Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: September 29th, 2011
Pages: 338 (Hardcover)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: RAK

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

I first read Anna and the French Kiss last year and I loved everything about it.  I had no clue that when I picked up Lola and the Boy Next Door that I would love it more.  The book is full of originality and emotion that makes your stomach do flips as you anticipate what will happen between these two incredibly talented teenagers.

Lola Nolan lives with her two dads and a dog named Heavens to Betsey.  She has a punk boyfriend that's 5 years older than her and she has vowed never to wear the same outfit twice.  It's very rare to see Lola in what most people would consider casual clothes and without a funky colored wig on the top of her head.  I think part of me always wanted to be a Lola; just one of those girls that can pull of wearing polka dots and stripes at the same time.

When Lola's old crush moves back in next door, feelings rush back to her and there's suddenly confusion in her life.  All summer Lola thought that Max was "the one", but no matter how much she tries to rationalize what she feels when she hangs out with Cricket, she feels a lot more for him than she wants to allow herself to.  I just wanted to say the Cricket has jumped to the top of my book crushes.  I really hated his name at first, but the more I read, the more it grew on me.  He's perfect in every way, it seems.  He's intelligent and so caring and he even dresses incredibly well for a teenage boy.

Though you would think that Lola and Cricket are perfect for each other from the get-go, there are a few things standing in their way of being friends, let alone being more than that.  The first one is Max, Lola's boyfriend.  He's insanely jealous and his first intuition with dealing with anything is to deal with it in a rage.  The second problem is Calliope, Cricket's twin sister.  She's jealous as well, because she doesn't want anyone to take her best friend away from her, which she believes Lola is doing.  I didn't particularly like either of these characters.

I love, love, love the way that Stephanie Perkins writes.  Every situation the characters go through feels so real and my heart swells with every sweet thing described.  The appearances of Anna and St. Clair throughout the story made me so happy, too!  Even though Lola and I were so incredibly different, I couldn't help but feel like I've been in her shoes.  Somehow, reading these sweet, fluffy romances really help boost my mood and I'm hoping that I'll love her next book, Isla and the Happily Ever After, just as much as these first two.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #10

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by, Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on!

Title: A Midsummer's Nightmare
Author: Kody Keplinger
Release Date: June 5th, 2012
Publisher: Poppy

Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorce dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancee and her kids. The fiancee's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.

Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

I loved both of Kody's previous books, The DUFF and Shut Out, therefore I am incredibly excited for the release of this one.  Granted, I was excited before I knew what A Midsummer's Nightmare was even about, but just look at the title.  The summary sounds great too!

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My Mailbox #24

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren

This week was full of surprises!  I got two boxes of books, one of which I didn't expect to be filled with SO MANY.

Won/ RAK

-Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
(RAK from Cassandra @ Vamps, Weres, and Cassay)

-Switched by Amanda Hocking
-The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
-Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison
-Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
(ARCs from Nicci @ Paper Dreams)

-Intertwined by Gena Showalter
-The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
-The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
-The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
-Dark Souls by Paula Morris
-Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
-Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci
-She Loves You, She Loves You Not... by Julie Anne Peters
-Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
-Invisible Girl by Mary Hanlon Stone
-Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando
-Dark Water by Laura McNeal
-Family by Micol Ostow
-Firelight by Sophie Jordan
-You Against Me by Jenny Downham
-White Cat by Holly Black
-My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody
-I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
-Hold Still by Nina LaCour
-Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
-Hidden by Helen Frost
(ARCs from Brittany @ Reading Nook)

My GOD, you guys!  I was only expecting 5 or 6 books from Britt (considering there were two other winners).  I almost died when I opened a box of 21.  
Thank you, everyone, for your generosity!  :)

Thank you so much for stopping by!  What have you received in your mailbox lately?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Title: Everneath
Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal Romance/ Mythology
Release date: January 24th, 2012
Pages: 370 (ARC)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Won

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...

Like many, many people, I was ecstatic to be able to start this book.  I actually loved it a lot more than I thought I would.  The story starts off in the Everneath, giving the reader a small glimpse of hell.  Nikki's wrapped in this cocoon with the man that brought her there about a century ago.  After all, time passes a lot faster down there than it does here.  Over time, she's lost all of the memories of her past life.  All but the face of her old boyfriend, Jack.  She's able to escape, return to her old life with nothing but his face in mind.  Nikki has been given a second chance to make everything right with all the people she left behind those few months ago.

The only thing is that when she left the Everneath, a Shade entered her body and acted as an hourglass, the mark on her shoulder slowly getting larger as the time she spends on earth passes.  By the sixth month on earth, her time is up.  The Tunnels will come for her, where she will be drained of all her energy and feel as though she's being buried alive.  She has two options-- go back with Cole for the Feed, or find a way to beat the Everneath and stay with her loved ones like she should have.

Although Nikki seemed to be a bit selfish leaving with Cole in the first place, throughout the book we learn the pain she was going through.  I can understand that she wanted someone else to rely on; to take her pain away.  I've felt like that before, but unfortunately, Nikki didn't realize how bad it could be.  After the time she spent away from home, when she came back, the relationship between her and Jack progressed into friendship again.  I actually found it a little hard to believe that once she told him the truth about where she'd been, he believed her with barely any questions asked.

The last 100 pages or so definitely drew me in the most.  I was eager to find out if Nikki could find a way to beat the Everneath and I'm still not sure if I'm completely satisfied by the way it ended.  I should have seen it coming and a part of me did, but I really didn't want it to end that way.  I am excited to read the sequel, because I can't imagine what else could possibly happen.   Until then, I'll have to dig into more mythology related books!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #9

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by, Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on!

Title: Revived
Author: Cat Patrick
Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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.

Admittedly, Revived isn't exactly the type of book I'd run to, but it just sounds SO good.  I can't even imagine what it's like to be revived after death, but it sounds sort of selfish.  Death has to be horrible once, but being brought back to life only to go through it again- or multiple times, such as the main character- sounds so much worse.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Monday, January 16, 2012

In My Mailbox #23

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren

I know I'm a couple days late from when I usually post my IMMs and I apologize.  I got a few awesome books and gifts in the mail over the past two weeks, so I'd love to share them with you guys!

-Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
(From HarperCollins)

-Everneath by Brodi Ashton

-Philosophy Candy Cane lip gloss and body wash, bookmarks, TOMS shoes giftcard
(From Ashlie @ Bookish Novelties

-The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
(Signed, from the author)

I know that The Pledge by Kimberly Derting was in my last IMM post, but this is a different copy.  As it turns out, I accidentally got someone else's copy last time, so I contacted Kimberly about it and she was really great about the whole thing, she sent me a new copy (with my own name!) and a bag (not pictured, sorry!)

Ebooks for review

-Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
-Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby
-Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
(From Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

-Titan Magic by Jodi Lamm
(From the author)

Thank you so much for stopping by!  What have you received in your mailbox lately?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Title: Try Not to Breathe
Author: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publisher: Viking
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: January 19th, 2012
Pages: 233 (ARC)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Won from Author

Ryan spends most of his time alone at the local waterfall because it’s the only thing that makes him feel alive. He’s sixteen, post-suicidal, and trying to figure out what to do with himself after a stint in a mental hospital. Then Nicki barges into his world, brimming with life and energy, and asking questions about Ryan’s depression that no one else has ever been brave enough—or cared enough—to ask. Ryan isn’t sure why he trusts Nicki with his darkest secrets, but that trust turns out to be the catalyst that he desperately needs to start living again.

The first thing I wanted to say about this book is that I loved the ARC cover (which is why I'm using it in my review) and I'm really sad with the option they've chosen for the final print instead.  This one captures the waterfall, which was a huge part of the story for both characters.

I fell in love with Jennifer R. Hubbard's writing from the moment I laid eyes on The Secret Year, so I was ecstatic when I heard that Try Not to Breathe was coming out in the beginning of 2012.  Unfortunately, this book-- while still a great message-- didn't quite live up to my expectations.  Everything seemed to be slower paced and it might be because I've read more action-filled books lately, but it just wasn't enough for me.

Ryan's was a misunderstood teenage boy that felt alone all the time.  That's why he did what he felt he had to do.  He only started making friends in the psychiatric hospital, but once he was free to go home, those friendships began to fade little by little.  It's different when you live so far apart.  One day at the waterfall he met a familiar girl named Nicki who sort of barged into his home and life, learning more about him than he ever wanted to admit, even to himself.  Nicki never seemed completely normal either, after all, she was going to psychics to learn more of her dead father.

Though it took quite some time, I loved learning about both Ryan and Nicki.  I felt that I could relate to both, since Ryan and I had similar thoughts at one time and my father passed away when I was a teenager too.  I also enjoyed the growing bond between two previously unconnected souls.  If it weren't for the waterfall, I don't think Nicki would have been as drawn to Ryan.  She did, after all, believe that he had the answers to her father's suicide, because at one time, they were at the same place.

The ending held a powerful message and you realize that anyone can open up and begin to have a normal life again.  To be accepted as themselves and not the person they've always thought everyone loathed.  Ryan and Nicki weren't invisible anymore and they never really were, especially to each other.  Overall, the book was a really nice eye-opening read.

Waiting on Wednesday #8

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by, Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on!

Title: Sweet Evil
Author: Wendy Higgins
Release Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Anna, a tender-hearted southern girl, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip forces Anna and Kai to face the reality that hope and love are not options for their kind. When it's time for Anna to confront her demons, will she choose to embrace her halo or her horns?

Though I'm not the biggest fan of this cover, that dress looks sweet.  It's just the kind I've always wanted to wear but never would be able to pull off with my body.  Oh, and I can't forget to mention how intriguing the story sounds!  Can't wait to find out more about Anna and Kaidan!

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

P.S. The Hollow Cupboards has made some changes to the header, background, and blog button!  I hope you guys like them!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

Title: The Alchemy of Forever
Author: Avery Williams
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Fantasy Romance
Release date: January 3rd, 2012
Pages: 256 (ebook)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Pulse It

After spending six hundred years on Earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world's riches but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago, her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to take the bodies of other humans from jumping from one vessel to the next, ending the human's life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she's done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.

Then sixteen-year old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body while trying to save her. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she's inhabiting--and falling in love with the boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she's his again, and every moment she stays, she's putting herself and the people she's grown to care about in danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that's eluded her for centuries: true love?

This author had me hooked from the beginning of the prologue.  There we meet Seraphina Ames, a 14-year-old girl who lives in London in the year 1349.  She's attending her first masquerade ball when she meets an interesting and mysterious gentleman.  When something goes wrong and Sera is fighting for her life, this boy who reveals himself to be Cyrus, the apothecary's son, makes her drink from a vial.  She then finds her soul trading bodies with another person and Cyrus has discovered how to live forever.

Present day, there are now 4 more 'Incarnates' who have  joined Sera and Cyrus and lived in many different bodies for a span of 600 years- or less- depending on when they were changed.  The only problem is that Cyrus controls them all and Sera doesn't want to put any more innocent people in danger of losing their lives just so she can take over their body.  She makes a plan to run away, concluding with the end of her long life, but just as she's about to make the decision, she hears the desperate scream of a girl and the screeching of tires.  Even though she wants to put an end to all of this and not have to run away from Cyrus anymore, Sera finds herself in the body of the dying teenager named Kailey.

I feel that I didn't quite know much about the characters.  The story was fast paced and it did keep me interested in finding out more, but I just wasn't satisfied with how little I knew about Sera although she'd lived for so long.  I'm sure she had a lot more to tell than the little memories that were explained throughout the story.  I did like the fact that she finally felt like she was where she belonged when she got to knew Kailey's family and friends.  I can't imagine how difficult it was to pretend to be someone else when you didn't know anything about their personality.

There wasn't much romance in this book, which I actually thought was fine.  There was a little in the end of it. Oh, the end.  That's definitely something I wish I could talk to you guys about as well, but I can't without spoiling it.  All I can say is that it's SO frustrating and I definitely feel sympathetic towards Sera.  Unfortunately, the ending is what made me cut away half a star in my rating.  I like twists, but I think this time I was looking for more closure than I was left with.

Overall, the plot was very interesting and the writing was nice.  I felt that I could relate to Sera although she's supposed to be approximately 580 years older than me.  What I can say is that I also liked visuals I was given.  I will have to read the next book, because I can't just leave the story where it ended.

Follow Friday #10

Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

Question of the Week: Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf.  How many?

Well, this is a little embarrassing.  Before I tell you the number, I'm not going to give any kind of lame excuse...I'm just going to admit that I'm an uncontrollable bookaholic.  *hangs head in shame*

Alright, so are you ready?  According to Goodreads, where I maintain all sorts of numbers about the books I own and read, my to-read shelf tells me that there are at least 224 unread books sitting on my shelves (give or take).

Ahh!  I blame my incessant usage of Amazon bargain books last summer!  That's obviously the reason I had to go on this book buying ban!  I'm slowly catching up, though....Don't look at me like that.  >___>

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a link below so I can check out your Follow Friday posts (and maybe not feel so bad for my ridiculously high number. ;D)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #7

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by, Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on!

Title: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare
Author: Melissa Jensen
Release Date: February 16th, 2012
Publisher: Speak

Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that's just fine by her. She's got her friends - the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She's got her art - and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it's hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?

I cannot resist a cute contemporary!  I know that I'm trying to indulge in different genres within this year's upcoming YA releases, but I just keep getting pulled towards the Contemporary Romance books.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

Title: Shattered Souls
Author: Mary Lindsey
Publisher: Philomel/ Penguin
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal Romance
Release date: December 8th, 2011
Pages: 336 (ARC)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Won

Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

This book was much, much more than just an absolutely stunning cover.  Admittedly, Shattered Souls was one of the best books I've read in a while.  Mary Lindsey created two compatible characters, Lenzi and Alden, who play the roles of Speaker and Protector.  Lenzi doesn't have any memory of her past lives, but according to Alden, they'd been together for centuries.  Whenever they passed on, their souls were brought back in order to continue their jobs and help the dead let go and move on to the afterlife.

At the very beginning, we learn that Lenzi's father committed suicide because he was schizophrenic.  When she begins hearing voices, she assumes that the disease has made its way to her until she meets a mysterious boy in the cemetery.  Alden introduces himself and tries to explain what she was going through; how she's the reincarnated soul of a Speaker named Rose and he's her Protector.  Of course, Lenzi isn't going to go along with it...not until she has a horrifying experience with a malevolent spirit and Alden saves the day.

I really enjoyed Alden's character.  Even from the start, I definitely liked him a lot better than Lenzi's boyfriend, Zak.  He seemed honest and reliable the whole way though.  I especially enjoyed that insta-love wasn't much of an issue in this story.  I usually don't have anything against it, but it was refreshing not to see them all over each other the first day they met.  Some people would say that Lenzi's character was flawed, but I quite liked her and I'd just say that she's just grown a lot throughout the book.

The only thing that seems off is that Lenzi doesn't remember her past lives and Alden does.  Most Speakers and Protectors do.  Unfortunately, this is a disadvantage because Alden has to reteach her everything about being a Speaker.  Fortunately this means that they get to spend a lot of time together.  As you may have guessed, Zak's not too pleased.

At one point, Alden and Lenzi (or Rose, rather) were the best team when it came to helping the spirits with their unfinished business.  Will they ever make it that far again or will an evil spirit get in the way of that?

This book is a must-read, must-own, must-recommend-to-everyone-you-know.

Chey's Most Anticipated Books of 2012

2012 is finally here!  This means that incredible book releases are right around the corner.  I just wanted to list some of the books that I'm dying to get my hands on!

Now, keep in mind that these probably aren't even half of the books that I want releasing this year.  These are just some of the ones that have covers.  There are some from authors such as Jackson Pearce, Stephanie Perkins, Michelle Hodkin, Tahereh Mafi, etc. that I NEED.

What books are on your "most anticipated" list?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In My Mailbox #22

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren

I haven't gotten many books for Christmas and the ones that I did get are books I've won from giveaways or received for review (My very first!  Yay!).  I still like to think of them as gifts and I did open most of them on Christmas day, like promised.  Sorry I haven't shown them sooner.


-Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Yes, I read this one already (I couldn't help myself!) and it's SO cute.  I'm very thankful for the lovely people at First Second Books that sent it to me when I had a measly 100 followers.


-Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey (ARC)
(From Brooke @ Brooke Reports)

-Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard (Signed ARC)
(From Jennifer R. Hubbard)

-The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (Signed)
(From Heather @ Proud Book Nerd)

-Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (ARC)
(From @EpicReads)

-Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
(From June @ Writing is a Blessing)

-Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
(From Shanyn @ Chick Loves Lit)


-The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

My mom wrapped this one up for a Christmas present although I picked it out at Urban Outfitters when we went shopping on Black Friday.  I'm grateful for all of these books and people who have given them to me.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  What have you received in your mailbox lately?