September 30, 2013

The Summer of Me and You by Rae Hachton

The Summer of Me & You
The Summer of Me and You by Rae Hachton
Series: N/A
Source: Blog Tour
Publisher: Teen Pulse
Publication Date: September 19, 2013
This is the summer of first love. The summer of magic. The Summer of Me and You. 

Kaleb has loved Kayleigh ever since first grade, even if he's never admitted it to anyone. Not even himself. But this summer, that's about to change.

Kaleb's had a troubled past, and Kayleigh's life has always been perfect. He'd love nothing more than to be the guy who ruins it all, and make her fall for him against her mother's wishes.

Kayleigh is a complete nerd. Or at least that's how she feels. She just knows that a guy like Kaleb would never really want to be with a girl like her. So she's going to avoid him at all costs.

But then why do they always end up hanging out together?

When a secret that both their parents kept from them comes out, it will define the true meaning of love.

But when this summer ends, will Kaleb and Kayleigh have to say goodbye, or is this just the beginning of many more summers to come?
WARNING: Before you read this review, please note the fact that there is nothing (and I mean nothing) about this book that I thought was good or awesome or worth my time. I've been going through a bit of a reading slump lately,'s making me way more critical. So I will tell you straight up exactly what I thought, and it probably won't be nice, and as I don't want to offend anyone...if you don't wanna see it, just don't read it please. There will be profanity involved, which I never do.

Anywho, now that I've warned you of that, we can get started; because I believe you may be here for the snark. First issue on the agenda-- the odd sentence structure and the constant feeling of not being immersed in the story. I just couldn't get into it from the very beginning. There was no rhyme or reason or anything for me to go off of. Not only that, but a few chapters in, some facts were changed. And that confused the bejeezus out of me-- I was like this for a while:

But then this madness and awkwardness and craziness persisted-- and I started cussing like a squirrel on crack who ain't ever seen a nut. It was terrible. I'm not normally a violent person but...violence. Violence was involved in my twisted imagination.

You really don't even wanna go there with me. But. I gotta better explain this for you-- Kaleb and Kayleigh made me wanna beat their heads together. Repeatedly. They just were so clueless-- a lot of the things that they didn't get were completely obvious to me from the very beginning. And a lot of things about them just didn't add up-- supposedly they've both had crushes on each other forever or whatever, yet they don't even hang out together. They watch each other from afar and avoid each other. Please explain this logic to me, I think it's missing something. Like common sense. But before I get too ahead of myself, let's start with Kaleb.

Kaleb is your typical bad boy-- "Oh, she would never want me" or "I have no chance with her she's too good for me" and the like. To get things straight with y'all, I'm  not a fan of stereotypes, and Kaleb just has stereotype written all over him. In love with the unattainable, "good" girl, has no car, job, or hope for the future and thinks he's going somewhere, as well as being a nicotine "pack a day" type inhaler. Need I say more? The only time I felt like Kaleb had any development at all was when he was holding his niece and talking to Kayleigh at the same time-- as soon as he put down his niece, the possible character that we working toward went away. Gone, kaput, you thought he was gonna be okay? Nope. To add more depth to the character, I shall show you a quote.

(When talking about sex and whether or not it will hurt Kayleigh) "A little," I said. "But not a lot."


As you can see, I'm under the distinct opinion that Kaleb is a total ass. And to make matters worse, since we have dual points of view, it's possible to see the home life of Kaleb and Kayleigh-- and I really wanna beat some respect into Kaleb. He treats his momma like absolute shit. Don't forget buddy, she brought you into this world and she can damn sure take you out. He has absolutely no right to treat her like that, or to create messes for her to clean up. And yet he does-- all throughout the book. And I really, really...where's my baseball bat?

Anyway, let's move on to Kayleigh. Sometimes, well, I just have problems with characters from the very beginning. That was not the case with Kayleigh. At first, I thought that I might even turn out to like her. A slightly nerdy girl who's maybe a bit too timid, but I still thought I might like her. But then, well...I didn't. Mostly because that although she's supposedly "smart" she is constantly doing stupid things. And she hangs out with Kaleb, (and falls in love with him) even though I have already revealed that he's an ass. At one point in the story, I honestly feared for Kayleigh's well-being, because I thought that Kaleb was getting too violent.

But still, she stuck around him. And I feel like that's why we didn't connect. The second reason that we didn't connect is honestly kind of stupid, but...she and Kaleb had sex, remember that quote that made me mad up there? Well...there was penetration (and movement!), because he said he'd pull out (no condom, you dumbass!!), but then she freaked out and ran away after that...but the point is, after "penetration" Kayleigh runs home and starts questioning herself...see quote below.

And oh my God, was I still a virgin, or no? Because we hadn't really done it, we almost did. Right?

No, did it. There's no two ways about it, and it shocks me that you would even presume to think that you didn't have sex with him when you did. I AM SO AGGRAVATED. Like, would you think that you hadn't had sex if there was penetration (and movement!) involved? Just because you got him to stop and ran away before either of you...*bleep* means nothing. That was still sex, and you had it, and that makes you not a virgin. This is a simple fact. I realize that you are just confused, but...damn girl. Seriously, correct me if I'm wrong.

And then... *dunt dun da* they ignore each other. They ignore the fact that it happened. Let's get this straight-- I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. I'M MAD AT YOU, AND YOU. I DON'T WANT TO EVER SEE YOU AGAIN. *big dramatic blowup*

Excuse me while I go cry into my cornflakes. As you can see, there was just no way that I could love this one. And to make matters worse, throughout the book (having figured out the reason that the moms hate each other early on) I had to wonder about something and the six months between them and....ERGH. Until the end, when that was resolved and started to look better. It was all drama and convenience, to tell you the truth.

I won't even go into the many stereotypes and the sad point when I realized that there was no way this book could ever redeem itself in my eyes. I didn't like or ever get to know the characters, the romance was so subpar, and...this just wasn't for me. And I've never written such a ranting review in my life. O.O

September 29, 2013

Spotlight & Giveaway: The Secret Side of Empty

The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu
Series: N/A
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
What's it like to be undocumented?  High school senior M.T. knows all too well.  With graduation and an uncertain future looming, she must figure out how to grow up in the only country she's ever called home... a country in which she's "illegal."

M.T. was born in Argentina and brought to America as a baby without any official papers. And as questions of college, work, and the future arise, M.T. will have to decide what exactly she wants for herself, knowing someone she loves will unavoidably pay the price for it.  On the way, M.T. must navigate first love, letting go of her childhood friends as they begin a life she can't share, a difficult relationship with a father who grew up a world away and a mother struggling to find her way in America.  What is it like when the only country you've ever known says you don't belong?  The Secret Side of Empty offers an intimate, often surprising glimpse into a story you often hear on the news but have never heard told this way before.

Author Maria E. Andreu draws from her personal experience as a former undocumented immigrant to explore issues of belonging, keeping secrets and what it's like to be undocumented.  More than that, The Secret Side of Empty is a story that will touch anyone who has ever felt excluded or unsure about the future or has kept a secret she felt was too big too share.

Maria E. AndreuAbout the Author:
Maria’s writing has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post and the Star Ledger.  Her debut novel, The Secret Side of Empty, is the story of an “illegal” high school senior.  It was inspired by Maria’s own experiences as an undocumented teen.  Since becoming a citizen, Maria has run her own business and has become a soccer mom. She lives with her 13-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son in northern New Jersey.

Connect with her:
Website || Twitter || Facebook || Pre-Order The Secret Side of Empty

To enter the giveaway, you'll need to go to Maria's website and make a comment on her blog post for today. Winners will be randomly selected tomorrow!! Prizes: A $250 Amazon Gift Card, and a Kindle Fire. These are separate prizes-- you could win either or! (:

September 28, 2013

Interview with Zara from Perfection Unleashed

Double Helix series 4 Today, on our character interview, we're pleased to welcome Zara Itani, from the seven-time award-winning Double Helix series. Her author, Jade Kerrion, has insisted on sitting in on the interview. It's not quite the norm, but we've agreed to Jade's request. Let's start with some easy questions, Zara.

How did you first meet Jade Kerrion? Want to dish about her?

Zara: I think Jade was having a midlife crisis when we met. She was growing older, and realized that she was going to live out her life in the frantic corporate rat race of America, while being a mom with husband, two kids, and a mini van. She probably felt that she needed to live vicariously through someone else, namely me.

Jade: I am not having a midlife crisis!

Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?

Zara: I'm a mercenary, and I own an agency of mercenaries. No, I do not crave the spotlight or expect to make headlines, at least not with my name in print next to my unfortunate victims. Jade, however, appears to be a strong proponent of full disclosure-- it's amazing, though how her novels are full of people who never disclose anything to anyone else-- and she decided to get my name out there.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the Double Helix series.

Zara: My favorite scene from the first three books takes place in the second book, Perfect Betrayal. It's an intimate moment with Danyael Sabre. It's especially memorable because, if you know Danyael, then you know that Danyael doesn't do "intimate" often. Danyael, of course, swears the encounter never took place. He's lying, of course. We have a daughter and five genetic tests to prove it. (smiles) Of course, I have many favorite scenes in Jade's upcoming novel, Perfection Challenged. The closing scene is particularly memorable.

It sounds like you have a complicated relationship with Danyael. Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?

Zara (arching a perfectly tweezed eyebrow): They're...charming, like black mambas are charming. Still, we've gone through a great deal together, and on a good day, I'd trust them, but not too much.

What do you like best about Danyael Sabre? What do you like least?

Zara: Do we have to talk about Danyael?

Well, your name is frequently mentioned in conjunction with his name and Galahad's. How do you choose between two men who look alike?

Zara: Danyael is Galahad's physical template, but in every other way that matters, they are nothing like each other. Galahad, the lab-created perfect human being, is eager and impatient to seize the world. On the other hand, Danyael, after a traumatic childhood as an undiagnosed alpha empath, wants nothing more than to be left alone to do his job as a doctor in a charity clinic. I used to think Danyael was evasive and a coward, unwilling to face his past or embrace his mutant powers. He isn't really. He's both courageous and compassionate, but most people don't see him for what he is.

And what about you? What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they've known you for a while?

Zara: Ideally, they'd know me as a practical, levelheaded person who isn't afraid of doing what it takes to get things done. After they've known me for a while, I hope they'll continue to say the same thing.

Jade (in a stage whisper): Ask her about that compassionate streak...

Zara (shrugs an elegant shoulder): Not there. It doesn't exist, and you can't prove it.

Ladies, please. Zara, what would Danyael say about you?

Zara (flashes an amused smile): Ah, he's much too polite to say anything, but if he did, I imagine he would say that I'm more abrasive than steel wool, and that I have a cruel and ruthless streak several miles wide. He wouldn't say anything about compassion.

Jade (scowling): He wouldn't have fallen in love with you otherwise...

Jade, if you don't mind, I'm interviewing Zara here. Zara, if your story were a movie, who would play you?

Zara: Kate Beckinsale would do a great job. She's beautiful, and she knows how to kick ass. She's not Lebanese-Venezuelan, but nobody's perfect.

Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?

Zara: She's already written four Double Helix novels, five, if you include the Young Adult spinoff, When the Silence Ends. She insists that Perfection Challenged is the end of the Double Helix series, but that's not to say that there aren't other stories to be told about the world of the Double Helix. Knowing her, she'll be back with another fascinating story about my world and the people who live in it.

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

Zara: You already know what I do for a living; I find ways to keep busy to pay the bills. I also have a two-year-old daughter, Laura. She's learning her alphabet by reading Dr. Seuss and gun catalogs.

Jade (pulls Zara to her feet and drags her away): I am so sorry. This is why I don't let my characters out unsupervised. I think they say stuff like that just to embarrass me.

Ah, okay, and that brings to an abrupt end our interview with Zara Itani today. Thank you for joining us for this character interview, and we hope youÕll take the opportunity to get to know Zara better in the DOUBLE HELIX series.

"The best of the four books...the perfect ending to an amazing series."

Perfection Challenged, the thrilling conclusion to the multiple award-winning, bestselling DOUBLE HELIX series, is finally here. Grab your copy today. If you've never picked up the DOUBLE HELIX series, keep reading for a special offer on the six-time award-winning novel, Perfection Unleashed.

perfection-challenged-600x800PERFECTION CHALLENGED

An alpha empath, Danyael Sabre has survived abominations and super soldiers, terrorists and assassins, but he cannot survive his failing body. He wants only to live out his final days in peace, but life and the woman he loves, the assassin Zara Itani, have other plans for him. Galahad, the perfect human being created by Pioneer Labs, is branded an international threat, and Danyael is appointed his jury, judge, and executioner. Danyael alone believes that Galahad can be the salvation that the world needs, but is the empath blinded by the fact that Galahad shares his genes, and the hope that there is something of him in Galahad? In a desperate race against time and his own dying body, Danyael struggles to find fragments of good in the perfect human being, and comes to the wrenching realization that his greatest battle will be a battle for the heart of the man who hates him. E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple iTunes / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK


Perfection Unleashed
"Higher octane than Heroes. More heart than X-Men." Recipient of six literary awards, including First place in Science Fiction, Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and Gold medal winner, Science Fiction, Readers Favorites 2013. FOR A LIMITED TIME, E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR JUST $0.99 (Discounted from $2.99) E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Jade Kerrion

Connect with Jade Kerrion: Website / Facebook / Twitter
Jade Kerrion, an award-winning author, got her start in fan fiction. She developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars. She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars.

And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too? So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time.

She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren't their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they're not.

September 27, 2013

The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram

The Avery Shaw Experiment
The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Bluefields
Publication Date: May 4, 2013
When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.

When I started The Avery Shaw Experiment, I really had no idea what to expect. A few of my favorite bloggers had read it and liked it, so I decided to give it a shot, because it looked seriously cute. Turns out that it was adorable in every way imaginable! Grayson and Avery ended up being so cute together-- you don't even know yet. Pretty soon into the book I was laughing and seriously cheering them on. They were very likable as a couple, so I just couldn't help but swoon over almost every one of their interactions.

Grayson was so, so, so...hott. I loved him, I truly did. I always found myself racing to the next chapter through his point of view, then thoroughly devouring it so that I could move onto the next and the next. The Avery Shaw Experiment would be crazy comfort reading, let me tell you! Anywho, back to my favorite boy, Grayson. Everything that he did just managed to dig me into a hole deeper and deeper with my crush...fictionally, of course... he was just sweet and kind and protective! Seriously. Let me share an oh-so-smexy quotes.

*SPOILERY* I always looked at her as sort of a pesky little sister, but all that changed the day my brother dumped her. Why, you ask? Let me put it this way: When a girl lets you be the one to hold her as her entire world falls apart, even though you're ass naked, it changes the way you see her.*SPOILERISH QUOTE END*

The scene that he kind of describes, well, it made me guffaw out loud. I found myself laughing a lot during this book, which was really nice. Some of the crude jokes were a little much, but they totally had me smiling throughout the book.

On to Avery, who is, of course, the main character. I really enjoyed her chapters too, but I think that Grayson shall remain my favorite. BUT. Avery was still a fun character to read about, and I liked her insights on everything. She seemed to be completely honest with herself, and just so down to earth and sweet. I'm so sad that she had to fall for Aiden (duh, we're curing a broken heart here, y'all) who really was a jerk. I think I kind of hate him, to tell you the truth.

But I love all of the secondary characters. Libby was so quirky and weird and hilarious, and all of the other science geeks were great too. I also enjoyed Grayson's friends. All in all, The Avery Shaw Experiment really is an awesome book. I totally recommend it!

September 26, 2013

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Ten Tiny Breaths
Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths, #1
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Atria
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.
Ten Tiny Breaths surprised me in a good way. I had seen this one around, and I'd been keeping it in my sights, but it was one that I wasn't sure I'd ever get to. Turns out that it would of been a mistake if I had never read it, because I really liked it. Kacey was such an amazing character, and I love watching her grow and heal as a character.

Her sense of humor was fantastic, and I loved that tough-as-nails exterior that she was putting off, it was great. My favorite part of this book would have to be the character relationships, though. Every one of the secondary characters was well developed and had a purpose...which only made me love them more. I was mostly proud that there was no pointless characters, to tell you the truth. My recent experiences with New Adult have left a bit to be desired, if you catch my drift. I'm glad that this one didn't. It was fantastic.

Every page of this was like...I don't know. It was just really good. There were a few predictable scenes, but what is a good book without a feeling of predictability? Personally, I'm a fan of some predictable things, so it was no problem for me. Kacey still remains my favorite part of the book, though.

She was her own person, and although she didn't pick the best way to handle her problems, I think that in the end it made her every bit of who she was. I also loved her relationship with Trent. He has several skeletons in his closet too, but he was perfect in almost every way for Kacey. They compliment each other.

Just like Storm and Kacey-- Storm makes a fantastic best friend for Kacey. I couldn't help but think that the balance each other out, and I was really surprised by Storm. Though I keep wanting to call her Stormy, and I have no idea why...

All in all, Ten Tiny Breaths is worth a a lot. I think that you should give it a chance, because it might surprise you.

September 25, 2013

Goodreads, We are NO Longer Friends

Normally, as today is Wednesday (if I had scheduled it) there would have been a wonderful, drool worthy Waiting on Wednesday up. But today is a special day-- know this, my friends. I am going through an ugly, horrendous breakup. With the book social media site, "for readers" formerly known as Goodreads.

The reason why we're breaking up? Well...Goodreads announced a new plan last Friday. A plan to make "authors" and not readers happy. About how they're going to start censoring us and deleting reviews and shelves that they feel are "about the author". To make matters worse, they're not deleting "favorable about the author" type reviews, only unfavorable. That's a total double standard. Honestly, who holds the gavel on this one? I'd like to have a nice long, proper chewing out with them.

Now, to better explain, here's a link (and lowdown) on their new policy. To make matters worse, NO ONE KNOWS, unless you're a member of the Goodreads Feedback group. Which honestly, I'm not. Before this week, I would have had nothing but good feedback on them-- but that's changed. The ONLY reason I found out is because a good friend of mine, Sarah from Book-A-Holic, commented to ask me if I knew about the recent drama.

The recent drama being that Goodreads, a formerly awesome book social media site has taken freedom of speech into their own hands. And they're not being subtle about it. One commenter on the forum remarked that she has had NINETY REVIEWS deleted WITHOUT prior notice-- she got an email after they were mass deleted telling her the news. Since then "that policy has been changed" but I think it stands to reason that this user deserves a formal apology. THIS IS RIDICULOUS. Suddenly, not only has goodreads become a place for the "STGRB" (which BTW, loved GR's new changes) but it's also become a site that is quickly losing it's mass following.

I feel like this entire crock of shit will never end in the book community-- because this new "policy" popped up soon after all of that stink with that one gal author who "decided not to publish" after being assaulted by "the goodreads bullies". She brought up allegations against reviewers who reviewed ARC's of her book, saying that they couldn't possibly have read it, took shelf names as personal threats, tweeted immaturely and otherwise made a fool of herself... you can read about that here.

That, not to mention the MANY author/blogger/reviewer scandals over the past few years, was a huge pile of bullshit from the very beginning. So, why exactly is Goodreads giving in? Why are they receiving so much flack for something that shouldn't be an issue (hello, freedom of speech)? I have freedom of speech, so do you, why on earth would you ever want to censor that? It's a simple question with a complicated answer; because it makes the people we want to please happy.

That's all it is. A freaking huge pile of reviews and "due-to-author" shelves are being deleted as we speak-- and I just don't stand for that. I don't care how downright rude and f***ing mean you are to me, I have a right to dislike you or like you and a right to tell you-- and I'll be honest. Not only is Goodreads censoring readers' thoughts, they're censoring author rights too. Suddenly authors aren't allowed to comment on reviews of their books-- not even to thank people... because it's not Goodreads/socially acceptable.

A simple author interaction. A thank you. That's an absolutely capital offense. DOWN WITH THE CAPITOL! I never thought that Goodreads and I would be having such a public breakup, but... for all intents and purposes, it is what is. This is why we aren't friends anymore-- bad politics.

I feel such outrage-- I'm proud of every single ounce of sweat or brain matter I've put into my reviews, and although I'm positive at least one has offended at least one person, they're my personal thoughts and my right as a human to express them. I don't stand for being censored, and although I'm keeping my Goodreads on the off chance that they straighten out, I won't be on as often. I'm looking at booklikes, which I'm hoping will turn out to be awesome in time. But one last thing-- I'm so disappointed in Goodreads. They were a site built on readers, and now they're catering to a different crowd. I'll miss you, Goodreads. Honestly. But we aren't friends anymore.

September 24, 2013

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still Shine
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Series: N/A
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.
Where the Stars Still Shine is one of those books that was driven mostly by the characters. Everything that I want to say is about Callie, which is kind of a weird feeling for me. I usually can't do anything but complain about characters, but don't mind me.

I really liked Callista. I respected her, and even though she had a really hard life, I think that she turned out alright. The only problem that I had with her is that she just doesn't know how to act around people, seriously. I get that she's never had any friends, but sometimes she was just mean!

Other than that, though, she was great. I liked how she told it like it was, and that she wasn't the best kid or anything, but she didn't let that get her down. I'm going to assume, for arguments sake, that this was actually a pretty accurate portrayal of how it would go down if your dad got you back as a teen after you were abducted. He would probably be a bit more protective, though.

Back to Callie-- sometimes I found myself wondering how she got to be so...promiscuous, I guess would be the word? As much as I loved her, I couldn't understand how after she was molested she was so comfortable with sex. There are some things that she isn't comfortable with, but you would think that she would be a bit more hesitant.

I liked the flashbacks. It gives us better insight into Callie as a character, and it was so nice to be able to understand a little of what she went through.

All in all, Where the Stars Still Shine was an interesting, character-driven book, but I didn't love it to death or anything.

September 23, 2013

Hooked by Liz Fichera

Hooked (Hooked, #1)
Hooked by Liz Fichera
Series: Hooked, #1
Source: Harlequin Teen Panel
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile...

Hooked just wasn't as intense as I had hoped it would be. I was hoping for heart-stopping, everyone is against them and they don't care type romance. Sadly, in that regard, this one fell short, but that doesn't mean that it didn't have many redeeming qualities.

I really liked Fred as a character. I'm a little miffed at her name, but it's all good. I enjoyed that she talked about her ancestors and her people, yet it didn't seem over the top or all signs point to yes. She really seemed to be very deep and wise, which is such a weird thing to say about a teenage girl, but it's true.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Ryan. To be honest, I have no idea what I think of him. I didn't find him to really be my type, so I can't ramble about how swoony he is...I think the thing to say would be this; he was really sweet, even if he did do some jerk things in the beginning, I'm pretty sure that he made up for them towards the end.

I was really excited to see that this was written in alternating points of view-- I love seeing things through more than one set of eyes! Thankfully, I didn't get Ryan and Fred mixed up, which was a huge plus.
Sadly, though, I'm not sure that I really love-loved the romance. It fell a little flat on me, but it's worth a read just the same, as long as you can get past all of the golf...which trust me, isn't too hard, even if golf is completely uninteresting to you.

All in all, Hooked was not all that I had hoped it to be, but it was still a good read and I'll be looking for more from this author in the future.

September 20, 2013

The Summer of Me & You Spotlight and Giveaway!

Originally for this tour, there was going to be a review, and the book didn't agree, so my review has been postponed until after the tour is over. So look for that. (:

The Summer of Me & You
The Summer of Me & You by Rae Hachton
Series: N/A
Publisher: Teen Pulse
Publication Date: September 19, 2013
This is the summer of first love. The summer of magic. The Summer of Me and You. 

Kaleb has loved Kayleigh ever since first grade, even if he's never admitted it to anyone. Not even himself. But this summer, that's about to change.

Kaleb's had a troubled past, and Kayleigh's life has always been perfect. He'd love nothing more than to be the guy who ruins it all, and make her fall for him against her mother's wishes.

Kayleigh is a complete nerd. Or at least that's how she feels. She just knows that a guy like Kaleb would never really want to be with a girl like her. So she's going to avoid him at all costs.

But then why do they always end up hanging out together?

When a secret that both their parents kept from them comes out, it will define the true meaning of love.

But when this summer ends, will Kaleb and Kayleigh have to say goodbye, or is this just the beginning of many more summers to come?
Some fun stuff:

About the Author:
Rae Hachton writes Dark Romanticism-sometimes with gears and clockwork. Has cemetery obsession. Misses Victorian London and ancient Rome. Believes in vampires and magic. If imaginary, she would be an automaton fairy. Corvidophile. Content.

Find Rae:
Twitter || Facebook || Website || Blog || Goodreads

Find The Summer of Me & You:
Tour Schedule || Amazon || Barnes & Noble


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Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)
Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards, #1
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?
Being a huge fan of anything that Simone Elkeles writes, I immediately jumped on the train to read this one-- and I can't say that I loved it silly. I really liked it, this is true, but I didn't love-love it like I hoped I would.
Ashtyn and Derek's chemistry was very good-- good enough that I really wanted their romance to succeed from the very beginning, so no problems there.

I loved their alternating points of view, and that they both have such huge crushes on each other, but as I read more of the book, I started to realize something. As much as I wanted them to end up together, I was also desperately hoping that it would be all very dramatic and such-- but it didn't turn out like I had hoped in that regard. Not that there aren't the usual troubles in their tumultuous relationship, but my heart just wasn't breaking for them.

But moving on to the characters themselves-- Derek was a sexy boy, I'll tell you that right here and now. I really liked him. He didn't try to conform to the society norms, or to be someone that he wasn't. He's very aware that he may not be what Ashtyn needs, and that just made him more attractive to me. I liked his wry sense of humor, and that he had a few skeletons in his closet.

Ashtyn has skeletons, too, even if they aren't near so visible. She also went against most society norms, being a girl football player and all. I liked her stubbornness, and I just liked being in her head.

All in all, Wild Cards was a good read, but I feel like it doesn't really live up to her previous works in my mind. Still worth a read, though!

September 19, 2013

Ink by Amanda Sun

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)
Ink by Amanda Sun
Series: Paper Gods, #1
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
It was my destiny. I was going to face it. It was my life. I was going to live it.

First off, when I began Ink, (based on some reviews and the info) I was expecting a paranormal-- one without much unique information, and with a wasted potential. I can't help it, but I am overly judgmental about paranormal type books in general. It's a side effect of not being impressed by one in a long time.

But anyway, back on subject. I was fairly surprised by this one. Because the premise of Ink was done very well-- lots of details and wonderful Japanese myths. But...I felt like it was too much sometimes. I liked the fact that we got so much insight, but...well, it was just too much. For one, I am not a native speaker of Japanese. All of the interlaced phrases and random words just weren't ever explained to my standards. Because of the large culture differences (American and Japanese) I couldn't even deduct into what context the phrases were used. This was quite aggravating to me, as you can tell! I just....ARGGGHHHH. I wish that I could have understood them!

But before I go on a rampage, I'll move onto something else. The gang thing. The way to know gang members in Japan is by whether or not they have seems like they're being very obvious, but that's their customs. Anyway, the gangs were at times very prevalent then at other times barely there. I could not get a feel for that. It's either a part of it or it's not, right?

Some of the facts just didn't add up. *SPOILER*Like this one: only Kami or people with "ink" in their blood can see Kami drawings move, according to the man in the temple. But...Ishikawa saw the dragon and now the Japanese gang is after Tomo because he can draw things into reality...BUT IF THEY CAN'T SEE IT HOW DO THEY KNOW IT'S THERE? Hello? Are you listening to me? No one but the Kami/ink in their blood folks should have seen. *SPOILER END*

Ahem. Anyway. Katie seemed like a very hesitant character to me. Sometimes she was just so brave, and she took charge of her own destiny and I liked her for that; but other times...she was different. Sometimes she wasn't courageous. Sometimes she was all careful and such. I guess that makes her a normal girl, though, so I applaud her for that one.

Tomo was very strange-- I don't even know that by the end I even liked him. Sometimes he was such a jerk-- and he was doing it on purpose. Other times, well, he was all sensitive and sweet and I just wanted to give them this huge hug. But then he'd be a jerk again and I'd want to hit him. (That doesn't sound like I have a dysfunctional relationship with him at all.)

Speaking of which, the relationship between Katie and Tomo came too soon. In my opinion, of course. It seemed like they weren't friends for very long before it got all awkward and romantic like. It was introduced way too quickly.

All in all, in spite of my issues with Ink, I really do think that it was a good read. A definite change from the norm...I just...well, you know.

September 17, 2013

Character Interview: Em from All Our Yesterdays

I am so, so happy to have Em here today for y'all! She's the main (and my favorite) character in All Our Yesterdays. She's a total badass, and I completely wanna be like her. But anyway, please welcome her and understand that she's a little bit uncomfortable answering questions.

Favorite color?

I used to love pink. Now I’d just be happy to see anything other than the blue of my prison uniform and the white walls of my cell.

Skittles or M&M's?

Oh my God, candy! I haven’t had anything sweet in months. I would kill someone for some peanut butter M&Ms right now.

Who explained the time paradox theory to you, and how?

I’m sorry, I don’t talk about him.

Do you remember anything at all from your previous trips back into time?

No. The person who made those trips had my face, but she wasn’t me. More than a dozen different versions of me that I’ll never know have broken out of this cell.

Describe yourself and Finn in three words.

Together in everything.

Favorite book & movie from before?

Ironically, my favorite book used to be A Wrinkle in Time, but I don’t think I could ever read it again knowing what I know now about time travel. My favorite movie was The Breakfast Club.

*Woot, love A Wrinkle in Time!*

What is it like in the prison?

Hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments of extreme terror. If it weren't for Finn’s voice next door, I would have given up months ago.

What's your favorite memory of before?

All the best times in my old life have become the most painful to remember now. They just remind me of what I’ve lost, so I try not to think about before.
Cristin Terrill
A Little about the author:
 Cristin Terrill is a young adult author and aspiring grown-up. She grew up semi-nomadic and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in drama. After getting her masters in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, she lived in London, Austin, Boston, and Washington, DC while working as a theatrical stage manager. Now she writes and leads creative writing workshops for DC-area kids and teens. All Our Yesterdays is her first novel.

Connect with the Author:
Website || Twitter || Facebook || Goodreads

Purchase/Add AOY:
Amazon || Goodreads

September 16, 2013

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher for Blog Tour
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
Like I've said before, science fiction isn't really my thing. But I wanted to try this one, because let's face it, time travel? Awesome! And again (just like before) I was pleasantly surprised! It turned out to be a fantastic premise, which was backed up by several different theories...that weren't too sciency.

Em was a good character for me-- she seems like a total bad-ass, but she doesn't act robotic (a.k.a., do everything you would expect a bad-ass to do). She makes a bunch of good choices and several bad ones, but the thing that I liked most about her was just....I don't know. Her. Does that make sense at all? I liked that she wasn't afraid to tell Finn exactly how it was, and that she never backed down. She did what she knew was right, in the end. But it's really weird, because she's not necessarily the one who did it. She got it going, though.

I really enjoyed the chapters from Marina's point of view-- they were so innocent compared to Em's, but they gave me new perspective on the entire story. Honestly, I wish I could reveal more, but for the sake of spoilers I'll leave it be!

The romance between Finn and Em was adorable. It wasn't all in your face like some books do it, but it was subtle and I enjoyed it. It was sweet and cute, and I hope to see more romances like that in the future.

And honestly, I hope to see more plotting like this in the future too. Because the plot was rock-hard awesome, and I couldn't have asked for more twists and turns. It kept the story moving at a good pace, and I was never confused or left wondering what had happened, which is really all I can hope for. That, and a fantabulous ending. Which I also got, if you were curious. ;)

All in all, All Our Yesterdays really delivered an awesome story. I never saw it coming.