October 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

Title: Everbound
Author: Brodi Ashton
Pub Date: 1.22.13
From goodreads.com: Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

Happy Halloween everyone!

October 30, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (25)

This week's topic is
Top Ten Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines

1. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games series)
Honestly, I think one of the most kick-ass things about Katniss is how she held her family together after her father's death.  Aside from that there's, you know, the fact that she volunteered to fight to the death to take the place of her little sister, keeping Peeta alive in the arena (twice), and she became the face of a revolution.  You did the damn thing girl.

2. Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass)
She's a sixteen year old assassin -  and one of the best in the world.  Does it get anymore kick-ass than that?  I also really love that just because she's an assassin (a typically male profession) doesn't mean that she doesn't enjoy dresses and make-up and going to the theater.  She's pretty much the best.

3. Lila Zacharov (The Curseworkers series)
The very fact that Lila came back from spending three years as a cat and is able to function fairly normally is good enough for me.  Add in to that that she's being prepped to take over a crime family and you've got one badass chick on your hands.

4. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series)
The brightest witch of her age who, for the first eleven years of her life, didn't even know magic existed.  She helped take on the darkest wizard of their time and beat him, going on to work in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

5. Mia Thermopolis (The Princess Diaries series)
While not exactly taking the news that she was a princess in stride, Mia went on to use her power to inspire great change in Genovia and the world.  She discovered that a former princess installed a Parliamentary system that she relaunched, she bribed her dad to donate $100 a day to Greenpeace in order for her to take princess lessons, and she inspired great actions in those around her (Michael's robotic surgery arm anyone?)

6. Ruby (The Darkest Minds)
Ruby lives in a horrific world where children are feared and locked up and no one can be trusted.  That's why I find it extraordinary that when she finds three other kids on the run she is able to trust them, protect them, and treat them like family.  It's a slow process, of course, but it happens.  Also, her orange powers, which I'm sure we're only beginning to tap into, are totally badass.

7. Callie (Starters series)
Callie lives in a world where there are only Starters (people under 20) and Enders (people over 60).  Before they died, she made her parents a promise that she would take care of her brother Michael.  As things get more desperate, Callie sells her body to a company called Prime Destinations.  This company takes Starters bodies and rents them to Enders who want to be young again.  Having the bravery to do this to take care of her brother makes Callie pretty kick-ass in my book.

8. Amy Haskel (Secret Society Girl series)
Being one of the first girls in a secret society that has, for hundreds of years, only accepted male members takes serious balls.  You're fighting against at least a hundred years of bias.  All of the alumni, and even some of your own class, don't really want you there and are actively trying to get rid of you.

9. Emerson Watts (Airhead series)
You have to be pretty kick-ass to take on the corporation that removed your brain from your dying body and transplanted it into a supermodel's body.  Factor in having to deal with the supermodel's life and missing everything about your own while taking on said company.  I just can't even imagine it.

10. Turtle Wexler (The Westing Game)
The youngest of the players of Westing's game (13) and probably the most discounted by everyone else in the group.  Turtle is the most committed to playing the game and fiercely loyal.  She also has a penchant for kicking people in the shins when they do something wrong, which I really liked when I was little.

October 29, 2012

In My Mailbox (22)

Hosted by The Story Siren


This week I borrowed my sister's lending Kindle so I could get in a Halloween-y mood and read Anna Dressed in Blood!  (Also, how much do I love that she has a lending Kindle?  So much.)  Big thanks to my sister!

Also, I hope all my fellow East Coasters are fairing well with Sandy.  Work's already been cancelled for me, so I'm already hunkered down with the second Pirates of the Caribbean and my first cup of coffee of the day.  Stay safe everyone!   

October 26, 2012

Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson

Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Pages: 468
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing

From goodreads.com: Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.
     Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.
     As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

WARNING: This book destroyed me.  I don't know if I was feeling extra emotional that day or what, but I cried like a baby for the last 100 pages or so.  Also, I flew through this one.  Its 500 or so pages (468 to be exact) took me less than a day to read.  I just couldn't put it down.

Here's a breakdown: Taylor's dad is diagnosed with cancer and best case scenario has four months left. He requests that the family goes back to the lake house that they've been avoiding for the past five years.  While there, the past catches up with Taylor in the forms of her former best friend Lucy and ex-boyfriend Henry, both of whom she hasn't talked to in five years.

Okay, I loved Amy & Roger (Matson's first book) and I had been looking forward to Second Chance Summer since I first heard about it.  I was not at all disappointed.  I loved this book.  It had the perfect summer tone to it.  Between Taylor's job at the snack stand, walking barefoot on gravel driveways, and hanging out on her dock while she couldn't sleep, all I wanted was for it to be summer so I could be sitting at the beach reading this.  

I loved Taylor's family and how at the beginning of the summer they were practically strangers (the siblings especially), but by the end you can see how close they had gotten.  Most of all I loved Taylor, who started the book running away instead of confronting things and wound up realizing that was no way to deal with life.  I really connected with her and felt her pain.  I loved watching her relationship with her dad grow over the summer and her regret that she didn't appreciate her family sooner.  And I can't forget to mention Murphy, Lucy, Elliot, Davy, and Henry - all these great characters that populate her summer life.  I loved them all.

October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (23)

Title: Then You Were Gone
Author: Lauren Strasnick
Pub Date: 1.8.13
From goodreads.com: 

Two years ago, Adrienne’s best friend walked out of her life. One week ago, she left Adrienne a desperate, muffled voicemail. Adrienne never called back.

Now Dakota is missing. She left behind a string of broken hearts, a flurry of rumors, and a suicide note.
Adrienne can’t stop obsessing over what might have happened if she’d answered Dakota’s call. And she’s increasingly convinced that Dakota must still be alive.
Maybe finding and saving Dakota is the only way Adrienne can save herself.
Or maybe it’s too late for them both.

October 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (24)

This week's topic is:
Top Ten Books to Get in the Halloween Spirit

I'm going to split this into books I've read and books I haven't.  The ones I haven't are currently on my TBR list and I'm very looking forward to reading.

Books I've read:

1. Jinx - Meg Cabot

2. In a Dark, Dark Room - Alvin Schwartz
Okay, this is one of the most memorable books from my childhood.  The Girl With the Green Ribbon will be with me FOREVER.

3. Halloween Rain (a Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel) - Christopher Golden & Nancy Holder
I love Buffy and I loved the novelizations when I was in high school.  This one's perfect for Halloween.

4. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz
Another short story book.  I remember these stories terrifying me when I was younger.

5. The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin
This isn't really a scary book, but involves a dead man, a mystery, and a game.  Halloween-y enough for me.

Books I haven't:

6. Ten - Gretchen McNeil
Murder mystery!

7. I Hunt Killers - Barry Lyga
A serial killer's son investigates murders.

8. Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake
Ghost story with a love story?  I'm intrigued.

9. Born Wicked - Jessica Spotswood
Witches.  I love me some witches.

10. 17 and Gone - Nova Ren Suma
Visions of girls gone missing.

I leave you with my zombie pumpkin.  Happy Halloween everybody!

October 20, 2012

The Vicious Deep - Zoraida Córdova

Title: The Vicious Deep

For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave. 
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he's heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he's suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods. 
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea...and now it wants him back.

I have never in my life felt the need to read a mermaid book.  My mermaid quotient has always and forever been filled by The Little Mermaid and I am okay with that.

Seriously, does it get any better than this?  I think not.

The description of this book got me though.  Having it from a boy's point of view (a soon-to-be, but doesn't yet know it merman) was intriguing to me.  Also, the best friend love story angle which, if you haven't realized it yet, is one of my favorite romance stories to explore.

The whole time I was reading this, I had the feeling that I was missing something.  It almost felt like I was skipping whole passages.  I wasn't, but there was something about the writing - it was like I wanted things to be spelled out more than they were.  The descriptions of the action scenes were vague, characters that should have been fleshed out in the beginning were merely mentioned and then given personality traits two thirds of the way through the book.

I wanted more about Tristan and Layla's relationship.  I felt like his feelings towards her kept jumping around in terms of when they started.  Was it in middle school, when she kicked the kids that were bullying him and he's been carrying around this torch for years?  Was it only recently that his feelings started to change?  It was another unclear piece of the puzzle.

Once you get down to it, Tristan is set on an epic quest in order to rightfully claim his grandfather's throne.  I felt it took WAY too long to get to this quest.  After Tristan leaves his grandfather's world he goes home.  He approaches this great journey with no sense of urgency, he just goes back to school like everything's normal.  If my grandfather asked me to go on a quest to keep the kingdom in our family, I wouldn't go back to sit in English class and bum around at lunch.  No, I would do what he freaking asked me to and try to save our legacy.

Overall I thought the vagueness and pacing issues really took away from my enjoyment of the storyline.  I may still check out the sequels, but they won't be at the top of my list.

October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (22)

Author: Julie Cross
Pub Date: This is a weird one.  Good Reads lists it as 1.8.13, while the B&N website lists 1.15.13.

From goodreads.com: Jackson Meyer has thrown himself into his role as an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. Despite his heartbreak at losing the love of his life, Jackson has proved himself to be an excellent agent. However, after an accidental run in with Holly—the girl he altered history to save—Jackson is once again reminded of what he's lost. And when Eyewall, an opposing division of the CIA, emerges, Jackson and his fellow agents not only find themselves under attack, but Jackson begins to discover that the world around him has changed and someone knows about his erased relationship with Holly, putting both their lives at risk all over again.

October 16, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (23)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is 
Top Ten Favorite Authors In X Genre

I think I'm going to go...Contemporary.  It's one of my favorite genres, so let's see what I come up with...

1. Meg Cabot
2. Stephanie Perkins
3. Deb Caletti
4. Melina Marchetta
5. Melissa Jenkins
6. Morgan Matson
7. John Green
8. Megan McCafferty
9. Jennifer E. Smith
10. Lauren Barnholdt

These are people that I will read ANYTHING with their names on it.  I don't care about titles, summaries, pictures on covers.  If any of them have written it, I'm reading it, no questions asked.

October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (21)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Pub Date: 10.23.12
From goodreads.com: 

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can't.
She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.
In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

October 9, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (22)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week is a rewind week so I'm going to tackle my Fall TBR list.

1. For Darkness Shows the Stars - Diana Peterfreund
2. The Darkest Minds - Alexandra Bracken
3. Entice - Jessica Shirvington
4. Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein
5. The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson
6. The City's Son - Tom Pollock
7. The Diviners - Libba Bray
8. Level 2 - Lenore Appelhans
9. Ten - Gretchen McNeil
10. Eve & Adam - Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Most of these are BEA books.  I haven't been doing that well with my BEA reading, so hopefully putting them on my Fall TBR list will fix that!

October 6, 2012

She's So Dead to Us - Kieran Scott

Title: She's So Dead to Us
Author: Kieran Scott
Pages: 278
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

From goodreads.com: Ally Ryan would rather be in Maryland. She would rather be anywhere, in fact, than Orchard Hill, site of her downfall. Well, not hers exactly—but when your father’s hedge fund goes south and all your friends lose their trust funds, things don’t look so sunny for you. Her mother moved her to Maryland to flee the shame, but now they’re moving back. Back to the country-club, new-car-every-year, my-family-came-over-on-the-Mayflower lifestyle that Ally has outgrown. One bright spot, however, is gorgeous, intense Jake Graydon. But it won’t be easy for the two of them to be together—not if his friends (her former friends) have anything to say about it. Is Ally ready to get thrown back into the drama of the life she left behind?

Before this series it had been a while since I had read a straight up contemporary without any quirky situations, just high school.  I'm super glad that it filled the Completely Contemp requirements for each year because I was starting to feel neglectful of 2010 & 2011.  She's So Dead to Us starts off with Ally coming back to her hometown after a few years in Maryland.  Her father made some bad investments for his friends (Ally's friends parents), so they left town, then he left them.  Ally's mom moves them back to Orchard Hill to try and reclaim their lives.  *  I was so reminded of The OC with this story, probably because of the parallels with Ally's dad and Jimmy Cooper.  Don't worry, Ally is much more likable than Marissa.  She meets the boy who moved into her old bedroom and sparks fly, but the Cresties (Ally's old friends, named for the crest they live on) are not all about forgiving and forgetting.

This book was just good high school drama.  The kids are rich kids, but not obnoxiously Gossip Girl rich.  The "norms" who Ally takes to hanging out with are kinda awesome.  (Especially Annie.  I love that in He's So Not Worth It you get to peek into Annie's Crestie log.  Hilarious!)  Jake is kind of a bonehead.  Not to a bad degree, but like I want to smack him in the head, call him an idiot, and point him in the right direction.  Eventually he gets it.

I also loved that in between the chapters there were notes from random girls at school.  Always really funny and nice to see the drama from an outside perspective.  I don't want to go too much into the 2nd and 3rd books, because I don't want to give anything away, but if you're looking for a solid high school relationship drama start this series ASAP!

October 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (20)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Pub. Date: 1.8.13
From goodreads.com: 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.

October 2, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (21)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is
Top Ten Older Books You Don't Want People to Forget About

Okay, this week I'm going to do something a little different.  There are so many backlist books that I love, but I want to take a minute to appreciate where the YA genre was when I was actually the age of the intended reader.

When I was younger, YA was a never-ending landscape of series books.  You know, those ones that would come out like, once every month.  It all started pre-YA for me with the Baby-Sitter's Club (of course), The Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew (The Secret at Solaire is still my favorite).  When I moved into the teen shelves of my library it was Fear Street, Sweet Valley, Nightmare Hall, Love Stories...the list was never ending.  I used to devour these books.  Every week I would go to the library and browse the shelves for new additions to my series and new series to start.  I would sit and read straight through them in a few hours.  The plot was never particularly complex, nor were the relationships within the books.  The main characters were usually not that likable.  (Who do you root for in the SVH books, really?  Everyone is the worst.)  Why did I even read these books again?  Most of the time you didn't even have to read them in order.  

On the same level as the series books were the series that either spun off from tv shows or from which tv shows were born.  I'm mostly talking about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels (which they recently repackaged) and the Roswell High books.  Just thinking about the Roswell books makes me want to go down to my basement and dig around to find them so I can reread the series right now, TBR list be damned.

To this day my basement is full of these books.  I just can't part with my old SVH books or BSC books.  I actually bought a bag full of Love Stories at my last library sale that are currently residing in the trunk of my little VM Beetle.  I bought that repackaging of the Buffy books, even though I still have the originals packed away somewhere.  Am I ever going to read them again?  Maybe not, but I'm a nostalgia whore.  I can't help it.  I can't forget these books that I read in my formative years.  YA has come light years from where it was then, but we should remember where it was because it really wasn't all that long ago.