Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Indy Connection

So, in line with what I wrote about yesterday I am jumping right back in and am (almost) immediately reviewing a book I just finished, The Fault in Our Stars, by Indiana's own, John Green.  First let me tell you the thing I L-O-V-E-D about this story:  it took place in my home town of Indianapolis.  Green not only used Indy as the location but he used several very specific spots in the city for his story to revolve around...and I KNOW THESE PLACES!!! That was just so cool and so fun to read, to know that this big accomplished author, one that I admire even, chose to use a place he loves -a place I love- to center his story around.  Like I could actually see the intersection of 86th & Ditch that he spoke of and the Speedway gas station there.  I've been there.  Really, that is so neat!  

Okay, so my city-love aside this was still such a well written story.  Yeah, it's a sad one.  It's filled with kids and cancer and normally I don't go for junk like that.  Books are supposed to make me happy and cheery and let me cast aside all the drudgery in the world for a bit while I idly flip through the pages...but sometimes a dose of reality is alright, and Green does an awesome job of bringing the reality of cancer, and children dealing with cancer, out into the fold of things without it seeming so sad and taboo of a topic.  His characters just deal with it, the way real kids and real adults must do every day.  The story talks about "cancer perks" in one sentence while following it up with those same people getting those looks from others who just feel sorry for them.  He uses such wit and humor to pull forth a story about cancer without it feeling like a "cancer story." Does that make sense?

The main characters of the story are Hazel, a young home schooled cancer patient who carries around an oxygen tank everywhere just to help her lousy lungs breathe, and Augustus (or Gus) whom is a boy she meets at support group.  Augustus had cancer too so he understands her, knows what she's going through, etc.  They fast form a relationship that turns from friendship to a little more, despite Hazel's trepidation.  These characters are so easily likable too.  Aside from the fact that their banter desperately reminds me of watching Rory on a Gilmore Girls episode, they're just so totally real and down to earth.  They don't sugar coat their condition, or the fact that cancer kills and that they will die.  It's not sad, it's not bitter, it's just a fact.  

I really enjoyed reading this book and with I hadn't waited so long to finally succumb to it. Since this was the second book by John Green, I can officially say that I'm a fan of his now. Not only has he written at least two books that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, he's also a fellow Hoosier...and that rocks!  Maybe I could go meet him, tell him about my love of reading and writing and we'll become besties and collaborate on a story together down the road.  Hey, I can dream, right?!

I'm totally stoked to read the two others books of his that I have waiting for me, An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns, the later of which is going to be coming out as a movie later this year.  Stay tuned in the future for reviews of those too!  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rambling (Wo) Man

Do you ever feel like if you let too much time pass between reading a book and discussing it that you just can never get that...that "feeling" back that you felt immediately upon finishing? Gosh, I feel like that every.  Freakin'.  Time.  It drives me nuts too because I wish I could tell you every fleeting thought that crosses my wee-little mind when I turn that last word filled page.  What happens though?  Life!  Every time, life come along and just steals my thunder and all my time (and apparently part of my brain too) and every witty, wise, wonderful thing I wanted to type out here for you THE READER is sucked into some oblivion.  SMH.  

Being sick with a terrible stomach flu for 10 days certainly didn't help either.  I didn't read a single thing during that time, but I'd "banked" up some thoughts on several books I'd read recently, thinking I'd just do some quick run-downs of them with my thoughts, all nicely placed into one sweet, simple blog post.  Guess where all those thoughts are now? Somewhere in the sewer system, along with the contents of my know, because of the stomach flu.  Ugh!

So, with this being said, I am hopefully all recovered now and will be trying my best to get back to these book reviews and keeping everyone updated on my latest reads and everything else.  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Summer Time

This morning I finished reading Five Summers by Una LaMarche, an unknown author to me. I'd never heard of her, nor her writing, but was intrigued by the synopsis on the back of the book, along with the pretty cover.  The synopsis read:

Emma, Skylar, Jo, and Maddie have all come back to camp for a weekend of tipsy canoe trips to the island, midnight skinny dipping in the lake, and an epic game of capture the flag—boys versus girls. But the weekend isn't quite as sunwashed as they'd imagined as the memories come flooding back. . . .

The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring . . .
The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth . . .
The summer we were eleven: Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle . . .
The summer we were twelve: Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar . . .
Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable . . . and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart.

I love stories about the relationships between women and/or girls.  They always feel very real to me...probably because I AM a girl so I tend to find things that I can relate to easily.  This book was no exception to that.

Five Summers is a coming of age story featuring the JEMS-Jo, Emma, Maddie, and Skylar, best friends who met at camp and spent five amazing summers together.  The perspective of the story switches from current day to past and from one girl to another girl frequently but it's not hard to follow along.  Actually it's pretty nice to see the same story unfold from the various voices of the girls and see how they each perceive what is happening around them.  It also helps to develop each of the characters because you get to know them better this way.

After not being at camp for 2 years it's time for the big reunion.  Emma and Maddie haven't been back to camp since their last morning there, but both Jo and Skylar have worked there the past three summers.  The girls are really excited to be together again...but nothing goes quite as they expect.  Emma realizes she still has feelings for a former crush, Skylar is filled with guilt, Maddie has a secret still, and Jo is still the same tomboy daughter-of-the-camp-director that she's always been.  

After several series of events and flashbacks, the girls lash out at each other and get into a huge fight in their cabin, after the boys try to steal all of their clothes.  This is the part of the story that I felt like I could relate to the most.  It's inevitable that girls are going to argue and fight and say mean things to each other that they later regret.  Those four girls were so nasty and hurtful to each other but it was so believable because I've been there.  You've probably been there too and it broke my heart that they were viciously trying to hurt each other with their words.  You could suddenly see all of the cracks in the relationships and after a blow up like that, you wonder, can it be mended?  Will they be able to forgive and move on?

Ultimately, the girls learn so much about themselves and about each other at that 3 day reunion.  They realize that they can't go back in the past and change things.  

I really liked this story.  It was light and sweet and made me smile in many spots.  The friendships were pure and reminded me of being young again.  I think anyone who has ever been to summer camp and developed relationships with friends there would love reading about these girls and their "friendship pact" and all the rituals they come up with and continue with year after year.  It's quite beautiful really.  I'd definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for a quick read where they don't have to think too much or analyze everything.  It's an easy read without being fluff and I like that about this novel.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Awesome New Covers by Armentrout

We are so excited to bring you the Cover Reveal for EVERY LAST BREATH, the hotly anticipated conclusion to the Dark Elements trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout!! EVERY LAST BREATH is a Young Adult Paranormal published by Harlequin Teen and is a part of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s The Dark Elements Series. It is being released on July 28, 2015. Pre-order EVERY LAST BREATH and then be sure to read the first books in this amazing series before its release!


Some loves will last 'til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

“Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!”
--New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter

“Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.”
--#1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss



Every touch has its price

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.

But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden.  Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…

"Constantly entertaining...the narrative sizzles with as much tension as romance."
Kirkus Reviews on White Hot Kiss


WHITE HOT KISS synopsis:
One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.


And finally a new cover of the pre-quel to the Dark Elements series...


In a sizzling prequel novella to her new series The Dark Elements, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons.

Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining the balance between good and evil. He was her everything…right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.

And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again…

"With her signature flare for combining humor, romance and action, Armentrout weaves a fast-paced read that will have readers' hearts racing in more ways than one. Like Armentrout's previous heroines, Jasmine is fun and full of attitude, while Dez is as snarky as he is sexy. This is a must read for new and old fans alike!" -RT Book Reviews

Jennifer L. Armentrout/J.Lynn Bio:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

So what do you think of the great new covers?   Let me know down below by posting a message!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What IS a Mud Vein Anyhow?

I finished Mud Vein, by Tarryn Fisher recently. I knew I would like this novel, even though it was officially the first full novel by Fisher, that I'd read (I've previously read her co-authored book Never Never), but I had no clue that I would be so into this novel that I'd be up still at 2:00 a.m. hating myself because I couldn't put it down.  I had no idea that the story would consume me so thoroughly, both with my time and in my heart...but it did.  

In describing the writing style of another author, Fisher says, "If you're looking for a quick thrill, wet panties, or mindless entertainment, you won't like the subtle hues and expensive flavors..."  and I think that perfectly describes her writing as well.  Mud Vein isn't some sappy love story.  It isn't some semi-erotic "mom porn" either.  Yet, it's still a story of love.  

"What's the difference?"  I asked him.  "Between the love of your life and your soulmate?"

"One is a choice and one is not."

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

This book, I loved it.  It was so engrossing.  So full of heart and gentle passion and angst.  I loved the cleverly disguised mystery, the poetic phrasing, and the vivid details.  I also hated it.  I hated the end. I wanted pretty little ribbons tied tightly.  I wanted sunshine and lollipops. I didn't get that though...and I'm discovering with Tarryn Fisher, you often don't.  She develops her characters like they're real people, people with flaws and imperfections, and we all know that real life doesn't always offer us those happy ever afters.  I wanted so badly for Senna and Issac to ride off into the sunset together.  SMH.

Though I didn't get the ultimate ending I wanted, I am so impressed with the writing that I don't care.  Senna's story ended the way it's meant to.  Fisher has won me over, heart and soul.  I'm so excited to read her previous three titles now!

(and P.S.  you DO find out what a Mud Vein is in the story.)