Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #41

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: Deep Betrayal
Author: Anne Greenwood Brown
Release Date: March 12th, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte

It's been thirty days, two hours, and seventeen minutes since Calder left Lily standing on the shores of Lake Superior. Not that she's counting. And when Calder does return, it's not quite the reunion Lily hoped for. Especially after she lets her father in on a huge secret: he, like Calder, is a merman. Obsessed with his new identity, Lily's dad monopolizes Calder's time as the two of them spend every day in the water, leaving Lily behind.

Then dead bodies start washing ashore. Calder blames his mermaid sisters, but Lily fears her father has embraced the merman's natural need to kill. As the body count grows, everyone is pointing fingers. Lily doesn't know what to believe—only that whoever's responsible is sure to strike again. . .

After reading Lies Beneath last week, it's still on my mind. I enjoyed it so much more than I originally thought I would and I'm very excited to find out what happens next.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: July 31st, 2012
Pages: 384 (e-galley)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Review
Goodreads | Amazon | Author 
So wrong for each other...and yet so right. 

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Echo is unlike most other girls her age. She's had to deal with so many unfair things that life has handed to her, and the worst part is that she's repressed some of it. She can't remember what happened to her the night she received the horrifying cuts on her arms, other than the fact that her mother tried to kill her.  When she begins speaking with a new therapist in an attempt to piece her memories back together in order to move on, Echo begins to realize that she's lost and there are very few people willing to help her find her way.

Noah, like Echo, hasn't had the easiest life and when they come together, they both notice that they're more alike than they could have ever imagined.  Both of these characters quickly found their ways into my heart and I loved that the story, the hurt, and the romance was told from both of their perspectives.  The emotions squeezed my organs until I felt like I couldn't breathe and this is one book I definitely didn't want to put down.  These star-crossed lover stories seem to be my favorite, and Pushing the Limits is another added to the list.

Echo and Noah turn out to be exactly what the other needs in order to help make themselves whole again.  Their relationship that sprouts from this common situation turns into this strong and caring, perfectly real romance.  They've both dealt with loss in more ways than one and by the end, they both learn how to take something devastating and turn it into something beautiful.  The emotions run high in this one, but it's not all about these two people bonding, it's more about their separate heartbreaking stories and how they're able to continue living, their wounds healing little by little.

Pushing the Limits is an extremely moving story that will bring tears to your eyes and  make almost anyone feel the pain these characters are going through.  Very well-written and full of hope, this story is guaranteed to stay on your mind for quite a while after reading it.  Katie McGarry is clearly talented, therefore I am highly anticipating her next piece of work.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Title: Lies Beneath
Author: Anne Greenwood Brown
Publisher: Delacorte
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Fantasy/ Romance
Release date: June 12th, 2012
Pages: 303 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

When Calder White gets the news that a man they've been searching to kill is moving back to his old home near Lake Superior, he and his sisters begin planning how to get closer to him in order to get their revenge.  Years ago, their mother died and her children have taken it upon themselves to finish their end of the contract that she made with Jason Hancock's father.  Little does Calder realize, he'll soon forget about his duties when he begins to focus on Hancock's eldest daughter, Lily.

Though I'm new to books involving mermaids, I can see why people love them so much in YA.  The mermaids in this story are menacing, vengeful and absolutely deceiving, which I loved most of all.  When most people think of mermaids, they think of Ariel and in fact, they're quite the opposite.  Calder and his sisters are predators and they must kill to survive.  I fell for Calder's personality and Lily's quirkiness, but I also had a bit of a soft spot for Calder's sister, Tallulah, because she seemed genuine.

One of the best things about Lies Beneath is that everything was explained within due time.  There was never a question left unanswered, such as why Calder and his sisters seem a little different or why they're able to transform themselves from having a tail to two legs within a matter of seconds. The relationship that develops between Calder and Lily is a little cliche, as expected, but I still found it enjoyable.  For the most part, it's believable, but I didn't find it very heartwarming, as I knew the foundation of the relationship wasn't a steady one.

Overall, the author did a fantastic job with this story. The plot, characters and writing grabbed me and wouldn't let go.  It was perfectly paced and I always felt the need to keep reading in order to find out what would happen next. The ending took me completely by surprise, as I was expecting one thing and something else happened that I think will shock most other readers.  Lies Beneath is a perfectly delicious summer read and anyone who picks it up will devour it in no time.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

In My Mailbox #40

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

-Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
(ARC from Pitch Dark)

-My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
(Finished copy from Hannah @ In the Best Worlds)

-A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger (reviewed)
(Finished copy from Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer)

-Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman
(signed copy from the author)

I couldn't even wait to read A Midsummer's Nightmare, so I read it the first day I got it and I LOVED it!  Seriously, Kody Keplinger never disappoints.  This week in books was just as exciting as the last (if not more) and I definitely won't be waiting long to read Something Strange and Deadly or My Life Next Door.  :)

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

BTW, I'm currently holding a few giveaways you might want to check out!
-Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (US/CAN only- ends 8/10)
-2 ARCs and a pre-order of Wake by Amanda Hocking (INT- ends 8/1)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop

Thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Colorimetry for hosting this giveaway hop.

Today I have two ARCs of Wake by Amanda Hocking to give away to two awesome US followers, but that's not all!
For you lovely international followers, I'll hold a separate giveaway for a pre-order of the book!

Review: A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Title: A Midsummer's Nightmare
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: June 5th, 2012
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Won
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée'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 stepbrother...at 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.

My adoration for Kody Keplinger is no secret. She's written some of my favorite books and A Midsummer's Nightmare is a perfect addition to that list.  This book was one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2012 and it's safe to say that it did not disappoint.

Whitley is a wild child and yes, she has daddy issues.  Her parents split when she was young and she spent the four years of high school making her way from party to party.  Her mother is too busy wallowing in her own sorrow to notice any of it and her father, who chooses  to see her only a couple months out of the year, acts more like her brother or a friend than the parent she so desperately needs.  When she finds out that he's getting married to a woman she's never met before and starting a family with her two children, Whitley feels completely unwanted and therefore turns to more booze and boys until it bites her in the ass.

Not only does Whitley have to spend the next few months with complete strangers, her dad being the most unfamiliar of them all, but the son, Nathan, happens to be the boy that Whitley slept with the night of her graduation.  To make it worse, she has no choice but to spend time with him and she can't keep her hormones under control whenever he's around.  Nathan is completely swoon-worthy, because not only is he incredibly attractive, but he's also very caring towards his new stepsister-to-be.

Though Whitley changed drastically throughout the book, she never lost sight of herself.  Not once did she lose the cynical personality that the readers will learn to love.  The author did an incredible job creating Whitley, a character that many teenagers will be able to relate to in their own ways.  A Midsummer's Nightmare is everything I expected it to be, from the snarky dialogue to the sweet summer romance.  This book is a must-have for any Keplinger fan.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #40

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: Time Between Us
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Release Date: October 9th, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett’s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna’s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate—and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.

This 2012 debut sounds super sweet and exactly like my kind of book!  Need. it. now.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

By the way, I'm currently holding a giveaway for US/CAN residents.  Check it out and enter if you haven't already!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

Title: Until I Die (Revenants #2)
Author: Amy Plum 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal Romance
Release date: May 8th, 2012
Pages: 357 (Hardcover)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Gifted
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die For Me, our main character finds herself falling head over heels for Vincent, a man who holds a dark and dangerous secret.  As they get closer, that secret comes to the surface and Kate has to make a decision that may put her life on the line.  Is this love enough to risk everything for?

Until I Die brings a lot more romance, action and danger into this main character's life as we learn what Vincent has up his sleeve in order to live a full life with her.  Of course, having to watch him die over and over again will take a toll on Kate and Vincent wants to eliminate the pain it would cause.  Aside from the romance, two more characters are introduced as Charlotte and Charles go to Nice in order to spend time away from their everyday lives and the Numa are back on the prowl.

Though I still enjoyed the first book in the series more, Until I Die was the perfect sequel.  It was packed full of emotion, excitement and it left me craving more.  The fact that this series takes place in Paris just adds to the magic of the story.  Though we see a little less of Charlotte, her presence is replaced with another older revenant named Violette and her partner, Arthur.  I wasn't quite sure what to think of either of them at first, but it's easy to say that my first instinct was correct.  Kate's bubbly sister is the same as always, adding a few good laughs to the story and lightening the overall mood.  My favorite, though, has to be Jules.  He hasn't changed one bit, which is perfect because I've been looking forward to seeing more of how he interacts with the other characters, especially Kate.

Parts of Until I Die may be slower than normal, but I didn't mind taking a long stroll with Kate as she figured out some crucial information that may help her relationship with Vincent.  After all of this hope that they build, the excitement of a future together, finally getting a chance at happiness after Kate thought all was lost when her parents died, the outcome was truly shocking.  The ending was unfair and it ripped my heart out, but I believe it's what truly made the book as great as it is.  There's no need to say that after this cliffhanger, I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

In My Mailbox #39

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

-The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
(ARC from Scholastic Press)

-The Dark Light by Sara Walsh
(ARC from Simon Pulse)

-This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
(for RAK from Katrina @ Bookish Things & More)

This was such an awesome bookish week!  I totally wasn't expecting to find The Dark Light or The Raven Boys in my mailbox, but here they are!  Can't wait to read and review them for you guys!

Thanks for stopping by!  What have you received in your mailbox lately?
By the way, I'm currently holding a giveaway for US/CAN residents.  Check it out and enter if you haven't already!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

Title: The Unquiet
Author: Jeannine Garsee
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Paranormal
Release date: July 17th, 2012
Pages: 388 (egalley)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother.

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents' separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn's bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be "touched" by Annaliese...or if Annaliese even exists.

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about--not to mention her own--she can't help wondering: who should she really be afraid of? Annaliese? Or herself?

When Corinne Jacobs is forced to move to her mother's hometown after a horrible accident involving her grandmother and a house fire, she finds herself trapped in her worst nightmare.  Not only does she hold the weight of another person's death on her shoulders, but she soon finds out that there are many obstacles she has to overcome involving her mental health, too.  Reality begins to mix with what may be her imagination when weird, unexplained things occur to only Rinn's group of friends.  Have the pills stopped working, or is all of it real?

As if our main character doesn't have enough troubles, Rinn discovers that the previous owner of the house she's living in committed suicide in what is now her bedroom.  Aside from that, things seem to be looking up for her.  She meets an attractive guy, becomes friends with the popular girls at school, but soon learns about a ghost named Annaliese and the troubles she'll bring to them.  Once they jokingly have a seance in the pool room where she died 20 years ago, strange and horrible things occur one after the other.  Though her mom was a student at that time, she seems to be no help, so Rinn begins to dig into the past on her own.

I didn't quite know what to expect when I began, but I was pleasantly surprised the more I read.  While reading, you're taken for many twists and turns, which is what I enjoyed most about this book.  Rinn was an interesting main character, as I don't come across too many who suffer from an mental illness.  Being able to see the differences of when she's on the medication and when she's off of it made it easier to see what she had to deal with throughout her life.  I absolutely loved the paranormal aspect of the book and not knowing whether it was really happening or if it was more psychological than the reader is led to believe.

The Unquiet kept the right pace for a surprisingly bone-chilling book and the author did an impressive job with making this story come to life. Though the story was filled with mystery, drama, creepiness and suspense, I felt as though the ending wasn't executed properly, which automatically lowered the overall rating for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blog Tour: Taken By Storm


10 Year Anniversary
Ten years ago this week, Taken by Storm's scuba-diving hero, Michael, swam out of Angela's brain and onto her page. Join the anniversary celebration! Win your own copy of the brand new paperback!  Snag Taken by Storm's Kindle ebook for only $.99Unbroken Connection (Book 2) and Cayman Summer (Book 3) are free on Kindle! Hurry. The promotion ends Friday, July 20th. Don't own a Kindle?  Download free Kindle apps for your laptop, tablet, iTouch, or phone.  

Mormon girl Leesie has life figured out until devastated Michael lands in her small town high school. He needs her like no one has before. A rare journey into a faithful LDS teen’s intimate struggle.

"[Morrison] handles the topics of religion and premarital sex gracefully without passing judgment. The message has less to do with religion than learning to respect and cherish others while staying true to one’s own beliefs.” – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

Brand new paperback and reformatted ebook with fully scalable fonts. Includes bonus, never-before-published scene, "Airport Good-bye!"

Short excerpt:

I’m lost to his firm chest,

his slender fingertips, his long wavy hair,

his mouth sucking my bottom lip—
The world spins, the stars shift,
and I can’t see anything except his smoky
gray eyes gazing into mine.

You scare me, whispers
from my mouth across his.

Good, he breathes into me.
I need you to save me.

Author Bio: 

Angela Morrison is the award-winning YA author of Taken by Storm (Books 1-3) and Sing me to Sleep. She graduated from Brigham Young University and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Eastern Washington on the wheat farm where Taken by Storm is set. She's an advanced NAUI, Nitrox certified scuba diver. The hurricane that kills Michael's parents was inspired by a real-life diving accident. 

After over a decade in Canada, Switzerland, and Singapore, Angela and her family are happily settled in Mesa, Arizona. She enjoys speaking to writers and readers of all ages about her craft. She has four children--mostly grown up--and the most remarkable grandson in the universe. 

Links to Buy:

Waiting on Wednesday #39

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 Elementals
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

The Elementals is on one level an intriguing coming-of-age novel about a young woman, Ariel Silverman, facing the challenges of her first years away at college in Berkeley, California, while her mother battles cancer at home in Los Angeles. But the book takes on deeper, stranger meanings when we realize that Ariel is haunted by the disappearance of her best friend, Jeni, who vanished without a trace a few years before, closing Ariel's heart and changing her forever. Ariel wonders if she will ever be fully alive, until she meets three mysterious, beautiful and seductive young people living in a strange old house in the Berkeley hills. Through them Ariel will unravel the mystery of her best friend's disappearance and face a chilling choice.

If you have never read a Francesca Lia Block book, I highly recommend you do so. She has many great ones to choose from and she's my favorite author, therefore I'm extremely excited that she has another book coming out this year!  

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?
By the way, I'm currently holding a giveaway for US/CAN residents.  Check it out and enter if you haven't already!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary
Release date: May 8th, 2012
Pages: 468 (ebook)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Pulse It
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains. 
Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve. 
As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

Second Chance Summer was a surprisingly honest and heartfelt story about the love and loss of someone that many people can't imagine living their lives without.  From the moment Taylor finds out that her dad has terminal cancer and won't survive until the end of summer, the family makes a point to spend the next few months together in a lake house that they haven't stepped foot inside for years.  Unfortunately, at Lake Phoenix, Taylor can't escape her past and is forced to face a lot more than her father's impending death.

It's obvious  that the Edwards family isn't used to spending a lot of time together.  They all have different interests, but any reader will see that they're trying their best during their last few moments as a family. Upon making her dad's last summer memorable, Taylor also spends time slowly rekindling friendships she left behind five years ago.  Though things didn't end well with her best friend or her ex-boyfriend, I found the bonds that tied them back together again to be quite realistic and exciting.

The relationship between Taylor and her father was what touched me the most, as I know what it's like to lose my own. It's easy to take others for granted, but once they're gone, you realize how much you truly care.  Thankfully, Taylor still has time and she spends it listening to him, trying to soak in as many of his stories as she can.  There's just something about knowing you won't ever hear the stories told the way he tells them again, no matter how many times you're heard them before.

The unique and breathtaking moments that the author included in this story were what made it worthwhile.  Second Chance Summer was so much more than another heartbreaking story about loss, but about another chance at the life that Taylor left behind.  There are no other words to describe this book than achingly beautiful.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

In My Mailbox #38

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

This week I got two lovely books for RAK!

-Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
-Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
(ARCs from Montana @ The Book Belles)

Thank you so much!  I had no idea she'd be including Perfect Escape, but since I've already received, read and reviewed it on the blog (here's what I thought, if you're curious), I think I'll pass it along to someone else!  

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #38

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: Let the Sky Fall
Author: Shannon Messenger
Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Vane Weston should have died in the category five tornado that killed his parents. Instead, he woke up in a pile of rubble with no memories of his past—except one: a beautiful, dark-haired girl standing in the winds. She's swept through his dreams ever since, and he clings to the hope that she's real. 

Audra is real, but she isn't human. She's a sylph, an air elemental who can walk on the wind, translate its alluring songs, even twist it into a weapon. She's also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect him at all costs. 

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra has just days to help Vane unlock his memories. And as the storm winds gather, they start to realize the greatest danger might not be the warriors coming to destroy them, but the forbidden romance growing between them.

Oh my god, this sounds amazing.  Nothing typical about it, so I have my hopes high that I'll be blown away once I get my hands on it.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?
By the way, I'm currently holding a giveaway for US/CAN residents.  Check it out and enter if you haven't already!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blog Tour Review: Knee Deep by Jolene Perry

Title: Knee Deep
Author: Jolene Perry
Publisher: Tribute Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: May 1st, 2012
Pages: 176 (ebook)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long. 

Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does. 

Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.

Ronnie is convinced that Shawn is the boy she's meant to spend the rest of her life with, even when he begins to prove himself unworthy of the role.  She convinces herself that he's the same boy she fell in love with when they were kids, even though their lives begin to travel down two separate paths.  Will Ronnie know when to walk away, or does she love him enough to put herself through anything?

When their relationship begins to move too fast for her comfort and Shawn begins to pressure her, Ronnie gets the hint that something isn't quite right.  It isn't until she experiences what his home life is like that she realizes why Shawn has been acting the way he has, possessive and controlling, drastic mood swings, starting fights over the fact that Ronnie is taller than him when she wears heels.  At least she has the drama club to take her mind off of it all for a while.  She even becomes Juliet's understudy in Romeo and Juliet and seems to get a lot closer to her friend, Luke, than she originally intended.

The characters were very realistic and I often felt Shawn's rage, Ronnie's fear and Luke's compassion.  Emotions were set high and there was nothing else I could do but to continue reading to find out how Ronnie would get herself out of this mess.  Like most women of abuse, Ronnie continuously told herself that it wasn't his fault, things at home had gotten bad, and eventually she even began to put the blame on herself.  Luke was there to remind her that love wasn't supposed to leave her feeling worthless, which I believe helped her in the long run.

I love this author's writing and the ease it takes to follow her stories.  I was completely captivated by the lives of these characters, the help Ronnie could have gotten from most people around her and what it finally took for her to say no.  While incredibly heart-wrenching, Knee Deep will end on a high note, leaving you with a grin that's hard to wipe off your face.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

Title: Perfect Escape
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: July 10th, 2012
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Source: Review
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art -- until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.  

Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all -- with enough distance, maybe she'll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.

Perfect Escape tells the story of a teenage girl who has lived in the shadow of her older brother for years.  He's the one her parents had to pay special attention to while they grew up due to his OCD.  Sometimes Kendra had to drop everything to help him out, she even had to sacrifice friendships.  Kendra put pressure on herself to be the perfect child, since her brother wouldn't be.  When trouble at school begins to stir and Kendra is caught in the middle of a cheating scandal, she decides to skip town before anyone finds out she was behind it all.

It's easy to say that I enjoyed both Kendra and Grayson as main characters.  Though what Kendra did by running away showed immaturity, she also helped her brother out immensely during the process.  When she didn't want to admit that she was running away from her own problems, she made up an excuse that she was helping Grayson run away from his OCD and she stuck with that for most of the way across the country.  Though his problems hold him back in life, Grayson is a great brother to Kendra and you can see that through the struggle, he's trying his best.

The story wasn't full of action, but it moved at a nice pace.  The way that the characters were able to grow throughout the story will give any reader hope.  I was kept on my toes, waiting to find out if they'd turn around, make it to their destination, or break down (both physically and mentally) along the way.  When I wasn't expecting it, Grayson completely stole my heart as he showed what a caring and responsible brother he can be when Kendra needs him.

As the reader, we got to be involved in Kendra's realization that her brother is worth everything she's had to give up in her life and more.  The author also did a fantastic job describing Grayson's OCD for those who haven't quite realized what a struggle it can be. Though after all of these things I seemed to enjoy about the book, it still left me a little unsatisfied.  It was emotional, heartwarming, everything I love, but I feel that it could have had a better ending.  Overall, I definitely think that Perfect Escape is worth a read.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

In My Mailbox #37

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

-Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

-Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
(Finished copy from Little, Brown)

These books were quite a nice surprise after having a lonely mailbox for over a week!  :)

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

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Giveaway & Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Title: Sweet Evil
Author: Wendy Higgins
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Paranormal/Romance
Release date: May 1st, 2012
Pages: 454 (Paperback)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Gifted
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? 

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt 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 Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna. 

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Sweet Evil is the perfect book for those still wavering on the idea of angels, demons and Nephilim in the YA genre.  I, myself, have not looked much into this type of paranormal, but this book has definitely made me crave more.  Anna is incredibly innocent, a little naive and a lot more powerful than any of her peers would realize.  She can even see the colors of other peoples emotions, which has to be overwhelming from time to time, but when she meets a mysterious boy whose colors she can't see, she's instantly intrigued.

It didn't take long for each of the characters to grow on me, especially Anna and Kaidan.  She's a great heroine and although she's a little less kick-ass and more respectful to those around her, she plays her role well.  As for Kaidan, he's the son of the Duke of Lust.  What else is there to say?  I definitely felt a little lustful while reading the kissing scenes and for that, Kaidan has made his way to the top of my favorite fictional boys.  The romance that develops between them isn't always as fulfilling as I wished it would be, but that just shows that the book is about so much more than that.

The other relationships in this story are ones to hold on to, especially the relationship between Anna and her adoptive mom, Patti.  She's incredibly affectionate and protective over her daughter, and her stubbornness warmed me, as she reminded me of my own mother.   Fortunately, the story moved at the perfect pace and there were more than enough intriguing moments to keep my eyes glued to each page in anticipation.

The author did an amazing job with the idea that the Nephilim were raised to become bad influences on humans, even the ones that Anna considered her friends.  Each one had their own sin to share, from envy and greed to wrath and substance abuse. Aside from the amazing idea, I found the writing to be my next favorite thing.  Wonderful and refreshing, it's easy for me to say that I've never quite read a book like this one.

Due to a slight mix-up, I have an extra copy of Sweet Evil to give away!  Enter the rafflecopter below!

Giveaway info
-Open to US and CA only
-Ends on August 10th, 2012
-Winner must reply within 72 hours or I'll be forced to choose someone else

a Rafflecopter giveaway