Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: Being Henry David by Cal Armistead (ARC)

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead
Albert Whitman & Company, 308 pages
Expected US Release Date: March 1, 2013
Format: print ARC / e-Galley
Source: DAC ARC Tours & author (thank you!)/NetGalley (thank you!)*
Challenges: Debut Author Challenge

Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything --who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or "Hank" and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.
------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
So even if your life is crap, you'll hold on to it just because it's familiar? I shake my head, but in truth, I get it.
In high school, I loved Henry David Thoreau. Not for Walden, though I didn't mind that book (I couldn't imagine living in the woods by yourself at the time - I was down for the peace and quiet, but woods? I can't even kill ants without freaking out.); no, I loved Henry because of this quote:

"Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!!"

The entirety of that quote is fabulous, but I remember sticking with that section because I so desperately wished my complicated, complex life could just be simple. (I was a dramatic teenager.)

So when I saw this book? I knew I had to read it. Walden-esque YA? Hell yeah. I'm in. And then when I read the synopsis, I was so intrigued! Who's Hank, and what did he do that he's running from and repressing the memories?

On the whole, this book lived up to what I'd put it to. There were a few things I didn't quite like, but generally, it was a fantastic, easy read with a great story to it.

The word I gave this book is satisfying, because it really is in both a good and bad way. There's a reason for everything in this book, and it's very satisfying how it works out and how it all comes together.  There's nothing forgotten, nothing left out, and it all makes sense. But at the same time, it's also satisfying because nothing is really unexpected, either. What I thought came true; nothing more and nothing less. Even though I enjoyed the read, I'm mostly ambivalent towards the book.

Something that surprised me was how sad the book is! I know going into it, obviously - Hank has done something so terrible he's repressed the memory and is now lost. But as you go on and get deeper into the story, everything you learn and the people you meet make you sad as well. Everyone's got a tragedy, and even though good does happen eventually, that feeling of heaviness stayed with me the entire time. Oddly, being sad kind of fit the mood for the entire book; but it was still a little strange for it to stick around the entire time.

What I did love? The history and story of Thoreau and other storytellers of his time! Especially Louisa May Alcott, since Little Women is the book that started me on my reading journey at the tender age of 4. (I was quite indignant when Hank couldn't quite remember what she wrote!) It's a lot of fun to get to travel with Hank as he lives a little bit of Thoreau and follows his path. The characters it brought about were also fantastically fun, and I loved getting to see what Thoreau meant to others.

Being Henry David can be simplified (see what I did there?) into three words: Boy Remembers Truth. And even though I did have my problems with it, I still want everyone to read it and know the truth, too.

3.5 Stars / 5

*I received a e-Galley from NetGalley, then found out I was selected to be on the DAC ARC Tour. When I left the book at home, I took my iPad and read off the e-galley; so my review is based on both!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Harper Teen Is Awesome Edition

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine
meant to highlight an upcoming release we're excited for!

Transparent by Natalie Whipple
Harper Teen, 352 Pages
Expected US Release Date: May 21, 2013

Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.
--------------------Goodreads summary

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Harper Teen, 320 Pages
Expected US Release Date: July 2, 2013

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company. 

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
-----------------------Goodreads summary

Pivot Point was a fantastic story, I can't wait to see what Kasie does with contemporary.
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Harper Teen, 352 Pages
Expected US Release Date: September 10, 2013

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.
---------------------------Goodreads summary

CLEOPATRA IN YA. That's all. (Also: THAT COVER. *drools*)

PS. Anyone know why I grouped all these books together? Virtual hug and a cookie if you do!

What book are you eagerly awaiting?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Top Ten Authors On My Auto-Buy List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fab ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Instant Read Authors
In no particular order...

1. Rachel Cohn 
Even though Beta was a bit of a disappointment, I still adore Rachel's writing.
2. Libba Bray 
Nobody can do a fantastic, gripping story like Libba.
3. David Levithan 
Because I swear he speaks directly to my heart.
4. John Green 
No explanation needed. We all know. (And if you don't, FIX THAT. QUICK.)
5. Curtis Sittenfeld 
Her writing is so subtle and strong.

6. Rainbow Rowell 
Relatable and emotional all in one. She's fantastic.
7. Jessi Kirby
A storyteller I'd listen to any day.
8. Kirsten Hubbard
Because Bria got me.
9. Hannah Harrington
She can write just the right amount of meaningful.
10. Gayle Forman

Honorable Mentions: Jandy Nelson, Marissa Meyer, Veronica Rossi, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins.

Which authors will you auto-read?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!

Early ARC Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby

Golden by Jessi Kirby
Simon & Schuster BYR, 288 pages
Expected US Release Date: May 14, 2013
Format: Bound Manuscript
Source: Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!
Challenges: Contemporary Challenge, SARC 2013

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost may be a distant relative of Robert Frost, but she has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a mystery in her lap—one that might be the key to uncovering the truth behind a town tragedy, she decides to take a chance.
--------------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
...It seems to me that the experiences that stay with you, the things you'll always remember, aren't the ones that you can force, or go looking for. I've always thought of those things as the ones that somehow find you.
This is my first one-sitting-read of the year, guys - it is THAT good. And even though I had approximately a million things to do (give or take a few thousand), I was like NOPE: I can't put this down. I HAVE TO KNOW.

I wasn't entirely sure what the book would be about going in, but I knew two things: 1) I loved In Honor by Jessi and will follow her writing to the ends of the earth; and 2) everyone I knew who had already read Golden told me I NEEDED to read it as soon as possible because I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

So after reading this, I LOVE LOVE LOVEd it, and I am even more dedicated to Jessi's writing. I adore it. She's got this fantastically real voice to all her characters, where you immediately feel like you know them and love them as though they've been with you your entire life. Her descriptions and the way she moves you through scenes is unreal. It's a captivating storytellers voice, in the most unassuming way. Readers will also love this for the sheer way it tells the story - it's so creative to be able to read the journal of someone else as it parallels to the main character, and is just one more way to connect with the characters and plot. 

I honestly wish I'd had this book when I was graduating high school, because I would have felt much less alone in the world. I wasn't a Valedictorian heading to Stanford, but I was one of the dedicated students who worked her ass off four 4 years for the goals and the future. And it is one of my bigger regrets in life that I didn't experience more in high school or bend the rules just a little bit more. When I was reading about Parker and her battle between finding more, living her one wild life versus hitting the books to make it through the home stretch, my heart was absolutely yearning for her. I know that feeling well, and it was a little bit uncomfortably close to the feelings I had in the past and still have today. This book reaches far into that feeling that you're missing out on something when you don't take leaps and chances, and even though sometimes it's scary to read about, it makes you fall in love with this story that much more.

Almost every reader I know has a fierce belief in love, fate, kismet, all those things that make us feel things; and the fierce need to know that they really do exist. So this book? It is going to yank at your heartstrings and make you hope with a heart filled to the brim. It will make you crumble, slowly, as you understand just why it's called Golden; and at the same time you will smile as you figure it out, too. There's a boy to fall in love with, a tragedy to find hope in, a mystery to get lost in, a roadtrip to follow along to, and a brilliant main character to find a new friend in. I want everything about this book, whole-heartedly.

Golden tells the wonderful story of a girl finding out how to really live a life in the midst of harsh realities and uplifting maybes. There's a best friend to make you smile, a love interest you'll quickly call your own, and, most importantly, the proof we need that fate is real, even if not in the ways we originally expect.

5 Stars
***This review reflects reading a Bound Manuscript, a very early copy of Golden.
Quotes and content may change in the final version.***

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Weekly Wrap-Up (23): Where has the time gone?!

I really don't understand where the time has gone. It's been over THREE weeks since I've done a wrap-up! Each week I always mean to, but then it just never happens. Weekends get busy, I got sick...time, man. Time.

A quick recap of what I've been doing/why the blog has been so quiet: came down with flu, had to attend a funeral of a beloved cousin, got a promotion at work (yay!) that has resulted in lots of overtime and extra hours (boo), a few friends had birthday celebrations, attended a few book events, and there may or may not be a new sort of crush in my life...but I don't want to dwell on that, because it just makes me get weird haha.

In case you missed it...

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Pivot Point by Kasie West
The Namesake by Steven Parlato
When We Wake by Karen Healey

Other Posts:
2013 Reading Challenges
February Reads (I'm taking on too much, as always.)
Waiting on Wednesday: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
Book Blast Excerpt: The Boys of Summer by CJ Duggan

Coming up...
A petite revue of Model Spy #1 by Shannon Greenland, regular reviews of Being Henry David by Cal Armistead and Butter by Erin Jade Lange, and a fantastic Waiting on Wednesday post. I'll also tackle the Tuesday list of my Auto-Buy authors!

Onto the books!
In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews
The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Keep in mind, this is the result of 3+ weeks, lots of ARC tours, and several book events for which I was prepping.

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson
Slammed by Colleen Hoover

For the Mind Games Launch, with Kasie West:
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Mind Games by Kiersten White

For the Pitch Dark Days event in HB:
Everbound by Brodi Ashton
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

via Damaris and Around the World ARC Tours. Thank you!
The Trouble With Flirting by Claire LaZebnik

via the amazing Erica at The Book Cellar - thank you!
Undercover by Beth Kephart
Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

via the always fantastic James at Book Chic Club - thank you!
Pulse by Patrick Carman
Goddess (Dreamcrossed #3) by Josephine Angelini
Towering by Alex Flinn
Stranded by Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts
Island Of Shadows by Erin Hunter
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

Reboot by Amy Tintera (!!!!), via Stephanie - thank you!
Wither by Lauren DeStefano, via Natasha - thank you!

For Review
Unremembered by Jessica Brody, via Publisher - thank you MacMillan!
 A complete surprise! My very first unsolicited ARC, and one of my most anticipated reads for 2013. Review to come soon, but suffice to say: it was fantastic!

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff, via Bibliopunkk - thank you!
Tons and tons of swag from YA Highway's Winter Giveaway! Thanks YA Highway!

ARC Tours
Pivot Point by Kasie West - Around the World ARC Tours
Canary by Rachele Alpine - Around the World ARC Tours
The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise - Around the World ARC Tours
Being Henry David by Cal Armistead - DAC ARC Tours
Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan - Around the World ARC Tours
Golden by Jessi Kirby - Around the World ARC Tours

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding - thank you Entangled Teen!
Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg - thank you Scholastic!

What books came into your possession this week?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: When We Wake by Karen Healey (ARC)

When We Wake by Karen Healey
Little, Brown BYR, 304 Pages
Expected US Release Date: March 5, 2013
Format: ARC
Source: Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!

My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy.

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027--she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies--and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity--even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn't all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?

Award-winning author Karen Healey has created a haunting, cautionary tale of an inspiring protagonist living in a not-so-distant future that could easily be our own.
-------Goodreads Summary
Notable Quote creeped me out, and I was worried about what they might do to persuade me, but I was much less concerned about a weirdo cult that expressly didn't want to kill me than I was about a powerful government that possibly did.
You've got to have priorities.
I'm not sure how I didn't realize this would be a sorta-political novel, especially after rereading that summary, but there it is: be prepared for a lot of enviro-speak and politics-based battles and things of that sort. It's not heavy, nor is it a lot to trudge through. In fact, it's actually all pretty fascinating and worked really well into the plot! But it's there, and it was a bit of a surprise for me. I'm actually glad I didn't realize it, because I'm usually really closed off to talk about politics, religion, you know--issues. I've got crazy avoidance tendencies when it comes to those, and I would have missed out on a fantastic novel if I'd fully grasped what was going on!

Something that also took me by surprise was how much fun I had while reading this. The humor here is fantastic - a bit dry, a bit deprecating, a bit sarcastic, but done so well that I was kind of enjoying watching Tegan and Bethari and Joph and Abdi struggle. It takes a pretty decent writer to make me have fun when I'm feeling so many things and stressing so hard about the characters!

I'm a little iffy on all the futuristic elements - mainly, the language. I enjoyed it all, don't get me wrong - and I think this is probably one of the best I've read in terms of likelihood and consistency - but I'm always a little hung up on those things. I start to consider if "ONTD" will really become a slang noun of the future, and before I know it I'm completely distracted or insisting that it's not going to happen. There are a few in When We Wake that I highly doubt would exist, and distracted me a bit, but I enjoyed a lot of others! Given more time, I might try to work a few of the words into my vocabulary (I totally use "frexing," fellow ATU fans!).

My favourite part of the novel has to be the characters - each one is so distinct and has such personality, I really loved them all. I updated my Goodreads status completely in support of Tegan once, because she's got great attitude (and by attitude, I actually mean attitude. Not a good outlook!) and I love how she's got uncontrollable rage going. She's not mean or out of sorts or obnoxious - she's angry and emotional and completely justified in all of it. I really loved Bethari and Joph, though I will tell you Beth was my favies because she's a journalist and I am totally her. There was one specific passage where I had to laugh because it's completely me when I'm trying to dig for info or get answers to questions that have been plaguing me. It was also a little crazy how quickly I came to care for Marie, she was such a fantastic mother figure to Tegan to the very end. Abdi took awhile to grow on me, and he still feels to be the most "typical" of characters. His character arc is pretty easy to guess, and there were no surprises with him. Not to say I didn't like him - I'd still hug Abdi in the dark any day - but all the others were so stellar, so he kind of fell to the background.

And ok - the ending. I can't...I mean. It's not the craziest ending there ever was, but it was still a bit cliffhanger-y and heart stopping! The structure of the novel itself was a lot of fun, how it's Tegan telling her story to us; and I loved when we found out exactly why she is. It ties everything together so well and makes so much sense. But then the end, when...I can't say, of course, but damnit where is Book 2 when I need it?! (THERE IS A BOOK 2, RIGHT?!)

Best surprise ever with this book? Every chapter title is a Beatles song, and I loved that. They were all so relevant to the content, and it was like a fun little soundtrack since I would get the song stuck in my head the moment I read the title!

4.5 Stars / 5

Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: The Namesake by Steven Parlato (ARC)

The Namesake by Steven Parlato
Merit Press, 256 pages
US Release Date: January 18, 2013
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, for review - thank you Leyane and Merit!

While he may be the smartest boy at St. Sebatian's Academy, Evan has no idea why the father he's named for committed suicide. A searching story of a boy's too-early coming of age

The Namesake begins when Evan is asked to "write about what he knows" for college essays, by teachers sure that such a gifted artist will get a full scholarship. What Evan knows is not as much as what he doesn't know, however. He doesn't know why his father chose to hang himself on Easter morning while he and his mother were at church, and what the secrets of a small town can tell him about his father . . . and himself. Hoping to finally uncover the truth, Evan and his best friend, Alexis, dig into the town's past only to discover it's dark roots . . . and that some secrets are best kept hidden.
-------------------summary provided by the Publisher
Notable Quote
Sorrow is cumulative.
The Namesake was another one of those books that took me surprise - and I'm still in debates about if it was ultimately a good thing or not. I suppose I could have connected some of the dots underlying the summary, but I don't think I would be the only one not to put it together earlier.

I'm not going to say it outright, but the truth of what is going was a tough subject to read about, simply because it's one of those things that you feel is never really real. It's on the news all the time (unfortunately), but that's all it is: news stories. They're so horrific and evil that your brain refuses to accept them as true, even though you know deep down they are. So to read about it was a bit...horrific, too. Right in the middle I started to wonder if I should really continue, but I'm glad I did.

Once I did figure out what happened to Evan's father (which was pretty early on), I actually became much more frustrated with Evan because he was so slow on the uptake. There were so many obvious moments after that, and I just wanted to shove Evan and tell him to get there faster. It was excruciating slogging through random dream sequences or weird hallucination-like daydreams just to get to the point, and I definitely skimmed some of those pages. Even though it's already a small page count, it felt too long for the plot. Though of course, do know that I read an ARC and I'm sure there are definite changes in the final version that more than likely alleviate this issue!

The story itself is rather gripping, especially once Evan discovers the journal and you're allowed to read the father's own words. The mystery is wrapped up fairly well, and though once it begins to take shape you immediately know, it's still pretty brilliant the way it's mapped out and the sequence of reveals. There was one little part to the storyline that I thought was a bit unnecessary, but it's thankfully a small portion - and the characters it brought about were so fantastic that I didn't mind it too much.

One of the best things about this novel were the secondary characters. Each of them were so clear and unique - especially Zio Joe and the Italian family - that I thoroughly enjoyed every time there were scenes with them. Alexis was a little over the top, but she balanced out Evan well and offered a great comic relief to very heavy issues. And even though I can't stand Father Fran...he's crafted well. Too well, because it makes me see red just to see his name again!

The tone of the novel is an interesting part for me - most of the time, I loved it. Evan's got this great defeatist humor that mixes really well with his curiosity and cynicism, and it paints a picture very well. But there are small moments where it didn't fit well with the content of the book, where it didn't quite fit with a scene or a feeling. And I know you can't shift tones in a book, but somehow I think a better balance could have been achieved. Still, a good 80% of the novel has a great take on the events and I found myself enjoying it.

I'm having a hard time wrapping up the review, mostly because I'm still a little lost how I feel about the whole book. There are certainly parts I really loved, ones that made it worthwhile to read this - I don't regret picking it up, and I do think there are a lot of appeals to it. But for me personally, there were so may tiny misses, too - and I can't ignore those, either.

2.5 Stars

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Boys of Summer by CJ Duggan - EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY!

The Boys of Summer by C.J. Duggan (Summer Series, #1)
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication date: December 17th 2012

It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘Onslow Boys’. Every time they swaggered in the front door of the Onslow Hotel after a hard week’s work, their laughter was loud and genuine as they settled onto their bar stools. I peeked through the restaurant partition, a flimsy divider between my world and theirs. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw them, saw him ... Toby Morrison.

Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins. To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets.

How did she let her friends talk her into working?

After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer of working expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos.

All with the one boy she has never been able to forget.

It will be a summer she will always remember.

Warning: sexual references, and occasional course language.
-----------------------Summary provided

Purchase The Boys of Summer here!
Barnes & Noble | Amazon (ebook) | Amazon (paperback) | iTunes
Moon rays filtered through the windshield, giving the cabin an otherworldly glow.

Toby’s perfect teeth were illuminated when he smiled. “You know, you are the worst winner!” He shook his head. “Ever since you won the bet, you’ve been apologising. Just go with it, enjoy it, because I assure you, next time …” - he leaned closer - “… you will not be the winner.” He pulled back, smug.

I curved a brow. “Next time?”

He nodded. “I fully intend to redeem myself.”

“Want a chance to rebuild your shattered ego, do you? I bet you’re itching to fix my bike so you can be rid of me once and for all.” I shouldered him gently, teasing him as I would Adam. And then I realised what I had done; I had treated him like my friends. He looked down at his shoulder, then up at me. His eyes shadowed with untold meanings that I couldn’t read.

“What if I didn’t want to fix your bike?” he said in all seriousness.

“Why, is my company so stimulating that you can’t bear the thought of being without me?” I teased nervously.

I was aiming for light and airy, but something must have gone wrong with my delivery because Toby’s face went blank. He looked out into the lights of Onslow, ran his tongue over his bottom lip and sighed.
Author Bio
C.J Duggan is an Australian author who lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia.
The Boys of Summer is Book One in her Mature Young Adult Romance Series.
For more on C.J and ‘The Summer Series’, visit

Reach out to CJ!
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

They are generously offering a grand prize to you!
1 Signed Paperback of The Boys of Summer
and 5 signed bookmarks for 5 winners! 
Enter through the rafflecopter below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This book blitz is a part of the Xpresso Book Tours!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine
meant to highlight an upcoming release we're excited for!

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
Katherine Tegan Books, 400 pages
Expected US Release Date: May 28, 2013

Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:
1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:
1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.
---------------------------Goodreads summary

First of all, I'm pretty much guaranteed to like any book whose summary is in list form. I love lists. Who doesn't like them?! But also, this book sounds brilliant and I hear NOTHING but good things. The moment I saw the book during the Tea Time chat with the brilliant Epic Reads ladies two weeks ago, I knew I wanted to read it - and all I hear are fabulous things about it. It's top of my list now, and I am DYING to get my hands on it.

(Which also means, if anyone has it and wants to loan or trade me - please do!)

What book are you eagerly awaiting?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West (ARC)

Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West
HarperTeen, 320 Pages
Expected US Release Date: February 12, 2013
Format: Print ARC
Source: Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!
Challenges: Debut Author Challenge

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.
----------------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
He shrugs. "Doesn't help to waste my time thinking about would've-beens."
Laila whispers, "He says to the girl with a mind full of them."
If you had the opportunity to see the outcomes of a choice, would you? Would you knowingly see what would happen on either side to make your decision? I'm not sure I would, to be honest. It'd be tempting, and I might do it once or twice - but I think it's a dangerous thing to know. How can you knowingly choose something over another? If it were a simple decision, it'd be easier to live with, of course - but if it were a decision like Addison's? I'm not sure I'd have the strength for it.

I loved Pivot Point so much, you guys. It's a fantastic concept with just the right amount of tension and worry and swoonage. The world of the Paranormals is so much fun to learn about, and I love that it's one that co-exists in a Normal world - not a true Dystopian, but one that's like a hidden society (that I would TOTALLY love to be a part of! I want an Ability!). It's a little bit paranormal with a little thriller, a little science fiction, and the best part to me? Totally reads like a contemporary!

Something I was a little iffy on was the idea of Addison's parents getting a divorce - I know it has to happen to make her Search her futures and see what would happen depending on who she opts to live with, but it felt like such a flimsy reason and a little too device-y for me. It's one of those plot elements that's necessary, but I personally resent them because they're forced and make me feel like I'm being manipulated to believe it. Especially since it's such a small portion of the novel anyway; it's the catalyst, but most of the pages are dedicated to each of her futures. The divorce hardly gets revisited, and while I don't want to dwell on that part or turn Pivot Point into some emo novel, I was definitely expecting it to be a larger part.

But that's a small annoyance, and I only had 2! The other is that the conclusion comes pretty fast. I read 300+ pages, for it to be done in what felt like 5. There is the set up for more (as this is part of a series, it makes sense), but it's quick and I seriously feel like if you blink too fast, you're going to miss the end to this. Which I suppose is fine, but it messed with my pacing for just a brief few moments.

Other than that? I LOVE THIS BOOK. I had no idea how much I would love it! It's fascinating getting to see Addie's life in the Norm world trying to assimilate versus her life staying in the Compound and getting to have a life using Abilities and being surrounded by people with abilities. And while I of course had my favourite path, I enjoyed both extraordinarily. The entire plot concept is so clever, because I definitely went into reading this wondering if I'm just going to read two versions of this girl's life, she'll figure out which one is ultimately better (sure, there'd be heartache, but it'd be worth it in the with her upstanding and humane decision), and then we move along. But it is SO SO much more, and I loved that moment where it clicked that these two futures are irrevocably tied together. Especially when one starts to influence how you see the other; Kasie's writing is fabulous and works so well making you heart leap between the two Futures.

How could I possibly do this without chatting about the boys?! Duke, the asshole douche with a heart that you can't help but love; and Trevor, the quiet cowboy with a solid stance and secret behind his eyes. It was never a question which one I prefer (I don't really do cowboys but there is absolutely ZERO way to resist Trevor), but I have to say I was surprised how much I liked Duke, too. He's so typical and charming and you want to hate him, but he's perfectly the character you can't help but laugh at. We all have those boys in real life, and Kasie does him wonderfully to make him real, too. There was a brief, flickering moment where I thought "Oh no, do I like Duke more?!"....but then I read the Norm future with Trevor and was like "Nope. Not a question. Nope nope nope." I usually scoff at readers who "claim" characters and say this boy is hers or that boy is hers for keeps - but omg, I CLAIM TREVOR.

Wow. That got ugly.

Pivot Point is a fantastically tense novel, with tons of characters to love, situations to agonize over, and decisions to make. You will feel every bit of anxiety and pressure Addison does, just as you will come to understand how impossible the decision is to make. You will love it, I assure you.

4.5 Stars / 5
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