Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (60)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!
This week's theme is: Top Ten Words/Topics That Make Me Buy/Pick Up a Book

Jenn's List

Okay this was really hard for me since I pick my books from covers, authors I enjoy, and recommendations from friends. But I tried and this may possibly be the most random list ever. 

1. Fairy tale retellings
2. Boys with accents
3. Travel to foreign places, ie: England, Paris
4. Royalty
5. Dystopian settings
6. Forbidden (I just love the word forbidden)
7. Greek/Roman mythology
8. Celebrity life (I'm a sucker for stories involving a celebrity)
9. Ghost stories/hauntings
10. Vampires (I love reading all the different ways people portray them)

Emily's List

This is a great theme, but I'm at a loss, so excuse me if my list is a bit... awkward.

1. Retellings (Of all kinds)
2. Controversial subjects
3. Friends to lovers
4. Foreign culture
5. Nerds
6. Zombies
7. Schmexy men (I love it)
8. Babies (I'm a sucker for them--seriously, just ask Jenn)
10. Survival

What topics/words guarantee you'll pick up a book?

Teaser Tuesday: The S-Word & Reboot (Reboot #1)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading!
To participate, all you have to do is:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can ad the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!


"I know, I know, sneaking into the boys' bathroom is not every girl's fantasy. But it's not like I can trust a guy to do it for me, so that's how I find myself leaning against the door to the boys' bathroom, fingers pinching my nose, using my elbows to ease open the door, when Jesse passes by."

Chapter 8, 23% e-ARC
The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

"His expression was serious, but I liked how it softened slightly when he looked at me. Like the way he looked at me was different than how he looked at everyone else."
36% e-ARC

What are you reading this week?


Monday, April 29, 2013

ARC Review: The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
320 Pages

In The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can’t wait to get out of high school. Her father’s death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring.

But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she’s the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?

I hadn't heard much about The Boyfriend App when I decided to pick it up. From the summary, I had expected a fun, quirky story. While that could definitely describe some of this book, The Boyfriend App and its characters also have a lot of heart. Though it is filled with some , this is a book that will leave its readers with a satisfied smile.

Audrey McCarthy is ready to get out of her high school and into college, where she can start anew and not be the outcast she is now. Even though since her father died, she and her mother have barely been scraping by and her dream school is out of the question, she'd still rather go to community college than stay in the hell that is high school. When an opportunity arises that could provide her with enough money to go to the college of her choice, she puts her all into creating the hottest, greatest app. Will she be able to win with the threat of evil ex-best friends, the hottest boys vying for her attention and rejection to come out $200,000 richer?

I have dubbed myself tech-tarded because I can barely screw around on my blog, so coding is wayyyyy beyond me. Though I know very little about the technology, this novel, which has a large focus on it, did not make me feel stupid. There were terms I didn't understand, but Audrey's speech and explanations actually made the ideas understandable (most of the time). I'm actually jealous of her knowledge and wish she was real so that she could teach me!

The characters were very sweet, except the ones who were jerk (and who I want to throat punch).  While I didn't feel that the minor characters were completely fleshed out, they were still able to tug at my heartstrings. I really liked Audrey's voice and her personality. She's a nerd, and proud. Her relationship with her parents is better than many of the protagonists we've been introduced to in young adult contemporaries and I really appreciated that. I also liked that Audrey's dad was a big part of her life, even posthumously. Of the group Audrey hangs out with, Mindy and Aidan were my favorites. Immediately, I sought Aidan out as Audrey's love interest because they really bring out the best in each other. (Plus, he just really gave me the swoons.) The antagonists in The Boyfriend App were a bit exaggerated, but added great conflict to the story. They, especially Blake, also helped give a fuller background to the story and insight into Audrey's past.

The plot, for the most part, moved pretty steadily. It's not a short novel, but it reads at a good pace. There were a few scenes that dragged, but not annoyingly so--just noticeable. The story of this was much different than what I had been expecting and I really liked that! Ms. Sise came up with a truly original story with a heroine to match. I was impressed (if a little shocked) at the direction the story took. There are several things that happened that were so unbelievable, I was left gaping. That was a minor issue for me.

My only other complaint is that there were some loose ends at the end of the novel. Several questions went unanswered and it was a bit frustrating. I think the ending could've been tied up a lot better, though I am very fond of the last scene. (Swoon)

The Boyfriend App is a delightful novel that will definitely have me on the lookout for future books by this author. My expectations were exceeded by Katie Sise and this debut. I would love to read more books like this--ones with a unique story line and a spunky, nerdy protagonist that doesn't fall at the feet of others and picks the guy many others would ignore. I think YA fans of all kinds will enjoy reading this; it's fun and extremely cute!

I received an e-copy of this novel for my honest opinion and review from the publisher via Edelweiss.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

ARC Review: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
462 Pages

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....


I was first drawn to this book based on the description. At the time, I didn’t know it was a follow-up to another book. After having read Pushing the Limits, I found that I enjoyed Dare You To much more.
In Pushing the Limits, we meet the character of Beth. She’s the troubled, bitchy friend of Noah who has no problem speaking her mind. You don’t really get to know a whole lot about her, just the bare minimum: Noah & Isaiah are her best friends, she’s poor, and her mother’s boyfriend beats both of them. And honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of hers.
In Dare You To, so much more of Beth is revealed. Taking the fall so her mother won’t go to jail, Beth is forced to go live with her uncle who abandoned her years ago after promising to come back for her. Her uncle, Scott, it turns out, was able to leave his old life behind and make a life for himself as a professional ball player and now that he has the funds, he wants to help Beth escape her life. Scott takes her to a new town, a new home, and a new school. But Beth can’t get over the feeling that she doesn’t belong in this new life, that she’s abandoning her friends and most importantly, her mother.
Enter Ryan, star baseball player on a fast track to the pros. On a dare, he approaches a stranger in a Taco Bell in order to get her number. She shoots him down and her rejection stays with him because Ryan is the type who never loses. When his baseball idol asks him to show his niece around, imagine his surprise when he discovers its Beth, the mystery girl from Taco Bell.
I adored Ryan. One of my favorite males of the literary world. Yes, on the outside he has the perfect life, but as we all know, there is no such thing as perfect. His father keeps pushing him for more and Ryan finds that he’s not sure if he’s living his dream or his fathers. On top of that, his home life has completely shattered when his brother drops a bomb on the family and then leaves, abandoning Ryan. Feeling completely alone, he tries to reach back out to his brother only to realize he didn’t go that far.
How could I have been so blind? He never left me. My brother – he never left me.
Can I just say how much I love Mark? (And yes, I teared up at that moment). When Ryan gets to know Beth, she not only challenges his ego but also his entire world. Ryan, to me, was the perfect Prince Charming. He wasn’t perfect, but his actions speak louder than words and believe me when I tell you, he had a lot of actions.
While Ryan is coming to terms with who he wants to be vs. who he is right now, Beth is struggling to cut ties with her mother. She realizes that her mother needs help; she’s drinking all the time and continuing to stay in an abusive relationship. Everyone is telling her to leave, she can’t help her mother, etc. But it’s her mother and she feels like it’s her responsibility. She refuses to believe that she can thrive in her new life almost to the point of losing everything. When her relationship with Ryan is questioned, she’s so quick to believe everyone else but him because she doesn’t believe she’s worth it.
Dare You To is not a happy-go-lucky fairytale story about love. It’s dark and gritty, and the people are scarred and extremely fragile. But I loved every moment of it. This one, in my opinion, surpassed the first in so many ways. My one issue had more to do with formatting, because it was an ARC there were no chapter breaks or breaks between the POV’s so in the beginning it was a little confusing during the switches.
Thank you to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for providing me this ARC in return for an honest review.   

Saturday, April 27, 2013

ARC Review: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
352 Pages

Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto. 

No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.

Clash meets sass in this uproarious modern-day retelling of Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Life After Theft was a delightful little surprise. This is the first novel that I've read by Aprilynne Pike and it definitely was not what I was expecting. Firstly, I didn't realize this was going to be told from the point-of-view of a teenage boy as the cover's focal point is very clearly a female. I think a different cover would do the novel justice and help expand its audience.

Jeff just moved from Phoenix to Santa Monica after his parents came into some serious money. Back in Phoenix, his family was barely making it by and now he drives a BMW and goes to a private school. His first day doesn't start off as he planned, though, when he sees Kimberlee, a girl who attended the school before her death. Kimberlee believes she has unfinished business and that's why she's still around. She enlists a reluctant Jeff to help her return the things she stole and find peace. Jeff is the only one who can see her and therefore the only one who can help, but the affect it's having on Jeff's new girlfriend, Sera, has him questioning if helping Kimberlee is really the right thing to do.

The writing style was a bit too feminine for a male's perspective and that threw me off several times over the course of the novel. I liked that the author went outside the box and gave it a shot, but it definitely needed some work. Overall, I liked Jeff as a character, but his judgmental tendencies and his reactions really didn't fit. In fact, they just annoyed me. He was a bit too preachy about things he didn't understand. Kimberlee, on the other hand, was a horror. While the author explains the girls actions, I'm still appalled at some of the ways she tormented her peers. Even her mocking nature towards Jeff, who is the only one who can help her, got on my nerves. She's not an easily likable character, but I think she progresses a lot in the end. I also really liked the diverse personalities and backgrounds of the characters. No two characters are the same and each provides details to the story that really benefit it.

Though there some issues with the novel, the development of the characters blew me out of the water. In my reading experience, I've found it is rare for a young adult novel to have so much focus on the growth of its characters and the morals they come to take into account. Life After Theft exceeded my expectations that way. It was not as shallow as I believed it would be based on the cover and setting. I was pleased that the author did more than the bare minimum.

My other struggle was with the speed of the plot. Sometimes it dragged and it hardly kept my attention, other times it was fast-paced and I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed reading the book, yes, but the change of pace didn't do a whole lot for the book as a whole.

I know that Ms. Pike's other series was not very well received (at least by the people I know), but after finishing and being impressed by Life After Theft, I will definitely be giving it a shot! This is a novel that isn't extremely dark, but some of the themes need to be looked at and handled maturely. I think that readers who have that capability will be able to sincerely enjoy this book.

PS--what the heck was that ending? Talk about final.

I received an e-copy of this novel for my honest opinion and review from the publisher via Edelweiss.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

ARC Review: Spirit (Elemental #3) by Brigid Kemmerer

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Kensington
432 Pages

With power comes enemies. Lots of them.

Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He's learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can't seem to afford any allies.

He's up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there's Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She's not hostile. She's bold. Funny. Hot. But she's got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he'll have to find someone he can trust.


“I’m not sure anyone has ever told you how this whole friendship thing is supposed to work, but…”

Hunter Garrity is confused. His whole life he’s been told one thing: pure elementals are dangerous and need to be removed. Hunter knows a pure elemental, in fact, he knows four and they’re not half bad. In fact, they’ve been known to save each other’s lives (and others) on occasion. But despite all of this, he still has his father’s training weighing heavily on his mind and where does that leave him? Well, in Spirit…nowhere. 

Spirit begins with Hunter being attacked in his own house by the crazy Calla still hell-bent on her plan to bring the Guides to town. This event, combined with the multiple others eventually get Hunter tossed out of his house. With nowhere to go, he finds welcome in the most unlikely of places: the Merricks. But Hunter’s reluctance to trust anyone opens up a whole new set of worms.

Before Spirit, I was a little unsure of Hunter. He was definitely the wild card of the bunch, never knowing what side he would fall on. I was also confused as to why he was getting his own book before Nick and Michael. While reading, I realized why Hunter’s story was being told now and also that even Hunter didn’t know who he was. 

“No one gives a shit about me until there’s a mess, and then suddenly everything is my fault! I can’t please anyone, and every time I try, I’m just one big fucking disappointment. Everyone is on me to pick a side. How the hell am I supposed to pick a side when everyone hates me?” 

He is so lost and so confused. My heart just broke for him. He was struggling and Kremmerer wrote his pain so raw that I found myself tearing up a few times.  Even when he was making stupid decisions (which he did, a lot), I still just wanted him to have a home – a family. There was definite growth of his character due to events that happened here and I’m anxious to see how they fair in future books. 

One character that I was not too fond of was Kate. When she first comes into their lives, I could not for the life of me figure out why Hunter was attracted to her besides her looks. She was obviously using her looks to get what she wanted, made herself come across as a ‘player’, and let’s not forget all the lying and backstabbing that was going around. Towards the end when she began opening up to Hunter, I could see why they would be good together, but I had to dig really deep. The initial attraction just wasn’t there for me. 

Something that surprised me though, was my newfound love of Michael. He stepped it up here and became the big brother everyone needed. I adored his relationship with Hunter and how he never pushed, he tried to just let Hunter trust him and come to him. Michael was the rock that literally held everyone together. 

The first day you meet, you are friends. The next day, you are brothers.

Sums up these characters and their relationships perfectly. This series definitely snuck up on me. I expected to like it, don’t get me wrong. But I didn’t expect it to take over the last week of my life. How am I ever going to wait until the next one?

Oh and two more things:
1. Nothing better ever happen to Casper
2. Gabriel + Hunter = Bromance 4ever
Thank you to Kensington for providing a copy of this ebook via Netgalley for review.

ARC Review: The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
446 Pages

Out here in the Fringes, there is only one rule: Blood calls to blood. She has done the unthinkable: died so she might continue to live. Now Allie, the reluctant teenage vampire who was cast out of Eden, and Zeke, the human boy who loves her, must attempt to save the world from a deadly new strain of plague. In order to do so, they must first hunt down the monster who holds the promise of the cure—and Allie’s beloved mentor—in his sadistic grip…. Joined by Allie’s blood brother, Jackal, this unlikely posse of companions will brave a landscape stalked by raiders, rabids, and rogue vampires. But even if they survive, they’re bound for the Inner city, and a vicious showdown that will test their bonds in ways they never expected. It may just be that becoming undead was the easy part. Confronting the horrors of Allie’s awakening hunger, her growing feelings for Zeke, and the uncertainties of their future is going to be the ultimate challenge.

The Eternity Cure… Oh what to say about you. You are everything a person could want in a young adult horror novel. Gore? Check. Violence? Check. A badass chick wielding a katana? Check. Major twists that will leave readers agape? Check. Check. Check.

Julie Kagawa has a real talent, there is no doubt about it. If it wasn't obvious before, it is now. In The Eternity Cure, she brilliantly weaves a hellish tale of vampirism and deadly plagues, all while adding a dash romance. It works very well for the author's prose and the characters that she has developed. This series has brought back the terrifying vampires we grew up with back with a vengeance and it's one that readers won't soon forget!

I read this with my reading buddy, Jen and we both found it difficult to finish without a bottle glass of wine. I'd had a warning beforehand about the way the book ends, but no one really explained how big of a cliffie it really is! Though I could kind of see it coming, it still left me shell-shocked and desperate for the next book! 

Julie Kagawa is brilliant. Not only is the book extremely entertaining, but I found very little faults. I loved the movement of the story, the characters, the writing style and how even though we (thankfully) don't live in this world, Ms. Kagawa makes us understand the anguish of this world. 

The world-building is absolutely phenomenal. The prose is haunting. And the characters? These characters are fantastic. Allie, of course, is an awesome female lead. She's smart, she's strong-willed and she's ruthless when she needs to be. Reading from her perspective is utterly thrilling. Kanin is probably my favorite character though. I am dying to get a glimpse inside his head. He's a real mystery because he is so closed-off! Now… Don't tell Jen, but I actually really liked Jackal in this book as well. That may be the biggest surprise of them all! His not exactly a good guy, but his wit and humor provided the perfect amount of comedic relief, so the reader wouldn't overdose on all of the angst (and boy is there a lot of angst). Zeke… I like Zeke, really I do, but I'm still not in love. He feels a bit too much like a cardboard cutout to me.

Readers who enjoyed the first installment of the Blood of Eden series will love The Eternity Cure even more. I know that was the case for me and I am not usually one for horror--unless it involves zombies. If you haven't read this series yet, I sincerely recommend you do so! It's addictive and fast-paced. I just can't rave enough about it. The Eternity Cure is a thrilling ride that leave reader chomping at the bit for the third novel!

I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review via Netgalley.

Follow Friday (62)

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read!

Q. Is there a song that reminds you of a book? Or vice versa? What is the song and the book?

A. Okay--I haven't listen to it in a long time, but back when I first read The Mortal Instruments series (that was when the first three books came out), I found that I was constantly reminded of them when listening to Secondhand Serenade's A Twist in My Story album. To this day, they remind me of each other.
Do you relate music to books? If so, leave us some examples!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ARC Review: Breathless (Elementals #2.5) by Brigid Kemmerer

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Kensignton
65 Pages

Too many secrets. Not enough time.
Nick Merrick is supposed to be the level-headed one. The peacemaker. Since it’s just him and his three hotheaded brothers against the world, that’s a survival tactic.

But now he’s got problems even his brothers can’t help him survive.

His so-called girlfriend, Quinn, is going quick as mercury from daring to crazy. Meanwhile, Quinn’s dancer friend Adam is throwing Nick off balance, forcing him to recognize a truth he’d rather shove back into the dark.

He can feel it—-the atmosphere is sizzling. Danger is on the way. But whatever happens next, Nick is starting to find out that sometimes nothing you do can keep the peace.


On the outside, you’re absolutely identical, but on the inside, it’s like you’re polar opposites.”
Nick Merrick. The other twin. The quiet one. The calm one. The one always in the background.
Don't get me wrong. I love all of the Merrick brothers and I adore Nick but he was never really featured in the other books as much as his siblings. He would appear, give his words of calm and wisdon, and the trickle out. So it was hard to really get a sense of who he was. Then came Breathless.
I think this may be my favorite of all the novellas released so far. The other two were glimpses of the past; this one took place in the present, immediately following Spark. Nick is currently dating Quinn and school has been canceled because of the fire in the library. Quinn, who I wasn’t very fond of in the past books, spends her days practicing dancing in order to avoid her family. Nick spends his days pouring over college applications and essays, struggling with decisions about his future.
When Quinn needs a ride home from dance practice, the ever gracious Nick goes to pick her up. There he meets, Adam, a friend of Quinn’s and a fellow dancer. Adam immediately rattles Nick, stirring up something inside that Nick’s been pushing away. When the two are thrown together to rescue a drunken Quinn, Nick isn’t quite sure how to act and he starts to close up, not wanting to think about what everything means.
“What’s with the twenty questions?”
Adam looked out the window. “I thought we were having a conversation.”
Yeah – if a conversation was like stumbling along a dark hallway, wondering what your hands would find if you reached out.
I loved, loved, loved everything about this novella. I didn't even mind Quinn. I actually liked seeing a little of her home life. It gave her more substance and I could finally understand some of her attitude. I was instantly drawn to Adam. His easy-going personality and his openness about who he really is made it effortless to fall under his spell. But it was Nick and his inner struggle that won my heart. Kremmerer wrote him so honest, so confused and so torn that you just wanted to wrap your arms aruond him and tell him everything will be ok.
I think Adam put it best at the end, "When you're sure of what you want, I'll be right here." And right here I'll be. I absolutely cannot wait for his book next year.
I received a copy of this ebook via the publisher and Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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