Friday, February 28, 2014

{ARC Review} Learning to Swim By: Annie Cosby

Title: Learning to Swim (Hearts Out of Water #1)
Author: Annie Cosby
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: March 1st, 2014
Source: Annie Cosby for review
Format: Physical ARC


Summary from Goodreads: When Cora’s mother whisks the family away for the summer, Cora must decide between forging her future in the glimmering world of second homes where her parents belong, or getting lost in the bewitching world of the locals and the mystery surrounding a lonely old woman who claims to be a selkie creature—and who probably needs Cora more than anyone else.

Through the fantastical tales and anguished stories of the batty Mrs. O’Leary, as well as the company of a particularly gorgeous local boy called Ronan, Cora finds an escape from the reality of planning her life after high school. But will it come at the cost of alienating Cora’s mother, who struggles with her own tragic memories?

As the summer wanes, it becomes apparent that Ronan just may hold the answer to Mrs. O’Leary’s tragic past—and Cora’s future.

Review: First, a HUGE THANK YOU to the lovely Annie Cosby for providing me with this ARC for review. 

Characters: I went back and forth with how I felt towards the main character, Cora. Sometimes I liked her, and then at other times, she really annoyed me. The moments where Cora annoyed me were generally under circumstances where her stereotypical rich-girl characteristics came out. Cora grew up not with complete and total wealth, but she never did have to worry about money. I felt like her problems were a lot more petty compared to say, conflicts that her friend Rory encountered. However, there were times when I found Cora to be a logical and respectable teenage girl. For someone who had just graduated from high school, Cora wasn't a big party girl, and she didn't fool around with guys. For this, I gave Cora a lot of respect. She is a protagonist that you will (mostly) root for. And then there's Rory, Cora's love interest in this novel. 
Sweet, handsome, athletic, smart and hardworking? YES PLEASE. I adored Rory! I definitely want to see more of his story in the books in the Hearts Out of Water series.

Storyline/Plot: Learning to Swim moved at a pretty good pace. I really enjoyed reading about Cora's new life on the small island, and while some parts were in danger of being mundane, it never did reach that point. Unlike many other novels, I did not find myself skimming through the pages, and at one point, I just couldn't put it down! I only wish that Annie could have added MORE of this Irish-folklore aspect! There were hints of it throughout, but at the end.. BAM. Watch out, you won't know what's coming for you! Learning to Swim ends on a great cliffhanger, and I have high expectations for the next book.

Writing: The writing and dialogue in this book is just adorable! Annie did a really good job with the descriptions, and making the dialogue sound realistic. I think Annie is definitely a very talented writer, and I look forward to seeing her talent grow as she writes more and more.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

{ARC Review} The Secret Diamond Sisters By: Michelle Madow

Title: The Secret Diamond Sisters (The Secret Diamond Sisters #1)
Author: Michelle Madow
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: February 25th, 2014
Source: Harlequin Teen for review
Format: Physical ARC

Synopsis: Savannah, Courtney and Peyton grew up with their mother in a small house in a small town. So when their mother is whisked away to rehab, and their absent father appears in their lives to announce that he is one of the richest and most powerful men in Vegas, the Diamond sisters are flown to Sin City, where things are about to get dirty. Secrets that should have stayed hidden will be revealed, friendships will be broken, and betrayal is lurking around every corner. When it comes to the Diamond Sisters, what happens in Vegas, doesn't just stay in Vegas. In fact, it might just change their lives forever.

Review: First, a HUGE thank you to Harlequin Teen for sending me this galley for review! They say not to judge a book by its cover. But from the minute I saw this certain cover, I was in love. The Diamonds. The Las Vegas background. The mysterious girl. But sometimes, you can't always let a pretty cover completely win you away.

Characters: Ah, the Diamond sisters. I'm just going to tell you straight up that Courtney was my favorite of the three. She was practical and bookishly smart, and in my opinion, she was the most relatable character. While her sisters were running around getting drunk and hooking up with terrible guys, Courtney seemed to be the only one with enough logic and common sense in her head to stay away from all the temptations of Sin City. On that note, the sister that I disliked the most was Peyton. She was just downright TRASHY. Her behavior with boys was just terrible, and I hated the way she tried to excuse that behavior with a heartbreak back in the 9th grade. We've all been hurt before, but that doesn't mean we all run around sleeping with every guy that will give us the time of day, Peyton. Her rebellious attitude just made her really obnoxious and a very distasteful character. Along with that, Peyton's younger sister Savannah was also a character of extreme dislike. With the modest way the Diamond sisters were brought up, and their rough childhood, one would expect these sisters to have some form of maturity. Unfortunately, I didn't see this in Savannah. At 15, there are many teenage girls who are wise beyond their years. Then you have Savannah, who, like Peyton, seemed to enjoy running around with various boys. Savannah was really naive, to the point where her naivety made her seem like she was nine years old. Unfortunately, since 2 out of the 3 main characters in The Secret Diamond Sisters annoyed me, many parts of this book just did not work for me.

{Annoyed face whenever Savannah or Peyton did something ANNOYING}

Writing: I really did not want to give this book a bad review, since the author is just so incredibly kind and sweet, but I am always honest in my reviews. The writing.. it was eh. The narration especially. This book is told in the form of four different points of views: Savannah, Courtney, Peyton and Madison. Sometimes I felt like their voices blended into each other, making it hard to differentiate any originality between these girls. However, I've seen this with many other authors as well; some who have had years and years of more writing experience than Michelle. One other thing I noticed in this novel was that the "secrets" were revealed in a very... awkward way. At times, the "big revelations" were just too nonchalant, and then at other times, they were just so grand and unbelievable, that it was hard to picture such a confidential matter being revealed at a TAWDRY NIGHTCLUB. My main problem with this book was that the very predictable storyline lacked a plot ARC. It seemed to just be a description of good girls gone wild in Vegas. While there is an intention to reveal BIG secrets, none of these secrets were very surprising. In saying that The Secret Diamond Sisters lacks a plot arc, I am saying that there was no character growth or cliffhanger to close off the book. While I am able to imagine a sequel, I am curious to see what types of new and "life changing secrets" will be brought into it. 

Setting: Where The Secret Diamond Sisters lacks credibility, Michelle Madow makes up for it in the Las Vegas setting. 
Ah. Vegas. While I've never been there, I can imagine that it's a wilder version of New York's nightlife. I have to give Michelle credit for sticking true to what Vegas is most famous for: parties, Patron, and PEOPLE. (haha see what I did there? ;) She hit the right note in describing the extravagance and flamboyancy that is the true heart of the world famous Sin City. And while, yes, the underage drinking and the wild partying is highly frowned upon, it is also one of the things that make Vegas, VEGAS. If Michelle hadn't included these very true stereotypes, Las Vegas wouldn't be Las Vegas.

Conclusion: Although I was disappointed by many elements of The Secret Diamond Sisters, I think many others looking for a read much like the Gossip Girl series should try it out. I think I will read the sequel, but with caution and hopes for a greater story. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

{ARC Review} Faking Normal By: Courtney C. Stevens

Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: February 25th, 2014
Source: HarperTeen for review
Format: Physical ARC

Synopsis: Alexi's life changed that one summer, at that one innocent party. Now she tries to hide the scars in her mind by covering them with a smile, If normal for her best friends and her family. Enter Bodee Lennox, a quiet boy with his own demons. Together, they will fight through the toughest battles and cross the roughest oceans to finally find their own peace- and they find that together, love is the best weapon against a war with yourself. 

Review: Faking Normal started off as a very slow and rocky book for me. Perhaps it was the unusual narration, because Alexi was a character that took a while to get used to. However, it really picked up as the story went on, and I ended up really loving this beautifully written novel.

Characters: Alexi bothered me a bit because of the way I couldn't exactly pinpoint her social standing. It's very hard for me to imagine a girl with such a traumatizing and devastating past, as the girl who dates football players and parties in her spare time. Alexi frustrated me when she tried to come across as a misunderstood loner, while the most popular guys in school were taking her on dates. I blame it on Alexi's friends who were to be quite honest, a bad influence. These girls grew up in a very religious town, and both Alexi and her friend Liz's families valued their church. But the frequency which the girls spoke about sex and parties with made me dubious of why this religious aspect was even incorporated into the novel. As a very religious Christian myself, I would hope that these small town girls who grew up in the Lord would have better morals and ethics. In contrast to my vexation towards Alexi and her friends, I loved, loved Bodee. He was a perfect gentleman, and I even found myself wishing that Faking Normal could have been his story, instead of Alexi's. Bodee is just one of those gentle souls that everyone should aspire to be like, especially Alexi and her friends.

Writing: I've had the pleasure of speaking to Courtney C. Stevens through Twitter and email, and I can wholeheartedly say that the kindness and passion she has for everyone shows through her wonderful writing. I started off not liking Alexi, but as the story went on, I felt myself drawn into her pain and heartache. Alexi's and Bodee's relationship made my heart melt. It just goes to show how much one person, friend, lover, or otherwise can mean to a person. With Faking Normal, I feel like I have finally found a story where the escape is not (only) through romance, but through love for another human being. Courtney's writing is both sorrowful and uplifting, and she really delivers a powerful novel with an equally powerful impact.

Storyline/Plot: At first, Faking Normal moves at a slow pace. To be honest, many of my questions were left unanswered until the very end of the novel. But as you start to get past those beginning chapters, you will feel yourself drawn more and more into the story. Faking Normal is a very simple story that is quite easy to follow.

Conclusion: What a beautiful novel full of both love and darkness. Courtney really blew me out of the park, and the impact it will leave on any reader is unforgettable. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #4 (For the month of February)

Hosted By Tynga's Reviews

Hello my lovely bookish people! As you know, Stacking the Shelves is a weekly post hosted by Tynga's Reviews, but I like to have a post for each month. This month, I was very blessed with AMAZING bookish mail. I feel so incredibly grateful to all the amazing publishers/authors/bookish people who have sent me the following books. February has been a hard month for me, and all this bookish mail just made my days so much brighter. I would love for y'all to take a look and leave me links to your own Stacking the Shelves posts in the comments! 

Physical ARCs- from publishers/authors for review

There were so many beautiful, amazing galleys this month!! So much love and hugs to all the amazing bookish people out there!

1) Noggin By: John Corey Whaley 
courtesy of Antheneum Books for Young Readers
2) Learning Not to Drown By: Anna Shinoda
courtesy of Antheneum Books for Young Readers
3) Hexed By: Michelle Krys (Signed!)
courtesy of Michelle Krys
4) Open Road Summer By: Emery Lord
courtesy of Bloomsbury Teen
5) House of Ivy and Sorrow By: Natalie Whipple
courtesy of HarperTeen
6) (Don't You) Forget About Me By: Kate Karyus Quinn
courtesy of Kate Karyus Quinn
7) Cold Calls By: Charles Benoit
courtesy of Clarion Books
8) We Were Liars By: E. Lockhart
courtesy of Random House Kids
9) Oblivion By: Sasha Dawn
courtesy of EgmontUSA
10) Summer on the Short Bus By: Bethany Crandell
courtesy of Running Press Kids
11) There Will Come A Time By: Carrie Arcos
courtesy of SimonPulse
12) Let the Storm Break By: Shannon Messenger
courtesy of SimonPulse
13) Promise of Shadows By: Justina Ireland
courtesy of SimonTeen
14) The Midnight Dress By: Karen Foxlee
courtesy of RandomHouse Kids
15) Paper Hearts By: S.A. Savell
courtesy of Medallion Press
16) Just One Summer By: Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
courtesy of First Second
17) Just Like the Movies By: Kelly Ann Fiore (Signed!)
courtesy of Kelly Ann Fiore 
18) Love Me By: Rachel Shukert
courtesy of RandomHouse Kids
19) Only Everything By: Kieran Scott
courtesy of SimonPulse
20) Canary By: Rachele Apline
courtesy of Medallion Press

Giveaway Wins
I entered very few giveaways this month, but WOW! The prizes were so absolutely wonderful!

There are just too many amazing books to list here! The books pictured above was part of a package I won from Justine Magazine! THANK YOU SO MUCH! 

Also a HUGE THANK YOU to HarperTeen for running a BOOKS THAT BURN WITH REBELLION contest! Many of the above are on my to-read list (including Divergent. Yes, I actually have not read Divergent yet, please do not hit me.)


Along with that, I won a copy of WHY WE TOOK THE CAR from Scholastic, some RUSSIAN CANDY from the amazing Jackson Pearce, SWAG from the lovely Jessica Brooks, and more SIGNED SWAG from the awesome Kelly Anne Fiore.

There are few things greater than surprise book mail. Very few, I tell you ;) Here are some of the lovely bookish STUFF that showed up in my mailbox unannounced, but DEFINITELY appreciated.
ENTANGLED TEEN, you guys have OUTDONE YOURSELVES. This is one of the most spectacular THANK YOU packages I've ever gotten. Books, swag, a $10 Amazon gift card, chocolates, a tote bag, a candle, bookmarks.. WOW. Seriously. THANK YOU. 

TorTeen and Penguin were all like, "surprise!" I was sent a finished copy of Kristen Simmon's THREE (MY FAVORITE SERIES IN THE WORLDDDD) and an extra ARC of Grasshopper Jungle! My friends saw my reading my arc of Grasshopper Jungle, and they've been dying to read it ever since. Thanks to Penguin, they can have a copy to pass around and write cute little notes in the margin and laugh over the story and whatnot.

Whoa. February was CRAZY! I just want to give each and every bookish person a hug right now, but we would be here for a LONG time if I did. So, let's share the love in the form of comments! Tell me what YOU got this week/month, or what you are dying to read!! 


oh, and P.S.
To all those who have shown me so much support and love throughout this month, an extra special THANK YOU to y'all. I wouldn't be writing this post if it wasn't for you guys.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

{ARC Review} Maybe One Day By: Melissa Kantor

Title: Maybe One Day
Author: Melissa Kantor
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Source: HarperTeen for review
Format: Physical ARC


Summary from Goodreads: Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend's life-threatening illness.

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn't sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia's crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe's unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

Review: A HUGE thank you to Harper Teen for sending me this galley for review! I am a huge fan of Melissa Kantor's other novels, The Darlings series. Melissa incorporates wit, humor and passion into her books, and I was extremely happy to see this in Maybe One Day.

Characters: Olivia and Zoe are best friends. When Olivia is diagnosed with leukemia, it shatters their world. At times, I felt like Olivia was the better person, the stronger of the two. Zoe didn't seem to have a good head on her shoulders, and I felt like she didn't know her place in life. Zoe teetered on the edge of a party girl and a good girl, and characters like this just make me a bit uncomfortable. It feels very hard to relate to their character when their own identity cannot be established. However, despite Zoe's uneasiness, she truly did love Olivia and wanted only the best for her friend. 

Writing: Melissa Kantor has written a well executed novel about pain, loss and grief, even adding in the occasional bursts of humor and light. In a way, Maybe One Day is reminiscent of The Fault in Our Stars, but this novel just has a spark of individuality. While Zoe may have been a slightly underdeveloped character, her and Olivia's friendship definitely was not. Their friendship was sweet and pure, and everything teenage girls wish for in a best friend(ship). The passion and undeniably pure love was one of the greatest characteristics of not only Oliva and Zoe's friendship, but also of the entire novel. Melissa's writing just pulls you in and envelops you in the plot. It was very hard to pull away from this novel, that is for sure ;)

Romance: I'm very iffy on the romantic aspect of Maybe One Day. While Calvin was sweet and supportive (most of the time), it was a bit unnecessary and seemed to convey that the only way Zoe could pull through this tough time, was to lean on a boy that she really didn't get to know all that well. I'm still on the fence about their relationship, and will probably be for a while.

Conclusion: Although some elements fell a bit short, I was pleased with Maybe One Day. It is definitely recommended for those looking for a tale of friendship, courage, and love. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wildflower By: Alecia Whitaker (WoW #4)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

This week, my Waiting on Wednesday goes to Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker! After falling for The Queen of Kentucky, I don't know how much more my little YA contemporary loving heart can take.

Title: Wildflower
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014
Publishing Company: Poppy 

Summary from Goodreads:
The best songs come from broken hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family's bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennesee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.

Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She's even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird's star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?

In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.

Reasons why I cannot wait for this book:
1) THE AUTHOR: Alecia Whitaker absolutely astounded me with The Queen of Kentucky. It is one of my favorite books in the world, and I read it about 7 times and wouldn't give it back to the library for three months. Imagine how EXCITED I was when I found out that Alecia has another upcoming book! I have high expectations for Wildflower and I don't believe Alecia will disappoint.
2) THE PLOT: Oh how I love country romances. Also being a musical person, I am naturally drawn to books about aspiring musicians like bees to honey. 
3) THE GENERAL AWESOMENESS: Love the cover, love the summary, love the author. Enough said.

Umm once the ARCs are released, I will BATTLE for an arc of this book. I WILL BATTLE. And I won't give up until I have read and inhaled it. :)

Just Like the Movies By: Kelly Fiore (WoW #6)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

This week's Waiting on Wednesday is so swoon-worthy it's not even funny. I give to you.... Just Like the Movies by: Kelly Fiore

Title: Just Like the Movies
Author: Kelly Fiore
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: June 15th, 2014
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers/ Bloomsbury Kids

Summary from Goodreads:
Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson. 

Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend. 

While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques?

Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.

Reasons why I want to read this book:
1) COVER: Look at that cover. SO SWOON-WORTHY. Just like Kelly Fiore's other book, Taste Test, this cover just draws me in. Oh have you not seen the cover of Taste Test? Go on, look it up. I'll wait...
For those of you who were too lazy to look it up, here it is:
I call is simplistic and sweet. I am loving these book covers from Kelly Fiore!
2) GENRE: 2014 is going to be THE YEAR of YA contemporary. *Takes deep breath* TRY TO CALM DOWN, JAYNE.
3) SUMMARY: This summary gives me all kinds of WANT-TO-READ-NOW bloggery feels. 
*will review for galley hehe*

So that's what I'm waiting on this Wednesday! What are you guys dying to read??

Welcome to the Dark House by: Laurie Faria Stolarz (WoW #7)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

So um, there's this really great series I really love, right? And it's called The Touch series by Laurie Faria Stolarz. So when I heard she has a new book coming out next year, I sort of panicked and counted down the days until I could post it as my Waiting on Wednesday.

Title: Welcome to the Dark House
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Shelves: Young Adult, Horror
Publication Date: July 22nd, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Summary from Goodreads:
What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.

Reasons why I want this book:
1) AUTHOR: Laurie Faria Stolarz can write some really creepy stuff. Her Touch series? Amazing, but very very creepy. She's the perfect horror writer, and I cannot wait to see what new things she brings to Welcome to the Dark House.
2) GENRE: I secretly have a weakness for horror novels. Although they scare the poop out of me and then I have trouble sleeping for days after.
3) PLOT/SUMMARY: This is a very interesting and original idea, and just the summary gives me the shivers ;)
4) COVER: This is a moment of COVER LOVE. <3 Creepy, thrilling, suspenseful, PERFECT.

Give to me please? Please? Please? 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

(ARC Review} Three (Article 5 #3) By: Kristen Simmons

Title: Three (Article 5 #3)
Author: Kristen Simmons
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance
Publication Date: February 11th, 2014
Source: TorTeen for review
Format: Physical ARC


Summary from Goodreads: Ember Miller and Chase Jennings are ready to stop running. After weeks spent in hiding as two of the Bureau of Reformation’s most wanted criminals, they have finally arrived at the safe house, where they hope to live a safe and quiet existence.

And all that’s left is smoking ruins.

Devastated by the demolition of their last hope, Ember and Chase follow the only thing left to them—tracks leading away from the wreckage. The only sign that there may have been survivors.

With their high profile, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amidst the ruins of abandoned cities as they follow the tracks down the coast, eventually finding refugees from the destroyed safe house. Among them is someone from Chase’s past—someone he never thought he’d see again.

Banding together, they search for a place to hide, aiming for a settlement a few of them have heard about…a settlement that is rumored to house the nebulous organization known as Three. The very group that has provided Ember with a tiny ray of hope ever since she was first forced on the run.

Three is responsible for the huge network of underground safe houses and resistance groups across the country. And they may offer Ember her only chance at telling the world her story.

Review: First, a HUGE thank you to Tor Teen for sending me this ARC for review! I don't think there are enough ways to tell you, dear reader, how much I love the Article 5 trilogy. So, so much. This series has found its way into my heart and it will stay there forever. Kristen Simmons has written a truly magnificent and unforgettable trilogy.

Characters: You are missing out on A LOT if you have yet to meet Ember and Chase. They are one of my favorite couples of ALL TIME (yes, they give Mr. Darcy and Lizzie Bennett a run for their money) and they are my OTP, and I just fangirl over them. They have an unbeatable romance and are so perfectly flawed, that it makes me one of the most likable pairs in the YA genre. Basically, I just want to give each of them a great big hug (is that weird? It probably is.)

Writing: Now we come to the part where I gush about my love for Kristen Simmons's writing. My lovelies. Kristen's writing is absolutely amazing. The way she draws in a reader, captivates them, and doesn't let go even when the book is over is just absolutely MAGNIFICENT. Kristen creates a dystopian setting that is unlike any other book I've read before. It is so unique, and Kristen's brilliance and passion pour out of every page. In fact, the reason that so many dystopian novels leave me disappointed is because NONE of them can even reach the greatness that is the Article 5 trilogy. And the conclusion to this series was no different. In fact, it might have been even a teensy bit better. With spine tingling action and heart pounding romance, Kristen delivers it all. Kristen has really outdone herself, and her writing deserves many many awards. It is..

Storyline/Plot: I had high expectations for a stunning storyline in Three. And it lived up to my expectations AND MORE. With each new setting, and with new and old characters, the story in Three was such a multi-layered and intense ride. I think readers will be immersed in the world of the MM, the FBR, the Moral Statues, and most importantly, THREE. The plot flowed perfectly and curves were thrown in at just the right times. Reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Enders, Three delivers a perfect conclusion to a spectacular trilogy. 

Conclusion: More people need to read the Article 5 trilogy! Seriously. If I could, I would just sit here all day and rave about how much love I have for it. I would definitely recommend it for everyone, whether you are a fan of dystopians, of romance, or just of AWESOMENESS. 

March Madness Read-A-Thon!

Why hello lovely readers! Can you believe it's already February?? I certainly can't! As the months are speeding by, I'm realizing just how many amazing books I want to read this year! Whether they're review books, or ones that have been on my TBR list for FOREVER, March seemed like a good month to get those books read. So without further ado, I present to you...

March Madness Read-A-Thon!

I'm (attempting) to host my first ever Read-A-Thon!! And since it is my first read-a-thon EVER, it's going to be very simple. There are only a couple of rules, and it won't be a very strict Read-A-Thon. SOOOO if you want to join along, read this post, grab the button, link up and let's get reading!

1) Any types of books are welcome! (E-books, review books, ARCs, library books, audio books, etc.)
2) You are not required to review every book you read. I don't expect a review for every book! HOWEVER, if you do write a review, feel free to leave me a comment on my own March Madness Read-A-Thon posts or tweet me @Fiction2Reality! You can also share any reading updates with the hashtag #MarchMadnessReads. 

3) The giveaway is open to MARCH MADNESS READ-A-THON PARTICIPANTS ONLY. This is because I really appreciate every single person who decides to join the Read-A-Thon, and want to give away a little something to those who support and participate in #MarchMadnessReads. The official prize will be unveiled March 1st.

4) Have fun! March Madness Read-A-Thon is simple, and there are not a lot of requirements for posts and such. There is only one requirement: READ. I decided to host this Read-A-Thon as a way to interact with other readers/bloggers, and to share the love of books! 

5) Posts not required, but much appreciated. I know not everyone has a blog, so just following along with the hashtag #MarchMadnessReads is perfectly fine as well. However, if you do want a way to share your Read-A-Thon progress with your readers, then feel free to take a look at the post suggestions below!

Post Suggestions:
1) Share your TBR list!
This can be a nice and short post with a couple pictures of the books you are planning to read! 
2) Teasers!
Again, short and simple posts sharing a couple lines from the book you are currently reading, so that your followers, or other participants can pick up the book as well!
3) Reviews!
Well if you've got a review, share it! Don't forget to Tweet or Facebook about it, and include the hashtag/ mention me! :)
4) Dream cast!
I don't know about y'all, but I just love to dream cast characters! Why not grab what you're reading at the moment and give us all a dream cast of characters?
5) Challenges!
Create some awesome reading challenges for yourself and share! Whether it be to read a certain genre, or to read *gasp* 3 books in one weekend, challenges are fun, even if you don't always meet them! 
6) Anything else you can think of! 
If you have your own original idea for a bookish post, then by all means, post it! Feel free to check back here as I will (hopefully) have some exciting posts. Also check out some of the other Read-A-Thon member's blogs for ideas as well! 

Now we speak of a Twitter chat.
Twitter chats!
Seriously love Twitter chats. And at the end of the month, why not have one? If we can have enough March Madness Read-A-Thon participants, then we can certainly have a #MarchMadnessReads chat at the end of March, so everyone can share what they read! *If you happen to have some books or bookish stuff you want to get rid of, and would be willing to donate as prizes for out Twitter chat, please email me at fictionthenewreality (at) gmail (dot) com! Donations MUCH appreciated! <3*

And finally, I would LOVE it if you guys could give Fiction_TheNewReality a follow (Bloglovin, email) or a follow on Goodreads, Twitter, or Facebook. This way, we can all keep track of The March Madness Read-A-Thon, and I can also meet more of you wonderful bookish people! 

So! Will you be joining me next month in the first ever March Madness Read-A-Thon? 

Add your links below! (Either link up with your blog URL, your Twitter URL, or Facebook/Goodreads)

Monday, February 10, 2014

{ARC Review} Grasshopper Jungle By: Andrew Smith

Title: Grasshopper Jungle
Author: Andrew Smith
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBT
Publication Date: February 11th, 2014
Source: PenguinTeen/Dutton Juvenile for review
Format: Physical ARC


Summary from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Review: Grasshopper Jungle is one of those books where half of the bookish community hates it and where the other half completely loves it. I suppose I am on the "love it side." Although there were some flaws, Grasshopper Jungle really was a "dynamo" of a novel.

One thing I want to say before I give Grasshopper Jungle a proper review, is that there is just way. too. much concentration on the LGBT aspect (in reader's minds, not in the novel). The one thing that I have seen people say when asked about Grasshopper Jungle, is LGBT. And while yes, that is a major factor in this book, it is only a small portion compared to oh, I don't know. The end of the world perhaps? And when I hear people talk about ONLY the LGBT aspect, I get annoyed.

Like this.
So just know, dear readers, that if you choose to read Grasshopper Jungle, it is NOT just about two gay boys. 

Characters: Andrew Smith has created some really unique and just downright WEIRD characters with Grasshopper Jungle. I have a feeling that these are some characters a reader will not be able to forget easily. Austin was a confused boy. He was confused about his feelings for his best friend Robby, and his girlfriend Shann. He was a "horny and sexually aroused boy." My feelings about this main character are muddled. Austin wasn't exactly made to be likable, but at the same time, you just couldn't hate him either.

Storyline/Plot: Andrew Smith is probably the master of WEIRD and CRAZY plots. And yes, if you have seen tweets about #UnstoppableCorn around Twitter, this is the book it belongs to. The eccentric and sometimes downright outlandish story line was pretty entertaining and easy to keep up with, except for the scenes toward the very end, which kind of came to a mundane level. I ended up skimming the last couple of chapters, and felt a lack of enthusiasm as the scenes began to stretch out and the characters began to muddle in my mind.

Writing: I would definitely recommend this book for mature teens. There is a lot of swearing, mentions of sex and sexual profanity. There are a lot of generally gross scenes. Andrew Smith really held NOTHING back when it came to Grasshopper Jungle. For the most part, I think this really worked. It worked in the sense that it gave Grasshopper Jungle this feeling of sarcasm and obscene humor that was both refreshing and intimidating at the same time. For someone to read this, I think it is important that they have a sense of what they are about to read. As for the LGBT aspect, kudos to Andrew Smith for being able to capture it in a semi-normal and dignified way, in contrast to the queerness of the rest of the novel.

Conclusion: Grasshopper Jungle is certainly a coming-of-age novel that tells a hilarious tale of sexuality and giant insects. Through my mixed feelings for this novel, ultimately, I ended up really appreciating Grasshopper Jungle's ingenuity and spirit.

So what do you guys think? Have you read Grasshopper Jungle? Will you read Grasshopper Jungle? Leave me some comments! <3

Saturday, February 8, 2014

{ARC Review} Me Since You By: Laura Weiss

Title: Me Since You
Author: Laura Weiss
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: February 18th, 2014
Source: Simon & Schuster/ Gallery Books for review
Format: Physical ARC


Summary: Rowan never thought about a life without everyone she loves. Reckless and wild, she's never stopped to appreciate what she truly has. And now everything is gone. On the fateful day that her father is called in to stop a man from killing himself and his baby, a million things go wrong, and the world turns to watch and point fingers at the one policeman who couldn't stop a tragedy. And the aftermath is a brutal, new reality for both Rowan and her father. Spiraling deeper and deeper into a depression, no one can revive the once valiant Nicholas Areno. And then with one day, one night, Rowan's world shatters as her father takes his final breath and pulls the trigger. Stricken with grief and pain, Rowan and her mother must learn to live in a dark world without the man who was their one shining light.

Review: First, a HUGE thank you to Gallery Books for sending me this copy for review! Take a look at this quote below:

"There is a land of living and a land of the dead
and the bridge is love,
the only survival, the only meaning."
-Thornton Wilder

Love. There was so much love in this book. Love, and grief, and raw, true pain. Laura Weiss writes about the shocking aftermath of suicide, the side that victims do not get to see. The pain and devastation, the anger and guilt that comes afterward. The side that, unless it has struck you and your family, you will not truly understand. 

And I will not try to pretend to even say that I know exactly what every person who has ever lost a father, mother, sibling, family member, even friend has gone through. I am lucky enough to be surrounded with the people I love today, but not everyone is fortunate enough to say that. And I just want to give every single one of you out there a great big hug. A friend of mine lost her father to sickness about a year ago, and I am ashamed to say that I never really put myself in her shoes until the moment I read this book. Because Rowan's emotions made me realize just how strong people seem when they are crumbling on the inside. 

Characters: Rowan was a daughter. Who lost her father. That is probably one of the most painful things in the world. Laura Weiss created an amazing character with Rowan. Her feeling and emotions showed just how strong she was, even when she just felt like giving up sometimes. And although Rowan took her family for granted in the beginning, she truly loved her father, and will always be Daddy's Little Girl. And there to help Rowan in her journey was Eli. Eli was an amazing character as well. He was Rowan's comfort, and I am so glad that two people who are hurting can make each other so happy. 

Writing: Laura Weiss's writing was perfect. Lyrical even through the emotional distress, Me Since You radiated feelings off the characters and it just makes you feel all the emotions and understand what the characters are going through. Her writing was bold and powerful, especially when it came to writing about suicide and depression. Suicide is a very tough subject, and Me Since You made me realize that it's not just something that happens to just teenagers. It can happen to anyone, and it is so so terrible for both the victims and their survivors. Another thing I just want to mention in this already long review: Laura Weiss has changed my perspective on A LOT of things in life. Rowan's father was a policeman. Up until now, I didn't really realize just how courageous of a job it really is. They don't just sit around all day and make phone calls. They have to see life for its bad side, and have to somehow go home and carry on. I don't think I could EVER find the courage to do that. The things that Rowan's dad dealt with would have completely terrified me, and again, I see the two sides of something, thanks in part of this amazing novel.

Conclusion: Me Since You is a daring, potent novel that will strike you in so many ways. I don't think I've read a book about death and grief that was as amazing as Me Since You in a very long time. So here's what I'm going to say: there are not enough words to describe this book. Me Since You will strike everyone in a different way, and I have a feeling that it will be for the better. I think everyone should read this book, whether it is to find courage, understanding, strength or all of the above. Trust me, it will change your life.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Half Life of Molly Pierce By: Katrina Leno (WoW #12)

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Welcome to the 12th edition of Waiting on Wednesday! Today I'm featuring.. 

Title: The Half Life of Molly Pierce
Author: Katrina Leno
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen


Summary from Goodreads: You take it for granted. Waking up. Going to school, talking to your friends. Watching a show on television or reading a book or going out to lunch.

You take for granted going to sleep at night, getting up the next day, and remembering everything that happened to you before you closed your eyes.

You live and you remember.

Me, I live and I forget.

But now—now I am remembering. 

For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a suspenseful, evocative psychological mystery about uncovering the secrets of our pasts, facing the unknowns of our futures, and accepting our whole selves.

1) THAT SYNOPSIS, YO. Oh so vague and oh so enticing at the same time. Way to kill us with the anticipation, Katrina Leno and Harper Teen ;)

2) PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER. Woah. Woah. stop right there. Did someone say psychological thriller?? UM.. YES PLEASE! My guilty pleasures are psychological thrillers, and although they scare the heeby-jeebies outta me, I still read them XD

3) COVER. Two words. COVER. LOVE. Spooky, dreamy, foreboding. I love it. Tis iz purrfection.

Final Verdict?

I mean, I don't know how I'm going to get The Half Life of Molly Pierce in my possession, but rest assured that I will do everything in my power to make sure it happens :)

What are y'all waiting on this Wednesday?