Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WoW, waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. I also feature books that may have already released, but I am anxiously waiting to read.

This week, I'm featuring:
Sacrifice (Elemental, #5)

One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.

Michael Merrick is used to pressure. 

He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it out for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way. 

His girlfriend, Hannah, gets that. She’s got a kid of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could end her life without a moment’s notice. 

But there are people who have had enough of Michael’s defiance, his family’s “bad luck.” Before he knows it, Michael’s enemies have turned into the Merricks’ enemies, and they’re armed for war. 

They’re not interested in surrender. But Michael isn’t the white flag type anyway. There will be blood on the ground tonight…

Expected publication: September 30th 2014 by Kensington Teen

What are you waiting on?
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: Fragile Line by Brooklyn Skye

Fragile Line
Fragile Line by Brooklyn Skye
It can happen in a flash. One minute she’s kissing her boyfriend, the next she’s lost in the woods. Sixteen-year-old Ellie Cox is losing time. It started out small…forgetting a drive home or a conversation with a friend. But her blackouts are getting worse, more difficult to disguise as forgetfulness. When Ellie goes missing for three days, waking up in the apartment of a mysterious guy—a guy who is definitely not her boyfriend, her life starts to spiral out of control.
Perched on the edge of insanity, with horrific memories of her childhood leaking in, Ellie struggles to put together the pieces of what she’s lost—starting with the name haunting her, Gwen. Heartbreakingly beautiful, this poignant story follows one girl’s harrowing journey to finding out who she really is.
Publishes in US: April 21st 2014 by Entangled Teen
Genre: YA Contemp
Source: Entangled Teen via Netgalley
Series? No.

Buy it:

Author stalk away:

    I wanted to read Fragile Line because I was intrigued by Ellie and if her blackouts were something mental or if there was something else going on. I usually enjoy books about mental illnesses as well as memory loss. 
    I felt for Ellie, and even though I knew that she was somewhat of an unreliable narrator, she seemed so normal during the day. We find out that she is adopted and has no memories of her childhood but things start coming back to her after her blackouts, where she loses chunks of time and walks off in the woods, argues with her parents and ends up with a tattoo. Her life is starting to fall apart though, because she's gotten up to leave or disappeared on him time after time, and its hard to believe that a person does these things and then can't remember, it seems like an awfully convenient excuse.  
    I wondered if she had split personality or some form of bipolar, because she does things while blacked out that she wouldn't do while awake. Talking to guys she doesn't recognize, go to eat, and her wild side goes to get the tattoo. It was a surprise when I found out the cause, but I think that it makes total sense. 
    While I can understand to an extent why Ellie kept the blackouts and time missing a secret for so long, but I was getting a little pushy for a bit before she finally opened up about it and truly began to want answers and seek and accept help. I can't even imagine what I would think about myself if I had time missing and things happen to me that I couldn't remember and especially as a teen I very well could have kept it to myself for as long as she did because I would almost fear the answers more than the solution. 
     It was neat how the author changed things up at about 75% and we got a different view point as well as some more answers about her past that Ellie can't remember. We get the other side of the story and the emotions that are attached there and even though I knew what was best, it was still hard to see the pain and uncertainty of the future.
    It was a pretty quick read and well paced. The world building was completely contemporary but at first I kept thinking that there might be a supernatural element even though thats not in the description or tagged on goodreads. The ending was okay for me, but I think that it could have been a bit better, or things could have been a little more resolved with Ellie and accepting her diagnosis and what exactly that looks like day to day. We get the glimpse of hope that its starting, but really not a clue what daily life will be like and how she will handle.
Bottom Line: Fast read with an unreliable narrator that had me wondering what was going on.

My question to you, my lovely readers:

Have you ever blacked out or forgotten you'd done something?
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Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: Tease by Amanda Maciel

Tease by Amanda Maciel
From debut author Amanda Maciel comes a provocative and unforgettable novel, inspired by real-life incidents, about a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide.
Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.
With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.


Publishes in US: April 29th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA contemp
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Series? No

Buy it: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  IndieBound Book Depository

Author stalk away: ~twitter 

    I wanted to read this one because the subject of bullying always catches my attention, especially since this is from the perspective of the one that the media and maybe even the law is implicating is responsible. I wanted to see inside the head of someone who helped bully someone, their reasoning and was hoping to see a lot of growth in the main character.
    Warning-- this is a gritty story. It is hard to read but worth it. It has some pretty intense name calling, some physical but mostly emotional and verbal. Slut shaming is involved, suicide is involved although we don't see that through the victim's eyes. 
     Being inside Sara's head, I wanted to dislike her going in. She obviously was involved with Emma's pain from being made fun of, called names, and wondering what else went into Emma's thoughts. Was it family? Was she depressed? Did the bullying push her over the edge? We see through Sara's eyes that Emma came into the school and was buddy buddy with the guys, and getting in between guys and girls already in a relationship. It is the question of--how much was tainted by Sara's point of view? Did Emma just need to be talked gently to and tell her that she was hurting people? And then we see the friendship between Sara and Brielle. Sara will do almost anything to be in good graces with Brielle, and it is not a healthy relationship at all. Sara does and says what Brielle says and doesn't let her conscious have a voice. Anytime she has an inkling of doubt of what she is doing and saying she shoved it down and tries again to please Brielle. She is shocked when she hears what others think of Brielle-- a bitch, not nice. She can't reconcile that in her head because she just sees her as a best friend, as looking out for her because Emma is talking to Sara's boyfriend. Who Sara went ahead and had sex with because Brielle encouraged it. 
     It was hard to be inside Sara's head for most of the book because she didn't think that any of it was her fault. That they didn't cross a line. That it was her life that is shattered because she isn't supposed to talk to her best friend anymore, and that people view her differently. She doesn't even like to go out in public anymore because she feels in the negative spotlight. 
     The book is told in alternating time periods, the aftermath after Emma's suicide, and then the before, the escalation of the teasing and Sara and Brielle's mission to "teach Emma a lesson." It was a little confusing at times, but it really set up the book so that I could see the miniscule changes in Sara, what led her to do it, and the tiny things that make me relate to her, like her nurturing nature with her brothers. I know that she has love, compassion and empathy in her because she lets it all pour out into her two brothers. Her dad is in Chicago and her mom has to work a lot, so Sara steps up in helping take care of the house and keep an eye on the boys. But I see the changing in her perspective little by little until the explosion of change at the end. 
    And the thing is that makes me feel the worst, I can see why they didn't like Emma. She has that easier relationship with boys, and they like her. She doesn't seem to have many girlfriends so anything she does seems like flirting or moving in on a relationship. But we don't get her perspective, we just see the result of her pain. If she had a malicious intent, we don't know. 
    This book really pushed me to think. Have my words hurt anyone? Have I ever taken it too far? Can I help someone by being kind? Do I pity the bullies, because what hurts have they felt in order to hurt someone else that way. My struggles with Sara in this one--how responsible is she? If her parents were around more, feeding more into her life, could she have resisted the negative and toxic relationship with Brielle? Could she have stood up for herself easier? We don't know that either. We just know that she followed Brielle down a hard road and that she hurt others. What is hard too is that Tease doesn't take sides, we don't know everything... Did Emma really do the things that Sara thought she did. We see Sara's excuses for her behavior but it shows her denial and her forging ahead to keep doing things. 
    This book is so realistic, and Sara has a true teen voice. Honestly her saying "like" all of the time annoyed me. But it made her even more real. A person with a story to tell. 
    The ending wrapped it up pretty well and showed that there are no winners in a situation like this. In the extreme cases everyone's lives are radically changed. But I do appreciate the changes that Sara went through from total denial to her involvement to realizing that she made it worse for a girl who was already hurting and began to understand what her part was. 

Bottom Line: Emotional book that made me think, with a character I simultaneously liked, hated and pitied while wanting to knock sense into her. Bullying story told from the POV of one of the bullies.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Where do you think the line is between confrontation and stating the truth and crosses into bullying? What if you thought someone was moving in on your significant other? What is okay to say and what's not?
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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves, The Sunday Post

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews,  check it out and sign up  here
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

What I read:
source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

 After The End by Amy Plum, send by Harper Teen, Thank you!

Last Week on the blog:
The Taking (The Taking, #1)
source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss

The Break-Up Artist
Source: Harlequin Teen via Netgalley
Source: Sweenix Rising Books via NEtgalley
Don't Call Me Baby
Source: harper teen via netgalley
The Hunt (Project Paper Doll, #2)
Source: Disney for review

My week: Had to get a second opinion on my knee because so bruised and swollen. MRI and follow up soon, not sure if need surgery or not.

What are you reading? Any of my books new to you or have you read any of my books? If so, what did you think?
Also, feel free to link up your blog and mailbox post.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Review: Starstruck by Nicole Ciacchella

Starstruck by Nicole Ciacchella
Lex Harrington is living a stranger’s life. After high school, she and her boyfriend, superstar quarterback Brad Wakefield, headed off to college, secure in the knowledge of their brilliant future. Then an injury ended Brad’s football career, and he convinced Lex to drop out of school and return home with him, where everything fell apart.
Because the glossy surface of their relationship concealed a dark truth: years of emotional abuse culminating in Brad’s walking out on Lex and their infant son. At twenty-three, she’s a single mother with no future prospects, struggling to make ends meet while dealing with the aftermath of her destructive marriage.
When Jaron Richards left for college, he vowed he’d never look back. Brad laid waste to his friendship with Lex, leaving nothing to bind Jaron to his hometown. But his unrequited love for Lex has never faded, even as his star has begun to rise, making him Hollywood’s hottest new actor.
Now Jaron is back in town to film his latest movie, and his presence stirs up everything Lex would rather forget. Can they find a way to pick up the pieces and build a future together?


Publishes in US: March 30th 2014 by Sweenix Rising Books
Genre: NA contemp
Source: NEtgalley

Buy it: Amazon IndieBound Book Depository

Author stalk away: Nicole ~site ~twitter ~facebook ~blog

    I wanted to read Starstruck because I saw in on Netgalley and emotional and/or physical abuse is a topic close to my heart and I devour well written books with these subjects. Having a baby when a teen or very young adult and not ready or planned is also something that normally draws my attention, so this is a premise I loved. 
    I got right into Lex's story and felt for her. She obviously cares so much for her son, Owen and everything she does now is for him. She spends so much time and attention on him and feels besides work there isn't much time for anything else in her life, because she is already tired and weary. We learn about how she ended up with a child, out of college, and left by her husband through time jumps. The first few are a bit jarring but I found that I quickly got used to it and the context. It is almost like just memories. It is so hard to see her jaded by former husband Brad who emotionally manipulated her and did quite a number to her self esteem. Girls like me when I was younger and Lex will believe what they are told by Brad and guys like him because they pray on our worst insecurities and fears about ourselves, so it is easy to believe coming from someone that we love and is supposed to, and maybe does love in their weird twisted sense. 
     The story is told in alternating points of view, with Jaron, a childhood friend and long time hater of Brad as the other starring character. Its told in third person pov, but I didn't find that to be a negative thing here and quickly got used to it. He is such a sweetie, but he hurt Lex even though he has been in love with her for forever. He comes back to town with his movie, pretty unwillingly. But once there, he and Lex and Owen are constantly running into each other, and he remembers why he fell for Lex and he also forms a bond with Owen which I think is what caused them to keep up continued interaction. Otherwise, I think that both would have been to afraid of being hurt again to keep up the dialogues and the hang out times. 
    Owen was such a sweet addition to the story. He had a real personality even though at times he is spot on for being three, other times he is written slightly unrealistically. He has too advanced conversations and understanding of art especially, and a talent that I am not sure is possible for kids (unless it is more advanced only from the eyes of Lex?) He brings humor and a sweet childlike wonder to the story without the emotional baggage, just wanting to be around his loving mother and the nice movie star who plays with him and gives him attention. 
    Towards the middle it slows down some and I still enjoyed but it didn't keep my attention like the beginning and end. I am not sure exactly what it was, because I really enjoyed the friends to falling in love, how slow they took it with Lex being so hurt by Brad and still learning to get on her own feet. The fact that Lex finds out about his feelings since high school she is also considerate that she doesn't want to give false hope, and she wants to rebuild the friendship aspect first, and then if the romantic feelings continue to follow from her, then that will make it better instead of only breaking a lifelong friendship. The fact that Jaron was so patient and understanding, especially once he realized the depth of the emotional abuse that Lex endured spoke volumes about the kind of guy he was. That partnered with his falling in love with Owen and the fun he has with the boy as well as learning to get through the harder aspects like the tantrums and the grunt work and is still willing to want to be in a relationship with Lex. 
    While there are a few mildly steamy moments, it is not as hot as other NA books that I have read, but there is a certain elegance to the way that she wrote it, as well as giving specific but not too gory details surrounding the emotional abuse. 
     I loved the way that Starstruck wrapped up, although I would certainly pick up another book about Lex and Jaron. Also, a few things that were mentioned made me think theres a possibility for a companion book with her best friend Maddie, and Jaron's agent, which would be cool. 

Bottom Line: Enjoyable romance about second chances with a slow burning relationship at the core.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Could you leave a job or school for a girl/boyfriend?
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Giveaway and Author Interview: The Recruit by Fiona Palmer

 The Recruit
The Recruit (MTG Agencies #1) by Fiona Palmer
From one of Australia’s Queens of Romance comes the debut in a brand new YA series about secrets, strengths, and what lies beneath the surface.
Jasmine Thomas may not be completely normal, but she’s a pretty typical seventeen-year-old girl. She hates the rich mean kids, loves her best friends, and can’t wait to get out of school each day. Her spare time is spent at The Ring — a boxing gym where she practically grew up — learning karate, boxing and street fighting. So, yeah, Jaz can kick some major butt.
Life seems pretty normal until the day Ryan Fletcher enters her gym…mysterious and hot with heaps of bad boy charm. Sure, she checks him out. Who wouldn’t? But what doesn’t show on his gorgeous abs are secrets and lies that dominate his very grown-up world. Now Jaz has to figure out just how far she is willing to go to know more. Could Ryan really be offering the life-fulfilling life path she’s always dreamed of?

interview with Blkosiner's Book Blog
--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
Feisty Jaz, recruited by agency. Action plenty and smouldering romance.

--How did you get the idea for the story?
With the help of a special friend and my own desires for a kick ass female character.
--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
Ryan, because he is divine and he might just save my life.
--If a fairy godmother told you could be put into the world of your favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
Vampire Academy, so maybe I can meet Dimitri.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote The Recruit?
Yes, I love listening to music, much how ‘The Eye of the Tiger’ inspires me to exercise. I listened to Pink, Paramore, Linkin Park, Ministry of Sound – Dance music, Karnivool…just to name a few.

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
Flying would be awesome. Especially as I live in the middle of nowhere and travelling/driving is something I do too much of!!

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
Watch movies and my favourite TV shows, and read. (all while eating chocolate)
--What is one thing you would tell your 15 year old self?
I’d give her tips on how to dress. I had no idea back then. It was all grunge mind you.

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?
Just that I hope you enjoy Jaz’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the readers, so thank you. xx
Lightning round: this or that?
Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate
Video or Board Games? both
Summer or Winter? Damn both again
Edward or Jacob? Edward
Salty or sweet? sweet
Beach or mountains? beach
Phone call or email? email
Early bird or night owl? Early bird
Dog or cat? Dog
Messy or neat? Neat
Ninjas or pirates? Pirates

Blkosiner's Book Blog Giveaway
-Fill out Rafflecopter to enter
-Ends on 5/24/2014 11:59 pm EST
-If you win a review on your blog and/or amazon is appreciated but not required.

*If, for whatever reason, the Rafflecopter widget does not appear, you can click on the link where it says rafflecopter giveaway and it will show up, sorry for the inconvenience.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Switching to Disqus

Update: Decided to go with Disqus--there were some issues with ID, and couldn't comment with IE. Hopefully this will work out. 

Tonight I am in the process of switching to Intense Debate! Please let me know if something is broken, or doesn't look right to you.
If you haven't already, you might want to create an account, I've found that easier and quicker for the sites that have it when I am commenting there, and I can get an email when a comment is replied to. So, I am hoping that lots of you like doing that too.

One of the main reasons I am switching is because I want to build up interaction here, and I know that I don't remember to check back on blogs I have commented on unless I get an email.

Feel free to let me know what works, if this is a good change for my readers or if you've had issues, or problems with commenting on intensedebate blogs.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting

The Taking (The Taking, #1)
The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting
A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.
When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.
Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.
Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?


Publishes in US: April 29th 2014 by HarperTeen
Genre: YA sci-fi
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Series? The Taking #1

Buy it: 
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble

Author stalk away: ~website
facebook twitter goodreads pinterest blogger email

    I wanted to read Kimberly Derting because I have heard a lot about her previous series but the whole necromancer thing wasn't for me. But when I heard about a memory loss and the mystery of how she lost five years but didn't age, it really intrigued me. I was lucky enough to be approved to review on netgalley. 
    I connected with Kyra right away because she just seemed like a normal person. Given, she is a great pitcher and I am not athletic but its like living that dream without actually doing it. She is arguing with her dad when she sees a bright light and then the next thing she knows she wakes and everyone else has aged five years and moved on, but she doesn't realize what happens. 
    There was a nice hint at romance in the beginning, but they are thrown for a loop when she is five years younger all of the sudden and he is in college... It is an awkward situation with her and Austin especially since they were friends forever and then romantic and living across the street she also knew his family. The romance that developed five years later was a surprise in some aspects because of who it was, but I loved how it developed. Their conversations, his romantic gestures--drawings, texts, convos, etc. 
    The world building was pretty good, and although I was still left with questions, it was something that Kyra didn't know or even her dad who had been doing research the whole time she was gone. I am hoping that the next books will give more enlightenment on what the purpose of the Takings are and the technicallities of who gets returned and who doesn't. I did like the slow unfolding of Kyra and how she'd changed. I appreciated how Tyler believed her and that he cared for her all the same. 
    There were some pretty big twists in this, but looking back it was foreshadowed all along. It was pretty heartbreaking but I guess also necessary, although I'll admit I was thinking that Kyra would play a bigger role, but it makes sense for continuing on that it happened the way it was written. 
     The ending left me wanting more and wishing that I already had the next book. It semi wrapped things up, but it still left at a pretty dramatic moment, though it did give me some hope and a bit of lasting power until I can get the next one.

Bottom Line: Great premise, main character with a sweet romance.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you ever experienced dejavu?
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