Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Touch by Jus Accardo

***


From Author Website:



When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.

A secret Kale will kill to protect.


The Bad:
There were parts of the story that were just a little "too" convenient and coincidental, either that or Dez is the absolutely most self-involved person in the world not to notice the world around her.

The Good:
I wasn't sure I was going to like this books when I picked it up, but the premise sounded interesting and I thought I would give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised that I became quickly engrossed in Kale and what it would be like to experience the world anew.  In some ways I felt bad for Dez, it seems as though everyone in her life used and betrayed her.  In other ways, I found her to be an annoying teenager.  Self-involved and reckless.  

All in all, I enjoyed Touch and am reading Toxic for the upcoming release of Tremble in May!



~Shel

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Peek In The BiblioBin #61


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.

We're keeping things light this week in anticipation of RT. We admit it - we can't wait to get our hands on some excellent goodies! Who will be there with us?


Borrowed:


Elenor and Park by Rainbow Rowell



Friday, April 26, 2013

Breathless: An Elemental Novella by Brigid Kemmerer

****

Breathless is a novella intended to drive us absolutely insane while we wait for Spirit.  Breathless gives us an inside look at Nick Merrick, hottie extraordinaire, math genius and all around great guy, who just happens to control an element.  Air to be precise.  

In Spark, we saw Nick use his awesome powers to save himself and Layne (girlfriend of Nick's fiery twin brother, Gabriel).  In Breathless, Nick is looking for his own place to belong and, like his brothers Chris and Gabriel before him, his identity as something other than an Elemental.  

At 53 pages, Breathless is far too short and definitely left me wanting more.  I hope we get to see more of Nick's struggles and story in Spirit. 

AND coming on May 28th get Spirit!!!




~Shel 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa


* * * 1/2



Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

I’ll just say it right now – I’ve become a bit tired of dystopian novels lately.  Not that they aren’t good stories but rather I've just been so worn out by tem.  As much as I love my reading escapes, escaping to a grim world where vampires are atop the food chain, humans are an endangered species and no one dares live on the surface, is not been my cup of tea lately. That is unless it’s Julie Kagawa.

I thought I’d have a harder time than I did getting back into Allison’s world but that wasn’t an issue at all. While the main plotline is that of Allison rescuing her creator, Kanin and also looking for a cure for the virus, the more compelling part for me was her constant inner debate about whether she should fully embrace her vampire nature or find a way to keep the human part of her intact. That was repeated throughout the book and though it could have been tedious, it drives home the message that she is indeed struggling to find her place.

Kanin is a fantastic mentor for her, a kind father figure (yes I used those words to describe a master vampire) who reminds her over and over that yes, she is a vampire but she has the choice to decide what kind of a vampire to be. Jackyl, the annoying menace from the previous book, toys with her conflicted emotions about life as a vampire and her unappetizing sympathies for humans aka bloodbags.  Complicating her life is the boy she left behind, Zeke. Her feelings for him help keep her humanity intact but she admits they could also destroy her.

All that happens during her downtime that consists of walking/running through underground mazes otherwise it’s undesirable encounters with infected humans, a major standoff with a psychotic, vengeful vampire and an errand for a not quite as psychotic, vengeful vampire. Seriously, those hits comes fast and furious that when she finally gets a chance to breathe and experience a very mundane pleasure that we take for granted, I thought "thank god because that girl can't catch a break!". 

The Eternity Cure delivers on action and a few tiny twists here and there to throw you off course as you enjoy the crazy journey.  And Allie is the perfect kick ass heroine you want to take you through it.

~ Bel



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (60)



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

InvisibilityBy Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Publication Date: May 7, 2013

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.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

* * * 1/2



Available May 7th, 2013



For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.


It's the cover that sold me on this book. I mean, look at the gorgeous blue ocean! And hey, rolling around on the sand with a hottie can be fun too. Who wouldn't want a getaway like that?

Cricket's dream summer isn't exactly getting off right when she arrives on the island and her best friend Jules is less than enthusiastic about her being there followed by her crush rejecting her. The adversity she faces here and learns to overcome are relevant to this particular time in a teenager’s life. Your friends are everything. Your longstanding crush is your constant obsession. So what does she do? She decides to stay low, give them space and come up with Plan B. This is what I like about Cricket. She may be hurt, confused and at a loss about why her friend has become a major pain but she hangs in there without giving up hope. Knowing that Jules is going through a rough time and that no matter what, she wants to be there for her, Cricket makes the most of the uncomfortable situation to open herself up to new experiences.

Since the invitation  to stay with Jules is off the table, she ends up working at a bed and breakfast where she befriends a fellow “chambermaid”, Liz and becomes an intern for a writer who’s working on the biography of a local celebrity politician. I have to give her kudos for making the most out of things and not just throwing in the towel to run back home because things turned upside down. She uses this time away from her divorced parents to figure herself out. And it’s during this time that an unlikely bond develops between her and someone else that changes her outlook on things but that could also complicate the friendship she's trying to repair.

I won’t go into any more details because to be honest, I simply enjoyed how this story unfolded and I hope that you do too once you read it. It’s not a story with a mind-blowing ending but it has plenty of merits. While most teenagers would be utterly devastated that their best friend isn’t speaking to them or is purposefully shunning them, Cricket puts on a brave face and goes about her business. Though I realize that would be rather difficult to accomplish in the real world, her attitude is something to aspire to. Which is why I stayed up late to finish this book in one sitting – sleep be damned!

Nantucket Blue is simply delightful and it's a nice reminder that sometimes when things don’t exactly go your way, may be it’s because something better is going to happen.

~ Bel



Monday, April 22, 2013

A Peek In The BiblioBin #60





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.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott


* * *  



Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence has made him one of Hell’s best — a soul collector. His job is simple, weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment: Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within 10 days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of Hell. But after Dante meets the quirky, Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect—he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector, and uncover emotions long ago buried.

I’ve been craving some snarky, bad boy action lately and Dante Walker fits that bill perfectly.  As a soul collector it’s his job to steer people toward his way of thinking so that he can eventually deliver them to his boss. He doesn’t ask questions. He does what’s asked of him and gets the job done. Of course, having a little fun and messing about while on duty is a bonus.

His latest assignment to lure Charlie to the dark side ends up being his most challenging to date. She’s simply not as easy a mark as he assumed. She is one of those truly kind-hearted, selfless individuals that Dante is allergic to.  He works hard at coaxing her to embrace her wild side (if she has one) in hopes that he can loosen her morals. He certainly has his work cut out for him! As his time runs out, he also discovers that he's not the only one after Charlie and has to determine who he can trust and what to believe.

Here’s what I liked: Dante is a d-bag and he's completely okay with it. However, around Charlie, he finds himself in the unfamiliar role of wanting to protect her more than convert her. He starts off being not attracted to her but then begins to care for her as he gets to know her better.  Her good-natured heart brings to the surface all his unresolved feelings about his family and his past. 

What didn’t quite work for me was Charlie’s character. She comes across as flat to me so much so that I couldn’t quite believe it when he started developing feelings for her.  I felt that she is just a list of positive attributes but not an actual person.  Still his reaction and internal dilemma about Charlie are surprising and ridiculous. 

I’m still happy with The Collector. It has an interesting and fun premise that kept me tuned in. There are more characters who add extra drama and tension to things. Some things were a bit far-fetched which is baffling because if I’m willing to believe that a soul collector is out to seal people's fates then what was with my eye rolls when he paid for everyone to go to Vegas? Regardless, The Collector is entertaining because Dante, the cocky s.o.b. really powers the story. 

~ Bel 



Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crossing the Line by Katie McGarry


Crossing the Line (Pushing the Limits, #1.5)* * * *

Katie McGarry captivated readers with her “riveting, emotional”* Young Adult debut, Pushing the Limits. In this gripping novella, she tells the story of Lila and Lincoln, who discover that sometimes it’s worth crossing the line for love…

Lila McCormick, Echo's best friend from Pushing the Limits, first met Lincoln Turner when tragedy struck both their lives. But she never expected their surprise encounter would lead to two years of exchanging letters—or that she’d fall for the boy she’s only seen once. Their relationship is a secret, but Lila feels closer to Lincoln than anyone else. Until she finds out that he lied to her about the one thing she depended on him for the most.

Hurting Lila is the last thing Lincoln wanted. For two years, her letters have been the only thing getting him through the day. Admitting his feelings would cross a line he’s never dared breach before. But Lincoln will do whatever it takes to fix his mistakes, earn Lila’s forgiveness—and finally win a chance to be with the girl he loves.


Review:

So you all know how much I loved Pushing the Limits and Dare You To.  I was excited when it was announced that Katie McGarry would be releasing a short story about Echo’s BFF, Lila.

When Lincoln’s brother died, he and his family attended the funeral of another soldier that died in the same attack.  That soldier was Aries Emerson.  The brother of Echo Emerson, our heroine from Pushing the limits.   The funeral does not provide the closure that Lincoln’s dad thinks it will but it does provide one thing that Lincoln never expected.  And that is someone with a shoulder for him to cry on.   That shoulder belongs to Echo’s best friend, Lila McCormick.  Lincoln and Lila connect right away at the service and continue to keep in touch over the next two years via written letters.

As their senior year comes to an end, Lincoln has to face the mistakes he has made that may cost him the friendship with the girl he loves and the future of a college education.  Lila has to face her fear and anxiety over the big changes she will experiencing – going to a college in a new state with out any of her friends that she was hoping would be there.  Together they might be able help each other correct mistakes and face the future.

I definitely recommend Crossing the Line.  This a short sweet story about two people trying to find a way to admit that they love each other as more than just the friends they claim to be.  Add in a little mystery with a hilarious and satisfying ending and you have great short story to hold you over until you get your on hands on Dare You To.

Nat

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (59)



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



Awaken (Abandon Trilogy, #3)
By Meg Cabot
Publication Date: May 7, 2013


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, the dark reimagining of the Persephone myth comes to a thrilling conclusion.

Death has her in his clutches. She doesn’t want him to let go.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she’d be forced to live forever in the one place she’s always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves.

But now her happiness — and safety — are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul.

If the balance between life and death isn’t fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce’s home back on earth will be wiped away. But there’s only one way to restore order. Someone has to die.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dare You To by Katie McGarry


Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)
* * * *

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

Review:


When I read the teaser to Dare You To (at the end of Pushing the Limits) I knew that I was going to love this story.  In those few pages we get an entertaining glimpse of Ryan’s cocky and persistent attitude as well as Beth’s twisted and bad ass sense of humor.  But those were just small pieces of their personalities.

When Beth takes the fall for one of her mom’s many mistakes, her estranged uncle swoops in to save her from spending time in juvenile detention.  Saving her includes separating her from her old life and old friends and taking her to a small country town outside Louisville to start out fresh.  Beth is understandably resistant.  She doesn’t want to leave her friends.  She doesn’t want to live with the uncle that abandoned her.  And she is worried because there is no one else to take care of her mom.  But she has no choice.  She has to stay until she can find a way to take her mom away from Louisville and the dysfunctional and dangerous life she lives there.    Not long after arriving in Groveton, she meets Ryan - the jock that, as part of a dare, asked for her number.  Soon she finds herself growing close to Ryan and making new friends -  which makes her wonder if she really should run back to her old life.

Ryan is surprised to find out that his hero,  MLB player Scott Risk, has moved to Groveton.  He is even more surprised that he has been asked to show Scott Risk’s niece around.   What he would have never expected is that said niece is the girl that made him lose a dare.  And he NEVER loses a dare.  Ryan doesn’t like to lose at anything.  But before long, losing that dare doesn’t matter.  He and Beth are reluctantly drawn to each other.  He seems to provide her some stability and she is the one person that knows his family secrets and understands why everything is not as perfect as everyone else seems to think it is.  When it looks like Beth might leave, Ryan’s tenacious “I Never Lose” attitude comes into play while he tries to win the one thing he knows he can’t lose.

I truly enjoyed this story.  There was amazing chemistry between Beth and Ryan.  Not just sexual but emotional as well.  Ryan was my favorite kind of hero.  He was the modern forever boy.  And we all know how much I love forever boys.  But what I loved most was one of the things I loved about Pushing the Limits.  Katie McGarry does such a wonderful job at showing you that not everything is black and white.  That everyone has been damaged by something and that the bad guy isn’t all bad and the good guy isn’t all good.  This comes through in all her characters – main, secondary, old and young.   Just because you hate someone in the beginning doesn’t mean you won’t love them - or at least understand them – in the end.

Dare You To is a wonderful story.  If you enjoyed Pushing the Limits, you will definitely enjoy this one as well.

Dare You Too will be released May 28, 2013.

Nat

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Peek In The BiblioBin #59





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.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cover Reveal - Tremble by Jus Accardo



Today we are thrilled to be helping Entangled Publishing reveal the cover for the third installment of the Denazen Series by Jus Accardo!  Not only do we have this super sweet cover, but we have an excerpt from the book, Tremble!

Check it out!



Total swoon worthy hotness, right!?  

Here's the synopsis to get you hooked - 


Dez Cross has problems. She’s almost eighteen and on the verge of losing her mind thanks to the drug the Denazen corporation used to enhance her abilities. People close to her have turned their backs on the underground and are now fighting for the wrong side. And then there’s Kale... Things couldn’t get any worse.

Until, of course, they do. Denazen is about to start a new trial—this one called Domination—and it works. But that means out with the old and in with the new. The order has been given to terminate all remnants of the second trial—including Dez. The good news is that there’s a survivor from the original trial. A woman whose blood may hold the cure for the second generation of Supremacy kids' defects. But the underground Sixes aren’t the only ones who know about her.

Dez's father is willing to throw away everything he has to keep Dez from getting the cure—including the one thing that might tear her apart from the inside out.


And, if that's not enough to entice you, check out this excerpt - an exclusive for the cover reveal!

“I told them you wouldn’t come alone. Yet here you are,” Kale’s dark voice said from the doorway. “You’re an odd one.”
“You don’t realize it, but coming from you, that’s kinda funny,” I said, swallowing hard and turning to face him. The light from the hall lit the entire right side of his face, leaving the left cloaked in darkness. Two sides of the same dangerous coin. I wanted to back away but resisted, meeting his gaze straight on. My Kale was in there somewhere—and he could sense weakness. “Did you kill her?”

            “She’s dead.”
            
“I figured as much,” I said, jaw tense. Another step closer. “But I’m asking if you did it.” 

            He cocked his head to the left and I could see his expression. Confusion. “You asked the same thing about the other girl. Why does it matter?”
            “Because it does. It matters to you, too. You just don’t remember.”
            He took another step. Inches. He was inches from me now, the warmth from his body radiating like the sun. Every one of my muscles plunged into an all-out war with my heart. Common sense screamed for me to match his steps forward with ones away. Keep your distance—he’s dangerous!
My heart wanted to move closer. I wanted this to all be nothing more than a bad dream.
            “I feel like...when I look at you—” He shook his head and placed a hand on either side of me, up against the mattress, and brought his face close to mine. For the longest moment all he did was stare. When he did speak, there was so much rage in his voice. “You stabbed me. When that didn’t do the trick, you pushed me from the bridge. I’m asking you why?”
            “I never did that, Kale. No one’s ever pushed you from a bridge as far as I know. I promise. As for the scar, yeah. You were stabbed. Alex did it.”
            “You’re lying, Kiernan.”
            “I’m not. And my name is Dez,” I said, voice cracking under the weight of his words. “Deznee.” I wasn’t ready to give up, so I went with what had always worked for me. Something insane.
            Pushing forward, I crushed my lips to his, wrapping both arms around his neck to lock him in place. He didn’t resist and, to my surprise, didn’t shove me away. Instead, after a moment, he responded, his lips moving fervently with mine.
            The kiss only lasted a few moments. I was the one who broke it, pulling away as the clouds passed, allowing the moonlight to shine through the bedroom window once again. For a second, neither of us said a word. His cheeks glistened with my tears, making it look like he’d been crying, too, as he stared—eyes wide and mouth agape—like he’d never seen me before.
            For a crazy, insane moment, time froze. I thought maybe the kiss had done the trick. That this time the princess had woken the prince. He looked at me with a mix of shock and awe, the tiniest hint of my Kale gleamed through. My heart pounded so loudly I could barely hear anything else. It was there. I could see the spark in his eyes. “Kale?”
            But it didn’t last. Or maybe it hadn’t been there at all. Maybe I wanted to see it so badly that I imagined the whole thing.
            His lips parted and the corners tilted upward just a hair. “Roz is right. You are crazy.”

I hope you check out Tremble - it's a fun, hot series!  You can find Tremble here:






Once you check out Tremble, learn more about Jus Accardo here:







Or read her bio here:
Jus Accardo spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. At the last minute, she realized her path lay with fiction, not food, and passed on the spot to pursue writing.

Jus is the bestselling author of YA paranormal romance and urban fantasy fiction.
A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald. Her first book, Touch was released in November 2011 from Entangled Publishing. She is currently working on the next book in the Denazen series.

Happy Reading!
~Shel

Anthem For Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce


* * * 



Megan Bright and Jackson Dawes are two teenagers who first meet each other on the hospital ward where they are both being treated for cancer. Megan is scared and worried about her illness, but Jackson seems to be an old hand, having been on the ward for ages. And everybody loves Jackson! He is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need to borrow some of Jackson's extraordinary optimism to face her and Jackson's future. A moving story of first love and a remarkably powerful debut novel.

You know how there are just some people who can walk into a room and command attention? When they leave, you’re just left with such a fond impression of them? That’s Jackson Dawes, a teenager with this magnetic personality that draws in anyone within his vicinity. When Megan first arrives at the hospital and meets him, she’s not quite sure what to make of him.  At first she views him as sort of this inevitable annoyance who's always showing up to her room and talking endlessly about something or other. He’s also blunt about what she can expect during her stay. After a while, he becomes a calming influence. His vivid imagination and enigmatic personality keep all the kids on that floor optimistic and most importantly happy.

Anthem is told from Megan’s thirteen year-old point of view and it’s very innocent and straightforward. She starts off in denial about her cancer, then goes through the motions before accepting the reality of her situation. The uncertain outcomes of what she and her new friends are facing tug at your heart strings. I thought I’d have a very hard time with this book but honestly there are also plenty of moments to make you smile. Aside from her budding friendship with Jackson, I enjoyed Megan’s conversations with her grandfather who was a total riot. And the moments that are tough do make you teary-eyed but at the end, it’s a sweet story about having faith, being hopeful and living life to the fullest. 

In Anthem For Jackson Dawes, Celia Bryce has delivered a touching, heartfelt story that I highly recommend!

~ Bel



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Just One Day by Gayle Forman


Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)
* * * * *
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!





Review:


Gayle Forman hits another one out of the park.  Is this author capable of writing anything that is not thought provoking, emotionally charged, and beautiful?  I am pretty sure the answer to that question is no.  As I am sure many did, I devoured this book in just one day.

On a beautiful and warm summer day in Stratford-upon-Avon, Allyson and her friend Melanie await a production of Hamlet.  While they are waiting they are approached by a few people handing out pamphlets for a free Shakespeare performance.  Decisions, Decisions…a free street performance of Shakespeare or the Hamlet performance that is part of their parent-paid tour?  As the young man handing out the pamphlet says to them, “I think a night like this, you don’t waste on tragedy? Or indoors.”  Oh and did I mention the smile he flashed Allyson?  Yeah, even I couldn’t say no to that invitation.

Allyson and Melanie don’t regret their decision.  It’s an amazing performance and that cute guy flipped Allyson a coin at the end of the show.  It may not mean much but it was highly flattering.  Then the next day, on their way to London, Allyson runs into that guy from the outdoor performance on the train.  Before long, Allyson is agreeing to Willem showing her Paris for a day.  After a fun and action filled day, evening and night, Allyson wakes up and Willem is gone.

Allyson returns home confused, embarrassed and lost.  She begins her first year of college and quickly succumbs to a depression not abnormal for a first year college student but certainly abnormal to her.  Through the help of a caring guidance counselor, an off-beat Shakespeare course and some new friends, Allyson goes through the journey of discovering who she is.  And maybe, just maybe discovering who Willem is as well.

If you have ever read If I Stay and/or Where She Went, you know how Gayle Forman can force you to feel more emotion than you would think your poor little heart can manage.  Just One Day is no exception.  During their day in Paris, you can feel Allyson’s confusion.  And even with the first person narrative, you can sense Willem’s confusion as well.  You can feel their hope, fear and mistrust of the growing connection between them.  And when Allyson wakes up alone the next morning?  Her embarrassment and sadness are overwhelming.  The following year is no exception.  I think I particularly connected with Allyson because I am an only child.  I understood the identity-smothering relationship with her parents and her sometimes lonely journey of self-discovery. So much so that I sobbed like a little girl at one point.  Don’t worry.  This isn’t a tear-your heart-out tear-jerker like If I Stay.  It just resonated with me so much that I became an emotional mess.

There are books you just know you are going to love.  I always know that I am going love the next John Green or David Levithan or Gayle Forman novel.  But sometimes knowing that you are going to love something doesn’t prepare you for how much it is going to blow you away.  Just One Day blew me away.  You have left a stain on this reader, Gayle Forman.  A stain that I have no desire to remove.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (58)




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


The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)By Julie Kagawa
Publication Date: April 30, 2013



Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) by Shana Abé


* * * 


Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.

England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.

Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.


With a description so lovely I just couldn’t resist picking this one up. I thought the setting of 1915 and the geography added allure to the story and I just fell for it.

Lora’s entrance into the elite boarding school is most definitely an eye opener for her. It’s very much like Mean Girls where she has to hold her head high and endure the invasive stares and cruel comments from the spoiled rich girls. If they've mistaken her for fragile, then they quickly learn their lesson. She's learned a thing or two at the orphanage from where she came so she's definitely up for a fight when pushed into a corner.

All of that though is secondary to Lora’s gradual immersion into the truth about her past and her powers. Thanks to her instant connection with Jesse, she’s able to develop them and become stronger. I initially doubted her quick acceptance of the truth but I guess when someone provides you a plausible reason for your gifts after living your whole life in complete ignorance and secretly wondering if you’re a bit mental, you’d go with it too.

Her interaction with Armand provides much humor as they match each other wit for wit. There is an obvious attraction between them and the fact that her very presence causes a stir within his family generates more tension.

The Sweetest Dark is simply enchanting. I succumbed to all of its magic and enjoyed reading how all the relationships played out. There are also some lovely passages that are quite moving especially when describing the emotional connection between the three main characters. Without giving anything away, I will say this: I was sad when the book ended - not just because of where the haunting storyline went - but also because I simply did not want it to end. 

The Sweetest Dark is out now and the second in the series, The Deepest Night will be out August 13.

~ Bel



Monday, April 8, 2013

Moonset by Scott Tracey - Blog Tour Stop and GIVEAWAY

Moonset (Legacy of Moonset, #1)
About the Book


MOONSET (Legacy of Moonset #1)
Moonset, a coven of such promise . . . Until they turned to the darkness.

After the terrorist witch coven known as Moonset was destroyed fifteen years ago—during a secret war against the witch Congress—five children were left behind, saddled with a legacy of darkness. Sixteen-year-old Justin Daggett, son of a powerful Moonset warlock, has been raised alongside the other orphans by the witch Congress, who fear the children will one day continue the destruction their parents started.

A deadly assault by a wraith, claiming to work for Moonset’s most dangerous disciple, Cullen Bridger, forces the five teens to be evacuated to Carrow Mill. But when dark magic wreaks havoc in their new hometown, Justin and his siblings are immediately suspected. Justin sets out to discover if someone is trying to frame the Moonset orphans . . . or if Bridger has finally come out of hiding to reclaim the legacy of Moonset. He learns there are secrets in Carrow Mill connected to Moonset’s origins, and keeping the orphans safe isn’t the only reason the Congress relocated them .. . 




Review:

* * * *


I love stories about witches and warlocks.  Probably explains my love of Willow on Buffy and Magnus in the TMI and ID series.  And I have seriously enjoyed Scott Tracey’s Witch Eyes series.  So when I first saw the summary of Moonset I gleefully added its release date to my calendar. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait that long.  Thank you Net Galley and Flux for giving us the chance to read Moonset before the release date.  It was everything I was expecting and hoping for.

When the adults of the Moonset were killed, they left behind five orphans.  Five children that have been continuously punished by the Congress for the sins of their parents.   Oh, they haven’t been tortured or anything.  But they have been neglected.  Out of fear, the Congress has never allowed them to learn magic which in turn has left them unable to control the powers they have.  They have been moved from town to town, not allowing them to form any friendships outside their coven.  And they have had to raise themselves since their guardians only offer careless babysitting services at the very most.

Our hero, Justin Dagget, is a peacekeeper.  He is the one person that can keep peace amongst the other children of Moonset.  A trait that sometimes makes him tremendously weak and other times extremely strong.  With the exception of Malcolm, who seems to be a calm and laid back sort of guy, the other “siblings” are all emotional messes.  Bailey has ridiculously strong powers that she sometimes can’t control.  That issue doesn’t help her continuous attempts to be one of the popular kids.  Cole is socially awkward.  That awkwardness gives way to hilarious but inappropriately timed responses to stressful situations.  Some of the funniest moments in this book involve Cole.  Then there is Jenna.  Jenna is Justin’s so-called twin.  So-called because they share a father and were born minutes apart.  She is Justin’s opposite.  She is an instigator and her “in your face” and “kiss my ass” attitude make her seem an obvious target for recruitment to whatever dark forces there are at play.  Justin is the glue that holds this motley crew together.

When these five misfits are moved to Carrow Mill, Justin and his siblings find it more difficult than usual to determine who they can trust - which in their case is usually nobody.  Strange things begin to happen after their arrival and Justin is lost as to how to protect himself and his brothers and sisters.  As Justin begins to pick up pieces of a puzzle he doesn’t understand he needs to find out who in Carrow Mill is there to help them and who is not.

As you can probably tell, I thoroughly enjoyed Moonset.  The characters were extremely engaging.  The plot kept me glued to every page.  And my favorite part is the level of detail Scott Tracey put into developing his story.  My favorite examples of this are the quotes in the beginning of each chapter.  Instead of choosing existing quotes from our world, each chapter is headed by quotes from the fallen Moonset coven and testimonials from numerous books and files written and compiled after the fall of Moonset.  These are all fictional non-fiction and tell another piece of the story that isn’t necessarily included in what we read from Justin’s point of view.

I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait for the next installment in the story.  Scott Tracey has yet again delivered on a great book that everyone will enjoy.


Nat




Check out the next stops on the Moonset Blog Tour! 







Week Three
Apr. 8th - Tynga's Reviews - Interview
Apr. 8th - Bibliojunkies - Review
Apr. 9th - A Dream Within A Dream - Guest Post
Apr. 9th - BookPics - Review
Apr. 10th - JeanBookNerd - Interview
Apr. 11th - Short and Sweet Reviews - Guest Post
Apr. 12th - Reader Girls - Guest Post
Apr. 13th - Unabridged Bookshelf - Review
Apr. 14th - Fiktshun - Interview


About the Author

Scott Tracey is a YA author who lived on a Greyhound for a month, wrote his illustrated autobiography at the age of six, and barely survived Catholic school (and definitely not for the reasons you might think).
He is the author of WITCH EYES, chosen as one of Amazon’s Best LGBT Books of 2011, as well as an ALA Popular Paperback in the Forbidden Romance category.  The final book in the WITCH EYES trilogy, PHANTOM EYES, will be released in the fall of 2013.
He is also the author of MOONSET, a new series which will be released April 8, 2013, as well as a contributor to the SHADOWHUNTERS & DOWNWORLDERS anthology, edited by Cassandra Clare.
His career highlights include: accidentally tripping a panic alarm which led to nearly being shot by the police; attacked in a drive-thru window by a woman wielding a baked potato, and once moving cross country for a job only to quit on the second day.
His gifts can be used for good or evil, but rather than picking a side, he strives for BOTH (in alternating capacity) for his own amusement.

LINKS:





GIVEAWAY:

Fill out the Rafflecopter form to win ONE of FIVE copies of Moonset!


A Peek In The BiblioBin #58






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.

This is what we have in our BiblioBin this week. Tell us what's in your bin!


For Review:




The Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick


Borrowed:





Sever (The Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren DeStefano


Purchased:




Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson