Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where bloggers post about much-awaited releases!
Jul 31, 2013
Jul 30, 2013
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we post our top tens of anything bookish.
This week's topic is Top Ten Favorite Beginnings/Endings in Books. This is such a test on my failing memory, but I'll do five of each XD
Jul 29, 2013
Title: Shattered Illusions
Author: Leigh Hershkovich
Release Date: April 20th 2013
Publisher: Full Court Press
Source: signed copy from author
One murder. Four eyewitnesses. An unknown assailant. A victim with a mysterious secret. Bystanders beleaguered by life's losses. A killer at large...
When Sam, the proprietor of a local cafe, is shot dead on the street, four strangers become unwitting witnesses to the crime. As the investigation progresses, this quartet of onlookers find themselves not only haunted by the homicide, but pursued by their own pasts.
As they plunge deeper into the reality of his death, all are forced to realize that the loss of Sam is far from their most devastating. Inner anguish reaches a climax point for Ella, Marco, Sarah, and Danny as the answers they are hunting for continue to elude them—and the evidence they hope will vanish refuses to disappear.I have history with Shattered Illusions. September of last year, I restarted my blog, and Leigh was the first author to contact me for a review. Back then, the book didn't even have a cover or release date yet, so I really watched this book grow. And wow, how finely it aged, indeed.
Leigh's captivating prose immediately stood out along with the obvious question of how four people, our main characters, got involved with the homicide. There were, admittedly, times when the story became too vague; one might even consider those parts unnecessary to the plot but, unclear as they were, I actually liked reading those because they tended to be the most descriptive bits and they added a lot to the overall mystery of this book.
What surprised me was how Shattered Illusions isn't a mystery novel so much as an exposition of our main characters' lives that diverged and culminated in Sam's killing. Even then you'd think the whole book is like listening to a new friend's life story, but no—I felt like I lived every moment as Ella, Danny, Sarah, and Marco. Shattered Illusions is dark, gritty, and emotional, just like how it truly is inside a human mind.
There couldn't be a group of four people with more different lives, yet at the heart of them laid one stark similarity: depression from taking the blame for another person's action. But one of this book's very few faults is the lack of distinction in the characters' voices despite their overall differences. Take out the essence of their thoughts and they might very well be the same person. Or maybe that's just a way of showing that suffering identifies with everyone.
A bleak story with lots of lessons to offer, Shattered Illusions is a very unique novel. It's not a simple thrilling mystery, and people looking for something straightforward and easy to read might find themselves easily distracted, but the right readers are surely in for a treat.
MY FAVORITE PART is the realistic ending.
Jul 27, 2013
Jul 25, 2013
Welcome to my stop for the Catching Liam blog tour! You can view the full tour schedule here.
Title: Catching Liam (Good Girls Don't #1)
Author: Sophia Bleu
Release Date: June 25th 2013
Source: eARC for blog tour
Twenty-one year-old Jillian Nichols only has one rule when it comes to boys: catch and release. Boy-catching isn't just a game for Jillian and her friends, it's a lifestyle. After all, boys might be good for a dance or a drink and certainly a little under-cover action of the scandalous variety, but expect much else and you're bound for heart ache.
So when her best friends and fellow boy catchers start dropping like flies junior year, Jillian is determined to keep boys in her bedroom and out of her heart. Until she meets Liam McAvoy, the kind of guy that sticks around to make waffles and who can't—or perhaps won't—take a hint.
Study abroad student Liam doesn't want to be another notch on Jillian's bedpost. Actually he has much more interesting ideas for Jillian and her bedposts, but his student visa's set expiration date means he can't promise her forever. That doesn't mean he's going to walk away from the challenge of discovering why Jillian is hell-bent at keeping people at a distance.
Before long, neither is sure who is catching who—or if they're playing for keeps. Jillian knows one thing though: falling in love will not only break the only rule of boy-catching, it could also break her heart.I admit that, judging from the blurb, I thought Catching Liam sounded both "been there, done that" and "hey, that's new". Well, I can tell you now that it's more on the fresh side and that you'll definitely regret not reading this—because I freaking loved it!
When I started reading this, the first pressing question that I asked was "Why is Jillian so bent on avoiding a serious relationship with a guy?", and I imagine that'll also be the case for most readers. I assumed she was just another one of those NA girls who've been burned before yada yada yada so I was irritated when she started shooing off Liam, but oh no, that's not the case at all. Seriously, if her initial attitude is what will turn you off from this book, just hang in there. You'll thank me later.
Now let's talk about Liam McAvoy. Oh, Liam. I don't think I know a guy from a book who's a more perfect balance of sweet, sexy and gentlemanly than he is. He's the boy who makes moan-inducing waffles and saved his name in Jillian's phone under the name "Waffle-maker", and he's also the boy who defends kilts and can give Christian Grey a run for his money but is too polite to do that. If you ask me who's my top bookish crush right now, I'd scream-squeal his name for sure.
Jillian and Liam's romance make up most of this book, but not all of it. We also get totes of family drama, friend drama, I-don't-know-what-I-want-to-do-with-my-life drama—just drama all around. Drama can be boring, but never in Catching Liam. It actually lets us know so much more about the characters and the many layers to them.
Smart, funny, and sexy, Catching Liam sure stands out in the NA crowd. There's a particular twist that I certainly didn't see coming and brings this book up a notch in the uniqueness factor. I liked how just enough, not all, loose ends were tied up in that realistic ending, and I sure can't wait to read the sequel!
MY FAVORITE PART is Jillian and Liam's first date. Oh, the swoon~
Sophia Bleu is a secret identity where I can write about fantasies and falling in love and all the smexiness in between. In real life, I'm likely catching a plane, chasing kids, or making out with the love of my life—all 6 ft 3 inches of hotness that he is. Life is pretty good.
A Kilt Checker tote bag filled with Catching Liam swag and a $25 Amazon gift card
A Kilt Checker tote bag filled with Catching Liam swag and a $25 Amazon gift card
Jul 24, 2013
Hey, everyone! Welcome to my stop for the Starry Nights PH Tour! You can view more details about it here :D
Title: Starry Nights
Author: Daisy Whitney
Release Date: September 3rd 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: ARC borrowed from Dianne at Oops! I Read a Book Again
Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.
The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest art... at the expense of the greatest love they've ever known.
Like a master painter herself, Daisy Whitney brings inordinate talent and ingenuity to this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated new novel.A beautifully decorated package makes it a must-own in print.Prior to reading Starry Nights, I hadn't heard a lot about it; it's also my first Daisy Whitney book so I didn't know what to expect. But it sounded a lot like Night at the Museum, a movie I really enjoyed, so I looked forward to reading it.
And, holy crap, was it good.
This book is like a modern fairy tale. Magic oozed from its pages, and I was simply captivated. Daisy's lyrical way of writing transported me to the city of love, right alongside Julien as his new "talent" paved the way to a crazy adventure filled with art in all its forms, master painters, and their iconic works. I felt like I was witnessing firsthand Julien's every triumph and downfall with his eccentric group of friends.
And what is a fairy tale without romance? I believe this is where Starry Nights excels the most. Julien and Clio's romance is so dreamy, fluffy as cotton and sweet as candy. Given their real identities, an ominous feeling is a constant in the book, yet I still couldn't help but revel in the beauty of their love.
It was my everything. It was all my days and nights, and I am ruined for anyone else. Because there is only her. She was a revolution and she staged a coup d'etat in my heart.
Julien, our main character and narrator—yes, a male POV!—is very different from most YA heroes. He's Parisian, a romantic, and knows enough about art to give museum tours. Swoon-worthy? Absolutely. But, and this is just my personal opinion, I feel like his character doesn't aim to make you attracted to him. Instead, you'll want to be his friend, his confidante, his partner-in-crime. I don't know, I just feel like I have to get that out here.
The only qualm I had about this book is the ending. It's not that big of a deal, actually, and I can't say much or I might give a spoiler, but I'll say that it's not the most realistic path that I thought of for the story. Like I said, it's just a minor thing and I imagine most people would actually love it; I'm merely being particular here.
An enchanting, fast-paced book, Starry Nights totally blew me away and is unlike anything I've ever read. All the twists made relating to art history and mythology were unique, and now I am completely dying to visit Paris, if only to try to experience part of this story in real life. Starry Nights is the newest addition to my top 2013 reads and I definitely recommend it to everyone!
MY FAVORITE PART is Julien and Clio's "Save the Art!" James Bond-ish mission. It was heartbreaking but it also really showed what Julien's made of.
Jul 19, 2013
Title: This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Release Date: September 17th 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.Elise Dembowski wasn't quite the normal, awkward teenage girl—she was worse. She had no idea why her sincere attempts to make friends only ended up backfiring, when all she really wanted was to stop being alone and misunderstood.
Early on, this book already posed its first, and perhaps most important, question:
How do you suddenly make friends with people? It's ridiculous. They have years and years of shared memories and experiences. You can't drop into that midway through and expect to know what's going on. They wouldn't have been able to explain it all to me if they had tried. And they weren't trying.It was only in this aspect that I had trouble fully understanding Elise; I've had friends for as long as I can remember so I've never felt totally alone, and I also don't recall having problems making those friends.
Bullying is one of the issues tackled in here. It's the reason why Elise felt the need to change herself so she'd finally find a niche and stop being a target.
I left for my next class. Opening the door, I nearly collided with a guy who was running to beat the bell. I'd seen him before, usually recruiting people for the lacrosse team. The only other things I knew about him were that he had beautiful green eyes and seemed to wear Adidas sandals all the time, even in the winter.Obviously, Elise's lack of friends wasn't from her lack of trying; she was just unfortunate to have teenagers who act worse than five-year-olds as schoolmates. But she wasn't friend-less all throughout the book. She soon had two girls at school who embraced her into their circle, albeit not that well because, unlike Elise's want of friendship, they wanted popularity. Remember, though, that people can often surprise you.
"Watch it, lesbo," he snarled, lunging out of my way and down the hall.
During one of her nocturnal walks around town, Elise stumbled upon Start, an underground club that gave her a semblance of freedom and identity. But as much as Start empowered her, that boost faltered when faced with the reality of her school life.
So it felt even more magical when Elise discovered DJ-ing, like when Cinderella's fairy godmother told her she could go to the ball. It was heartwarming to see Elise finally have something that she could call hers. Something—and someone. Along with DJ-ing came Char who, swoon-worthy as he was, had me raising my red flags. He was sweet, funny, charming and all, but he didn't want anything complicated like relationships or a rival DJ.
That's right. Elise was such a prodigy that Start's resident DJ felt threatened. But somehow, I didn't really sense that she was exceptionally good at it; that's probably because the book was written in first person POV, and Elise wouldn't have believed it if not for the continuous affirmation of the people around her. That proved just how little she thought of herself.
Three things made this book as awesome as it is. First, it wasn't too dark and heavy, even with bullying and suicide. It actually provided a lot of laughs.
"You totally pulled an Irish goodbye," Vicky went on.
"What's an Irish goodbye?" I asked.
"It's when you just take off suddenly and don't tell anyone you're leaving," Pippa spoke up. "And it's a racist thing to say."
Vicky rolled her eyes. "One, no it's not. Two, you're not even Irish, Pippa. You're English."
Pippa shrugged. "They're still part of the empire."
"The empire?" Vicky screeched. "Now that is racist!"
Second was the music. Song titles and lyrics were in almost every page, and they were used so well that they added to the atmosphere of the whole story. And third was the writing. It wasn't fancy or anything, but Leila Sales has a way with words; I felt each tug of emotion, each of Elise's highs and lows. And when she was rocking out at the Start? Wow. I've never been in a club, but having read this book, I feel like I've been a regular Friday night guest for years.
With lots of lessons about friendship, love, and life, I can definitely recommend This Song Will Save Your Life. Once you get past that slow start, you will truly appreciate Elise's true self unraveling right before your eyes, especially when she realized that she needed only herself to reach that happy ending (I swear, this isn't a spoiler).
MY FAVORITE PART was
Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don't know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn't you. That isn't you at all.
Jul 18, 2013
Welcome to my stop for the Losing Francesca blog tour! You can see the other tour stops here.
Title: Losing Francesca
Author: J.A. Huss
Release Date: July 1st 2013
Publisher: Science Future Press
Source: eARC for blog tour
Francesca Sabatini came to America to take in the sights, celebrate her high school graduation, and have fun wasting time before college starts in the fall.
That's not what happens.
Fresh off the plane and barely on American soil more than a handful of minutes, Francesca's face is recognized by TSA scanners to be a match for a child who was kidnapped twelve years ago.
Brody Mason remembers the day Fiona Sullivan went missing during a family vacation in Italy and it's haunted him his whole life. So when Francesca shows up at the Sullivan farm down the road, he's compelled to figure out if this girl really is his long-lost friend.
But Francesca knows she's not Fiona Sullivan. She knows exactly who she is. At least she thinks she knows – until Brody Mason relentlessly pursues her and she begins to have feelings for him. Maybe being Fiona isn't so bad?
Reality becomes blurred, secrets are revealed, and life will never be the same when the final questions are answered: Is she Francesca or Fiona? And where does she really belong?When I first read the description for Losing Francesca, I knew I was signing up for a unique book. It sounded that plus odd, and it ended up being those but with a lot of feels and surprises.
Francesca Sabatini never thought her vacation to America would end up with her being made to live with another family—one that claims she's their daughter who'd gone missing twelve years ago. I sympathized with her when she kept on insisting that she's not Fiona Sullivan, because how can you not know who you are, right? It was either selective amnesia or lying. Soon enough, we learn that she's not downright lying; she just believes a whole other truth with all that she has.
Francesca (I'm gonna call her that because 'Fiona' only makes me think of Shrek's wife) was a likable main character. She had a weird-ass life in wherever the hell she came from—I know where, of course, but I'm avoiding spoilers here because that would totally ruin the book—but she was headstrong, brave, and realistic.
And then there's this boy, Brody Mason. At first I thought he was the typical local bad boy, but he was actually Fiona's childhood best friend, and he never stopped loving her when she was gone. He also never stopped believing that she'd come back, so I just wanted to give him a hug when Francesca kept saying that she's not Fiona.
Although it's not the only reason, the constant mystery of who Francesca's "father" kept me reading—flying through the pages, to be exact. He was always present in her thoughts, even when she was already starting to like being Fiona. I'd also be guilty if I were her because this father obviously gave her a life filled with love and luxury. I had a few theories about him, and one of them ended up being correct.
Losing Francesca wasn't all about romance, and I liked that. It also focused on family and blurring the line between right and wrong. It wasn't anything mindblowingly amazing, but it's a book that I will definitely pick up again.
MY FAVORITE PART were her "foot picture" moments. What they meant were both saddening and heartwarming.
About the author:
J. A. Huss likes to write new adult books that make you think and keep you guessing. Her favorite genre to read is space opera, but since practically no one reads those books, she writes new adult science fiction, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and books about Junco (who refuses to be saddled with a label).
She has an undergraduate degree in horses, (yes, really–Thank you, Colorado State University) and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology from the University of Florida. She used to have a job driving around Colorado doing pretty much nothing but shooting the breeze with farmers, but now she just writes, runs the New Adult Addiction and Clean Teen Reads Book Blogs, and runs an online science classroom for homeschoolers.
Jul 17, 2013
Jul 16, 2013
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop for the Untimed blog tour. You can follow the tour here.
Author: Andy Gavin
Release Date: December 17th 2012
Source: finished print copy for blog tour
Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.
As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.
Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.
When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it.
And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!Charlie Horologe had been ignored his whole life. Worse than shunned, he was always being forgotten. Even his own mother couldn't remember his name. One day, he snuck out of a boring museum field trip—no worries, his teachers would notice the missing student but wouldn't even think of him—and got attacked by a man who ran on clockwork, gears, wheels and all. That alone was weird, but falling into a hole that brought them back in time sure took the cake.
Untimed is the book that all the 'How to Write a Novel' guides I've read were talking about. Immediate conflict? Check. Interesting main character? Check. Memorable setting? Well, Untimed had more than one and, in the characters' perspectives, it changed from 1725 London to new-modern Philadelphia to altered China in less than a minute. It couldn't get more memorable than that.
Reading Untimed was like going on one crazy adventure. Remember when Harry and Hermione had to go back in time to save Buckbeak and Sirius? It was like that, but with the future of the entire world at stake and more than one Time-Turner because in here, there were whole generations of time travelers, thanks to the time-travel gene being hereditary.
Like I mentioned above, Charlie was an interesting main character, but he wasn't just that; he was also endearing. I couldn't help but root for him to succeed against his numerous adversaries because he had a kind heart and a sharp mind. He was sometimes rash and impatient like most kids his age, but he always had good intentions behind every action.
The one thing I didn't like was the bit of insta-love that Charlie had for Yvaine—just a bit, because she didn't reciprocate his feelings at first, which made Charlie even more like a lovesick puppy. He thought she was special because having been used to being constantly unseen, she saw him, when he knew very well that that was a time traveler thing. But don't worry, it got better soon enough.
The writing was atmospheric and straight-to-the-point, making the book descriptive yet fast-paced. I loved how the author put a lot of unique twists to time travel while keeping his historical facts straight as much as possible. And although harsh and action-packed, Untimed also had me laughing with its humor.
Yvaine stands. "The first time is the hardest." She points right at my crotch.And did I mention it's quite sexy, too?
I glance down. Truth be told, I'm pretty sore—
She punches my shoulder. "Openin' a time-hole, you dolt."
Between this real page-turner, there were several lovely illustrations that solidified the visualizations in my head and gave more life to the story. But damn, I would've loved to see Charlie's face during the ending, which was satisfying but left me wanting more.
MY FAVORITE PART was, hmm, this is hard... but I'll go with the ending just because it really surprised me!
Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes.
Hey, guys! I have a trailer reveal for y'all today: the trailer for Frigid by Jennifer L. Armentrout, one of my fave authors! ♥ But first, here's some info about the book:
Title: Frigid (Frigid #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: July 15th 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn't anything new. They'd been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the 'man' in man-whore. He's never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn't want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.
Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she's perfect and she's everything. But the feelings he has for her, he's always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.
But when they're stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor'easter, there's nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.
About the author:
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
Now, for the reason why you're here... the trailer!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we post our top tens of anything bookish.
This week's topic: Authors Who Deserve More Recognition (book cover photos link to my review of that book :D)
Jul 15, 2013
Hi guys! Welcome to my stop for the Three Daves blog tour! You can see the full tour schedule here.
Title: Three Daves
Author: Nicki Elson
Release Date: February 16th 2010
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Jennifer Whitney was the last American virgin. At least that’s what she felt like in 1986 as she began her sophomore year at Central Illinois University. She was proud of her decision to wait for the right guy, and yet she was getting restless. It seemed like everyone around her was doing it... and having fun doing it, too. She didn’t want to become the campus slut or anything, but surely there was a difference between a trashy skank and a nice girl with a little experience. Perhaps it was time to stop relying on fate to guide her and instead take matters into her own hands. And with that realization, Jen decided to find “the one” and lose her virginity, although not necessarily in that order...
About the author:
Writing wasn't something Nicki set out to do; it just sort of happened when she realized writing reports was by far her favorite part of her investment consulting position. She traded stock allocation and diversification for story arcs and dialogue and now weaves her creative writing time in with the other activities of her busy life with her family in the Chicago suburbs.
Nicki writes with two goals in mind: #1 to keep the characters realistic, even when their circumstances are anything but, and #2 to make the reader feel. Her published works include Three Daves, a light-hearted romantic romp through a 1980s college campus, Divine Temptation, a romantic novel of angelic proportions, and short stories “Sway” (available as a single), “I Don’t Do Valentine’s Day” (part of A Valentine Anthology), and “Impressionism 101” (included in the debut issue of Insatiable: The Magazine of Paranormal Desire).
Jul 13, 2013
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where bloggers share recently bought, borrowed, won, and gifted books (print or ebooks)!
Lol, this haul post is so late XD
Untimed by Andy Gavin - for blog tour
Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Click to Subscribe by L.M. Augustine - for blog tour
Bookmarks and uber cute pins from Chelsea Pitcher! ♥
As always, leave a link to your book haul post and I'll drop by! :D