Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #32: Things I Can't Forget

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My pick for this week is:


Things I Can't Forget (Catching Jordan, #3)

Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

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This sounds like a great book.  I loved Catching Jordan, and I haven't read Stealing Parker yet, but I'm planning on reading it.  I love how this cover complements the other two covers.  I look forward to reading this once it is released on March 1st.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?

Katie

Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan

The Serpent's Shadow (Kane Chronicles, #3) He's b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can't seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes' only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent's own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent's shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld. Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.

My Review:

Over the past week, I read The Serpent's Shadow, the conclusion to the Kane Chronicles trilogy.  This book did a great job wrapping up the plot - defeating the bad guy, and tying up the romantic threads of the story.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

The characters in this book are all well-written.  Carter and Sadie occasionally tease each other like they always do, but it is clear that they care about each other.  Neither of them would be okay if they lost their sibling.  They both are brave characters who face many hard things in the both.  They want to keep Apophis from causing the end of the world.  They also want to save their mom's soul.  They encounter many characters in this book, including an interesting ghost named Setne, who was an evil magician when he was alive.

The romantic elements of this book are tied up well.  Carter likes Zia, since he had fallen for her shabti in the first book.  As this book continues, it becomes clear that she returns his feelings.  There are some great moments between the two while they are in some pretty dangerous situations.  Sadie has feelings for both Walt and Anubis, and she doesn't know what to do about that.  On top of that, Walt is dying, and Anubis is off-limits since he is a god.  I'm not going to give this away, but there is a very interesting resolution to this love triangle.

The mythological elements are handled well.  The book does a good job of explaining how destroying the shadow of Apophis will destroy Apophis.  Many Egyptian gods are included in this book, some of them being Horus, Isis, Osiris, Anubis, Ra, Bes, Bast, Tawaret, and more.  All these gods are great characters.  Usually what they're the god of is played with to make things funnier.  Bast is the goddess of cats, and she is very catlike.  All the gods and goddesses are quite interesting.

If you like mythology, read this book.  Make sure you read the first two in the series first, though.

Katie 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

If I Tell
IF ONLY ...If only I hadn't gone to that party. I never would have seen what I did. Jackson wouldn't have driven me home. I wouldn't have started to fall for a guy just out of reform school. I could go back to pretending everything was normal. I wouldn't be keeping a secret from my mom that could blow our family apart ... 


My Review: 

I reread this book last week so I could write a review, and also so I could just read it again.  I enjoyed the second time just as much as the first, even though I knew what was going to happen.  There were parts of it that I had forgotten since I hadn't read it in awhile, so it was like I was experiencing those parts for the first time.  Anyway, this book has a great story and characters.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

Jaz is a great protagonist.  She has some self-esteem issues, and she struggles with being the only biracial person in her town.  She has felt a connection with her mom's boyfriend before, since they are the same race, and she becomes angry when she sees him kissing her friend, Lacey.  Throughout the book, she knows this secret, and she doesn't know if she should tell anyone.  When she finds out her mom is pregnant with Simon's (the boyfriend) baby, she decides she can't tell her mom then.  Later in the book, she doesn't know if she should tell her, and she can never find the right time to bring it up.

Jaz's family are good characters.  Her grandma is the one who raised her, along with her grandpa, but he has died before the book starts.  Despite the fact that Jaz's mom had her own parents raise Jaz, it is clear that she cares about her daughter.  She was too young to raise Jaz when she was born.  Jaz has never met her father or anyone on that side of her family.

Her friends are also great characters.  Lacey is the girl who kissed Simon, the mom's boyfriend.  She realizes that she made a mistake by doing that, and she feels bad about it.  She has a lot of issues of her, including a drinking problem.  She was drunk when she kissed Simon.  Jaz's friend, Ashley, is a great character as well.  She wants to help Jaz get over her fear of swimming since she is a swimmer.  This is a difficult task for Ashley since Jaz is still scarred by an incident in the pool in elementary school.  Jackson is a great character too.  He has a delinquent past that involved drug dealing, but he seems like a sweet.  They start off as friends and become more.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

Katie 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #31: Bruised

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My pick for this week is:


Bruised

16-year-old Imogen Malley has spent most of her life in the shadow of her popular older brother, but there is one area in which she excels: martial arts.

As the youngest black belt at her dojang, Imogen loves assistant teaching more than anything in the world, and she plans to open her own martial arts studio one day. Per the Tae Kwon Do student creed, she's come to think of herself as a potential hero, a defender of the weak, and a champion of justice.

Her confidence disappears when she freezes up at an armed robbery that leaves someone dead. Guilt-stricken and numb, Imogen is left to wonder if martial arts failed her, or she failed it. Estranged from her family and friends, who don't understand why she's still beating herself up for failing to act, she struggles to get by on her own, and decides to prove herself by teaching another student how to fight –- no holds barred, no protective gear, no rules.

When the image you have of yourself is shattered, how do you make it whole again?

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This sounds like a great and emotional read.  I like the cover, and it looks like it will match the story well.  I can't wait to read this once it is released in March.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?

Katie

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez

The Space Between Us From the author of Virtuosity, a novel about two sisters and the secrets they tell, the secrets they keep—and the secret that could tear them apart.Amelia is used to being upstaged by her charismatic younger sister, Charly. She doesn’t mind, mostly, that it always falls to her to cover for Charly’s crazy, impulsive antics. But one night, Charly’s thoughtlessness goes way too far, and she lands both sisters in serious trouble.
 

Amelia’s not sure she can forgive Charly this time, and not sure she wants to . . . but forgiveness is beside the point. Because Charly is also hiding a terrible secret, and the truth just might tear them apart forever.

My Review:

The Space Between Us is an amazing book that I read quickly because I couldn't put it down.  I became invested in the story from the first page, falling in the love with both the story and the characters.  This book is also so emotional, and I loved that about it.  So, my advice to you is read this book!

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

Amelia is a great main character, though she has her flaws.  She clearly cares about Charly, despite being mad at her for a good portion of the book.  Her main flaw is that she is judgmental.  When she finds out Charly is pregnant, she immediately makes assumptions.  She says many mean and horrible things to Charly throughout the book.  Despite what I'm saying, I still did like her as a main character.  I could see why she was mad at Charly, even if I did sometimes want her to be more supportive.

Charly is a great character.  She's sweet and loveable, but she's also hiding a huge secret.  One of the most emotional scenes in the book is when Charly finally tells Amelia her secret.  The relationship between the sisters is showcased so well in that scene.  It's obvious that Amelia really cares about her sister then, and feels guilty for the bad things she's said.  Charly's and Amelia's characters both grow throughout the course of the book. 

Ezra is also a great character.  The relationship between Amelia and him doesn't start off too great.  He comes to pick up Amelia and Charly from the airport in Canada, and Amelia is pretty mean to himAs the story progresses, Amelia and Ezra become friends, and she feels like they could maybe be more than friends.  Their relationship is so sweet and develops slowly and realistically.  He has his secrets about his family, but he's a great guy.  He helps Amelia to grow as a character.

If you like emotional contemporary YA, read this book.

Katie  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cover: Red by Alison Cherry

Red 

The cover for this book was revealed recently, and it looks like a very interesting and unique book.  It is going to be released on October 8th, 2013.

Here's the description:

Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.

Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:

I know your secret.

Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say "strawberry blond." Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.

Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?

Katie 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #30: Canary

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My pick for this week is:


Canary

Staying quiet will destroy her, but speaking up will destroy everyone.

Kate Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete.

But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. She knows she should speak out, but her dad tries to silence her in order to protect the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.

Canary is told in a mix of prose and verse.

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This sounds like a great story that will deal with some tough issues.  I look forward to seeing how Kate handles the aftermath of her assault, and whether or not she tells anyone when her dad tells her to keep it quiet.  I can't wait to read this once it is released on August 28th.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?

Katie

Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: Live Through This by Mindi Scott

Live Through This From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a mom and stepdad who would stop at nothing to keep her siblings and her happy.

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted fa├žade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now that Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.

In this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel, Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect.


My Review:

After reading Freefall and loving it, Live Through This immediately went on my TBR list.  Last weekend, I went out and bought a copy of the book, and read it, loving it just as much as I loved Freefall.  Live Through This is a quick read, and it keeps you engaged in the story the entire time.  The book contains the perfect mix of lighter and darker elements, and the issues in the book are covered so well.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

Coley is an amazing character.  She's hiding a huge secret from everyone around her because she just wants to have a normal life.  She wants to have fun on dance team, and date Reece.  She is strong, despite the fact that she sometimes feels broken by the abuse she is receiving.  She is ashamed because of this abuse, and the book does a good job showcasing her feelings.  She's a character that you can immediately root for and sympathize with.

Coley's family is woven into the story well.  Coley, her brother, and her mom lived with a man named Patrick who was physically abusive until they left him.  Coley was too young then to actually remember him.  Her mom remarried a man named Tony, and had triplets with him - Zach, Jacob, and Emma.  In the story, you can tell that Tony cares about Coley and her brother Bryan, though they aren't his children.  Coley's half-siblings are good characters as well.  I wasn't a fan of Bryan at all, for spoilery reasons that I'm not going to explain here.  If you read the book, you'll understand what I'm talking about.

The other secondary characters are well-developed and interwoven into Coley's story.  Reece is Coley's crush.  He's a sweet guy who plays the sax in band.  The relationship between Reece and Coley is well done, slow, and realistic.  They make a good couple.  Alejandra is Coley's former best friend.  There is a rift between the two for reasons that are unclear at first.  Near the end, there is a great scene with just Coley and Alejandra that is emotional and well written.

If you like contemporary YA, read this book.

Katie  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

If I Lie A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.


My Review:

If I Lie is an amazingly written, emotional book with well-developed characters and plot.  I couldn't put this book down, and I breezed through it quickly. 

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

Sophie Topper Quinn is a great character.  The reason I put her full name is because she is called multiple names in the book.  Some people call her Sophie, and some call her by her last name, Quinn.   She is brave, and she never wavered in her resolve to keep Carey's secret.  Even when she was bullied and shunned and her reputation was in tatters, she still kept his secret, despite the fact that he had hurt her.

Carey and Blake are both good characters.  They both care about Quinn, though in different ways.  Carey had been her boyfriend for years, though he wasn't actually attracted to her since he was gay.  Though he should have told her this secret earlier instead of letting her believe he was attracted to her, it is hard for the reader to not feel sympathy for him, since he is going into the military and has to live a life of secrets.  Blake is a good guy, though he lets Quinn take everything on her own.  He was the boy who Quinn kissed, but no one recognized him in the picture.  He didn't stand up for her right away, and he didn't let on to anyone that he was the boy in the picture. 

The other secondary characters are well done too.  Nikki, Angel, and Jamie are all characters who bully Quinn, making it hard to like them.  Jamie never has liked Quinn since she liked Carey, and Carey was dating Quinn.  There are some good moments between Quinn and Angel when you think Angel might be more understanding since she used to be friends with Quinn, and then she says something to make you realize their friendship is definitely over.  Both of Quinn's parents play important roles in the story.  Her mother left her and her father to be with her uncle, and her father thinks Quinn is just like her mother since she cheated on her boyfriend.  He is angry at her because of this, but he does love her.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

Katie  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #29: Me, Him, Them, and It

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My pick for this week is:

Me, Him, Them and It 

When Evelyn decided to piss off her parents with a bad reputation, she wasn't planning to ruin her valedictorian status. She also wasn't planning to fall for Todd-the guy she was just using for sex. And she definitely wasn't planning on getting pregnant. When Todd turns his back on her, Evelyn's not sure where to go. Can a distant mother, a cheating father, an angry best friend, and a (thankfully) loving aunt with adopted daughters of her own help Evelyn make the heart-wrenching decisions that follow? With the popularity of Juno, Teen Mom, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, this novel has a built-in audience. Gripping, heartfelt, and responsible, Me, Him, Them, and It is not to be missed!

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This sounds like a great teen pregnancy book that will deal with family, friendship, and love.  I can't wait to read this book and find out what decisions Evelyn makes.  I'll be reading this once it releases on February 5th.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?

Katie

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Virtuosity Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better? Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected.

Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall....


My Review:

Virtuosity is a great story of music, family, and love.  The characterization and plot are well done, and all of the music aspects are woven into the story well.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

Carmen is a great character who is under much pressure to be successful.  She is a great violin player, and her mom expects her to win the Guarneri competition.  She takes anti-anxiety pills so she won't get nervous when she performs, but she thinks she might want to quit the pills.  She doesn't feel the joy of playing when she is onstage because the pills take her feelings away from her.  When she decides to perform without pills, she feels some withdrawal symptoms before her performance, but the performance itself is amazing.  She wants to no longer take the pills so she can prove to her mother that she is capable of performing without them.

Jeremy is a great character as well.  He enters the story seeming cocky and self-assured, but as the story continues, it is clear that there is more to him.  He has a competitive side to him, and the fact that he is Carmen's main competitor in the Guarneri causes some struggles between the two.  He really likes Carmen and is falling for her, but he also wants to win the Guarneri.  He believes that he needs to win for his younger brother, who is suffering from muscular dystrophy.  He knows that winning won't save his brother, but he is still determined to.  He asks Carmen to withdraw so he can win, making her become angry at him.  These two don't face an easy road in their relationship, but they manage to make it work.

Diana is Carmen's mother, a former opera singing soprano.  She damaged her vocal cords, and that ended her career.  She is now Carmen's stage manager, determined to make Carmen a winning violinist.  She does many things wrong in this book, especially something involved the judges and a large chunk of money.  Clark is Carmen's stepfather, but he is basically a father to her since her biological father isn't really a part of her life anymore.  He is supportive of Carmen, but he'd rather watch baseball than go to the symphony.  The family dynamic between the three is extremely well done.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

Katie 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: The Lighter Side of Life and Death by CK Kelly Martin

The Lighter Side of Life and Death Acclaimed YA author C. K. Kelly Martin offers a sexy, soulful story of one confused boy, two girls, and all the complications that ensue in this romantic feel-good love story that celebrates friendship, first love, first lust, and second chances.

Sixteen-year-old Mason Rice is having the night of his life. He's just delivered an incredible performance in the school play, basked in celebratory afterglow vibes at the party of the year, and lost his virginity to one of his best friends—the gorgeous but previously unobtainable Kat Medina. His dreams are coming true, and the future looks golden.

Unfortunately, Kat sees things very differently. Crossing the friendship line was a big mistake, and all she wants is to forget it and move on, even if that means forgetting Mason altogether. What's a guy to do? Well, if you're Mason, you hang your hopes on the first attractive twenty-three-year-old you cross paths with. At first Mason wonders if he's imagining the chemistry . . . until Colette invites him over to her apartment. Suddenly Mason's living in a whole new world.


My Review:

The Lighter Side of Life and Death is a great book about a boy's life.  It touches on relationships between friends, family, and couples.  The male POV is well-written and the characterization is amazing too.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

Mason is a good guy, easy to get along with, but still having some problems with people.  He is struggling with his feelings for his best friend, Kat Medina.  When they end up sleeping together after a party, he is happy because he thinks she might finally return his feelings.  Unfortunately for him, she decides to ignore him and she refuses to talk about that night.  Mason is really confused and doesn't know why she's acting this way.

Mason's relationship with Colette is well-written into the story.  She is friend's with his new stepmother's sister, and he meets her at the wedding shower.  He immediately feels attracted to her when he starts talking to her, so he makes an effort to meet her other times.  He has had his heart broken by Kat, so he is determined to make a relationship between him and Colette work.  When he first starts running into her at different places, she thinks he is stalking her, and she is reluctant to start any kind of relationship with him.  She is twenty-three, and he is sixteen, so she thinks that is too much of an age difference.  Six years isn't that big an age gap, but he is still in high school, and she is an adult.  Eventually, she gives in and they begin a relationship.  This relationship between them is very well-done.

The relationship between Mason and his family members is also well-done.  His dad sometimes gets mad at him for things Mason says to his stepsister, but they have a pretty good relationship.  They've been on their own together for many years.  His stepmother, Nina, seems like she cares about Mason and wants him to get along well with her kids.  Brianna is Mason's 13-year-old stepsister, and she doesn't seem to like Mason that much.  They have a few good moments, though.  Burke, Mason's younger stepbrother, is a sweet kid who gets along well with his new stepbrother, Mason.

If you like YA contemporary from the male POV, read this book.

Katie 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #28: Nobody But Us



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

 My pick for this week is:


Nobody But Us
Bonnie and Clyde meets Simone Elkeles in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts.

They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.

Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger....

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love...and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.

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This sounds like a great story.  I can't wait to read about Will and Zoe.  I love dual POV, and that's how this book is written.  I'll be reading this once it releases on January 29th.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?

Katie