Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hourglass (Hourglass #1)

Title: Hourglass (Hourglass# 1)
Author: Myra McEntire
Rating: 4.5/5
SummaryOne hour to rewrite the past . . . 
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.
My Thoughts: This book rocked. That is it. If you have eyes read it. If you cant read get someone to read it for you because you just don't want to let this one pass you by. I love it. Period. The main character is on the Kick Butt Chicks League accompanied by ladies non other than Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games), Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy), and Cat (The Night Huntress Series). She is quick, she is witty, she is phenomenal. Even if the entire plot were to suck (which it didn't) I would still read it because of her. That's how serious I'm about this girl. Shes got spunk!  Just as an Hourglass represents the flow of time, the author represents the fresh new read this genre was needing! After all the supernatural creatures that are done over and over again, the author has now sucked me into the vacuum of time travel! If you only pick up one new author to read this year, be sure to make it this book! If not, we might have to travel back and change your mind and reality!

Ruby Red

Title: Ruby Red
Author: Kerstien Geir
Rating: 5/5
Summary:Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon, the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
My Thoughts: I really, REALLY enjoyed this book. It was beautifully written! I loved how the author chose to take things slow, explaining all aspects of time-travel to the reader. Gwendolyn, or Gwen as she is mostly called, is 16 years old and leads a pretty ordinary life. She attends school at Saint Lennox with her best friend Leslie. But Gwen is not quite that ordinary. She can actually see ghosts and certain demons ( apart from having the ability to travel in time). Gwen is a feisty heroine, she has a lot of humour and doesn't take herself all that seriously. But she has a hard time adapting to the fact that she can travel in time. She does not want to be special. I liked her very much, and am looking forward to reading more about her in future books.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nightshade

Title: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Creamer
Rating: 5/5
SummaryCalla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?
My Thoughts: Calla is a Guardian -- she exists as both wolf and human (DON'T call her a werewolf), and her sole purpose in life is to protect the sacred places of the Keepers. The fate of all humanity depends upon it. Calla also happens to be the female alpha of her pack, and in just a few short weeks will have her union ceremony with the male alpha of the neighboring pack, Ren. 

Calla has never questioned her lot in life, until she stumbles upon a human boy who's being attacked by a bear, and feels inexplicably compelled to protect him. She saves him, breaking several of the Keepers laws in the process. She is shaken by her disobedience, but vows to move on. But when the boy shows up at her school on Monday as a transfer student, she has a feeling her life is about to get very complicated. 

I absolutely LOVED Nightshade! I have to admit I'm not usually a huge vampire or werewolf fan (or wolf fan, as the case may be here), but I was completely blown off my rocker by this fabulous debut. If I could give it six stars, I would. SO GOOD. Calla is one of my favorite YA heroines of all time - she's smart, funny, strong and resilient. And the two love interests, Ren and Shay? All I can say is WOW. The only problem is that I can't decide if I'm Team Ren or Team Shay! This book is a must read!!!

Wither (Chemical Garden #1)

Title: Wither (Chemical Garden #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Rating: 4.8/5
Summary: What if you knew exactly when you would die? 
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb — males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. 
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape — to find her twin brother and go home. 
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
My Thoughts: Without a doubt, Wither is one of the most powerful YA dystopia reads ever! The plot is gripping, thought provoking, and disturbing. There were a couple of things about Wither that made it stand out for me. Unlike the typical dystopian YA novels that are popping up all over the place, here we have a story that isn’t so much focused on the demise of society but on the lives of these three girls, their husband and what the society and older generations have forced them to become. The story is slow but never lags. It really swept me up, it’s one of those books I ended up thinking about even when I wasn’t reading. The way that DeStefano wrapped past and present, and even future, together creates a beautifully, heart wrenching story that leaves me wanting so much more!  I would highly recommend this book to other lovers of YA fiction! 

Secrets of My Hollywood Life 6: There's No Place Like Home

Title: Secrets of My Hollywood Life 6: There's No Place Like Home
Author: Jen Calonita
Rating: 3/5
Summary: After her brilliant run on Broadway and surviving the harsh concrete jungle of New York City, seventeen-year-old Hollywood "It Girl" Kaitlin Burke is back in LA starting a sitcom with her former-nemesis-now-BFF, Sky. The show is a huge success! In fact, maybe a little too huge, Kaitlin realizes, after a bad run-in with aggressive paparazzi that puts her boyfriend Austin in danger. She wishes one final time that she could have a normal life. But what Kaitlin doesn't realize is that her Hollywood life has had a positive influence on just about everyone she loves, and it takes a minor car accident and a nasty concussion to truly grasp how lucky she is. In Jen Calonita's sixth and final Secrets of My Hollywood Life novel, Kaitlin learns at last about the price of fame, the unending upside of friendship, and that there really is no place like home-- even if it's Tinseltown.
My Thoughts: There's No Place Like Home took a bit of a different turn than the other books. It had the present, then from pages 150-300 veered into an alternate-Kaitlin reality. Then the end was the present again.  I understand that the author wanted to create a different life, however, I wish it had only lasted 30 pages, instead of half the book. The sixth book is the culmination of the previous five where Kaitlyn Burke is a star that is highly sought, driven beyond exhaustion by her mother/manager and wonders how it would be to have a normal life. She has a great boyfriend, supportive best friends, a fantastic career, and Jimmy Choos shoes to die for. Heck, she has Jimmy Choos. My best shoes come from sale section at Macy's. In this book, Kaitlin grows as a character, and begins to make her own decisions, a major turning point in the whole series. Overall it was a nice, quick read. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance

Title: Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance
Author: Emily Franklin and Brendan Haplin
Rating: 3/5
Summary: Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers-known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on. . . . Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.
My Thoughts: Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance offers a backstage pass to the lives of two insanely popular teens whose reputation is shattered when tabloids release incriminating pictures of Fielding Wither, aka Aaron Littleton.  After this scandal their love charade is exposed, so Jenna (Charlie) and Jonah (Aaron) decide to lie low for while- in Aaron's beach house.  
I really wanted to love this book. REALLY. I loved the plot, and loved the book equally, however, I did not love how Charlie and Aaron finally begin to love each other. While reading the book, I felt it would be a gradual process, in which they would accidentally kiss, and feel the sparks FLYING. I was wrong. Apparently, Charlie crying, and Aaron proposing his love for her, and vice versa was the way the authors decided to go. If I could rewrite the book, I would and completely alter the scene.Overall it's a light read which will be good to read if your feeling distracted or a good relaxing read for the beach or bed time. l would recommend it to anyone who likes fun reads which has the little twist of the romance being filmed .. l think this added to the story a lot.

Passion (Fallen # 3)

Title: Passion (Fallen # 3)
Author: Lauren Kate
Rating: 4/5
Summary: "Every single lifetime, I'll choose you. Just as you have chosen me. Forever." 

Luce would die for Daniel. And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . . . 

Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last. 

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history. 

Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever.
My Thoughts: I LOVE THE FALLEN SERIES! A lot. Alot alot.  The book follows Luce travelling through time, witnessing different versions of herself fall in love with Daniel again, again, and again.  The overall story fills in missing aspects of both book 1 and 2. The origin of the curse is explained so readers have an understanding of why it happened. 
I enjoyed the books because Luce (and I) was able to finally see what happened in her past lives, and if her love for Daniel was because of the curse, or true love.  I assumed Luce would have the same personality, and looks in her past lives however, that was not the case.  The one point that bugged me the most was how  Daniel "forgot" all encounters with his past self. It was definitely a hybrid prequel, and the last chapter has be riled up for the next, and last book in the series, Rapture. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wildefire

Title: Wildefire
Author: Karsten Knight
Rating: 3.5/5
Summary:Every flame begins with a spark. 
Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.
My Thoughts: Intense is the first word that springs to mind when thinking about this book. From start to finish, Wildfire is one intense emotion after another. I loved the concept of gods reincarnated and particularly liked that they extended beyond traditional western Greek, Roman and Norse lore. There is no lack of action in the book. What I’m not sure the plot resolves is the purpose and intent of The Cloak. Are they good? Are they bad? Do we trust them because of the scrolls? The book left off on a cliffhanger, and I will definitely be checking back in for the 2nd book!

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society # 2)

Title: Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society # 2)
Author: Ally Carter
Rating: 4/5
Summary: Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.
There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed.
Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.
Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.
My Thoughts: The second book in the Heist Society series, did not disappoint. In fact, I would say this is Carter's best book yet, it proves that she has grown as a writer over the years.  Although at times, it was hard to follow Katarina's train of thought, because not all information was given (but what can you expect from a thief ?:D). I really wish Hale and Katarina had gotten together in this book! The tension between them escalated in this book, but that just makes me want them to get together even more! Carter's writing excelled in this book, and overall is was an extremely pleasant read. 

Angelfire

Title: Angelfire
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton 
Rating: 3.5/5
Summary:When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul. 

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once. 

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

My Thoughts: Firstly, I'd like to say that the fallen angel theme has become extremely popular in YA books. I think it partially has to do with the fact that they are depicted as yummy and mysterious creatures, or in other words, the heroes teens love! Unlike many other books, the heroine, Ellie is the active force, the one putting her life on the line. Ellie is more powerful than she realizes, and can take care of herself. This was one of the major differences Moulton had when it came to fallen angel littérateur. In most books, the girl is the one in need of saving, however, in this book Ellie was the one saving mankind. The relationship between Will and Ellie is handled well, and taken slowly, which added a bit of reality to the book. This was a debut novel, and it was reflected in the writing at some points, but overall, it was a smooth read. I would recommend this book to anyone in need of something to read!

Will Work For Prom Dress

Title: Will Work For Prom Dress
Author: Aimme Friedman
Rating: 2.5/5
Summary:Quigley Johnson has, reluctantly, given up the rest of her last year of high school to take part in her best friend Ann's Betterment Plan, which will turn them into the best-dressed, most sought-after, most admired girls at their senior formal. Because - hey - who doesn't want the perfect prom, complete with a dream dress and a devastatingly handsome date? 
But the prom costs money - lots of money - and even though the girls could easily have Ann's mom design their dresses (she's only Victoria Parisi, one of the most famous designers in the world), Ann insists that they pay their own way.  And that's how Quigley gets stuck making artistic topping masterpieces on frozen pizzas canvases, before becoming a live model for Ms. Parisi's fashion design class, where she meets Zander.
He's cute, and cool, and funny, with a killer design sensibility (even if he can't sketch).  But is he too good to be true? And what about David, the hot, talented artist at school, who's also kind of a jerk, but won't leave Quigley alone? And Ann - she started the Betterment Plan to improve Quigley and herself, but it seems like it's ripping their friendship to shreds.
My Thoughts: I love watching reality/competition shows such as Top Model or Runway, so when I picked up this book, it was a dream come true. However, it after completing the book, I was throughly disappointed. The author tried to add depth to the book, as to divert from the careless,frivolous stereotype that follows girls like Quigley, but in my eyes it backfired. The novel was torture to simply complete the book. I found myself skipping pages and chapters just to get on to the "point" of the book. To anyone out there looking for a book that combines romance with some of life's daily and realistic problems, I would not recommend this book. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bumped

Title: Bumped
Author: Megan Mccafferty
Rating:4/5
Summary: When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.
Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.
Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.
When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common
My Thoughts: WOW! The book starts off slow, it takes a while to adjust to the terms the characters use, but once you catch on it was an amazing read. This book was strikingly original, and it covered all depths of love, family, and sisterhood in the future. I must say its the best YA book I've read on reproductively oppressive dystopian societies, and perhaps the only one. Megan (the character, not author) lives in a world where children are brought up to be bumped. Because of the Virus that is spreading, most teens are only able to reproduce until the age of 18. Melody has an agent, has all of the right looks and talents, has a family to bump for, and is just waiting for the right guy to bump. A professional. Not an everything-but. Harmony was raised in a completely different way. Being a slightly sickly child at birth, she was sent to be raised by the church. They taught her what to think, and she was never allowed to question the teachings. She was due to be married at 13, but things didn't follow through. Now she has a new finance, Ram. When Harmony reaches Megan's doorstep, everything changes, not necessarily for the better.  Overall, I would really recommend this book to anyone, and everyone! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Goddess Test

Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimme Carter
Rating: 3.5/5
SummaryIt's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.
My Thoughts: The Goddess Test was a surprisingly cute and short read. Aimme Carter definitely described the Greek god system in an original way. Throughout the book I felt bad for Kate, who did not have the opportunity of  a normal, care-free four years of high school. The first half of the novel was pretty slow,in which Aimme described the myth of Persephone, gave us clues on Henry's identity, and built the relationship between Kate and her family. I liked Henry... but I wouldn't really go too much further at this point just yet. He's supposed to be Hades, God of the Underworld, but for some reason, he just lacked this spark and charismatic persona that could make me really fall for him. I mean, he's really kindhearted when he shows his personality and would do anything to make Kate happy, so I should have fallen for him right away, but I just didn't feel the chemistry this time around. He acts sort of distant and it really wasn't until near the end of the novel that he finally broke out of his shell.I will be absolutely checking out the second novel, Goddess Interrupted, next year because I have a hopeful feeling that it will be better than the first one. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Giveaway for Half-Blood (Covenant #1)

Here are the contest deets from YA author Jennifer L. Armentrout: 


Birthday Bash Giveaway

"It's my birthday and I'll give away books if I want to!"

This month I'm going to do something a little different for my monthly contest. And yeah, you should get excited. 

I'm celebrating a birthday this month, June 11th, and I want to spread the birthday cheer with some Advanced Reader's Copies and tons of swag.

Which books am I giving away?

A signed ARC of Half-Blood by Megatron
A signed ARC of The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
An ARC of Between by Jessica Warman
An ARC of Fury by Elizabeth Miles 
A printed, signed copy of Daimon
A Half-Blood and Daimon bookmark stash
Half-Blood guitar picks
Half-Blood promo cards
Deity Island stickers
Rune swag

How to enter?

It's pretty simple, I swear.
2. Share a link to this contest via any networking/social media site
3. You don't need to be a follower, but that brings the warms and fuzzies if you do.

Contest is open IMMEDIATELY and ends on June 30, 2011 at 12:01am EST
As always, contest is international
Winner is picked by randomorg.com
*Not responsible for loss material mailed!

Sometimes It Happens

Title: Sometimes It Happens
Author: Lauren Barnhodlt
Rating: 3.5/5
Summary:On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Sebastian dumped her. Facing a summer of loneliness, Hannah turns to her best friend Ava for comfort. Ava does what BFFs do: she stays by Hannah's side...until it's time for Ava to head up to Maine for the summer. Also left behind is Ava's boyfriend, Noah, who's such a great guy he gets Hannah a job at the diner he waits tables at. Slowly, Hannah comes out of her funk thanks to Noah's good conversation and their fun times at the diner. But things get complicated when their friendship turns into attraction--and one night, into a passionate kiss. 

The novel opens on the first day of senior year; the day Hannah is going to see Ava, Sebastian, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, everyone is paired up once again, but not the way you might think...



My Thoughts:Sometimes it happens that you steal your best friends boyfriend, but it's okay because your best friend is the snob everyone hates? Really? I had a tough time sympathizing with the main character, Hannah. Although her best friends was a snob, it did not excuse Hannah's actions in my eyes. From the start of the book, it was obvious that Ava and Noah would break up, so why didn't Hannah wait? The entire novel takes place in one day, with alternating flashbacks of the summer leading up to senior year. The romance in this book was different from many because it is one that eases into itself because of the situation Noah and Hannah are in. As events and feelings are unraveled, you're not sure how it's going to all end up, which keeps you reading until the end.I actually was really liking this book until we learn what happened that night. I could have a forgiven a kiss. It wouldn't be the first time a girl likes her best friends boyfriend. But, I never pegged Hannah as the type to sleep with him. I don't buy the whole excuse "sometimes it happens." Because, that's one of those lines that shouldn't be crossed (even if your BFF is the type of person that Ava is). Plus, it felt so rushed and lacked the romance, even if they really do really care about each other. Overall, it was an okay read.

Love Story

Title: Love Story
Author: Jennifer Echols
Rating: 3.5/5
Summary: SHE'S WRITING ABOUT HIM. HE'S WRITING ABOUT HER. AND EVERYBODY IS READING BETWEEN THE LINES. 

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment? 

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

My Thoughts: I absolutely love Jennifer Echol's books. I've read all of them, and none have disappointed. Love Story is an exception.  Jennifer usually takes the non-conventional route, making books a bit more heartfelt. However, what has worked in all of her other books, failed in this one. The plot was original, which is what caught my eye. Erin Blackwell lives with her grandmother, a horse race farm owner. After she decides to major in English at NYU, her grandmother disowns her, leaving Erin homeless. She decides to continue her major, while working in several stores to earn money for her tuition, dorm, and food. She’s doing the best she can to get an internship in a publishing company. Everything is going well, or as good as they can get, until Hunter Harris walks into her creative writing class and makes a chaos of her life. Hunter is Erin's past, he was employed by his father to work in the stables on Erin's grandmother's farm However, Hunter is not the poor boy Erin knew, after being disowned by her grandmother,  Erin finds out that the tuition money that was supposed to be for her to major in Business, is now her grandma’s gift to Hunter.  Now that he’s at the same college and even in the same class, everything it’s just going to be worse. The whole idea and the plot was unique. It had a great subtle “gasping in surprise” ending, but I just couldn’t connect to the characters. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I did enjoy the book. If you’re looking for something light and fast and cute and you love horses, you may like this. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

He's So Not Worth It (He's So/She's So #2)

Title: He's So Not Worth It (He's So/She's So #2)
Author: Kieran Scott
Rating: 4/5
Summary: Ally Ryan, come on down to the Jersey Shore and forget your troubles!
Have you recently been humiliated in front of your friends and family at your former best friend's birthday party? Was your almost boyfriend partly responsible for that humiliation by withholding some vital information about where your estranged father is? Did you come home to find said estranged father sitting on your stoop?
If so, then it sounds like you could use a vacation! The Jersey Shore is the place to be. Your mother may be living with her boyfriend of only a few months, but at least the stunt Shannen pulled has put some of your friends back in your court. Even so, you're still angry and what better way to get over Jake than to blow off some steam with local guy, Cooper? People will hardly recognize your new attitude, but the old one wasn't getting you anywhere, so who cares!
Jake Graydon, an exciting opportunity is waiting for you in the service industry!
Are your grades so low your parents have grounded you for the summer? Did you the girl you really like unceremoniously leave you behind? Would you rather eat dirt than see your friends again? Then a job at the local coffee shop is just the ticket! Surprisingly, Ally's father is the new manager so you get to be reminded of her nearly every day. Maybe it's time to start flirting with your best friend's ex or even taking school a bit more seriously. Especially when you finally see Ally and she's hanging around with some loser and it's couldn't be more clear that she is over you.
Have a great summer!
My Thoughts:  I got this book on Galley Grab (Shout out to Simon and Schuster for hooking me up!) and this book did not disappoint. He's So Not Worth It takes up right at the end  of She's So Dead To Us, when Ally meets her dad for the first time in years. Throughout the book, Ally tries to develop a relationship between her mother and father, while her relationship with Jake is questionable. The book goes back and forth Jake and Ally's point of view, with snippets of Annie's HILARIOUS Crestie sightings.  Ally's character deteriorates, and we see her struggling to juggle her soon-to-be step-family, the return of her father, a public humiliation by her so-called "friends", and her ex-boyfriend.  I don't like who Ally is for most of this book. She absolutely has a reason to complain, but Ally whines a lot here, and what I liked about her in book 1 was how she never let the worst of troubles get her down. Hopefully, it will change in the third book! Jake improves throughout the book, picking up his grades and getting a job.  He makes an effort to reconnect with Ally, only to be rejected several times. I enjoyed this book, but it ended the same way the first book had, in a cliffhanger! 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Abandon (Abandon Trilogy #1)

Title: Abandon (Abandon Trilogy #1)
Author: Meg Cabot
Rating: 3.5/5
Summary: Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.
My Thoughts: I  enjoyed this book. It was a fresh take on Hades/Persephone story. It was well-written, but not as lovely as her other books. The plot, from Pierce's voice, tends to jump from present to past and sometimes confused me a bit, like when she is in high school thinking about an event that happened at another high school she attended. As the first of a series, it does a good job of introducing all the elements and the mythology. I have hopes that it will get better with future books. It does have a very unfinished feel to it, though. The book just seems to stop when it's finally starting to make sense and leaves nothing but questions. I will definitely be reading the next 2 books! 

What Happened To Goodbye?

Title: What Happened To Goodbye?
Author: Sarah Dessen
Rating: 3/5
Summary: In the past two years, Mclean Sweet has moved four times. At each stop, she assumes a new persona, but it never quite works. Whether she's an effervescent cheerleader or an intense drama queen, nothing can permanently dispel the turmoil and rage at her mother since her parents' divorce. Sarah Dessen's novel about a teenager and her restaurant manager father captures the vulnerability that young people often experience after the dissolution of their family. A compelling story; strong characterization; and with a touch of romance.
My Thoughts: This book was a big letdown for me. When I first read the summary, I thought it was original and I wanted to read the book ASAP. But after finishing this book, I felt like I just wasted my time!What Happened to Goodbye has no huge inciting incident or great source of tension. Instead the book quietly unfolds in layers: each time Dessen revisits a scene/sub-plot, she goes just a little bit further than the previous time ~ giving more depth and insight into her characters lives, relationships and what makes them the way they are. Overall, this was one of my least favorite Sarah Dessen books.

Where She Went (If I Stay # 2)

Title: Where She Went (If I Stay # 2) 
Author: Gayle Foreman
Rating: 5/5
Summary: It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future–and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I StayWhere She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance. 
My Thoughts: The sequel to the cry-fest was equally as amazing, maybe even  a little bit better :) Hands down one of the best book that I've ever read. I adored this book. I loved this book. And I will always treasure these characters. I'm not going to spoil anything by telling you if they get there happily ever after, but I will say that this was worth the agonizing wait and I am beyond thrilled that I finally got the closure I desperate needed. Fans of If I Stay will not be disappointed, this is one journey your not going to want to miss out on. 

Simply put. It's utterly Brilliant!!! 

If I Stay

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Foreman
Rating: 5/5
Summary: In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...
A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
My Thoughts: If I Stay, quite honestly, was mesmerizing. I loved the writing. I loved the characters. I loved it. It was such a fascinating journey. I actually liked that the author didn't try to ascribe to one value system or ideology. She just told the story of a girl who decides if she wants to live or die. This story really tugged at my heart, and I was on the verge of tears the entire time. It will have you turning the pages till you realize you’ve stumbled across Mia’s decision of whether she stays or goes.

We'll Always Have Summer (Summer #3)

Title:We'll Always Have Summer (Summer #3) 
Author: Jenny Han
Rating: 5/5
Summary: It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.
My Thoughts: This series is one of the few in which the books get better and better and the series moves along! I loved this (the final installment) book the most. All I can think to say is that I loved it. I cried more times than I'd like to admit while reading this book. Susannah always knew who Belly would marry. If only Susannah had known how she would get there! This book started out STRONG. And I mean chest clenching, life altering strong. I've never smiled and cried so much in my life.

It's Not Summer Without You (Summer # 2)

Title: It's Not Summer Without You (Summer # 2)
Author: Jenny Han
Rating: 5/5
Summary: Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?
It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.
But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach.
My Thoughts: I thought that It's Not Summer Without You reflected life even better than The Summer I Turned Pretty, something I didn't think was even possible. Han deals with issues that teens have to face in a thoughtful, understanding way, and I really loved her portrayal of the situation because where many would think that Belly has the perfect life (there's two gorgeous boys after her, she's gorgeous, and she spends her summer on a beach that sounds like PARADISE..need I say more?), we see that it's not all rainbows and cupcakes. She manages to capture all these raw, touching emotions in such a magical way and I can't help but admire her for that.  It was an AMAZING book, and GO TEAM CONRAD! :)

The Summer I Turned Pretty

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1)
Author: Jenny Han
Rating: 5/5
Summary:Belly measures her life in summers.  Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.  Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad.  They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between.  But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.


My Thoughts: The Summer I Turned Pretty is a gorgeous novel about first love that occurs over the course of a summer. Every year, 15-year-old Isabel (known as Belly to almost everyone) goes to the beach house her mother's best friend, Susannah, owns. Susannah's eldest son, 18-year-old Conrad, is aloof and moody, and Belly's been in love with him since she was ten. Jeremiah, the youngest son at sixteen, is friendly and like a brother to Belly. Then there's Cam - a boy she meets at a party. After spending every summer her entire life left out of things - Conrad and Jeremiah always going places with her older brother Steven and leaving her out - Belly is finally a part of things, and the boys aren't looking at her like a little sister anymore. I felt the novel was wonderfully written, I would def. recommend it!