12 June 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: This Side of Salvation

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine which asks what book we're most looking forward to. 

This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready
Publication date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined...

Another Jeri Smith-Ready book! I'm so excited. So very very. Very. Excited. And the cover is amazing. And the synopsis sounds amazing. You are amazing. And everything is amazing.

What are you waiting on this week?

11 June 2013

Review: Tarnish

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Publication date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
*copy received from publisher through NetGalley for review
Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history.

I am fiercely fascinated with all things Tudors, especially, Anne Boleyn. It would have been an anomaly for me not to pick up TARNISH. Anne Boleyn is a historical figure that people can make out to be sympathetic or a bad guy. I've yet to meet someone interested in the Tudors who doesn't have an opinion of Ms. Boleyn.

TARNISH follows a young, teenage Anne, fresh from France and new to King Henry's court, trying to find her place among the courtiers and the competitions for attention. A big issue is that Anne lacks a filter between her brain and mouth, and being a person who has always spoken her mind, this is a huge detriment to her character. Needless to say, she's not popular among the men and women of the court. Anne has an intense need to be an individual. She wants to be in her own power, to be able to say what she wants to say, and to be wanted for who she is. There's just one problem-she's a woman. What is expected of her as a woman is not what she yearns for; not what she wants. Longshore's Anne is a sympathetic Anne. She's an Anne that the reader grows to care for and wants nothing more than see her succeed and to be happy.

Due to a lack of records there are some gaps in Anne's history, particularly her life pre-Henry, but Longshore does a wonderful job of filling them in and taking liberties with what is available. Her foreshadowing throughout the book to Anne's later life and death is also brilliantly done. Don't think I didn't catch them.

I adore the author's prose and found it to be a great fit for a beautiful, heartbreaking story about a girl who wants to be accepted and loved for who she is. It's easy for any book to drag, especially for one almost 450 pages, but I never found myself bored and always wanted to read on. The end result? I finished it in one day.

TARNISH is a fantastic story about one of the most famous figures in history. I make a wish for the author to write a sequel to the second half of Anne's life, but then that wouldn't be YA, would it? Speaking of YA, this is a great book for adults. Anne may be a teen, but there is a maturity to the book that would appeal to "grown people," too.

07 June 2013

Giveaway: ARC of Just Like Fate

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape--both her family and the reality of Gram's failing health. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party and live her life. The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted.

Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...

I'm giving away one ARC of Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young. Just enter through Rafflecopter below.

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Ends on 6/21/2013.

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05 June 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Naturals

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine which asks what book we're most looking forward to. 

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publication date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie. What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. 

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

I love psychological thrillers and I'm a fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes, so I'm really looking forward to this one. But not the cover. No. Not the cover at all.

What are you waiting on this week?

03 June 2013

Review: The Caged Graves

The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni
Publication date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Clarion Books
*copy provided by publisher for review
17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.

THE CAGED GRAVES is a historical mystery based around two real caged graves the author, Dianne Salerni, came across in Catawissa, Pennsylvania. After some research and still not knowing how these caged graves came to be, the author created her own story around them and formed something great.

Verity is a kind and charming character, as well as, a strong heroine: she stands up for what she believes even when others are against her. She won't let anybody deter her from finding out why these two graves that she has personal connections to are covered in cages and sitting outside the church cemetery on unholy ground. And I mean anybody. Father?* Whatever. The man who will be her husband?* Screw him. The attractive doctor's apprentice? Wait. There's an attractive doctor's apprentice? Yes. His name is Hadley Jones. He creates the third corner of a nice little love triangle that actually works with the story and has a purpose. That purpose being related to Verity's character development. Yes, there is also character development, and not just in Verity, but the other characters. This book spoils me. Now I'm going to expect it in everything I read.

The setting of the story is nice and well developed and the prose isn't flowery or over descriptive like one can find in historical novels, but rather simple with an elegant tone. I love the author's writing style. It really fits the feel of the book. As for the mystery, it had me guessing right along with Verity. Maybe I could have caught on sooner, but I was so engrossed in the story that I didn't ever stop to try and figure it out myself. Usually, I have the clues figured out before the character, but in this case, I was having so much fun reading I forgot to try to solve it.

The Caged Graves is a novel with a strong female protagonist and an interesting, well-mixed cast of supporting characters. If you're looking for your next historical novel or a light mystery then check this one out. I also recommend this to fans of A NORTHERN LIGHT.

*These two characters are very supportive of Verity, actually. But if they weren't, she still would have walked right over them. 

29 May 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Infinite Moment of Us

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine which asks what book we're most looking forward to.

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
Publication date: August 20, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now . . . not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are? Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be. And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them . . . Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers.

Look at that cover. *pets it* I love Lauren Myracle so I'll definitely be giving this one a read and look forward to it! August isn't too far away. Right?? Well...

27 May 2013

Review: The Originals

The Originals by Cat Patrick
Publishing date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life...

Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.

THE ORIGINALS follows three girls, clones, who are in hiding from the government and have no option but to live one life. I was drawn in by the story, but also by Cat Patrick whose past books I have enjoyed. I'm just going to jump right in and say I didn't love this one as much as Cat Patrick's other novels, Forgotten and Revived. Forgotten is a book that just stayed with me after reading it. The Originals...not so much. It wasn't a bad book, but I guess, to me, it just pales in comparison to her other works.

Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey's characters are so different from each other. The way each handles their situation is very distinct and I could see why their mother would be able to tell them apart. Lizzie is a girl who is able to handle herself. She's argumentative (in a good way) and able to stand up for what she believes and wants and I love that.

For me, the romance was kind of lackluster. I didn't feel the chemistry between Lizzie and Sean like I did with the couples in Forgotten and Revived. Those were some hot romances. That's not to say I didn't like either Lizzie or Sean, I think they're nice characters, but together they didn't do anything for me.

My main complaint of the book is that everything is solved too easily, there are almost no struggles for anybody. I find Cat Patrick's books to be more about character studies, so the included mysteries don't usually take center stage. But if they're going to be included, they should become just as important as the characters and this one fails for me.

It's the the story and the characters that captured my attention and kept me reading. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad book, but to me, it became just an okay book.