Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Review: Paradise by Jill S. Alexander

Posted by ~ames~ at 6:00 AM 5 comments Links to this post
Main Character: Paisley
Love Interest: Paradise
Series: n/a
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band. If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town.
Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted. Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas. With Paradise in her life, what Paisley wants, and what she needs, complicate her dreams coming true.
I went into this book with absolutely no expectations and OMG did it ever grab me!! There was so much win going on in this book. I don't even know where to start.

Paisley Tillery is the drummer for the Waylon Slider Band. She's really good but she has to hide the fact from her mother. Her mother plays a very big role in Paisley's life and kind of controls all of her actions. You see, Mrs. Tillery had big dreams but they all went down the drain when she got knocked up while still in high school and had to stay in their small hometown. She's a bit bitter about it all. So she watches her two girls, Paisley and her older sister Lacey, with an eagle eye and steers them in the direction of their dreams. But Lacey doesn't really want to be a singer and although she wears the purity ring her mother got her, she's not so pure anymore. So Paisley hides the fact that she's in a band from her mother, and that doesn't just affect Paisley. Her father knows something's up and he has her back, her uncle covers for her and all the members of her band cover for her too. Someone in the book said Paisley's lies were like shotgun blast, they don't just hit one person, and it's so true. But for Paisley, she's going to follow her dream and when the time is right, she's going to tell her parents. But that time won't come until after the Texapalooza - where her band is performing. If Paisley can just keep things together until then...but the band also needs a lead singer and so Paradise enters the story. Paradise is this oh-so-dreamy cowboy type who has crazy singing skills and can also rock the accordian. Yeah I said that right. LOL Paradise's grandfather is a vallenato king. Colombian accordian king, and Paradise is a chip off the old block. Suddenly drumming isn't the only thing Paisley focuses on. And Paradise can't get over her purity ring, always bringing it up when they're together.

There was so much going on that centered around Paisley and I was totally caught up in her story. Paisley is a very interesting character. She's afraid of her mom, but not so much to not go after her dream. She's wicked talented on the drums. She's a great sister, covering for Lacey even when Lacey isn't who she thought she was. This was a definitely a summer of growing up for Paisley. But what I absolutely loved about Paisley was her belief in herself. What am I talking about? Check it out:
He kissed me then whispered," Paisley, I love that you're fearless. You know what you want. Don't let some fake, forced promise scare you." His hands pressed around me. "This is between you and me. Don't be afraid to say yes."
"I'm not afraid to say yes to you." A part of me wanted to. I held on to him. "But I'm also not afraid to say no."
I love love love the fact that Paisley respects herself enough to say no to the guy she really really likes. She's not ready and she stands up for herself. Not that Paradise forces her or anything, but he asks a question and she tells him no. Really, I loved that.

Another character that really stuck out for me was Paisley's dad. He was going to be a big shot professional baseball player but he injured his shoulder before he could get there and he's not bitter, he just does what he needs to do. All this in the face of his wife's bitter disappointment over the way her life turned out.
Mother's voice cracked. "This is not what we've worked for with the girls. I can't turn Lacey loose with Levi Tucker. I won't do it. She's got to stay focused on her own dreams and plans. I won't have her toss it to the side and lose it all because of some boy."
That comment set my teeth on edge. I could've bit through a saddle strap. Mother threw the "some boy" remark out more than I cared to hear. No one in the house was confused that who she was really talking about was Dad. I wanted to tell her that it took both of them to make their choices, that she should back off Dad.
Dad squeezed her tighter. Her remark had to torture him, but he always managed to push past the pain. He'd lose a battle but win a war.
"You're going to have to trust me on this one," he whispered to her. Dad had an impressive amount of patience and conviction. Watching him love my mother - day in and day out - almost made me believe there was really something to the whole one-life-one-love thing. They hadn't settled for each other just to do the right thing. He loved her.
Awww, I loved Paisley's dad! Even when it was hard for him, he backed his wife up when she had to make a tough decision for Paisley. He wants to support his daughter's but he needs to respect his wife. This guy was just as swoon-worthy as Paradise. LOL

All right, I know I'm just going on and on but I really enjoyed this book. A lot. Everything worked for me. All the characters were interesting. Even one character that stayed pretty much in the background. The author made him pop by showcasing a few of his songs. His lyrics were kind of heart-breaking because his could have been an interesting story too. And even the ending was a bit of a shocker. But it was all good in the hood. I'm giving this book an A-. And I'll leave you with one last thing:
In his arms, I slowly unfolded like a love note read in secret.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Ambitious by Monica McKayhan.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Main Character: Marisol, Drew
Love Interest: ??
Series: Premiere High Series, Book 1
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

There's only one thing tougher than getting in to Premiere High: Staying in…

At Premiere School of the Performing Arts, nicknamed Premiere High, talent is a must and competition is fierce. But the payoff is worth it. Some of the biggest stars in music, movies and dance are on the alumni list. New student Marisol Garcia dreams of taking her place among them one day. And being chosen to take part in a local dance contest where a film role is the prize could possibly be her first step into the spotlight.

Almost as big a challenge: getting Drew Bishop to see her as more than a friend. But Drew is preoccupied with his own dilemma of either playing basketball, which could be a free ticket to college, or pursuing the stage where he really comes alive. But every dream comes with a price. And as Marisol becomes consumed with winning, the once straight–A student risks losing everything. Starting with her parents' approval, her friends and her place at Premiere High…

After I read the blurb for this book, that old TV Show Fame went through my head and while I never watched the show, I remember that my older sisters did and loved it. I thought I'd give this book a try and see if it was something I'd enjoy.

Now that I'm finished with the book, I'm not quite sure what I think. I mean, the book was a quick read but I never really connected with any of the characters. This is a story that follows some students from Premiere High School of Performing Arts. Premiere High is for the gifted and talented kids in dancing, acting and music. Any of the arts, really. It shows what each student goes through while attending this school. Only the best of the best get in and only the bestest of the bestests stay in the school.

Mari is a dancer and new to the school. She's met some nice people who have become her friends but she's starting to realize that starting this new school is taking her farther and farther away from her friends from her old school and she's trying to juggle all the old with all of the new and everything is pulling her in different directions. On top of that, she's got a crush on a boy at school who is flirty spice with everyone.

Drew was the basketball star of his old high school before he transferred over to Premiere to go after his dreams of becoming an actor. He wants to hone his craft so that he could grow up to be a famous actor and he's really good at what he does so with his father's blessing, he transfers and his dilemma is trying to come to grips with falling from the ranks of the most popular at his other school and becoming just a regular person at Premiere. His father doesn't understand his need to become an actor as he's an athlete and sports is what he knows but I liked that his father didn't stop Drew from going after what he really wanted.

This book had a lot going for it in the sense that there was a lot going on and it was easy to follow along with everything but the overall character development fell a little flat for me and while I enjoyed it, I didn't absolutely love the book. I just thought the book was okay. The pacing was good but the characters didn't jump out at me and I know that I won't remember much about this book or the characters weeks from now. I wanted to enjoy it more than I did and I'm kind of bummed about that. So while it wasn't the worst book in the world, it wasn't the best either.

..and that's your scoop!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

In My Mailbox (37)

Posted by Rowena at 2:47 PM 3 comments Links to this post
I missed last week's IMM post because I was on a mini vacation in Las Vegas for my sister's wedding. I had so much fun and didn't want to come back because I spent the week laughing with my family and swimming at midnight. And my hotel room was gorgeous!

But here's what I got in the last two weeks in my mailbox, check it out:

No pictures this week, sorry! Lots to look forward to and lots to keep me smiling for weeks to come. What did you get in your mailbox this week?

..and that's your scoop!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Watch: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 2 comments Links to this post

Taylor's family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it's stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven't actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is suddenly around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he's much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they've ever been before. But all of them very aware that they're battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

I absolutely adored the last book by Morgan Matson that I read, gave it an A grade because it was that awesome to me. It's still one of those books that I see sitting on my bookshelf and it makes me smile. It was such a cute story that I have every faith that Matson will deliver another wonderfully cute contemporary YA story so I'm anxious to get my hands on this book.

Who doesn't like second chances stories? I love second chances stories so I know that I'll be all over this one. This story also deals with a family member getting cancer and I can totally relate to this so I really want to read it.

This book comes out on May 8, 2012 so we've got a bit of a wait but still, it's on my radar! Mark your calendars dear readers, this promises to be a book not to be missed!

Who's a fan of Morgan Matson? Who's going to be reading this when it comes out?

..and that's your scoop!

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guest Review: The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher

Posted by ~ames~ at 6:00 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Main Character: Alice
Love Interest: Jewel
Series: n/a
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Alice and Jewel have been best friends since grade school. Together, they don't need anyone else, and together they blend into the background of high school. Invisible.

To Alice, Jewel is the opposite of invisible. Jewel is her best friend who goes to Indie concerts and art shows with her. Jewel scoffs at school dances with her. Alice is so comfortable around Jewel that she can talk to him about almost anything.

But she can't tell him that she likes the cool, popular Simon. And then Simon asks her to the school dance the same day that Jewel kisses her for the first time. Still, she can't say no to Simon. He seems like the easy choice, the one she's attracted to, the one she's ready for. But will it mean losing Jewel?

In a bright debut novel set against the lively backdrop of Seattle, Alice must learn the difference between love and a crush, and what it means to be yourself when you're not sure who that is yet.
Alice is a sophomore in high school and she runs with the artistic crowd. She's artistic herself, but feels she doesn't quite measure up to others. Her best friend, Jewel, now he's a genius. There's also Vanessa, a girl she used to hang out with but doesn't talk to her now, she's really talented too. Alice and Jewel exist in this little cocoon together with everyone else on the outside. But Alice has a crush on the popular guy Simon - and when Simon shows an interest in her, she knows she can't tell Jewel. Why? Things with her and Jewel are changing. His hugs are no longer just friendly hugs and there's a charge between them now. But Jewel is her best friend, she doesn't have a crush on him, but on Simon. So Alice starts hanging out with Simon and Jewel begins to drift away and this opens up a whole new world to Alice. She's stepping out of her frame, so to speak. But a new world is opening up for Jewel as well, and Alice doesn't like it.

I loved this book! From Alice's POV, and Alice is one funny chick that I think all of us can relate to. Slightly awkward, growing into her body, noticing boys. We've all been there. And LG really captures those feelings in Alice's thoughts and observations. The Opposite of Invisible isn't a big clunky novel, but a quick read that I couldn't put down until it was finished. I wanted to see what happened, I had to SEE what happened. And it was good. LOL

The growing tension between Alice and Jewel was awesome too, very realistic. Invisible really captures the theme I love most - friends to lovers - and it does such a good job too. It doesn't end necessarily with an HEA but you know the characters are headed in that direction. Very sweet, can't wait to read more from this author.

And Jewel? I love him. He's awesome.

..and that's your scoop!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Fury by Elizabeth Miles.

Posted by Rowena at 11:00 AM 3 comments Links to this post

Main Character: Em, Chase
Love Interest: ??
Series: Furies, Book 1
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.
In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.
It was very hard for me to get into this book because right from the jump, I wasn't a fan of either Em or Chase. When I get into a book, I expect to find some redeeming qualities in the main characters but it was really hard in this book because Em wasn't very loyal and Chase was selfish and too emo for my tastes. I understood that they were both teens and teens are selfish and into themselves but usually the protagonists are likable but there wasn't much to find likable about the two of them.

So this story follows Em and Chase as they make their mistakes and then pay the price for them. Em's best friend Gabby goes away on a family vacation to another country and Em moves in on her boyfriend, Zach. I really hate when girls think that the douchebag they're dating is the best kind of person, especially if said guy is their best friend's boyfriend. It's one thing when they genuinely fall in love and struggle with hurting the best friend but when this guy is totally dicking you and your best friend around and everyone knows it but you still think that he's this knight in shining armor.

It was only after everything hit home with Em that I began to soften in my attitude toward her. I had to keep reminding myself that she was young and she was finding out who she was because if she'd been older, I would have hated her guts but as the story wore on, I started hating Ty and Ali and the other cousin that I forgot her name. The furies. What bitches those girls were.

With Chase because throughout most of the book, we didn't know what he did- I didn't not like him as much as I didn't like Em but as with Em, the more I read, the softer I got on Chase.

I didn't think they deserved the raw deal that they got. I mean, Em did something pretty shady but she didn't do it because she wanted to steal Zach away from Gabby. She had genuine feelings for him and made the mistake of acting on them. As for Chase, he wasn't this bad kid with no conscience. He tried to stay out of trouble for his Mom because she worked hard for him and he cared that his best friend was such a crap head to girls.

I couldn't believe half the crap that went down in this book. Chase and Em did some pretty messed up things but they didn't deserve the crap that they went through in this book. They didn't kill anyone, they didn't set out to hurt anyone- they were just some selfish teens that had to learn the hard way that karma is most definitely a bitch.

Overall, this story had me reading so fast because I had to know what was going to happen and while I'm glad that I finished the story, I can't say that it was the most enjoyable read. It was pretty intense and I wanted to hurt someone for putting those poor kids through all of that. They deserved to be slapped upside the head and to spend as long as it took to make it up to the people that they wronged but they didn't deserve the wrath of the furies. I can't say that this book is my favorite read of the summer but it was interesting and it did hold my attention throughout the entire book so that's gotta count for something, right?

I stayed mad throughout this entire book, first when things were going down with Em and Zach and then when we find out what Chase did to make the furies notice him and the way that it all ended made me want to punch something because they're not done raising their hell on earth so there will be another book. Will I read it? I'm not sure.

..and that's your scoop!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guest Review: Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Posted by ~ames~ at 6:00 AM 6 comments Links to this post
Main Character: Payton Gritas
Love Interest: Sean Griswold
Series: n/a
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Good Reads
According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him. The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

When I first read the blurb for this book, I thought it sounded super cute and after having read it, I can say that it was cute, but it was also deeper than I thought it would be.

First, Payton is the youngest child out of 3. She has two older brothers. Payton is existing in her everyday life, hanging out with her best friend Jac, when everything is turned upside down. She finds out that her father has MS and everyone in the family knew but her. They didn't want to freak her out and here's the thing - she does freak out. She's upset about her father but the thing that makes her the most mad is the fact that everyone hid it from her. Thus the need for a focus object. The school counselor thinks it would be a good idea. And it is, it starts to help. And then Payton starts to get to know her focus object, Sean Griswold and his head. LOL
Every time I see his big old head bobbing across the quad, I feel like a phoenix - bursting into flames only to cool off before rising up and doing it all over again.
Even though Payton annoyed me a little bit, I really enjoyed her character. I understand why she freaks out, hello health issues with a parent are not easy to deal with, and I felt that her reaction was true to how a teenager would react. Teenagers can be selfish (don't hate, we've all been there) and Payton is a teenager. It just annoyed me a little bit because hey, I'm an adult. Payton took her anger out on the one who was hurting the most, her father. She stopped talking to him.

But her focus object and her growing friendship with Sean, help her deal with her issues. And Sean? He's definitely a character you want to get to know. I loved the friendship that these two develop.

Also, I have to give big kudos to the author for dealing with the focus object thing in a good way, not making it into a whole big misunderstanding once Sean finds out. He listens to Payton's explanation - he doesn't turn all drama queen.

Another thing, the writing. It was awesome. Very engaging. See below, how is that not good stuff? LOL
Have you ever lost a pair of jeans and thought they were gone forever and you bought other jeans that look good in their own way and made you happy but nothing fit you like THOSE jeans, but then you find those jeans and you realize your butt looks even better in them than you remembered, as if your butt was made for the jeans and the jeans were made for your butt?

Jac and I are back. I don't know who is the butt and who is the jeans.

Metaphors definitely aren't my thing.
I'd definitely recommend this to anyone in the mood for a cute story with a really good message. B+


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 1 comments Links to this post

Main Character: Willow
Love Interest: Max
Series: None
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Willow has spent most of her life as her mother's sidekick in a popular Las Vegas hypnotism show. So when she and her mom move back to their sleepy southern hometown to start over, she thinks she's in for a life of quiet normalcy. Except that her new life turns out to be anything but, when she kinda sorta hypnotizes Quinton, the hottest guy on the football team, to fall madly, deeply, head over heels in love with her. But what started out as an innocent way to make her best friend, Max, jealous soon gets way out of hand, and Willow begins to wonder if the mind - and more importantly, the heart - is something you can really control.

Friends to more than friends, I love this storyline and this book is all about the best friends becoming more than friends and I enjoyed it all immensely. Willow's best friend is Max and they've been best friends since they were little kids and when Willow's Mom announces that they're moving across the country to Vegas so that she can host a hypnotist show on the strip, Willow goes because really, what choice does she have?

So before Willow moves to Vegas, leaving Max behind she tries her hand at hypnotizing Max into making sure that they stay best friends no matter what....and they do. Day after day, month after month, year after year, Willow and Max stay in touch and they stay best friends until one night Willow calls Max in tears of a recent heart break and Max comforts her. From that night on, Willow sees Max as more than just her best friend. When she gets the news that her Mom is moving them back to their hometown, Willow is over the moon because she'll be closer to Max and she'll finally get a chance to take her friendship with Max and make it something more.

Things are going swimmingly until she moves back home and finds out that Max has moved on. He's got a girlfriend that he's crazy about and Willow starts to question, well, everything. It sucks for her because she loves Max but she can't be with Max because he's happy with his girlfriend. When she first comes back to town, she runs into the hottest guy she's ever seen before in her life and his name is Quinton. They flirt and when school starts up again, she runs into him again and is pleased when he remembers her and they share their little inside joke. Rumors fly about Willow's Moms being a hypnotist and before Willow knows whats what, she's being asked to do a hypnotist show at a party where all the popular people will be at and Max isn't happy about it.

She's not a professional, she could do some damage without meaning to and Max really doesn't want her to do it but when she does it anyway, he's supportive of her. It's what best friends do. The drama that goes down in this book hits one after another after another. I couldn't help but get annoyed each and every time Willow let herself get talked into doing things she shouldn't have been doing in the first place. There were plenty of times when I wanted to wack her upside the head because she went about her business like it wasn't a big deal when it was. The whole thing with Quinton and the spell she put him under had me cringing because I'm not a fan of mind control and that's basically what she did to him.

Everything works out in the end (you'll just have to find out how by reading it for yourself) and I honestly adored Max's character so I ended up enjoying the book but my enjoyment didn't come without some hiccups, Willow's behavior being at the very top of that list. Jennifer Jabaley did a fabulous job of sucking me into this story and into the characters because I was wrapped up in their world the entire time that I was reading this book. I laughed with them, I was disappointed in them and I rejoiced with them.

Willow isn't a bad person and I didn't hate her at all, I just wanted her to listen to those around her more. She seriously messed with Quinton's head and I didn't feel like she was reprimanded enough for her actions and that's really the reason that this book is getting a B instead of an A because outside of Willow's behavior, I enjoyed everything else about this book so freaking much. Max, Max and Willow and even the friendships that blossomed between her and Georgia and even her and Mia. I really enjoyed getting to know both Georgia and Mia. Georgia cracked me up with her love of pop culture and Mia made me smile because she was such a people pleaser. But as much as I liked all of the characters in the book, it was Max that I loved the most. I loved that his relationship with Willow and I loved the person he grew up to be. Such a swoonworthy piece of boy and I ate him up!

If you're looking for a contemporary YA book that will warm your heart and make you smile then this is the book for you. It did the trick for me and I'm sure it will for you too. =) Kudos to Jennifer Jabaley for writing a book worth reading.

..and that's your scoop!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

In My Mailbox (36)

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 1 comments Links to this post
This week, I got some pretty interesting books that caught my eye for review so I'm not complaining one bit. Check it out.

Each of these blurbs made me excited to read them so I hope they're as good as I'm thinking they are. Either way, I'm excited to read them so on my list of books to review they go. I'll get to them eventually and I'm excited!

So what did you guys get this week in your mailbox?

..and that's your scoop!

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Watch: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 0 comments Links to this post

It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry into this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

This book looks like it'd be something that I would enjoy. I'm curious to see the relationship between Rowan and Bria grow and to see what happens with it all. She ditches her tour group to go with two strangers? Yeah, there is so a story there so bring it on!

This book comes out on March 13, 2012 so we still have a bit of a wait but still, I'm looking forward to it so mark your calendars lovely readers, this promises to be an adventure of a read!

..and that's your scoop!

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Book cover and blurb credit:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 2 comments Links to this post

Main Character: Wren
Love Interest: Gabriel (Highlight to see)
Series: None that I know of
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.

Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants—what she must do—is to bring Danny back.

But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.

Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her—and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.

But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought—even if it means breaking her heart all over again.

When I first heard about this book, I was curious to see what the heck Wren was thinking to bring her boyfriend back from the dead and to see how all of that turned out. I was a bit taken back by how short this story was (just under 200 pages) but after all was said and done, I enjoyed the book. I didn't exactly love the book but it had enjoyable moments.

This book follows Wren as she's living the after effects of grief. Wren has special powers and when the unthinkable happens, in this book that's her boyfriend is killed in a car accident, she brings him back to life. Things don't turn out the way that Wren thought it would when she raised Danny from the dead. She thought that they'd be able to pick up right where they left off before he died but that's not what happened at all. Wren is confused and she's scared because she has no idea what to do. She can't let Danny out of her sight because it's not like he can go back home with his parents or go back to school because as far as everyone else is concerned, Danny is dead. She can't tell anyone about what she did because first off, who would believe her and she's scared of what might happen to Danny and to her if someone were to find out.

She's all alone in this dilemma and she has no idea what to do until the new boy at school comes around and starts sniffing at her door, telling her cryptic little messages about how "he knows" and confusing the hell out of her. She starts getting closer and closer to Gabriel and with his help, she starts to feel a little better about everything with Danny.

The thing about this book was that Wren is very sorry for what she did and she wants to make it right. While that's good and dandy, the way that she went about it got on my hot damn nerves and when everything was said and done, I didn't feel like she was punished enough for it all. Because not only did she raise a dead boy from the grave, she lied about it and she would have kept right on lying about it if Gabriel didn't come into the picture. She never told her Mom or her Aunt and she could have really used their help.

I couldn't really get behind Wren as a character because she annoyed the ever living snot out of me. I got that she was strong and that she was stubborn but she took her stubbornness to whole new levels that annoyed me to no end. The way that she kept yelling at Gabriel throughout the book after he would try to help her and be there for her made me want to smack the crap out of her. While we're on the subject of Gabriel, I didn't understand why he wanted to help Wren so bad. I didn't understand why he loved her so much to want to go through everything he went through in this book for her because he didn't know her very well. It's not like they've been best friends and he's been in love with her for his entire life. They only knew each other for a matter of weeks before he was bending over backward trying to be there for her, I mean he took in her dead boyfriend's zombie self and kept him in his room for her.

I just didn't buy the whole love story between Wren and Gabriel, it felt like too much too soon. I did enjoy the story telling and everything but there were a lot of things that I just didn't buy. I wanted to enjoy this book a whole lot more than I did but it's not a bad story, the execution for me just didn't mesh well with the time frame. I also wish that we got more page time with Wren's friends, it would have been nice to see more from them.

Overall, the story could have been a lot better but I did enjoy getting to know Gabriel and the storyline was interesting, it just wasn't a home run for me so this book gets a low C from me.

...and that's your scoop!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Main Character: Jessica Darling
Love Interest: Marcus Flutie (highlight to see)
Series: Jessica Darling Series, Book 2
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

“Knowing that I’ve just done something that will take decades off my parents’ lives with worry, you’ll excuse me for not getting into the fa-la-la-la-la Yuletide spirit this year. . . . The only difference between Christmas 2001 and Christmas 2000 is that I don’t have a visit from Hope to look forward to. And Bethany has already packed on some major fetal flab. Oh, and now Gladdie doesn’t need to ask a bizillion questions about my boyfriend, because she’s already gotten the dirt from you know who.”

Jessica Darling is up in arms again in this much-anticipated, hilarious sequel to Sloppy Firsts. This time, the hyperobservant, angst-ridden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can’t seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica’s parents won’t get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany’s pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household.

With keen intelligence, sardonic wit, and ingenious comedic timing, Megan McCafferty again re-creates the tumultuous world of today’s fast-moving and sophisticated teens. Fans of Sloppy Firsts will be reunited with their favorite characters and also introduced to the fresh new faces that have entered Jess’s life, including the hot creative writing teacher at her summer college prep program and her feisty, tell-it-like-it-is grandmother Gladdie. But most of all, readers will finally have the answers to all of their burgeoning questions, and then some: Will Jessica crack under the pressure of senioritis? Will her unresolved feelings for Marcus wreak havoc on her love life? Will Hope ever come back to Pineville? Fall in love with saucy, irreverent Jessica all over again in this wonderful sequel to a book that critics and readers alike hailed as the best high school novel in years.

Book 2 in the Jessica Darling series and I think I inhaled this book faster than I did the first book. In fact, I know I did because I read this book in one sitting. This book starts with Jessica getting ready to go away to summer camp where she is going to drown herself in activities in an effort to forget about He Who Shall Not Be Named aka Marcus Flutie.

Jessica is starting her senior year of high school and she's still packing that same hilarious punch from the first book. Her voice is so engaging that you'll be sitting up laughing at her thought processes. She'll drive you crazy but you won't be able to put this book down because so much pops off in this book. Jessica runs into Paul Parlipiano, the guy she was in love with in her early high school years until she found out he was gay and they spark up a little friendship that surprised the heck out of me. It was surprising because Paul convinces Jessica to change course as far as her college plans were and when Jessica changes her mind, she does so in a big way. With secrets and everything, haha.

If you're worried that we don't get any Marcus in here since the ending of Sloppy Firsts, don't worry. Marcus makes appearances and he's actually apart of the story and I love him. Seriously adore the heck out of him. Watching him try to move on and then help Jessica move on made my heart sigh and everything else under the sun.

My favorite character in this book was Gladdie. What a hoot she turned out to be, even more in this book than in the first book.

This book is another delightfully entertaining book and it was good to see that though Hope still isn't around, she's still very much a part of Jess' life. She's a great addition to the cast of characters in this book and I'm so happy to see that she's still around, making things happen for Jess.

This is another great addition to a series that is shaping up (for me, at least) to be a definite treat. Fans of the first book will enjoy this book and fans of the YA contemporary genre will enjoy this book as well. Kudos to McCafferty for writing another winner of a story. I enjoyed it a great deal!

..and that's your scoop!

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Monthly Reading Recap: July 2011.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 3 comments Links to this post
I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything but the month that was July, I kicked some serious reading ass. I read more last month than I have any other month, like- ever. I'm so hot dang proud of myself that I couldn't wait to share my good news with y'all!

Check out what I read last month:

  1. Overbite by Meg Cabot. (B)
  2. Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia. (DNF)
  3. Love Story by Jennifer Echols. (C)
  4. The Bed and the Bachelor by Tracy Anne Warren. (B)
  5. Serendipity by Carly Phillips. (B)
  6. Wildefire by Kierstan Knight. (B)
  7. A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare. (B)
  8. Populazzi by Elise Allen. (B)
  9. Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley. (B)
  10. Linnette, the Lioness by Lavinia Kent. (B)
  11. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg. (B)
  12. Good Girl's Don't by Victoria Dahl. (B)
  13. Clean by Amy Reed. (B)
  14. Second Chance at the Sugar Shack by Candis Terry. (B)
  15. Lucky Girl by Cait Lord. (B)
  16. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. (B)
  17. Nearly a Lady by Alissa Johnson.
  18. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty. (B)
  19. Naomi & Eli's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan.
  20. Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis. (A)
  21. Click: An Online Love Story by Lisa Becker. (B)

I can't believe that I read over 20 books this month. That's never happened before which makes me extremely happy because that means I'm getting stuff done for the blogs. My favorite YA read for July is a toss up between Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg and Clean by Amy Reed. All of these books were such wonderfully entertaining books. My least favorite read this month is probably Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia and it's my least favorite because I just couldn't finish it.

Giveaway Alert: This month, I'll be doing a giveaway for all of the YA books that I've read throughout the month. There are plenty to choose from (and lots of good ones as well) and one winner will be chosen randomly (with the help of All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post, letting us know what your favorite read and your least favorite read of the month was and your name will be thrown into a hat. The giveaway ends on August 30th at 11:59pm so make sure to get your comments in by then. A winner will be announced the first week of September!

Good luck!

..and that's your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
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