Friday, June 13, 2014

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication Date: 02/25/2014
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
This book was so cutesy and fun to read.  Ive decided that cute and fluffy are how I prefer my contemporary romance reads.  Not that serious issues deter me but real life has enough issues without me reading about them.  Of course Better Off Friends does have a major issue it is centered around...Do Macallan and Levi belong together as more than just friends?  I was really impressed with how well the author stretched out the story and still kept me guessing as to what would happen in the end.
The story is told from both Levi and Macallan's POVs with back and forth commentary in between chapters giving off the feeling that they're telling us their story through their eyes while sitting side by side. I thought that was a pretty great idea and really enjoyed it.
The only reason this book is a four instead of a five is because of some formatting issues.  I read this on my NOOK and all of the commentary in between chapters was poorly formatted making it hard at first to tell who was talking and what was going on. I eventually figured out how it was supposed to read and was able to look past it until the final chapters when things were coming to a head.  I could tell it was supposed to read like Macallan and Levi were talking over each other in their narratives but it just seemed really sloppy and confusing. I'm hoping it was just my format.
Other than some tiny things I really had no issues with this book.  The characters and storyline really had me hooked and invested in the story. It made me wish for a friendship like theirs.

~ Goodreads ~

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Author: Stacey Jay
Publication Date: 07/23/2013
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
This book is absolutely beautiful.  It didn't start out that way...during the first few chapters I struggled to find my groove and it really wasn't until the middle of the book that things started to speed up for me.  By the end though I was completely captivated and found myself tearing up during the epilogue.
The idea behind the story is a classic, Beauty and the Beast, but it's totally transformed into something original and set in a world that is described in amazing detail.  I had no trouble envisioning the society and world that the characters found themselves in.  There are these humans that have been corrupted and deformed and have become nothing more than beasts in the eyes of high society.  I could almost see where the nobles are coming from because the monstrous are truly terrifying.
The narration is mostly split between Gem and Isra which was fine but every once in a while we get a chapter from Bo. This makes sense in a way because it helps readers connect with him but I don't know that it was necessary.
Overall I enjoyed this twisted version of Beauty and the Beast and I feel it will stick with me for a while.
~ Goodreads ~

Monday, June 9, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Author: Lauren Oliver
Publication Date: 04/04/2014
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads

Ooookay so I'm pretty sure I went into this with the wrong expectations. I'm not really even sure what I was expecting but what Panic ended up being was not what I thought. That being said it was still an ok read. For the people comparing this to Hunger Games, you guys didn't read the same book that I did.

Panic is really more a coming of age, rite of passage type of book. It's gritty and surprisingly real life, a story set in poor town USA with a cast of teens dealing with their own issues. The game of panic is something you would hear about happening in the real world, a group of kids performing dangerous dares for an endgame prize. The pacing at times was slow and for me kind of dry but it still had heart racing excitement and suspense that kept me turning the page.

Overall while I did enjoy parts of Panic, there were still moments where I was easily distracted from the story. Could be that it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Author: Ransom Riggs
Publication Date: 06/07/2011
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
All you need to know about this book is that there was no main focus on romance and yet I was captivated by the story every time I sat down to read....which is saying a LOT. 
The story itself is absolutely brilliant and mystifying.  The pictures just made it that much more real, so much so that it is my opinion that you should own a physical copy rather than an ebook of it.
Really, that is all you need to's one of those things that unless you have read it you wont truly know if you like it or not.  You just have to take a risk on it.  In my experience I was not disappointed.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: 12/19/2012
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.
Picture and Summary from Goodreads
*sigh* Now that was an amazingly great read.  Full of laugh out loud moments paired with swoon worthy romance and a serious issue at heart, Hopeless has easily made my favorites list. 
Right off the bat I instantly connected with Skye.  The interactions between her and her two best friends really brought out the fun in the book. The interactions between Skye and Holder gave me hot flashes. 

The romance was heart stopping, the friendship heartwarming, and the mystery surrounding Sky's past suspense worthy.
Hopeless was a delicious read that kept me enthralled, there was no putting the book down.  If everything she writes is this good, I have a feeling I will be going on a Colleen Hoover book spree.

"Let me inform you of something," he says in a low voice. "The moment my lips touch yours, it will be your first kiss. Because if you've never felt anything when someone's kissed you, then no one's ever really kissed you. Not the way I plan on kissing you."
p. 126, Paperback edition

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Author: Kasie West (LOVE her!)
Publication Date: 02/12/2013
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.
Pictures and Summary from Goodreads

Okay Kasie West is officially on the "I need every book ever written by this person" list. This is my second time reading one of West's books and each one was full of great feels and heart racing moments.

I'm actually disappointed in myself over how long it took me to pick this book up and read it! I think the reason I was so stand off-ish was because I couldn't comprehend how West would be able to weave this story of alternate realities without losing my focus. I shouldn't have worried. West effortlessly switches the two realities every chapter, this actually ups the suspense level in my opinion. It was amazingly simple to follow and I became instantly attached to both worlds, so much so I feared how it was all going to work out.

The writing is perfectly paced and it only took me sitting down to read it twice before I finished it, I couldn't stand to put it down. When the ending came about I was shocked at how it turned out, I really didn't see it coming. Now I am dying for the sequel. I highly recommend this book!

~ Goodreads ~



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