Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #49: Nantucket Blue


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

My pick for this week is:

Nantucket Blue

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

This book sounds like a sweet summer romance story.  It sounds like there might be some heavier themes with a lot of light and fun moments.  This is releasing on May 7th.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?


Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1) In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

My Review:

The Madman's Daughter was a fascinatingly creepy story.  There were parts of it that were disturbing and gory, and there were parts that were sweet and romantic.  It was a story that kept me wondering what would happen next.  There were some shocking twists thrown in as well.


Juliet Moreau is an interesting main character.  She has been shaped in some ways by what her father has done, but she is also a strong character.  When she was young, she and her mom left her dad due to a scandal that involved some science that he had supposedly been doing.  Now, her mom has died, and she thinks her dad is dead.  She is working as a maid at a medical college in London when she meets an old servant of her dad and finds out that her father, Dr. Moreau, is still alive.  She goes with the servant, Montgomery, back to the island where her dad is now working.  On the way, they pick up a castaway named Edward.

There are two boys in this book that Juliet has feelings for.  One of them is Montgomery, the boy who was her father's servant when she was younger.  She had a crush on him back then, and that hasn't changed.  She sometimes gets frustrated with him because he still seems to do whatever her father asks, even when what her father asks is wrong.  I look forward to seeing how their relationship will be able to progress in the next book, especially with what happened at the end of this one.  The other boy is Edward, the mysterious castaway who survived a shipwreck.  Edward has a few secrets of his own.  One of these is a particularly shocking secret about his past.  

Juliet's father, Dr. Moreau, is a fascinating character.  He is rather insane, and he does some creepy things.  He is determined to create the perfect beings.  He thinks that he can create humans out of animals.  Some of the beings that he creates are very human-like.  He does not seem to know at all that what he is doing is wrong.  He doesn't care about the pain that the operation causes the animals to feel.  He is inhumane in the operations since he doesn't even use anesthesia.  

If you like YA Gothic horror, read this book.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #48: The Distance Between Us


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

My pick for this week is:

The Distance Between Us

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

The main reason I want to read this book is because it's written by Kasie West.  I just read Pivot Point this weekend, and I loved the story and characters and couldn't put it down.  Also, this book means I'll have another book by her to read between Pivot Point and its sequel.  This is releasing on July 2nd.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?


Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown

Perfect Escape Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art -- until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.
Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all -- with enough distance, maybe she'll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.
With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.

My Review:

This is the third Jennifer Brown book that I have read, so now I have read everything that she has published so far.  I have enjoyed all of her work.  I enjoyed reading about the characters and story in this book.


Kendra was a great protagonist.  For much of her life, she felt like she had to be the perfect child to make up for her older brother, Grayson.  This causes some problems for her when she finds out she doesn't understand calc at all.  She begins to buy the tests off of the TA so she can memorize the answers.  When he starts charging higher prices for the tests, she needs a way to pay for them.  So she sells photocopies of the tests to more students, and has them pay her.  Soon she finds she has orchestrated an entire cheating ring.  When she realizes that school is about to find this out, she decides to take off with Grayson on a road trip to hide from her problems. 

The relationship between Kendra and Grayson is well written in this book.  This book does a good job of showing how Grayson's OCD affects his life.  He sometimes has to walk in and out a door over 30 times before entering and exiting.  He also is always counting rocks.  Kendra often gets frustrated with Grayson's OCD, and she thinks she might be able to "fix" him.  She doesn't see that he wishes he didn't have this problem.  He would rather be like Kendra than like himself.

One of the secondary characters is Rena, who has an interesting story.  She works at the motel that Grayson and Kendra stop at first.  She is a young girl around Kendra's age.  She has a baby and is married to an older man who is the baby's father.  She ran away from home when she about 15, and the book doesn't really say why she did.  She decides she's tired of living with her husband, so she leaves, and Kendra sees her walking along the road and invites her to join them on their trip.  She clearly cares about her baby Bo, though she isn't always the best at being a mother.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Nobody But Us Bonnie and Clyde meets IF I STAY 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.

My Review:

When I saw Nobody But Us online, I thought it sounded like a really good book.  I got it the week it came out, on Saturday.  I started it that day and finished it by Sunday night.  I wasn't immediately gripped to the story, wanting to know what would happen, but as I got further in, I couldn't put it down.  At some point, I realized that I had slowly fallen in love with the characters.


Zoe was an interesting main character to read about.  She had been abused by her father for many years, and she just wanted out of that situation so she could have a better life.  When Zoe was only six, her mom died from falling down the stairs.  This probably wasn't an accident since her Zoe's father probably pushed her mom.  When Will asks Zoe if she wants to run away with him, she says yes.  She is looking forward to a better life with Will, and without her father.  Zoe has some naivete still left, despite what she's been through.  She doesn't realize how much trouble Will could get in for taking Zoe, a fifteen year old, out of the state, if they get caught.

Will is a character who has two different sides to him.  One side is the impulsive, angry, and violent side.  The other side is his sweet and caring side.  It is clear that he cares about Zoe and loves her.  He actually is a good guy, but he's experienced horrible things in his past that shaped him in a way.  He was abandoned by her mother at a young age, and raised by some kind neighbors for a little bit.  Then, they had to give him to his grandma.  Eventually, he ended up in the foster care system.  Some of his foster families were great, and some were not.  As soon he turns eighteen, he leaves with Zoe.  His violence gets them into a few bad situations since he is too quick to throw a punch when he thinks it's necessary to do that to protect Zoe.

The ending of this book is an unexpected one, and it is not a happy ending.  I'm not going to say what it is.  I'm curious about what will happen to Zoe after that ending.  I wonder if she'll be able to move on with her life, and if she'll have to go back to her dad.

If you like emotional YA contemporary, read this book.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #47: Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets


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

My pick for this week is:

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets

“I hate myself but I love Walt Whitman, the kook. Always positive. I need to be more positive, so I wake myself up every morning with a song of myself.”

Sixteen-year-old James Whitman has been yawping (à la Whitman) at his abusive father ever since he kicked his beloved older sister, Jorie, out of the house. James’s painful struggle with anxiety and depression—along with his ongoing quest to understand what led to his self-destructive sister’s exile—make for a heart-rending read, but his wild, exuberant Whitmanization of the world and keen sense of humor keep this emotionally charged debut novel buoyant.

This sounds like a really interesting story.  It's also male POV.  I look forward to reading this once it releases on March 5th.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?


Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.

Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.

Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course…

My Review:

This is an amazing, sweet, and funny story.  I loved the characters and the story, and I read it quickly so I could find out more about Kelsey's freshman year.


Kelsey is a funny protagonist.  She is excited to start her freshman year, and she is planning on it being amazing.  She doesn't know then how many hilarious problems will happen during that year.  At the beginning, she manages to get an enemy, Julie, a junior who is captain of the soccer team.  Julie gets Kelsey placed in a position she doesn't want, goalie.  Meanwhile, horrible pictures of her are making their way into the school newspaper.  When it is time for the school musical, Kelsey decides to audition.  For the audition, she sings Defying octave lower than it was written.  This lands her a role as a bearded man.  She has a few problems with the beard during one of her performances.

Kelsey's friends are great characters.  At the beginning of the book, her best friends are Em, JoJo, and Cass.  A new girl named Lexi moves to the school.  Kelsey doesn't like Lexi because she is the cousin of Kelsey's old soccer rival, Jemma, who moved away.  Em tells Kelsey that Lexi is nice, and Kelsey and Lexi end up becoming good friends.  Some of the friends get into fights.  Kelsey gets mad at Cass when Cass goes out with Kelsey's longtime crush.  Em gets mad at Kelsey because Lexi finds out about Kelsey's first kiss before Em does.  In the end, these friends all solve these problems and are friends again.

Kelsey has some experiences with guys that are both positive and negative in this book.  At the beginning, she has a huge crush on Jordan Rothman.  After he starts going out with Cass, he turns out to be a jerk since he cheats on Cass.  Then there's this boy at school who is her not-so-secret admirer, named Keith.  He asks her to go see a band, and that's when she has her first kiss.  It is not a good first kiss.  Then, she kisses a guy named Sam at a party.  When she won't let him feel her up, he calls her a prude, and she gets upset and leaves the party.  The guy who she probably has an actual relationship with is Ben, the school newspaper photographer.  He is a funny and sweet junior boy. 

If you like cute YA contemporary, read this book.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks, #2) Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

My Review:

As a fan of Miranda Kenneally Catching Jordan, I was looking forward to reading Stealing Parker.  It did not disappoint, and I thought it was equally good as the previous book in teh series.  I also want to say that I love how all the covers in this set of companion novels complement each other.


Parker is a great main character to read about.  After her mom leaves her family to go live with another woman, Parker's friend starts the rumor that she is "a butch softball player who probably likes girls."  After that rumor starts, she goes out of her way to prove that this isn't true.  She kisses many different guys, and she quits softball.  Then her best friend Drew signs her up to be the manager of the school baseball team.  Little does she know that this will soon lead to many romantic complications, especially when she starts to fall for the new young assistant coach.  

The relationship between Brian and Parker is clearly one that is wrong since he is a coach, and she is a senior in high school.  At first, he seems like a sweet guy, but then he becomes pushier and not so great of a guy.  I think that both he and Parker are to blame for their relationship.  She pushed him into starting a relationship, but he should have known better than to agree to a relationship with a high schooler.  The other guy who is clearly better for Parker, is Corndog, whose real name is Will.   He is the boy who competed with Parker for valedictorian, and she beat him.  Through much of high school, they were academic rivals, but once she starts managing his baseball team, they become friends.  It becomes clear to the reader that Will has a crush on Parker.  The relationship between them is sweet and slow-developing.  Some complications keep the road to romance from being easy, but they still make it.

The other secondary characters in this book are well written.  One of them is Drew, Parker's best friend.  He is not interested in her romantically since he actually likes Will.  This causes some issues for Parker and Will because Parker doesn't want to hurt Drew by dating the guy he likes.  Parker's family also play a role in the book.  After her mom leaves them, Parker shuts her mom, but she realizes during the book that she still needs her mom.  Her brother Ryan has some problems with drinking and drugs, but her dad is clearly in denial about this.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #46: The Indigo Spell


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

My pick for this week is:

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

I just read The Golden Lily and absolutely loved it.  I can't wait to read this book.  I am looking forward to some good Sydney and Adrian romance.  This book is coming out on February 12th, so I don't have to wait too long.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?


Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death--and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

My Review:

Before I Fall is a great read.  Aside from the fact that Sam keeps reliving the same day, this is a contemporary novel (my favorite genre).  I've read this book twice now, and I loved it both times.  I found the story and the characters to be completely engaging, and the emotional aspects were well done.


Sam is a great main character, though she certainly is not a nice person at the beginning.  Both she and her friends are not people that I would really like in real life, but I actually liked them as book characters.  Sam changed much over the course of the book.  Each time she relived the same day, she made different choices to change some things about her life.  She begins to realize that her boyfriend Rob may not really be the right guy for her.  She also realizes that she and her friends don't treat some people very well, and they should change that.  An example is Juliet Sykes, a girl who Sam and her friends call "psycho."  Sam wants to stop being so mean to Juliet, and she wants her friends to do the same.

The friendships in this book are very well written.  Lindsay, Elody, and Ally are friends with Sam.  Of these three girls, Lindsay seems to have the most important in the story, but they all have parts to play in it.  I find it interesting that Lindsay used to be mean to Sam when they were in elementary school, but they became friends in middle school.  Lindsay puts up a front much of the time to hide some of her secrets.  One of her secrets involves Juliet Sykes.  

The romance in this book is well done.  It is clear from the start that Sam and Rob don't really have a strong relationship.  There is a boy in Sam's math class, Kent, who sends her a Valogram.  It is clear from the first day of February 12th that he likes her.  He is also the host of a party that happens every time the day repeats.  Sam goes to the party a few times.  During a few of the repeats, Sam and Kent have some good moments together.  It is clear that she returns his feelings.  But then, "the next day," when Sam wakes up, she is back with Rob again, and Kent doesn't know Sam likes him back.  

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.



Friday, February 1, 2013

February Releases I'm Most Excited For

February 5th:
Hysteria by Megan Miranda - This sounds like a interesting book that is probably also a bit creepy.  I read and enjoyed Fracture, so I can't wait to read this.
The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding  - This book sounds really cute and fun.  I like the cover and am looking forward to finding out more about Devan and her mother.
Me, Him, Them, and It by Caela Carter - This is a really good teen pregnancy book.  I got an ARC from Netgalley and have actually already read it.  You should all add this to your TBR list.

 Hysteria The Reece Malcolm ListMe, Him, Them and It

February 12th:
The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead - I haven't read The Golden Lily yet, but I enjoyed Bloodlines, so I am planning on reading it.  Being it Sydney's head is interesting, and I look to reading more of the series.
Pivot Point by Kasie West  - This sounds like a really interesting story.  I look forward to seeing the different futures that Addison could choose.  I have seen reviews and it looks like this had good characterization, romance, and friendship, which are all things I love in books.

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)Pivot Point

February 14th:
Infinite Sky by CJ Flood - This sounds a really interesting story.  I look forward to reading about Iris, her family, and the gypsies.

Infinite Sky

February 19th:
Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan - This sounds like an interesting male POV book.  I look forward to reading about Crash's and Burn's characters.

Crash and Burn


Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store.

This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

My Review:

I read Just Listen for the second time, and since I hadn't written a review when I read it before, I'm writing it now.  It has been a while since I read this book, so rereading it felt like reading it for the first time, except I had a general sense of what would happen.  I loved this book so much.  The story and the characters are simply amazing.


Annabel is a great main character.  It is interesting to see the juxtaposition of her life versus the life of the person she appeared to be in a department store commercial.  In the commercial, she has many friends and a boyfriend.  In real life, she has neither.  One night changed everything for her.  The night that changed things was the night she got caught with her best friend, Sophie's, boyfriend, Will.  Sophie never asked Annabel what really happened that night, and Annabel hasn't told anybody.  It is also amazing to see the changes that occur in Annabel as the story progresses, and she finds some new friends.  She is able to find the courage to tell what happened to her.

Owen is a great character as well.  Annabel has many preconceived notions about him due to rumors she's heard.  He has gotten into a fight at school, and he's had to go to Anger Management classes.  Despite this, he is actually a sweet guy, but very opinionated about music.  He believes that, when it comes to music, he is enlightened.  He has a radio show that plays obscure music that Annabel doesn't like.  He tries to get her to like more genres of music.  He also is extremely honest, and he expects everyone else to be completely honest too, which can be hard for Annabel at times, because there are things she doesn't want to talk about.  The relationship between him and Annabel is a friendship for most of the book, with hints of something more.

There is also a strong family component in this book.  Both her parents and her two sisters have roles to play in the story.  She is the youngest of her sisters.  It is clear that her sisters, Whitney and Kirsten, don't always get along, but they still love each other.  Whitney and Kirsten are opposites.  Whitney is the who has an eating disorder who is more closed off from everyone.  Kirsten is the one who loves to share everything about her life.  There are some good scenes with Annabel and her sisters.

If you like contemporary YA, read this book.