for. I mean, I have answers, but they’re not going to absolve me of anything. I don’t want to relive it all. It won’t change anything that happened, and life…can be short. All that stuff is between me and her. Nobody’s perfect. God knows I’m far from it. The people who it impacted were able to forgive me, and that’s all that matters to me.

Which would be harder, never talking to her again but knowing Delaney is alive, or her having never come out of the coma?

Um, I really don’t want to think about either. But if you’re making me choose (you are, aren’t you?), it would be much worse if she never came out of the coma. No contest.

What was the best kiss you ever had like?

I don’t kiss and tell. But if I did… she’d kill me.

What is your best memory?

It was this day, a few years ago, back when we were all together. All of us. Before anything. Before everything. We were at a birthday party. And we were all jumping off this high diving board, and Delaney looked terrified—she held out her hand and asked me to jump with her, so I did. We were all making fun of each other—it was all so light and fun and nobody was thinking about dying and nobody was guilty of anything. It was just... us.

Boxers or briefs?

Part of me wants to skip this question, but a bigger part of me knows you’re already pissed at me, and I don’t want you to be pissed. So…boxers. Yeah. Moving on…

What kind of dinosaur would you describe yourself as?

A T. Rex, obviously. Wait, Delaney says velociraptor. Hmm, that doesn’t seem like a compliment. I think she’s just watched Jurassic Park a few too many times…


So there you guys have it. A little look into Decker!

Fracture hits shelves January 17, in just 2 short weeks, so make sure you preorder it or run out release day to buy it because you do NOT want to miss this one. Seriously. It's so brilliant and amazing and emotional and addicting. Plus then you can join me in the mixed feelings towards Decker thing. It's a good place to be.