Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bookish Resolutions!

(well almost)

Every year I make resolutions, and in 2013, I ACTUALLY KEPT THEM! I met my goals, and I even added something new and wonderful to my life; BOOK BLOGGING! This means that bookish resolutions has taken on a whole new meaning. Here are my resolutions and challenges for 2014:

1) Be a better blogger in general! I want to come up with more creative ideas, interact with other bloggers more, and keep track of the entire blogosphere!

2) I resolve to put time and attention into every single review I write. Each book being reviewed deserves full thought and as much information as I can give other readers.

3) I resolve to be more organized. I started cleaning out my inbox today! Half the time, the reason I am so stressed is because I have a million emails to find and respond to.

4) I resolve to learn more about blogging! There's still so much to know! About ARCs, about Netgalley, about publishers, about book blogging in general, and the more I know, the better I'll be.

1) To read 365 books this year. Every year, I have the same challenge for myself, and I've come short about 100 books each year. In 2014, I'm going to challenge myself to read a book a day and explore new books.

2) To have 2,000 blog followers by the end of the year. Right now I've only got about 150 blog followers, and I really want to gain more followers by the end of the year!

3) More pageviews/comments: I appreciate and love every single comment and pageview I receive. This means that people are actually looking at my blog, and giving me feedback. 

4) To be an awesome blogger. I'm still a newbie, but this year, I can't wait to expand my blog and make Fiction_TheNewReality fairly well known in 2014!

So what are YOUR bookish resolutions? Leave comments, people! Here's to a wonderful new year!


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #2 (For the month of December)

Happy Sunday and welcome to the second installment of Stacking the Shelves! For those of you who don't know, this is usually a weekly post (hosted by Tynga's reviews), but I decided to do my posts by month. (This is only my second month of blogging!) Check out what I got for the month of December, and make sure to leave a comment for me, letting me know what you got too!

Physical ARCs- from publishers/authors for review
1) Cress by: Marissa Meyer
courtesy of Fierce Reads/ Macmillan
2) Avalon by: Mindee Arnett *SIGNED*
courtesy of HarperTeen/ Mindee Arnett
3) Maybe One Day by: Melissa Kantor
courtesy of HarperTeen/ Melissa Kantor
4) Pretty Sly by: Elisa Ludwig 
courtesy of HarperTeen/Elisa Ludwig
5) The Treatment by: Suzanne Young
 courtesy of SimonTeen
6) The Edge of Falling by: Rebecca Serle
 courtesy of SimonTeen
7) The Last Forever by: Deb Caletti
courtesy of SimonTeen
8) Me Since You by: Laura Weiss
courtesy of SimonTeen/Gallery Books
9) Girl in Reverse by: Barbara Stuber
courtesy of SimonTeen/Barbara Stuber
10) Three by: Kristen Simmons
courtesy of TorTeen
11) The Museum of Intangible Things by: Wendy Wunder *SIGNED*
courtesy of Razorbill/Wendy Wunder
12) Enders by: Lissa Price
courtesy of Random House Kids
12) Being Sloane Jacobs by: Lauren Morril
courtesy of Random House Kids
13) The Tyrant's Daughter by: J.C. Carleson
courtesy of Random House Kids
14) Acid by: Emma Pass *SIGNED*
courtesy of Emma Pass
15) Defy by: Sara B. Larson
*extra copy* courtesy of Scholastic
16) Unaccompanied Minor by: Hollis Gillespie *SIGNED*
courtesy of Hollis Gillespie
17) Shattered Veil by: Tracy E. Banghart
courtesy of Tracy E. Banghart

Giveaway Wins
There were less giveaway wins this month, but I made up for it in review galleys LOL
1) Signed paperback of The Distance Between Us By: Kasie West
2) Paperback of Wake By: Amanda Hocking
3) Signed paperback of Have A Nice Day By: Julie Halpern
4) Signed hardcover of The F-It List By: Julie Halpern
5) Hardcover of A Corner of White By: Jaclyn Moriarty
6) Signed hardcover of Find Me By: Romily Bernard
7) Signed hardcover of Seven Deadlies By: Gigi Levangie
8) Hardcover of A Conspiracy of Alchemists by: Liesel Schwartz

Gifted/ Exchanged
I was actually gifted a lot of books this month, so thank you to all those wonderful people! 
1) ARC of The Vow from ARC cycling
2) ARC of The Program from YA Book Exchange
3) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn from Andic's ABC's Christmas Exchange program
4) ARC of He's Gone from Rachel @ Reading in Twilight
5) ARC of Aquifer from Rachel @ Reading in Twilight
6) ARC of Splendor from Ashleigh @ The YA Kitten
7) ARC of Season of the Witch from Ashleigh @ The YA Kitten
8) Hardcover of Pawn from Chrissy @ Every Free Chance
9) Hardcover of Ashes to Ashes from Andye @ Reading Teen

There was some lovely swag in my mailbox this month so a huge thank you to all the lovely authors who sent these to me!

Thank you to Courtney C. Stevens for all the lovely cards and bracelet! 
Thank you to Katie McGarry for the beautiful ribbon and signed bookplates/bookmarks!
Thank you to Victoria Scott for the awesome signed bookmarks!
Thank you to Cristin Terril for the swagilicious signed bookmark/bookplate!
Thank you to Megan Crewe for the bounty of bookmarks!

For those of you who know me, I cannot read e-books. But I couldn't resist these beauties!


Alas, I only bought one book this month, and it was because there was a sale lol

So if you read through all that, THANK YOU! I would love love love it if y'all left a comment for me! 

Next month, I'll be featuring a MULTITUDE of YA 2014 authors who will be here on my blog to play snarky games and give away ARCs and prizes! If you haven't read the full post it's right here!
It's called New Year, New Books, and I invite you all to join me to celebrate!


ARC Review: Finding Home by: Lauren K. McKellar

Title: Finding Home
Author: Lauren K. McKellar
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Recommended for Fans Of: Tracy Martin, Jessi Kirby
Publication Date: October 1st, 2013
Source: Escape Publishing/ Netgalley for review

Synopsis: As the daughter of a minor rock star, Amy is used to the relaxed life on the road. But when Amy's dad dumps her in a small town to go live with her aunt, Amy has to learn to fit in with a whole new crowd. She meets the handsome football player- who happens to have a girlfriend, the shy and sexy bad boy Nick, and the wild child Lily who will affect Amy's life as change it forever. 

Review: So I started off this book with high hopes. I love contemporaries, and Finding Home sounded like a really good book. But I ended up kind of disappointed. I think my main problem with this book was that there were too many "blurred lines." The people in this novel didn't seem to know the difference between two contrasting points, and that really bothered me. 

Characters: Alas, I did not like the characters. Our main character Amy, I found her really shallow and vain. She seemed really oblivious to me. Amy mixed up love and lust, even when she did end up with the right guy. Another major issues for me was her drinking problem. How she still had a liver left completely eluded me. In the book, it said that Amy drank straight for about 3 days. What I don't know is how she wasn't dead by then.

Other characters I had problems with was pretty much all the major characters in Amy's life. Luke was an asshole, and should have been locked up, Nick was stupid and let Amy drink when he knew it was wrong, and Amy's aunt Lou disgusted me. She was an ADULT and she let Amy do whatever she wanted and drink whenever she wanted.

I'd like to mention something before I get on with the rest of my review: This book takes place in the UK, where the legal drinking age is 18. Amy was almost to the legal age, but this doesn't excuse her addiction AT ALL. 

Storyline/Plot: I have to hand it to the author. Finding Home was entertaining in some ways, and really easy to read. But only because there was no depth in it. At the end, none of the characters really end up changing, so there really was no point to the entire story.

Writing: Concerning writing, I was able to connect with Amy's feelings, but I couldn't echo her emotions. I understood how she felt, but that didn't change my opinion of her. However, the scenes did flow easily, and it made for an easy to read and entertaining, if not enlightening, story.

Conclusion: Although not stellar, Finding Home was like a rainy day with small bursts of sunshine that I was able to appreciate and respect all the same.


Starters (Starters #1) by: Lissa Price

Title: Starters (Starters #1)
Author: Lissa Price
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Recommended for Fans Of: S.J. Kincaid, Megan Crewe

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .

Review: I started off this book as a very confused person. 
Yep, just like this guy.

But as the story went on, everything became clearer, and I started to understand how the body bank worked. It took a while, though, and I'm not used to reading a book where crucial information is not made clear in the very beginning. I didn't have too many problems with this style, seeing as how it became clearer later on. 

Characters: In terms of characters, I didn't really have too many problems with Callie. She didn't stand out to me in any way, but she didn't bother me too much either. My only issue with her was that SHE wasn't bothered by the fact that the only reason Blake liked her was because she was surgically made beautiful. She didn't give it any thought, and I feel like she should have dwelled on that fact to prove to readers that she wasn't shallow like the other Starters. 

Writing: The writing was fine, although I couldn't picture the scenes sometimes. I knew that Callie and the other Starters were beautiful, but I couldn't really picture Callie at all. Since I am the type of girl who likes to picture scenes in my head, this kind of bothered me.

Storyline/Plot: Sometimes I had a little trouble keeping up with the change of scenery and location. Other than that, it was fast paced and thrilling. If you are willing to overlook a little confusion, then you'll love the action in Starters.

Conclusion: Though not as well developed as books it has been compared to (ex: The Hunger Games), Starters is a refreshing spin on YA dystopia and science fiction.


Friday, December 27, 2013

ARC Review: Going Rogue (Also Known As #2) By: Robin Benway

Title: Going Rogue (Also Known As #2)
Author: Robin Benway
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Suspense
Recommended for Fans Of: Sarah Zettel, Ally Carter
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Source: Bloomsbury Kids for review
Format: Physical ARC

Synopsis: Just as teenage spy Maggie Silver's life is starting to settle down- she has a boyfriend, a best friend, and a home- trouble starts to brew, and this time, she's really in danger. Corruption simmers beneath the surface of the Collective, the organization Maggie and her spy parents work for. When Maggie's parents are accused and threatened, Maggie and her friends escape to Paris, where they learn to jump the bridges between loyalty and betrayal, love and hate, and figure out what it's like to go rogue.

Review: A HUGE thank you to Bloomsbury Kids for sending me this ARC copy to review!! So as I said about the first book, Also Known As, it was absolutely perfect. I didn't think it was possible, but this sequel was EVEN BETTER. It was...
Yes, it was perfection. The romance was swoonier, the action was scarier, and the people were so. much. cooler.

Romance: Wow, Jesse and Maggie's romance just makes your life feel like a dirt hole, and you're the only one living in it. Their romance was sweet and pure, just the way YA romance should be. The scenes were so swoon-worthy, and this was me half the time:
 Also, if someone finds a place where they sell Jesse Olivers, please let me know. I will gladly buy every single one in stock. *winks*

Characters: These people crack me up. Maggie, Roux, Jesse, and Angelo should seriously be on a SITCOM. I found absolutely no flaws in them, and I love them all to death *hugs imaginary characters* *feels embarrassed*

Plot/ Storyline: Fast paced and suspenseful, this time, Going Rogue brings out the real spy life for Maggie and her family. There was not one moment where I was bored with this book, and I LOVED IT.

Writing: Robin Benway definitely needs to write more books. Her writing is absolutely phenomenal. It draws you in, it makes you feel all the emotions, it makes you hate her because of how much talent she has. (Just kidding, don't hate on Robin!*

Conclusion: If you have not read Also Known As, then you are missing out! I suggest you read this book before Robin Benway takes over the world, and so many of her books are sold that they RUN OUT.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Just One Year (Just One Day #2)

Title: Just One Year (Just One Day #2)
Author: Gayle Forman
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Recommended for Fans Of: Trish Doller, Huntley Fitzpatrick

Synopsis (from Goodreads): When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

Review: Here's a classic example of why I'm wary of sequels. Some can be done well, and some, well, they leave you severely disappointed. Just One Day was a strong novel (see my review here) that left me dying to know what happens next. But halfway through Just One Year, I got extremely frustrated and put the book down many times.

Storyline/Plot: While I wasn't too happy with the idea of picking up the story from Willem's POV where Lulu left off, I was willing to give it a try. At first, the plot was really interesting and fast-paced, but then it started to slow down to a boring, mundane crawl. This made me really upset because I wanted so much more from Willem's story. I wanted to read about the lengths he went to to find Lulu, and I didn't really see much of that at all. 

Some people may argue that everything he did was for her, but whether it be a lack of good judgement, or an irritation with these kind of boys, I didn't believe for one second that Willem spent much time searching for Lulu at all.

Characters: I thought Willem was an interesting and soulful character, after reading Just One Day. And then I was so disappointed when reading his thoughts. He seemed really shallow and lustful to me. While Lulu was crying over him, Willem was out sleeping with girls and making stupid mistakes. I prefer Lulu's point of view over Willem's.

Writing: Although Just One Year is still told with Gayle Forman's gift of writing, I found many parts dull. I couldn't connect to many of Willem's emotions, and when Willem was traveling, it found it hard to keep track of all the places he went, and the people he met. And frankly, I didn't care enough to try to sort it out. At that point I had kind of given up on this book.

"The Saving Grace": The reason that this book wasn't a much lower rating, was quite simply, the ending. Towards the end, you could feel a sort of quiet tension building up, when you know something monumental was going to happen. I had talked to someone else who had read Just One Year, and they said they really disliked the ending. But for me, it was a great way to end the book. I won't spoil anything, but it left a lot for the readers to imagine, but not so that they were left frustrated and confused.

Conclusion: A sore disappointment to Just One Day, Just One Year left me disappointed because I knew Gayle Forman's work could be so much better.


Standalones Vs. Series (Discussion Thursday #2)

Welcome to the second week of Discussion Thursday with me and my little blogger gal, Sofia @ Lovin The Language of Literacy

Today I'm discussing Standalones Vs. Series

I don't know about the rest of the bookish community, but here's how I pick a book: based on if it's a stand-alone or a series. Then I subcategorize it into a finished series or an ongoing work.

I prefer stand-alone novels over series.

Reasons for this:
1) I am extremely forgetful and will most likely not remember what happened in the last book. Sometimes I just won't care to remember.
2) The wait is extremely frustrating. While I know that writing is not an easy thing, sometimes I'm just like this while waiting for the next book to come out:
3) Sometimes, the sequel doesn't live up to the first book. I've had this happen to me many times, and it's extremely disappointing. It's always a risk, starting a new series, and it's something I try to avoid.
4) CHANGE. In general, I am a person who cannot deal with change. Bookishly talking, I REALLY CANNOT deal with change. I'm actually currently reading a sequel where the main character has turned from nice guy, to asshole.

Awesome authors I would like to mention in this discussion post:
1) Liz Norris- Author of Unbreakable and Unraveling
Liz has one of THE BEST sequels in YA history. It lived up to my every expectation and is one of my favorite duos of all time.
2) Lisi Harrison- Author of The Clique series
I have so much love for this series. It's full of snark, humor and sarcasm, and at 14 books in total, one that I like to re-read when I get in a book-binge mood. And if I recall correctly, these books came out fairly quickly too.
3) Other amazing authors who either come out with sequels really quickly, or who write awesome stand-alone novels. You guys rock.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Bookish Christmas Gift Exchange!

A Bookish Christmas

Merry Christmas!! This year I was lucky enough to participate in Oh, Chrys's A Bookish Christmas! I had a lot of fun talking to my exchange partner, and especially, wrapping and sending out her prezzies:)

And I couldn't have asked for a better exchange partner! I ended up with Chrissy @ Every Free Chance Reviews!

Take a look at what I gave Chrissy here :)

Anddddd, ladies and gents, here are my spoils:
You can't really tell from this picture, but Chrissy did a lovely job wrapping my gift, and I had to restrain myself from opening it before Christmas Day.
I was so happy!! Pawn was at the top of my wishlist, AND she event sent me a $5 Starbucks gift card, along with a lovely note.

I am so super grateful to both Chrys and Chrissy! Money has been really tight over at my house, and I didn't really get any gifts this year. It was so nice to be able to count on Chrissy's gift as an exciting surprise.

So once again, Merry Christmas to all, and a huge THANK YOU to Chrissy!!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas! *Spreading Bookish Cheer*

Merry Christmas!!
This is my first Christmas as a blogger, and I can promise I will be here for more Christmases to come:) 

So this year, Christmas is a little slow at my house. With no extended family, and a lot less money this year, there are really no presents that I received. But it doesn't really matter to me. Maybe when I was younger, it would have mattered, but I guess I've matured a lot over the years.

However, I do want to join in the cheer and wish everyone a Merry Christmas (and happy holidays if you don't celebrate Christmas!) I'm writing a special blogger post today, as a thank you for the amazing things that have happened to me since I started blogging, which makes me feel like it's Christmas everyday.

You see these huge boxes of books here? This is all the bookish mail I've gotten since I started blogging on 10/4/2013.
This is basically me for EVERY SINGLE PACKAGE I GET. Every time I open up those awesome yellow envelopes, I get all happy inside, and these sparkly feelings couldn't have been achieved without some of the following people/publishers/bloggers/authors/animals (wait just kidding there were no animals that sent me packages-sadly)

I have gotten some REALLY AMAZING galleys and bookish mail from the awesome people at the teen division of Simon & Schuster. Somehow, I got lucky enough to know some incredible people at this publishing company.

Thank you to LB Kids for hosting some awesome giveaways on Twitter, and for actually granting my ARC requests. You guys rock.

Bookish cheer could not have been achieved without some awesome individual publicists over at Random House Kids. I have a feeling this is a publishing company everyone loves:)

Thank you so much to Fierce Reads and MacMillan Kids for my fierce bookish mail. I have gotten AN ARC OF CRESS, SIGNED BOOKS, AND MORE from them, and they're one of the nicest publishing companies to interact with.

The people over at Bloomsbury are so kind. They follow up on your ARC requests, and very quickly too;)

6) Bloggy friends
I don't know what I would do without some of my awesome bloggy friends for gifting me books/hosting awesome giveaways. I don't have enough time (or room!) to list all you amazing people, but just know that I love you all:)

7) Authors
You authors. Y'all are amazing people. I love interacting with all of you, and I've had the pleasure of meeting some of my favorites. It's always an honor to host you guys on my blog, and I look forward to having even more fun in 2014:)

So that's it guys! Merry Christmas again, and I hope y'all get to spread some bookish cheer this holiday season!



Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Merry Christmas!!
Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday, Christmas Edition! This week, I'm asking Santa for my TOP #1 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2014:

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publication Date: May 13th, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Summary from Goodreads:  A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Me to We Were Liars: 

Reasons why I want this book:
1) Plot: This book sounds BEYOND amazing. I have a feeling that We Were Liars is going to exceed ALL my expectations. I'm not even going to make any generalizations or even try to categorize it.
2) Recommendations: All around the internet, people have been RAVING about We Were Liars. Every time I see a tweet on Twitter, I kind of get all twitchy with WANT.
3) Author: E. Lockhart comes out with YET ANOTHER BOOK? Well you can guarantee that I will fight to the death to read this book.

And just to make something clear, I DO HAVE WE WERE LIARS. But only on Netgalley, and I really want to have a physical copy. See my Physical vs. Digital Books discussion post to find out why;)

So yeah, We Were Liars:

So what are you guys waiting on this Wednesday? ;)

Gated (Gated #1) by: Amy Christine Parker

Title: Gated (Gated #1)
Author: Amy Christine Parker
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Recommended for Fans Of: Emma Pass, Robin McKinley

Synopsis (from Goodreads): A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths.

Appearances can be deceiving.

In the Community, life seems perfect. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited Lyla’s family to join his group and escape the evil in the world. They were happy to be chosen, happy to move away from New York and start over in such an idyllic gated community. Now seventeen, Lyla knows that Pioneer is more than just their charismatic leader, he is their prophet . . . but his visions have grown dark.

Lyla is a loyal member of the Community, but a chance encounter with an outsider boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community—everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. Her family and friends are certain in their belief. Lyla wishes she could feel the same. As Pioneer begins to manipulate his flock toward disaster, the question remains: Will Lyla follow them over the edge?

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story of the Community from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker’s beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike.

Review: Well thanks a lot, Amy Christine Parker. I'm never going to be able to look at my community the same again. Gated was a super creepy psychological thriller. It makes you questions everything you know, and keeps you in suspense. I had anxiety half the time while reading this because I was dying to know what happened next, but I kept thinking that it probably wouldn't be good.

I don't know why, but I keep thinking of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, mainly because that short story opens up on a bright sunny day, introducing a close knit group of people. In Gated, nothing seems wrong with the Community until a little bit later. In fact, Amy had me thinking that somehow, Pioneer was a good guy. But alas, the psychological part of "psychological thriller" kicks in. This book will make you question a lot of things, and specifically what is the correct definition of "right and wrong". The character of Pioneer really plays with your mind, as he seems like such a normal guy, and then you find out that he's really insane.

I wanted more romance in this book! The only reason I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars is because I really wanted to read more swoony scenes between Lyla and Cody! But I did know that their romance was going to be limited, since Lyla was put on strict restrictions.

I know there is going to be a sequel to Gated, and I'm really excited to see what direction Amy is going to write Lyla's story in. There's definitely going to be some major surprises, and if Gated gives us any clues, an incredible story.

Conclusion: A stunning novel from debut author Amy Christine Parker, Gated is a must read book that will surprise you and keep you guessing until the very end.


Monday, December 23, 2013

ARC Review: Another Little Piece of My Heart by: Tracey Martin

Title: Another Little Piece of My Heart
Author: Tracey Martin
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Recommended for Fans Of: Rainbow Rowell, Robin Benway
Publication Date: December 1st, 2013
Source: Harlequin Teen/ Netgalley for review
Format: e-arc

Synopsis: Years ago, Claire broke up with her musician boyfriend, Jared, as her dying mother's last request. Breaking up with Jared was the hardest thing Claire had ever done, and Jared's anger helped him write a hit song that carried him to stardom. Now, as Claire's family unravels once again, Jared is back in town for the summer. Between losing her parent, her home, and her band, Claire's not sure just how much she can take before the pieces of her heart break apart completely.

Review: This book was absolutely perfect to me. Before reading it, I deliberately didn't read the summary to see where it would take me. It wasn't until after that I found out Another Little Piece of my heart was a retelling of the beloved classic, Persuasion. While I've never read Persuasion before, it is now most definitely on my TBR list.

Another confession: I was up until 5 AM reading this book. I had church early the next day and piano lessons, and I couldn't care less. From the minute Another Little Piece of My Heart opened up, to the very end, I was completely enchanted.

Plot/Storyline: This was an absolutely adorable and charming story about two ex lovers who are reunited after a lot of hate and heartache. I am a sucker for the unrequited love type of stories, and Another Little Piece of My Heart really blew me away. I was completely engaged in Jared and Claire's beautiful, heartbreaking relationship, and the pace in which the story is told is perfect. It kept me entertained and feeling all the emotions Tracey Martin wrote into this book.

Characters: The characters. I have a feeling they'll leave a lasting impression on you, and they'll be ones you won't forget. Claire was a typical teenage girl refusing to admit she was still in love, secretly still hurting from the pain of her breakup. But she was just so cool. She had that typical teenage streak of rebellion, and I loved seeing her attitude come out to cover up just how much she hurt. Her ex-boyfriend Jared was pretty darn swoon-worthy. I usually don't include dreamcasts in my reviews, but I absolutely just had to point out that this is who I imagined as Jared THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE BOOK:

Behold the beauty that is Jamie Campbell Bower. He totally has a ruggish-heartbreak-musician vibe going on, and since Jared was described as having long hair, well, yeah, you know, Jamie Campbell Bower. *sigh*

Cover: I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS COVER. Simple, but beautiful, and you just know it's going to be a cute book you absolutely want to read.

Conclusion: Reminiscent of Robin Benway's, Audrey, Wait! and surprisingly, Romeo and Juliet, Tracey Martin's debut novel rings with love, loss and the crystal clear notes of a lazy summer day.


Guys, this book just made me so happy. I loved it, and I think everyone will love it. Even if you're not a fan of contemporary. Another Little Piece of My Heart is a book that I recommend to EVERYONE. In fact, that's what I just did on Goodreads. *winks*


Sunday, December 22, 2013

ARC Review: Heartbeat by: Elizabeth Scott

Title: Heartbeat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Recommended for Fans Of: Sarah Dessen, Jessi Kirby
Publication Date: January 28th, 2014
Source: Harlequin Teen/ Netgalley for review
Format: e-arc

Synopsis: All Emma wants is her mother back. To be able to talk to her, to tell her about the pain of growing up, and especially about the baby that is growing in her stomach. But ever since Emma's mother's devastating death, Emma's stepfather Dan has forced Emma's mother's body to be kept alive- so her baby can survive. Brain dead and unseeing, Emma's mother is a reminder to Emma of the hate she harbors for Dan and the baby that destroyed her mother. Life is difficult for Emma, until she meets the one boy who just might be able to save her- and the one she might be able to save as well.

Review: Heartbeat has an extremely interesting plot. Imagine the horror of keeping your deceased mother's body alive just so the baby growing in her can live. All of which was done by your stepfather without once consulting you. I can understand why Emma would be outraged by this. Considering the close relationship she had with her mother, this would have been one of the most devastating events in her life. I had some nitpicky issues with this book, though.

Characters: Emma was definitely flawed, but to be honest, who isn't? I could understand her emotions, and where she was coming from, but one thing that bothered me was her stubbornness. She refused to see Dan's point of view and she shouted the same things over and over again. In fact, the repetitiveness of her arguments grew to be tiring and unconvincing. I found myself skimming through these parts with disinterest.

Romance: I definitely loved the romantic aspect in this book. Caleb was so scarred, and Emma healed him. Caleb had real issues that weighed him down, and not the petty problems of a typical wealthy child. Their romance was heated, and when they most needed someone to love, they were there for each other.

Storyline: I was a little disappointed by the lack of impact the story leaves on a reader. The ending was kind of predictable, and it wasn't a very high-strung book overall. I found myself able to tolerate this, as I'm sure many others will be able to also.

Conclusion: Although I was expecting a bit more from the acclaimed Elizabeth Scott, I still found myself engaged in Emma's tale of sorrow and heartbreak, and the lengths a person will go to to heal those wounds.


Also Known As (Also Known As #1) by: Robin Benway

Title: Also Known As (Also Known As #1)
Author: Robin Benway
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Adventure, Romance
Recommended for Fans Of: Ally Carter, Sarah Zettel

Synopsis: You've probably never heard of The Collective. But Maggie Silver has. In fact, she, along with her parents, are members of the ultra exclusive and ultra secretive group of spies who keep right all the wrongs in the world. But when Maggie and her parents are sent to New York City for their most important mission yet, it is up to Maggie to put a stop to the biggest crime in spy history- while trying not to fall in love with the son of the suspect, and trying to fit in in a teenage spy's worst nightmare: high school.

Review: I need a minute to collect myself.

Robin Benway's books are absolute perfection. After reading Audrey, Wait! I needed something to compensate for the happy reader feelings that went into that book, so I went and got Also Known As. And I blew through this book in 5 hours. Also Known As has everything I love in the perfect book. It was light, witty, humorous and chock full of adventure.

Characters: I can't even tell you how much I love these characters Robin created. I want them to be my best friends! Maggie was such an awesome protagonist, and Roux is definitely a character that deserves her own book. *shoutout to Robin Benway: Robin, can you write Roux's story please? ;)* You need to seriously read this book to understand just how cool Roux is, and when you do, you will be laughing your head off.

Romance: Maggie and Jesse have one of the best relationships in YA lit. Their relationship was sweet and the mushy-gushy stuff that just makes you feel really lonely and jealous. They deserved each other so much that you can't help but root for them all the way. Maggie and Jesse are just so perfect for each other and everyone needs to go in a corner and appreciate their romance.

Storyline: Also Known As was fast paced and reads like a hit movie. It's entertaining and so easy to get through that you won't want this book to end.

Writing: In classic Robin Benway style, Also Known As is hilarious. It is lighthearted and spirited, and jam packed with adventure and fierce cleverness.

Conclusion: People seriously need to know read Also Known As. I cannot recommend it enough, and you won't regret reading it! Also Known As is the perfect book to curl up with during this holiday break, and trust me, you'll love every bit of this book:)


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Defy (Defy #1) by: Sara B. Larson {ARC Review + Giveaway}

Title: Defy (Defy #1)
Author: Sara B. Larson
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Adventure, Romance
Recommended for Fans Of: Suzanne Collins, Tamora Pierce
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014
Source: Scholastic for review
Format: Physical ARC

Synopsis: No one knows Alex's secret. Everyone believes him to be the strongest fighter, the prince's most trusted guard, and the most fearless warrior. But what people don't know is that Alex, is really a girl. Orphaned and alone with her twin brother Marcel, Alexa has been disguised as a boy and trained like a male since the day her parents perished in a battle of evil magic against warring nations. Now at the age of 16, Alexa will do anything to keep her identity a secret, while she finds herself falling for two boys she never thought she'd fall for- both of whom she would DIE for.

Review: First off, a HUGE thank you to Sheila over at Scholastic for sending me this ARC for review. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard about Defy was MULAN. A girl dresses up as a guy in order to fight, and then falls in love. But it's not just the uncanny resemblance to Mulan that makes Defy stand out.

Characters: Alexa is super cool. She's a warrior, she's tough, she's a fighter. I come from a taekwondo background, with training in martial arts, and I know just how difficult it is to obtain that skill, or even the desire to keep on training. And to see her as such a strong and ruthless heroine was ultra cool. One of the things I loved the most about Sara's characters was the undeniable loyalty in the prince's guards. They were willing to die for each other, and defend each other at all costs. Fierce loyalty is one of the things I love to see most in a book.

Romance: So Defy has a love triangle. It's been quite a while since I've read any book with a love triangle, and at first I was like this:
Because most of the guards believe Alexa is a boy, and so does Prince Damian, the thoughts Alexa was having about Damian and Rylan just felt so... uncomfortable because she disguised as a BOY. And then she went on to say that Damian and Rylan looked at "Alex" a certain way, and made me really squirmish.

After a while, I thought the love aspect was getting better. But then Alexa started falling for the guy I didn't want her to end up with. For a reader to judge the romance, I think it is up to him/her to decide which person they want Alexa to end up with. Because I wanted Alexa to be in a relationship with the other boy, I didn't really enjoy the romance.

Writing: It's a little but tough for me to describe Sara's writing. While there were some great use of vocabulary and sensory words to describe their kingdom and land, I felt really removed from all the characters. One of the reasons Defy is a 3.5 book for me is because I couldn't really connect to any of the characters. I couldn't feel Alexa's pain, OR Damian and Rylan's love for Alexa. However, I applaud Sara for writing in a style where I could actually picture the place they lived, the place they fought, and the jungles that surrounded the land, and I really loved that.

Ending: The beginning of Defy held a lot of potential. The middle started to lose a lot of it. The end, though, was perfect. It literally brought tears to my eyes, and I can't think of a better way the ending could have been written. I loved it, and if you stick around until the end of Defy, I think you'll love it too.

Conclusion: Although Defy had some flaws, it is still a book that you don't want to miss. Defy tells a story of passion, excitement, and the valiance of a nation of fighters.

Guys, I'm giving away an ARC of Defy! Tis the season to be jolly and all, right? *winks*
Rules of Entry:
1) US ONLY (unfortunately, I am not made out of money, sorry)
2) You have 48 hours to respond to my email, or I will be forced to pick a new winner.
4) The ARC will be sent out at MY discretion, so I apologize in advance if it takes me some time to send it to you!
*oh, and the giveaway must have more than 100 entries for a winner to be drawn. Sorry, rules of entry!*

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Spotlight On: Adrenaline Rush by: Cindy M. Hogan

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Title: Adrenaline Rush
Author: Cindy M. Hogan
Shelves: Young Adult, Suspense
Publication Date: October 2013

Synopsis: A madman with a mission is kidnapping groups of thrill-seeking high school seniors across the country, and it’s up to Christy to stop him.

To do so, she must take on a fearless alter ego and infiltrate a group of adrenaline junkies bent on pushing life to the limit. Death-defying stunts are only the beginning: two groups fit the profile, and Christy must discover the real target before it’s too late.

If she chooses the wrong group, more people will disappear. But choosing right puts her as the prime target—with no guarantee that she’ll get out alive.

As I hurtled toward my destination at 500 miles an hour, I pulled out a notebook, placed it on the shiny mahogany table in front of me, and scribbled a quick to-do list. Pick out an outfit. Get folders and notebooks. Switch into fourth period drama. I chewed on the end of my pen. Oh yeah—just one more thing. Get kidnapped.
According to my pre-mission briefing, kidnappings were up in the States by five percent over the last five years. The significance of which didn’t hit me until I found that the statistics for kidnappings had remained static for a good thirty years. The spike caught the attention of the FBI, and they put their best men on it. The problem? Right when they thought they’d discovered the pattern of the kidnappers, it seemed to change.
We hit some turbulence, and the force of it pulled me out of my reverie. I sucked in a deep breath, my hands resting on the soft leather side arms of my big comfortable seat as the Gulfstream jet jumped. I let the rollercoaster feeling wash over me like a wave, forcing myself to enjoy every last tingle. I only had this flight and a few hours tonight to assume my new thrill-seeking alias—the one that would lure the kidnappers and save the day before the pattern changed again. I might as well make the most of it.
There were four of us on board. I sat in a cluster of seats with Jeremy, my Division 57 handler. The two other agents I’d be working with, Agent Penrod and Agent Wood, sat in two similar chairs on the other side of the plane near the back. The smell of raspberries and cream still hung in the air from lunch.
I twisted the stud in my ear before brushing my hand through my long, inky-black hair. I couldn’t wait to go back to being a blonde. Too bad my black hair was integral to the upcoming mission. I bit my lip and reminded myself that at least I’d been able to get rid of the lip ring and other piercings I’d had to wear for so long.
My eyes fell on Jeremy, the best protector ever, and I thought back to the first day we’d met. As a civilian, I’d just accidentally witnessed a horrific murder committed by terrorists, and he swooped in to protect me. He was serious about his job, too. He even took a bullet for me and then didn’t hesitate to kill the terrorists who wanted me dead. I trusted him completely.
He set a file folder stamped Division 57 on the table sitting between us. He would be the one to protect me as I became the person the kidnappers would choose. I would be safe in the end. He smiled, and I tried to ignore the strong line of his jaw, his perfect nose, and his rumpled, light brown hair.
I grabbed for the file folder, reminding myself that he was my handler. The movement made me notice the faint tan line around my right ring finger. I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping it would help keep the stab of pain from my recent breakup with Rick from overcoming me. The hurt was still too raw to contemplate, but I couldn’t help it. Sure, I hadn’t met his stipulation of video chatting without fail every thirty days, but I was a spy in training, and while I’d missed one chat by a week, the last one had only been two days late. I had tried to comply, but if video chatting wasn’t available wherever I was in the world, it wasn’t available. End of story.
His words still cut me, though. I can’t handle it, Christy. If you can’t keep a little promise like contacting me every thirty days, then this will never work. If, after I’m done with my training and you’re still available, we’ll talk then. The look of hopelessness on his face on the screen was forever etched in my mind.
I rubbed the area on my finger where the promise ring he’d given me used to sit, and then quickly glanced at the papers in the file to distract myself. My photographic memory immediately filed their words, statistics, diagrams, maps, and the mission details away into a file in my brain named Adrenaline Rush.

About the Author: Cindy M. Hogan

Cindy M. Hogan graduated with a secondary education teaching degree and enjoys spending time with unpredictable teenagers. More than anything she loves the time she has with her own teenage daughters and wishes she could freeze them at this fun age. If she's not reading or writing, you'll find her snuggled up with the love of her life watching a great movie or planning their next party. She loves to bake, garden and be outdoors doing a myriad of activities.

Author links:

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Grand Prize!
Prize (open internationally): 
Ebook copies of Confessions of a 16-Year-Old Virgin Lips(episodes1-5) and signed copies of Watched and Protected (Books 1 and 2 in the Watched trilogy).

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