12/31/2012

Review: Empty by Suzanne Weyn

Empty by Suzanne Weyn.
Hardcover, 192 pages.
Publication Date: October 1, 2010.
Published by Scholastic Press.
Source: Borrowed from the library.

Goodreads Summary:
A dystopic look at what happens to one American town when all the fossil fuels run out...

It's the near future - the very near future - and the fossil fuels are running out. No gas. No oil. Which means no driving. No heat. Supermarkets are empty. Malls have shut down. Life has just become more local than we ever knew it could be.
Nobody expected the end to come this fast. And in the small town of Spring Valley, decisions that once seemed easy are quickly becoming matters of life and death. There is hope - there has to be hope - just there are also sacrifices that need to be made, and a whole society that needs to be rethought.


My Review:
When I first picked up this book I thought three things:
1. Holy short book, Batman! I had expected more than 200 pages when I'd reserved it from the library.
2. I wasn't expecting too much from it because I hadn't really thought too much of Suzanne Weyn's other novels The Bar Code Tattoo, and The Bar Code Rebellion
3. The premise of the book excited me. Weyn had chosen an 'apocalyptic' world that is entirely possible, even within my lifetime, which was very interesting. 

Since the novel was so short, Weyn needed to write efficiently to create a worthwhile and developed storyline, which I believe she did. When a novel is less than 200 pages, everything has to be relevant to move the plot along while still developing it and the characters. I think Weyn was successful in this. 


The main problem of a worldwide lack of oil was established quickly. I enjoyed her style for the most part. Aside from her sentence structure (which was, on occasion, sloppy), I liked the pace of the novel, the visual description, and the use of newspaper articles to provide outside information that the characters would not have known. 


Weyn paints a very clear picture of how people can quickly descend into chaos when their way of life is threatened. She shows how the little things in life (like one character, Niki, and her contacts) are so often taken for granted. She also shows how little changes can completely set someone off.


My only major complaint is that the ending came on quite quickly and didn't feel fully wrapped up but also didn't entirely feel like there would be a sequel. I guess I'll just have to wait and see!



3 Stars!

12/28/2012

Cover Reveal: Sworn to Raise by Terah Edun

I am happy to join up with Xpresso Book Tours to help reveal the beautiful cover for Terah Edun's upcoming release, Sworn to Raise.

Here's a little bit about the book:

Sworn to Raise by Terah Edun (Courtlight #1) - Publication date: March 15th, 2013
Seventeen-year-old Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the  kingdom. But beneath her kingdom’s seemingly idyllic surface lies a hidden secret. Whispers of an inept crown Prince are growing ever louder—intensified by the five year anniversary of the soulbond  initiations.

Amidst scandalous whispers, Ciardis finds herself chosen to train for the Companion’s Guild. She leaves her home and sets off on a personal journey to become a Court Companion. A position she’d never thought possible for a lowly servant to obtain, she must prove that she has the skills to attract a Patron.

But she must master those skills quickly. If the legends are true, only Ciardis can harness the power to raise a Prince in an Imperial Court sworn to bring him down.

This sensational series debut melds intricate storylines with remarkable characters and unforgettable magic. Sworn To Raise is ideal for fans of Kristin Cashore, Michelle Sagara, and Maria Snyder.




And now, without further ado, the cover:

I love the bold colours! Plus, who can resist a cover with a pretty girl in a gorgeous dress? Looks great! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments!

A little about the author:
Terah Edun:
Terah Edun is an international development professional and author/lover of all things Young Adult Fantasy fiction. She is a native Georgian, adoptive Washingtonian, unrepentant expat currently living in South Sudan, brilliant dreamer, lover of dogs and not-so-closet geek. Her first novel, Red Madrassa, was released on November 8th and her second novel, Sworn to Raise, comes out in March 2013.


Author Links:


There is also a great giveaway going on for the cover reveal: Terah is giving away a $60 Amazon gift card!
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

12/27/2012

Review: The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando

The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando.

Hardcover, 239 pages.
Publication Date: July 5, 2012.
Published by Dutton Juvenile.
Source: Library.

Goodreads Summary:

An all-day scavenger hunt in the name of eternal small-town glory

With only a week until graduation, there's one last thing Mary and her friends must do together: participate in the Oyster Point High Official Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt. And Mary is determined to win.

Mary lost her spot at Georgetown to self-professed "it" bully Jake Barbone, and she's not about to lose again. But everyone is racing for the finish line with complicated motives, and the team's all-night adventure becomes all-night drama as shifting alliances, flared tempers, and crushing crushes take over. As the items and points pile up, Mary and her team must reinvent their strategy--and themselves--in order to win.


My Review:
I have good things and not-so-good things to say about this one.

The idea was great. I thought that an all-day scavenger hunt to celebrate the end of senior year was a fantastic idea and was lots of fun. I loved that the lists were shown in the book and that I (almost) always felt right there in the middle of the scavenging action. I also loved that there were bonuses and clues texted through them throughout. It added some surprises. This kind of hunt is exactly what I wished my senior year "Car Rally" had been like. More fun than actually troublesome (or icky). I definitely enjoyed that part.

What I didn't really enjoy, though, was everything to do with the characters. Which sounds bad. There were two plots going on, in a way. One was the scavenger hunt and intertwined with that was all the personal drama and friend drama and "high school is over" drama that comes with being a senior. I didn't like most of this drama. I did like the "high school is over" stuff because it was realistic and since this hunt was like their last hoorah in a way, it totally fit. However, the team that the main character, Mary, is on is full to the brim with tension and annoyance and hurt feelings. This really bugged me because when I picked this book up I was hoping for a fun, light, fast-paced read, but I felt that all the drama bogged it down.

Almost every character also felt extremely selfish, which drove me crazy. There was something each of them wanted and they pushed everyone else way too hard in order to get it. It was so frustrating. If there's ever a day to get over all your selfish anger at everyone else, this was it! The only character I actually liked was Mary's friend Dez. Dez is a genuinely good and funny guy, but because of circumstances I won't name (it'd spoil some of it), we don't even see him at all for a good chunk of the novel!

Overall, this was a bit of a disappointment. 2.5 Stars.

12/26/2012

Waiting on Wednesday #10: Maid of Secrets



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:

Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan.


Expected Publication: May 7, 2013.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BYR


Goodreads Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Meg Fellowes is a wry, resourceful thief forced to join an elite group of female spies in Queen Elizabeth’s Court. There she must solve a murder, save the Crown, and resist the one thing that will become her greatest freedom–and her deadliest peril. 

For Meg and her fellow spies are not alone in their pursuit of the murderer who stalks Windsor Castle.

A young, mysterious Spanish courtier, Count Rafe de Martine, appears at every turn in the dark and scandal-filled corridors of the Queen’s summer palace. And though secrets and danger are Meg’s stock-in-trade, she’s never bargained on falling in love…


Why I'm Excited: Back to my Historical Fiction love on this one. Plus it looks like there will be some action and some love along with the history, so I'm looking forward to this debut! I've also been following Corsets, Cutlasses & Candlesticks where Jennifer occasionally blogs along with other YA & MG Historical Fiction authors and it definitely seems like she has done her research and has some great ideas!

What are you waiting on this week?

12/21/2012

99 Authors 99 Books 99 Cents $990 Prizes Promo

Make sure you take advantage of this great offer... so many books for only 99 cents each! And enter to win $990 worth of prizes!
Good luck! 

These prices are available on Amazon only.

For a listing of books offered and to enter to win, click here!!

 

12/20/2012

Book Blitz: Fang Girl by Helen Keeble


I'm happy to be taking part in the Book Blitz for Fang Girl, a YA paranormal novel that came out in September.

Fang Girl by Helen Keeble.
Published September 11, 2012.
Publisher: HarperTeen.

Goodreads Summary:
Things That Are Destroying Jane Greene’s Undead Social Life Before It Can Even Begin:

1) A twelve-year-old brother who’s convinced she’s a zombie.
2) Parents who are begging her to turn them into vampires.
3) The pet goldfish she accidentally turns instead.
4) Weird superpowers that let her rip the heads off of every other vampire she meets.(Sounds cool, but it doesn’t win you many friends.)
5) A pyschotic vampire creator who’s using her to carry out a plan for world domination.

And finally:
6) A seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake her or make out with her. Not sure which.

Being an undead, eternally pasty fifteen-year-old isn’t quite the sexy, brooding, angst-fest Jane always imagined....

Helen Keeble’s riotous debut novel combines the humor of Vladimir Tod with Ally Carter’s spot-on teen voice. With a one-of-a-kind vampire mythology and an irresistibly relatable undead heroine, this uproarious page-turner will leave readers bloodthirsty for more.



Purchase Fang Girl-AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository


AUTHOR BIO
Helen Keeble:
Helen Keeble is not, and never has been, a vampire. She has however been a teenager. She grew up partly in America and partly in England, which has left her with an unidentifiable accent and a fondness for peanut butter crackers washed   down with a nice cup of tea. She now lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a variable number of fish. To the best of her knowledge, none of the fish are undead.

Her first novel, a YA vampire comedy called FANG GIRL, is out 11th Sept 2012, from HarperTeen.

She also has another YA paranormal comedy novel (provisionally titled NO ANGEL) scheduled for Sept 2013.

Author Links:

This book is not only paranormal... it's funny! Not all vampire novels have to be deathly serious! Here's an excerpt showing off some of Keeble's humour:


Extract from FANG GIRL, by Helen Keeble

In which Our Heroine, Xanthe Jane Greene (unexpectedly undead vampire fangirl) makes some resolutions for her new unlife…


As a vampire, I solemnly swear I will not:
1) Angst
2) Suck
3) Summon a dark goddess
4) Fall in love with a vampire hunter
 a) Or a werewolf
 b) Or anyone evil, no matter how hot.
 c) Or anyone of species not approved of by my vampire elders, because no one is worth that sort of stress
5) Accept any gifts, give any gifts, carry any messages, take part in any mysterious rituals, etc. etc.
“Here’s another one,” said Mum, sticking a Post-It into the massive tome in her lap. “Running backward while carrying a lit candle in one hand and a live tortoise in the other. Makes vampires flee in terror.”
“Thanks, Mum.” I didn’t bother to look up from my laptop. I’d given up making notes on any of her findings over an hour ago—Eastern European vampire folklore was turning out to be utterly cracktastic. “Can I remind you that we’re looking for ways to stop vampire hunters, not vampires?”
When Mum had said she’d gone to work to get research materials, she wasn’t kidding. Every surface in the living room was piled high with books. This was not unusual, but the familiar physics journals and academic monographs had vanished. In their place: Interview with a VampireDraculaThe Vampire in Romanian LegendVampire NationThe Encyclopedia of the UndeadLove Bites,Fourteen Essays on VampirismTwilightUndead and UnwedVampires of Stage and ScreenIn Search of Dracula . . . everything from huge, leather-bound library reference volumes with cracked spines to shiny new paperbacks with luridly embossed covers. Mum must have checked out every book about vampirism from every library in a thirty-mile radius. I wasn’t quite sure what she was expecting to learn from texts like Marxism and the Vampire, but at least it was keeping her occupied.




Blitz-Wide Giveaway:

The prize pack includes:
- one signed copy of Fang Girl (can be personalised)
- a voucher for an ARC of Helen's next book NO ANGEL as soon as they are available (likely to be Spring/Summer 2013)
- a cheerful vampire goldfish paperclip
- Fang Girl stickers featuring the cover and quotes from the book

a Rafflecopter giveaway

12/19/2012

Waiting on Wednesday #9: The Different Girl



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:


The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlquist.


Expected Publication: February 21, 2013.
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile.


Goodreads Summary:
Four nearly identical girls on a desert island. An unexpected new arrival. A gently warped near future where nothing is quite as it seems.

Veronika. Caroline. Isobel. Eleanor. One blond, one brunette, one redhead, one with hair black as tar. Four otherwise identical girls who spend their days in sync, tasked to learn. But when May, a very different kind of girl—the lone survivor of a recent shipwreck—suddenly and mysteriously arrives on the island, an unsettling mirror is about to be held up to the life the girls have never before questioned.

Sly and unsettling, Gordon Dahlquist’s timeless and evocative storytelling blurs the lines between contemporary and sci-fi with a story that is sure to linger in readers’ minds long after the final page has been turned.


Why I'm excited: This one sounds very different from anything I've read recently. It has a very intriguing blurb  and I think it's something that will bring the unexpected. Sounds very cool!

What are you waiting on this week?

12/18/2012

The Magic of Christmas - Winterhaven Sleigh Tour


Today I'm excited to join the WinterHaven Sleigh Tour hosted by WinterHaven Books. This week, we are posting our favourite Children's, Winter or Christmas story. To see who else is on the sleigh, go to WinterHaven Sleigh Tour  for a list of participating blogs.

I wanted to share with you a Children's Christmas story that I read every Christmas for years.

Corduroy's Christmas by Don Freeman.

This is an adorable book with little flaps to lift up to see what Corduroy does to get ready for Christmas and Santa's visit.
"Children will enjoy "helping" Corduroy trim the tree, bake cookies, wrap presents, and hang a stocking on the fireplace mantle--and will share Corduroy's delight on Christmas morning when he sees all the presents Santa has brought for a good little bear!" (From Goodreads).

It was a book that I read with my parents that always helped put me in the Christmas spirit and helped develop my love of books and stories.


WinterHaven Books, in the spirit of the holidays, is offering one lucky winner to do for others what this book helped do for me:

As part of The Magic of Christmas, WinterHaven Books is hosting a give-away that will include two book bundles to be shipped to an elementary school or library of the winner's choosing. The winner will be offered a few options and they can choose what 2 bundles and location to ship to within the United States. 
The winner can choose two of the following book bundles to be donated:

Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (includes all 3 books).
Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Steifvater (includes all 3 books).
Dairy Queen Trilogy by Catherine Murdock (includes all 3 books).
Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (includes first 3 books).

Good luck and happy holidays!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

12/17/2012

Review: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell.
Paperback, 284 pages.
Publication Date: November 1, 2008.
Published by Scholastic Press.
Source: Library.

Goodreads Summary:
Murder and intrigue surround a girl in this mystery set in American in the aftermath of WWII

When Evie's father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe's company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two.


My Review:
The hardest reviews to write are the ones where you just don't have much to say about the book. That was how I felt about this one. I just don't have any strong opinions. Because of that, I'll be keeping this review short.

Evie is a young, naive girl whose family is much more complicated than she ever imagined. She looks at the world through very innocent glasses. She doesn't understand much about growing up, which her parents adamantly try to keep her from doing. Nor does she understand much about the war that just ended, or how it may have affected people unlike herself. Her main focuses in life are her best friend, how to get the boy she has a crush on, and how beautiful her mother is. For most of the book she seems not only naive, obviously, but frankly a little flat. She has wants and dreams but until deep into the book, they're very light, fluffy wants. I wasn't extremely interested in her until quite a ways into the story, so I just wasn't all that invested.

When her family travels south for a spontaneous vacation, she meets and begins to fall for Peter, who was in the army with her stepfather, Joe. Evie and her mother begin to take day trips with him while Joe talks business with another man staying at their almost-vacant hotel. Their happy vacation slowly degrades as the fa├žade of the perfect couple her parents appear to be chips away and a family secret comes closer and closer to being revealed. The mystery of the plot kept me intrigued so I wanted to keep reading so discover what happens. I was also glad at the way Evie grew over the course of the novel. I wanted more from her at the beginning and she was closer to what I had hoped for by the end. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I just never felt fully satisfied with the characters or the movement of the plot.

It's not that I didn't enjoy this book, but I didn't love it. I really didn't feel strongly either way. It was good, just not anything really special in my opinion.
3 stars.

12/16/2012

Stacking the Shelves #8 - Dec 16



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly post by Tynga's Reviews showcasing your new books! 
Links (the book titles) go to Goodreads.

After not buying any books last week, I had to cave when I saw some good deals this week! I got some fun things in the mail, too! Unfortunately, absolutely none of my pictures are working, so you'll have to settle for plain old covers and Blogger's terrible formatting job.




I won The Van Alen Legacy and Keys to the Repository from Michele B of Reading Lark. Thanks Michele! 


I won a signed copy of The Raven Boys from Tammi at Young Adult Book Reviews. Thank you Tammi, I can't wait to start it!
She also included an awesome swag pack of bookmarks and things from many different authors!


I also got a huge swag pack from Lindsay Cummings, author of the upcoming novel The Murder Complex. Thanks, Lindsay!









Bought:



Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini, Grace by Elizabeth Scott, and Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes.

12/14/2012

Cover Reveal: Timespell by Diana Paz

I am very excited to be working with Xpresso Book Tours to present the cover for Timespell by Diana Paz!

First, some info about the book:
Timespell by Diana Paz 
Publication date: April 1st, 2013 by Rhemalda Publishing
In TIMESPELL, the brash and impulsive Julia must team up with her sweet and straight-laced best friend, Angie, and the malicious and power-hungry Kaitlyn in order to keep the witch-like powers of her inheritance. But these powers come at a cost. The girls are bound to serve the Fates, and their first mission sends them back in time to Marie Antoinette’s Paris and eventually, into the chaos and war of the French Revolution.


Now, without further ado...

Wow. Pretty gorgeous, right? I love the colours and the dress and the title font. So pretty!

About the Author:
Diana Paz:Diana Paz writes books about magic, adventure, and romance. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she’s a beach bum. Diana graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a highly sweetened iced coffee.

Author Links:


Website: http://www.dianapaz.com/

Blog: http://www.dianapazwrites.blogspot.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dianapazwrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dianapazwrites

Book Tour Stop: Black Moon


Today I'm happy to take part in the book tour for Black Moon by Jessica McQuay, organized by Bewitching Book Tours!



Black Moon by Jessica McQuay.
Paige Tailor Series #1.
ebook, 279 pages.
Paperback published in October.
Published by Cambridge Press.

Goodreads Summary:
"Am I losing my mind?"

Paige couldn't help but question her sanity. What other explanation could there be for her hearing a conversation held barely above a whisper in the back of a classroom full of students? What about coming home to find one of those very classmates lying in wait in the darkness of her home, ready to attack her? 

Confused, frustrated and feeling every ounce of her social ostracism, Paige confides in the one person she's always been able to count on: her mom. But when her mom reveals a deeply rooted, unbelievable family secret, Paige discovers her world is filled with more than she ever imagined possible. A world where fairytales live alongside nightmares and secrets are the glue that binds them together. Suddenly no one is who they seem and Paige is faced with more questions than answers. Can she survive in a world filled with creatures scarier than anything she could imagine and where deceit runs as thick as blood? Or will the truth send her over the edge?


Official Trailer.

You may remember that I reviewed Black Moon a little while back. I really enjoyed it, and you can find my review here.

For the tour, I'm posting an excerpt so you can all get excited about reading Black Moon as well!

"I pushed away from the car and made my way up the front
steps lost in thought. Surely I wasn’t insane. Someone can’t go
from being okay and normal, to losing it within a day or two,
right?

I shook my head hoping to dispel the dizzying thoughts that
were going round and round in circles in my head and unlocked
the front door. I stepped inside and closed it, then tossed my
keys into the dish on the side table. The instant they hit the glass
the hairs on the back of my neck sprung to life. I glanced up into
the mirror above the side table in time to see a figure hurdling
towards me. I had milliseconds to respond, but found my body
taking control. I crouched just in time. The blur of a person
passed by close enough to stir the loose strands of hair around
my face.

I spun around, still low to the ground and watched the
person crash head first into the staircase banister, knocking them
out. I waited there, stunned. I listened for other noises or sounds
that might clue me into whether or not there were others or
this person sprawled across the first landing of my staircase was
alone. All I could hear was the thudding of my own heartbeat
racing away. My pulse pounded in my ears and I knew that I
needed to get a grip.

Taking a deep breath, I stood and moved forward. As I did
so, I began to make out subtle features of my almost attacker.
Th e frame was small, petite even. And by the time I made it to
her face, I had a name: Rachel. Yeah, the same Rachel that I told
the entire class was messing around with her friend’s boyfriend.
News travels fast. Maybe I wasn’t so paranoid after all.

I kneeled beside her to make sure she was okay and found
her breathing fine. In fact, after examining her, I couldn’t find
a single injury on her despite watching her hit the railing head
first. What is that about?

I left Rachel and walked the entire first floor just to be sure I
was right and she was alone. I checked for her point of entry but
couldn’t find anything to show me how she’d managed to get in.
I’d expected broken glass from a window or a smashed lock, but
my quick inspection turned up nothing and I didn’t have time to
be more thorough.

What now? Mom was going to walk in the door any second.
I had a decision to make. Did I let her come in and find Rachel
and tell her about the things that have been happening to me, or
do I get Rachel the heck out of my house and try to figure this
crap out on my own?"

Pg 12-14 (pdf copy).
And that is just the beginning of Paige's troubles! Make sure you pick up a copy of the book!
Purchase from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:
Image


There were three things Jessica loved to do growing up; reading, writing and playing music. She discovered her love for writing at a young age, when she realized she could create anything she wanted with words. Jessica lives in Sacramento, CA with her husband, four children, a goldfish named Sparkle and their cat, Talula. When she isn't working on the next Paige Tailor novel, taking her children to one activity or another, or folding the never ending laundry of a six person family, Jessica enjoys playing her clarinet in the community band, reading while enjoying a cup of coffee or heading to the theater and catching a movie with her husband.
www.jessicamcquay.com
http://paigetailorseries.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/JessicaMcQuay
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-McQuay-Author-of-the-Paige-Tailor-Series/217414364984840
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16005072-black-moon


12/12/2012

Letter to Santa - WinterHaven Sleigh Tour


Today I'm excited to join the WinterHaven Sleigh Tour  hosted by WinterHaven Books once again! This week, I am writing Santa a letter for my book wish that I hope to receive this season. To see who else has written to Santa, go to WinterHaven Sleigh Tour for a list of participating blogs.

I really wanted to have one of my favourite Christmas videos play here, but it's restricted for play on certain sites (aka it'll only play on Youtube; I can't embed it here), so promise me you'll click the link and go watch it? Just imagine it's right here :) It's only about 5 minutes long, I'll wait 'til you're back! It's worth it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD5pqOsW1PU

Wasn't that worthwhile? :)

Now, for my letter:

Dear Santa,

I, like Larry the Cucumber, have been very good this year. Sometimes it was hard: I've refrained from yelling at my little brother! And sometimes, not so hard: I've shared my books with other book lovers. So in the spirit of Christmas wishes, I have one little request.
Under my Christmas tree this year, I would like to find...

The Diviners by Libba Bray! 
I have heard so many amazing things about this novel. Fellow book bloggers have been singing its praises, just as we're all told you sing Rudolph's. Even more enthusiastically, actually! Clearly, this is a great book. It's also set in the '20s, which fascinate me. I'm sure you know, Santa, that they were an exciting time! 
This book appeals to me so, but I haven't been able to get my hands on it yet! This is why it is my Christmas book wish, Santa. 
I'll leave out extra milk and cookies if you promise me I'll be able to start reading this on Boxing Day! 

Love, 
Jessica

So that's my Christmas book wish! What's on your list this year? If you let me know in the comments, WinterHaven Books might just grant your wish! Good luck and Happy Holidays everyone!

Waiting on Wednesday #8: Dualed



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:



Dualed by Elsie Chapman.


Expected Publication: February 26, 2013.
Publisher: Random House BYR.


Goodreads Summary:
You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.


Why I'm excited? Go back and read that blurb again. That's why. Awesome.
What are you waiting on this week?

12/10/2012

ARC Review: Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.
ARC, 392 pages.
Publication Date: July 31, 2012.
Published by Harlequin Teen.
Source: ARCycling.

Goodreads Summary:
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.


My Review:
What a beautiful novel. Really. I'm so thrilled I was able to get this through ARCycling because I might not have given it a chance otherwise. I would have deprived myself of an amazing story and some excellent writing. Well done, Katie McGarry.

Echo and Noah both face some very tough issues. Echo can't remember what happened to her the night she got the scars on her arms. This scares her immensely, especially since she has tried to remember but almost lost her mind. She is also now the school freak due to her scars. The social ostracism she faces, through overheard whispers and laughter and even a shunning from her friend all serve to break Echo's spirit and her self-confidence. Not to mention the pressure of pleasing her father, for whom the best is never good enough.
Noah is a kid of the system, having been in and out of foster homes since his parents' deaths. Even worse than that, he is separated from his two younger brothers, whom he loves more than anything, because of an incident in his first foster home. He turns to his two best friends and to meaningless sex and drugs to deal.

When Echo and Noah begin to talk to one another, not only does a relationship seem unlikely because of who they are, but it also seems like one that would be doomed from the start. Echo refuses to fall for the womanizer who would just use her, and Noah knows he doesn't want any emotional ties. Clearly they're both forced to change their minds a bit.

I fell in love with this book and its characters. Echo and Noah came alive. Their feelings - their pain, their joy, their fear - all resounded with me.  I didn't love them from the beginning. They were too willing to be damaged. But as they grew in character, they also grew on me. They have a lot to be afraid of, but they are brave enough to try to live anyway. Even as Noah says that they will never know normal again in their lives, they don't give up their search for something close to it.

Mrs. Collins is a wonderful character herself. She is the one who brings Noah and Echo together, though her intentions only went as far as tutoring. She is present throughout the novel, helping Echo and Noah dig inside themselves for the truth behind their behaviours and really helps facilitate their growth. She is also, though, a unique and fun character all on her own. Encounters with her brought about many grins and chuckles throughout the story, but she also played a large part in some of the most important moments.

The relationships are extremely well developed. Echo and Noah's moves at a really good pace, and although it really just starts as a physical attraction, that's not unrealistic. I really loved that instead of changing for each other, they grew as their own people into what they needed to be for themselves. It made them seem much more honest as characters. The dynamic between Noah, Echo, and Noah's best friends/honourary family members, Isaiah and Beth, was always interesting and was sometimes funny, sometimes tense. It was a great, mixed relationship of love, hate, and family. I also adored the relationship between Noah and his younger (blood) brothers. Since he has limited contact with them, there are limited scenes involving the brothers and this made those scenes have a truly powerful impact. The scenes with Noah and his brothers made me cry. Twice. They were so honest and raw and I fell in love with all of them.

In the end, I wish I could talk about every little aspect of the book that caused me to fall in love with it, but we'd be here forever. It was a stunning look at tough issues and how the teens who deal with them can be down, but never truly out. It explored various relationships in a truthful and beautiful way and showed that there really is more to someone than what you see. They just need to find something to truly believe in and strive for, and the help of a little push along the way.
I truly can't give this any less than 5 Stars.

12/07/2012

Book Blast and Giveaway: Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four


Welcome to the Book Blast for Nya Jade's Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four presented by Xpresso Book Tours!

Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade.
Publication Date: October 30, 2012.
Published by Dreamwell Publishing.
Cover Design by Phatpuppy Art.

Goodreads Summary:
The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above.

As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.

Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself—and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive.


Buy it on Amazon. The ebook is only $0.99 for all of December! Grab it before it goes up in price!

About the author:

Nya Jade:
Nya Jade is a singer-songwriter and author based in San Francisco. Her music videos have aired on the VH1, BET, and MTV networks. USA Today hailed Nya as a “young female troubadour worth keeping your eyes and ears on,” in an entertainment feature on up-and-coming singer-songwriters. “Her cool singing voice recalls Sade,” said the LA Times.

Between writing and performing new music, Nya took a musical sabbatical to focus on writing a novel—an endeavor she found quite daunting, until she began looking at each chapter as a verse in a very long song. Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four is her first novel.In her free time, Nya enjoys hanging out with family and friends, searching for amazing gluten-free desserts, and bargain hunting for her next pair of funky shoes.Nya holds a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Sociology, both from Stanford University.


Author Links:

Now for the Giveaway!
Enter to win a Kindle Fire! Open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks Xpresso Book Tours!

12/06/2012

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Oxford Whispers by Marion Croslydon

I am happy to present, along with AToMR Tours, the cover reveal for Oxford Whispers by Marion Croslydon!


Title: Oxford Whispers (The Oxford Trilogy, #1)
Author: Marion Croslydon
Release date: October 8th
Published by: Carlux Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
Age Group: New Adult
Cover Designed by: PhatPuppy Art
Cover reveal organized by: AToMR Tours

Blurb:

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE GOES IVY LEAGUE! Madison LeBon is dead set against the dead. She has vowed to ignore her Voodoo-stamped
heritage and the psychic gift passed down through her Louisiana family. The world of the living is where she wants to belong. But her resolution shatters when the tragic lovers in a painting—the subject of her first history class at Oxford—begin to haunt her. The lovers warn her against their own nemesis, a Puritan from the English Civil War.
College becomes more complicated when Madison falls hard for Rupert Vance, a troubled aristocrat and descendant of one of the characters in the painting. With the spirit of a murderer after her, she realizes that her own first love may also be doomed… FALL IN LOVE FOR THE FIRST TIME... AGAIN {Upper-YA/New Adult - Recommended 17+}


Find it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Whispers-ebook/dp/B0091UKP0K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351667730&sr=8-1&keywords=oxford+whispers 



Wow, this sounds like quite the read! Lots of interesting elements at work here! I'll be keeping my eye out for this one!

About the Author:

Image

In addition to being an author, I work as an entrepreneur, wife and mother-of-one but spend a good deal of time with books, DVDs and listening to my mp3 player; all for the sake of inspiration, of course.
My debut series, The Oxford Trilogy, has been a blast to write because I can indulge in my favorite types of music: Country and English rock.
My main goal as a writer is to make readers dream bigger and cause their hearts to beat a little faster. Since my writing is all about sharing dreams and stories, I love connecting with fellow readers and authors. 
Marion Croslydon | Twitter | Facebook


There is a great giveaway being offered and it's open internationally! Good luck!

Up for grabs: (1) Signed print copy and (1) eBook copy of OXFORD WHISPERS.
Both open International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

12/05/2012

Winter Book Review and Giveaway: Snow In Love - WinterHaven Sleigh Tour


Today I'm excited to join the WinterHaven Sleigh Tour hosted by WinterHaven Books. This week, we are posting our choice of a Winter Book Review. To see who else is on the sleigh, go to WinterHaven Sleigh Tour for a list of participating blogs.

Snow in Love by Claire Ray.
Paperback, 304 pages.
Published December 23, 2008.
Published by HarperTeen.
Source: Borrowed from the library.

Goodreads Summary:
Welcome to Alaska

A special welcome to my boyfriend, Jake, the cutest tourist I've ever met

Explore our natural beauties and untouched wilderness.

Jake and I like to hike our great (romantic ) nature trails. . . .

Enjoy our perfect skiing and snowboarding conditions.

Be sure to catch Will Parker doing his snowboarding tricks. He makes all the girls in town melt. (Except for me. Who needs Will when you've got Jake?)

Experience our world-class resorts and spas.

While you're there, find out what's up with that hot girl Jake brought to the lodge this year. She's probably just his cousin or something. Right?

Get ready for a vacation you'll never forget.


My Review:
This was a really cute winter read. It's a lot like the small teen beach reads that aren't too emotionally investing but are light, fun, flirty, and always turn out all right in the end.

I enjoyed the characters, for the most part. Jessie, the narrator and protagonist was a pretty typical teenage girl who is in a long distance relationship and when he shows up in Alaska with a new girl, she reacts a lot like an average teenage girl would. I really wanted her to be stronger about what happened, but I'm sure I wouldn't have reacted any better than she did! I felt that she was pretty realistic and had her clever and funny moments, as well as a little attitude in her narrative voice, which I really appreciated. She was a little oblivious sometimes though! She also had two great friends to lean on who, although being pretty opposite people from each other, were fun and completed the friendship circle dynamic very well. Will, another friend, is very cute, very flirty, and I really liked him! He definitely provided some relief when I started to get a little tired of the story.

I had a few issues with the story because I have read a fair amount of books like this and it felt like the same storyline as all of those other ones. I did expect this though, so I wasn't too disappointed. I also felt like Jessie was waaaay overly cautious at times and it drove me a little crazy! There were also moments I was literally speaking to the book, saying "No, Jessie! No no no!". So I definitely didn't always agree with what she did! I did have a good giggle or two though, which was really enjoyable.
I have to give it 3 Stars.

Now, as part of the festivities, WinterHaven Books is hosting an international giveaway that will include a copy of Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Signed by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn) and a copy of Let it Snow to four lucky winners. Good luck and happy holidays!


     



a Rafflecopter giveaway