Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Dark Companion by Marta Acosta

Title: Dark Companion
Author: Marta Acosta
Publisher: Tor/ Macmillan
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Paranormal/Romance
Release date: July 3rd, 2012
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She's even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper's cottage in the center of the birch grove. 

Something's not quite right about the school -- or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She's also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother. 

The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member. 

Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school...and be bound to Birch Grove forever?

When I first began Dark Companion, I imagined the book to be filled with more suspense and mystery.  Truthfully, I wasn't that impressed with this one, which is incredibly disappointing because I was looking forward to it for months prior to receiving it.  Though the story kept a decent pace, I found myself struggling to continue from time to time, which resulted in a little skimming and a lot of frustrated sighs.

Jane is finally given the opportunity to leave her less-than-perfect foster life behind in order to live on her own and attend an incredible school on scholarship.  They even give her money for anything she wants, which she definitely isn't used to where she comes from.  You know when they say if something seems too good to be true, it probably is?  Jane's about to find out the truth and it's a lot more strange than she- and the reader- would have expected.

Although I didn't completely connect with any of the characters, I still enjoyed a few of them.  Mary Violet was my favorite and her odes were enough to make me laugh, even when I wasn't enjoying the story.  I definitely couldn't stand the love interest and found it hard to believe that Jane would be so naive considering she grew up in a place where you need to have street smarts to survive.  I also found myself cringing with disgust whenever Jane agreed to let Lucky use her.  I can't even find the words to describe what happened in the last half of this book, but "wtf" comes to mind more than a few times.

Other than these flaws, the story was mostly enjoyable.  Marta's descriptions were what kept me going, but I still believe the story could have been done a lot better.  Dark Companion had some original and unique qualities, but the cliche characters ruined that for me.  I certainly believe that many people will enjoy this book, but unfortunately, I cannot call myself a fan.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #29

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 Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Release Date: January 22nd, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. 

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. 

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive. 

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

I know I have quite a while to wait until this book comes out, but I just needed to share it! Doesn't it sound amazing?

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Fantasy/Romance/ Retelling
Release date: July 3rd, 2012
Pages: 292 (ARC)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . . 

 Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell. 

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything--her family, her future--to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter. 

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

While reading Tiger Lily, I was instantly transported into this beautiful and familiar world full of magic and wonder.  Any fan of Peter Pan will love this book, as it shows you the life of the easily forgotten about native girl from the perspective of Tinkerbell, everyone's favorite fairy.  The only word I can think of to describe this story is bittersweet and it is truly that, for various reasons.

I easily fell in love with Tiger Lily's character, as she was the black sheep of her tribe.  People whispered about her behind her back and treated her with disrespect, but because of that, she was able to develop a thicker skin which helps her throughout the book.  Mainly, she's picked on because she's not delicate like the other girls, but when she meets Peter Pan, the so-called savage, Tiger Lily quickly realizes that they're not as different as they may seem.

As previously stated, the narration by Tinkerbell was actually a pleasant surprise.  When starting, I had no idea that we would be able to see Neverland through her eyes, but thinking about it now, I don't think the story could have been written better.  The author does an incredible job setting each emotion that there were several rushing through me at different points of the story.  The relationship that develops between Tiger Lily and Peter makes sense.  They've been broken, but they're strong, doing whatever it takes to help others.  They both have big, full hearts.

Tiger Lily is the perfect retelling of Peter Pan; a unique story filled with incredible imagination, first love, and heartbreak.  It's one book that I will absolutely treasure and read time and time again, hopefully even to my own children in the future.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

Title: The Beginning of After
Author: Jennifer Castle
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary Romance
Release date: September 6th, 2011
Pages: 432 (ARC)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Sixteen-year-old Laurel’s world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all, there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel’s life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss, a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.

The Beginning of After tells the story of one of the strongest characters I've read about in contemporary YA yet.  When Laurel decides to skip on getting ice cream with her family, there's no way she could have known  that it would be the last time she'd ever see her parents and little brother alive.  Her entire life quickly unravels and she has to rely on herself to be able to put it back together.  With a little help from her grandmother, a few friends and even the boy next door, Laurel learns what it's like to live again.

Laurel is the ultimate good girl.  She didn't disobey, she did whatever she could to please her parents and her number one concern was currently studying for her SATs.  Her studying was cut short due to the constant knocking at her front door-- a police man coming to break the awful news.  Her family was gone.  She was now an orphan at 16 and although she feels empty and alone in the world, Laurel has so many more people looking out for her than she realizes.

Surprisingly, I don't get very emotional over many of the books I read but this one completely broke my heart.  I always prefer raw, depressing stories with a hopeful ending and that is exactly what The Beginning of After turned out to be.  Laurel had to take time to herself, heal at her own pace and deal with everything when they needed to be dealt with.  She started off trying to push the feeling away, but it began to creep up on her at the worst possible moments.  She then chose to focus on various things she was passionate about, such as art and working at a veterinary clinic.  Eventually, she put effort in doing things to honor the family she lost, reminding herself that she'll never lose them, not really.

Overall, the story was so much more than I hoped it would be.  I know that it will stick with me for a long time, as it will for anyone who has lost someone close to them. Although it's a very heavy subject, I found myself flipping through the pages faster than I normally do.  This book will grab of you, shake you to your core and won't let go until the very end, when you're finally able to breathe again.  Even then, you'll be left with a realization of how lucky you really are.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Title: Smart Girls Get What They Want
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary Romance
Release date: June 26th, 2012
Pages: 352 (ARC)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. They know their "real" lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents) But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge--and they will totally "rock" it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking--and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes--until now.

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want--but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . .

Smart Girls Get What They Want is incredibly intelligent, fun-filled and heartwarming.  It's the story of three social nobodies wanting to become somebodies after realizing that getting perfect grades wasn't enough to get your peers to notice you.  It all began when they realized that Parad, Neerja's academically talented older sister left high school with a year book full of "I hope you have a nice life!"s and even a few "who are you?"s.  The story is admirable because even though Gigi, Neerja and Bea set out to make a difference in their social lives, they never lose sight of what's most important and what they've worked so hard for.

These three girls have been inseparable since kindergarten and it's very admirable to see them stick together throughout the book.  When Gigi is accused of cheating (which will screw up any chance of getting into an ivy league college), the girls help her with her campaign to run for student rep, which becomes much more important than Gigi ever expected it to be.  Over the school year, speaking in public goes from extremely nauseating to thoroughly exciting for her and I found that to be pretty interesting, because as a fellow shy girl, public speaking is one large fear of mine too.

What I enjoyed about this book was, even though I do love a good, romance-filled novel, Smart Girls Get What They Want was about so much more than just a boy.  Yes, there was enough of a love interest (or two) to hook and reel me in, but the lessons that these characters learned and the situations that they put themselves in for each other was inspiring.  I found myself especially attached to Gigi, but I also really enjoyed Mike's character because he was so much more than the author first lets on.  I really love those surprises you unwrap along the way.

Sarah Strohmeyer did an awesome job on creating a story about the loyalty of true friendship.  The characters are so diverse and lovable, that I believe that anyone can relate to someone while reading it.  Well-written and filled with hilarious and snarky dialogue, Smart Girls Get What They Want is the book that any contemporary YA lover needs to add to their wishlist.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

In My Mailbox #36

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

-Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
(Finished copy from Tor/ Macmillan)

-Until I Die by Amy Plum
(From Cassay @ Vamps, Weres and Cassay)

-Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
(From Random Buzzers)

-In Honor by Jessi Kirby
(Signed, from Simon & Schuster)

For some reason, S&S have sent me two copies of In Honor over the past few weeks, therefore I will be giving away my extra copy!  Just make sure to look out for that if In Honor is on your wishlist.  :)

Thanks for stopping by!  What have you received in your mailbox lately?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Fantasy/ Romance
Release date: September 27th, 2011
Pages: 417 (Hardcover)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. 

 In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low. 

 And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. 

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone completely shocked me with its beautifully written story about a fascinating girl named Karou.  She holds so many more secrets than the reader realizes, even some that she doesn't realize herself until we learn much more about her.

It's easy to say that when I first picked this book up, I had no idea what an incredible and carefully constructed world I was going to get lost in, but I'm so glad that it turned out that way. Though the main setting is in Prague, the author makes it seem as though the reader is thrust into a completely different world.  The line between magic and reality begins to blur and we're left wondering where we'll end up next.  Laini Taylor will have her readers wrapped around her fingers as she tells a captivating story about a forbidden romance between two very mysterious people.

I found everything about Karou to be appealing, from her blue hair, to her intriguing tattoos and her awesome personality.  She was definitely what I imagine to be the perfect main character, especially for a book like this.  Truthfully, once Akiva was introduced, I didn't like him very much.  It wasn't until I realized what a large role he actually played in Karou's life that I really became attached to his character.  That being said, both of them were very strong, and well thought-out.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone left me with so much more than what I first thought I was getting into.  The story behind Karou's people and their everlasting battle between the seraphs is enthralling and emotional and the fact that Karou and Akiva were willing to look past that was inspiring. Incredibly original and awe-worthy, this book is definitely one I can call a new favorite.  Needless to say, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of its sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #28

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: Fathomless
Author: Jackson Pearce
Release Date: September 4th, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo. 

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality. 

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

After recently reading Purity, I can easily say I'm eagerly awaiting Pearce's next book, Fathomless.  Though I admit, I haven't read the first two fairytale retellings yet, this one appeals to me more than Sisters Red and Sweetly combined.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen

Title: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare
Author: Melissa Jensen
Publisher: Speak
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: February 16th, 2012
Pages: 380 (Paperback)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Source: Gifted
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

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?

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was described as Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss.  Of course, being a sucker for anything Molly Ringwald and Stephanie Perkins, that had my interest instantly.  Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I did enjoy the book nonetheless.

Ella Marino is just a normal teenage girl who goes to a prestigious high school on a scholarship.  Her family runs an Italian restaurant and she's obsessed with an artist that has been dead for over a century.  When she finds Alex Bainbridge's drawings tucked in his history book, she's convinced he's the one for her, but there are quite a few obstacles in her way--the first being social status and the second and most important being his queen bee girlfriend, Amanda.

I enjoyed Ella's passion for art and her constant study on this (fictional) man, Edward Willing.  Though it was fun at first, I found myself hurrying through the chapters that merely contained the letters he wrote to his wife.  I'd honestly much rather let myself be pulled into the developing romance between Ella and Alex and by the second half of the book, that's exactly what happened.  Alex wasn't what he seemed to be and the fact that he was telling Ella a few secrets about himself on the first day they hung out together made him a more likable character.  Of course, Ella and Alex weren't the only lovable characters in this book, either.  Frankie and Sadie, Ella's faithful companions stuck with her along the way and made it easier to crack a smile as you read on.

While this wasn't the most action-filled, intriguing story, it was still down-to-earth and enjoyable.  The honest relationships between the family and friends were worth the time invested in this book.  If you're looking for an incredible romance, I don't think this would be one of the first books I'd recommend, but it's definitely not going to be the last on the list.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Purity by Jackson Pearce

Title: Purity
Author: Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary
Release date: April 24th, 2012
Pages: 218 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

A novel about love, loss, and sex -- but not necessarily in that order. 

 Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex. 

Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.

When Shelby's mom made her promise three things, Shelby hadn't thought much of it, but now that she's gone, she feels the pressure to keep them.  After all, you can't break the promises you made to your dead mother.  Purity shows us the life a teenage girl who only has the three instructions her mom has given her to guide her along the way.  She surely obeys her father and she's even made a "Life List" to help her live without restraint.

The story was easily able to keep my interest as I learned about Shelby and her relationship (or lack thereof) with her father and being sucked into planning a Princess Ball with him.  When she finds out that you must take vows of purity at the dance, she's in quite a predicament.  On one hand, her father is extremely looking forward to this father-daughter event so she can't just say no, but on the other hand, if she takes vows that she doesn't mean, she'd be lying to her father which goes against rule one.

Therefore, Shelby and her friends come up with Operation LOVIN (Lose Virginity Now).  Over the next few weeks, she gets so caught up in trying to lose her virginity that she completely forgets rule #2, love as much as possible.  For me, Shelby was the perfect main character for this book.  She was witty and quirky and all-around entertaining.  Like her friends, who tried their best to help her out whenever possible, this book was honest and heartwarming.

There's no doubt about it, I adore Jackson Pearce.  She's got an amazing personality which I see reflected in her writing.  She wasn't afraid to write about a girl just wanting to get laid to fulfill a promise, which that takes balls, because I'm sure many will criticize this book for it.  In fact, Purity reminded me a bit of Kody Keplinger's work, which I also can't get enough of.  Overall, this book was fast-paced, heartfelt and full of emotion.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In My Mailbox #35

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

Woohoo!  I had a pretty great birthday week!  Thanks to all who have sent me birthday wishes/ gifts over these past couple weeks!  <3

-Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
-Speechless by Hanna Harrington
(ARCs from HarlequinTeen)

-Purity by Jackson Pearce
-Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
(From Kate @ Ex Libris)

-Signed Sweet Evil swag (not pictured)
(From Wendy Higgins)

Gifted/ RAK
-Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
(From Claire @ Claire Reads)

-Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
(From Jennifer)

-The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
-Totoro plushie
-Essie nail polish in She's Picture Perfect & Shine of the Times
(From my adorable boyfriend!)


-Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
(e-galley from Delacorte)
-Velveteen by Daniel Marks
(e-galley from Random House Children's)

I'm so excited to read each and every one of these books! 

Thanks for stopping by!  What have you received in your mailbox lately?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Review: One Moment by Kristina McBride

Title: One Moment
Author: Kristina McBride
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary
Release date: June 26th, 2012
Pages: 272 (e-galley)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget. 

 Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead? 

 As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

We always have to remember that at any moment in time, our lives can change drastically.  When Maggie followed her boyfriend up to the top of that cliff, she had no idea that it would be the moment that changes everything.  When an unexpected accident occurs, the shock of it all has left her with bits and pieces of memory but she can't remember what happened before the jump and what made her decide against it at the last minute.  Now the police, her friends and everyone else are on her case trying to figure out the truth that her head is blocking from her.

One Moment tells the story of one traumatized girl trying to put the pieces back together, to understand why her boyfriend left her with so much left to uncover.  The story itself was incredibly devastating and I recall my heart breaking with every horrible secret the main character uncovered.  She was torn into pieces each time and therefore, I was too.  Although the mystery woven into this book was a little obvious to the reader at times, I can understand why Maggie thought the way she did about her friends and how close they were to each other.

I started to hate Joey with everything I learned about him along the way.  Sometimes you don't know the truth about someone until they're gone.  Even after everything she'd been through, the most important part is that Maggie learns to say goodbye and begins to trust again, which takes so much more strength than the last few months have given her.

In One Moment, Maggie was able to put the pieces of her memory back together as well as her heart.  The author created such a shocking and tragic tale of love, loss, betrayal and being able to heal over time.  I loved every moment of this story and I'm more than certain many others will too.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: May 5th, 2009
Pages: 276 (Paperback)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Bought
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

Belly is used to being left out, but this is the summer everything changes.  Every year she goes to her mom's best friend's beach house.  Every year it's the same and Belly doesn't understand why the boys don't notice her, especially Conrad, the one she'd been pining over for half her life.  This year she notices Conrad and Jeremiah- even a few boys she's never met before- sneaking peeks at her.  This is the year Belly turns pretty, but is it all really even worth it?

I was easily hooked from the first page, wanting to find out more about this teenage girl and why she's so in love with her summer traditions.  Of course, as with many teenage girls, "boys" fit into the picture.  In fact, they might as well make up most of the picture.  Belly has never seen Jeremiah and Conrad any other time of the year, and is therefore left thinking about them during every other season.  The book goes back and forth from the present to the past, which I always love.  I enjoy seeing the differences in the characters between then and now.

An unexpected romance brews that summer and while Belly still has some feelings left for Conrad, things don't seem to be going anywhere with him anytime soon.  In fact, each of the characters are dealing with more than it seems.  I was truly surprised at how heavy this book got, as I was expecting a light summer read.  Though the characters were going through the same thing, each of them reacted a different way which made it very believable.

Jenny Han creates a story that is able to both warm your heart and break it.  Belly will take you on a journey filled with hope, love and summers leading up to the next.  Overall, this book has become a new favorite and I recommend for anyone to read it, especially in the summertime.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #27

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 Space Between Us
Author: Jessica Martinez
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Amelia is used to being upstaged by her charismatic younger sister, Charly. She doesn’t mind, mostly, that it always falls to her to cover for Charly’s crazy, impulsive antics. But one night, Charly's thoughtlessness goes way too far, and she lands them both in serious trouble.
Amelia's not sure she can forgive Charly this time, and not sure she wants to…but the situation is even worse than either of them realizes. Amelia has no choice but to give up everything--her friends, her future, her dream--in order to cover for Charly’s huge mistake. 
Amelia doesn't understand how her sister could have done this to them both. What she doesn't know is that Charly is hiding a terrible secret—one with the potential to change everything.

Ahh, from the moment I heard about this book, I could hardly contain my excitement! Not only is it by Jessica Martinez, who wrote Virtuosity (one of my favorite reads last year) but the plot truly sounds interesting!  I can't wait to find out more about the lives of Amelia and Charly!

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

By the way, if you live in the US and like winning boxes of books, there are just 3 more days to enter my one year blogoversary giveaway!  Click here to try your luck!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review: Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

Title: Reunited
Author: Hilary Weisman Graham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary
Release date: June 12th, 2012
Pages: 365 (ARC)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

1 Concert
2000 Miles
3 Ex-Best Friends

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends.

Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3.

But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.

Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there.

But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?

Being trapped in a 1976 pea-green Volkswagen bus with your two ex-best friends doesn't seem like the ideal summer vacation, but some how, it turns out to be so much more for Alice, Summer and Tiernan.  When Alice gets the news that Level3 are having a reunion show, she jumps the gun and buys three tickets without thinking about what would happen if Summer and Tiernan said no.  After all, once-upon-a-time, they were inseparable.  In Reunited, we find out what split the girls apart in the first place and what sticky situations bring them back together in a way they never imagined.

Each of the girls were able to steal your heart from the moment they got into the cleverly named VW bus, The Pea Pod, and began their journey across the country.  I imagine Level3 to be what *NSYNC was to me and I know if they were ever to get back together, I'd be there in a heartbeat.  While Alice is just looking for a little summer fun and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Tiernan plans to break out of her bedroom where she's been condemned to until college begins, and Summer just wants to get away from her fresh break up, lies and heartache.

I enjoyed all three of their personalities.  Each of the girls were completely different, but they were able to originally bond because of their love of this band.  Alice seemed to be the level-headed, well-planned one, Tiernan was reckless (and in a way, her I-don't-give-a-sh*t personality saved them a few times) and Summer is the misunderstood popular girl that I wouldn't have thought I'd get so easily attached to.  Besides the characters, the shenanigans that they got themselves into were hilarious.  From the zombie squirrel to the possible murderer, the author made this story so fun that you just have to keep reading.

Yet not everything was smooth sailing.  Nothing about this trip was easy for them and that's what helped them communicate and rekindle their friendship.  I can't imagine having to go through everything the girls went through just for one special moment together again after spending 4 years apart, from the best times to the most upsetting ones.  Reunited is an entertaining and light contemporary 2012 debut that will leave you grinning like a fool until the very last page.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

In My Mailbox #34

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

My mailbox was loaded with awesome this week!


-Wake by Amanda Hocking
(ARCs from St. Martin's Press)

I got two extra copies to give away!  Yay!  So look out for that one soon.  ;)

-Blind Spot by Laura Ellen
(ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

-The Suburban Strange by Nathan Kotecki
(ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

-Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
(eARC from Harlequin Teen via Netgalley)


-Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
(From Heather @ BookStacksOnDeck)

And a little appearance from my dog!  ^_^
Thanks again for the RAK/ Birthday gift, Heather!

Thanks for stopping by!  What have you received in your mailbox lately?

By the way, if you live in the US and like winning boxes of books, there's only one more week to enter my one year blogoversary giveaway!  
Click here to try your luck!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little Brown for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: June 1st, 2009
Pages: 290 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Bought
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

"Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?"
"Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?"

According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.

Twenty Boy Summer is the heartbreaking tale of the death of a girl's first love.  Anna and Francesca (Frankie) have been best friends for as long as they've known each other.  That being said, Anna was always close with the rest of Frankie's family, including her older brother, Matt.  When her birthday wish to be with him finally comes true, she's ecstatic, but after a few short weeks, their relationship ends along with Matt's life.  In order to overcome this tough time, Frankie's family takes Anna to the place they used to spend the summer when Matt was still alive and each of the characters learn how to deal with the heartbreak in their own way.

When they get to the beach, they try to distract themselves by making up a game to see how many boys they can flirt with in order to find the right one to take Anna's virginity, even if she's not completely over Matt.  The saddest part of the story is that Anna feels that she can't openly express her heartbreak over Frankie's brother because no one but Anna and Matt knew they were together and he asked Anna to promise not to tell Frankie before he did.  Since he passed away before he got the chance to, Anna felt that it wasn't her place to tell Frankie what may or may have not become of them last summer.

It took me two tries to really fall in love with this book.  While reading it, I was easily drawn into these character's lives.  I couldn't believe how emotional some of the scenes made me and how attached I got to Anna the more I read.  Her relationship with Frankie started out strong.  They were always there for each other, but there's something about losing someone close to you that can both pull you together and split you apart. 

Everyone heals at their own pace, but it seems that summer in California seemed to patch the entire family's broken hearts.  Twenty Boy Summer was filled with a handful of moments that made you both smile and ache.  Sarah Ockler creates a powerful story of being able to fall in love again after experiencing the heartbreak of losing someone you loved before.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #26

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: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury. 

 But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. 

 Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off the from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Ahh, everything about this book sounds so creepy and perfect!  I can't wait to find out what happens to these typical teenage-horror-movie victims!

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

By the way, if you live in the US and like winning boxes of books, enter my one year blogoversary giveaway!  Click here to try your luck!