Monday, July 30, 2012

Lucky Fools by Coert Voorhees


Title: Lucky Fools
Author: Coert Voorhees
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Source: From Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
What does it cost to fight for your dream?

David Ellison has always been told that he can do anything he sets his mind to, but when he sets his sights on Juilliard rather than nearby Stanford University, his parents quickly point out that "anything" doesn't include throwing away his private school education to study acting.

But David is determined to make his dream a reality. As his Juilliard audition approaches, he jumps wholeheartedly into his latest play…and right into the path of his beautiful costar, Vanessa. Caught between his devotion to long-time girlfriend Ellen and his undeniable attraction to Vanessa, David finds himself ensnared in a love triangle of his own making, with his relationship teetering on the brink of disaster.

To make matters worse, Oak Fields Prep is thrown into chaos by a mysterious prankster known as The Artist, who is determined to sabotage the college aspirations of the school's highest achievers. Anyone who excels is a potential target--and David, the star of every play, could be next.

From the author of the critically acclaimed The Brothers Torres comes an insightful novel about enduring the pressures of high school, surviving the ins and its of love, and fighting for your dreams, no matter what.

I'll be honest and say that what originally caught my attention was the cover of Lucky Fools. Then I read the synopsis and I knew it would be a book I would enjoy. While the book ended up being a little different than I expected, I was still able to really enjoy the story.

David Ellison has always wanted to be a professional actor and has his sights set on Juilliard. And everything seems like it will be working out for David. But with his Juilliard audition only a couple of weeks away, David becomes a little less focused and the senior class of his elite prep school has become the target of The Artist, a mysterious prankster. And by the look of it, David could be the next victim. And if that happens, everything might not go exactly as planned and David's entire future could be in jeopardy.

For whatever reason, I expected Lucky Fools by Coert Voorhees to be a really funny book. Don't ask me why, because I really don't know. While Lucky Fools wasn't as funny as I expected it would be, it didn't stop me from really enjoying the book. The story ended up working on two levels. On the surface, it was the story of a high school senior trying to navigate the college application process. But when you looked a little deeper you realized that this same high school senior was just trying to find his place in the world. And of course this was all done with some humour, which is what made me enjoy the story that much more. Though the best part of the story was that it was told from a boy's perspective.

The story in Lucky Fools was told from David's perspective and that made me love the story. And David himself had a lot to do with it. I loved how he managed to take himself seriously while at the same time not taking himself seriously at all. It made for interesting situations. But mostly I was happy when he finally realized what really made him happy and he went for it, and everything eventually worked out for him. The one character that really bugged me was Ellen. To me, she never really seemed sincere ad there was always something a little off about her. And I'm not going to lie, I was happy to see I wasn't wrong about her because she kind of annoyed me. But aside from Ellen, I really enjoyed the other characters, especially the humour Colter brought. It totally made up for Ellen.

Overall, Lucky Fools by Coert Voorhees was a highly enjoyable read. If you are looking for a YA that is both fun and serious, and is told from a boy's perspective then I recommend you give Lucky Fools a chance.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (9)

Stacking the Shelves is a new weekly meme hosted by Tynga of Tynga's Reviews. It's a weekly post where book bloggers share the books they received throughout the week.


This week was good. It was made even better by the fact that I managed to not buy a single book. Plus, the books I did receive this week all sonds pretty awesome and I'm definitely looking forward to reading all of them. So here's what i got this week!


Review:

- Entice by Jessica Shirvington - I really enjoyed reading Embrace last March so I was really excited to get a copy of Entice for review. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next to the characters I got to know in the first book.

- Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry - I'm really excited to have gotten a copy of Pushing the Limits for review. I've heard it's absolutely fantastic and I can't wait to find out for myself if it's as good as everyone says it is.

- Cuttlefish by Dave Freer - I'll be honest and say that I haven't really ever heard of this book but if I'm understanding everything it's a steampunk story that takes place on a submarine so it could definitely be interesting. I'll just have to wait and see.

Thank you to Raincoast Books, Harlequin Teen and PYR Books for sending me these to review.

Won:

- Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery - This one sounds really interesting and kind of like a cross between Adult and YA so it should be interesting. I definitely look forward tor reading it. Thank you to Rachel from Fiktshun for this book.


So that's all for me this week. I'll now be returning to my TV to continue watching the Olympics (basically where you'll find me for the next two weeks). But as usual, leave me a link and I'll try to stop by and see what you got!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein


Title: Cold Fury (Cold Fury #1)
Author: T.M. Goeglein
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Sara Jane Rispoli has just turned sweet sixteen but so far it's anything but sweet. She'd planned to spend this birthday at the spring dance with the handsome Max Kissberg, not being chased and attacked by a masked assessing, dirty cops and a turncoat uncle. She certainly didn't plan on discovering that her family is deeply embedded int eh Chicago Outfit (aka the Mob) or to come home and find them gone.

Now on the run but determined to find her family, Sara Jane fights back with a flame burning in her gut--a deadly cold fury. Though also armed with a .45 and a briefcase full of cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense. It holds the key to "Ultimate Power." It's why she's being pursued, it's why her family was taken away, and it could be the key to saving her life.

Action-packed with fresh cinematic writing, Cold Fury is a riveting and imaginative adventure announcing a compelling new voice in YA.

I'm not going to lie, Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein had me at mafia. Who wouldn't want to read a story about the Chicago Mob? The only worry I had about the story was that it wouldn't live up to my expectations. But Cold Fury was action-packed, and definitely lived up to my expectations.

Sara Jane Rispoli thought she came from a family of Italian bakers, but there were always conversations that seemed a little odd to her. Then her parents and her brother mysteriously disappear and Sara Jane has to figure out what her family is involved in so she can get them back. As the mystery unfolds, Sara Jane finds out that her family is deeply involved in the Chicago Mob and now she has to step up to the plate if she wants to have any hope of getting her family back alive. And maybe that weird cold blue flame that keeps appearing in her stomach can help her get through it all. 

Like I've already said, Cold Fury had me when I found out it was a story about the Mob. Just from the description I knew it was going to be a story full of action and that I would be able to get completely wrapped up in the story. And because of that, my expectations were pretty high. But Cold Fury didn't disappoint me in the least. Right from the prologue, I knew the story was going to be great and it didn't take long at all for me to get completely dragged into the story. Cold Fury was as action-packed as the summary had suggested it would be. My favorite part of the story was the Mob aspect of it all. I loved how much back story T.M. Goeglein included about the Mob and how it was all a part of the Rispoli family history. It made for an interesting and layered story.

There were a lot of characters to keep track of in this story, but the story wouldn't have worked as well with a small cast of characters. I really liked Sara Jane, and I liked that she didn't take everything in stride when she found out the truth about her family. But she also didn't completely break down. And I loved just how strong she eventually became. Mostly, I liked that by the end of the book she didn't really let anything stand in her way. Aside from Sara Jane, I feel like I didn't really get to know any of the other characters all that well. I would have loved to find out more about Sara Jane's father outside the Mob stuff. Max had the potential to be a really interesting character, but it felt like every time I was going to learn more about him, he got pushed to the side. But who knows, maybe in the future.

Cold Fury was a fantastic, action-packed read. The Mob back story definitely added something and made the story that much more interesting to read. I'm definitely looking forward to more from T.M. Goeglein in the future.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (57)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where book bloggers devote a post to an upcoming release they are particularly looking forward to reading.


THIS WEEK'S PICK:
WINTER WHITE BY JEN CALONITA

Isabelle Scott and Mirabelle Monroe are still reeling from the revelation that they share more than just the roof over their heads. The media has pounced on their story and the girls are caught up in a flurry of talk-show appearances and newspaper interviews. They's put on a happy public face, but someone is leaking their true feelings to the press, and while it seems like the world is watching their every move, at east they have each other.

But with cotillion season right around the corner, Izzie and Mira have barely had time to process their newfound sisterhood. mira has dreamed of making her debut in a gorgeous white gown forever--now, if only she could find an escort. Izzie, meanwhile, is still struggling to find her place in Emerald Cove and it's seeming ever more impossible with EC mean-girls, young and old, doing their best to keep her down. As cotillion preparations heat up, though, there are dance steps to learn, manners to perfect…and secret initiations to complete? As if sophomore year wasn't hard enough.

It's time for the gowns to go on and the gloves to come off.


I really enjoyed reading Belles (my review), the first book in this series, when it came out in April and found myself getting really attached to the characters. As such, I'm really looking forward to finding out what happens next to them in Winter White. October can't come soon enough!

Winter White by Jen Calonita will be published October 9, 2012 by Poppy.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep


Title: Dark Frost (Mythos Academy #3)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
I've seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I'm supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I'm just waiting for the next, Bad, Bad Thing to happen, Like someone trying to kill me--again.

Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects--and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I'm also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the ad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me? It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Hellheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can't use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me--and I'm in for the fight of my life.

I absolutely love Jennifer Estep's Mythos Academy series and it only got better with Dark Frost. In this installment, the story was taken to a whole new level, and by the end I was totally begging for more.

Gwen Frost is just trying to figure out what is going on between her and Logan Quinn, the hottest guy at Mythos, but constantly being in mortal danger is kind of getting in the way of that. That's what happens when you suddenly find out that you're pretty much the only person who can stop the Reaper of Chaos from freeing Loki. No pressure, right? Now, Reapers of Chaos have infiltrated Mythos Academy, and are trying to get at Gwen from all directions. And to make things better, Gwen's best friend isn't talking to her. And here all Gwen was hoping for was a date with Logan. So much for that.

Jennifer Estep really stepped it up in Dark Frost. I had already loved the first two books in the Mythos Academy series, but this third one was something else. There was so much going on in Dark Frost. Right from the first chapter there was something going on and the action really didn't let up until the end. And as far as who was the bad guy, Jennifer Estep had me going around in a circle, I kept changing my mind until it was all revealed. One of my favorite parts of the story is still all the warrior mythology. It's really interesting how it all works together and that mythology from all these different cultures mix together. It makes for an interesting read.

I love the character in this story. Gwen has a fantastic voice and I love the way she tells the story. She always manages to put a smile on my face. The other people who also do that are Daphne and Carson. They are an adorable couple and the way they act often just makes me laugh. And once again Logan is kind of hot and cold, but I kind of love him for it. Mostly, I understand why Logan is the way he is and it totally fits in with Logan's personality. And, you know, how Logan is with Gwen isn't so bad, at least how he is with her most of the time. All that to say that the people in this story are pretty great.

Dark Frost was a truly awesome read. The story was taken to a whole new level, both with the action and the mystery. And with the preview of the next book at the end, I am unbelievably eager to be able to read Crimson Frost.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Lucas Needs Your Votes!!

Today I have the great honor of advocating for Lucas Delos from Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed trilogy over at YA Sisterhood as part of the YA Crush Tourney. You can read my defence below and if you could take a minute to head over to YA Sisterhood to vote for Lucas, that would be great!

First off, and that should be plenty of reason, the Fates strongly suggest you vote for Lucas. Would you really want to invoke the wrath of the Fates on yourself? I didn't really think so.


But if that's not enough for you, just keep reading to find out more about Lucas.

Looks

Lucas is a demigod, so like you would expect he is quite the handsome young man. He is tall, easily over six feet and has a powerful build (again, he's a demigod). But despite that powerful build, he is not bulky, instead his muscles are described as long and lean. To top all of that off, he has short black hair, a deep tan and "swimming pool blue eyes". There's no question about it, Lucas is hot, plain and simple. Want some personal opinions on his looks? Here they come.

Claire - "Lucas, however, is an ├╝ber-babe. Quite possibly the most beautiful boy I've ever seen." (Starcrossed, p. 27)

Helen - "It wasn't his height or his coloring or his muscles that made him so beautiful, she conclude. It was the way he moved. She had only seen him twice, but she could tell he thought less frequently about his looks than everyone around him did. His eyes, as pretty as they were, looked out, rather than back at himself." (Starcrossed, p. 53)

Still not convinced? Here's one more from Helen.

"The last cobwebs clearing from her eyes, she decided that if Lucas was gay then she was going to get a sex change operation. He would be so worth it." (Starcrossed, p. 185)

But, you tell me, looks aren't everything. Well if those looks aren't enough for you, then you should know that Lucas has an awesome personality to go with them.

Personality

Lucas could quite possibly be the sweetest person in the world. Claire even says so--"He's not going around telling everyone you're monkey-butt crazy, so at least you brutalized a super sweet guy." (Starcrossed, p. 57)

But it's a lot more than Lucas just being the sweetest person to have ever lived. He would also do just about anything for those he loves. He will put everyone's well-being ahead of his own, no matter what that means. Where Helen is concerned, the only thing he wouldn't do for her is destroy thousands of lives--but he will do anything but that. The way he is with Helen is simply amazing, and even when he is told he shouldn't care for her as much as he does, it doesn't stop him. Even when he and Helen were still under the influences of the Furies, he was willing to jump in to her defence when they were supposed to be hating each other.

But he's not just an incredibly thoughtful and caring person. Lucas also has a pretty great sense of humor. One of the best examples is one of my favorite moments in the book. Wondering what I'm talking about? Just read below.

"'Piece of cake,' she said blithely, trying to distract him. 'So what are you doing next Friday night?'

'What have you got in mind?'

'We could try hitting each other with cars,' she suggested cheerfully.

'Did that last weekend with Jase,' he said with mock regret.

'Go to the zoo and throw ourselves to the lions?' she fired back quickly, desperate to keep him focused on her rather than his caved-in chest.

'The Romans sort of wore that one out. Got anything original?'

'I'll think of something,' she warned him."

Even in the most difficult situations, Lucas is there with his sense of humor at the ready.

Need more? Do you like a little superpowers in your boys? Well, Lucas has plenty of those in store.

Talents

Lucas is a Scion (demigod) so he has plenty of talents. For starters he has supernatural strength and is a natural fighter. And then he can fly. Yes, fly. He can just take off and go anywhere he wants to go anytime he wants. Along with flying, he can play around with how gravity affects his body--he can go from being light as a feather to being as heavy as a large boulder. But that's still not all. Because he's part of the House of Apollo, he can bend the light around him as he pleases, which makes for some pretty neat special effects on demand. Apollo is not only the god of light but also the god of music. So you guessed it, Lucas is also a pretty amazing singer. Just picture him singing to you. Are your insides melting yet? Lucas still has one more talent that's pretty rare. He's a Falsefinder. What does that mean, you ask? Well, Lucas can tell whenever someone around him isn't telling the truth. Could come in pretty handy if you ask me.

Best Quality

I've already talked about it, but Lucas' best quality is how sweet, caring and thoughtful he is. You'll be hard pressed to find another boy like him in those departments. What's even better is that he is all those things without becoming controlling, and that is more than enough to make my heart melt. What girl wouldn't want an amazingly sweet guy who will put her ahead of everything else but will still let her do what she wants? I thought, so.


If you're still not sure, here's a little recap. If you like your boys tall dark and handsome with piercing blue eyes than Lucas is the boy for you. Want more than just good looks? Lucas is the the sweetest and most caring person with a great sense of humor thrown into the mix. Don't want just a regular guy? Lucas is a Scion, a demigod or whatever you want to call it so he has plenty superpowers to show off. 

Lucas is clearly the way to go, but I can't control what you do. Just know that you won't regret voting for Lucas Delos.



So if that convinced you, be sure to head over to YA Sisterhood to vote for Lucas, he needs our help! And be sure to tweet about the match using the hashtags #TeamLucasDelos and #YACrushTourney to show your support and help get Lucas more votes.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (8)

Stacking the Shelves is a new weekly meme hosted by Tynga of Tynga's Reviews. It's a weekly post where book bloggers share the books they received throughout the week.


I'm not home right now, so I'll make this post quick and to the point. I was pretty good this week and only bought one book and then only received two for review. So all in all it's not too bad and it hasn't added to much to my TBR pile. So without further ado, here's what I got.

Review:


- Katya's World by Jonathan L. Howard (from Strange Chemistry) - This one sounds really interesting and like something a little different. Plus I'm really excited about all the Strange Chemistry books that are coming out this fall. They should definitely all be interesting, this one included.


- Venom by Fiona Paul (from Razorbill CA) - So this book takes place during the Renaissance in Venice, what more do you need? Ever since I first heard about this book I have been dying to read it. I love the Renaissance and Venice is an absolutely fantastic place to set a story. I'm pretty sure I'm part of a blog tour for this book as well so be sure to look out for that closer to the release date.






Purchased:



- The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer - I'm not usually a big Middle Grade reader but this book sounds absolutely adorable and I've heard that it's actually really good so that made me excited to read it. Plus it was written by Chris Colfer (Kurt on Glee) and I love him so how exactly was I supposed to pass up this book?






So that's it for me this week. Be sure to leave me a comment below telling me what you got and I'll try to come check it out at some point during the week. 

On a different note, tomorrow I will be advocating for Lucas Delos from Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed trilogy in the YA Crush Tournament so if you could head over to YA Sisterhood to vote for Lucas, that would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great week!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Mini Reviews: Deadly Cool & Social Suicide


Title: Deadly Cool (Deadly Cool #1)
Author: Gemma Halliday
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name.

But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim.

I had seen reviews of Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday, but I never really knew what it was about until I picked it up while on vacation. It turned out to be a fun story that had its moments. 

On the same day that she finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her with the president of the Chastity Club, Hartley Grace Featherstone finds the dead body of the president of the Chastity Club in her boyfriend's closet. So she's not having a really great day, but Hartley is determined to prove that her now ex-boyfriend wasn't the one to kill Courtney. With the help of her best friend Sam and bad boy Chase, Hartley sets out to find the true killer.

Deadly Cool was a fun read. It had the perfect balance of fun and mystery. Personally, I loved the mystery aspect of the book, I hadn't even figure out who the killer was and I'm usually good at figuring these things out. But despite the murder plot, the story was still light and fun to read. The other great thing about Deadly Cool was the relationships and back all the back and forth between all the characters. Hartley and Chase were definitely my favorites when it comes to that. There was something about the two of them that put a smile on my face.

If you are looking for a little mystery with your fun, then I strongly recommend you pick up Gemma Halliday's Deadly Cool.



Title: Social Suicide (Deadly Cool #2)
Author: Gemma Halliday
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Twittercide: the killing of one human being by another while the victim is in the act of Tweeting.

Call me crazy, but I figured writing for the "Herbert Hoover High Homepage" would be a pretty sweet gig. Pad the resume for college applications, get a first look at the gossip column, spend some time ogling the paper's brooding bad-boy editor, Chase Erikson. But on my first big story things went…a little south. What should have been a normal interview with Sydney Sanders turned into me discovering the homecoming queen-hopeful dead in her pool. Electrocuted while Tweeting. Now, in addition to developing a reputation as HHH's resident body finder, I'm stuck trying to prove that Sydney's death wasn't suicide.

I'm starting to long for the days when my biggest worry was whether the cafeteria was serving pizza sticks or Tuesday Tacos...

Since I had read Deadly Cool and enjoyed it and since all I had with me was my Kindle I figured I would read the sequel, Social Suicide, which turned out to be just as enjoyable as the first book.

After having already solved one murder, Hartley Grace Featherstone thought she wouldn't have to do it again so soon. Now while working on her first big story for the Herbert Hoover High Homepage, Hartley stumbles on another dead body. And once again, Hartley doesn't agree with the official police report. With the help of her best friend Sam and bad boy Chase, Hartley sets out to prove that this suicide was in fact, Twittercide.

Once again, the story in Social Suicide was a fun one with just the right does of mystery. I really liked the idea of "Twittercide", I had never really thought of that idea and just that was enough to keep me reading. Though my favorite part was still the relationship slowly developing between Hartley and Chase. They are simply quite the pair, and are responsible for much of my laughter while reading. The dynamic between them is just one that I really enjoy reading about, and I love whenever Sam jumps in to give her two cents. 

Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday is the perfect read for a lazy summer afternoon. I definitely recommend this series if that's what you are looking for.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (56)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where book bloggers devote a post to an upcoming release they are particularly looking forward to.


THIS WEEK'S PICK:
THE DIVINERS BY LIBBA BRAY

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.


I'll admit right now that the only book by Libba Bray that I've read is Beauty Queens despite owning her Gemma Doyle trilogy. Regardless of that, The Diviners sounds like a really interesting read and who doesn't love a paranormal mixed with historical fiction? I can't wait to be able to read this one.

The Diviners by Libba Bray will be published September 18, 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson


Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Taylor Edwards made leaving things behind into an art form. When things get tough, she gets going. Then her dad gets some terrible news and the whole family decides to spend the summer at their old lake house, where Taylor is forced to confront her past. She hadn't been to the lake for years and isn't keen to go back, but then she starts to reconnect with the people she thought she'd left behind--including Henry, her first crush, who's even cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve…

With fireworks, fireflies and midnight swims, the summer feels full of possibility and, for the first time, Taylor wants to hold on to the moment but is one summer really enough to have a second chance--with family, friends and love?

Despite constantly hearing how great Morgan Matson and her books are, it took me a long time to finally pick one up. Second Chance Summer was a fabulous summer read that I just sped through.

For the last few summers, Taylor Edwards has been perfectly happy not going to her family's lake house in Lake Phoenix. Especially with the way she left things the last time she was there. But after her family gets some bad news about her father, Taylor's parents decide they need should all spend one last summer together at the lake house. Taylor isn't looking forward to a whole summer in Lake Phoenix, but now she has to confront her past. But things aren't as bad as Taylor thought they were going to be. It doesn't take long before she starts reconnecting with old friends, even with her old crush. But the summer is about a lot more than coming to terms with the past, it's also about second chances.

So I really, really loved Morgan Matson's Second Chance Summer. At the time I read it, it was the perfect read for the mood I was in and that's probably why I loved it as much as I did. What was particularly great about the story in Second Chance Summer was that as lighthearted as it could be at certain times, at other times it was serious and really pulled at my heartstrings. But the way Morgan Matson did this made it so those different moments mixed in together. With the story written that way, it made it so the story wasn't too heavy. But still, I found myself tearing up, if not actually crying, on more than one occasion. And that made the story even better.

While I loved the story in Second Chance Summer, I had my issues with some of the characters. With Taylor, there were times where I could sort of see where she was coming form, but at other times I got a little annoyed with her. The way she talked about what happened the last time she was at her lake house made it sound like it was awful, but then it didn't end up being all that bad. But at the end of the day, because of everything happening, Taylor was suffering so I could sort of see why she acted the way she did. With the other characters, I could understand them more, but I would have liked to get a little more of their back stories. But at the same time, that could have been difficult to do since the story was told form Taylor's perspective.

Overall, I really loved Morgan Matson's Second Chance Summer. While I had some problems with the characters, the story was touching, and at times even heartbreaking. I will now be sure to go back and read Morgan Matson's other book, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (7)

Stacking the Shelves is a new weekly meme hosted by Tynga of Tynga's Reviews. It's a weekly post where book bloggers share and showcase the books they received throughout the week.


And I'm back to posting regularly! This week was a good week for books. And I was good and only bought one...but then again I went a little crazy last week so that's probably a good thing. At any rate, here's what I got this week.




For Review:

- Waking Storms by Sarah Porter - I haven't heard anything about this one as of yet, but it is the second in a series and I have vaguely heard of the first one. But since I am a major sucker for mermaid stories I'm going to have to give this one a chance.

- False Covenant by Ari Marmell - I still have to read the first one in this series (which I plan to do soon) but I am looking forward to discovering these books since I have heard Brenna from Esther's Ever After rave about them.

- Vampire Empire Book 1 & Book 2 by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith - While these books aren't really YA, I have seen plenty of YA readers rave about these books so I'm looking forward to reading them and seeing if they are as good as everyone says.

Thank you to Thomas Allen & Sons and PYR Books for sending me these books to review!

Purchased:

- Lost Voices by Sarah Porter - Since I received the second one for review, I figured I should pick up the first one to read. And like I said, I am a sucker for mermaid stories.


So that's it for me this week. If you haven't already, you can still enter my book & swag giveaway for Denise Jaden's Never Enough. And as usual, leave me a comment below and I'll come check out what you got this week.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Never Enough Video & Giveaway

I didn't intend to be posting so much about Never Enough by Denise Jaden, but then things happened and this is the third post about the book this week. But it's all worth it because Never Enough was a truly fantastic read and if you haven't already, you should check out my review and my interview with Denise Jaden.

Today's post is to share with you a really touching video that Denise Jaden put together featuring herself and other authors talking about ways they felt they weren't enough when they were teenagers. This video really fits in well with the novel because, as the title would suggest, it's all about how two sisters don't feel like they are worthy or enough. Check out the video below and keep on reading for a giveaway.





GIVEAWAY

In honour of the release of Never Enough, I have decided to hold a giveaway. There are two prizes for two winners. The first winner will receive a finished copy of Never Enough and some swag (includes signed swag--picture below) and the second winner will receive just the swag. To enter just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. US/CANADA ONLY.




GOOD LUCK!


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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (55)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where book bloggers devote a post to an upcoming release they are particularly looking forward to.


THIS WEEK'S PICK:
THE RAVEN BOYS BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER

"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said. "Either you're his true love…or you killed him."

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them--not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He has it all--family money, good looks, debated friends--but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we've never been before.


Maggie Stiefvater is a fantastic writer so I would read just about anything she writes. Here, it helps that The Raven Boys sounds like a fantastic read. The premise sounds really interesting and like the perfect mix of darkness and romance. I can't wait for September to come around so I can read what sounds like a fantastic book.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater will be published September 18, 2012 by Scholastic Press.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Never Enough by Denise Jaden


Title: Never Enough
Author: Denise Jaden
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Loann's always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire's ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special…even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire's world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire's quest for perfection is all-consuming and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship--and her sister--before it's too late?

When I read Denise Jaden's Losing Faith almost two years ago I absolutely loved the story despite the more difficult subject matter. When I heard about Never Enough I knew it was something I wanted to read, and just like with Denise Jaden's first book, I fell in love with it despite the difficult subject matter, which she dealt with amazingly.

Loann has always lived in her sister Claire's shadow and has never felt like she was enough. Claire's life has always looked perfect and Loann has wanted nothing more than to be included in that life. So when people in Claire's circle start paying attention to her, Loann starts to feel like maybe she may be good enough and doesn't have to live in her sister's shadow. But Loann soon discovers, everything may not be as it seems in Claire's world. This new insight into her sister's life allows Loann to see that Claire is screaming for help, but it may already be too late to give her the help she needs.

The story in Never Enough was not an easy story to read but it was one that completely drew you in. Right from the beginning I became attached to the characters Denise Jaden created and I couldn't help but feel like they were real people. Their stories were absolutely touching and they will stay with you for a long time. I know they will for me. Never Enough is a story about relationships. I loved seeing all the relationships develop and how they were all affected by one another and seeing that development made for a captivating story. But Never Enough is also a story that deals with eating disorders, which isn't necessarily the easiest subject to deal with. Denise Jaden did it wonderfully and I loved seeing how the story of the eating disorder played into all the different relationships, because Never Enough was really all about the characters.

Like I've already said, the story in Never Enough is all about the characters and their relationships with one another. You get to explore the relationship between sisters Loann and Claire just like you explore both their relationships with their mother, at least through Loann's eyes. It was really interesting to see how the characters changed as the relationships changed and vice versa. One relationship I really loved seeing develop was the friendship between Loann and Marcus. When I first met both characters, they seemed like such an unlikely pair but as the story moved forward and their friendship deepened, I realized that in a way they were perfect for each other. The other relationship that was interesting was between Claire and Loann. It was definitely an intricate relationship that was constantly changing, but through it all I could really tell that both sisters really cared for one another despite having difficulties showing it. And because Never Enough was really about the characters and their relationships, they are definitely going to be staying with me for a long time.

Never Enough was a great and touching read. Denise Jaden expertly handled the difficult subject that is eating disorders. Though it was integral to the story, it didn't overshadow all the relationships but instead showed how the disorder changes everyone's lives. And that's what was powerful about Never Enough.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Author Interview with Denise Jaden

Today I have the pleasure of having Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith and Never Enough, here on the blog to answer a few questions. Here is what she had to say.


Never Enough is your second book. How was the process different from writing your first book, Losing Faith? What were somethings you knew to expect from the first time around?

I think I had it relatively easy with my first book, so, to be honest, my expectations probably hindered me more than anything on working with my second one. Never Enough was a work in progress long before I had written Losing Faith, it had been through many, many drafts, and so one of the most difficult things was finding new ways to see the manuscript with my editor. I thought I'd already studied it from every anne, but apparently not so! Never Enough included much more intensive revisions with my editor (rewriting large portions of the book over and over again) whereas with Losing Faith, the changes were much smaller and easier to wrap my head around. With Losing Faith, I had worked from an outline, whereas Never Enough was very much a muse-led book.

Both Losing Faith and Never Enough deal with tougher subjects. Is there something in particular that draws you to writing about those subjects?
I like reading about tougher subjects because it helps me sort out my own thoughts and feelings, and I guess that's the same reason I write about tougher subjects. With Never Enough, I had a personal reason for attacking the difficult subject matter, and I have an author's note at the end of the book that goes into some detail about that.

Similarly, both Losing Fatih and Never Enough revolve around a relationship between sisters that is less than perfect. Is there a reason you choose to write about sisters that have misconceptions about each other's lives?

To be honest, I'm surprise that my first two published books are about similar sisterly relationships. That is not all I write about! When first coming up with a story idea, rather than getting a character or plot point in my head, I often get a relationship in my head. With both of these books, the sister relationship was the first part that came to me, but each plot definitely developed very differently in my mind. I couldn't tell you exactly why I'm drawn to writing about sisters, except that growing up I fantasized about what it would be like to have a sister.

I've seen in your biography on your website that you have had many other jobs/careers before becoming a writer. What ultimately made you choose writing over those other occupations?
I've always had it in my head that I wanted to try lots of different things in life. A thirty-year career never interested me. With writing, I feel like I have the ultimate career, because I can pretend I'm anything I want as a writer. It's a wonderful creative outlet for me, and I can't imagine a time in the future when I won't be writing.

How would you describe Never Enough in a sentence or two to encourage people to read it?
Since I'm ore of a character than plot lover, I would say this: Loann and Marcus have a sweet and deep friendship full of growing perspective, and you'll want them to be a part of your lives.


Thank you so much to Denise Jaden for her answers, and I couldn't agree more with the last one about Marcus and Loann. Be sure to come back tomorrow for my review of Never Enough and for a small giveaway!


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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (6)

Stacking the Shelves is a new weekly meme hosted by Tynga of Tynga's Reviews. It's a weekly post where book bloggers share and showcase the books they received throughout the week.

So it's been a while since I've done a Stacking the Shelves post but I'm finally back and I have lots of books to share. This week I got back after having spent a month and half traveling so I had a fair amount of books waiting for me and then more showed up during the course of the week. And of course after having been away for so long I just had to go to the bookstore and that of course resulted in even more books. So without further ado, here are the books.

Review




- Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm - I haven't really heard much about this one, but it's been on my radar for a while since it sounds like a really fun and light read. It looks like it would make the perfect read for a summer day.

- Never Enough by Denise Jaden - I read this one this week and it was a really good read. Denise Jaden really knows how to tackle tougher issues and do it in a powerful way. Expect a review, an interview with the author and maybe even a giveaway for this coming this week.

- The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner (x2) - I'm participating in the blog tour for this one in August but the book itself looks really interesting and I've been told it's a great read so I can't wait to read it.

- Winter White by Jen Calonita - I absolutely loved Belles, the first in this series, when I read it so I can't wait to see what happens next.

- Lucky Fools by Coert Voorhees - From the summary, this sounds like a really funny book but maybe with more serious undertones and I love those stories. 

- Enchanted by Alethea Kontis - I've seen really great reviews for this one and if I'm not mistaken, it's a fairy tale retelling so I'm really excited to read it.

- Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn - This is definitely a more serious story but I love the sound of it. Hopefully I'll be able to read it soon.

- Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson - I may not be James Patterson's biggest fan, but I really liked the sound of this book so I'm happy to have a copy fore review.

Big thanks so Thomas Allen, HBG Canada, Penguin Canada and Simon & Schuster Canada for all of these great books!

Purchased:




- Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep - Already read this one and it was awesome. If you liked the first two books in this series you are going to love this one.

- Storm by Brigid Kemmerer - I started reading this one today and so far it's good, can't wait to see where the story goes.

- Struck by Jennifer Bosworth - I've read a few pages of this one and it looked pretty good. I can't wait to get more into it since it's supposed to be awesome.

- Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - SO EXCITED to have this one. I love this story and I can't wait to see how it all ends.

- Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson - This book had me at Peter Pan. And then I found out it was amazing so I was powerless against it.

- Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz - I still have to start this series, but the hardcover was on sale at Chapters so I had to buy since I have all the ones that come before it in the series.


So those are all the books I got. Next week definitely shouldn't be as intense since I won't be showing over a month's worth of books. Also today is my 2 year blogoversary but since things have been a little crazy I haven't had time to do anything for it, but keep and eye out for some celebrations this week.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Surrender by Elana Johnson


Title: Surrender (Possession #2)
Author: Elana Johnson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father's rules: He's the Director. It's because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent--a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine's got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can't. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi's boyfriend, Zenn.

Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine's father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. she's even starting to suspect Vi's secrets might involve Freedom's newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque...

I really enjoyed reading Possession so I was definitely looking forward to reading Surrender. And Surrender really delivered. There was even more going on in this bok than there was in the previous one. And that made for a book that was very difficult to put down.

Raine's father is the Director. That means Raine is a good girl and followed the rules in Freedom. Or at least that's what it looks like on the surface. In reality, Raine isn't all that big on following the rules and her father will let it slide so long as she uses her talent. Though no one knows about Raine's talent, not even those closest to her. But Raine is willing to throw all that away when she starts to fall for Gunner, someone she should stay away from. But she can't help it. And soon Raine discovers that a lot of people in her life are connected to one another, but there are still some secrets, especially where Vi is concerned. And the secrets only intensify when Jag Barque is brought to Freedom.

While I really enjoyed Possession, it was nothing compared to how I felt while reading Surrender. In this second instalment, Elana Johnson took the story to a whole new level. There was just so much happening and I loved every moment of it. A lot of that had to do with the fact that Surrender followed two intersecting storylines. On the one hand it followed Raine and on the other it followed Gunner. And while the stories intersected on numerous occasions, they also had their own plots which resulted in a lot of action and made for a really great story. Surrender most definitely didn't suffer form the shortcomings often found in sequels.

What was interesting with Surrender was that while it was a continuation of the story that began in Possession, it followed different characters. People like Vi, Zenn and Jag were still around and integral to the story but the focus wasn't on them. Instead, the focus was on new characters Raine and Gunner and how their story fit in with that of the others. And once I got to know Raine and Gunner, I oculd easily see why they fit in with Vi, Zenn and Jag. Raine had always been oppressed by her father and didn't agree with the way he did and ran things in Freedom. In a sense she had a lot in common with Vi. As for Gunner, things had always been hidden from him and now he wanted answers. All that to say, they were a great addition to the story.

If you enjoyed Elana Johnson's Possession you are guaranteed to love Surrender. I know I did and I can't wait to see where the story will go in the next book.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

YA Crush Tournament - Lucas' Advocate


As some of you may have seen on YA Sisterhood, I'm taking part in this year's YA Crush Tournament where I will be advocating for Lucas Delos from Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed books. My first match will be on July 23rd so I'm looking to get some support. This match will be against Peeta from the Hunger Games, so Lucas will need all the help he can get. What I'm looking for is some people to help me spread the word about Lucas before and on the day of the match since I won't be able to do it all on my own. If you're interested in helping me out, just leave me a comment below or contact me via e-mail (emiliebookworld@gmail.com) or on Twitter @emiliebookworld.

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