Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Pushing The Limits #2
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication Date: 05/28/2013
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
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....
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
It took me FOREVER to read this book!! Life kept interrupting me! But once I was able to sit down and get into the story I could not put the book down. So many feels!

The story is told from the POVs of Beth and Ryan but it was very well done and I had absolutely no problem connecting with both of them (which is usually my big issue with multiple POVs).

They each have their own issues and neither of their families are perfect, the difference is that everyone thinks Ryan's family is perfect. There are some intense situations brought up and I don't mean sexual tension (although there is that too).

Beth's family is messed up. Tangled up in drugs and abusive boyfriends Beth's mom is anything but motherly. Beth's past has really made her tough and scared to trust, lucky for her Ryan comes along. Ryan on the other hand is dealing with a family that is falling apart right before his eyes after his brother Mark let them know who he really is. Ryan's main struggle is with trying to figure out his future, thinking baseball is it and then dealing with the thought that maybe he wants something more.

I'm trying to think of any issues I had with the book but there really wasn't any. Although it would have been great to see some more connection between Beth and Lacy, I felt like their friendship could be epic but it doesn't really get a chance to develop.

I really loved Beth and Ryan together and I really enjoyed reading their story. It was intense and exciting, not once did my mind wander while reading it. I highly recommend Dare You To (you could say I dare you to read it, ha ha, I know not funny..) I can't wait to read more of Katie McGarry's books!!
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Waiting On Wednesday: Royally Lost

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It features books we are eagerly anticipating getting our hands on.
My Pick This Week:
Author: Angie Stanton
Expected Publication Date: 05/06/2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
~ Goodreads ~
So to me this sounds like a cutesy read.  To many reviewers on Goodreads it seems to be a flop.  They tell me I shouldn't read this.  They can tell me "I told you so" later.

Monday, April 28, 2014

In The Shadow Of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Author: Cat Winters
Publication Date: 04/02/2013
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
This was an amazing read. I must be truthful and say that I knew nothing about the era this book is written during but find myself totally interested in learning more about it now.

Cat Winters did an excellent job in making the characters and community feel real. I could really sense the feelings of suspicion and the sheer terror of death lurking around every corner. Due to the war and the spanish influenza people trust no one yet put all their faith into "spirit advisors and photographers". It's just crazy to think about wearing masks all the time, eating and bathing in onions in hopes of warding off the flu, and to think that part isn't fiction, it really happened. The pictures that were added to the book really gave me a glimpse into what everything looked like, made it feel all that more real. It really added a spooky element to the story.

The story is an intense ride that follows the MC along as she tries to help her lover boy come to terms with a horrible truth. I was dying in suspense wondering what was really going on and hoping beyond hope that it would end happily.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds was a different read than what I'm used to but I'm happy to say that I loved it.

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Saturday, April 26, 2014

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Author: Huntey Fitzpatrick
Publication Date: 06/14/2012
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
I loved this book so,so,SO much! When I wasn't giggling like a maniac, I was swooning like a schoolgirl, and when I wasn't swooning I was dying of suspense. There was so much emotion and I grew so attached to the characters that I was seriously sad to read the ending, just because it meant the book was over.

I really wish the Garretts were a real life family and I wish I was a part of them. Being raised as the only kid in the house I grew up wondering what it would be like to have siblings and to be close with them. The Garretts are how I imagine it would be like.

I had serious hate going for Samantha's mom and it was easy to see why Sam would watch her neighbors and imagine what it would be like to be a part of them. Sam does a lot of growing in this book and by the end she seems like a completely new person.

Jace is the swoony boy next door. He is such an amazing guy, responsible, mature, looks out for his family... he's just AMAZING. He really helps Sam realize that she has a voice for herself. I hated that she hid her relationship with Sam for so long though. Their relationship is the beat kind...built on a foundation and taken slowly but yet at a decent enough pace for a summer romance. I couldn't get enough of their interactions.

The only thing I hope for now is maybe a companion book. I would love to know what happens with Nan, Tim, and the rest of the Garretts.

An excellent read that I will definitely be reading again...over and over!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Author: John Green
Publication Date: 01/10/2012
Audience: Technically YA but really ANYONE
Genre: Contemporary

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
Have you read this book yet?  Almost everyone has, but if you are like me and have just realized you are potentially missing out then you need to get on this book RIGHT NOW!  If you think, "eh, I will wait and watch the movie first" then perhaps we shouldn't be friends. Joking, joking. Not really. Now I'm not saying you can't watch the movie, because it looks amazing (I even added the trailer down at the bottom) but I feel you need to read it in your own mind first before seeing it through a directors eyes.

I feel like whatever I say to review this book will not be good enough. I feel the message that is conveyed is different for each person who reads it but no matter the message it's always an important one. This book was amazing, and ugly, and beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes and made me laugh. It is an amazing book, one that I think everyone should read no matter what type of book you like. Just read it and let it change you.


Gaaaah! The FEEEEELSSS!!!!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: The Taking

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It features books we are eagerly anticipating getting our hands on.
My Pick This Week:
Author: Kimberly Derting
Expected Publication Date: 04/29/2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
~ Goodreads ~
So this book sounds amazing!! I mean, I'm guesssing has to be aliens.  Hopefully hot aliens...I may be disappointed if there aren't aliens.
Luckily I don't have much longer to wait till this one is out but it still may be a while till I can get to it.  What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stripped by Brooklyn Skye

Stripped #1
Author: Brooklyn Skye
Publication Date: 05/14/2013
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
“I like you.” His voice is low and soft, which I don’t deserve. I look away, down the rutted parking lot.
“Don’t... waste those words on me.”
He touches my cheek. “You just need someone to show you.”
“No.” I ease back again. “I don’t. So please, Torrin, stop trying to swoop in and save me. I don’t need saving.”

College freshman, Quinn Montgomery, will do anything to avoid the mistake her sister made — killing herself over a boy. But when she is forced into nude modeling at a local college to support her family after a bankruptcy, she begins to crack, just enough to let Torrin, the university’s top varsity oarsman, see that the real Quinn is not as feisty and unapproachable as she wants everyone to think. But letting someone in comes at a steep cost and, it turns out, Torrin is connected to Quinn’s family in more ways than she could ever imagine.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
Stripped is your run of the mill contemporary romance. While it is somewhat predictable it was still an enjoyable, quick read.

The romance was what I would expect, while it wasn't epic by any means, it was sweet and hard won. I really liked Quinn and I really liked Torrin. I enjoyed riding along with them as they figured each other out and healed from their pasts. Their relationship seems very realistic even if it happened fast, though I'm not okay with their admittance of love just a week into it.

As far as the story goes, I enjoyed the idea. It was hard to witness the breakdown of a person/family following a suicide not to mention the scandal that has rocked Quinn's family. There are a few twists and turns that, while predictable, added excitement to the story.

If you're looking for a nice, no strings attached, fast read I suggest you pick up Stripped.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Insanity by Lauren Hammond

Asylum #1
Author: Lauren Hammond
Publication Date: 05/08/2012
Audience: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Romance
Adelaide Carmichael and Damien Allen couldn’t be more opposite.

Adelaide’s mother abandoned her when she was ten years old, leaving her to be raised by her abusive and alcoholic father.

Damien on the other hand came from a wealthy family, was a local celebrity, and seemed to have a bright future ahead of him.

Despite their differences, Adelaide and Damien were young, wild, and fiercely in love.

And they had a plan.

They were going to run away.

Be together forever.

And their plan was set in motion, until tragedy struck and for some reason, Adelaide wound up in The Oakhill Institution for the insane.

Adelaide has no idea what she did to wind up at Oakhill, but she knows one thing for sure...

She wants out.

And after Damien follows her there to aid her in escaping, Adelaide slowly begins putting together the pieces of her memory that are missing.

And it doesn’t take Adelaide long to figure out that sometimes...

That one true love never dies.

Warning:Do not read if you have a weak heart.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
My thoughts on this book are still a little jumbled. Insanity is a fast read with a storyline that makes it easy to keep readers guessing and turning the pages. During the entire book I was dying to know what the truth was, we are given small clues to point us towards the truth but yet there were things that had me second guessing what I thought was reality. It is really easy to connect with the main character and I instantly feel defensive of her when she has flashbacks involving her abusive dad.

As for romance, I really didn't get attached to Damien and Adelaide's relationship. We never really get to see them interact or connect. We just know that they love each other because Adelaide tells us so. Also in the middle of the book it seems like the author decided she was going to make this for mature audiences and threw half a dozen sex scenes into the mix. Now don't get me wrong, they weren't done in bad taste, I just felt by that point that it wasn't necessary for the story. The book felt like it wasn't even going in that direction when BAM sex scenes, pretty much one after another.

There were a few instances where the plot didn't meet up correctly and there were quite a few grammatical issues, BUT my biggest problem with the book is that it is being stretched into a series. I really feel like it would have been better for the author to make it a bigger book and finish the story off at the end, it just doesn't seem like series material. Though I will probably read the next books because I am left curious about what Adelaide's true story is.

Overall I enjoyed Insanity but I am left with a LOT of questions.
3.5 Stars
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds #1
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publication Date: 12/18/2012
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
So this book was all sorts of awesome! From page one I was sucked into the mystery behind the whole Psi organization and rehabilitation camps. The idea of kids either dying at the age of ten or mutating with abilities is crazy!

I really loved Ruby as a MC, while she has the power inside of her to take a lot of people down yet she hesitates to accept it as a part of her, afraid that it will make her into a monster. I'm pretty pleased with how Ruby grows over the timespan of the book. She becomes stronger and more sure of herself But she still has a long way to go. I seriously love the little group that Ruby, Chubs, Liam, and Zum make. They are perfect for each other and I really grew attached to them as a whole, especially as we learn more about their pasts. And can I just say that I am SO Team Liam! He is just the nicest guy and the most perfect fit for Ruby!

The whole book was one twist after another after exciting event after gut wrenching suspense. But the end! Ugh the end! It has me left dying to know what is going to happen, I seriously can't take it! I really thank the author for leaving me a tiny sliver of hope though!

The Darkest Minds is an excellent dystopian set in a realistic future world. It was a thrill ride that I didn't dare step off of until the end. I highly recommend!
Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Darker Days by Jus Accardo

The Darker Days Agency #1
Author: Jus Accardo
Publication Date: 08/19/2013
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Jessie Darker goes to high school during the day, but at night she helps with the family investigation business. Cheating husbands and stolen inheritances? They’re your girls—but their specialty is a bit darker. Zombie in your garage? Pesky Poltergeist living in your pool? They’ll have the problem solved in a magical minute. For a nominal fee, of course...

When gorgeous new client, Lukas Scott, saunters into the office requesting their help to find a stolen box, it sounds like a simple case—until the truth comes out. The box is full of Sin.

Seven deadly ones, in fact.

They’ve got five days to recapture the Sins before they're recalled by the box, taking seven hijacked human bodies with them. Easy peasy—except for one thing...

There’s a spell that will allow the Sins to remain free, causing chaos forever. When the key ingredient threatens the life of someone she knows, Jessie must make the ultimate choice between love and family—or lose everything.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads.
Jus Accardo you have disappointed me!

I LOVE the Denazen series so when I heard about this book I was sooo excited for another awesomely snarky female lead. Unfortunately it fell flat. Don't get me wrong it's an okay book but my expectations were so high going in that I can't get over my disappointment. Jessie Darker was snarky but not in a good way and it was hard to get over her obvious lust/insta love for Lukas. More than anything Jessie just flat out annoyed me.

I also had a hard time going along with the story. At times it seemed like the story was moving unrealistically fast and other times it drug on. There was plenty going on and a lot of unexpected realizations but I just wanted it to be so much more. The ending was the only time I got really into the book but I still don't think I will read the next one.

My advice to you is if you are familiar with Accardo don't go in expecting anything, rather have an open mind so that maybe you will have a better chance of enjoying the book.


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