Tuesday, August 28, 2012

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

If I Lie
Corrine Jackson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Released: August 28, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Source: Cavalier House Books
Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.
I received this ARC months ago and sort of put it on the back burner. Then Memorial Day came around and several other bloggers were talking it up bringing it back to the forefront. I skimmed the back cover, which I almost never do, and had a terrible thought. What if what I think might be "the big secret" is actually "the big secret?" Maybe I watched a few too many episodes of Scandal* recently, but when I thought I already figured out the big reveal I was a bit deflated. Thankfully, the point of this novel wasn't so much about the exposure but of its repercussions.

Quinn is alone. After two years of dating Carey, the object of the entire town's affections, she is repulsive after what she's done. What's worse than pictures of Quinn kissing another boy being leaked on Facebook and sent to the entire school board? Finding out a few weeks later that Carey is missing in action. So while he's off fighting and probably dying for our country, Quinn is found half-naked in the arms of another. Her friends have abandoned her and taken to publicly humiliating her; the first thing her principal does is call her father, a Marine himself; and Carey's parents who were always like a second family make it clear that her mere existence is an abomination. Sounds pretty terrible, doesn't it? What's worse is that Quinn didn't do anything wrong. But bound by her promise to Carey, she cannot - and will not - tell the truth because it isn't hers to tell.

Two, no three, things made this novel amazing. I loved the way it wasn't about the secret. Like I said, I figured it out, which didn't at all matter because this was about what happened to Quinn. I loved that it wasn't always just about Quinn. We find out about her own family history which plays into how she's treated, and we find out that one of her "punishments" was one of the things that saved her. (I don't want to even name the side character who stole my heart for fear it won't blindside you the way it did me - in a good way, of course.) And I loved the way Cory wasn't afraid to use the F-word. Words like "heck" and "dern" can make a novel too sugary while flinging screams of curses across every page feels like watching Phone Booth. Cory placed every word with extreme thought - expletive and not - making her an author I definitely want to watch out for.

The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it made me ugly cry, and the masochist in me loved it all the more.

*Have you guys watched this show?! Ohmygosh, put the first season on your summer watch list!

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Simon & Schuster via Cavalier House Books in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (2)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, the lovely ladies (and guy) at The B&B pick a topic and participants create their appropriate lists.

This week's theme: Top Ten Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU! I picked five reviews that say a lot about me as a reader and five other posts that feature personal quirks, experiences, and other info you might like to know!

Do Bloggers Sell Books?
- This was my very first discussion and one of my most viewed posts. I am very proud of the experience I've had selling books, and I am especially proud of this post.

How to Fall in Love with YA
- All credit for this post belongs to Jordyn of Ten Cent Notes. I had a lot of fun creating this checklist of sorts, and I would love to see other bloggers post similar guides.

- 'Cause bloggers be crazy. Also, if you're not a John Green fan, you may want to leave now because this will not be the last reference to him.

Reflection and Resolution
- I'm really glad I went through all my posts because I'd already forgotten about my goals for the year. Oops. This post also has a few personal tidbits thrown in.

John Green Recap
- Told ya you'd be seeing more of him. This was easily a highlight of my life. I won't say the highlight, because Josh would be majorly offended, but definitely a highlight.

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
- Book me a ticket to Central America now, please.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
- Even a sap like me has to address insta-love sometimes.

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
- The review in which I cuss and give Kody major props.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
- This addresses my inner crazy that for a minute believed this book would be bad.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
- See! I don't just love contemporary! I am a Myra cheerleader for life.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Waiting Sky by Lara Zeilin

The Waiting Sky
Lara Zeilin
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Released: August 7, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 224
Source: Cavalier House Books
One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better.

Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture.
I needed this book to be good. I picked up three others in as many days and nearly threw them in frustration. I needed this book to be good. But I was skeptical. Tornado chasers? Right. So I picked up this book and didn't put it down until I was finished. I did get a little excited when I first opened this and realized it was written by the same author as The Implosion of Aggie Winchester*, but I really was not prepared for what I was about to read.

Jane is a girl living in denial. As addicted to keeping things together as her mom is to booze, she doesn't realize just how deep she's in until her best friend steps in with an ultimatum. Jane decides, against her better judgement, to spend the summer with her older brother chasing tornadoes across the open plains. Jane feels equally guilty for leaving her mother to fend for herself and angry with Ethan for walking out on their family. As Jane spends time away from home and getting to know her brother better, she wonders if her judgement may have been clouded by her mother's false assurances.

I love contemporary fiction. It' definitely something to think up different worlds and creatures and societies, but making the every day issue good - that's a talent I've come to know and love. Jane's story isn't new. Her mom's a drunk, her brother left to make something of himself, and she's stuck cleaning up the mess. She spends more time managing her mother's life than living her own. When she finally gets out of town with a shove from her always-looking-out-for-her friend, she almost doesn't know what to do with herself besides contemplate her existence. It's a life-changing trip for Jane, and getting to watch her make the trek was fantastic.

I thought Jane was a sympathetic character from the start. Although it was easy to see the mistakes she was making, making them to protect her mom was more than conceivable. I loved that Cat, Jane's friend, was strong enough to tell Jane what she didn't want to hear. I liked hearing Ethan's story and knowing his actions weren't as selfish as they seemed. I liked that Ethan made Jane really think about what was really best for their mom. I also really enjoyed the weather factor. It was extremely interesting to learn a bit of the science of it all and to get a glimpse of the dangers people actually face for research.

I think this novel will appeal to any contemporary fan with its relatable main character, everyday premise with an exciting twist (literally), and the stunning writing. It certainly puts Zeilin's backlist titles, along with any future works, on my radar.

*I still have not read Aggie, but I really must remedy that soon. I have heard such good things about it.

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Penguin via Cavalier House Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (42)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

This week's pick is...
Coming January 29, 2013 - Preorder it below

It's been seven months, but I still remember the shock of Incarnate's ending. The last several chapters were so good it kept my attention while sitting in traffic headed to a John Green signing. Let me break that down for you: instead of crying and squealing and acting out other forms of hysteria at the reality of meeting one of my idols, I read this book. I can haz Asunder now, please.

Monday, July 23, 2012

When I'm Not Blogging (4)

Last Monday I went across the river and through the sugarcane to the place I call home. I grew up in a small town along the bayou, where I do not visit nearly enough. I made time last week to attend a memorial mass for my aunt who recently passed away. It was definitely a bittersweet day: sadness brought us all together, but visiting with long-lost family is always nice. Josh even got a few stories I'd never heard. I also spent some time wandering the cemetery where I used to ride my bike as a kid, saying hello to loved ones of the past as I made my rounds. Since then, I haven't been much in the mood for blogging. But I am reading. Hopefully I'll have some new posts for you soon.

Friday, July 13, 2012

TGIF - Quotes That Make Me Swoon

TGIF is hosted by the lovely Ginger at GReads! It is not a meme I have ever participated in; however, this week's question caught my eye.

You see, I am a freak for quotes. Be it from a book, a song, or a line in a movie. Nothing gets my heart fluttering more than a good line, so I had to join in on Ginger's fun this week and share a few favorites.

Quotes That Make You Swoon: What are some of the most swoon-worthy quotes you've experienced in a book?

“Kissing him, being with him like that … it was cool lemonade with a long straw, sweet and measured and pleasurable in a way that felt infinite. The thought crossed my mind that I never wanted him to stop kissing me. I could do this forever, I thought.” Jenny Han, It’s Not Summer Without You

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.” John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

“If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that, too. . . maybe coming back to your old life would just be too painful, that maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.” Gayle Forman, If I Stay

“We stood there, looking at each other, saying nothing. But it was the kind of nothing that meant everything.” Jenny Han, It's Not Summer Without You

“A hug should be a full embrace - as I wrap my arms around Tony, I am not just holding him, but also trying to lift off his troubles for a moment so that the only thing he can feel is my presence, my support.” David Levithan, Boy Meets Boy

“I want to believe there is a somebody out there just for me. I want to believe that I exist to be there for that somebody.” David Levithan, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

And another, not so swoonworthy but one I wanted to share:

“Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.” John Green

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (41)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

This week's pick is...
Clockwork Princess
Coming March 19, 2013 - Preorder it below

I literally JUST saw this cover and died a little. It's freaking gorgeous! Nevermind the fact that I've yet to read the second book in this series. I want this one NOW.

*It is not yet available for preorder on Indiebound, so I just linked to Cassie's page.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Never Enough by Denise Jaden

Never Enough
Denise Jaden
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Released: July 10, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 400
Source: Galley Grab
From the author of Losing Faith, a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special… even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship —and her sister—before it’s too late?
In the beginning, Loann is beyond envious of her sister. Her beautiful, perfect sister with the friends and the guy has everything Loann dreams of. So when Claire's ex makes a move for Loann, she doesn't mind seeing Claire retreat into herself. But when Loann sees Claire's life isn't what it appears to be, she struggles to catch Claire before she goes off the deep end.

There were a lot of things that didn't exactly come as a surprise, but that didn't really take away from my enjoyment of this novel. Despite knowing what was going to happen, I still liked seeing how it happened. There were a few cliches which induced a few facepalms, but overall the characters and their actions were pretty believable. I really liked the family dynamic, from the relationship between sisters to the ones with their parents. I wanted to throat punch Loann's mom multiple times, but even she was a character I loved to hate.

The one major problem I had with Never Enough was the same problem I had with Jaden's first novel, Losing Faith. Although I enjoyed both books and appreciated seeing the darker side of things, neither story really resonated with me. I liked both just fine and couldn't pick out many flaws, but unfortunately they weren't the kind of stories that stick in my memory.

FTC: I received an eARC of this novel from Simon & Schuster via Galley Grab in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Guest Post: Denise Jaden of Never Enough

Today I have very special guest Denise Jaden on the blog. Denise is the author of Losing Faith and Never Enough, which releases this Wednesday. Happy Book Birthday, Denise! She's here today to talk about her life when she's not writing.

Besides writing, I have a fairly busy and interesting life. My husband is a personal trainer. He’s always traveling to seminars to learn the latest cutting edge techniques about performance, and we spend lots of time talking about and experimenting with everything from eye drills to herbal supplements.

My son is eight and I homeschool him. He’s just finished up the third grade, and so (hopefully) I’m still a little ahead of him scholastically, but I fear he’s catching me pretty quickly. I usually start each day with a quick half-hour of writing time, then get straight into schoolwork with my son. He loves science experiments and crafts, so we usually end up doing some fairly hands-on schooling. I also switch off schooling with my sister-in-law once a week, so my son gets to hit the school books with his cousins.

I try to get to the gym four or five days per week and head straight for the free weights. I used to compete in fitness competitions, and even competed in a couple of strength competitions in Vancouver, where I completed 31 bodyweight dips in a minute and curled a third of my bodyweight 71 times in a minute. Now I work out in the gym or go running just to stay fit. My son is involved in judo classes, and I spend a couple of hours per week with my netbook open, while watching him get thrown around on the mats.

Probably the most unusual thing in my life is Polynesian dancing. I’ve been involved with it since I was really young, and now perform with a professional Polynesian dance troupe. We meet once a week to work on new choreographies with our extremely skilled teacher/choreographer/costume designer. I used to perform more than I do now, but I’m still really involved in coordinating our group and helping to teach classes.

Aside from that, one of the most enjoyable parts of my life is the small group of friends I meet with on Saturday nights. My husband and I used to watch Friends in the early years of our marriage, and used to wish we had a close-knit group like Monica and Chandler and all the rest. We’re so very blessed, because we finally do have that, and they’re the best group of friends I could imagine.

All of this usually makes for a full week. There are always things like homeschool meetings to attend or reports to complete, and I’m sure plenty of other boring details, but in general, I really love my life and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Thanks, Denise, for sharing with us a pretty big glimpse into your life! You sound like you're incredibly busy, but somehow manage to find time to write some amazing books.

Be sure to check out the other tour stops and Denise's blog for some incredible prizes she's giving away.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

In My Bag (44)

In My Bag is my version of the weekly meme, In My Mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren, and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis.

For review:
Skinny by Donna Cooner (Scholastic)
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Random House)
(Thanks, Netgalley!)

A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young
(Thanks, Harper Collins and Pitch Dark!)
Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
(Thanks, Lee & Low Books and Armchair BEA!)

I totally forgot about the books I won, so those were a really nice surprise. So was Skinny since it had been a while since I requested it. I think I'm most excited for Seraphina because I've been on a fantasy kick since reading the awesome Shadow and Bone. What'd you guys get this week?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Once by Anna Carey

Anna Carey
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: July 3, 2012
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 320
Source: Accepted from publisher
Series: Eve #2
When you're being hunted, who can you trust?

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She's living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America.

But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America.

Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past--and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together--but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves . . . or risk losing Caleb forever.
I really enjoyed Eve when I read it last year, and I eagerly awaited the sequel. I haven't always loved dystopians, but I have been blown away by a few - namely, The Hunger Games and Divergent. The key for me has been great writing and great world-building, which really should be found in every genre, it just might be trickier in the world of dystopia. I thought Eve was a pretty good addition to the genre, and it's been one that I continue to recommend when dystopian fans ask for suggestions.

Once picks up where Eve left off with Eve living a relatively safe life in Califia. She misses Caleb desperately, but she knows what awaits her if she leaves her safehold. The king is still after her with warrants out for her arrest, but Eve must leave when she learns the women of Califia are only keeping her safe for leverage. That along with the fact that Caleb is injured out in the wild pushes Eve to escape. She is soon captured through a trap and brought to the City of Sand.

I am going to try really hard to get through this without any spoilers. The relationship between Eve and the king was extremely well done. It would have been easy to go in another direction, but the direction the author took left much more possibility in my opinion. I really really appreciated that. I loved that Arden found her, I loved the few friends (and enemies) Eve made in the city, and I loved that Eve was able to visit her past through actual encounters and flashbacks. I still didn't feel Caleb. I thought he honestly loved Eve and she him, but I unfortunately didn't feel the chemistry between them. I had a problem with this in book one, and I had hoped it would have improved in this book.*

There is one thing that I am dying to talk about which would be a major spoiler, so I'm going to leave it to you to highlight here: Okay so... I don't think Caleb is really dead. I think Moss told Eve this so that she would be forced to play princess and kill the king. Thoughts?? Answer agree or disagree in the comments, but try not to spoil it for anyone else!

My only complaint was that I didn't reread Eve before diving into Once. My memory was a little hazy, and I forgot a few of the characters (Arden). I would at least skim the last few chapters of Eve if it's been a while because Once takes off right where the first book ended. This is definitely not the fault of the book nor the author, just my crummy memory.

*I truly think it's a personal thing because other readers LOVE Caleb, and this didn't deter me much from the whole of the book.

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Author Interview: Anna Carey of the Eve Trilogy

Today I have Anna Carey, author of the Eve trilogy, here for an interview! The second installment of the series, ONCE, is hitting bookstores today. I love this series and am so glad book two is finally out in the world for everyone to enjoy. In addition to answering a few questions, Anna is also sharing an excerpt and playlist for ONCE. Be sure to check those out as well!

1. Twitter style: describe ONCE in 140 characters or less.

Eve <3’s Caleb, they’re reunited in the City & OMG the evil King is out for blood. NO! NO! WHY?!?! #postapocalpticvegas #kissing #love

2. What are three things you must have for a productive writing day?

Eight hours, earplugs, and a cup of Youthberry tea by Teavana. Though eight hours may seem like a lot, I generally need a full day to get five hours of real writing done. I’ve started using earplugs when I work in public because I’m so often distracted by stranger’s conversations. Writers are thieves—don’t forget that. I’ll notice someone’s speech pattern, what they look like, and then listen for awhile as they talk about their relationship with their sister. Everyone is a character, everyone has a story. Sometimes I use stuff I’ve heard or seen. And sometimes I just need to block everything out and focus on the story I’m creating.

3. I love the EVE covers and the way they complement one another so well. Did you have any input and were you pleased with the final outcome?

All thanks and credit goes to designer Elizabeth Clark. We’d talked briefly about imagery that could be used on the cover, but the bridge was ultimately her idea. I originally thought the image was striking, but when I received the physical book I was thrilled. There’s a metallic sheen to it that you can’t see online. It adds another layer to the packaging.

4. What were some of your writing inspirations?

There’s a lot of grey, bleak post apocalyptic worlds out there, and I knew I wanted trilogy to be different. I wrote the first book in the wake of a major move, from New York to California, where I now live. The landscape is naturally gorgeous here and people, for the most part, are very environmentally conscious. At the time I was fixated on the idea that the world might thrive without us in it—that the sky might be bluer, the ocean clearer. Ugly strip malls would be covered over with ivy and roads would disappear under layers of moss. I wanted Eve’s world to look like California on steroids—a natural paradise.

5. Interviews all ask general questions you must get tired of answering. What’s one question you wish people would ask?

I don’t know that I’ll ever get sick of talking about books, writing or reading. Because the young adult audience is primarily young women, I see the issue of feminism coming up again and again in reviews and online. What make a book feminist or anti-feminist? There seem to be a million and one definitions.

6. Any plans for life after EVE?

I just finished the final book, Rise, and now I’m reading all the books I missed while writing the series. I’m currently finishing The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which has so much humor and heart. I’ve just started Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. After she blurbed Once Cynthia and I became friends. I’ve seen the giant inspiration board in her office, so it’s fun to see pieces of her (and her research) in the story. I’m also in the beginning phases of a new project…stay tuned for more details!

Thanks, Anna, for stopping by bookmarked today! I wish you all the luck with you new release and am eagerly awaiting the final installment RISE.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Eve by Anna Carey

Anna Carey
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: October 4, 2011
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 320
Source: BEA
Series: Eve #1
Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school’s real purpose—and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust . . . and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.
I know I've said this before, but I am a bit of a contemporary snob. While there are certainly examples of other genres that have rocked my socks off, I am most happy with real stories, be it gushy or gritty. That said, dystopian novels tend to pique my interest when I first hear about them but then fall off my radar. I admit to being intimidated by dystopian societies, especially when there are so few standalones amidst a sea of trilogies. They sound so darn intriguing, but I let them sit on my shelf, too afraid to invest myself in multiple installments of mediocrity. Such was thankfully not the case with Eve. Well, I did let it sit around a bit before picking it up, but I was intrigued by the first chapter and completely hooked by the fourth or fifth.

Eve is a model student, valedictorian of her graduating class, eager to move on to the City of Sand where she will contribute to the new society in a meaningful way. All is not how it seems, however, and when Eve learns the truth of what her life will be after school, she knows she must find a way out. Narrowly escaping her teachers, forced to leave her friends behind, Eve sets off through the forests in search of a rumored safe haven for women. She meets a boy along the way, who defies everything she's been taught about men. He helps her, even when it's not in his best interest, and Eve must choose which path to take - with him or without him.

Eve was a plenty likeable character, and I enjoyed her journeys - physical, mental, emotional. This was definitely more of a plot driven novel, but such is the way of most dystopian stories. The plot was very good, and I thought the world-building was interesting. It definitely had the creeper factor, which is something I like to see from this genre. Caleb didn't exactly make me swoon, but his selflessness was definitely attractive.

Fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent won't find quite the same level of brilliance in Eve; however, it is a remarkable addition to the genre that is so popular. It is an engrossing, quick read that can easily be devoured in one sitting. Its sequel, Once, is available in stores tomorrow.

FTC: I received a copy of this novel from BEA 2011

Sunday, July 1, 2012

In My Bag (43)

In My Bag is my version of the weekly meme, In My Mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren, and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis.

For review:
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass
Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin 

Crewel by Gennifer Albin
(Thanks to Macmillan!)

Once by Anna Carey
(Thanks to HarperCollins!)

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
(Thanks to Edelweiss and Netgalley, respectively!)

Not book related:

I'm pumped to FINALLY have all my wedding pictures in! Now I can go about choosing photos for my albums, getting prints, etc. Plus they mailed it in this fancy, super cute tin. Love those guys!

Back to the books . . . I'm really looking forward to What's Left of Me and Crewel, and I already read and loved Once. It was a great follow-up to Eve. What'd you guys get this week?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Zoe Letting Go by Nora Price

Zoe Letting Go
Nora Price
Publisher: Razorbill
Released: June 28, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Source: Cavalier House Books
Twin Birch isn't just any hospital. It's a strange mansion populated by unnerving staff and glassy-eyed patients. It's a place for girls with serious problems; spindly girls who have a penchant for harming themselves. Zoe isn't like them. She'll never feel comfortable with Caroline, her silent and meek roommate, or Victoria, a southern belle with a loud mouth, or Brooke - who seems to have it in for her.

Through letters to her best friend Elise, Zoe tries to come to terms with why she was sent to Twin Birch against her will. But Elise never writes back. Alone and trying to navigate tenuous friendships and bizarre rules, Zoe finds that the reason for Elise's silence lies in her memories of their beautiful, inescapable, and sometimes suffocating friendship. A friendship that has both saved her, and may still destroy her - unless she is able to confront the truth about her past once and for all.
The back of my review copy tells me "Nora Price" is a pseudonym for a twenty-something, New York-based writer. I'm not sure why, but I like to have more information than that. I don't need an entire history, but I like knowing a few personal tidbits about people - something I can connect with. I wonder if the author's ambiguousness infiltrated the pages and kept me from connecting to this novel as well.

Despite being told through first person narrative and through letters to her best friend, I had no idea who Zoe was. In the very beginning of the novel, Zoe's mother packs her up and brings her to Twin Birch, a hospital in the middle of nowhere full of starving girls. Zoe not only is confused about why she's there, but she refuses to see any similarities between herself and the girls around her. Because the reader sees things through Zoe's eyes, it's easy to wonder the same thing. But ultimately, I see Zoe's vision is skewed and despite her obvious denial, there is more to Zoe's past than meets the eye.

Throughout the novel Zoe's peers and the professionals trying to help her become frustrated and often angry with Zoe for her disinterest in admitting her problem and getting better. I couldn't help but share that frustration because Zoe never really struck me as someone who deserved my empathy. With the attractive cover and intriguing synopsis, it's easy to see why I picked up this review copy. However, I don't think I'm alone in my disappointment in its execution.

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Penguin via Cavalier House Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (40)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

This week's pick is...

The Evolution of Mara Dyer
Coming October 23, 2012 - Preorder it below

I think about Mara all the time. I was super intimidated by her. So much hype. But I was blown away by her, and now, nearly a year since reading the first book, I still think about her all the time. To say I'm looking forward to her sequel would be the understatement of the year. As I type this in advance, I am thinking of all those lucky bastards currently at BEA getting copies. So. Jealous.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend

My Life in Black and White
Natasha Friend
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Released: June 28, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Source: Cavalier House Books
What if you lost the thing that made you who you are?

Lexi has always been stunning. Her butter-colored hair and perfect features have helped her attract friends, a boyfriend, and the attention of a modeling scout. But everything changes the night Lexi's face goes through a windshield. Now she's not sure what's worse: the scars she'll have to live with forever, or what she saw going on between her best friend and her boyfriend right before the accident. With the help of her trombone-playing, defiantly uncool older sister and a guy at school recovering from his own recent trauma, Lexi learns she's much more than just a pretty face.
I love getting ARCs from my local indie. They receive a box full of goodies, set the YA aside, and I have my pick. I know: I'm spoiled. But honestly the thing I love, even more than getting the book I'm most looking forward to, is finding a book like this: familiar author, interesting premise, but no knowledge of its existence. Finds like this one often surprise me in the best possible way.

Lexi is beautiful. It's not even an opinion; it's a fact. She is popular, she is dating the boy every girl wants, and life is easy. But Lexi isn't clueless; she knows life is great because of the way she looks, but why question a good thing? She doesn't until everything changes when she finds her boyfriend and best friend in a compromising situation at a party. She leaves the party only to get in an accident and fly through a windshield face-first. Post-accident Lexi is friendless, single, and ugly - scarred emotionally and physically from the events of one night.

It would have been easy for Lexi to be a whiny character with much of the book being a pathetic pity party, but she wasn't. Sure she was devastated by her injuries and the abandonment she felt. Sure she may not have felt so alone if she hadn't pushed everyone away. But all of Lexi's reactions after the accident, good and bad, were one hundred percent believable. I really liked Lexi, and I hate that she had to literally go through something to grow up. However, watching her grow up was most enjoyable. I loved the relationship with her sister Ruth. (I didn't have a traditional relationship with my sister growing up, so I find siblings to be extremely interesting.) The one thing that didn't click with me was the love interest. I don't know, he just didn't do it for me, I guess. Even still, I liked what that relationship taught Lexi, and I'm glad she dug Theo even if I didn't.

Overall I thought My Life in Black and White was my favorite kind of contemporary - one that takes every day events and turns them into something magic.

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Penguin via Cavalier House Books in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Smart Girls Get What They Want
Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Released: June 26, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Source: Sasha
Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren’t the most popular girls in school, they aren’t too worried. They know their real lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they’re missing out on the full high school experience, it’s time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge—and they will totally rock it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she’ll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

These friends are determined to show that smart girls get what they want—but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for...
Can I just say how much I lovelovelove feel-good contemporaries that are more than just fluff? Smart Girls Get What They Want is about exactly what the title implies. Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are smart girls. They may not have overflowing social calendars or afternoons filled with extracurriculars, but who cares? They're totally going to Harvard/Princeton/Dartmouth and will have plenty of time for that later. Except when they find Neerja's sister's empty yearbook, they panic. What if by only worrying about life after high school they are missing out on some of life's greatest experiences? The three girls decide right then and there to make the most of high school, and not just in the academic sense. After all, they are smart girls. Who says they can't have everything they want?

One of the things I liked most about this novel was the meaningfulness of it. The girls didn't just want to let loose and party. They each faced some major obstacles and took on their fears. Of course they had a lot of fun on the way, but I really appreciated the way they remained themselves but became better versions. I loved that there was such a positive message throughout the story without it feeling preachy or condescending. I also loved the confidence these girls had in themselves, and in each other, and their attractiveness. Too often the smart girls are the mousy-haired, glasses-wearing loners. It was very refreshing to see three beautiful girls rocking the books who weren't constantly moaning about their insecurities.

There was a small love triangle, but it did not provoke one single eye roll from me. Both boys were not without merit (at least in the beginning), and I could see it going either way. Of course, as the story progressed things were more clear, and I was very happy with the outcome. I really appreciated the poetry-loving jock and may have even swooned a time or two.

Smart Girls was a smartly written, humorous contemporary I wish was around when I was in high school. Then maybe I could have been more like Gigi, Bea, and Neerja. Sarah Strohmeyer did a fantastic job of erasing stereotypes and giving value to being a smart girl.

FTC: I was gifted with an ARC of this novel, which was picked up at ALA Midwinter. Sash for the win!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

One Moment by Kristina McBride

One Moment
Kristina McBride
Publisher: Egmont
Released: June 26, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 272
Source: Netgalley
This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?
I'm going to go ahead and get what I didn't like out of the way. You see how up there in the synopsis it says Maggie lost her memory of the final moments before the accident? Well, she didn't lose enough. From the very beginning, way too many details were known for there to be any mystery for me. Maggie may not have remembered exactly what happened to Joey, but I did, and it made for a long, drawn-out "mystery" that lacked both surprise and my enthusiasm.

Now that said, this book was not without merit. I did, after all, not only finish but enjoy it. This was definitely one of those, "it's not about the destination but the journey," types of books. Maggie was a classy girl who kept her cool even though some pretty crappy things happened to her. There were a few smaller mysteries that also weren't hard to figure out, but were much more enjoyable to see played out. I also really appreciated the romantic aspect, or rather lack thereof. Maggie could have easily fallen into the arms of Adam, and though she did frequently lean on him, she remained on her own two feet - a characteristic that is often lacking in YA's female protagonists.

The writing was quite good, good enough that I definitely want to read the author's previous title, The Tension of Opposites. But unfortunately I think the too-revealing beginning chapter will deter many other readers as well.

FTC: I received an eARC of this novel from Egmont via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Discussion: Stereotypes and Being White

I can be a horribly unfocused person, and I allow a ridiculous amount of time to pass between finishing a book and reviewing it. So while typing reviews it is not uncommon for me to head over to Goodreads and scroll through others' comments to get myself back into the story so I can write about it. Just recently I was doing this and noticed a blogger whose opinion I highly value differed from mine in the extreme. Now I realize we all don't all agree on everything nor should we want to. However, when someone whom I look to for recommendations is so upset by what she found in a novel I thoroughly enjoyed, I can't help but needing to know why.

The blogger I'm talking about is Steph Su, and the book in question is Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

I was a little surprised when I saw Steph wasn't even able to finish this novel, so I had to read her entire review to know why she felt so strongly. I could definitely understand her issues with Alina - the self-doubt certainly grated on my nerves at times. I could also understand her view of "telling" statements - it would have been nice to show the reader what the palace and the queen were like. And I could understand the questionable research - my lack of Russian history and culture is abominable so I won't pretend to know better, but there were a few eyebrows raised while reading.

All of these things were fairly obvious to me, too. Steph, being a more critical reviewer than I am (and I say this with the utmost respect - there is no other blogger who makes me think about writing and plots and character development as she does), was bothered by things I saw but looked past. We're different, and that's okay. However, Steph actually got angry with the stereotypes she found in this book - stereotypes I didn't even recognize. This really made me think.

I am white. I come from a middle class family. Other than being a woman, I have never really experienced prejudices. Obviously this is a good thing for me; my life has been relatively easy. However, this fact, of which I truly have no control, makes me feel guilty at times. How often do I look past stereotypes because they don't affect me? Am I perpetuating the cycle by standing silently aside? These are the sorts of thoughts going through my head since reading Steph's review.

Now Steph's review did not change my opinion of this novel. Despite its flaws, it swept me up and into another world and gave me a want for more high fantasy. I loved this story way more than I anticipated, and I will eagerly await its sequel. What Steph's review did was make me think about stereotypes in a new light. I hope it brings even more discussion and we might all learn how hurtful even unintentional stereotyping can be.

*I contacted Steph regarding this post and received her full support in referencing her thoughts and opinions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (39)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

This week's pick is...

Through to You
Coming October 2, 2012 - Preorder it below

There aren't enough YA books written from a boy's perspective. Also, Courtney Summers gave it five stars on Goodreads. I can't really think of another reason not to read it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

Hilary Weisman Graham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: June 12, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 336
Source: The Teen Book Scene
1 Concert
2000 Miles
3 Ex-Best Friends

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends. Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3. But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.

Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there.

But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?
Being a child of the nineties, I am no stranger to boy band fandom. So the thought of three girls traveling across the country in a beat up camper all for their favorite band's reunion show gets me pretty excited. I also get pretty excited about post-high school YA and multiple points of view - another few things that can be found in this novel.

When Alice's parents gift her with a running Pea Pod after graduation, her mind instantly flies to a summer-long road trip with her best friend. Friend going to China nixes any plan for cross-country travel until Alice hears about Level3 playing a one-time show a few thousand miles away. Alice jumps on the opportunity knowing she can't make the trip without her childhood friends Tiernan and Summer by her side. Only problem is they haven't spoken to one another since the beginning of high school.

What ensues is a mostly believable, often hilarious tale of three girls coming together for a common love. I love the way each character gives her own perspective. It gives the story diversity, and the reader has a better understanding of each girl. None of them are perfect - all have made mistakes, and in hearing each voice there is no enemy. I can't help wanting them all to push aside the past and be besties again.

I wasn't completely in love with this novel, but most of it worked for me. There was definitely a certain spark it lacked, keeping it from becoming a favorite; however, as a debut I thought it was a really good example of a feel-good, girls-rule contemporary. I am looking forward to Hilary's future novels. Will one of them feature these three..?

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel as part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour in exchange for an honest review and a promotional post.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

The Summer My Life Began
Shannon Greenland
Publisher: Speak
Released: May 10, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 250
Source: Cavalier House Books
Elizabeth Margaret--better known as Em--has always known what her life would contain: an internship at her father's firm, a degree from Harvard, and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is, it's not what she wants. So when she gets the opportunity to get away and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em learns that her family has some pretty significant secrets. And then there's Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can't resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels that for the first time ever, she is really living life on her own terms.
Privileged girl wants to break free from the life her parents have meticulously planned for her. Enter long lost family member who invites her for a visit, her uptight parents uncharacteristically agree, and girl realizes everything is not as it seems. Enter brooding boy, unlikely romance ensues, and girl magically gains confidence.

Cliche much?

I really wish I could post a longer, more thoughtful review of this book. However, my lack of enthusiasm for it has kept me from having much of an opinion. The plot was too predictable, the characters too flat. It was a quick, easy read that left me feeling unsatisfied. I thought there was a great opportunity to address a few serious issues, but the story sort of skirted around them instead. I honestly think I would rather fluff.

The romance factor was lukewarm at best, and the family dynamic was much too unrealistic. I also thought Em's rebellion was a bit of a joke. I didn't expect her to start bar-hopping and racking up on meaningless hook-ups, but I thought her fraternizing with "the help" was a bit G-rated. I felt like the target audience would be offended by the lack of maturity found within these pages.

This was, thankfully, a short, quick read that was interesting enough to finish. Unfortunately it was not enough to be very memorable, and I wouldn't be surprised it other readers felt the same.

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Penguin via Cavalier House Books in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In My Bag (42)

In My Bag is my version of the weekly meme, In My Mailbox. IMM was started by Kristi over at The Story Siren, and it explores the contents of my mailbox or shopping bag on a weekly basis.

For review:
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

WHAT?! My indie never gets review copies from Simon & Schuster. Never. I've been told their marketing budget is smaller than those of the other Big Six. I've no idea if that's true, but regardless: boxes-of-ARCs just do not come from S&S. So when one of the store owners texted me a picture of this the other day, I about died.


What'd you guys get this week?!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (38)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It features upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

This week's pick is...

What's Left of Me
Coming September 18, 2012 - Preorder it below

Doesn't this book sound wonderfully creepy? I love both the cover and the concept. Also, I want this model's eyelashes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Tokyo Heist
Diana Renn
Publisher: Viking
Released: June 14, 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Source: Cavalier House Books
Sixteen-year-old Violet loves reading manga and wearing scarves made from kimono fabric, so she’s thrilled that her father’s new painting commission means a summer trip to Japan. But what starts as an exotic vacation quickly turns into a dangerous treasure hunt.

Her father’s newest clients, the Yamada family, are the victims of a high-profile art robbery: van Gogh sketches have been stolen from their home, and, until they can produce the corresponding painting, everyone's lives are in danger -- including Violet's and her father's.

Violet’s search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery thickens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to solve the mystery -- before it’s too late.
I realize this sounds extremely negative, but I wish I hadn't finished this book so I wouldn't have to write a review. That way I could just link to Forever Young Adult's review and say, "what she said," and link to other bloggers who loved it.*

I most definitely did not love this book, but I also didn't hate it. (I think that's why I'm having such trouble conveying my feelings - I'm just indifferent.) Violet was not a character that clicked with me. She was so wrapped up in all things Japan, it felt like she'd rather hide away in her art like Kimono Girl, the main character in the manga she created, rather than deal with her actual life.

I also took huge issue with Violet's family and the way they treated her compared to the way she was viewed by the Yamadas and the police. Violet's dad certainly was not the most stable of parents, but the way he went from being ridiculously absent to ridiculously over-protective practically gave me whiplash. And the fact that Violet never so much as had a phone conversation with her mom as she's traveling across the world being chased by the Japanese mafia seemed improbable. While on the other hand, the Yamadas were quick to share very detailed information about the items stolen, and the FBI were all-ears when the random teenager offered up a theory. I found all this to be extremely glossed over and unrealistic.

I did, several times, think very seriously about putting this one aside and moving on to more promising things. But ultimately I did care about the painting, and I wanted to know what happened to it. I really wish I would have liked this one more because in theory it's one hell of a book. I just didn't mesh with its execution.

Raves: Hobbitsies | IceyBooks | The Reading Date

*I am doing this anyway, as FYA's review sums up a lot of my feelings (especially the comparisons to MG), and I think it's important to note how much others have LOVED this book. I truly believe this is a case of, "It's not you, it's me."

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Penguin via Cavalier House Books in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Myra McEntire
Publisher: Egmont
Released: June 14, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 336
Source: Sasha
Series: Hourglass #2
A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking...

Kaleb Ballard's relentless flirting is interrupted when Jack Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, timeslips in and attacks before disappearing just as quickly. But Kaleb has never before been able to see time travelers, unlike many of his friends associated with the mysterious Hourglass organization. Are Kaleb's powers expanding, or is something very wrong?

Then the Hourglass is issued an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he's stolen on the time gene, or time will be altered with devastating results.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Jack. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough...
So one of the greatest things about blogging is community. Commenting and tweeting are great, but meeting people at all the various bookish events is even better. Because when you can't get to the next conference and someone you know can, she sends you goodies. Enter Sasha from Sash & Em: she not only scored one of the few copies of Timepiece at ALA Midwinter, but she also sent it across the country to share with her fellow bloggers. I may not have been lucky enough to make it to Dallas, but I am lucky enough to know her.

In the follow-up to Hourglass, we get to see things from Caleb's point of view. His dad is back from the dead, his mom's in a coma, and all of Hourglass is being held responsible for changes in the time continuum. Consequently, Caleb is a bit . . . distracted. Luckily Emerson's best friend Lilly is there to set him straight, while the entire Hourglass team is scrambling to find Jack and the missing research.

Myra once again blew my mind with the stuff she comes up with. How I would love to live in her brain for a day. The twists and turns that kept me gripping the pages of Hourglass were found again in Timepiece. The pacing is fantastic, the depth of her characters is fantastic, and the way this woman makes me want need the next book is unprecedented. I have been a Myra cheerleader from day one, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next - in the world of the Hourglass or otherwise.

I have to say I did miss Em. I loved being inside Caleb's head, and the plot was just as stellar as in the first book. But I did miss the snarky spitfire that was Emerson, and my only wish was that there was more of her spunk found in the pages. I'm very anxious to see whose point of view we get in book three. Someone new? Maybe multiple perspectives? Either way, Myra McEntire is an author I have come to wholeheartedly trust with a story, so whatever it may be I'm sure will be phenomenal.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wedding Recap (with some bookish features)

For those of you not so interested in personal posts, I apologize, but I promise there are some bookish things to be found below.

I believe I promised you guys some wedding pictures! I was thrilled to finally get a sneak peek at my photos this past week, and I'm so glad I can finally share them with you. To anyone in the area, I cannot recommend my photographer, Beebe of Studio Tran, enough. From our engagement session to our wedding day, he did a phenomenal job at capturing every important moment.

It was very important to Josh and me for our wedding to reflect who we are. Because books play such an integral role in my life, we chose to incorporate them into our reception decor. Several tables featured a few of my favorite books, from Looking for Alaska to The Book Thief to Hourglass to Jenny Han's Summer series. We also chose a non-traditional guest book in the form of postcards of vintage Penguin covers. Near the end of the reception Josh brought nearly the entire room to tears during his toast where he quoted John Green's The Fault in Our Stars - a book that also traipsed through New Orleans with us during our engagement shoot.

And as a special bonus, my favorite shot from our engagements...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Maybe We Should See Other People... (2)

Ever start a book you were really looking forward to reading and it just...didn't live up to your expectations? I, personally, hate that. Your first instinct is to blame it all on the book. But then you think about it, and it's not really the book's fault. So then you start to wonder if there's something wrong with you. Surely you must be missing something because this person loved it and it won that award. Again, I hate that feeling. And so this feature, Maybe We Should See Other People, was born. Because you know, every book deserves a chance, and I'm sure there's someone else out there who will love it - maybe even a future me.

No Safety in Numbers
Dayna Lorentz
May 29, 2012

The Hiding Spot
Our Time in Juvie
The Book Monsters

I gave this one 100 pages. I tried; I really did, but unfortunately I couldn't get into the plot and I didn't care about the characters. I thought it was extremely promising, and I had really looked forward to it. But I ultimately became very frustrated with it and decided not to suffer through the 170 pages after realizing it was the first in a series. I may have pushed through for a standalone, but I wasn't forcing myself through an entire series.

Monument 14
June 5, 2012


The most frequent complaint I've heard about this novel was the lack of action. During what appears to be the beginning of the end of the world, the story is trapped inside a supermarket while earthquakes, tsunamis, and hail the size of houses are destroying the earth. This, actually, was not what kept me from reading past page seventy. I'm a contemporary girl, so I can handle a controlled environment. Hell, one of my favorite contemporaries features a main character who spends most of her time in a beach house. But what I can't handle is unrealistic dialogue and bland characters.  I don't think this book is without merit, but it just didn't click with me.

Have any of you tried either of these books? Loved 'em? Hated 'em? Let me know what you thought in the comments.

FTC: I received ARCs of these novels from Penguin and Macmillan, respectively, via Cavalier House Books in exchange for an honest review.
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