Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Great by Sara Benincasa

13919896In Sara Benincasa's contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, a teenage girl becomes entangled in the drama of a Hamptons social circle, only to be implicated in a tragedy that shakes the summer community.
Everyone loves a good scandal.
Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reason for drawing close to Naomi-to meet the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather. But Jacinta's carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

Being a huge fan of The Great Gatsby, I was a bit weary when it came to starting Great. However, my curiosity got the best of me and I couldn’t resist reading it. I know that Great is a retelling of Gatsby, so this really shouldn’t bother me. But I didn’t like how similar it was? That sounds weird, I know. But I was hoping that the story would be altered at least a little bit (besides gender-bending the characters and setting it in a more current era). That being said, I understand that if Benincasa were to have changed it, there probably would have been a lot of backlash. Other than that, I really liked Great.

I loved that Benincasa changed around the genders of the characters, and it was really interesting to see the similarities and differences between her characters and how they were originally by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Naomi’s voice was fantastic, and it captured the essence of Nick’s voice perfectly. Jacinta had all of the mystique and wonder of Gatsby, and Jacinta’s attachment to Delilah was wonderfully written as well.

Though I would call Great one of my favorite books, I think Benincasa did a really nice job of retelling a classic story. The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books, and Great did a pretty good job of doing it justice. Sara Benincasa captured all of the wonder of The Great Gatsby while still adding her own original flare. I recommend this to people who liked Gatsby, but are still open to experiencing it in new ways. Great takes awhile to get used to, but it is definitely enjoyable.

FTC- Received from publisher via Edelweiss.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

16179216Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.
Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.
But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Oh, this book hit the spot. As soon as I heard about Dear Killer, I wanted to read it. I’m a huge fan of the TV show Dexter, and I had heard that Dear Killer shared some similarities with Dexter. Though it did share some of the same aspects, Dear Killer wasn’t a copy of the show at all. It was original and fantastically addicting. Dear Killer kept me interested. I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to read what Kit would do next.

Kit is a fantastic narrator. Though she’s a killer, it’s incredibly easy to empathize with her. I found myself wanting to befriend Kit, rather than fear her. The whole aspect of her being a vigilante-type killer was fantastic. In some ways, it made her easier to understand her point of view. The inner-turmoil that Kit faced was the cherry on top of Dear Killer. It added tons of depth to both Kit, and the story. Katherine Ewell did an amazing job writing Dear Killer.

Ewell’s writing is meticulous and tight. There isn’t a dull moment, and every sentence leaves you wanting more. Dear Killer is an original novel that you won’t be able to get out of your head. The main character Kit has one of the strongest voices that I’ve read in awhile. Katherine Ewell is an author that I recommend looking out for. Her books are sure to be hits.

FTC- Received for review via Edelweiss.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

L17258743ife. Death. And...Love?
Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.
But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.
Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.
Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?

Elizabeth Scott has done it again. Heartbeat is beautiful and fantastic in every way. Emma’s story is unforgettable. Though Emma is dealt a really bad hand, she is an incredibly strong character. Though she had her weak moments, she was never a weak person. At times I think Emma was a bit too hard on her stepdad, but I ultimately understand why she acted the way she did. Scott does a wonderful job of illustrating each character’s views. So even if you don’t agree with how they act, you can always understand where they’re coming from. Caleb is a lovely character. I loved all of the scenes between him and Emma. Their relationship was strong, in a healthy way.

Usually Elizabeth Scott’s books are either super adorable with a killer romance, or super serious. Heartbeat, however, is a nice medium between the two. It triggered my emotions (or, you know, tears), while also making me curl up with delight at the chemistry between Emma and Caleb. The romance provided relief to the more serious happenings in the book, and the two aspects balanced out really well.

Heartbeat will most definitely tug at your heartstrings. Emma and her family go through a tremendous journey that isn’t easily forgotten. Elizabeth Scott has once again written a novel that you won’t be able to forget. Her writing is beautiful and haunting. Heartbeat is one of my favorite Elizabeth Scott novels.

FTC- Received for review via Netgalley.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

16101126Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.
Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.
Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?
Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

This review may be considered semi-spoilery. Just a warning.

I have honestly just been sitting at the computer for what seems like hours, trying to muster up my thoughts on The Moon and More. It isn’t my favorite Dessen novel (The Truth About Forever is, if you were wondering), but I did like it. It took me over six months to read this book because I was afraid that Dessen couldn’t possibly top her previous novels. Though The Moon and More isn’t my new favorite, I did really like it. It had the beautiful, eloquent writing that Dessen is known for. It makes you yearn for summer and beaches and everything that “normal” teenagers are supposed to do.

My one main problem with this book is the actual lack of swoon-worthy love interests. I know that Dessen always gets reamed for having books that follow a general formula. They always have a swoon-worthy boy that knocks you on your feet and gives you butterflies, and they always have that beautiful summer-feeling. And though I do love Dessen for not following that exact model with The Moon and More, I can’t say that I’m not disappointed that there wasn’t a swoon-worthy love interest. Being the creature of habit that I am, I picked up The Moon and More wanting to read a YA romance that knocked me off of my feet. What I got was a semi-romance with a guy (Theo) who I honestly wanted to slap in the face. However, I feel horrible about getting mad at Dessen for this. Don’t get me wrong, I ultimately loved how the story turned out (I’m just being a moody teenager). I admire Dessen for breaking out of the shell that people had put her in, and I loved that there’s more to the story than just some cheeseball romance.

Emaline was such a fantastic narrator. She was snarky and independent and incredibly caring. She was an all-around good person, and even though I disagreed with her on some points, she had a really strong head on her shoulders. Emaline is probably one of my main characters out of all of the Dessen novels. Her brother is the cutest kid on the planet, and I just wanted to hug him. He is infinite amounts of adorable.

Though the teenager part of me is sad how The Moon and More ended, I understand and admire Sarah Dessen for making that decision. The Moon and More keeps the Dessen-charm that we’re all familiar with, while still adding an unexpected spin on what we’re used to. I really do recommend The Moon and More, even to people who don’t usually go for Sarah Dessen novels.

FTC- Received from publisher.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Out for Blood by R. Barri Flowers- Excerpt and Giveaway

out for blood r barri flower
Count Dracula's Teenage Daughter (Book 1)

Count Dracula's Teenage Daughter (Transylvanica High, #1)Published December 17th. 2012
Published by Create Space
Genres: YA/Paranormal
From R. Barri Flowers, the bestselling author of young adult novels, GHOST GIRL IN SHADOW BAY and DANGER IN TIME, comes the first book in an exciting new teen vampire series, COUNT DRACULA'S TEENAGE DAUGHTER: A Transylvanica High Novel.
Sixteen-year-old Kula Lockhart has been living in the town of Harbor Heights, Michigan for two months now, after moving there with her adopted mom from Cheyenne, Wyoming. She attends Transylvanica High School--one of several integrated pilot schools across the country where human and vampire students peacefully coexist.
Kula has no problem with the human-vampire bonding because she has always believed in equality among the living and the living dead. But she is caught completely off guard upon learning that she is the half human daughter of Count Dracula, leader of the oldest and most powerful vampire clan.
She soon discovers that there are some sworn to protect her and others out to get her.
Someone is killing vampires and Kula fears she may be on the hit list. Staying alive becomes a priority as she adjusts to her birthright.
She also has a hot human boyfriend named Eriq. Will he accept her for who she is?
Fans of popular teen vampire, paranormal, and horror fiction series such as Twilight, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, and Vampire Kisses will love COUNT DRACULA'S TEENAGE DAUGHTER
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Out For Blood (Transylvanica High #2)

Out For Blood (Transylvanica High, #2)Published November 3rd, 2013
Published by R. Barri Flowers
Genres: YA/Paranormal
From R. Barri Flowers, the bestselling author of the young adult vampire novel, COUNT DRACULA'S TEENAGE DAUGHTER, comes the exciting book two in the Transylvanica High series, OUT FOR BLOOD.
Sixteen-year-old honor student Kula Lockhart is in her second year at Transylvanica High School in Harbor Heights, Michigan. It is one of several integrated pilot schools across the country where human and vampire students peacefully coexist.
Kula recently learned that she is the half human, half vampire daughter of Count Dracula. This has made her a target for those who hate her powerful Dad and vamps in general.
As she comes to terms with her heritage and newfound abilities, things begin to heat up between Kula and her mortal boyfriend, Eriq Pratt. She also has her vamp guardians Ivan and Amelia, as well as several human and vampire friends, to balance her evolving life and times.
When Kula suddenly finds herself being pursued by a new handsome half vamp at school, Sebastian LeBlanc, she is strangely drawn to him, even if her heart belongs to Eriq. Yet Kula can’t help but wonder if it is more than coincidence that Sebastian just happened to arrive in town at around the same time that a vampire or vampires began killing humans. Could Sebastian be behind these vicious attacks?
Another new vampire, Gabryela Roswell, befriends Kula, but has a hidden agenda.
In the meantime, Kula has competition from an attractive human girl, Yvonne Elwood, who has her eye on Eriq. She also has to deal with the gorgeous and mean-spirited cheerleader vamp, Jacquelyn Brossard, a member of the rival Doerzic clan.
As Kula grapples with these issues and the changes in her life, she tries to learn more about her mother, who died in childbirth, from the only person who can give her answers--her dad, Count Dracula.
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You can read an excerpt of Out for Blood HERE.

And you can also enter a giveaway to win a PDF copy of Out for Blood!



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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top 10 Books of 2013

I know I have been absent from the blog lately, and I am so so sorry for that. I’ve been caught up in the world of college applications and scholarships. But, since Here are my top 10 reads of 2013 (in no particular order). 4 of these books are going to be released in 2014, but I just can’t resist putting them on this list.

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

3. Golden by Jessi Kirby

4. Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

5. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

6. #Scandal by Sarah Ockler (June 17th)

7. Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson (August 5th)

8. Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell (April 1st)

9. Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott (January 28th)

10. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

I hope you all have a fantastic New Year! I’m going to try and post more on here.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

The Promise of Amazing

Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.
Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.
One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

I really enjoyed The Promise of Amazing. It’s Robin Constantine’s debut novel, so I didn’t have any expectations in terms of what to expect from Constantine writing-wise. However, the cover and summary are both adorable, so I had fairly high expectations when it came to the actual story. Though I wouldn’t call The Promise of Amazing one of my favorite books, I like it a lot. While I was reading it, I couldn’t bring myself to put the book down. Constantine’s writing and characters captured me completely. The story is adorable, the characters are unforgettable, and the writing is superb. That being said, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing from the story. I’m a huge fan of adorable romances that make you think, and The Promise of Amazing accomplished that. However, it just seemed to be missing something that would really set it apart from all of the others.

That being said, I did really enjoy it. Wren and Grayson’s story is fun and easy to read. In terms of being a YA romance, Constantine did everything right. The characters never fell flat and neither did their chemistry. I loved every part of The Promise of Amazing. I wish I would have had more time with the characters, because they were all so darn adorable. Wren’s family is crazy, but you can’t help love them. Grayson, though at times got on my nerves, was ultimately a great character and companion to Wren.

The Promise of Amazing is adorable and addicting. It will appeal to fans of John Hughes movies and Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson. The characters and their story come alive and practically jump off of the page. Robin Constantine is definitely a writer to watch.

FTC- Received from publisher via Edelweiss.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Blog Tour and Scavenger Hunt: Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin

18336825 In my post, you’ll notice that I’ve linked to one song from the Another Little Piece of My Heart Claire’s Summer Survival Playlist. There are 12 songs on the playlist in total, and therefore 12 stops on the scavenger hunt (posting from November 29 – December 1). Find them all, and discover 12 chances to win great Harlequin TEEN books and Another Little Piece of My Heart swag.
But there’s more! One grand-prize winner will be randomly drawn to receive a $25 iTunes gift card in addition to books and swag! To enter for the grand prize, send the complete, 12-song playlist, along with your contact information (including the address where you’d like to receive your prize) to the author by using this contact form: http://tracey-martin.com/contact/. The winner will be notified by email after the contest ends on December 5th.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the playlist using the contact form above by December 5th at noon Eastern Time. Entries sent without the correct playlist or without contact information will not be considered.

Song Number 11 on the playlist is Afterlife by Nemesia!

You can buy Another Little Piece of My Heart HERE.

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