Monday, April 30, 2012

April Wrap-Up and May TBR

Compared to March, April was great month for me!

Here's a list of the books I managed to read and review:

-Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
-Zero by Tom Leveen
-Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
-Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
-Fateful by Claudia Gray
-When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
-Entangled by Nikki Jefford
-Night Sky by Jolene B. Perry
-Die For Me by Amy Plum
-Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Here are the books I plan to read during the month of May:

-Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
-Wrecked by Anna Davies
-Revived by Cat Patrick
-Spectral by Shannon Duffy
-Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker
-Arise by Tara Hudson

(I plan on reading more books than these, but the ones listed are the ones I'll definitely read and review)

Review: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Title: Enchanted
Author: Alethea Kontis
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Fairytale Retelling/ Romance
Release date: May 8th, 2012
Pages: 305 (ebook)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true. 

 When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises. 

 The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?

Enchanted was a light-hearted and quick paced read filled with the kind of magic you only find in fairytales.  The story appealed to me so much, but as I started to read, I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it.  Over a short amount of time, I fell in love with the main character, Sunday, and each of the stories she had to tell.  Her family was easy to take interest in, since there were so many siblings, each with a completely different personality.  No doubt, the more you read, the more you'll fall for each of them, too.

When Sunday meets a frog that can talk, she's delighted that she finally has someone that she can tell her stories to.  Being the youngest of 7 daughters, it's easy to go unnoticed and begin to feel unappreciated.  Though the frog doesn't remember the man he used to be, he does indeed remember being a man.  In fact, one night when Sunday kisses the frog, he changes back into prince Rumbold and returns to his old life with the girl from the forest on his mind.

Without telling Sunday who he really is, he begins to pursue her as the prince he is.  The romance between the two would leave you grinning like a fool.  Rumbold is very sweet to Sunday and Sunday has one of the biggest hearts I've seen in most characters lately.  Though their feelings seem to be going somewhere, there are still secrets about their families that each of them must uncover in order to move forward.

Kontis was able to weave several fairytales, such as The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and more, into an incredibly beautiful and unique story about trust, friendship and love.  The characters were charming, the plot was interesting, and the author's writing suited the story perfectly.  Overall, Enchanted was a delightful piece of work that kept me reading for hours.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

In My Mailbox #30

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

I know that because of the situation that has come into the spotlight earlier this week, many of my favorite bloggers won't be participating in In My Mailbox anymore.  We all have our own opinions on the matter, but I've chosen not to get too involved with the drama or stop posting this weekly meme because of a large mistake that someone else made.  The simple explanation is that In My Mailbox brings me joy.  I love sharing the books I've received and I love looking at the loot that others have received.  That being said, I'll get on with it and show you the few books I found in my mailbox this week.  :)


-Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
-Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
-Arise by Tara Hudson

(All 3 of these are ARCs from HarperCollins)
Have I mentioned how much I adore Harper?  I'm dying to read these books and it's so hard for me to keep my hands off of them.

What have you received in your mailbox lately?
*P.S. Even if you don't participate in this meme anymore, please leave the links to your book hauls so I can check out what you've gotten!* 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum

Title: Die For Me
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal Romance
Release date: May 10th, 2011
Pages: 341 (Hardcover)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity. 

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent. 

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

Die For Me truly surprised me with an incredible storyline and a pulse-quickening romance.  Had I known that this book was such a satisfying read, I would have picked it up sooner.  After their parents' unexpected death, Kate and Georgia move to Paris to live with their father's parents.  They knew the experience would change their lives forever, but they didn't exactly know how much until Kate caught the eye of a gorgeous man named Vincent.

As I know how painful it is to lose one parent, I can't imagine losing both; Kate and Georgia have my sympathy from day one.  Other than that, I found Kate to be most relatable.  She's definitely less outgoing than her older sister.  When she goes to the cafe and spots Vincent and his friends, he's all she has on her mind until they exchange words days later.  Like Kate, I fell for Vincent fast.  Their relationship turns out to be a lot more complicated than expected, as Vincent turns out to be something called a Revenant.

I loved Plum's idea of Revenants and how they die over and over again in order to save lives.  When you think of it, how painful it has to be to go through death more than once, you begin to have more respect for Vincent and each of his friends.  Speaking of his friends, I loved their characters just as much as Vincent and Kate.  The Revenants live in one home together and they're a pretty tight-knit family, as I'm sure you have to be when you're teaming up to save others.  Jules and Charlotte were my favorites, making my insides gooey with how quickly they accepted Kate.

What I loved most about Die For Me is that I felt that I've never read anything like it before.  It was completely original and kept me aching for more information, more action, and definitely more romance.  Oh, did I mention it's set in Paris, one of the most gorgeous cities in the world?!  Needless to say, this book quickly rose towards the top of my favorites and I'm dying to get my hands on the sequel, Until I Die.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blog Tour Review: Night Sky by Jolene B. Perry

Title: Night Sky
Author: Jolene B. Perry
Publisher: Tribute Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: March 1st, 2012
Pages: 247 (ebook)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
Girl I’ve loved, girl I’m falling for. Now that they’re both in view, the problem is clear.

 After losing Sarah, the friend he’s loved, to some other guy, Jameson meets Sky. Her Native American roots, fluid movements, and need for brutal honesty become addictive fast. This is good. Jameson needs distraction – his dad leaves for another woman, his mom’s walking around like a zombie, and Sarah’s new boyfriend can’t keep his hands off of her.

 As he spends time with Sky and learns about her village, her totems, and her friends with drums - she's way more than distraction. Jameson's falling for her fast.

 But Sky’s need for honesty somehow doesn’t extend to her life story – and Jameson just may need more than his new girl to keep him distracted from the disaster of his senior year.

Night Sky will take your breath away as you learn about falling in love from the point of view of Jameson, the story's main character.  I absolutely adore contemporary romance, so when I first read the summary, I was hooked.  First of all, my favorite thing about the book is that it's told from a male's perspective, but it doesn't feel forced or unnatural.  The second and third things that sparked my interest were the facts that the boy's name is Jameson (aka, my favorite boy name ever) and Sky is Native American (which I've been loving a lot of lately).  Though the plot appealed to me from the very beginning, the story is what kept me reading.

Jameson loves Sarah, his best friend, but he's stood around for 3 years without working up enough courage to tell her.  When she gets the boy of her dreams, Jameson's lost all hope until he meets Sky.  Sky couldn't be any more different that Sarah, but that's what draws Jameson to her.  She's confident, intelligent, and honest when it comes to speaking her mind.  Because of this, Jameson falls for Sky fast, but she tells him to sort out his feelings for Sarah before they get involved, which made me like her character even more.

Things are still incredibly difficult for Jameson at school, especially since he's now lost his best friend to the world of dating.  His parents are fighting more often and it seems that what little happiness he has spending time with Sky is the only thing keeping him sane.  Though the feelings between Jameson and Sarah are still left unresolved, things begin to heat up between him and Sky.  Their blossoming relationship was perfect from the start and many of the scenes between them made my heart beat faster.

When Sky chooses not to mention a large part of her past to Jameson, things get rocky, confusing and dramatic, making you want to read the rest in one sitting just to find out what happens.  Perry did a great job with the characters and the describing emotions of each scene.  Even her style of writing made the book into something I'd want to read more than once.  Overall, Night Sky is an entertaining read filled with trust, honesty, and most importantly, learning how to love.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #20

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 Evolution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Release Date: October 23rd, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Two days after Mara walks into a police station in Miami at the close of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, she is committed for psychiatric treatment for what her parents believe is a mental breakdown. But what seems like a hallucination to everyone else is a chilling reality for Mara. Someone from her past has discovered her strange, disturbing secret and that someone wants her to pay. But she's about to discover that the price is more than she can bear.

I'm going to guess that The Evolution of Mara Dyer is going to be on a lot of Waiting on Wednesdays today due to its recent cover reveal, but like everyone else, I just can't contain my excitement!  I NEED IT NOW!  The cover is gorgeous, of course, but I need to know how the story continues.  Ahh, the waiting part sucks, though.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: Entangled by Nikki Jefford

Title: Entangled
Author: Nikki Jefford
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal Romance
Release date: February 20th, 2012
Pages: 303 (ebook)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Author
Twin witches Graylee and Charlene Perez agree on one rule: No dating warlocks. 

Not so easy when a certain rogue warlock is convinced he and Graylee belong together and will use anything, including magic, to try and impress Gray. When Charlene’s boyfriend dumps her, she threatens to kill either herself or the girl who stole Blake. Somehow, Gray ends up dead. 

A Resurrection Spell Gone Wrong: Two months after dying, Gray wakes up in Charlene’s body. As a witch, can anyone blame her mother for attempting to bring her daughter back to life? Only now Gray’s stuck sharing her sister’s body 50/50 in twenty-four hour shifts.  The race is on for Gray to find a way back inside her own body before Charlene purges her from existence. Raj McKenna is rumored to meddle in the black arts, not to mention he’s after Gray’s invisibility spell and worse – her heart. But Raj might be the only one powerful enough to save Gray from fading away forever.

Everything about the summary intrigued me; the twins, witches, death, even the mysterious Raj McKenna stood out.  By the time I got through the first chapter, I couldn't put the book down.  Entangled captured me within its pages and wouldn't let me go until I found out the truth and what the main character, Graylee, was going to do to get out of a particularly sticky situation.

Though Charlene seems a bit psychotic after her recent breakup, her vengeful words are just spoken out of heartbreak, right?  There's no way she could ever harm another person, but Graylee has her doubts.  By accident, Graylee ends up six feet under with no recollection of the night of her death, or even how it happened.  Not only is she dead, but as it turns out, her mother went through hell trying to get her back and now Gray is stuck in a hell of her own--her sister's body...Only she's not the only one in there.

Somehow, when Graylee shows up at school in Charlene's body, Raj knows it's her.  All he's been is a nuisance to her, but now he's one of the only people she can go to for help.  Raj is one of my favorite characters and I believe that Jefford did a wonderful job creating him.  He may not be the cookie-cutter type that some girls go for, but he's very loyal to Graylee and has an interesting story of his own.

Throughout the book, I was enchanted by the author's writing.  I could feel the magic, betrayal and mystery that her words described as I read on.  Not only was her style of writing right up my alley, but the entire plot has been woven together perfectly.  There wasn't a dull moment for me, which made me feel like I could read a lot more about the lives of these characters.  I can say that I definitely plan on reading the next installment in the series.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Title: When You Were Mine
Author: Rebecca Serle
Publisher: SimonPulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Retelling/ Contemporary Romance
Release date: May 1st, 2012
Pages: 334 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher

In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale. 

What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything. Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance. Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….

Though many of us have been required to read Romeo and Juliet at least once throughout our lifetimes, most seem to forget about Rosaline, Romeo's first love.
When You Were Mine tells the story of Romeo and Juliet from Rosaline's point of view, reminding us that the story has always been more about heartbreak than love.

For the most part, the story was enjoyable.  The reader is given modern characters and situations, which many can probably relate to.  Rosaline Caplet is just another teenage girl with high hopes of being able to have a relationship with her best friend, Rob Montag.  He's always been there, knows everything about her, and their families have been best friends for as long as they can remember.  A romantic relationship between them only seems inevitable.  When things are finally beginning to go somewhere with him, Rose's cousin, Juliet, comes back to town after 10 years.  Whatever Juliet wants, Juliet gets...and Rob is no exception.

To put it nicely, I didn't care for all.  Her arrival was upsetting, but even more so, her heartless plan to ruin her own cousin's happiness set me over the edge.  That being said, this story is more about betrayal than anything.  Rose not only loses hope and a part of her family, but she also loses her best friend.  Now, this wasn't all Juliet's fault.  Rob seemed to have been blinded by everything and he got on my nerves just as much as Juliet did.  Some of the things he said to Rose when he finally confronted her about his new relationship made me roll my eyes, but that's exactly the way the original Romeo and Juliet were--blinded by infatuation.

Rebecca Serle did a great job with this retelling, showing another side of the story, and touching on topics that everyone who's had their heart broken can relate to.  Overall, the story was a wonderfully written roller coaster of emotions.  Sure, everyone knows how the play ends, but this story also deals with how to get over love and loss with an ending that will make your heart swell with more joy than imagined.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In my Mailbox #29

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


-When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
(Finished copy from Simon & Schuster)

-Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham
(ARC from Simon & Schuster)

- Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
(egalley from Bloomsbury- for blog tour)

I've already finished When You Were Mine, so the review should be up sometime next week, if any of you are interested in my thoughts about it!  :)

What have you received in your mailbox lately?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

Title: Fateful
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Historical Fiction /
                      Paranormal Romance

Release date: September 13th, 2011
Pages: 328 (ARC)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Won

The RMS Titanic is the most luxurious ship ever built, but for eighteen-year-old Tess Davies it’s a prison. Travelling as a maid for the family she has served for years, Tess is trapped in their employ amid painful memories and family secrets.

When she meets Alec, a handsome upper class passenger, Tess falls helplessly in love. But Alec has secrets of his own… and soon Tess is entangled in a dangerous game. A sinister brotherhood that will do anything to induct Alec into their mystical order has followed him onboard. And Tess is now their most powerful pawn.

Tess and Alec fight the dark forces threatening to tear them apart, never realising that they will have to face an even greater peril before the journey is over…

When I decided to read Fateful in order to acknowledge the 100th anniversary since the sinking of the Titanic, I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into.  As it turns out, Claudia Gray did a wonderful job of combining these two very different worlds.  The description of the ship even made me feel as though I could have been right there with the characters, so I know that Claudia had to do a bit of research to make it accurate.  Along with the incredible visuals, the author creates an action-filled romance that you don't want to let go of.

Tess is a character that you can emotionally invest in from day one.  She's just a teenage girl who slaves away as a maid for the incredibly ungrateful, upper-class Lisle family with hopes of starting a new life in America.  When she meets Alec, a handsome and seemingly genuine American boy, they both become attached.  It doesn't matter that they're from different social classes; he accepts Tess and when she discovers his darkest secret, she accepts him too.

The story continues strongly at a quick pace, revealing the truths about many characters, even the smaller ones.  You get to see what Alec, Tess, and even members of the Lisle family have gone through over time, which makes it easier to get sucked into the book.  The paranormal aspects of the story were fantastic and believable, adding more drama to the romance.  Of course, what's a paranormal book without an antagonist? Mikhail plays the role of the villain here, quickly making his way to the top of your shit-list as you learn what kind of person he is.

After everything that happens in the story, Alec and Tess turned out to be one of my favorite couples.  Their romance kept going strong, even when there was little hope for survival.  There were even scenes between them that gave me chills.  Of course, you know a book is going to make it to my favorites list when it brings tears to my eyes, which Fateful was surely able to do.  I'm not sure how strong I would have been if I were Tess, so I can definitely say that I admire her.

If you're interested in the Titanic and werewolves- or even just historical fiction and paranormal romance- I wouldn't hesitate in giving this book a try.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #19

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: Alice in Zombieland
Author: Gena Showalter
Release Date: September 25th, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

She won’t resist until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

The title caught my attention right away.  I've always loved Alice in Wonderland and zombies, so I'm sure you can imagine my excitement when I first came across this one!  The cover is gorgeous and the plot sounds perfect.  Needless to say, I can't wait!

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Embrace
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal/ Romance
Release date: March 6th, 2012
Pages: 369 (ARC)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Won

It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.

Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.

A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…

Embrace seems to be the kind of book that doesn't quite keep a death grip on your attention, yet you still want to keep reading in order to find out more about its main character.  I had high hopes for this book when I started it because I was assured that it was amazing, but by a certain point in the book, I got bored with Violet.   If I don't like the main character, chances are I won't like the book.  Thankfully, I'm about to tell you how all of that turned around and became a pretty interesting read.

Before this, I hadn't read any other books about angels.  Sure, I know enough about them from watching Supernatural, but I never really immersed myself in the much-loved topic when it comes to books.  That being said, after reading Embrace, I will dip my toes into the genre a little more.  Violet started out as a young girl who has a good head on her shoulders.  Though her life hasn't been exactly ideal, you can tell that she's determined to do whatever she sets her mind to.  When she finds out that she's part angel, any hope that Violet has of a normal life is gone.

On top of finding out about the powers she holds within herself, Violet has to deal with complicated relationships between two boys.  She first falls for Lincoln, the one who befriends her and begins to train her without her knowing it, and the other is Phoenix, the mysterious man that's shows up wherever she happens to be.  Love triangles never bother me, but this one had me roll my eyes a few times.  Lincoln wanted to be honest with her, to give her time to cope with the new information.  He was, essentially, perfect.  Phoenix, on the other hand, was kind of sketchy.  This happens to be one of the reasons I didn't want to take Violet seriously.

Slightly silly romance aside, Shirvington creates a world that will truly captivate her readers.  I loved each description she used to express everything Violet was sensing.  Though I started to lose interest when Violet became whiny and less of a kick-ass heroine, everything began to make sense near the end of the book.  Of course, realizing this made the story about a star better than I originally planned on rating it.  Needless to say, I am now excited to get my hands on the sequel to find out what else could possibly happen in Violet's life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #18

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: Bad Hair Day
Author: Carrie Harris
Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte

Senior year is positively hair-raising.

Kate Grable is geeked out to shadow the county medical examiner as part of her school’s pre-med program. Except when he’s arrested for murder, she’s left with the bodies. And when Kate’s brother Jonah stumbles upon a dead gamer girl, she realizes that the zombie epidemic she cured last fall was only the beginning of the weirdness taking over her town. Someone’s murdering kids—something really hairy. And strong. Possibly with claws.

Is it werewolf awesomeness like Jonah and his dorktastic friends think? Kate’s supposed to be a butt-kicking zombie killing genius...but if she can’t figure out who’s behind the freakish attacks, the victims—or what’s left of them—are going to keep piling up.

It’s scary. It’s twisted. It’s sick. It’s high school.

Whoops!  I'm a little late on this week's Waiting on Wednesday, but I just had to share my excitement for Bad Hair Day.  I need to read this book ASAP, mainly because Bad Taste in Boys entertained me so much when I read it last year.  Not many books can make me laugh out loud, but the situations that Kate Grable gets herself into are unbelievably hilarious.  

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Title: Kill Me Softly
Author: Sarah Cross
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Fairy tale retelling / Romance
Release date: April 10th, 2012
Pages: 314 (e-galley)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Netgalley

Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

Like most, I was intrigued by the cover of this book, but Kill Me Softly turned out to be so much more than a beautiful exterior.  The story begins with an introduction of nearly-sixteen-year-old Mira and her two godmothers.  Although the stories of how they became a family have remained consistent, Mira doesn't quite believe that her godmothers have told her everything.  Well, as it turns out, Mira is kept sheltered from her past life for a reason.  The only thing that she does know is that she wants to find her parents graves for her birthday, so she makes a plan and sets out for the town she was born in.  Once she arrives, the people and information she happens to stumble across end up turning her life upside down.

I quite enjoyed Mira.  She was realistic and as confused as anyone would be stepping into a town like Beau Rivage.  She wasn't unnecessarily naive and she knew how to handle herself, even if she needed the help of a few people here and there.  When she comes across a seemingly rude boy named Blue, she feels very unwelcome, but if it weren't for him, who knows where she would end up in the story.  He may have been my favorite character of them all, in fact.  He was the most honest and caring, even if he didn't always show it.  By the end of the book, he will win your heart, too.

The plot was the most interesting and I loved the inclusion of fairy tale characters such as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Prince Charming and a handful of others- even a couple villains.  This retelling stayed true to the original stories but held such a twist within its own pages that will leave you hoping that the story goes on and on, even once it ends.  I had so much fun trying to guess which fairy tale each character was supposed to portray, as well.

There are times when an author makes the ending painfully obvious, but that's not the case here.  I was shocked more than once as I read, which was refreshing and made the book one of my new favorites.  Mira went to the town for closure but ended up with so much more than she ever could have imagined, maybe she even fell in love once or twice.  If you're fond of dark fairy tales, a bit of mystery, drama, and a mostly-happy ending, I encourage you to give this book a try.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

In My Mailbox #28

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

I've only received 2 books within the past 2 weeks, but they're totally awesome ones.  :)

- Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
(Signed finished copy from Elisa)

-Embrace by Jessica Shirvington 
(ARC from Amy @ YA-Sisterhood)

I've already read and reviewed Pretty Crooked, so I was ecstatic when I found out that I was getting a signed finished copy.  ^_^  If you want to read my review, it's right here.

What have you received in your mailbox lately? 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review: Zero by Tom Leveen

Title: Zero
Author: Tom Leveen
Publisher: Random House
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary
Release date: April 24th, 2012
Pages: 298 (ARC)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Random Buzzers Ambuzzador Program

For aspiring artist Amanda Walsh, who only half-jokingly goes by the nickname Zero, the summer before college was supposed to be fun—plain and simple. Hanging out with her best friend Jenn, going to clubs, painting, and counting down the days until her escape. But when must-have scholarship money doesn't materialize, and she has a falling out with Jenn that can only be described as majorly awkward, and Zero's parents relationship goes from tense to relentless fighting, her prospects start looking as bleak and surreal as a painting by her idol Salvador Dali. Will life truly imitate art? Will her new, unexpected relationship with a punk skater boy who seems too good to be real and support from the unlikeliest of sources show Zero that she's so much more than a name.

If I hadn't been chosen to be an Ambuzzador for Random Buzzers, I'm not quite sure if I'd have heard of this book.  That being said, I'm so thrilled that I got the chance to read it.  More than anything else, Zero is a story of finding yourself, and it's inspired me to get more of what I truly want out of life.  Even if you're not quite into contemporary books, I assure you that this is one book you'll want to try out.

The first thing I wanted to note was Leveen's seemingly effortless way of writing from a female's point of view.  Some of my favorite books were written by male authors, but I've never read one with a female protagonist before.  Amanda "Zero" Walsh was a very convincing character for me.  She's just another normal teenage girl who has to work extra hard to make her dreams come true, which is quite admirable and realistic.  Besides not being able to go to her dream college, her family is broken and she nearly loses her best friend.  Of course, this is where- conveniently- Mike comes in.

When Zero works up the nerve to talk to the gorgeous-eyed drummer she saw on stage, it's like her life flips upside down.  She's inspired, not only to paint, but to keep pushing forward.  Plus, having to stay in Arizona can't be too bad now that she has him around.  Honestly, Zero reminds me of myself when I was 17, mainly because she has low self-esteem, hangs out at concerts, and has a slight obsession with Salvador Dali.  I loved it.  Mike was also the type of guy you grow to love and you could tell from the start that he would treat Zero as if she's worth more than she believes.

Overall, the story was refreshing.  The characters were lovable and they all seem to grow in front of your eyes the more you read.  Even Zero's parents turned into the adults they were supposed to be.  The book ended on such a good note and left me with a sense that the time I'd invested in reading the book was well worth it.  If you want to find out where Zero, Mike, and even her parents end up in life, I suggest you pick up the book.  Who knows, it may become a new favorite like it has for me!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #17

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: Meant to Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

I kind of have an idea of how this story may end up, but I can't wait to read it anyways!  How cute does Meant to Be sound???  ...Is it November yet?  Ahh!

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Review: Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler

Title: Where It Began
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary
Release date: March 6th, 2012
Pages: 370 (e-galley)
Rating: 2 out of 5
Source: PulseIt

Sometimes the end is just the beginning.

Gabby lived under the radar until her makeover. Way under. But when she started her senior year as a blonder, better-dressed version of herself, she struck gold: Billy Nash believed she was a the flawless girl she was pretending to be. The next eight months with Billy were bliss...Until the night Gabby woke up on the ground next to the remains of his BMW without a single memory of how she got there.

And Billy's nowhere to be found.

All Gabby wants is to make everything perfect again. But getting her life back isn't difficult, it's impossible. Because nothing is the same, and Gabby's beginning to realize she's missed more than a few danger signs along the way.

It's time for Gabby to face the truth, even if it means everything changes.

I really thought that this was going to be a book I'd enjoy.  I loved the summary because it makes the story sound like it's full of twists and turns, but as it turns out, not everything is what it seems.  I got bored with Where It Began after the first few chapters, which mainly took place in the hospital.  It felt that everything was moving very slowly; much too slow to make me want to read more, so I took a break.  After reading two other books, I decided to come back to it, but this time, it was the same.  Honestly, I just read it to get it over with.

For one, I didn't really like any of the characters mentioned in the story.  Oh wait, maybe Huey's mom, who is mentioned twice, at most.   Other than that, they all got under my skin.  Gabby was so incredibly naive (and not the lovable kind, either) until the very end.  Once we find out what really happened, which wasn't very shocking, the story begins to pick up...and then it ends.

Though there were many things that bothered me about the story, the number one reason I gave this book 2 stars is because of Gabby.  I couldn't relate to her at all and I don't know anyone else who could.  Stampler tried to make her sound sarcastic and witty (which I usually love) but it came off as bitchy and annoying.  She brushes off the fact that Billy's a self-absorbed asshole who tries to control her just because he told her that he loved her.  Gabby wasn't strong.  She just wasn't the main character I'd hope to learn more about.

I feel like the Where It Began could have been done so much better and I do still enjoy the thought that went into the plot of the story, but it didn't live up to my expectations.  That being said, the book was just okay.  I wouldn't read it again and it definitely won't make it onto my list of books to recommend.