Friday, December 27, 2013

Review: Anything To Have You by Paige Harbison (ARC)

Anything To Have You by Paige Harbison
Harlequin Teen, 304 Pages
Expected US Release Date: January 28, 2014
Format/Source: ARC via Around the World Tours - thank you!
Challenges: Contemporary Challenge, Stand Alone Challenge

Nothing should come between best friends, not even boys. ESPECIALLY not boys.

Natalie and Brooke have had each other's backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.

Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can't remember and Brooke's boyfriend, Aiden, can't forget. Suddenly there's a question mark in Natalie and Brooke's friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.
---------------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote

Love is the one thing that no matter how much you want it, if it's not there, there is nothing you can do to get it. No measure of hard work, begging, crying, wanting or needing; nothing in the world can make love happen out of nothing.

I was debating if I should sign up for this touring ARC when I first saw it posted because Harlequin Teen can be a bit hit or miss for me. I expect a lot of things from Harlequin in terms of love stories and romance, you know? And this sounded good, but I also felt like I probably knew the story without even reading it. But I went for it, because why not? It sounded daring and passionate, two things I hardly turn down.

And honestly? I’m pretty disappointed. The entire novel was predictable, down to the “twist” and other turns they threw at the reader. Perhaps the only thing that really took me by surprise was that this book turned into a dual narrative (didn’t expect to get Brooke’s point of view!), but that actually was a bad thing for me. I don’t think it added anything to the storyline, I didn’t think it was executed well…it was basically two books shoved into one that happened to criss-cross. Sure, the storyline overlapped since it was written to, but I didn’t think knowing the other side enhanced the story more.

And I admit that while a lot of the boys were pretty hot on the page (at least I can still count on Harlequin for that!), there were so many flaws in each one that I couldn’t believe it. Aiden was nice and sweet (aside from possibly sleeping with his girlfriend’s best friend…but y’know.), but he was just a little too perfect. His reactions, all the things he did to protect others and be considering of them…it was too much. Too perfect, too ideal, especially in comparison to the other males in the book. I could not STAND Eric – he was supposed to be Mr. Hot Stuff at school, the untouchable but all-wanting, the perfect dude, but I actually thought he was a preeeetty big douchebag! Some of the things he said or did were pretty clear asshole things to me, and I couldn’t understand why every girl at the school seemed to love him.

Other things that bothered me: 1) every character was described as hot or popular or pretty or model-like. This is not a TV show, not every single damn character is going to be flawless and hot. It diminished any of the relatability I could get to any of the situations. And 2) the title does NOT fit with the novel to me. I don’t think someone did anything to have someone, I did not think it was as daring as it could be or really pushed any boundaries. The title makes it sound a lot more…risqué, you know? And it wasn’t at all.

Perhaps the only thing that did push the envelope was Brooke and her spiral towards the end. I normally am not into those Badass Girl characters, but she was the only one I could vaguely see the progression with and understand how she went there. Her attraction with Reed, the reactions to Aidan and Natalie, everything made sense to have her go in the direction she did.

I did like Natalie and Brooke’s friendship, too. That worked nicely together, I believed in it and their connection and all the emotions they experienced together and because of the other. That was probably one of the only redeeming parts to this entire novel.

Obviously, Anything To Have You wasn’t quite the book for me. It had so much potential and could have been, but I thought very little of it worked. While I endorse the friendship between the girls, I can’t endorse much else.
2 Stars

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Flash Giveaway: Goodbye 2013! (US only)

One last giveaway to bid farewell to 2013, shall we?  :)

ONE (1) lucky winner will win three hardcovers!
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Every Day by David Levithan
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

US Only
(sorry INT!)
Ends January 1, 2014

Please do not leave your email in my comment section.
Enter through the rafflecopter below, and all my usual giveaway policy rules apply.
Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

[Une Petite Revue] Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

Starry Night: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber
Ballantine Books, 256 Pages
US Release Date: October 8, 2013
Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.
-------------------Goodreads summary
Notable Quote
There was no doubt in Carrie’s mind. Finn Dalton owned her heart. He carried it with him, and now the question, the real question, was what he intended to do with it.”
The Goods
Classic Debbie Macomber. Touching and heartfelt with just the right amount of cheeseball.
Finn. Ooooo he is a great mountainman.
Creative gifts! Loved that and the backstory behind each one and why they meant something.
Alaska. I love when her stories are set here.

The Bads
Not too big a fan of Carrie, but she was ok. Strong enough for Finn.
I want more Hennessey!! Dogs are always a great addition to Christmas novels.

The Consensus
Debbie Macomber delivers again. This is everything I’ve come to expect and love when I pick up her Christmas novels.

The Recommendation
For anyone who wants a quick Christmas romance. This won’t disappoint.

3 stars

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I'll Miss You, Ned Vizzini

I am heartbroken.

If you've been a longtime reader of this blog (hi, friend!), then you know how much I love and adore Ned Vizzini. His books spoke to me, and I've had the privilege of meeting, befriending, and knowing him. I have a tag on this blog dedicated to him, to tell of all the brilliant stories of us meeting and how incredibly sweet and nice he was. Like when he made ALA for me by giving me his personal ARC, or when he thanked me for writing a piece about his event (as if he needed to thank me for anything!).
The first time we met.
(I remember thinking he was so cute.)

So it's with a heavy heart that I write this post.

The last time I saw Ned, he was doing LATFOB with Chris Columbus and the lines were madness. I tried to wait in a signing line, but had to get to a panel. I remember him catching my eye and waving as I was leaving, tilting his head as though asking where I was going. I tapped my phone, hoping he understood it meant I'd tweet him. Sure enough, he was quick to respond when I asked where he'd be later. When I did finally catch him just before his solo signing, he hugged me hello and said he'd been happy to see me at the panel/signing. We chatted, he told me a story about his wife getting a book signed by Orson Scott Card, introduced me to her and Felix (his son), we talked longer…and then I realized I'd made him almost 10 minutes late to his signing. He waved aside my apologies and didn't even rush us to the end. He signed my book, we said our goodbyes and promised to talk and meet up again when he had more events and closer to the paperback and Book 2 release. I remember walking away thinking I'd meant to get a photo with him since we didn't have any of us together, but I'd try again next time.

There's been an outpouring of love since the news broke of Ned's passing. He lost the battle against depression, something he was so open about. It was this disease that ultimately took him from us, but it's also the one that brought him into our lives, too. And that's what I'm going to choose to remember.

Ned was such an individual. He was brilliant and funny, charming, with a built-in storytelling gene. He would regale me with hilarious stories or funny run-ins with his industry, and I'd leave him already anticipating the next adventure he'd tell me about. I still remember the day I met him felt like I was hanging out with an old friend: he treated me as such, with a warm and welcoming crooked smile. I knew then he'd gotten a fan for life. And every meeting after that just made it stronger. When he started messaging me about his upcoming events, seeing if I was going and setting up where/when we'd have a chat, it baffled me he'd remember some random fan girl and take the time out of his day just to say hi…but that's who he was. He was kind and considerate, mindful of the people in his life. He always thanking me for my writing and reviews and support, no matter how often I'd remind him it was my honor to do so.
There's really nothing else I can say, other than how terribly sad this situation is. That I am heartbroken for Ned, for the YA community's loss, for Sabra and Felix and all his other family. I hope Ned has found peace, wherever he may be, and I hope he's seeing how much we all loved him, how much his words have helped those in the same dark places he's found himself in.

I love you always Ned, and I'll miss your amazing writing, seeing you, and that happy drop in my belly every time I'd see a message from you pop up in my inbox. Thanks for teaching me the roadmaps in my head, how to travel them and what they're worth. Until we meet again, my friend.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (ARC)

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Disney-Hyperion, 374 pages
US Release Date: December 10, 2013
Format/Source: ARC via Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!

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.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.
-----------------Goodreads summary
Notable quote
"If it's true, then we know we're not mad," I say, keeping my eyes on the sky.
"And if it's true, we know we're not alone." He, however, sounds more troubled than relieved.
If Titanic and Across the Universe decided to have an interdimensional Under the Never Sky baby, These Broken Stars would be it. And trust me: it. Is. AWESOME. I went into this book expecting to be blown away. I’ve heard about this book since last year, the cover has long been coveted, we all know about it. So safe to say: expectation. To the max.

I’ve been trying to write what I thought was the best part, and I keep deleting to put in something else. Which leads me to: everything is the best part. I loved the set-up of the disaster, the exploration and adventure Tarver and Lilac are forced to go through as they explore this planet, the tension and action so perfectly weaved together into a brilliant tale of hopelessness, even the scary parts made me love it!

There is definitely a creep factor here guys, and I have to admit how surprised I was by it! Just reading the summary, you know there are voices. But how they’re presented, how they slowly build into something – it is so fantastically terrifying and oh my god I would go batshit nuts if I were hearing and seeing the things Lilac was.

Perhaps the best part is that even though this book focuses almost entirely on a romance and relationship, it barely feels like it at all. Not that I’m opposed to relationships, we all know I’m a huge romance/contemporary relationship kinda gal. Give me that any day. But how the relationship built up, how they slowly started to mean something to each other, how it all comes together and gets fiercely tested and ripped apart time after time…it’s interesting and crazy and heartstopping, and it really makes the relationship feel secondary. And somehow, it still manages to maintain sweetness and sentimentality! Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner are phenomenal masters.

We all know how much I love a dual narrative. And this one is amongst the best – you get first person narratives from both Tarver and Lilac. You get to really feel who they are, understand what they’re becoming, sense what they’ve been. You get to see some situations from both points of view, which gives a great roundness to scenes and settings. Both are perfectly crafted, and I love both for very distinct reasons.

Of course I love Tarver though. Military man? Check. Real? Check. Strong? Check. Considerate, can-do, get’s-his-shit-done? Check check, more check. Poet? OH. YOU. KNOW. IT. It sounds crazy, but it all wraps up into one character so perfectly and trust me when I say you will swoon like it’s nobody’s business when he worms his way into your heart.

These Broken Stars yanks at every string I ever had in my heart, and made me discover more. It’s crazy how it made me feel so attached and in love and hopeless and lost with them, and I haven’t even begun to describe it all. Read this, guys. It’s your new favorite.

5 stars

Monday, December 16, 2013

Top Ten Authors I Discovered in 2013

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

Top Ten Authors
I Discovered in 2013
In no particular order! All links go to my reviews.
Katie Cotugno (How To Love)
Megan Shepherd (The Madman's Daughter)
Cristin Terrill (All Our Yesterdays)
Kasie West (Pivot Point, The Distance Between Us)

Lauren DeStefano (Perfect Ruin)
Melissa Kantor (Maybe One Day - review coming next year!)
J. Lynn (Frigid, Wait For You)
Leila Sales (This Song Will Save Your Life)
Elizabeth Scott (Heartbeat)
Meagan Spooner, Amie Kaufman (These Broken Stars - review coming this week)

What authors did you discover this year?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!
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