Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: Manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen

Title: Manicpixiedreamgirl
Author: Tom Leveen
Publisher: Random House Children's
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: April 23rd, 2013
Pages: 256 (eGalley)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Sometimes the most dramatic scenes in a high school theater club are the ones that happen between the actors and crew off stage. 

Seventeen-year-old Tyler Darcy's dream of being a writer is starting to feel very real now that he's sold his first short story to a literary journal. He should be celebrating its publication with his two best friends who've always had his back, but on this night, a steady stream of texts from his girlfriend Sidney keep intruding. So do the memories of his dream girl, Becky, who's been on his mind a little too much since the first day of high school. Before the night is over, Ty might just find the nerve to stop all the obsessing and finally take action.

It starts with a girl.  She's not just any girl, but the girl of Tyler's dreams.  From the first moment he locks eyes with her, he knows that he's done for.  Though we try to move on, sometimes there's just the smallest bit of hope that keeps us from letting go.  Tom Leveen's Manicpixiedreamgirl shows what it's like to be stuck on the thought of someone you may never be able to have.

The story is set over the span of one night, with various flashbacks to help the reader get a better feel of each character.  Though none of the characters will make you fall head over heels for them, they do exactly what they're meant to.  Tyler is the heartsick teenager who doesn't quite know how to express his feelings without ruining the only thing he's ever truly cared about other than writing.  Becky is clearly broken, but we won't see how much until at least halfway through the story.  Sydney is just the girlfriend, who should matter most to Tyler, but doesn't.  It was hard to feel sorry for any of them, because each of their problems was their own doing...but there was also something so familiar, because in the smallest ways, I felt as though I could relate.

The writing, as I've noticed in the author's second novel, Zero, is incredible.  I felt that Tom was able to make this story everything it was meant to be solely because of the wording and dialogue he chose to use between the characters.  If wondering what would happen between the main character, his current girlfriend, and his love interest wasn't enough to keep me reading until the end, I would have done so because of how perfectly every emotion was described.

Manicpixiedreamgirl is an insightful and painfully realistic story of young, unrequited love.  It never hit me how much I loved this story until the very end, where the main character and the readers realize that there was so much more to Becky than she's willing to show.  We thought we knew her based on Tyler's perception of her, but as it turns out, no one really knew her, maybe not even herself.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Life After Theft 
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Paranormal
Release date: April 30th, 2013
Pages: 374 (eGalley)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads | Amazon | Author
Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto. 

No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.

Jeff is just the new guy.  Kimberlee is the girl who could never move on.  When Jeff first sees her, he can tell that she's different, but nothing could prepare him when he finds out how different she truly is.  Kimberlee Schaffer died months ago, and for some reason, he's the only one who can see her.  As if trying to fit into a new school isn't hard enough, Jeff has to do it knowing there's a ghost watching over his every move.  In order to help her try to move on, he agrees to help her, but he never could have guessed how difficult uncovering all of her secrets would be.

Life After Theft is a fun read full of deep characters with many secrets and an exciting plot that will keep you wondering.  First off, Jeff isn't the greatest protagonist, but he's perfect for this role.  I always love reading about stories from the male perspective, so ultimately, that's what drew me in, but I stayed around for Kimberlee.  Now, she wasn't the most lovable character- maybe not even likable- but with each chapter, one of her layers peels back.  I was intrigued by this stone cold girl blossoming into a warm and friendly young woman by the end of the story.

The secret that Kimberlee has been harboring is that when she was alive, she was a klepto.  She didn't just take small things that would go unnoticed; she made sure to take the things that actually meant something.  Figuring that returning each item would clear her conscious and allow her to move onto the afterlife, Jeff bends over backwards, risking many things, from his relationship to getting expelled.  What I loved most about this book was that as a reader, we can see what pain Kimberlee was in, how helpless she was and how she just couldn't stop stealing no matter how hard she tried.

Aprilynne Pike creates a great story with many different meanings that would surprise just about any reader.  Though the summary makes Life After Theft seem like a fun, light read, it's much more than just that.  By the time I finished the book, I realized that I've connected with the characters much more than I would have expected.  For such a mean girl, Kimberlee turned out to be a great character to read about.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

That's What Chey Said: Blogging Regrets

As I near my 2 year blogoversary, I'm beginning to look back on all of the work I've put into The Hollow Cupboards.  First off, I never thought that I'd have a successful blog.  I've tried many times, first with a personal blog, then with photography...I even tried out beauty blogging!  None of those worked for me, because as it turned out, I wasn't interested enough to invest more than a few days in it.  Over these past couple years, I've grown quite fond of the community, and I hope you've all grown fond of me!  That being said, I do regret a few things that I have (or haven't) done.

Social Media/Following
If I'd known that my blog would get more than 100 followers, I would have created separate social media accounts.  I use my Twitter more as a personal account as opposed to limiting my tweets to readers, publishers, and authors.  Though I enjoy getting a glimpse into the lives of my favorite bloggers, I understand that some don't.  

I also would have created my blog's Facebook  page immediately...and kept up with it.  Before adding Networked Blogs and having it post to Facebook automatically, I would occasionally forget that the page existed for a reason.  

I also wish I added more options to follow.  For a large portion of this blog's existence, I relied solely on GFC.  While this was a popular way of following, I'm sure I lost many potential followers that way as well.  Now at least I have GFC, RSS, Networked Blogs, and most recently, Bloglovin'.  How much is too much?

Starting Conversations
I have to admit, I'm kind of a lurker.  Sometimes I don't have the time, and sometimes I feel as though I don't have anything worth saying, but I definitely have bypassed many chances to comment/tweet to other bloggers.  I've learned that my comments don't always need to be witty and profound, people appreciate them as long as they're nice.

Less is More
When I first started out, I attacked my followers with memes.   "It's Monday, What Are You Reading?", "Top Ten Tuesday", "Teaser Tuesday", "Waiting on Wednesday", "Follow Friday", and "In My Mailbox" ruled my blog the entire first year.  I don't know how I was taken seriously by anyone, including publishers who (rarely) sent me books for review.  Since then, I've found that the only memes that I really want to keep up with are WoW and IMM.

As my blog began to grow, I found that scheduling does wonders for anyone who worries as much as I do.  Though I still haven't gotten the hang of writing posts more than an hour before they go live on the blog, I have been keeping a list of review books I receive and their release dates.  Recently I started scheduling my weeks using Google Calendar, and I have to say that seeing all of the posts planned out seems to help ease the stress a lot!  I've already planned most of my posts until October.

Always Agreeing
When I first began, I said yes to almost any author who contacted me to review their book.  Who was I to say no?  I was an unknown blogger with a tiny following, but they were still investing in me!  As I quickly began to realize, some of them were investing in me because no one would invest in them.  Thankfully, I've learned to say no, especially when they make it clear that they've never even glanced at my review policy.  

I could go on and on about ways to improve my blog, but looking back on it all, I realize that I've come a long way.  When I first started, I was unsure that I'd ever get as big as my favorite bloggers (who, at the time, had the same amount of following I have now) and didn't know how much I would come to love sharing my thoughts on books and book-related topics!

Do you have any blogging regrets?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

In My Mailbox #78

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

Oh boy, did I slack off this week!  I didn't even finish the book I've been trying to get through for 10 days!  *hangs head in shame*  It's just...life, you know?  It gets in the way sometimes.  No worries, I hope to get back into the swing of things by next week so I can have at least one review up for you...and of course, I got a few exciting books to inspire me to get through my reading schedule faster in order to get to them!

-Under Shifting Glass by Nicky Singer
(ARC from Jill @ The O.W.L.)

-My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
(Signed finished copy from author and Making the Grade)

-The Selection by Kiera Cass
-Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
-Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
(Finished hardcovers from Santi)

My boyfriend was sweet enough to order hardcover copies of The Selection, Unraveling, and Unbreakable so I can get them signed at the Dark Days event in a couple weeks!  I know I'm super late, but hopefully I'll get a chance to read them before I meet the authors!

-Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
(egalley from Ballantine Books and Netgalley)

It seems that whenever I post a WoW, someone comments and tells me that the title is on Netgalley, so of course I HAVE to go and request it.  Thanks for letting me know about Someday, Someday, Maybe because I'm very excited to start it!

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

Have any questions for Kiera Cass, Elizabeth Norris, Aprilynne Pike or Amy Tintera?  Don't forget to let me know and you could enter to win a signed book of your choice!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #77

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: Someday, Someday, Maybe
Author: Lauren Graham
Release Date: April 30th,  2013
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. 

She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. 

Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.

Though this book isn't YA, I just had to add it to my wishlist once I found out that Lauren Graham wrote it.  Being a fan of Gilmore Girls since I was a kid, I've grown to love her work as an actress as well as her personality from what I've seen in interviews and talk shows.  Someday, Someday, Maybe sounds a little similar to Lauren's experience before becoming an actress (she was a cocktail waitress in a comedy club in New York before moving to Hollywood to begin her career).  Honestly, I can't wait to get my hands on this one and I hope she puts all of the same qualities I love about her into these characters!

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

That's What Chey Said: Feeling Inadequate

If you saw my exciting news this week, you found out that I was contacted by HarperTeen to join them as the “official live blogger” for the Dark Days of Summer tour stop for Milwaukee!  This means that I will get to interview some amazing authors, tweet all of the happenings so my followers can get a glimpse of the event, take pictures and post about the night on my blog!  After I got the request, I couldn't stop shaking.  What?  You want ME?  Compared to the other bloggers who were chosen, I feel like a nobody…even sometimes inadequate.

I’m sure most bloggers feel like this, because we all have to work our way up from the bottom and sometimes that takes a long time.  Whenever I check my email, I’m still shocked that I receive review requests, even though I have been for well over a year now.  I don’t feel as though I have a large following, even though the numbers say the opposite.  I've never stopped being grateful for those of you who do read my blog on a regular basis, because I realize how much time it takes just to scroll through your blog feed, let alone read each post that interests you. 

I’m very confident in the things that I love to do, it just surprises me whenever I get acknowledged and it makes me realize how lucky I actually am to be noticed out of the hundreds of book bloggers that are popping up every day.

Obviously if I have returning visitors, a constant flow of new followers, and publishers or authors investing in my thoughts, I must be valued...but sometimes I feel like I just can’t compare.  Many of us hear the phrase “quality over quantity” quite often.  It’s easy to forget that when you’re scheduling posts, since most of us need to post at least every other day in order to maintain a successful blog.  What else is crucial to maintain a successful book review blog?  Reading!  Some of you are reading machines and more often than not, I feel like I can’t keep up! 

Finally, unlike some others, I tend to procrastinate and leave my posts unwritten until at least a half hour before it goes live.  This doesn't always work out in my favor, because occasionally (especially lately) by the time I plan to type and post, I get distracted and end up pushing it back a day.  I often look at all of the bloggers I follow and think, “Wow, how did they get to be so creative/ awesome/ incredible/ witty?  Where do they find the time in their busy lives, and what do I have to do to be like them?” 

Can you relate to this feeling as a blogger, reader, or human being in general?

In My Mailbox #77

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

Another slower mail week, but that's just fine, because I had a surprisingly slow reading week as well!  So much distraction lately!

-You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
(ARC from HarperTeen)

-Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
(eGalley from Simon Pulse and Edelweiss)

-The Truth About You & Me by Amanda Grace
(eGalley from Flux and Netgalley)

I'm so excited that my requests to read Just Like Fate and The Truth About You & Me were approved, especially after having shared both titles in previous Waiting on Wednesday posts!  They both sound like books I'd love, so I can't wait to begin! 

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

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Exciting News & Giveaway (Win a Signed Book)!

It's that time again...The Dark Days of Summer Tour is almost here!

Not only will this be my first author event...I was also lucky enough to be asked to be the official live blogger for the stop in my hometown!  What does that mean?  Well, on May 8th, I will attend the event and be able to live tweet to my followers (AKA you guys!) so you'll be able to follow what's happening.  It's not as great as being there in person, but I'd say it's still pretty awesome!

I will also be able to hold an interview with Kiera Cass (The Selection, The Elite), Elizabeth Norris (Unraveling, Unbreakable), Aprilynne Pike (Life After Theft), and Amy Tintera (Reboot) as well as be called on to ask questions during the event.

This is where you guys come in!
Even though you may not be there in person, they want YOU to be heard!  If you have any burning questions for the authors involved, I encourage you to leave them in the comments below!

If you live in the United States or Canada, you may enter to win a signed copy of any book by Kiera Cass, Elizabeth Norris, Aprilynne Pike, or Amy Tintera!  Just fill out the rafflecopter below.  Giveaway ends on May 4th, and winner must get back to me within 24 hours or I will be forced to choose someone else.

Don't forget to check out the dates below!

Review: Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins

Title: Sweet Peril
Author: Wendy Higgins
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Paranormal Romance
Release date: April 30th, 2013
Pages: 374 (ARC)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things. 

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind. 

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

Diving back into Wendy Higgins' incredibly captivating series, we reunite with Anna, our brave protagonist.  She seems to be quite well on her own, doing what she has to in order to survive as a Neph, which usually means tempting others at parties with drugs and alcohol.  No matter the distance or the fact that Kaidan is unwilling to speak to her, Anna knows that the heart wants what it wants.  In this steamiest installment yet, readers will be at the edge of their seats in anticipation for what happens next for these much-loved characters.

Throughout the story, readers will learn more about the battle, the risk each of the characters are putting themselves in, and the seriousness of the situation.  Anna must travel with her good friend and fellow Nephilim, Kopano, in order to warn others of what's to come and get them to join an alliance.  Without the help of many others, hopes of defeat aren't very high.  Though they need to focus on these very important tasks, Anna can't keep Kaidan off of her mind and constantly wonders why he's pulling away.

In Sweet Evil, we see how quickly Anna grows into a strong and courageous young woman. These qualities don't dim as the story evolves.  Though she seems quite uncertain at times, she's still a great character to follow.  She doesn't tend to give in, even when she wants to and she proves that although she is heartsick, she is capable on her own, unlike many other female characters in YA.  Kopano is very active in this book as well, which I enjoyed, because he's not a character that stuck with me for long after reading Sweet Evil.  He shows his loyalty and politeness many times, which I loved.  Of course, I can't forget to mention Kaidan, because let's face it...almost every fan of this series is deeply in love with him, including myself.  There are plenty of swoony scenes involved, which surely satisfied my hunger after a year of Kaidan Rowe deprivation.

Overall, Sweet Peril is the perfect sequel.  It's even better than I imagined it to be!  The characters are mostly the same, aside from a few small changes, such as Anna's adorable innocence and Kaidan's unwillingness to get too involved with anyone.  The chapters are filled with adventure, excitement and a slew of emotions.  I would highly recommend this book to readers who are looking for a well-written story mixed with the perfect amount of steamy romance!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #76

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 Truth About You & Me
Author: Amanda Grace
Release Date: September 8th,  2013
Publisher: Flux

Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things. 

Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennet. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured—and missed out on—in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love. 

There's only one problem. Bennet is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen—because she hasn't told him the truth. 

The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennet—both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.

Ooh, forbidden love.  Sounds like a book I'd definitely enjoy!  I discovered this one over the weekend in a few book hauls and knew I had to add it to my wishlist right away.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

That's What Chey Said: Things I Never Cared About Before I Became a Blogger

This week I wanted to discuss something I've noticed over the past year...
Blogging has changed me.  Not in a bad way, but there are some days I really notice it more than others.  Before I became a blogger, I read a book every few months.  That's right, one book.  Sure, I loved them, but my range wasn't as large as it is now.  If you would have told me that I'd love Sci-fi as much as I loved Paranormal or Contemporary, I wouldn't have believed you.

Before blogging, I owned less than 100 books.  It was close, but not quite.  Now I'm up to nearly 600 and I'm obsessed with obtaining more.  Yes, I know I own more than I could possibly read, but don't most of us deal with this problem?

Before blogging, I pretty much only read books that my friends recommended.  Now I read books that some of my friends have never even heard of.  If it hadn't been for all of you guys, I wouldn't have ever read some of my favorites.  Actually, I'm not quite sure that I would have read most of the books I've discovered by blogging.  What would I be if I'd missed out on Stephanie Perkins, Lauren Oliver, Veronica Rossi or Amy Plum?

I also didn't care about things like cover changes or mismatching books in a series.  Let their outsides look different!  As long as the content is the same on the inside, who cares?  Now I throw a fit when a series I love changes a cover halfway through and I can't do a thing about it other than wait to repurchase the series in paperback.  Another thing that has started to bother me are marks, bent pages, cracked spines and torn covers.  I love my books and I want to take care of them.  Though I still frequent the used book store, I'm just extra picky about the condition of the books I choose as opposed to the somewhat ratty things I used to bring home years ago.

Finally, and most importantly...if I hadn't become a blogger, I wouldn't have come in contact with any of you!  It makes my day when I see that I got a new comment, and I can't imagine not being able to share my thoughts with other avid readers.  No one quite gets me like you guys do, and that's what keeps me blogging.  It's not only the readers, but the authors and publishers I've met along the way who continue to invest in my opinions.  The little things, such as a retweet, comment, or email saying "thank you" or "I'm adding this to my wishlist" really means a lot to me, and it makes the reading experience even better knowing that I get to share  it with all of you.  :)

Are you a blogger?  If so, how has blogging changed you?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In My Mailbox #76

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

-Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
(Finished copy from ...???)

-City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
(Finished copy from Beth @ Living a Goddess Life)

-Taken by Erin Bowman
(ARC from Sara @ Stegosaurus Rawr)

-Venom by Fiona Paul
(ARC from Ruth @ Confessions of a Book Junkie)

-Cry Devil by V.S. Ware
(egalley requested by author)

Things I Can't Forget and City of Glass randomly showed up at my house.  Completely unexpected.  I still don't know who Things I Can't Forget came from, but thank you, anonymous book fairy!  I'm also very surprised at how thick Venom is, but I'm still eager to get around to reading it.

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

I'm holding two international giveaways at the moment!  One is for an ARC of Spellcaster by Claudia Gray and the other is for an ebook of End Dayz by Kellie Sheridan!

Review: The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

Title: The Boyfriend App
Author: Katie Sise
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary Romance
Release date: April 30th, 2013
Pages: 320 (ARC)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

In The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can’t wait to get out of high school. Her father’s death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring. 

But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she’s the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?

A few years back, Audrey lost everything.  Now, when the contest to create the most popular app is announced, Audrey realizes that she has nothing to lose.  She doesn't come from a family with money, so going to her dream school won't be easy, but she's willing to do whatever it takes to win the $200,000 grand prize.  What is something that every teenager wants universally?  Love.  With this realization, Audrey McCarthy becomes one of the newest hot topics.

The Boyfriend App is genius and incredibly unique.  I didn't want to put it down because everything in the book was entertaining, from the characters to the seemingly impossible app that was designed.  What I loved most about this book was that the author definitely seemed to know what she was talking about and made me believe it was possible to find love with the press of a button.  It reminds me that knowledge is always expanding and who knows what could unfold in the future.

You will not grow to love each and every character, but you will grow fond of the most important ones.  Audrey was perfect for this type of story. She wasn't so nerdy that I felt as though I couldn't relate to, but she did hold a lot of knowledge of things that I didn't, such as computer programming.  Aside from our main character, there were also supporting characters, such as the confident Lindsay and the shy Aidan.  Audrey's ex-best friend became her worst enemy after the death of her father, but I have to say that I was surprised at Audrey's decision to leave her behind.  Even if it meant that she had no one, she'd rather be alone than with someone whose attitude hurts other people, which is something I really admired about Audrey.

Overall, The Boyfriend App is a great addition to any contemporary-lover's collection.  I loved reading about the rise and fall of Audrey's invention and watching her work her way back to the top with a few tweaks.  The app doesn't only change Audrey's life, it changes the lives of people around her and all those who use it.  I felt that the author did an incredible job with this story and really knows how to make her readers think.  We know that the app helps others find love, but will it help Audrey?  The Boyfriend App is a fun, innovative, and humorous--the perfect ingredients to create a great and easy-to-read contemporary.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #75

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: Truly Madly Deadly
Author: Hannah Jayne
Release Date: July 16th,  2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Sawyer Dodd has it all. She's a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. And her boyfriend is the handsome all-star Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She's free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by "an admirer" and printed with two simple words: "You're welcome."

Such a short summary, but I can already tell that this is a book that I definitely want to read at some point.  Truly Madly Deadly just sounds incredibly dark, emotional, and eerie...and while I don't submerge myself in these kinds of books regularly, I have a feeling that if this book is written well, it's going to stay on my mind for a while.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review: Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

Title: Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
Author: Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: First Second 
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Graphic Novel
Release date: May 7th, 2013
Pages: 288 (Paperback)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Prudence | Faith

You wouldn’t expect Nate and Charlie to be friends. Charlie’s the laid-back captain of the basketball team, and Nate is the neurotic, scheming president of the robotics club. But they are friends, however unlikely—until Nate declares war on the cheerleaders. At stake is funding that will either cover a robotics competition or new cheerleading uniforms—but not both. 

It's only going to get worse: after both parties are stripped of their funding on grounds of abominable misbehavior, Nate enrolls the club's robot in a battlebot competition in a desperate bid for prize money. Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Chainsaws? Why not. Running away from home on Thanksgiving to illicitly enter a televised robot death match? Of course! 

In Faith Erin Hicks' and Prudence Shen's world of high school class warfare and robot death matches, Nothing can possibly go wrong.

Last year, I lost my graphic novel virginity with Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks.  Though many things originally drew me to the book, the illustrations were what made me love the story even more.  When I saw that Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong was about a robotics club AND was illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, I knew I had to dive in.   Of course, as I'd hoped, I enjoyed this book from start to finish.  As Prudence Shen's debut, she should be very proud.  Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is the story of two completely different groups of people coming together for a common cause.  With many laugh-out-loud moments, lovable characters and an awesome plot, readers will fly through this story in a matter of hours.

Charlie and Nate have been close since childhood, though they've always been very different on the outside. When the issue of which team should get the limited amount of funding for the things they need, such as uniforms for the cheerleaders or a chance to go to the national robotics competition, each character takes it into their own hands.  This will cause many laugh-worthy scenes throughout the book as both of the boys (willingly and unwillingly) compete against each other to become school president in order to choose which club will get the money they need.

The characters were perfect for this story from the start.  There was Charlie: the jock, his ex girlfriend named Holly and her intimidating group of cheerleaders, and Nate: the president of the robotics club.  There were also a few smaller characters that don't get much face time, but I have to say that my favorite of all of the characters was Joanna, the heart of the robotics team.  She's quirky and kickass, but most of all, she seems to have an unhealthy attachment to their robot, The Beast, and that's what made her so lovable.  As for the artwork, I can definitely say that I loved it, but I knew I would before I even started the book.  The illustrations capture the moments and the characters feelings perfectly.

Overall, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong was great, because it didn't only show us the story that was expected.  There was more to it, including a glimpse of Charlie's broken family life and how that has affected him over the years.  Those little scenes really tied the book together for me, because it made the story more genuine.  I would highly recommend this book to those who find themselves even the slightest bit interested in robotics, the difficulties of high school, and friendship.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

That's What Chey Said: Reviewing Unfinished Books

Sometimes books just don’t hold our interest--we’d rather be reading something else or they’re extremely disappointing.  We have to move on, but what do you do after putting that book down?  To review or not to review….that is the question.

Personally, I can’t stand seeing reviews for books that the reader never bothered to finish.  If I can’t get into a book, I put it down and start a different one.  I don’t give it a rating based on the first couple chapters that I read, because I usually end up coming back to the story and end up having completely different thoughts about it.  

I also have it stated in my review policy that I cannot promise that I will review every book I accept, and the reasoning for that is because I think it’s wrong not to look at the book as a whole and find its rating that way.  You can’t look at the book as a whole if you haven’t finished it, therefore your review doesn't help those trying to decide if they want to purchase it or not.  There may be exciting plot twists, incredible discoveries and hidden treasures in the last half of that book.

I’m not telling you that you should force yourself to read something that doesn't interest you.  Life is too short for that and if you’re like me, you have hundreds upon hundreds of books in your TBR pile.  All I’m trying to say is that if you’re going to stop before you get to the end of the book, think twice before giving it a bad rating.  Honesty is the key when it comes to writing reviews, but is there really that much to say about the first 50 pages of a 300+ page book?  You've barely just gotten to know the characters and their stories.  Books are like people, there’s usually more to them than what you find out the moment you first meet.

Do you review books that you don’t finish?  What are your thoughts? 
*p.s. I couldn't resist using another GIF from The Office...I'm obsessed*

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

Title: Mortality
Author: Kellie Sheridan
Publisher: Self published
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Paranormal/Horror
Release date: March 19th, 2013
Pages: 280 (ebook)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Author
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

After surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death. 

Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore. 

Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.

With beautiful writing and a plot that pulls you in, I have to say that Mortality is one of the best zombie books I've ever read.  The world has seemingly come to an end, and those who have survived have no choice but to live in fear.  Savannah is just a normal teenager, or at least she was before the infection took over.  Now she lives with nearly two hundred other people in the local high school, but when the zombies force them out, they must find a new safe haven...except no where is safe.  Throughout the story, they encounter many new people and even have some difficulties, but the one good thing about all of this is finding Cole along the way.

I loved the plot, and the fact that there are two types of viruses.  We've seen all types of zombies in the horror genre, but the fact that the author combines traditional slow moving zombies and terrifying super-fast zombies was what kept me interested.  Not knowing what type the group would stumble upon next was the most thrilling part of reading.  As for the characters, they grew on me very quickly.  I enjoyed how badass Savannah was, and the fact that she never waited for someone else to take out a zombie, she just did it herself.  Full of courage, sass, and enough knowledge to survive, I found her to be the perfect protagonist.

This was exactly the type of book I needed to help me get out of my reading slump!  Mortality was full of action scenes, but I found it to be so much more than that.  It was about survival, but even more, it was about hope and the fact that these people were willing to do anything to survive and live as they once did with the help of a possible cure.  Another thing I really loved was that this book wasn't only about Savannah, but it was also about a girl named Zarah too, which tells a completely different but familiar story.  I can't imagine Mortality without these different perspectives, and it's one of the many things that made it unique.

Overall, I believe that fans of the television show, The Walking Dead, and Courtney Summer's This Is Not a Test will fall in love with Mortality.  It's a book that both the male and female audience will easily be able to become involved in.  Though it is a self published debut, it's definitely a new favorite of mine.  Jam-packed full of action, tough-but-lovable characters and so much excitement, this is one zombie novel you won't want to miss!

In celebration of the season finale of The Walking Dead, Mortality is currently 40% off!  Hurry and get your copy at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

The author is also offering a giveaway of an ebook of the prequel to Mortality titled End Dayz.

-Open internationally
-Ends April 30th, 2013
-Winner must claim prize within 48 hours
-Enter in the Rafflecopter below!  (Comment entries won't be counted)

In My Mailbox #75

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

Another slow mail week for me...at least I got an awesome package from Jessica Spotswood, the author of The Cahill Witch Chronicles!

-Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
-Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
-Breathless Reads poster signed by Jessica Spotswood, Beth Revis, Fiona Paul, Morgan Rhodes and Elizabeth Richards
-Cahill Witch Chronicles swag, including stickers, signed bookmarks and a scrabble tile necklace featuring the cover of Born Wicked
(Signed paperback, ARC, and swag from Jessica Spotswood)

-The End Games by T. Michael Martin
-Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
-Parallel by Lauren Miller
(eGalleys from HarperTeen and Edelweiss)

I do own a hardcover copy of Born Wicked, but I'm glad to have a signed copy that matches the cover of its sequel!  Unfortunately, the paperback was ruined on its journey to my house, but I love it any ways.  I'm hoping to read these before the release of Star Cursed, so keep an eye out for my reviews!

I also told myself that I wouldn't request many more books, especially books that come out within the next month, but I just couldn't resist.  I've shared each of these on previous Waiting on Wednesday posts, so you know that I'll be diving in as soon as I possibly can!

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

Speaking of witches...I'm holding an international giveaway for an ARC of Spellcaster by Claudia Gray.  Click here to enter!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard

Title: That Time I Joined the Circus
Author: J.J. Howard
Publisher: Scholastic
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: April 1st, 2013
Pages: 272 (ARC)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Lexi Ryan just ran away to join the circus, but not on purpose. 

A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake--and facing a terrible tragedy--Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi's mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus. 

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn't there . . . but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus's fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions. 

But then Lexi's ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it's Lexi's own future that's thrown into question.

When Lexi's father unexpectedly passes away, she's forced to uproot from her New York City apartment in search of the mother that left their family years ago.  With no money and only the little bit of luggage she could manage to bring, she arrives at a circus.   Although her mother is long-gone, Lexi is offered a job there.   She never realized that somehow, she would grow fond of this unusual crowd and be able to fall in love with the lifestyle completely.

Lexi isn't a character that will become a part of you throughout the story.  She isn't someone who will stick with you after you've finished.  Truthfully, none of them are.  While I enjoyed reading about the lives of most of the characters, they seemed to be two dimensional.  Lexi is completely lost and alone, but although she's gone through so much over the span of a few short days, she handles everything surprisingly well.  I didn't see much emotion from her, and that's one thing that I didn't care for.  There were also three love interests in this book, and that didn't sit well with me.

It's very obvious that the author was going for a "no one is who they seem" theme.  Each of the characters turned out to be the exact opposite of what Lexi thought they would be, from her new friends at the circus to closer characters, such as her best friend and family members.  While the story was still entertaining and enjoyable, this pattern made many of the characters untrustworthy.  As for the circus theme, I found that it made the story more interesting.  Though it's more about the people than the performance, I loved being able to see what it's like to be on the inside, as a performer and grounds worker.  The only thing I wish was that there was more description.

That Time I Joined the Circus isn't something that will stay on your mind for days after turning the last page, but it was fun while it lasted.  Readers who want a cute, easy, and quick contemporary about love, hope, and growth should give this one a try.  With likable characters, a well-developed plot, and a few small surprises throughout the book, this story is worth the time it takes to read.  I would highly recommend it to younger teens not looking to get too involved.