Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Best of the Bunch Award: August


Best of the Bunch is a monthly award ceremony started at Lyrical Reviews that spotlights the absolute best book read each month. There are no rules about what kind of book is has to be, except that it had to knock your socks off so hard that you just want to tell the whole world about it. If you’d like to participate, you can read all about it here. This seems like such a fun idea and a great way to discover amazing new books each month. Thanks to Lyrical for inviting me to participate in such an awesome meme!

I’m actually semi-cheating (I know I probably shouldn’t be doing that my first time participating, oops), but I can’t pick just one book for August. And I’m justifying picking two because one of them doesn’t come out in the US until February. So it wouldn’t really be fair for me to only gush about a book that isn’t out for six more months, right? Plus, both of my picks are so amazing that even if they WERE both out, I wouldn’t be able to choose between them.

My first Best of the Bunch pick…

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

For those who don’t know, this is the sequel/companion to If I Stay, which is also absolutely fantastic. And for that reason, I’m not going to post the summary. It gives away too much from the first book, and I really just want you to go and read both of them. Right now.

I’m picking Where She Went because I can’t remember the last time that a book tugged so hard on my heartstrings and left me feeling SO MUCH. I literally couldn’t start another book for several days after finishing it, which is highly unusual for me. I just wasn’t ready to leave the world; I wanted to soak in it for as long as I possibly could. I’m also really in love with the cover; I think it’s just gorgeous.





My second pick (out  in February 2012 )…

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she’s going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He’s out there somewhere – spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night – and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy’s stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she’s managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they’re suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.

This book is just perfection. Everything comes together so seamlessly: the characters, the plot, the execution, the writing… Oh my, the writing. It is gorgeous. So so gorgeous. Cath Crowley has such a gift for words, and her descriptions and characterizations are flawless. I want to crawl inside this novel and live there, or failing that, I want to tattoo these words all over my body so they’ll always be with me. I can’t praise this woman enough. I’m currently on a mission to get my hands on everything she’s ever written.


Well, there you have it. My two Best of the Bunch picks for August, both of which are amazing and highly highly recommended reads. And now that I’ve distributed my bananas, what were your favorite reads from August?

"Waiting On" Wednesday #16


“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release (or releases) that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My picks for this week:

Article 5 (Article 5 Trilogy 1)
By: Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 14, 2012

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police – instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior – instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested don’t usually come back.

17-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong book or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what’s worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings… the only boy Ember has ever loved.

So many apocalyptic/dystopian novels take place so far in the future that the characters don’t know any other kind of life, so I’m really excited that this one is about a very recent event and that our MC remembers life before. I also love that her mom is arrested by the guy she loves. Talk about conflicting interests! And aren’t you dying to know what Article 5 is?? And the Moral Statutes… this whole book just sounds so good.


Unraveling Isobel
By: Eileen Cook
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 3, 2012

Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friends. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.

But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling – her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

Gothic mansion, ghosts, hot off-limits stepbrother? Yes, yes, and yes please. I’m so in.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum


By: Amy Plum
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Genre/Age: YA Paranormal
Pages: 341
Source: Library

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life – and memories – behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant – and undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

Guess what everyone, it’s a paranormal romance about something other than vampires, werewolves, fairies, or fallen angels! Finally! That is probably my favorite thing about this book. The idea of revenants is such a refreshing change and it was really fun to read about. I like that we have no idea what is going on with Vincent  until Kate finds out – we can tell something is up, obviously, but it’s fun to uncover the details with her. There were a few confusing things in the revenant mythology, but not enough to detract from my overall enjoyment of the story.

I also love the setting – Paris is such a cool city and I’ve loved getting to read about it through various recent YA novels (Anna and the French Kiss being the obvious one, of course :P). It also really fits with the slightly creepy, gothic feel of the story. The characters are all well-developed and likeable for the most part, although sometimes Ambrose felt a bit like a caricature – just a little too dramatic and over-the-top. Kate also has waaaaayyy too many nicknames for one character.

I did have a couple of issues with Die For Me, one of which was the romance. It starts off great, and compared to many YA paranormals out there it’s done well, but it does tend to lean a little too much toward the dramatic star-crossed lovers-who-can’t-stay-away-from-each-other for my taste. Kate can be incredibly indecisive and angsty at times and I didn’t fully understand the motivation for all of her actions and decisions. The plot itself is also quite predictable. The idea and mythology of revenants is fantastic, but the execution of the storyline was fairly standard.

That said, Die For Me does have a great cast of characters, a wonderful setting, and a fresh take on the paranormal, all of which make it an enjoyable and entertaining debut novel. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox #14


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren that gives book bloggers the opportunity to showcase the books they’ve received that week. You can learn more about it here.

Bought:

So I finally managed to get to a Borders and take advantage of their closing sales, although everything was so picked over that I didn’t actually find as much as I would have expected. And I was keeping an eye out for Divergent because I would have been on that in a flash, but unfortunately I didn’t see it. I did, however, find a few other awesome books:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Because seriously, everyone should own this book.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
I’ve heard so many good things about this one and the premise looks so cool, so I figured why not buy the gorgeous hardcover? I can’t wait to read it.

Fishbowl by Sarah Mlynowski
I adored her recent release, Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn’t have), and this one looks kind of similar and also potentially very awesome.


From NetGalley:





The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison










Prized (Birthmarked #2) by Caragh M O’Brien










Crave (The Clann #1) by Melissa Darnell










Next to Love by Ellen Feldman










Lord of the Vampires (Royal House of Vampires #1) by Gena Showalter










Real Men Will (Donovan Brothers Brewery #3) by Victoria Dahl







That's it for this week! What's in your mailbox?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #15


“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release (or releases) that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Since last week I chose all spring 2012 releases, I thought that this week I’d feature some titles that are coming out sooner. Reduce the waiting just a bit, you know? :)

Shifting
By: Bethany Wiggins
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 27, 2011

From Goodreads:

After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she’s eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she’s determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O’Connell is a good first step.

Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it’s not for the reasons most people would expect – it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear – and Maggie is their next target.

The cover is gorgeous, the setting is New Mexico, the plot deals with Navajo legend, and a guy named Bridger sounds hot. I really don’t know what more you could want.


Destined
By: Jessie Harrell
Publisher:  Mae Day Publishing
Release Date: November 17, 2011

From Goodreads:

When Pysche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she’s come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

I love mythology retellings in general, and the Cupid and Pysche myth is one of my favorites, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what Jessie Harrell does with it. Plus, Destined has been called “heartachingly romantic,” which could be a very excellent thing. :D


What is everyone else waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: Before That Night by Lauren Barnholdt

Before That Night (prequel to One Night That Changes Everything)
By: Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: NA
Release Date: December 19, 2010
Genre/Age: YA Contemporary
Pages: 42 (Novella)
Source: Lauren’s website

Prequel novella to ‘One Night That Changes Everything.’ Find out what happened “before that night”.

I know, it's a lame description, right? But that’s really exactly what this story is. We get to read about what happened from the moment Eliza and Cooper started talking at the paintball arcade where Eliza works, right up until she goes through his stuff and finds the incriminating list from the 318’s, thus ending their relationship and kicking off the events of One Night That Changes Everything.

Before That Night is a wonderful, fun revisit to the characters and story from One Night. It’s super-short (it feels super-short, at least), clocking in at only 42 pages, and I actually would have liked to see a little more of the evolution of Eliza and Cooper’s relationship. We get to see some of it, sure, but it would have been nice to have more moments of just the two of them getting to know each other and building the romance (and some more steamy scenes would have been okay too :D).

Clarice and Marissa make appearances as their usual hilarious selves, and Cooper gets to be sweet and lovely, as opposed to the slightly more villainous role he’s given in One Night. Eliza continues to be a fantastic narrator and I was glad for this prequel even just to get to hear her thoughts some more.

I would highly recommend reading Before That Night after One Night That Changes Everything, because it will take away some of the intrigue if you read them the other way around. But if you enjoyed One Night, I would definitely recommend reading this prequel.

The lovely Lauren is making this novella available for free on her website (although you can also buy it from Amazon if you so desire), and it can be found here.

You can also read my review of One Night That Changes Everything.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

By: Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Genre/Age: YA Contemporary
Pages: 242
Source: Library

Two years ago, when Eliza Sellman was in ninth grade, her dad found out he was being transferred and the family was going to move. Having always been shy and not so confident about her body, Eliza took that opportunity to start a list in her private notebook of all the things she planned on doing when she moved but had always been afraid to – like wearing a miniskirt and asking guys to dance; singing karaoke in front of strangers; posting a photo of herself on her Facebook wall in a bikini… you get the idea. New town, new Eliza, right?

Well, she’ll never know because the transfer fell through and they didn’t move. But Eliza kept adding her goals and secret fears to the list in the notebook. Now it’s two years later, and in that time Eliza has had and lost her first boyfriend. But this was more than your average breakup… turns out the sweet and cute Cooper was only dating her as a hazing stunt by a secret society. Eliza got her revenge by posting some pretty nasty (and only sort-of true) stuff about Cooper online. That posting has had major consequences and now Cooper and his buddies have stolen her private notebook and won’t give it back until she performs all the things on her list in one night. It’s torture… until Eliza steals something from the boys she knows they’ll want to trade her notebook for.

What starts out as a night of humiliation turns into a night of revelations as Eliza learns what Cooper was really thinking when they dated, the real reason he’s stolen her notebook, and how freeing – and life-changing – it can be to do the things you fear the most.

I was so wonderfully surprised by One Night That Changes Everything, having gone into it with the expectation that it would just be another average contemporary young adult novel. I should have known better, because for one thing, it’s Lauren Barnholdt (I’m totally trusting her from now on), and for another, this is one of those awesome books that takes place all in one night (think Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), so how can you go wrong, really?

The writing is so breezy and easy to get into, and it’s often unexpectedly clever and funny. I read the majority of One Night late at night while the rest of my household was asleep (I’m resisting the urge to make a bad “one night” joke), and I was constantly having to stifle my giggles, because this novel just makes you feel good. You can’t help but chuckle sometimes.

Eliza’s voice is so realistic and so fun to read, and she does this thing where she’ll think something during her inner monologue and then immediately say the exact same thing to the people she’s with, which had me laughing out loud several times. At certain points I was frustrated that she wasn’t trying to stand up the 318’s and was just doing whatever they told her to, but I could mostly understand her thought processes and it ended up working with the flow of the plot and her own personal growth. Her friends Marissa and Clarice are also hilarious, and they added so much to the night’s adventures.

And of course I have to mention the boy. Duh. :P Cooper manages to be the perfect combination of jerk and awkwardly adorable dork, and I thoroughly enjoyed his interactions with Eliza. He’s the bad boy we love to hate but secretly really love, and right from the beginning somehow you’re rooting for him and hoping that he’s not actually as awful as he seems.

With genuine, quirky characters and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, One Night That Changes Everything is a fun, heartwarming read that I can’t recommend enough. Lauren Barnholdt has definitely secured her place on my list of authors to keep an eye on.

Read my review of the prequel novella, Before That Night.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox #13

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren that gives book bloggers the opportunity to showcase the books they’ve received that week. You can learn more about it here.

Since I was out of town the past few Sundays, this IMM is for all the books I’ve gotten since the beginning of August, so it’s pretty long. Tons of books can only be a good thing though, right? :P

Bought:




The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales
From City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco!






From the Library:



A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
I have fallen in love with Graffiti Moon, so I am now devouring everything by Cath Crowley that I can get my hands on.




For review:



Elemental Reality by Cesya MaRae Cuono
Check out my review here, and read Cesya’s guest post here!







From GalleyGrab:




The Pledge by Kimberly Derting












Fake Me a Match by Lauren Barnholdt
This is a middle-grade novel, I believe, which I don't normally read, but I've really been loving Lauren Barnholdt's stuff lately, so I thought I'd give it a try.









Triangles by Ellen Hopkins








From NetGalley:

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
As I mentioned earlier, I am in love with this novel. It is soooooo good. I don’t even have words to do it justice. I’m still debating whether to wait until closer to the release date to post my review or to just go ahead and do it. Keep an eye out, I have a feeling it will be up before too long, because I just can’t stop gushing about this book.








Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard










The Juliet Spell by Douglas Ress










Tankborn by Karen Sandler










There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones










Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes










You Are My Only by Beth Kephart










Shattered Dreams by Ellie James








The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman (no cover art yet)





Bad Boys Do by Victoria Dahl










The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark








Whew, I have a lot of reading ahead of me! What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blog Tour: Guest Post from Cesya MaRae Cuono


I’m thrilled to be a stop on the blog tour for Cesya MaRae Cuono’s debut novel, Elemental Reality. The book comes out tomorrow (!!) and is a wonderfully fun story about a girl who learns she’s not who she thinks she is when she discovers that she can control the elements. Check out my review here, and then go buy a copy tomorrow (it’s totally worth owning, plus it will look gorgeous on your shelf). Cesya has also written a great guest post for From A to Z about the trend of YA novels being turned into movies and whether or not she’d like to see Elemental Reality on the big screen, so be sure to check that out below.

~~~~~~~~~~
I love when books are made into movies. If I read the book, I like seeing if the director saw the same thing I did while reading. I’ve been disappointed a few time when the director’s vision didn’t meet the vision of the author but there were some movies that blew me away. Yes, some veer off the path the author wrote but some help the author’s vision literally come to life. I hope it would inspire kids to read but that can go both ways. Some people don’t like reading and would rather see the story on the big screen instead of imagining it for themselves. I’m one of those people that have to read the book before the movie comes out because I won’t read it after. Reading a book after seeing a movie ruins the aspect of the author’s imagination. Seeing a movie after reading the book enhances (sometimes) that vision. There are some great directors out there who can bring forth the image the author imagined and then there are some that take it in their own direction.

I think it would be an amazing accomplishment if my novel became a movie! Never in my wildest dreams did I know I was going to be an author. For something that came from my imagination and was turned into a novel was an indescribably feeling. For my novel to be turned into a movie I would be so… (long pause) Speechless. Unless you count the non-stop screaming coming from my mouth. As for the living up to it part, I think there are some aspects of the story that won’t be able to be reproduced on the big screen. There’s a few particular scenes I wrote that I know a movie wouldn’t do justice. Then there are other scenes that would be amazing on the big screen. Either way, I’m all for Elemental Reality becoming a movie.
~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you so much for stopping by the blog, Cesya! I can’t wait until the next installment in the Elemental series.


Cesya MaRae Cuono hails from a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Alvernia University where she majored in Business Administration and also received her certificate of Multi-Media & Production makeup from Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry. You can find any updates from Cesya on her website at www.cesyacuonobooks.blogspot.com.



Review: Elemental Reality by Cesya MaRae Cuono

By: Cesya MaRae Cuono
Publisher: Revolution Publishing
Release Date: August 21, 2011
Genre/Age: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Pages: 260
Source: ARC from Revolution Publishing*

When Callie Pierce was ten, her mother disappeared without a trace. On the eve of her disappearance twelve years later, the Earth seemingly comes alive. The elements speak to Callie, and that’s only the beginning. Everything she has ever known was a twisted fabrication to protect her. Now the truth is set free. Callie and her sister are more powerful than any Faerie ever born. Now they have to use their powers to save their mother and family from the evil hands of fate that threaten to tear them apart. Welcome to her elemental reality.

I’ve been looking forward to reading Elemental Reality ever since I first saw the gorgeous cover (isn’t it absolutely stunning??), and I’m happy to say that the story doesn’t disappoint. Faeries may be a very popular subject for YA novels these days, but Cesya puts a fresh spin on it and manages to create an entirely new world.

One of my favorite things about the novel is that unlike many other faerie books, there’s no pervasive feeling of darkness and gloom. Okay sure, there are definitely bad guys and a fast-approaching possible war with Demons, but the novel is just so fun that the overall tone is much lighter and entertaining. Faerie powers! Hot Aussie boy! Wings that actually fly! Elemental Reality shows that it can actually be exciting to be a supernatural being, even when there is also serious stuff going on. I will say that I had some trouble getting into the writing style at first; I was enjoying the novel but it felt a bit unpolished (to be fair I read an ARC, so it is possible that it was not the absolute final version). But after a while I found myself enjoying the breezy tone and just completely devouring it.

The characters in Elemental Reality are all well-developed and extremely likeable, and it was such fun to watch Callie interacting with her sister and friends. Lola cracks me up, she’s so hilarious. And Callie’s interactions with Oli… I don’t really think “fun” is the right word. Probably steamy would be more appropriate. Or hot. Either one works, really. :P The tension between these two was fantastic and I am most definitely looking forward to more from them in the sequel. *waggles eyebrows suggestively*

Elemental Reality is an impressive debut novel, and I’d definitely recommend it. It’s a fun, fast-paced read with awesome characters, sizzling romance, danger, intrigue, and a gripping cliffhanger that will no doubt leave you wanting more.

*Thanks so much to Jennifer Baker at Revolution Publishing for letting me participate in the Elemental Reality blog tour and providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

**Cesya is visiting my blog today with an awesome guest post, check it out here!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ARC Giveaway from Tahereh Mafi


Tahereh Mafi, the author of the upcoming Shatter Me (which looks amaaaaaaazing) is hosting an awesome giveaway on her blog and giving three readers the opportunities to win ARCs of Shatter Me, Crossed, and Lola and the Boy Next Door!! I dare you to tell me you aren't dying for these books.

Entering is super easy, all you have to do is leave a comment on her blog post about the contest. Extra entries are also available, and all the information is in her post.

Today is the last day to enter the contest, so head on over! Good luck to everyone!

"Waiting On" Wednesday #14


“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release (or releases) that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My picks this week are all spring 2012 contemporary releases, which I know is mean because that’s sooooo far away, but I just can’t help it, they look too awesome. The anticipation makes it sweeter, right? ;)

In Honor
By: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Release Date: May 8, 2012

From Goodreads:

Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn… and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn – but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

Roadtriiiiip!! Arrogant stubborn gorgeous boy who you just know is going to be sweet on the inside! Two people who haven’t seen each other for ages forced to be in a car together! Also, I am a glutton for punishment, I know, but I just love the emotional heartbreak aspect of her brother’s death and his last wish. This one is going to be SO GOOD. I can’t wait.


Second Chance Summer
By: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Release Date: May 8, 2012

From Goodreads:

Taylor’s family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it’s stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is suddenly around, as is her first boyfriend… and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them are very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

So speaking of roadtrips, this one is written by the fantastic Morgan Matson, who also wrote Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, which is an AWESOME roadtrip novel. And she loves writing about heartbreak, doesn’t she? Again, so many things I love in this novel: a mountain summer home, a family reconnecting, seeing old friends (and boyfriends!!) again… Hurry up, May!


The Story of Us
By: Deb Caletti
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 24, 2012

From Goodreads:

Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend, trying to figure out whether she’s in it for the right reasons. But this is a bad week to try to figure it all out. After ditching two previous husbands-to-be at the airport, Cricket’s mother Daisy is finally getting married, to Dan Jax. Cricket loves Dan, but as the families and friends start to arrive for Wedding Week at the beautiful guest house on Bishop Rock, run by old hippies Ted and Rebecca Rose and their sweet, sexy son Ash, things start getting complicated.

There’s no airport on Bishop Rock, as far as anyone knows, but Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, and Cricket’s own desires have chosen now to have a mind of their own. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her…

Am I the only one who now has Taylor Swift stuck in my head? The story of us looks a lot like a tragedy now… anyone? Ahem. ANYWAY, I am SO excited for this one, it looks awesome. It kind of reminds me of Mamma Mia, because I’m picturing a huge wedding and Bishop Rock looks just like the Greek island in the movie (which probably is totally wrong, but whatever). Also, how much do you love the names Cricket and Ash? SO CUTE. I love it.


What is everyone else waiting on this Wednesday? This meme is so excellent for adding to my already huge wishlist. :D

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver Book Review


By: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Genre/Age: Dystopian YA
Pages: 441
Source: Library

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love – the deliria – blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: she falls in love.

I really really wanted to fall in love with this book. I’d read so many glowing reviews and the premise looked so promising (a girl who falls in love just weeks before she’s supposed to be cured of this deadly disease? Heck yes, sign me up!), but overall I was left feeling disappointed and wondering what all the hype was about.

The premise itself is fascinating. A futuristic dystopian society where love is viewed as a disease is such an interesting idea to explore, especially since our society today places so much value on love. But that was where one of the main issues I had with it comes in. Delirium is supposed to take place only 60 or so years in our future, and there’s really no explanation as to how society evolved to create the civilization we see in the novel. What happened to make them start seeing love as a disease? There must have been some huge thing to cause such a drastic change in such a short amount of time, and I just would have liked more background on the events leading up to the formation of their society. I could have connected with the world a lot more if I knew where they were coming from.

I also had trouble believing Lena’s transformation from obedient citizen to rebel girl in love. The change happens so quickly, like the flick of switch, and it didn’t feel at all realistic to me. Her relationship with Alex is similarly fast-paced. Although I enjoyed their very first interactions, it was like all of a sudden Lena decided she was in love with him and after that everything just felt too quick. I feel like we hardly got any scenes with just the two of them interacting and getting to know each other. If you’ve read my blog before you might know that I like my romances to simmer and burn slowly before gradually building up to an explosive climax (although quiet explosions are quite okay :D), and I didn’t get that at all in Delirium.

Now, these things are not say that I didn’t enjoy Delirium at all. Lauren Oliver is stunning with words and the novel was written absolutely beautifully. It was an enjoyable read for me, it just wasn’t amazing. I went in expecting to be completely blown away, and I think it’s because my expectations were so high that I was let down harder than I would have been otherwise. I just wanted so much more. I’m hoping that the next book in the series, Pandemonium, will address some of the issues I had with Delirium and end up capturing my heart after all.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Elemental Reality Blog Tour


Happy book birthday to Cesya MaRae Cuono, whose debut novel, Elemental Reality, hits stores today! If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, head on over to Goodreads and add it to your wishlist, or go ahead and buy it from BN.com.

I’m really excited to be participating in my first ever blog tour for Elemental Reality, and Cesya Marie Cuono will be visiting From A to Z on August 20th with an awesome guest post, so don’t miss it! Look out for my review as well, which should be posted around the same time.

Check out the complete Elemental Reality Blog Tour schedule here.

Happy reading, everyone! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cassandra Clare releases Manor House Scene from Jace's POV


This is probably old news for all you hardcore Mortal Instrument fans that follow Cassie Clare on Twitter, but just in case any of you missed it, we have a new scene from the MI universe! Cassie recently (and by recently, I mean roughly 12 hours ago, haha) posted a scene from Jace’s POV for her fans, and we know those are always fun to read!

This particular scene is the part in City of Glass when Jace and Clary are visiting Jace’s old home and it pretty much explodes in a shower of rock and glass. If you remember, Jace and Clary get a little, erm… lusty while recovering in the grass after the explosion. And if you think that scene was good from Clary’s POV, just wait till you read it from Jace’s. Cassie took the scene a little further than it goes in the book (which is how the original draft was written), and hoo baby is it hot. That woman sure knows how to write a love scene. Her characters have chemistry like nobody's business.

Even if you’re not a huge fan of the Mortal Instruments series, if you like your romance on the spicy side, this scene is definitely worth checking out (although it does include spoilers for the first three books). It’s been dubbed the “Spicy Manor House Scene” by the fandom, if that gives you an idea of what you’re in for.

I’m still fanning myself, guys. Seriously.

Read it here.

"Waiting On" Wednesday #13


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release (or releases) that we're eagerly anticipating.

My picks for this week:

All These Things I’ve Done
By: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: September 6, 2011

From Goodreads:

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sisteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.’s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is, until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she’s to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight – at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

I know, I know, yet another dystopian novel, but this one has so many awesome things in it that I’m just dying for it. Chocolate and coffee being illegal, for one thing, how cool will THAT be to read about? I can’t imagine life without either of those things. Also, daughter of a crime boss? Mafia family? Falling for the D.A.’s son while she’s suspected of poisoning her ex-boyfriend? How can you go wrong? September is seriously going to be the BEST book month ever.


Cursed
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: September 2012

From Goodreads:

Dying sucks – and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things – including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden’s adopted father, a man she’s sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister’s hand again. And hell, she’d also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn’t?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not’ve been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.

This sounds SO GOOD. I love the idea of not being able to touch anything (although how much would that suck in real life?) and I’m imagining lots of sizzling sexual tension between Ember and Hayden. Whoooo. And although having a fatal touch is a similar premise as Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, otherwise the plots look different enough that I think I’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy each one individually.
And this one is a September release too, although if you noticed, it’s not coming out until September 2012. :( Why do I torture myself like this?

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?
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