9/01/2014

Back In the Game... and With a New Look!

It's officially September (how?!), which means it's time for me to step up my game on the blogging front once again. This summer was pretty crazy for me but I'm looking forward to getting back in the swing of things. 

What makes me even more excited about really coming back to blogging, though, is my brand new blog design! Take a look around! Pretty, right? I love the more streamlined look that still keeps the essence of what I had before. And the purple. I love the purple. 

My design was done by the wonderful Hazel of Stay Bookish. Hazel was amazing to work with. She was patient with all my questions and requests (and with the ordeal of me trying to pick a font for my header!) and eager to make my vision for my blog a reality. She also came up with some fabulous little details that I never would have thought of on my own but which I absolutely love. Like the design behind the date stamps and the social media icons? Gorgeous. I'm so, so pleased with what she put together and I'm incredibly glad that I picked her to give my little slice of internet a facelift. Thank you, Hazel! 

So between my fantastic new design, reviews for some amazing books coming up soon, and a fun feature to plan for, I'm hoping jumping back into blogging with both feet will be fun for me and for you! 

8/27/2014

Waiting on Wednesday #79: Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer.

Expected Publication: October 14, 2014.
by: Delacorte Press.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Fans of Ally Carter, especially her Heist Society readers, will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.
Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.
But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

Why I'm excited:
It sounds like there's a lot going on here, but if Summer can pull it off, this could be an amazing mystery/thriller. I love the idea of a con artist main character trying to find her missing father and all the wild and dangerous things that could ensue!

What are you waiting on this week?

8/20/2014

Waiting on Wednesday #78: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
Blackbird by Anna Carey.

Expected Publication: September 16, 2014.
by: HarperTeen.

Goodreads Synopsis:
This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.
A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her. 
On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined. 
The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.

Why I'm excited:
I'm really intrigued by this one because of the second person POV and the promised surprising twists. And what is this mysterious, disturbing truth? I'm hoping this one is as exciting a ride as it sounds like it will be!

What are you waiting on this week?

8/13/2014

Waiting on Wednesday #77: Talon by Julie Kagawa

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
Talon by Julie Kagawa.

Expected Publication: October 28, 2014.
by: Harlequin Teen.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.
Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.
Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

Why I'm excited:
DRAGONS. Seriously guys. Dragons. And dragons that can take on human form! Whaaaat? Come on. Need I say more?

What are you waiting on this week?

8/07/2014

Blog Tour Review: Depth of Field by Chantel Guertin


I'm very excited today to be part of the blog tour for Chantel Guertin's Depth of Field, the sequel to The Rule of Thirds. Thanks ECW Press for having me on the tour!

To start us off, here's a bit about the book:
Depth of Field by Chantel Guertin.

Pippa Greene #2.
Published: August 12, 2014
by: ECW Press.
Source: Received a review copy for review consideration for the tour. Thanks ECW Press!

Goodreads Synopsis:
Two weeks in New York City should be the time of Pippa’s life: she’s attending the prestigious Tisch Photography Camp, her boyfriend, Dylan McCutter (two months and counting!) is coming with her, and their parents are 500 miles away. Talk about lights, camera, (swoony, unchaperoned) action! But what should be 14 unforgettable days of bliss turns into chaos when her one and only nemesis, Ben Baxter, proves to be surprisingly more complex than she could’ve ever imagined, and her Tisch mentor, a renowned photographer, seems to have a lot more to do with her parents’ past than anyone wants her to know. Is Pippa out of her depth?
Picking up where she left off in The Rule of Thirds, Pippa Greene returns in Depth of Field, in a story full of the same heart, comedic touches, and romance that made readers fall in love with Chantel Guertin’s charming YA series. 

My Review:

I'm really glad I got the chance to get back into Pippa's world. Much like The Rule of Thirds, Depth of Field is a short and sweet read that has a little more going on than you originally think. In fact, DoF takes it even further, which made it a great read about a girl finding her place - in more ways than one.

There are two major plot focuses in this story and they intertwine perfectly. Pippa is in New York for the Tisch Photography Camp to pursue her passion. What she finds there in her mentor is a lot more than just some photography tips, though, as he has a very interesting and unexpected tie to her parents' past. I loved reading the parts about the Tisch camp (and the NYC setting was so fun, though I could have done with a little less of the constant street name dropping) because Guertin made their assignments fun and interesting but also gave room for character development within their structure. The biggest impact on Pippa, though, comes from getting to know her Tisch mentor, David. A college friend of her late father's, David holds a lot of secrets about the past that he shared with her parents and while Pippa goes in looking for a way to connect to who her dad was in college, she gets a lot more than she bargained for when she uncovers one of David's - and her parents' - biggest secrets. This was a great twist and I think Guertin played it out in a smart and impacting way. For a short book, the plot really moved well and kept me interested and invested.

The characters really help Guertin's story shine as they feel quite realistic, if slightly dramatic on occasion. Pippa herself continues to be an interesting and very real main character. She certainly makes mistakes but at least she tries to learn from them. Honestly, I think that's all you can ask of a teenager. She came alive in DoF much like she did in The Rule of Thirds and seeing her grow here - learning to forgive and mature and come into her photography even more - was wonderful. Her best friend Dace, while not present for most of the book, still has her moments and proves once again to be a fantastic friend to Pippa. I hope to see more of her and more of their friendship in the next book (and I'd love to see Pippa support Dace through something since Dace is always there for her). The new boyfriend from the end of TRoT, Dylan, isn't in DoF much either, which I was bummed about, but this let he-of-questionable-character Ben Baxter have his moment in the spotlight to show Pippa who he really is. I very much enjoyed seeing him become much more three-dimensional in this sequel and I'm interested to see where he goes from here. Pippa better sort out her feelings!

With a cliff-hanger ending that leaves Pippa's and readers' hearts on the line, I'm definitely looking forward to what should be an intense third book for our dear main character. Anyone who is looking for some quick and fun reads but still wants to find a reason to get invested in a story and a character's journey need look no further than Guertin's Pippa Greene series.

Make sure you check out the rest of the tour. Some of the stops are offering giveaways of this great read, so go enter!

Words of Mystery - Friday, August 1 - Giveaway & Review
Sukasa Reads - Saturday, August 2 - Review & Giveaway
Stay Bookish - Monday, August 4 - Tisch Camp post, Dream Cast, Giveaway
Booking it with Hayley G - Tuesday, August 5 - Excerpt & Giveaway
The Book Belles - Wednesday, August 6 - Review
Read My Breath Away - Thursday, August 7 - Review
Write All the Words! - Friday, August 8 - Review & Guest Blog
Ramblings of a Daydreamer - Sunday, August 10 - Review & giveaway
The Book Bratz - Monday, August 11 - Review & Giveaway

8/06/2014

Waiting on Wednesday #76: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
Get Even by Gretchen McNeil.

Expected Publication: September 16, 2014.
by: Balzer + Bray.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Follows the secretive exploits of four high school juniors - Kitty, Olivia, Margot and Bree - at an exclusive Catholic prep school.
To all outward appearances, the girls barely know each other. At best, they don't move in the same social circles; at worst, they're overtly hostile.
Margot Mejia – academically ranked number two in her class, Margot is a focused overachiever bound for the Ivy League.
Kitty Wei – captain of the California state and national champion varsity girls' volleyball team, she's been recruited by a dozen colleges and has dreams of winning an Olympic gold medal.
Olivia Hayes – popular star of the drama program, she's been voted "most eligible bachelorette" two years running in the high school yearbook and has an almost lethal combination of beauty and charm.
Bree Deringer – outcast, misfit and the kind of girl you don't want to meet in a dark alley, the stop sign red-haired punk is a constant thorn in the side of teachers and school administrators alike.
Different goals, different friends, different lives, but the girls share a secret no one would ever guess. They are members of Don't Get Mad, a society specializing in seeking revenge for fellow students who have been silently victimized by their peers. Each girl has her own reason for joining the group, her own set of demons to assuage by evening the score for someone else. And though school administration is desperate to find out who is behind the DGM "events", the girls have managed to keep their secret well hidden.
That is until one of their targets – a douchebag senior who took advantage of a drunk underclassman during a house party, videotaped it on his phone, and posted it on YouTube – turns up dead, and DGM is implicated in the murder.
Now the girls don't know who to trust, and as their tenuous alliance begins to crumble, the secrets they've hidden for so long might be their ultimate undoing.

Why I'm excited:
I haven't read anything by Gretchen McNeil before but I love the concept behind this one. Three very different girls coming together to get revenge on people who are bullying others, but then there's a murder and some secrets and trouble a-brewing. Sounds dangerous and mysterious and I'm exciting!

What are you waiting on this week?

7/30/2014

Waiting on Wednesday #75: No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown.

Expected Publication: December 9, 2014.
by: HarperTeen.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.
When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.
Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

Why I'm excited:
Darn it, Harper! December! That's still pretty far off. I'm not always one for contemp; usually the synopsis really has to catch my attention for me to get excited. Between this synopsis - which sounds like it questions all kinds of interesting things - and hearing about the book through the YA Valentines and the author's Twitter, I'm in. Fingers crossed it's a great one!

What are you waiting on this week?