Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti + swag pack (US only)

Welcome to the Spring Fling Giveaway Hop!
hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Eve's Fan Garden

For this hop, ONE (1) lucky winner will get
a hardcover Illuminate by Aimee Agresti + swag pack!
US only, ends May 7!
Enter through the rafflecopter below, and all my usual giveaway policy rules apply.
Make sure to check out the rest of the linky list, there are some great prizes!
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Words/Topics That Get An Instant Reaction

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

Top Ten Seven Words/Topics
That Instantly Sell Me

Top Three Words/Topics
That I Will Instantly Pass Up

Which words get a reaction from you?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

[Blog Tour] Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins - Interview + Giveaway!

Today I have the extreme honor of having Karen Ann Hopkins back on my blog to discuss the second book in her contemporary romance series as the kickoff to her Blog Tour! I interviewed her shortly after Temptation released (read it here!), and I am so, SO excited to have her back for the release of Belonging, book 2! 
About Belonging, Book 2 in the series.
I left everything I knew behind. 

But it was worth it. He was worth it. 

No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren't even allowed to see each other. Not until I've proven myself. 

If I can find a way to make it work, we'll be NOAH & ROSE

together forever. 

But not everybody believes this is where I belong.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
What were the challenges you faced writing a sequel/continuing story? 
Overall, writing Belonging was easier than Temptation for me. The characters and setting were already well developed and I was able to jump right into the Meadowview world. The only part that gave me some difficulty was the ending. It was as if Rose and Noah were going in a certain direction, regardless of my feelings on it.

Do you feel your writing changed between books?
Yes, it definitely became grittier. Everyone thinks that the Amish world is cozy and ideal, but as with all societies, there is a darker side, which I explored in Belonging more than I did in Temptation.

What did you learn from Book 1 that influenced how you wrote/approached Book 2? 
Because Temptation was my first published work, I learned much from my editors while going through the process. I was able to take that knowledge and streamline Belonging from the beginning. I had a better feel for what the publisher wanted from the novel straight off.

Book 2 is much more about Rose living amongst the Amish and their lifestyle – how were you able to research?
I’ve been completely immersed in the Amish community I live in for the past five years. Amish teens ride at my riding stable and babysit my children. Local teens come to my home on a regular basis to hang-out with my kids or do chores around the farm. I drive Amish families to town and have spent vacations with them. I’ve attended five Amish weddings and numerous benefit dinners, auctions, school activities and get-togethers. I’m writing the Temptation series strictly from my own experiential knowledge.

If Rose could choose a song as her favourite for Book 2, what would it be? 

If Noah could choose a song as his favourite for Book 2, what would it be?
Mumford and Sons~ I Will Wait.

I really love Rose’s brothers and the part they play in her life. Are they based off anyone you know?
Being a horse-back riding instructor, 4H coach and mother of five, I’ve observed interactions between siblings for many years. I drew from those observations to create the family dynamics within the story.

I know it’s a futile question, but I have to ask: any details you can give us on Book 3 yet? I’m dying to know how it will end!
I just recently finished book three, which will be titled, FOREVER. (Ashley's note: !!!!!!)  I can tell you that there will be some dramatic surprises and more tears shed before the end…but Rose and Noah will definitely have closure.

Flash answer section!
Music or quiet? Although I love music any other time, I prefer writing in silence.
Series or Stand-alones? I enjoy writing and reading a series. It gives more time for development of the story and characters. Plus, when you love a book, you don’t want it to end!
Pen or pencil? Pen.
Washing dishes or doing laundry? I hate both. Can cleaning a horse’s stall be added to the list?
Lunch or dinner? Lunch.
Early bird or night owl? Night owl.

And as I always end my interviews now…
Last 3 items purchased? A new skillet, a pair of work boots and 50 bales of hay.
Last 3 websites visited? Chicken hatcheries in northern Kentucky, greater Cincinnati weather and movie show-times for the local cinema.
Last 3 books read? I’m still working on George R. R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, field notes about the Lions of Tsavo, and Emily McKay’s, The Farm. 

How awesome is Karen? She's one of my favourite people to have here. 
And now you can win a signed copy of Belonging!
US/CAN only, ends 5/13
Thanks to the generosity of Karen and Harlequin :)
Please read my giveaway policy here before entering.
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About Temptation, Book 1 of the series.
Your heart misleads you.
That's what my friends and family say.

But I love Noah.
And he loves me.

We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other's arms.

It should be
forever, easy.

But it won't be.

Because he's Amish.
And I'm not.

Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
About the Author
A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.
Blog | Facebook | Goodreads
There's some great stuff coming up on the tour, so make sure to follow it!
Monday, April 22th - Ashley Loves Books
Tuesday, April 23th -  A Little Shelf of Heaven
Wednesday, April 24th - One Day YA
Thursday, April 25th - Fic Talk
Friday, April 26th - Bittersweet Enchantment 

Monday, April 29th - Reader Girls
Tuesday, April 30th - Bumbles and Fairy Tales
Wednesday, May 1st - The YA Bookworm
Thursday, May 2nd - The Book Heist 
Friday, May 3rd -  Page Turners

Monday, May 6th -  Books Complete Me 
Tuesday, May 7th -  Bookish Escape
Wednesday, May 8th - Book Sp(l)ot Reviews
Thursday, May 9th - Irish Banana
Friday, May 10th - The Cozy Reader

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: All I Need by Susane Colasanti (ARC)

All I Need by Susane Colasanti
Viking Juvenile (an imprint of Penguin), 224 Pages
Expected US Release Date: May 16, 2013 (according to the ARC)
Format/Source: Print ARC, via Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!
Challenges: Contemporary Challenge, SARC

The last night of summer is only the beginning.

Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did—and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?

Teen favorite Susane Colasanti returns to the alternating-voice style of her beloved debut When It Happens in this Serendipity-inspired story about summer, soul mates, and the moments that change our lives forever.
----------------Goodreads summary
Notable Quote
Following your heart means allowing the possibility of finding true love to be stronger than the fear of rejection.
Before I even jump into any of this review, I feel the need to disclose something: I don’t believe in soulmates. I’ve had varying reactions to this when people find out. Some people are just like “ok, that’s cool” and move on; others share my sentiments; and I’ve had a few that are straight up offended, like I’ve just insulted their very core belief. And maybe I have, I’m not in any position to say soulmates shouldn’t be the basis of your life. I don’t say this opinion lightly, and I’ve thought about it long and hard. I’m not some jilted, heart-broken mess of a girl who’s saying it because she’s convinced she’ll never find her love. I just genuinely do not believe in there being The One for someone.

So with that in mind, you can probably tell that I had a hard time swallowing All I Need. Usually I’m pretty good about suspending that belief when it comes to reading, but for some reason it was difficult this time around. I do think a little of my 26-year-old cynicism was playing a part, since I found it most hard to handle when Skye was all “but I know we’re meant to be together, we can face anything” or things like that.

Perhaps that’s also because I was bothered by Skye as a whole. She seemed very young, much younger than a junior/senior in high school. I thought she was spineless and needed to handle her best friends’ issues a little better. And I think my biggest issue is that I felt like she couldn’t stand on her own – she had to have Seth to be her own person. I get that that is what it’s like in high school and first loves, but it was quite annoying. I want a character that can stand on her own, that finds her way into being an individual, a character I can want my little cousins to look up to; and unfortunately, Skye was not it.

However, I did quite like Seth! He too seemed a little young for being a college guy, but I could handle him better.  I thought he had real issues, and maybe it’s because I went through college much more recently than high school (obviously), I was able to sympathise with him more. Especially when it came to being uncertain about his major and following his passion for art.

Let’s talk writing. We all know I love me some dual narratives (do you know that? Because you should. Give me a dual narrative any day of the week and I will be a happy reader.), and I quite liked it here, too. The jumping timeline was a little startling at first, and I started getting a little iffy about all the fast-forwards, but it’s fine. I really liked getting the reactions of both Skye and Seth when important things happened. This story would not have been bearable without them.

However! I had problems with the writing itself—it felt so young, so very juvenile fiction. And I tried to read it with that mindset, except the content was not juvenile – it was about college and gross roommates and sex! It was a terrible mash up for the writing not matching the content, and I couldn’t take it.  I want to recommend this for the younger set, as maybe a great bridge to the YA world from MG, because it would be! Except I’d have to censor a few of the chapters, because it was definitely not just-past-MG material.

All I Need was a fine contemporary, and one I don’t really regret reading – but it had too many issues for me to recommend it. I really like Susane Colasanti’s books, but I’d definitely go for Keep Holding On or When It Happens over All I Need.
2.5 Stars

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin's Griffin, 416 Pages
Expected US Release Date: September 10, 2013

In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? Open her heart to someone?

Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction?
----------------------------Goodreads summary
Have I made it clear yet how much I fucking LOVE Rainbow Rowell? Because you can see it here in my review of Eleanor & Park, and how she's one of my insta-read authors, and you will in my upcoming review of Attachments, her phenomenal adult novel...basically, I am Rainbow's fan girl FOREVER. (Ya see how I worked that in?!) This sounds like a fantastically cute and meaningful novel about becoming your own person, and I am so, SO excited to see what Rainbow Rowell does with it. Can I seriously just have a copy now?!

(Also, how cute is that cover? She always has the best covers. Love love love.)

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

Review: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer (ARC)

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer
Balzar + Bray, 320 Pages
Expected US Release Date: April 23, 2013
Format: Print ARC
Source: Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!
Challenges: Standalone Challenge, Contemporary Challenge

From Sarah Strohmeyer, author of Smart Girls Get What They Want, comes this romantic comedy about one girl's summer job from hell. Think The Devil Wears Prada set in Disney World.

When cousins Zoe and Jess land summer internships at the Fairyland Kingdom theme park, they are sure they've hit the jackpot. With perks like hot Abercrombie-like Prince Charmings and a chance to win the coveted $25,000 Dream & Do grant, what more could a girl want?

Once Zoe arrives, however, she's assigned to serve "The Queen"-Fairyland's boss from hell. From spoon-feeding her evil lapdog caviar, to fetching midnight sleeping tonics, Zoe fears she might not have what it takes to survive the summer, much less win the money.

Soon backstabbing interns, a runaway Cinderella, and cutthroat competition make Zoe's job more like a nightmare than a fairy tale. What will happen when Zoe is forced to choose between serving The Queen and saving the prince of her dreams?
------------------------------Goodreads summary
Notable Quote
"The heart is a clever trickster that delights in playing the brain for a fool."

Here’s my pitch for How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True: if you have ever wanted a teenage version of The Devil Wears Prada, this is it. There’s a fantastic “villain” (who is more than she seems), a struggling MC that you root for (who is more than she seems), and a cute boy standing alongside silently supporting (who is also more than he seems). There’s a best friend you want as your friend, a few evil characters you love to hate, and a great little story that makes you laugh – and of course, they’re all more than they really seem. In the best way.

The premise of How Zoe has to be one of the most fun I’ve ever run into, and also one of the ones I want to say I absolutely wish I was a part of! How much fun would it be to live with a bunch of other interns at an adventure park?! I mean, I know it’s quite dorm-like, but that would be awesome. All day dancing and entertaining, then spending the off-hours hanging out with friends. Sure, I know it’s all hard work and not all of it will be funtimes, but hey – it has to be more fun than not! Especially if it were Disneyland.

But Disneyland this is not, because Fairyland and its older Storytown history were fantastically made on their own. I’m a HUGE Disney advocate (I had an annual pass for 5+ years!), and if there’s anything I can appreciate, it’s a fantastic theme park that lets you find your inner child. Even though How Zoe was a lot of the underbelly to a theme park, I could still find the fun in it and really get lost in all the hullaballoo. Especially that parade!

I really liked the characters in this book. None of them were favourites or too stand-out, but they’re all solidly lovable. There’s some good in all of them, a little bad in all of them, and real heart everywhere. Each is painted so clearly. Zoe is a great main character, with that quiet eagerness every reader can find themselves in. Jess is the best friend you always wanted: loyal, sweet and with her own little seal. Ian and Dash are fantastic boys, especially since you can’t really tell who you should love - at least, I couldn’t! I had my ideas, and of course I had my choice, but there was enough to make me doubt consistently until the end.

Speaking of the end, that was probably my only real problem with this book. And it’s not even really a problem! It’s just that it kind of feels like a cop-out, even though it makes complete sense and there’s really no other way I would want it to end. Still, there was just a little nagging thought at the back of my head that was like “Oh. Ok, I guess.”

But the best part? All the little touches and details. Like how they refer to that park as the Mouse, the ridiculous requests of the Queen, how the initials for Her Royal Majesty was just a little more, the fun little nicknames of each one…they’re small parts, but they’re great and together it all comes together to make the book that much better.

If you ever want a light, fun and totally worthwhile read, turn to Sarah Strohmeyer. Last year when I read Smart Girls Get What They Want, I was pleasantly surprised at how strong and brilliant it was. There were facets to the characters I never expected, and it made me fall in love with the book and the writing. While I don’t think How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True is as strong, it is undeniable that Sarah Strohmeyer has a real talent for fun contemporaries.

4 Stars

Monday, April 15, 2013

Signed (& maybe even personalized!) Book Giveaway Hop (US)

Welcome to the Signed Books Giveaway Hop!
hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Wholly Books

For this hop, ONE (1) lucky winner will get ONE (1) book!
So which book?
The Spring into the Future Tour is stopping by my town on the 25th,  and YOU get to reap the reward!
Basically, the winner of this hop can choose one YA* book by any of these authors! And if I can get my shit together and get a response from the winner in time, I will also get your book personalized! I can't guarantee that since it depends too much on me being able to choose a winner, email them, and get a choice/response by the 25th, but I do swear to try my hardest.

So which books can the winner choose from? Any one of the following:
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi
Unravel Me by Tahareh Mafi
Eve by Anna Carey
Once by Anna Carey
Rise by Anna Carey
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Not these specific books - these are mine. But I will get one copy of any you like!

US only, ends April 22!
Enter through the rafflecopter below, and all my usual giveaway policy rules apply.
Make sure to check out the rest of the linky list, there are some great prizes!
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*if you noticed this asterisk, good job! It has to be a YA book because I cannot guarantee Mysterious Galaxy to have any of the authors' MG, adult, or Photo books. Sorry!

ARC Review: The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston (ARC)

The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston
Disney Hyperion, 320 Pages
Expected US Release Date: May 14, 2013
Format: ARC
Source: Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!
Challenges: Debut Author Challenge, Contemporary Challenge, SARC

She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.
-----------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
I spend the next two placements being a total bitch to every boy who showed any interest in me. I never wanted to feel guilty for deserting someone who cared about me like that again.
Funnily enough, when I started doing my usual after-reading bullet point list of things I remembered/noted/wanted to talk about in my review, almost everything that came out was a negative. I'm not even exaggerating when I tell you of the 7 bullet points I have, 5 are quite bad. And the positive ones are more like back-handed compliments than anything. And after alllll that, what do I write?
"Definite room for a sequel, and I would read that in a heartbeat."

How is this possible?! Oh books, how you toy with me.

When I first read about this book, I wasn't sure if I wanted to give it a shot. I mean, the premise is definitely intriguing, and there are so many ways a YA book dealing with witness protection could go! But at the same time, there are SO many ways this book could go, and I had serious doubts that any of those ways would be very appealing to me. And even though I apparently had complaints, I'm really glad I ignored my doubts on this!

The plot of the novel was interesting in that it wasn't quite what I was expecting, but wasn't completely from left field, either - it was perfectly plausible and, while not at all relatable to me, one I could still feel for the characters. I did think it was a little lacking in the action and tension; in the situations they all found themselves in, there could have definitely been a little more variation. A lot of it felt like the same kind (someone's behind me, someone's watching, someone's there, etc) - and there was opportunity for so much more here! Especially the end, where it all seemed to end abruptly in a 2-page explanation. (Ok, that's a bit of hyperbole, but you get my point.)

I was also a little annoyed with Meg. I get that she's struggling, she's got a tough time trying to take care of her sister and deal with an increasingly distant family, but some of the decisions she made were so stupid I wanted to reach through the pages and shake her. She had so much disrespect for the program, and while some of it is justifiable, a majority of it was ridiculous. Plus, after so many relocations, I thought she'd at least learn something from them! Alas, I was wrong.

The secondary characters were a toss up for me as well. I couldn't stand Emma and Ben - I found their personalities very lackluster and device-y to me. I hate characters who have obvious parts in stories, and that was definitely them. I also felt the mom was a bit of a weird storyline. I understand how her part was necessary and even likely given the predicament, but I felt it took the tragedy of the story just a little too far. At the same time, I love love LOVED Teeny and Pearl. They were such vivacious characters with colours behind them, and I almost wish I hadn't loved them so much because I started comparing everyone else to them. If the author can write such brilliant characters like them, why couldn't the rest of them be the same way?! It was frustrating, but I just wanted to hang out with Teeny and Pearl in the back of the pizza kitchen and chatter away with them. Laura and Elle were also characters I found myself liking, even though their part was small and, in my opinion, a bit overdramatic. There was a lot of secrecy as to why Anna felt betrayed by them, and I felt the hype was a little more than the reveal. Still, I like them, and I'm glad how they end up.

One of my favourite things about this novel was so small and seemingly unimportant that it's probably a bit weird, but I can't help it: Anna remembers all her relocations and all the identities she and her sister went through, and I loved that. It really brought a human side out of her, really helped me feel for her and how lost she must feel given all these different lies and lives she has to go along with. Especially the scene where she's going through them with Ethan - somehow, it really touched me, and quite honestly may be the entire reason I ended up feeling positive about this book!

While The Rules For Disappearing had several misses for me (obviously), I can't help but endorse the book! It was interesting and different from most of the books out there right now, and a pretty fresh take on mystery and intrigue in YA.

3.5 Stars

Friday, April 12, 2013

[Une Petite Revue] Butter by Erin Jade Lange (ARC)

Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Bloomsbury Children, 316 Pages
US Release Date: September 4, 2012
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher, via NetGalley (thank you!)

A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans? With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself.
-----------------Goodreads summary

The Goods
Surprisingly emotional. You come to care for Butter and what he's going through.
Love the saxophone element.
The family. They're not perfect, but...there's one scene with the dad that got me.

The Bads
Minorly predictable? I mean...well, no spoilers. But it is. In a way.
Sometimes Butter was just that bitter fat kid, and pretty unlikeable.

The Consensus
A compelling read about so much more than being the fat kid; it's about friendship, and learning to love not only yourself but those around you in any capacity.

The Recommendation
For anyone who feels outside the normal.

4 Stars / 5

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review: How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler (ARC)

How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler
Sourcebooks, 320 Pages
Expected US Release Date: April 23, 2013
Format/Source: Print ARC from Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!
Challenges: SARC, Contemporary Challenge

There are a few things Grace Anderson knows for sure. One is that nothing will ever come between her and her best friend, Kya Kessler. They have a pact. Buds Before Studs. Sisters Before Misters. But in the summer before senior year, life throws out challenges they never expected. And suddenly the person who's always been there starts to need the favor returned. Grace and Kya are forced to question how much a best friend can forgive. And the answer is not what they expected.
----------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
He didn't understand that sometimes circumstances could sprout up a lot of grey. Bad things sometimes tarnished people's souls. Kya had stains. There were some things she couldn't get over. It wasn't always black and white.

Janet Gurtler is one of those YA authors I’ve heard tons about since she has so many books that people I know love, but I’ve never read anything by her! When I had the chance to read How I Lost You, I was really excited heading in – it sounded like a fantastic contemporary, and I couldn’t wait to be introduced to her writing. And now, after? Even though I had a few problems with How I Lost You, I totally get why so many people love her books and I can’t wait to read the rest!

How I Lost You was a strange read for me because even though I can’t connect to any situation at all that Kya and Grace were going through, I totally relate to the emotions and fears that were there. Most readers know what it’s like to make excuses for a friend, to cling to what you were and know you can be even though what you are doesn’t quite measure up. Every instance of friendship and all the struggles in this book were so real, it almost hurt me to see it right there.

In terms of the characters though, I have to say that I really couldn’t stand Kya. I thought she was a terrible person, a terrible friend, and while I know she’s supposed to be, there was absolutely nothing redeeming about her that made me feel an ounce of sympathy. But what I couldn’t stand with Kya, I really loved in Levi! He wasn’t the typical male jock/tough guy out there. He wasn’t wussy or stereotypically sensitive, but there were soft sides to him that really rounded out a fresh character. He was outspoken but still shy, a personality all on his own.

An element I was totally surprised by was James, the third best friend! When you read the synopsis, there’s not an inlking of him existing to Kya and Grace – but I’m really glad he did. It was a bit odd since he didn’t quite fit into their whole “Buds Before Studs” mentality, but I liked the history he gave them. And even though I do think he had a bit of an obvious, formulaic purpose, I still thought he was a great character and much more the friend that Grace deserved.

I have to say, I was surprised at how detailed Janet Gurtler’s writing was! She writes scenes down to the detail, saying line-by-line what is happening. Sometimes it was awesome and really let me feel like I was there in the scene (like at the big dinner); and sometimes it was just too much and all I could think was how little I cared to read about them going through their paintball gear in the trunk. Still, it was interesting, and overall I quite liked that.

Even though there were quite a few elements to How I Lost You that I didn’t quite like, how much I could really feel the story spoke volumes to me. There’s an honesty and a realness that made this completely worthwhile.

3.5 Stars

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: the STAR cover love edition*

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

Across A Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars #2) by Diana Peterfreund
Balzar + Bray (an imprint of HarperTeen), 464 Pages
Expected US Release Date: October 15, 2013

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.
-----------------------------Goodreads summary

Did you read my review of For Darkness Shows the Stars (if you haven't, you can here!)? Because you will know how much I love and adored and went crazy for and generally just gushed and made a fool of myself for it. I loved it, and I love that Diana is continuing on with this world. Her writing makes me feel ALL THE THINGS and oh my god I cannot wait to get swept up again. (I HEART PUNS.)
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
Disney Hyperion, 384 pages
Expected US Release Date: December 10, 2013

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever? 

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.
-------------------------Goodreads summary
Because this seems like Across the Universe by Beth Revis and For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund mashed together, but with its own twists and elements thrown in. How could I not want to read that?! I also quite like the name Tarver - it's one I haven't heard before and I'm curious about him.

*see what I did there with my post title? Ya like that?!
What book(s) are you eagerly awaiting?
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