Friday, August 30, 2013

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell


From Penguin:

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you..."

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail.  (Everybody in the newsroom knows.  It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously.  They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.  

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now - reading other people's e-mail.  When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers - not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.  

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in.  But he can't help being entertained - and captivated - by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.  

What would he say...?

Dear god, the first three pages of Attachments had me laughing hysterically in the most inappropriate place...  This was my first experience with Rainbow Rowell (Bel LOVES Eleanor & Park and Fangirl), so I was really looking forward to the book.  It did not disappoint.  After the inappropriate laughing incident, I saved the book until after work and ended up staying up all night to finish.  

As pleasantly surprised as I was by the humor, I was even more surprised and pleased that Rowell was able to combine the comedy with a truly heartfelt story about love, heartbreak and the twists and turns life throws at us.  

Lincoln is broken, a zombie existing, but not really living since his heart was torn apart by his ex.  Beth is in a dysfunctional relationship trying to figure out what she is willing to give up for the man she loves, while Jennifer is the only one in a healthy relationship, but is trying to decide what she is willing to do for the man she loves.  The growth of the characters and the story were natural and well-written.  

The best part was that I found these women completely relatable and could see Bel, Nat and I exchanging many of these emails!  

I completely understand why Bel loves Rainbow Rowell so much.  I am definitely a fan now and cannot wait to pick up Eleanor & Park!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

No Angel by Helen Keeble

*** 1/2 

From HarperTeen:

Being the only guy at an all-girls school isn't exactly a dream come true...

That's right.  I, Rafael Angelos, am the sole member of the male sex at St. Mary's School.  Prepare yourselves, ladies.  But while the girls here are ridiculously hot, they also take popularity, cliques, and bullying to new levels of crazy.  So I've decided it's my job to step in.  Protect the meek, smite the wicked, and win the heart of a beautiful victim while I'm at it.  

The whole "guardian angel" thing is getting a little out of hand, though.  I really didn't sign up for a weird, glowing circle around my head - or a pair of wings.  And I'm starting to worry that there's a reason so many of the girls act like they're possessed by demons...

No Angel is a hilarious take on the recent influx of angel related books.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of some of these books, but No Angel's spoof-like nature was awesome.  It was also surprising, with twists and turns I never expected.  

As a story about teenagers fighting the battle between good and evil, angels vs demons, No Angel takes a humorous approach to the follies that inevitably follow.  It also takes the battle between teens and adults to new extremes.  All in all, I recommend No Angel for it's belly laughs and witty dialogue.  Excuse me, I need to go download Fang Girl now, you should too.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (76)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co, #1)Hauntings are our business . . .

Ghosts crowd the streets and houses of London. Anthony Lockwood, with his slightly grumpy deputy George, and his junior field operative Lucy, make up LOCKWOOD & CO, the small, shabby yet talented ghost-hunting agency.

After a series of calamitous investigations into the supernatural go awry, the team are desperate to prove themselves. Their opportunity comes in the form of a terrifying ghost, the Red Duke. But little do they know what perils lie in store for them at the haunted Bliss Hall . . 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

* * * *

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?  And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Rainbow Rowell seriously won me over with Eleanor & Park. And you know how you can love one book so much that you worry if you can love the next one as much? Well, I’m glad to report that I didn’t have anything to worry about here!

The first word to come to mind for how to describe Fangirl is “adorable”. It’s just chock full of adorable that I cannot stop beaming over that fact. Cath and her twin sister Wren have been stuck at the hip since always.  So Cath is shocked when they’re ready to start college that Wren decides to room with someone else, change her appearance and even starts to distance herself from her. It’s an odd feeling for Cath and she’s unsure if she can even make it at college without her sister as her sidekick.

I think almost anyone can identify with Cath’s fear and insecurities about starting at college not knowing anyone and having to create a whole new social circle. Her roommate Reagan is a bit of an imposing personality. Reagan's friend Levi who is constantly hanging out in their dorm room, is a charismatic, outgoing guy with a hipster vibe, is a personality that Cath just can’t quite grasp. Instead of trying to get out there and make friends, she confines herself to her room and her fan fiction writing.

As the school year wears on, Cath starts to break out of her shell a little thanks to Reagan who basically insists that she stop being weird. Levi even begins to get under her skin and before she knows it, these nutty people are her friends. The downside is that she and Wren have started losing touch with each other which concerns Cath.  And even though she’s started branching out, she’s still afraid to completely let go and claim her independence. She's constantly coming up with ways to leave school behind because she wants to avoid the changes that are happening.

Rowell excellently captures Cath's hesitation about being on her own for the first time. Little things like Cath surviving on granola bars in her dorm room to avoid the cafeteria exemplify her fragility. Discovering who she is away from being Wren's twin and learning not to hide behind Simon Snow to become a writer in her own right are pivotal growing experiences for her as a freshman. I felt so protective of Wren and had plenty of appreciation for her Reagan and Levi who looked out for her in their quirky way. But the biggest area of growth is her relationship with her sister as they learn to communicate with each other again and accept the differences that have sprung up between them.

Rowell also did plenty of research on fan fiction to capture that whole world. I'm not big into fan fiction myself simply because I don't have the time to read that much - believe me I wish that wasn't the case! But what I did read in Fangirl was quite entertaining and I also thought it was a great "thumbs up" to the fan fiction world from a fantastic author. 

If you read Eleanor & Park and enjoyed it, I know you'll absolutely enjoy Fangirl as well. It's story line is about the same speed and you just can't help but fall in love with Cath and Levi. It's another one of those that leaves you smiling and saying "you go girl!"

~ Bel

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

* * 1/2

Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.


Steven has always been lonely.  But he has become even more so since his mother passed away.  Kind of hard not to when no one can see you.  When he learns that his new neighbor, Elizabeth, can SEE him, he is in complete awe that he now has someone that he can talk to and relate to.  After an embarrassing and awkward first meeting, Elizabeth and Stephen embark on an intense relationship that makes them both a little scared and nervous.  When Elizabeth and Stephen are introduced to the world of Spellseekers and Cursecasters they find themselves in a dangerous situation that could either make Stephen visible or ensure his invisibility forever.

In the past, Levithan has forced me to love his characters BECAUSE of their imperfections.  Not in in spite of them.  Dash from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is the best example of this.  Stephen is no different.  It is impossible to not connect with Stephen.  His inability to socialize with anyone has made him very thoughtful and careful of everything going on around him.  It has also made him, in some ways, very socially awkward. Which is absolutely endearing.

Elizabeth was not nearly as likable.  She wasn't necessarily unlikable.  She was just....meh.  I wish I could pinpoint exactly why I didn't love her.  She was a pretty strong character is some ways.  Particularly with how she embraces her part in the cursecasting world.  But other than that she just didn't hold my interest.

I really enjoyed Andrea Cremer's writing style.  And, as you know, I love Levithan's writing style. But as good as they may be individually, together they lacked the chemistry that I've come to expect from a Levithan collaboration.  This lack of chemistry and my feelings of indifference towards the heroine, Elizabeth, made this story difficult to finish.  Disappointingly, this book was just a "meh" for me.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (75)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

16059410By Kelly Fiore
Publication Date: August 27, 2013

If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good.

With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Truth About You And Me by Amanda Grace

* * * * 1/2

Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennet. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured - and missed out on - in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love.

There's only one problem. Bennet is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen - because she hasn't told him the truth.

The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennet - both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.

I was taken with Amanda Grace last year after I read But I Love Him, a blunt look at an abusive relationship told through the eyes of the victim.  That book was an absolute stunner. So when the opportunity came along to read The Truth About You And Me, I knew perfectly well that I’d be placing my trust in her once again to take me to that very edge where the characters are teetering on self-destruction before they finally reel themselves back in.

At first glance, Madelyn doesn’t strike you as a delinquent. Her excellent grades, model behavior and responsible nature would lead anyone to believe that she has it all together. That is far from the truth. Madelyn feels the mounting pressure from her parents’ high expectations to surpass even their own achievements. She has endured this quietly throughout high school. When she begins the Running Start program as a high school student taking college level courses, she seizes the opportunity of a being in a different environment to rebel against those expectations.

The trouble starts when she arrives at her biology class and meets her teacher Bennet and they experience one of those "instant connection" moments. There on out Madelyn engages in a dangerous game. On a chance meeting outside of the classroom, Bennet assumes that she is 18 and she allows him to think so. The sequence of events is mapped out through letters Madelyn writes after an unfortunate turn of events. Through these letters, you can follow her as she weaves her first lie and then each lie thereafter. The thing is, she is perfectly aware of what she’s doing and why.

Let me say that I love that this book is in letter format. It made the story even more personal. The letters manage to root through all the emotions to arrive at the motivations behind the actions or the impulses.  I was able to understand Madelyn’s mindset. I was dragged in but not dragged down.  A lot of her issues stem from her parents’ high expectations and no room for failure attitude. With Bennet the irony is that she feels more like herself even though she’s being dishonest with him. They do develop a friendship that’s cozy and reliable with both of them counting down the days til they can officially be together. 

I’ll tell you what, throughout the letters, Madelyn keeps hinting at that day when everything fell apart and as I got closer to that point, I grew more and more uneasy. My imagination was all over the place wondering what on earth could have happened. Did someone walk in on them? Did she let slip something? Did he see her at her high school? I couldn’t wait to find out yet at the same time I wanted to remain in that happy little bubble that Madelyn and Bennet had created.  I swear I could feel my heart thumping madly. But that’s great storytelling when you’re drawn in and can feel that clock ticking to the penultimate moment.

So how did I feel after I was finished? I felt a myriad of emotions from sadness to anger to happiness, to disappointment and finally I felt relief. Considering how this one stayed with me the rest of the day after I’d finished it, I’m quite certain that The Truth About You and Me will be in the running for my Top 10 of 2013!

~ Bel

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cherish (Faith, Love and Devotion #4) by Tere Michaels

Cherish (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #4)* * * * *

Several years after the end of Duty & Devotion, Matt and Evan are living quietly in their Brooklyn home with the twins, Danny and Elizabeth. The older girls - Katie and Miranda - are off at college, Evan is about to be promoted to captain and things are calm.


Evan accidently learns that Miranda has a new boyfriend and is talking marriage after just three months of dating. After peeling himself off the ceiling, he demands a conversation with his eldest daughter, which erupts into, as Matt calls it, “a steel cage match”.

Miranda indeed has a boyfriend (Kent), a business major (from Connecticut) and they are most definitely serious. In fact, Miranda wants to bring him to Thanksgiving dinner - along with his parents, Blake and Cornelia.

There is much debate but Evan agrees - mostly because Miranda's part of the bargain is that she won't get engaged or elope until the parents have met.

Thanksgiving descends into madness before the turkey is cut.



That is me sighing in sadness over the fact that Matt and Evan’s story is done.

But boy did it end on a high note.

Cherish is a novella that takes place approximately fours years after Evan and Matt get together.  The twins are pre-teens, the older girls are away at school and Evan has just found out that his oldest, Miranda, has a boyfriend.  A boyfriend she apparently wants to marry yet has not introduced, let alone mentioned, to her father.  So after some passive aggressive confrontation (Evan is quite aware that he and his daughter share many of the same personality flaws) it is decided that the boyfriend AND his parents will come to Thanksgiving dinner.   Evan and Matt and the kids are a little worried about meeting people that they know nothing about.  What they aren't prepared for is the level of Miranda’s grief over her mother’s death and anger at her father’s happiness is so high that she is willing to use her unwitting boyfriend and his parents as tools to get back at her dad.

This is a novella so there isn't much more that I can say that won’t give away the rest of the story.   In Cherish you see how much Evan has grown in his relationship with Matt.  And you also see how much he has grown as a father as he navigates Miranda’s grief and anger without sacrificing the other loved ones in his life.

This was a wonderful ending to Matt and Evan’s story.  If you enjoyed Faith and Fidelity and Duty and Devotion then you will very likely love Cherish.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Chaos of the Stars by Kiersten White

From HarperTeen:

Isadora's family is seriously screwed up.  

Of course, when you're the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that comes with the territory.

Isadora's sick of living a life where she's only worthy of a passing glance, and when she's offered the chance to move thousands of miles away, she jumps on it.  But as much as Isadora tries to keep her new world and old world apart, she quickly realizes there's no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family.

Chaos is filled to the brim with Kiersten White's trademark witty, snarky and fun characters.  Isadora, Ry, Tyler and the supporting cast are people you want to hang out with.  They are full of smack talk, sarcasm and foot-in-mouth syndrome.  Having spent her life secluded with only her family around, Isadora is desperate to get out from under her mother's thumb, so when her mother sees trouble, Isadora goes to stay with her brother in San Diego, where she gets herself a group of friends, the interest of a mysterious hot boy and an unidentified evil bent on destruction.

Isadora is bitter.  As a devout disbeliever in love and relationships, Isadora tries to keep her distance from everyone, and rebels by doing her best to disavow her heritage, but is drawn into a plot to destroy her family.  Can she learn to let people in and save her family?

I loved Paranormalcy, so it was with great trepidation I picked up Chaos.  I was delighted to enjoy it so much.  It's fast-paced, fun and a great way to spend an afternoon!  

Check out Kiersten's blog for more information and goofy good times!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark #2) by Shana Abé

* * * *

It’s 1915, and sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is finishing up her first year as a charity student at Iverson, a prestigious, gothic boarding school on England’s southern coast. While she’s always felt different from everyone around her, now she finally knows why: She is a drákon, a rare, enchanted being with astonishing magical abilities.

As war hits Britain’s shores, and Lora reels from an unimaginable loss, she finds that her powers come with grave and dangerous responsibilities. At the request of Armand Louis, the darkly mysterious boy whose father owns Iverson, Lora will spend her summer at his lavish estate. To help the war effort—and to keep Lora by his side—Armand turns his home into a military hospital, where Lora will serve as a nurse. For Armand is inescapably drawn to her—bound to her by heart-deep secrets and a supernatural connection that runs thicker than blood.

Yet while Lora tries to sort out her own feelings toward Armand, fate offers an unexpected surprise. Lora discovers there is another drákon, a prisoner of war being held in Germany. And that only she, with her newly honed Gifts, will be able to rescue him.

With Armand, Lora will cross enemy lines on an incredible mission—one that could bond her to Armand forever, or irrevocably tear them apart.

Beautifully written, deeply romantic, and filled with daring adventure and magic, The Deepest Night is a mesmerizing novel of the enduring pull of destiny, and the eternal strength of love.

In all honesty, not many books have made a major impact on me so far this year which has been kind of disappointing.  Thankfully a few have stood, one of them being the Sweetest Dark series which has cast its spell on me.

In The Deepest Night Lora and Armand are recovering from the tragic events of the previous book. With Armand’s father in the looney bin, Lora’s future at her school is uncertain as he is her benefactor. When the summer break rolls around, rather than being shipped off elsewhere, Armand arranges for Lora to stay at Iverson to assist with the recovering soldiers who are coming to Iverson to recuperate.  Nice to have friends in high places, right? Naturally all of this is a rouse for Armand to keep Lora close by and for them to work together to learn more about their dragon nature. Their adventure together also takes them across the channel into France and Germany. Despite these areas being war torn, their landscape provides a dramatic and beautiful backdrop to Lora's and Armand's complicated and growing friendship.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly why I enjoy this series. I love the chemistry between Lora and Armand.  The sparks between them are constantly flying. Their mutual love of dry humor and quick retorts always make their conversations enjoyable. I love Armand’s vulnerability and his undying affection for Lora. He is so patient as he pines after her. The fact that he notices little things about her tugs at my heart. It will certainly win him a few fans. I have great admiration for Lora too. She’s a sharp young woman who knows her mind and makes no apologies for her circumstances. It's almost as if she doesn't belong in that generation. I also admire how Abé describes the physical changes that they both go through. Lora may be new to it but she is all Armand has and she has to be strong enough to help him through it. There is one scene in particular involving a dance on water that built such a stunning visual in my mind, I had to re-read it a few times to be fully satiated. 

But perhaps what really won me over is how Abé dared to take the plunge with Jesse’s character in the first book that seriously affected the dynamic between Armand and Lora in this one. Complicated is an understatement. And when the story shifts perspective briefly to either Armand or Jesse, I find myself almost squealing inside from all the romantic tension.

I definitely think The Deepest Night and the entire Sweetest Dark series is perfect for anyone looking for a touch of old-world romance. There are times when the mood feels so ethereal. And then the images of dragons against the horrors of World War I fighting machines stand in stark contrast to one another. But I think that is also why I like the series so much because these images, these worlds, when they collide into each other create such urgency and momentum. And Lora and Armand both so damaged and so beautiful are perfectly matched.

~ Bel

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (74)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)By Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: August 27, 2013

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

CHAOS Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Today Christine O’Neil and Entangled Teen Ember are revealing the cover for book 1 in The Kardia Chronicles Series, CHAOS. Coming out this August!

On to the reveal!


My name is Maggie Raynard. After sixteen years being just plain me, suddenly I can kill people when I lose my temper. Turns out I'm a semi-god, descended from Aphrodite. Sounds cool in theory, but when I accidentally put my ex-boyfriend in a coma, things go downhill pretty fast.

Now some new guy named Mac Finnegan has made it his mission in life to continually piss me off. I'm stuck learning how to use my new powers while also dealing with regular high school problems, and with this---annoying and super-hot---guy all up in my business, I'm about to flip out.

But it gets worse. I just learned there's this council for semis that wants me dead. They think I'm bad to the bone and when my ex suddenly dies, it's like everyone is determined to take me out. Mac might turn out to be my only salvation, but he's got secrets of his own---that may just kill us both.

Exclusive Excerpt:

I was done with guys. 

Not in that fake, I-say-that-but-deep-down-I-really-want-a-boyfriend kind of way, but in, like, the seriously-I'd-rather-eat-maggoty-cheese kind of way. No relationships. Not for me. Not now and maybe not ever. Who I am…what I am, and what I’m capable of? Everyone’s better off this way. 

"I have to stop at my locker real quick," I said, veering to the right and cutting through the crush of kids heading straight like wildebeests to a watering hole. Libby followed and then stood by me as I fiddled with the lock.

"What's that?" She pointed to a white piece of paper sticking out half an inch from one of the slots in the olive metal door.

I tugged the padlock open and flicked the catch with my thumb. "Dunno." Maybe Bink had left me another note. Bink was my neighbor, bud, and—most days—my ride home. Last time I’d found a note in my locker, it was when his cell phone died and he needed to bail early. I seriously hoped this wasn’t a repeat performance.

I mentally ran down the list of people I could bug for a ride and came up empty. Libby always had to stay after for some activity or another, and I only really had two other people I could call "friends" and neither lived near me. I wrinkled my nose in anticipation of the dirty-sneakers-meets-day-old-bologna smell of a bus filled with kids who'd had last-period gym and opted not to change clothes. With a sigh, I pulled open the door and the white rectangle floated to the floor.

Libby bent to grab it and read it out loud. "'Dear Sad and Lonely…'" She trailed off and went quiet for a few seconds until her peachy complexion went hot pink, and then she gasped. "Oh my God. Holy… Oh, Mags, you are so not going to like this."

I snatched the paper from her, trying to ward off the growing pit in my gut.

Dear Sad and Lonely,

Since I can almost guarantee She is about to give you some seriously shite advice like she does every week, let me be the voice of reason. Your boyfriend is just like most high school guys. Cut him some slack and, even better, why not offer to learn how to play some of the games he likes? He'd probably appreciate the effort and might even take you somewhere nice after. If that doesn't work, sit him down and let him know how you're feeling so he can tell you what's going on with him. Could be that constantly calling the things he likes stupid isn't the best way to get what you want in this situation, yeah? In any case, don't let the ramblings of some bitter emo chick who's probably never had a boyfriend ruin your relationship.

Hope it helps,


The shock was too thick to let the anger in right away, but as stunned as I was, I knew exactly who was behind this. There was only one person in the whole school who would use the word “shite.” 

Mac Finnegan. 

Opinionated, annoying, hot—did I mention annoying?—Mac Finnegan, who had barely given me the time of day since he'd come to Crestwood High a couple months ago. Mac Finnegan, who thought he was soooo cool with his Irish accent and his mocking smile. Mac Finnegan, who inexplicably made me want to lick him like an ice cream cone and then immediately rinse my mouth out with acid. 

How had he discovered my secret? Only Bink and Libby knew I was the girl behind “That's What She Said,” and I would have bet everything I owned that neither of them would have ratted me out. 

Didn’t matter, though. One way or another, he knew. Even worse, he'd chosen to taunt me with it. Bitter emo chick who’s probably never had a boyfriend, indeed. I had a boyfriend once and it hadn’t ended well for either of us. I was in no rush to repeat the experience. Besides, what did this Irish asshat care? 

Anger tightened my chest. I could feel the power rising in me, clawing to get out, roaring to be heard. The hair on my arms stood on end as I tried to breathe through it, to let the fury dissipate and flow out of my pores in harmless pings of energy, but it was no use. I pressed a hand to my locker and opened up the tiniest of escape valves, the spout of the teakettle, whistling off a stream of steam. The cheap metal instantly heated against my skin, the door buckling and warping on the spot just beneath my fingertips.

"Uh, Mags—" Libby whispered urgently, but a male voice cut her off.

"How's it going there, Libby? Maggie."

I turned around, still trying to catch my breath, and there he was, strolling by, a grin splitting his sinfully beautiful face.

Mac Finnegan, who had decided that being the new kid wasn't bad enough, so he had to actively go out of his way to make enemies. Mac Finnegan, who wanted to turn my world upside down rather than minding his own business. Mac Finnegan, who didn't know the meaning of live and let live. 

Mac Finnegan, who clearly had no idea who he was fucking with.

About Christine:

Christine O'Neil was born and raised in Connecticut, where she spent most of her childhood outdoors catching salamanders, frogs and colds. When she wasn't terrorizing Mother Nature, she was curled up under the covers with her nose in a book. As an adult, she's stopped stalking amphibians, but still loves books. When she isn't reading, she likes to spend her time people-watching. In fact, she's probably watching you RIGHT NOW O_O She's also pretty obsessed with writing YA books, but if she had to pick another profession she would be a ninja...or a Professor of the Dark Arts. 


1 eBook of CHAOS International

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Discovery (Council Powers Trilogy #1) by Lisa White

* * *

Grace Mackay thought she was normal, a little shy maybe, but no less normal than any other struggling young waitress. But she did not know about the secretive Powers world. She did not know she was the last person on earth with the DNA needed for the Powers’ survival. And she certainly did not know her newest boyfriend, Gregory, was an Anti-Powers prince who intended to break her heart and her bones in no particular order.

But when she discovers that Ben, her best friend and unrequited former crush, is actually her secret Guardian with superhuman powers, Grace’s normal turns a little wacky. And when she learns that she has The Gift, the rare power to heal the injured and resurrect life with her touch, it is official – Grace is a weirdo even in the Powers world.

But what freaks Grace out more than all that is the fact she has feelings for Ben again – and he has feelings for her – which makes Grace’s new normal a lot more complicated.

Discovery has a rather eerie start at the site of a fatal accident that has left an entire family dead save for one little girl. The cause of the accident is “unknown” but that creepy guy lurking far off watching investigators at work lets you know that there will be some sinister dealings going on.

Flash forward 18 years and we have Grace who seems pretty well adjusted working as a waitress at a fancy country club with her two best friends Annie and Ben. Things go smoothly until she starts dating a new member at the club, Gregory Reich. Gregory's appearance and interest in Grace makes her heart go aflutter but causes immediate suspicion on Ben's part. Grace thinks it's just jealousy but when things start to get weird, there's no denying that something is going on. Things come to a head the night of her birthday party. 

Grace is painfully slow to accept the truth at first. I’ll cut her some slack there.  Having lived her whole life being average it’s hard to come to terms with all that's thrown at her suddenly. Even with that though I had a hard time getting her. Perhaps because I didn't find her to be charismatic enough to hold my attention. I'm hoping to see her develop more of a personality as the series progresses. I liked Ben though. His protectiveness towards Grace and his special powers kept me interested.There were a couple of scenes where Grace meets a community of people much like her that reminded me of scenes in Twilight. 

Discovery has an interesting concept that I think readers will enjoy. I thought that the ending was a bit abrupt though. Still I'm looking forward to seeing what else is in store.

~ Bel

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Peek In The BiblioBin #69

Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.  

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Endless (The Violet Eden Chapters #4) by Jessica Shirvington

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Taste Test by Kelly Fiore

Taste Test* * * 1/2

If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good. 

With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.


Hello.  My name is Nat and I am a Food Network addict.  A recovering addict that is “recovering” only because I no longer have cable.  I am not ashamed to say that I have fallen off the wagon.  Without ever having to turn on a television.  

Nora Henderson is a small town girl from South Carolina that has grown up in her father’s BBQ joint, Smoke Signals.  She loves cooking and can’t imagine doing anything else.  And now she has the chance to make cooking her life.  Nora has been accepted onto the reality show, Taste Test, where she has the chance to win a scholarship to the International School of Cuisine in Paris, France AND $50,000 towards advancing her career in the food industry.

Nora has been a fan of Taste Test since it first aired.  So she is no stranger to the drama the show fabricates in order to draw in viewers.  But she isn’t quite ready to be the star of the drama.  Taste Test has her rooming with her complete opposite - a diva princess with an instant disgust of Nora.  On top of that, the producers have noticed the volatile relationship between Nora and Christian Van Lorten and are doing everything they can to produce a romance where there is none.  

On top of the “normal” stress of being on a reality TV show, the studio kitchens are being plagued by disasters that Nora is convinced are the work of a saboteur.  Someone that wants to win the grand prize at any cost.

I really enjoyed this book.  And not just because I am a Food Network addict.  I of course loved the food challenges.  And there are even delicious recipes at the end of this (can’t wait to try the Coffee-Cocoa-Cayenne Dry Rub).  But I also loved the way Nora and the other characters tried to avoid the drama.  I enjoyed the fact that you could feel everyone’s frustration with the producers steadily build through out the story.  I really liked the relationships Nora had with her father; her father’s girlfriend; her best friend, Billy; and her newly made friends from the cast of Taste Test.  And what I found most fascinating was how the relationship between Nora and Christian grew through out the story.  There is a lot of push and pull between these two and they both do and say things that end most relationships before they have a chance to start.  But Kelly Fiore manages to build their story in a very believable way.  

As you can probably tell, I definitely recommend this book.  It’s light and fun and perfect for the beach.  And if you are anything like me, it will send you into your kitchen so you can pretend you are starring in your very own episode of Chopped.  

Or was that just me?