Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Top 15 Books I Want That Are Releasing in 2015

These are books releasing in 2015 that I am the most excited for, and I will be sure to get my hands on them this year.  There is no particular order to this list.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga - I preordered this book at the end of June 2014, so I think I can say that I am very excited to read it.  The idea of a girl falling for a boy who she has made a suicide pact with sounds so interesting, with so much potential to be heartbreaking.  So yeah, I can't wait until my copy of this finally arrives.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand - So, first of all, Cynthia Hand's paranormal Unearthly series was awesome, but contemporary is definitely my favorite genre.  Of course, because of this, I am excited to see how awesome her contemporary will be, since I already love her paranormal.

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios - In 2014, as soon as I got my copy of Something Real, I devoured it and loved every page.  So, naturally, I'm excited to read Heather Demetrios' next contemporary novel.  The premise and story of this one sounds awesome by the description, and I do love this cover.

The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes - First off, this cover is gorgeous.  Second of all, this story sounds like the perfect combination of a survival story and a powerful story about the characters.  So, overall, I can't wait to read this. 

Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes - I loved The Art of Lainey, and even though this looks like a completely different type of book, it's by Paula Stokes, so I'm excited to read it.  Plus, I like darker books like this too.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli - When I first read the pitch for this, I knew it sounded completely amazing.  This is an LGBT book that sounds like it will be lighter and comedic.  Also, it has a You've Got Mail-esque plotline.

Forged by Erin Bowman - So in this book, I will get to see how the Taken series ends.  There is a lot of crazy stuff going on in this world, and I have no idea how Erin Bowman is going to wrap all of it up.  But this book will answer that for me.  Plus, I will finally get to see Gray end up with Bree (hopefully).

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West - This is by Kasie West, so of course it makes it on this list.  It doesn't even have a cover yet, but I know I will love it.  This sounds like one of those fake dating stories that don't end up being so fake.

Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul - Based on the short synopsis, this sounds kind of like Dangerous Girls, but without the murder.  The toxic friendship sounds interesting, and I cannot wait to read this.

The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy - This story sounds like it will be creepy and scary.  The idea of the main character thinking about what happened to her friend once a body shows up is interesting.  This sounds like she will have to contend with many things from her past.

Damage Done by Amanda Panitch - This book sounds so interesting.  The girl's brother sounds pretty scary, and I wonder what her dark secret is.

Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca - This sounds like a great romance story.  I hope that the main character will end up falling for the guy described in the blurb.

Not After Everything by Michelle Levy - I'm excited for this book.  It's pitched as a darker Eleanor & Park, which was a book that I loved, and I read that it's told from a male POV.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera - This sounds like a good LGBT story.  The whole idea of being able to erase memories is really interesting too.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord -I loved Open Road Summer when I read it twice last year, so I look forward to reading Emery Lord's second book.  Also, the cover is absolutely gorgeous.

Katie

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Releases I'm Most Excited For

December 9th:
Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas - This sounds really good.  I haven't read Ask Again Later yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
For Real by Alison Cherry - This sounds like a good reality TV and sister book.  I think I would like it.
No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown - This sounds like a really good book.  The part about auditioning for singing at an arts school sounds like something I would like.  I also really like this cover.

Top Ten Clues You're CluelessFor RealNo Place to Fall

December 23rd:
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner - I really enjoyed These Broken Stars, so I look forward to reading this companion novel.  It sounds like another awesome dual POV story.

This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)

December 31st:
Love and Other Theories by Alexis Bass - I revealed the cover for this on my blog, which was cool.  I really love this cover, and the story sounds so awesome as well.  I can't wait to read this.  It will probably be my first read of 2015.

Love and Other Theories

Katie

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley

Rites of Passage Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty...no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.


My Review:

A common theme that I have seen about this book in reviews is that it makes people angry.  And it certainly did not disappoint in that aspect.  So many of the male characters made me angry at the way they treated the female recruits, and especially Sam.  Despite how angry it made me, I absolutely loved this book.  Plus, I feel that only an amazing book can make someone feel all the emotions the way that this book does.  This will probably be one of my favorite books of all time.  It is so powerful and so well-written.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

Sam McKenna is one of the strongest characters that I have ever read.  I've seen her compared to Katniss, and I'd say that that description fits.  She could certainly hold her own against Katniss in a battle.  The things that Sam goes through during her year at the DMA are horrifying and awful, but she never really considers dropping out or quitting.  I admire her true determination.  I definitely would never go to military school, just for the military training itself, but she endures so much beyond just the training.  I can't even being to truly imagine it.  The drills that all of the company goes through are difficult enough, with all the pushups, and the miles that they have to run each day, but Sam is subjected to so much more than that.  

Many of the boys in this book made me extremely angry.  One of these was Corporal Matthews, who was in charge of the company that Sam was in, Alpha Company, and ran many of their drills.  He was a misogynistic jerk.  He was the main person who treated Sam horribly because she was a girl.  Sure, he was a harsh commander to all the boys in the company too, but he treated Sam differently than how he treated them.  He acted like she was inferior and holding up the company, when she doing better on the exercises than some of the boys.  He was both physically and verbally abusive to her.  Some of the other boys weren't much better.  Luckily, her own company is mainly supportive, especially Kelly, though he does go through a part when he isn't as supportive, and starts becoming distant from her.

The relationship with Drill is very well written in the book, since it is a relationship that is forbidden for Sam.  It is clear from the beginning that she finds keeping her position and succeeding at the DMA more important than dating the guy that she likes.  Drill is in a higher position than her, as her drill sergeant, and it is obvious from the beginning that he isn't going to treat her differently than any of the guys.  He will expect a lot from her, just like he expects a lot from the boys, but he isn't going to try to get her to quit.  I loved him, and how sweet he was to Sam, especially when their relationship really started to begin.  I thought they made a really good couple.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

Katie

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Releases I'm Most Excited For

October 7th:
Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir - I read Christa Desir's Fault Line last year, and it was an emotional and powerful read.  I'm sure this one will be just as good and emotional.
Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez - I've read and liked two Jessica Martinez books before, and this one looks as good as her other books, though very different.  I really like the cover, too.

Bleed Like MeKiss Kill Vanish

October 21st:
Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker - This sounds like a unique premise.  I wonder what is going on in the swamp.

Beware the Wild

Katie

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3) Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.


My Review:

Isla and the Happily Ever After was a very cute read with a great romance as well as an awesome setting.  I loved the references to different places in Paris, and watching the main characters fall in love in the City of Love.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

The relationship between Isla and Josh was certainly not one that was perfect.  She had been crushing on him for years and had some awkward encounters with him, but she never expected that he would end up liking her too.  I think her shock at his feelings for her ended up leading to some of the problems that they had later on, because she has a rather high level of insecurity.  She didn't feel worthy of his love, and she worried too much about his relationship with his ex.  She compared herself to his ex in her mind, and she didn't think that her relationship with Josh could be as perfect as Rashmi's relationship with Josh.

Josh is a sweet guy.  He has his flaws, more in what he does in school, than who he is as a person.  His personality is great.  He is so caring and loving.  He does have the bad habit of skipping class too much, but he has found his passion and knows what he wants to do with his life.  He is clearly talented at art and drawing, which is what he does.  He knows that he wants to go to art school and he has a clear direction for what he wants to do with his life.

I also liked how the friendship between Kurt and Isla was developed.  He is a guy who has been best friends with her for her whole life, and everything between them is completely platonic.  Neither one of them is secretly in love with the other.  The friendship underwent some difficulties as Isla began her relationship with Josh, since she often chose Josh over Kurt when it came to who she spent time with.  Which is understandable since Josh is her boyfriend, but she needs to spend time with friends, too, which she comes to realize throughout the book.  It is was also good to see how accepting Josh was to Kurt, since some of Isla's past friends had been uncomfortable around him.  He has autism, and one of her friends made her choose between Kurt and her, so she chose Kurt, since he wouldn't make her choose.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

Katie

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Releases I'm Most Excited For

September 8th:
No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace - This sounds like a really interesting premise.  I look forward to reading it.

No One Needs to Know

September 9th:
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick - This sounds like an emotional and powerful read.
Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley - This sounds like a different premise from anything that I've ever read before.  It sounds really good.
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang - The narrative perspective of this book sounds fascinating, since it is told from the POV of the main character's imaginary friend.

Kiss of Broken GlassRites of PassageFalling into Place

September 16th:
Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither - This sounds really interesting.  I've never read a book that's about cloning before, so I would like a book like this that explores the idea of cloning.
Echoes of Us by Kat Zhang - I look forward to reading the conclusion to The Hybrid Chronicles series.

Falls the ShadowEchoes of Us (The Hybrid Chronicles #3)

September 23rd:
Remember Me by Romily Bernard - I really liked Find Me when I read it, so I look forward to reading the sequel.

Remember Me (Find Me, #2)

September 30th:
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley - I haven't read much historical fiction, but this sounds really good.  It is set in an interesting time period in US history - when we were starting to desegregate.  This sounds like  it deals with two important issues at the same time.

Lies We Tell Ourselves

Katie

Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

The Things You Kiss Goodbye Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.


My Review:

This was a very powerful and emotional story.  I loved the characters, and I felt for them when bad things happened to them.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

I thought that the evolution of Bettina's relationship with Brady was very well done.  At first, he seems like such a sweet guy.  He even manages to win over her protective dad.  Then, the next year, he changes.  It is clear that he is becoming very emotionally manipulative to Bettina.  He physically hurts, but then he apologizes for it every time, telling her that he didn't mean, and that he didn't realize how much he had hurt her.  Each time this happened, I wanted her to end it with him, but she still didn't.  I could see through her perspective how trapped she felt.

I had very mixed feelings on Bampas.  I realize that he was just being overprotective, but he was protecting her from what she didn't need protected from, instead of from Brady, the boy she did need protected from.  For example, Bettina asked Bampas if she could go to a movie with a girl from school.  Bampas said that she couldn't go because it would make Brady upset if she went out with friends without him.  Of course, Bampas didn't know that Brady was abusing, but he still shouldn't think that a girl can't go out with friends without her boyfriend.  He also isn't very nice when Bettina's mom suggests that they all go to see the game that she is cheerleading at.  He says that he needs the time in his home after work.  

Cowboy was such a sweet guy.  I thought of him as more of the friend that Bettina needed than as a love interest for her, since he was quite a bit older than her.  Of course, Bettina's feelings for him do grow and change over the course of the book.  He was exactly what Bettina needing to escape from her relationship with Brady.  And, he had had some things happen to him in the past, too, so he understood what Bettina was going through.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

Katie

Friday, August 1, 2014

Review: Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls, #1) High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally's ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs. 

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors' publicist arranges for Van and Liam to "date" for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.


My Review:

I thought this book sounded good, and I'm glad I bought it and read it, because it was really awesome.  The romance, friendship, and Hollywood stuff was all great.  I'm really excited to read the companion novel Under the Lights, about Van and Josh.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

I really enjoyed the romance in this book between Ally and Liam.  Liam was such a sweet guy, and I liked how he wanted to just date Ally normally, but the TV and movie star stuff made it difficult for him.  His feelings towards acting were complex, since it wasn't something that he really wanted to do in the first place.  Then the publicity stunt of having Van and Liam date happens.  This is difficult for Ally, and we know how difficult it is for her since we are in her head.  The book also shows us that it certainly isn't easy for Liam.  He doesn't want to go on dates with his fake girlfriend when he'd rather be with his real girlfriend.  And he can't take Ally on the public dates that he'd like to go on with her, at least not without wearing a disguise.  So, the road of their relationship isn't an easy one to travel, but it is still so adorable.

Ally's family is also important to the book, which I loved.  Her dad is going through treatments for his cancer, which has a rather grim prognosis.  Ally is dealing with the difficulties of seeing him in the hospital during his treatment, and knowing that it is likely that he won't survive many more months.  Her little sister even asks her what it will be like once he dies, which isn't a question that Ally knows how to answer.  Her dad's illness is what leads her to get a job as Vanessa's assistant, since she's not going to have enough to pay for college because of all the medical bills. 

The friendship between Vanessa and Ally is very genuine and well-written.  Just because Van is a celebrity now doesn't mean that she isn't still best friends with the girl who's been her best friend since they were kids.  She really cares about Ally and wants to help her out when she needs it.  She would be willing to just give Ally money to help pay for her college, but Ally won't accept that.  So instead, she hires Ally as her assistant and then recommends her to Liam as a French tutor.  Van and Ally do have some rough patches, but they know how to move on past them.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

 Katie

August Releases I'm Most Excited For

August 5th:
Deadly Little Sins by Kara Taylor - I don't even know what the mystery will be in this one, but I am excited for it because I liked Prep School Confidential.

Deadly Little Sins (Prep School Confidential, #3)

August 14th:
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - I really enjoyed both Anna and Lola, so I'm looking forward to reading this one.  I'm excited that parts of it take place in Paris.

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)

August 26th:
Astray by Amy Christine Parker - I liked Gated when I read it last year, so I look forward to seeing what happens next in the sequel.
Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo - This sounds like an interesting story.

Astray (Gated, #2)Six Feet Over It

Katie

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: #scandal by Sarah Ockler

#scandal Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...


My Review:

This was a good read filled with a lot of gossip and drama.  There are some mysteries in here, and the answers to them were ones that surprised me.  This dealt with online scandals as well as cyberbullying.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

There are two main mysteries that Lucy is trying to figure out the solution to in this book.  When she went to a prom after party, someone took her phone and took a bunch of incriminating pictures of a lot of the other people at the party.  This person then went and posted the pictures on Lucy's Facebook page, since she was logged into Facebook on her phone.  People are mad at Lucy because they think she posted the pictures.  One girl, Olivia, seems especially mad because her dad saw a very embarrassing photo of her, and she is grounded because of this.  We do find out near the end of the book who took the phone and posted the pictures, and I was surprised by this culprit.  The other mystery is the one about Miss Demeanor.  Lucy isn't really actively trying to solve this mystery for much of the book, but it is just a kind of thing to wonder about.  Eventually, we do find out who is behind the online Miss Demeanor page, and this is surprising as well.

 There is a lot of cyberbullying, and real life bullying, in this book, and some of it is pretty harsh.  Someone creates an online page called Juicy Lucy, which many of her classmates follow, and they post pictures of Lucy and Cole, and say mean things about Lucy.  In school, her classmates call her a narc and a slut.  They think she's a slut because she "slept with" her best friend's ex-boyfriend, though she didn't actually sleep with him.  They slept in the same bed, but they didn't sleep together.  They call her a narc because she supposedly posted pictures from the party.  There is a group in the school called e(VIL) who supports Lucy.  They are against the use of online social media, and this does show the problems associated with social media.

Lucy's relationship with her sister is important to this story as well.  Her sister is Jayla Heart, a star who has been smeared in the tabloids many times.  I was surprised when I found out Jayla was Lucy's sister, since Jayla had been mentioned earlier than that, but I had no idea that they were related.  Anyway, her life parallels Lucy's in some ways, since they have both had untrue rumors spread about them.  Though, I guess some of the rumors were at least partly true.  Jayla is struggling now, in ways that Lucy won't even really know about until later in the book.  I liked how Lucy's feelings towards Jayla changed, since she originally seemed ashamed of her sister.

I wish that Ellie's character had been in the book more.  I thought she should have talked to Lucy about what happened much sooner.  Lucy made a mistake by doing what she did with Cole, but Ellie hadn't even told her best friend that she and her boyfriend had broken up, so it's not like she was being a perfect best friend either.  I feel like I didn't really know her character.  Griffin was kind of hot and cold for me.  She was sometimes nice to Lucy, and other times, she ditched her for Ellie.  I can see how the situation would be hard for her, though, since she was stuck in the middle and didn't want to choose sides, though it did seem like she chose Ellie's side more often.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

Katie

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.


My Review:

I read On the Fence all on a seven-hour car ride.  I pretty much read the entire book in one sitting, only stopping when we stopped the car to eat dinner.  I loved this story.  It was engaging with good characters.  It was mainly a cute and fluffy read, but with a few darker topics explored as well.  I love Kasie West books, and I look forward to reading more of them in the future.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

I loved Charlie's character, and her growth and development throughout the book.  At the beginning, she is a complete tomboy who has no female friends.  She hangs out with her three brothers and their friend, Braden, and she plays sports with the guys.  She starts to change a bit once her dad makes her get a job to pay off a speeding ticket.  Her job is at a boutique where she has to dress nicer, and a makeup artist starts to put makeup on her for weekend demonstrations.  She becomes friends with Amber, the makeup artist, as well as with Linda, the interesting lady who owns the boutique.

The romance in this book was a slow burn that went from friendship to romance.  I loved when Charlie and Braden had their chats by the fence.  These really let them get to know each other on a deeper level.  It was clear how different they acted when they were by the fence, than during the day when they were with Charlie's brothers, and teasing each other.  The romance that developed between the two of them was very sweet.  They both had feelings for each other, but they took a while to admit it because they thought the other didn't feel the same way.  There is a little bit of a love triangle for a short period of time, but it's not really a love triangle in my opinion.  Charlie does date another guy for a little bit, but it's clear to the reader who shes actually going to end up with.

I loved how family was also a very important part of the story.  Charlie lives with her three older brothers - Nathan, Jerom, and Gage - and her dad.  Her mom died when she was younger.  Her family may be keeping secrets from her about her mom's death.  The secrets that they are hiding are the part of the story that is a bit darker.  Other than that, this is just a cute and sweet family story.  Seeing how the dad sometimes struggles with parenting a teenage girl is interesting.  He has to be there for her for stuff that typically a mom would do with a daughter, or talk about with a daughter.  It is difficult for him, but I think he does a very good job raising her.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

Katie

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: In the End by Demitria Lunetta

In the End (In the After, #2) The thrilling conclusion to In the After, the survival story of Amy and Baby, set in a near future where Earth has been overrun by vicious, predatory creatures. 

It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.

One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.


My Review:

Last year, I read In the After shortly after its release, and I sped through the pages, loving it.  This year, I bought my copy of In the End the week it released, and I read it soon after that, speeding through the pages just as quickly as the first one.  I love both books in this series, and the characters and world that are explored within their pages.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

This book starts by exploring another part of the After that was not seen in the first book.  This is Fort Black, another shelter for survivors.  Life in this shelter, though, is much bleaker than New Hope.  Fort Black used to be a prison, and many of the guards there now are ex-convicts.  It is especially bad there for women.  To survive, they basically have to be claimed by a man there so that they have a protector.  Amy doesn't like this, but she finds a good guy who pretends to "claim" her, but he doesn't treat her like she's his property.  There are many men in there who are sexual predators, the main one being Tank.  He had been in jail for some heinous crimes, and later you find out about something awful that he did in Fort Black during the After.

Jacks is a very sweet guy, in a place where so many of the men are awful.  He stands out from the crowd.  He cares about Amy, having no true ulterior motive for protecting her, other than that he cares about her and doesn't want her to get hurt.  He may like her as more than a friend, but he isn't going to try to force a relationship if she doesn't want one.  I like Amy and Jacks as a couple, more than Amy and Rice as a couple.  They seem to have better chemistry and care more for each other.  Amy and Rice's relationship seems like it could have easily remained a friendship.

Though Baby may not be in the story for the majority of the book, she is present in motivating Amy.  Amy cares deeply for her "sister," and she will do anything to save her, even finding another person to replace her.  Amy does many difficult things in this book for Baby.  I like the ending that we get with Amy and Baby, though I was worried for a bit that there wasn't going to be any good ending to their story.

If you like YA post-apocalyptic and sci-fi, read this book.

Katie

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth About Alice Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

My Review:

This is a very quick read, coming in at only 199 pages long, and I was able to speed through it, since it was also engaging.  This book has an important message about slut shaming, and how it is wrong, as well as showing how people's versions of the truth can vary so much.  And, of course, the only person who can truly know the truth about Alice is Alice herself.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

This book alternates in POV, and we do not get to read the POV of Alice herself until the very last chapter of the book.  That chapter was so perfect, because it really showcased the pain that she had been going through because of the way everyone was treating her.  Her character is well developed.  She definitely did not do everything that she accused of through rumors, but she certainly has slept with some guys before.  That doesn't mean she deserves any of what is happening to her, though.

Kelsie is a very complicated character, and quite flawed.  She does some awful things, but she's also been through some really awful things too.  She mentions the Really Awful Thing a few times, and while I don't want to spoil what that is, it was pretty bad, and I can see why Kelsie is still struggling with the aftermath of it.  That doesn't excuse her from what she did.  She spread lies, and started a "Slut Stall," about her former best friend Alice.  Alice, who would have still been her best friend if Kelsie hadn't decided to dump her.  Kelsie is the kind of person who cares more about her popularity than about sticking with her friend and believing her instead of the rumors.  So, I cannot say that I liked Kelsie, but she was a fascinating character.

Kurt was certainly my favorite character of the entire book.  He was a sweet genius who had never really fit in with the kids at school, but he was also secretly in love with Alice.  I love how he falls for her as a person.  He never wants to be with her just because he thinks she will sleep with him.  In fact, he doesn't try to make any moves on her.  He is just there for her as a friend, which is something that she really needs.

Elaine and Josh didn't seem as dimensional.  I didn't like Josh because of some of the things he thought.  He used Alice as the scapegoat for the accident, and he seemed to think that if Alice had texted Brandon than it was obviously Alice's fault that he was distracted.  I didn't like Brandon either because he seemed like a jerk.  Elaine seemed like she was into her popularity, and she didn't really care about people's feelings like Alice.  Her relationship with Brandon seemed rather superficial as well.

If you like YA emotional contemporary, read this book.

Katie

Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Breathe, Annie, Breathe Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.


My Review:

I loved this book.  I expected it would be amazing, since it's a Miranda Kenneally book in the Hundred Oaks series.  I'm not completely decided on this, but it may be my favorite of her books yet.  I loved the characters in this book, as well as all the cameos of the characters from the other books.  For some reason, this book came in the mail several weeks before its release date, so I got to read it early.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

I loved the romance in this one.  It was such a slow burn, but with a lot of chemistry between the two characters.  I loved how it was slow burn because it really needed to be too.  After her last boyfriend's death, it wouldn't seem in character of Annie to rush into a relationship with someone new.  The doubts she had about a relationship with Jeremiah made so much sense for someone in her situation.  She doesn't want to care about Jeremiah and lose him because he takes so many risks.  Of course, when she trying to convince him not to take these risks, she already cares about him, so it's already too late.  I could tell that she was totally falling for him.

The running stuff in the book was very interesting.  I was so impressed by how much Annie was able to run, and her struggles that she faced with it were so relateable.  Of course, she's struggling to make it through many miles, while I struggle to make it through one mile without having trouble breathing.  But the issues that she had running many miles were ones that I could see myself having if I actually tried to do that.  I was so impressed that she did the half marathon and the marathon.  Also, there was a color run in this book, and I had just been to a local color run a few days before starting this book, so that was a funny coincidence.

I loved how the characters went to college before the end of the book.  That means that we got to see a bit of college and dorm life in the book, which isn't something that is very typical for young adult novels.  I liked how Annie roomed with Vanessa, since I liked her character in Racing Savannah.  There are so many cameos in these books.  Jordan from Catching Jordan is now a coach at Annie's school, so she had two small cameos.  Matt from Things I Can't Forget is Jeremiah's brother, and Annie's running coach.

If you like YA contemporary and Miranda Kenneally books, read this book.

Katie

Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.
 
A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.
 
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.


My Review:

This was a wonderful story with a good romance, characters, and plot.  I found myself wrapped up in this story and unable to put it down.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

The romance in this book is a perfectly done, slow burn.  Emi has gone through her on-again, off-again girlfriend breaking up with her for the sixth time.  She wants to be able to move on from her, but at the same time, she sometimes just wants to get back together with her again.  That is, until she starts falling for someone else.  She meets Ava, the granddaughter of a dead film star, who never knew he was her grandfather.  Emi meets her when she's investigating a bit of a mystery, but then she begins to fall for her.  There is a lot of build-up to the final scene.  As a reader, I had a feeling the whole time that Emi and Ava would end up together, so it was more about the journey to that point.

There was also a friendship in this book between Emi and a girl named Charlotte.   Charlotte encourages Emi to not get back together with Morgan, her ex, because she cares about Emi and doesn't want her to get hurt again.  She is always there for Emi when Emi needs her.  They see each other a lot since they both have careers in the movie industry, and they are both living in Emi's brother's apartment.  She is there to help Emi through everything, including her developing feelings for Ava.

Emi's family is in this story for part of it, though she doesn't live with them.  They are very caring to her, and they are welcoming to her friends.  There is a lot about Ava's family in this book as well.  She never knew her biological mother or grandfather, and her life would have been quite different if she had known that Clyde Jones was her grandfather.  She has plenty of issues with her adopted mother, who was her mother's best friend.  She doesn't always treat Ava well, and there is a scene in the book where we see her being a total jerk to her daughter.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.

Katie

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Releases I'm Most Excited For

July 1st:
On the Fence by Kasie West - The premise of this book sounds awesome, but the main reason I'm excited for it is because it's by Kasie West.  I have read three Kasie West books so far, and I love all of them.

On the Fence

July 15th:
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally - I've loved all the Miranda Kenneally that I've read so far, and this book looks just as awesome as the rest of them.  I love this cover, too, though it's different than the covers of her other books.

 Breathe, Annie, Breathe

July 22nd:
Extraction by Stephanie Diaz - This sounds like it will be an interesting sci-fi story.  That cover is pretty awesome, too.

Extraction (Extraction, #1)

July 29th:
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead - I look forward to reading the next book in the Bloodlines series, and I hope for more Sydney-Adrian romance.

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)

Katie

Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: Split Second by Kasie West

Split Second (Pivot Point, #2) Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.


My Review:

I read Pivot Point when it first released last year, and since then I have read it again.  As soon as my preordered copy of this arrived in the mail, I began to read it.  I really liked this one, and I had trouble putting it down.  I liked how I got to read both Addie's POV and Laila's POV this time.  I never finished this review when I originally started writing, so I reread the book so I can finish the review, and it was equally as amazing the second time around.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

The parts of this book told in Addie's POV contained some deja vu at first, but I'm not saying this is a bad thing.  I liked this, how I was seeing characters I remembered from Pivot Point that Addie did not remember.  One person that she meets soon after arriving at her dad's house is Stephanie.  Now this is Stephanie, Trevor's ex, who didn't like Addie at all in Pivot Point.  This makes it more surprising when they become friends.  I thought it was funny that she met Trevor's little brother before she met Trevor.  When she was talking to him, I wondered if he was the brother, and he was.  And, of course, she meets Trevor.  He seems familiar to her, but that doesn't mean she has the memories of him.  She knows she wants them back though.  Also, Trevor is starting to get suspicious when Addie does a couple of normally impossible things in front of him.

I liked how we also got to read Laila's POV in this book, since I liked her character in Pivot Point.  She has some interesting plans up her sleeve after she reads a note that Addie wrote to herself.  Of course, Laila wasn't supposed to be the one reading the note, but she finds out that she might be able to restore memories.  In the future that Addie didn't choose, Laila had already learned how to do that, but the Laila in the present doesn't know how.  She knows of one person that can help her, and this person is Connor Bradshaw.  Their relationship doesn't exactly start off on the right foot.  This is a hate-to-love romance, and I really loved it.  Watching Laila open up to love is awesome.  She meets her match in Connor, a boy who she can't manipulate, so everything between them has to be real.

There is a lot going on in this book that has to do with the secrets that the Compound is keeping.  The Containment Committee is pretty scary, since they are willing to do any memory to keep the Compound secrets from getting out to the world.  They also don't care if they need to manipulate someone's feelings and test them to see if they are trustworthy.  What they did to Addie in this book was pretty low.

If you like Kasie West books, read this book.

Katie


Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Fan Art When the picture tells the story…

Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not. Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.


My Review:

Fan Art was a sweet, fluffy LGBT book.  The story was cute, with a good build-up to the romance.  From the beginning, I knew who Jamie was going to end up with, so it was about the journey to seeing that actually play out.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

Jamie was a well-written character.  He makes plenty of mistakes throughout the book, but he's a good guy.  He has come out to his family, but he is afraid of rejection, so he is not comfortable coming out to his friends.  He doesn't want to lose them if they are unwilling to accept his sexuality.  Also, his mom and stepdad are awesome.  I loved how they were supportive of his sexuality.  They didn't care that he was gay, and his mom even encouraged him to start dating boys.  She hoped that he would bring a boyfriend home to meet her someday.

Mason was such a sweet guy as well.  I liked seeing how Jamie's feelings for him developed, even though he tried to ignore them.  He didn't seem like the type of guy who wouldn't accept Jamie's sexuality, yet I can still understand why Jamie was reluctant to tell him.  I figured that he probably felt the same way about Jamie.  There were some moments when it seemed more obvious, like during the whole McCall fiasco.  The romance with Jamie and Mason was adorable, especially the moments that they shared after graduation.  It doesn't seem like it is going to be easy for Mason to be out, especially with his dad, but I think he's still going to be okay.  Plus, he's leaving for college in the fall, so he won't have to see his dad as much.

Eden is a good friend of Jamie's in the book.  She has figured out his sexuality with her own gaydar.  She is lesbian, so she knows what it's like, though she is technically out in school, though her family won't accept her as out, making her have pretty much the opposite situation as Jamie.  She is Jamie's prom date, and he even pretends they are really dating so her family will think she's dating a boy.  She also has a brother, Nick, who is quite homophobic, and calls Jamie "fagmag."  Jamie refers to him as the Redneck.  It is interesting to see how homophobic he is when is own sister is a lesbian.  Eden really wants Jamie and Mason to be a couple, which is nice, but sometimes she takes this a little too far, like when she draws a picture of them without thinking about how the picture could make Jamie feel.

There is a plot throughout about the literary magazine, Gumshoe, and how Jamie is trying to get an LGBT comic included.  This plot was interesting, because it showed how unwilling some people were to have this included.  In the end, Jamie made a mistake with how he went about including the conflict, but I can see that a compromise wasn't going to happen.  Some of the poems in the book that were in the magazine were pretty interesting.

If you like YA light contemporary LGBT, read this book.

Katie