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Monday, June 30, 2014

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen [Review]

Title: 17 First Kisses
Author: Rachael Allen
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: June 17, 2014
ISBN:  0062281356
Goodreads

No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.
 I'm a huge fan of contemporaries, particularly those that have a twist and give us more than is expected. 17 First Kisses was one of these titles that completely exceeded my expectations. I read the majority of it in one day which seems to be the trend with me recently. Once I started I couldn't stop because I was completely caught up in Claire's world.

There are different dimensions in this book and to adequately explain it I'm going to have to break it down a little bit differently.

Dimension #1: Family Life
Something happens within Claire's family structure that completely shatters her world and no, it's not something you will expect. This is a huge part of the story that you don't really get a sense for in the synopsis. It's a huge deal and the story gets a ton of depth because of Claire's family life and what is happening behind doors.

I LOVED the family aspect of this book. The lead up to it has you guessing and when the reveal happened I was completely enthralled. All the emotions are there and they feel realistic. It's not cookie cutter, but it isn't unbelievable either, it's the perfect line that allowed me to believe that I knew the family I was reading about.

Dimension #2: The Boys
The classic storyline goes as follows- Girl meets perfect boy+Boy meets perfect girl=Happily Ever After. That doesn't happen here and I am so glad.

I love that Claire goes through multiple boys and doesn't fall in love with the first one she kisses because lets be real, who does that? The kisses are revealed slowly beginning at 2nd grade so it's not an overabundance of high school romances gone wrong. This makes it much sweeter and gives it an awesome build up.

We really get a look at Claire's entire life so by the end I felt like I really knew her and understood why she made the decisions she did.

Dimension #3: The Friends
This is the one part of the book I had slight issues with. Megan McQueen is Claire's best friend throughout the entire book and we get to see the birth of their friendship and the various stages in between. While she is her best friend and I can see the attributes within their relationship, so many times Megan treated her terribly.

Megan is all into popularity and she wants what she wants, sometimes at the expense of her best friend. I understand why things happen, but there were a couple times where I would have reacted a lot more negatively than Claire did at her actions.

Overall: I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves contemporaries. This is definitely one of my favorites this year and I will definitely be reading more from Rachael Allen!

4.5 rounded up to 5.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

#Scandal by Sarah Ockler [Review]

Title: #Scandal
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
ISBN:  1481401246
Published: June 17,2014
Source: From Publisher for Honest Review
Goodreads 

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...

This was definitely a cute title. I LOVE the play on Social Media in this one and I couldn't get enough of it.

Let's start with Lucy, our dashing heroine who like so many of us, has been crushing on her best friend's boyfriend (slash her own other bestie) for years. Enter prom night, Lucy's best friend is sick so she chooses to live prom night vicariously through Lucy... including having her escort her boyfriend to the prom. Moral of the story; you just can't stop true love, y'all. 

This is the plot that sets things in motion and it is definitely a fun and interesting ride. After prom night there are hilarious blunders, and some not so hilarious ones, but each lead us to a realistic look at what it is like being a teen in today's high school world full of social media and smart phones.

I love how much time was spent focusing in on the power that social media has. The entire novel is based around the idea that with the press of a button, our darkest secrets can become the next #scandal.  I use social media every day, and though it has been four years since I said "goodbye" to high school the powers of it amaze me.

When I was in high school Facebook was just starting to take off. In fact, I remember telling my friends I would never get a Facebook because me and Myspace were staying together. I fell into the world just like everyone else did but now there is so much more to it!  Before blogging I never would have used Twitter, and now I hear there is kik, Ask.com, and so many others that make my head spin.

The world loves social media, especially high schooler's living in a digital age like never before.

I love that Ockler really used that love of social media and the convenience of technology to craft a great, fun and interesting read.

This contemporary is lengthy, at nearly 400 pages I read the first 200 in a blink of an eye and slowed down a bit towards the middle. This didn't affect my enjoyment though and I really think that was due more towards my own life speeding up and reading taking a punch as a result.

Overall: READ IT! Watch social media be portrayed at its worst, best, and sometimes in between. This book is perfect for summer or anyone who loves contemporaries like I do. It's cute, funny, and you have to see if you can guess who the true culprit is. I did, and I was actually really suprised.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Christmas in July Book Swap!!

 I love book mail. There is no surprise there, so I had to sign up for the Christmas in July book swap because it seemed like so much fun! You get a book you want from your wish list, a surprise, AND you get to meet new fun and awesome people!
 
Swap Details:
Send at least 1 book and something else fun for your partner that they would like.  The package must include a book from their wishlist. If you want to send them a second, that is at your discretion.

Dates:
  • Sign-Ups Start:  Monday, June 16th at 12AM
  • Sign-Ups End: Monday, June 30th at 12AM
  • First Post MUST be Posted by: Tuesday, July 1st at 12AM
  • Partners assigned: Wednesday, July 2nd
  • Packages Shipped: Friday, July 18th & Saturday July 19th
  • Show-Off Linky Opens: Wednesday, July 23rd
  • Show-Off Linky Closes: Friday, August 1st


Christmas in July Book Swap Rules
  • After being accepted, you must post on your blog saying you’re participating. Post must include the button/link back to the sign-ups and must be posted by July 1st.
  • Packages must include at least 1 book and 1 other item from your partner’s wishlist. 
  • Send things that fit your partner’s preferences.
  • Packages must cost $10-$20 before shipping, to ensure relative value.
  • You must respond to emails from the swap hosts within a timely fashion.
  • Packages MUST be mailed on or before July 18th/19th.
  • You must send a tracking number for your package to your partner and to us at The Book Monsters.
  • Please post and link up your swap reveal post. 

Please do not sign up for this swap if you cannot fulfill your obligation to the rules above.

We don’t want anyone to be left out and not receive a package, especially after sending one. 
If for any reason you become unable to participate YOU MUST CONTACT US (thebookmonsters@gmail.com) immediately so we can work out another arrangement. 

*Failure to send a package, contact us, or to link up a reveal post, will result in blacklisting for all future swaps.

Please note: Non-US-based swappers can only be accepted if we have enough folks willing to ship internationally (it’s an extra expense that not everyone can cover). We appreciate your understanding and patience, and we truly do hope to accommodate all swappers!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Golden Cage (Dance of Dragons 0.5) by Kaitlyn Davis [Review + Blog Tour]

Title: The Golden Cage
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Dance of Dragons Novella 0.5
From bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis comes a fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Graceling, and Game of Thrones. 

In the land of Ourthuro, cruelty is a way of life. The king rules with an iron fist and no one dare defy him--no one except his daughter. Princess Leena is keeping a dangerous secret, she has fallen in love with a soldier and it would mean both of their lives if her father ever discovered their affair.

But Leena will risk it all to be with the man she loves--her heart, her life, her freedom. And when her brother's birthday celebration takes a dangerous turn, Leena is forced to make a decision that will change the fate of her nation and eventually the world.

The Golden Cage is a prequel novella to The Shadow Soul (A Dance of Dragons #1)--available now!
 For lovers of fantasy, this novella definitely deserves some attention. The language is lyrical and it draws you in instantly to a brand new world. The people of this land put complete value on power and station, they wear tattoos along their arms that show their class. Tattoos that are arm length signal royalty, while those of the lower classes have shorter tattoos until finally the lowest may have only a single ring around their arms.

Very early on we see what happens when someone does not obey the rules of the land, for this kingdom being without your tattoos (having them physically cut off) is the ultimate punishment and it means exile.

What fascinated me about this novella was the attention to detail. The imagery was everywhere and you feel for Leena from the very beginning as she is growing into the person she wants to be.

She has extreme teenage angst, and let's be real - she's a princess so of course she does. Her father's view points are frightening and in a world where mothers are killed  and replaced when they birth a girl it is completely understandable.

The love story is sweet though I do wish there had been more background to it. It is a short novella though I do wish I'd had more chances to see the relationship grow through flashbacks maybe? However, it was definitely enjoyable and a believable relationship.

All in all, if you're a fan of fantasy you should definitely check this one out!


Author Bio: 

Kaitlyn Davis is the bestselling author of the Midnight Fire series, a young adult paranormal romance, and the A Dance of Dragons series, a young adult epic fantasy.

Kaitlyn graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Writing Seminars. She's been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to finally share her work with the world. She currently lives in New York City and dreams of having a puppy of her own.



GIVEAWAY!
Enter to win a $25 Gift Card from Amazon and The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis Signed Here

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Talon 
by Julie Kagawa
 Releases: October 28, 2014
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

 I don't think there is a single person around who isn't dying to get this book!  Julie Kagawa LOVES dragons and she is writing about dragons. Just LOOK at that cover! SCALES!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weird Book Habits and Pet Peeves


As a long time book lover I have developed some... habits over the years. Some of them make perfect sense, and some of them make complete sense while others... not so much. 

Lets see what you guys can make of them.


1.) I physically cannot start a new book the same day I finish one. I mean, technically I guess I could, but my brain does not like it and it makes me stop pretty much instantly. I don't understand it, I guess maybe I want to reflect on what I've read - maybe meditate, but I really don't do any of those things. When I finish a title I set it down and spend the next couple hours contemplating which one will be next and when I pick it, it sits there. Until daylight the following day, because then and only then can I start it. Maybe it's the OCD. Who knows. 

2.) To underline, or to not underline - that is the question. I used to be a huge quote under-liner. My books would be riddled with sections that were underlined and had little notes about my feelings and emotions until suddenly I just couldn't do it anymore. Previously I had loved my books lived in because lets be honest, the process of reading a book kind of messes it up a little. I used to accept this and welcome it and say only truly loved titles look like these do. While I still think like that a tad most of the time I want them to stay PERFECT. I want no scratches, no spills, no marks, no blemishes. PERFECTION IS EVERYTHING. When it comes to my titles at least. 

3.) I lie to keep from lending out books. Do you have that title? Yes. Can I borrow it? No... It's lost in a box somewhere. Eight times out of ten I do know where that book is and unfortunately, unless I really, really like you, you won't be getting it. It's not personal, I just don't trust people. Books can get lost, bent, marked, spilt upon... it's just not worth the trouble. If it's an ARC you can pretty much forgeddaboutit. 

4.)  Most of my reading is on my E-reader... but I'm in love with physical books. Physical books are beautiful, though my Kindle is sooo convenient. I'm constantly in a war between these two types of reading. Physical books will always hold a special place in my heart, but $1.99 deals exist, and my Kindle can hold SO MANY THINGS! I get some physical review copies, and lets be honest, book  mail is probably my favorite thing, but almost my entire ARC library can be found on my kindle so I can never be without. I also read a lot at night and book lights just don't cut it. It really is a 50/50 situation between pros and cons - but physical copies still somehow always win. I'm in love with book mail and feeling the book in my hands rather than on a screen is SO MUCH BETTER.

5.) STICKERS. I understand that stickers are necessary and that they hold important things like discount information and prices. However, why do they have to be covering the synopsis? Seriously, why is that a thing? Let me just read half of the words here, that's enough right? NO. It's not, and you can't take the sticker off because then people think you're going to steal it. The whole sticker thing is really just annoying in general because then you have the residue, and the residue attracts all of these nasty things to be its friend. So on top of everything you have another problem that may be worse than the sticker. - Don't even get me started on my experience with sticker look alikes that instead say, "Edward and Bella's favorite book." Psh. Yeah. That happened. 


So, what are some of your bookish pet peeves? I will probably be doing another post this week about my plotting pet peeves - and believe me, with that one I am even weirder!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Stacking the Shelves!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.




For Review in Physical Form: 

Bought: 



For Review in Virtual Form: 


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Feature Follow Friday! What are your favorite books this year?

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


What are your favorite books this year so far?






It was pretty difficult narrowing them down, but these are the ones that really stand out the most. 

Let me know if you follow me so I can friend you! I love meeting fellow book lovers, so feel free to comment and we can discuss some YA! 

What were you favorite books so far this year? 


Hexed by Michelle Krys [Review]

Title: Hexed
Author: Michelle Krys
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Published: June 10, 2014
Series: The Witch Hunter #1
ISBN:  0385743378
 Buy it Here
If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

This title was so-so. When I began it I felt unsure about it, the cheerleader aspect in the beginning was making me dread a silly high school drama that exclaimed, "Oh my god! Let's be witches!" Thankfully, that didn't happen and I did end up enjoying it.

At times it sped up and I was reading quickly, at others it slowed to a snail's pace and I wondered what was happening.

It really was a mixture of emotions in every way for me, I finished it which says something, but it doesn't stand out in my mind as a great title.

A huge event happens towards the middle, and I did find the follow up to it being a bit odd - the character recovers maybe a bit too quickly for what would seem realistic. I felt the main character trusts people emotionally too quickly which turned me off to some scenes and some relationships.

There were actual "bad guys" in this book which is different. The bad guys steal the Bible and it must be saved! That sums it up, but their is a bit of intrigue a dash of strange romance, and all in all, it is an okay read.

Overall: It's descent. Will I read the second one? Maybe if it is offered to me, but I probably will not be seeking it out.

If you enjoy... 
Witches, Paranormal Romance, or High School drama you will probably enjoy this title.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday!

 Waiting on Wednesday is hosted at Breaking the Spine

The Miniaturist
Realease Date: August 26, 2014

Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam-a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion-a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant

"There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed…"

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella's world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes' gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

This one looks amazing and just look at that cover!!

What are you guys waiting on?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? by Ella Martin [Cover Reveal]

I have the huge pleasure of introducing you all to one of the prettiest covers I have seen all year.

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?


Release Date: July 1, 2014

Right fairy tale. Wrong guy.

Happily Ever After only happens with the right guy. It's a tiny but important detail most fairy tales choose to leave out. But what happens when the princess rides off into the sunset with Prince Charming, only to discover he's not so charming, after all?

Bianca Sullivan thinks she's a pretty average girl. Sure, her brother may be the super-stud captain of the football team, but that's her only claim to fame –- until her friends' social experiment turns her into the new It girl of the Sophomore class, and she captures the attention of the most popular guy in her grade. Ecstatic to introduce the world to her first boyfriend, she's trying to enjoy being wooed by the ultimate heartthrob. But no one's ever told her what to do when her friends hate her boyfriend and Prince Charming starts acting like a control-freaky misogynist. And as if deciding whether to trust Prince Charming, her friends, or her own instincts wasn't hard enough, being around her brother's best friend is making her head all fuzzy, too. Oh, if only love was as simple as fairy tales make it out to be....

I will be posting the review for this one in July and it seems like the perfect summer read! I'm loving my contemporaries this year and be on the lookout for this one on your e-readers!

 About the Author:
Ella Martin is a prep school survivor and a Southern California native. She writes books about spunky teenagers who are way cooler than she ever was, and she totally believes in love and happy endings. She likes sunny places and is terrified of snowy winters, so she now lives in Florida with her husband and son
Connect with her
Blog
Twitter
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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stacking the Shelves!


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

 In Physical Form... 


Release Date: August 5th, 2014

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

In E-book Form... 

Release Date: July 8th, 2014

"Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It's my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy."

Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.


 Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster and St. Martin's Press!

What did you guys get this week? 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings [Review]

Title: The Murder Complex
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Published: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
ISBN0062220004
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

I LOVE this book. Really, it is probably the best book I have read this year and I definitely was not expecting it. I hadn't heard of this book at all until it showed up on my doorstep, but it seemed interesting. I read the back and decided to give it a shot - and I'm so glad I did!

I know in our world murders happen, but in this society dozens are found dead daily, jobs are dedicated to the clean up of the bodies every single day. It's extremely interesting and I was hooked pretty much from page one.

It's told from alternating perspectives which is something I really enjoy. I love being able to see the full picture that different point of views can give you and it was especially beneficial in The Murder Complex. This government system is so difficult to explain, they exist primarily only to hand out their barely there rations while offering pretty much zero protection to their people and giving jobs to those who prove themselves worthy in horrible ways.

It was a bit different than the synopsis leads you to believe. Most of the book is leading up to the big reveal that Zephyr is who he is, so I do find it odd that it is posted on the back as it seems like a bit of a spoiler.

I've seen a few complaints of "insta-love" in some reviews but I didn't feel that as I was reading it. I felt that the romance is barely there and that the focus is definitely on the ass kicking and overall destruction of a very controlling government. It is FANTASTIC to watch this world where the death rate is higher than the birth rate, and murders happen every single night and that being normal.

There are so many questions that still need to be answered, and I see so many places that Lindsay Cummings can take this series!

Overall: I loved it! If you're a fan of action and adventure, or just enjoy reading a really different take on the norm this book is for you. Think "The Hunger Games" on crack. With more blood. Yes, that is right - more blood.


 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday







 Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

It's fantasy. Of course I'm going to want it! 

The Queen of the Tearling is due out July 8th!


On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.

 What are you guys waiting on? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Books I've Read This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

These are the top books that I have read so far this year! 


 An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.




 John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.




 
 Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.







 The Luck Uglies is the first in a tween fantasy-adventure trilogy brimming with legends come to life, a charming wit, and a fantastic cast of characters-and is imbued throughout with the magic of storytelling.

Strange things are happening in Village Drowning, and a terrifying encounter has Rye O'Chanter convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned.
Now Rye's only hope is an exiled secret society so notorious its name can't be spoken aloud: the Luck Uglies. As Rye dives into Village Drowning's maze of secrets, rules, and lies, she'll discover the truth behind the village's legends of outlaws and beasts...and that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.

The first in a series, The Luck Uglies is an altogether irresistible cross of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, Stefan Bachmann's The Peculiar, and Chris Healy's The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, overflowing with adventure, secrets, friendship, and magic.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Guest Post: Writing About OCD in SAY WHAT YOU WILL

I am super happy to have Cammie McGovern here with me today, the author of SAY WHAT YOU WILL, which  I have been singing the praises of for weeks now.  


WRITING ABOUT OCD in SAY WHAT YOU WILL
by Cammie McGovern 

The most interesting discovery I made in writing Matthew, a character with OCD in SAY WHAT YOU WILL, is how many people read a little bit about OCD and think they have it. As I researched, I diagnosed seeds of it in myself as a teenager. I also recognized it in my oldest son who is seventeen and has autism. For me, though the real surprise came when my fourteen-year-old son read the book and came into my room afterward. It was late at night and he whispered softly, “You based Matthew on me, didn’t you?”

Of our three children, he is our most outgoing and most social kid. In his group, I think of him as the relatively easy-going one who navigates the moodiness and hilarity of his friends with an even keel. “God no,” I said, stunned. Where had this idea come from? Most nights, as I lie on my bed reading, he leans into my bathroom mirror, examines his face for new patches of acne, and tells me stories about his crowd that get me laughing so hard I get tears in my eyes. “I do all that stuff,” he whispered that night. “I make deals all day long—if I make it to my locker in ten steps, my test will go well…If I don’t step on any lines, I’ll get an A…”

He’d never told me this before. In fact, I’d never thought of him as particularly anxious or as someone who would dabble in the—I’m not sure how else to put it—the illogical comforts of OCD deal-making. I remembered doing it all the time when I was a teenager, but I was far shier and less social than he. I didn’t travel school hallways with a pack of friends, so I had plenty of time to walk on blue tiles only and touch certain heating vents.

When my youngest son, the ten year old, overheard us talking about it again the next morning, he cornered me that afternoon and whispered, “Those things you and Charlie were talking about, I do them too. All the time—"

By this point, it was slightly less of a surprise, or maybe I’d learned something, not about my children, but about OCD. In my research, it’s often described as the mental illness that afflicts the otherwise sanest people you’ll ever meet. Frequently very bright, people with OCD nearly always recognize the irrationality of compulsive thoughts. They know the stove has been turned off; still their brain insists on checking. They know step counts won’t effect a test score; still their brain insists it will.

Perhaps in the chaotic pressure of navigating adolescence and all the changes one has no control over, OCD thoughts provide the comfort of some illusory control. I know they did for me without
becoming too obtrusive later in life. They kept me busy as I navigated hallways filled with people who weren’t my friends. I don’t mean to equate an adolescent propensity toward mild OCD with the more serious, more debilitating form that Matthew and so many others experience. I only mean to say that if you have it and talk about it, I suspect you’ll be amazed at how many people recognize immediately what you are saying. It’s not as illogical or ridiculous as you suspect it might be. It’s a complicated bargain with the abstractions we have all wrestled mightily with: perfection, luck, safety, hope. It’s our brain playing games to keep us well. If I do these things, everything will work out. Maybe it’s a kind of creative faith, or a tool. Or maybe it’s a way for a fourteen year old kid with a lot on his plate to seem easy-going. I’m not sure. I just know you’re not crazy and you’re not alone.

About Cammie McGovern: 
Cammie McGovern was born in Evanston, Illinois, but moved to Los Angeles when she was seven years old. She is the author of three adult novels, The Art of Seeing, Eye Contact, and Neighborhood Watch. Say What You Will will be published by HarperTeen in June, 2014. She currently lives in Amherst, MA, with her husband and three sons, the oldest of whom is autistic.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Breakups #1

Book Breakups is a feature at Pure Imagination

I can't love everything, and this is me coming to terms with leaving these books be. 

These are the titles where I find my mind wandering, it's taking me days to get to page 100, and whatever my cats are doing in the background becomes much more interesting than the page I'm on. 

These are those titles I just couldn't finish.


by H.A. Swain

I have heard mixed things about this title, but I'm one of those crazy people who actually really loved the premise of it. The idea of a world without food doesn't seem that crazy and I was excited to see what was in store for me. 

Unfortunately, around page forty I just wasn't excited to read anymore. The main character's last name is Apple, her best friend's name is Basil - and for whatever reason that really bothered me. In a world without food, why would food references be everywhere? I understand that it could be a call to the past or whatever - but that's going incredibly deep. 

In the end, it just wasn't for me.

If you're a fan of original dystopia with a lot of interesting technology and a new vision of what a new world could look like than this book is for you. 



by Lauren Sabel

 
 I started off really loving this book, but around Mexico I lost it.

 It started moving very fast and I
wasn't even sure what was going on anymore. As a celebrity I felt Vivian was given way too much free reign - especially if someone was out to kill her. I was confused for the most part, what stared off as intrigue and curiosity transferred into confusion way too quickly.

I was really excited about this book, but in the end it just wasn't for me.






by Jennifer Echols

I love Jennifer Echols. I really love Jennifer Echols, which is why this one is so sad for me. 

This book had all the makings of one I would LOVE. I live in Tennessee, a significant portion of my life has been spent in or around Nashville, I grew up loving country music. I know country music (the classics at least) but sadly, I just couldn't get through this book. 

A huge problem I had was Sam. I felt like he was a jerk. Even when I barely knew him I thought he was a jerk and it never made sense for Bailey to like him.

It made me sad to see their interactions because he seemed like a constant manipulator. I love Jennifer Echols and Going Too Far will be among my favorite titles forever, but unfortunately this one just wasn't for me.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Divided (Dualed #2) Blog Tour + Giveaway!

 I am super excited to be apart of the Divided Blog Tour and announce another giveaway!!

 The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .

West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.

The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.

How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.


 This giveaway is for the U.S. and Canada only. 

Good Luck Everyone!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, June 6, 2014

Stacking the Shelves!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews!


This week in physical form...


A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .

Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.



This week in E-book form...  

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.





The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.
 Meadow Woodson has been trained to survive. This is a prequel to The Murder Complex, by Lindsay Cummings, and it is set in a blood-soaked world where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate. For fans of Moira Young's Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson's father calls it The Fear Trials, and it is a rite of passage in their family. Meadow is up against her brother Koi. The Fear Trials will both harden her and make her brave. If Meadow wins, she will get a weapon of her own and the right to leave the Woodsons' houseboat without her father or mother at her side. Set in the violent, complex, and mysterious world of The Murder Complex, and introducing Meadow Woodson—a teenage girl trained to survive no matter what the cost—and her family, who are together for the last time on their houseboat in the Florida Everglades.


This week I... 

Read The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings and The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham. 
I may have possibly DNF'd not one, but two titles... more news on that later. 



I participated in Top Ten Tuesday with my top 8 Beach Reads...

I showed you all some of my Squeal-Worthy June Releases...

And I finished another Giveaway, this one for Bad Luck Girl by Sarah Zettell. The winner will be announced via Twitter soon.

What did you guys get this week? Show me your shelves!
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