Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book Haul! (6)

Finally have another book haul for you guys! Enjoy :)
Let me know what you guys got this week and make sure to subscribe to my new youtube channel!

Physical Copies:

Bound (Torn Trilogy, #3)Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)
Thank you to Thomas Raymond, Kensington Publishing, and Random House

This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, #1)Wentworth HallChangeling (Order of Darkness, #1)
Huge thank you to Carrie (who's name is not Christie) @ In The Hammock Book Reviews and Simon Teen!

JinxIf I StayBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Omnibus, Vol. 2 (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus #2)


For Review:
 Beautiful Lies Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Butter
Pushing the LimitsCaught in the Slipstream of Time (Parry Pretty and the Eight Realms, #1)Torn
Big thank you to NetGalley, SJ Musgraves, Bloomsbury, Strange Chemistry, Marshall Cavendish,  and Harlequin Teen

Free Ebooks:

 Glamorous IllusionsThe Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1)


Hourglass (Hourglass, #1)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things, #1)Author: Anna Godbersen
Genre: historical fiction, romance, drama
Pages: 389
Published: October 12, 2010
Publisher: Harper Teen
Rating: 5/5 Stars

"The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.
Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star. . . .
Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.
The only person Cordelia can trust is ­Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.
Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the ­illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age."- Goodreads

Anyone who has talked to me about books in the last year knows that my love of Godbersen's The Luxe series knows no bounds.  That being said I was really worried about reading her most recent historical fiction series.  I put off reading Bright Young Things for a long time, but I finally got around to it this week.  It blew me away.  It was fun, sexy and full of vibrant characters.  This is an entirely satisfying read.  Set during the last golden days of prohibition era New York City, this glittering novel follows the lives of three girls trying to make a name for themselves in the big city.  The glitz and glam of the 1920's is shadowed by the readers knowledge of the economic disaster that looms just beyond the horizon.  This idea of fleeting opulence creates an attachment to the characters that is totally enthralling.  I loved this one so much that I decided to do a video review so I could gush and gush.  Even though I still love The Luxe I think Bright Young Things now tops my list of best young adult historical fiction.  5 fabulous stars for this beauty!

On a side note, I really hate YouTube thumbnails.  I look like I'm weeping tears of joy.  Close but not quite ;) 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday (3) Waiting on Wednesday (3) Weigh in Wednesday (5)


Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper that lets bloggers gush about books that have been sitting on their WLs for awhile.

My pick this week is:

Beautiful Days (Bright Young Things, #2)
Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen

I just finished Bright Young Things and loved it! (I'll have the review up tomorrow or Thursday.) So obviously I can't wait to read the second book in Godbersen's most recent series.  Here's hoping it's just as good!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where bloggers highlight upcoming releases we are drooling over.

My pick this week is:

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1)

This one just looks extra creepy.  Throw in an awesome cover and some zombies and I am so there!


Weigh in Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren over at Epilogue where bloggers weigh in on literary topics.

This weeks topic:

reading one book at a time vs. reading multiple books at a time

I sort of go back and forth on this.  Mostly I read one at a time, but then I'll go for a couple of months reading two or even three at once.  However, reading multiple books can tend to lead to confusion and fatigue on my part so I always end up going back to one book at a time.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

What I Didn't SayAuthor: Keary Taylor
Genre: contemporary, romance, drama
Pages: 326
Published: April 30th, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source: NetGalley - I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat. 
His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it."-Goodreads

 You know those books that come along and at first they seem okay and maybe sort of hoakie and then the ending is just perfect?  This is one of those books.  After the first couple of chapters I had decided that it was just okay, but by the second half of the book I couldn't get enough.  Jake is happy, popular and in love with Sam Shay.  The only problem is, he doesn't have the guts to tell her that.  After a night of drunken shenanigans he is involved in a horrific accident that causes him to lose his vocal cords and, almost, his life.  Smart, kind, Samantha volunteers to help Jake learn sign language and before too long they don't need words.  As Jake learns more about Sam's life, he realizes that maybe other people have it worse than him.  Throw in a cast of goofy classmates and a huge, loving family and you have What I Didn't Say.   

  • Samantha:  Samantha is the quintessential good girl, but even she has secrets.  She is smart, kind and a super overachiever.  She seems pretty perfect and Jake certainly thinks so.  We find out pretty early in the book, however, that Sam's life is anything but perfect. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that I don't think I could deal with what Sam has to go through.  And through it all she proves to be strong and capable while maintaining her caring and compassionate nature.  Sam is the type of person that we all aspire to be and it's so hard to read this book without wanting to just give her a big hug.  She definitely needs one.  Despite having huge problems of her own, she wants to help Jake and she works hard to do so.  Their relationship and connection is really amazing and watching that relationship grow and change was just spectacular.  
  • Jake's Family:  Jake has a HUGE family.  There are seven kids and his parents, I would live in the yard if there were that many people living in my house.  But even though it's crowded, there's also plenty of love to go around.  These people, even the younger kids, are so supportive it's crazy.  My brother and sister and I fight daily over who has to let the dogs out, but Jake's family is like a big puppy pile of domestic bliss (not that they don't have any fun together of course).  And his mom, oh my god.  She is super mom, she's constantly feeding everyone and having get togethers for the island kids and she's still slightly intimidating, which I think every mom should be.  The family relationships were really nice to see and it added a lot of fun and quirkiness to the story.
  • The Ending! (no spoilers, I promise):  I LOVED the ending.  You know how when you're reading a book, you have an idea of the perfect ending, exactly how you would want it to happen in real life?  Well, without giving anything away, this one hit all the right marks.  I actually yelled "YES!" at one point during the last chapter, that is how happy it made me.  This is the type of ending I wish all contemporaries had.  I just had a big goofy smile on my face all day.


  • Angelic teenagers (sort of):  The kids in the book could be somewhat unbelievable sometimes.  They were just too well behaved. Well, kind of.  There were other things about these kids that made the idea that they were so well behaved really unbelievable.  First there's Jake, who won't swear because his mom ingrained it in him that swearing was bad, but will get trashed at a party and then let his drunk friend drive him around.  Really?  So you won't drop the f-bomb but you'll let Drunky McLush-pants drive you home?  Seriously?  Sorry but I find that a little difficult to wrap my head around.  A good expletive never killed anyone.  And it isn't just Jake.  He explains how there are lots of island parties with red plastic cups and "glass pipes" (wonder what those are for) but these same kids sign a pledge after his accident that they won't drink anymore.  I just don't buy that.
  • Ask for help, already! : Something that has always annoyed me in young adult books and movies is when someone is in real trouble, trouble that a parent could help get them out of and they refuse to ask for help.  This usually ends up causing all sorts of problems and then the parent steps in anyway and helps out and all is well.  Can't we just cut out the middle and save ourselves the stress?  Samantha has some pretty sizable issues that she needs to figure out and I couldn't help but think that if Jake just went to his parents they could have helped her.  I suppose we wouldn't really have a book then though.
  • Predictability:  There were some aspects of the story-line (especially in the first half of the book) that were just very predictable.  Luckily the second half  more than made up for that.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves realistic romance, drama and happy endings.    This story will stick with me for a long time and I'll have a hard time not comparing other contemporaries to this one.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Excerpt: The Orphan, The Soulcatcher and The Black Blizzard by

Author Kimberlee Ann Bastian has stopped by my blog today with an excerpt for her blog tour.  Check it out!

From Chapter 9: The Alley Cat – After leaving the gang summit, Charlie and Bartholomew take to the streets once more, where Bartholomew runs into a familiar creature from his past.

Charlie and Bartholomew stand on the Emerald Avenue corner outside Harry’s Billiards. They wait quietly for their chance to cross the busy intersection, both not having said a word since leaving the second floor pool hall. Charlie’s stomach growls for the third time as the pains of his long day furiously catch up with him. He thinks about taking a trip to Grocer Pawlak’s market, but after mulling it over, Charlie finds the idea not entirely appealing. The store is nearly two miles south in the opposite direction and he does not have the energy to make the trip nor the patience to deal with Grocer Pawlak’s prying personality. His empty stomach will just have to wait until morning.
Bartholomew, meanwhile, takes an interest in a group of children kitty corner from them. They are huddled in a circle intently fixated on what is happening in the center. Bartholomew watches a short boy with stubby legs pace the outer rim of the circle, trying with all his might to catch a glimpse of the action. The short boy settles behind two taller kids and pushes up on his toes. Bartholomew cannot help but feel entertained by the whole scene.
From the center of the circle, a collective scream bursts over the sound of the bustling street. Even a few of the adults walking by pause to see what is going on. Several of the kids, the short boy included, break away from the cluster in a fit of fright. The short boy falls onto the sidewalk as a reddish-brown tabby cat jumps over him and lands on the curb. It swooshes its tail and pulls a long piece of string tied to four silver cans. The cat’s fur spikes high on its back. It makes a swiping motion with one of its front paws. A few of the kids crawl backwards to avoid the cat’s angry stance, while some of them press up against the brick wall of the building.
“Reow,” hisses the cat, scaring the children. It lifts its cunning, pink eyes to the street and catches sight of Bartholomew. The cat turns on a dime and runs as the silver cans clang loudly behind it.
Charlie steps down off the curb, only to see Bartholomew already beating him to it, except he is running in the wrong direction.
“Buck!” yells Charlie as he stops, standing in the way of oncoming traffic.
Bartholomew does not bother to answer and leaps over the short boy onto the kitty corner pavement.
“Buck!” calls Charlie again.
Charlie jumps back onto the curb to make way for an approaching freight truck. He sees the driver shaking his fist at him as he goes by, but pays him no heed, he is more interested in the truck moving out of his way—or is he? He could simply walk away. Let the kid run. Charlie smiles at the prospect of leaving the Windy City and imagines all the adventures he might have, like Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer. But alas, as the truck passes, the dream dies when Charlie sees Buck rounding the block onto Union Avenue heading south into the heart of Kalvis’s neighborhood.
Charlie fights the urge to run after him and turns north, but he does not get far. Remember Charlie—take care of those smaller than you. Charlie stops and lets out a huff. The words of his mother could not have come at a more inconvenient moment. He feels the presence of her hand on his shoulder again, this time filling him with courage. He cannot let the kid unsuspectingly wander Kalvis’s streets alone, not after his performance in the billiard hall.
“Damn,” he curses under his breath and starts after him.

Author’s Links:

Purchase on Amazon for Kindle

Purchase on Amazon in Paperback

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday (2) Waiting on Wednesday (2) Weigh in Wednesday (4)


Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Pen to Paper that lets bloggers gush about books that have been sitting on their WLs for awhile.

My pick this week is:

This is Not a Test

Six kids trapped in a high school during the zombie apocalypse?  Yes, please!  I can't wait to read this one.  I love survival stories and I love zombies so this couldn't be a better match for me.  This book has also been getting rave reviews and seems to live up to the hype.  I can't wait to find out for myself!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where bloggers highlight upcoming releases we are drooling over.

My pick this week is:

Tiger Lily

I love Peter Pan.  The book, the Disney movie and all the live action adaptations, even the play. So of course I was super excited when I first heard about a Peter Pan book told from Tiger Lily's perspective.  I've always been curious about her so this book caught my eye immediately. It comes out on July 3rd, 2012 from Harper Collins.


Weigh in Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren over at Epilogue where bloggers weigh in on literary topics.

This weeks topic:

Action/Adventure vs. Romance

Why are all of these so difficult for me?!  I guess if I had to choose one it would be Action/Adventure.  I love romance but sometimes it gets a bit tired and old.  Action and adventure never get boring for me though.  I love books with fight scenes and daring escapes.  The perfect book has both though and humor as well.  See The Princess Bride ;)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

While He Was AwayAuthor: Karen Schreck
Genre: contemporary, romance
Pages: 249
Published: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Rating: 4/5 Stars

""This is just something I have to do, okay?" I hear David say. "The right thing."
He cradles my face in his hands. He kisses me hard. Then he lets go of me. His eyes dart from me to whatever's next. 

All she wants is for him to stay. She's been doing pretty well, pretending he doesn't have to go. But one day, after one last night to remember, she wakes up and there's no denying it anymore. He's gone.
When Penna Weaver's boyfriend goes off to Iraq, she's left facing life without him. As summer sets in, Penna tries to distract herself with work and her art, but the not knowing is slowly driving her crazy. Especially when David stops writing.
She knows in her heart he will come home. But will he be the same boy she fell in love with?" - Goodreads

There are few things more difficult than watching someone you care about go off to war.  If that person is your first love, it's even worse.  While He Was Away tells the story of Penna, a girl who is trying to find herself while her boyfriend is fighting half a world away.  Along this road to self-discovery she finds the true meaning of friends, family and loving yourself.  I won While He Was Away in a giveaway a couple of months ago and couldn't wait to read it.  I'm so happy I did.   I don't read a ton of contemporaries because they can tend to be a bit depressing and schmultzy but While He Was Away just seemed real.  It had all of the drama and uncertainty of a high school relationship mixed with the very adult world of the soldier and the girl he leaves behind.  This is a very special book and I really enjoyed it.

  • Non-Political:  One of the most controversial and polarizing issues of our time is the Iraq War.  Everyone has their own opinions and many people are more than happy to share those opinions with others regardless of whether or not they are welcome.  This can cause things to go downhill quickly with both conversations and books.  There are certain times when a reader wants to explore a hot-button issue and times when they just want to read a love story.  I was really happy that Schreck kept the politics at a minimum in this book.  I was worried that it would be "message-y" and frankly I was just in the mood for a good read.  Now, I don't have any problem with politics.  In fact, I majored in Political Science in college.  But, from time to time, I just don't want someone else's opinions lobbed in my general direction.  Schreck was able to keep all of the intensity of the war in the story without assaulting the reader with propaganda from one side or the other.
  • Family and Forgiveness:  Everyone has dysfunction in their family.  It's just a fact of life.  Some of us have crazier families than others but we all have problems.  Penna is no exception.  She lives with her single mom who was abandoned by her own mother and left in the care of an alcoholic father.  Penna has never met her dad.  Lot's of authors would take this situation and weave a web of drama and anger around it, but Schreck creates an atmosphere of love, loyalty and forgiveness.  Penna struggles with their situation while trying to reassemble the pieces of her broken family.  It really makes the story all the more emotional and touching.
  • Realistic Love:  While He Was Away is not a tale of idealistic love.  The relationship between David and Penna is very realistic.  In the beginning of the book Penna is going through the difficult process of saying goodbye.  She is deeply in love with David and has already dealt with him being gone for his training and now she has to say goodbye again, this time he will be going to a war zone.  
"'Wait!'  I shout.  'I'll see you again before you go, right?  I'll see you tomorrow?'
But David is already driving away, lost in the dark.  And tomorrow is today."
 As the story goes on and David and Penna spend more time apart, they struggle to keep their         relationship intact,  but despite this, they still love each other.  Penna has to deal with David's absence, her fear for his safety and his choice of the Army over her.  It is a much more realistic portrait of young love during war time than some other books and movies do.


  • Writing style was hard to get used to.  The book is narrated by Penna, which adds a lot of personality to the story but also can tend to get a bit confusing.  Penna tends to lapse into these streams of consciousness while she's narrating and it can be hard to keep up.  The storytelling can get disjointed but once you are used to it, the story flows pretty smoothly.
  • The ending (no spoilers).  I have to say I wasn't super happy with the ending.  I thought I knew where it was going and I was wrong, but I wish I had been right.  It just sort of fizzled for me.  I would have liked to see a better, more emotional ending, but I guess that this one works with the realism.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a good story about a personal journey.  Both David and Penna grow and change throughout the book and it's really nice to watch.  The love story is also pretty good, but I wouldn't pick this one up if you're looking for a big sweeping romance novel.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (7) and TGIF (3)

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

Q: Who is best father figure in a book you have read and why?
A: I feel like there are a lot more great dads in books than moms so you would think this would be easy but no such luck.  I had a really hard time with this one too.  Here's what I came up with...

1. The King - Entwined:  Okay, at first he's not the best parent in the world but I really love how his relationships with his daughters develops toward the end of the book.  Huge Aww-factor there.
2. Carlisle and Charlie in Twilight - I mean seriously.  They are both so perfect in their own ways.

That's it, all I could come up with.  Let me know what you got below and make sure to follow via GFC and Facebook!

TGIF is a weekly blog hop hosted by GReads.  It helps bloggers gain exposure and it gives us all one more thing to talk about on Fridays!

Q: Most Valuable Book: From your personal collection of books, which ones hold the most value to you - is it signed by the author? or maybe it's your favorite story of all time? Share it with us.

A:  My favorite is a very early edition of Longfellow's collected poems.  It was one of my grandfather's favorite books and we used to read it when I was little.  He gave it to me before he passed away.  I love poetry and antique books so with the sentimental value added in it's pretty much priceless to me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 332
Published: August 16, 2007
Publisher: Razorbill
Rating: 4/5 Stars

"St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.
" ~Goodreads
 Well, I finally did it.  I finally read Vampire Academy!  The series has been out since 2007 and hoards of adoring fans rave about it, but I just never got around to reading it.  So, when I saw a super cheap copy of the first book at my local used book store I decided to pick it up.  I'm so happy I did!  This is really a different kind of vampire book and the characters are honest and refreshing.  The story is mysterious and captivating while still being fun.  I can't say I loved everything about it but I still think Mead is deserving of all the praise she has received, at least based on the first book.


  • Rose and Lissa.  The friendship that these two share is really incredible.  Rose is headstrong and wild and fiercely protective of her best friend, the sweet, unstable Lissa.  Lissa, in turn, trusts and respects Rose, despite her lower social status and questionable reputation.  There were definitely times where I forgot that this book was about Vampires at all because Rose and Lissa's friendship was so commanding.  Lissa is intensely vulnerable after the deaths of her parents and brother.  Although she is a royal Moroi vampire, she has few real friends at school but Rose makes up for this completely.  Rose, in addition to being her best friend, is also her guardian and has devoted her life to protecting Lissa.  However, Rose does not act out of duty but rather out of love and loyalty.  There's really nothing like a best friend, even if you're a vampire.
  • The Vampires.  I was really expecting the vampires in this book to be tough, powerful, bloodthirsty immortals - you know, vampires.  I'm usually a purist when it comes to these sorts of things, but Mead really put the humanity back into these guys.  At least, some of them.  There are two types of vampires, Strigoi and Moroi.  Strigoi are more like the classic vampire: undead, ruthless, soulless monsters.  Moroi, though, are alive and connected to the earth.  And while they are strong and need blood to survive, they also need regular food and sleep and protection.  They are hunted by the Strigoi and they need half-vamps to protect them.  Their vulnerability makes them relate-able and easy to understand.  It also makes it necessary for them to bond with their protectors.  I just really liked they weren't huge bad-asses.  And that surprised me.
  • It doesn't feel like an intro.  Finally, I like that this book doesn't feel like it's just here to set up the rest of the series.  There are so many first books that do this and it is one of my pet peeves.  Vampire Academy could almost be a stand-alone novel.  It isn't a cop-out.  

  • Adult Themes.  First, let me say that I don't have problems with adult themes in YA books, as long as they are dealt with tastefully and responsibly.  Part of being a teenager is learning how to deal with "adult" things so I see no problem with putting them in YA literature.  There were a couple of things about this book that bothered me.  First of all, the language was a little iffy.  I was sort of surprised by the amount of cursing throughout the book.  I am no prude when it comes to language, but I thought Mead went overboard sometimes.  Second, self-mutilation is a huge issue in this book.  This is something that real teenagers sometimes have to deal with, whether it be with their friends or themselves, but I think it was handled a bit too lightly in some place.  For instance Rose refers to Lissa's cutting as "her weird way of coping" at one point.  I think that's a bit flippant, personally.  To be fair, this issue is dealt with on a more responsible level later on, but it still bothered me.  
  • Lots of dead/mutilated animals.  This sort of goes hand-in-hand with my first problem.  The shear amount of animal mutilation in this book is a little startling.  I get it, it's a book about vampires, who cares if a bunny gets ripped apart when people are dropping like flies.  But, it was just a little gratuitous.
  • Pedo-alert?  Okay, this one might make some of you angry because I know how much you all love Dimitri, but seriously, Rose is in high school!  He's in his mid-twenties.  I'm 25 and I would go to jail if I were involved with a high school-er.  Plus, yuck.  I know, he's super hot and moody and ripped, but couldn't they be a little closer in age.  Maybe as the books go on this gets less creepy as Rose gets a little older.  Here's hoping.
Overall, I really enjoyed Vampire Academy.  I think it was just what I needed after a stressful couple of weeks.  It has adventure, action, horror and romance.  It's a great summer read and I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!