Friday, July 31, 2015


New (and sort of new) Covers!


Love the covers for Salt to the Sea, Down with the Shine, and the cool font for Tell the Wind and Fire! I'm kind of sad that TSoM&Y is changing covers (the original is gorgeous), but the new one is cute.

What are your thoughts on these covers?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mini-Reviews: The Prey, The Good Girls, Messenger of Fear


Title: The Prey
Author: Tom Isbell (@TomIsbell)
Published: January 2015
Series: The Prey #1
Genre: YA Dystopian
Pages: 404
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher (unsolicited)
Find on: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads
Rating: Okay

A hot debut trilogy and a riveting story of survival, courage, and romance in a future where creating a master civilization is the only thing prized, no matter the method. After the Omega (the end of the end), 16 year old guys known as LTs discover their overseers are raising them not to be soldiers (lieutenants) as promised, but to be sold as bait because of their Less Than status and hunted for sport. They escape and join forces with a girls’ camp, the Sisters, who have been imprisoned and experimented on for the "good of the Republic," by a government eager to use twins in their dark research. In their plight for freedom, these heroes must find the best in themselves to fight against the worst in their enemies.
Highlights: The Prey undeniably begins in an intriguing and  utterly brutal world. And once the story gets going, Isbell keeps increasing the intensity as the stakes get higher and the characters are forced to fight for their survival. The action scenes are especially thrilling.

Lowlights: Despite all of the action and mystery, I wasn't really interested in the story or the characters. The characters especially seemed very bland and stereotypical, which made it hard for me to care about them, let alone want to know what happens next for them. While the world is intriguing, it's also very small - Isbell keeps vague about details that could expand this world, and centers the story in a handful locations. All in all, the writing style and this story wasn't for me.


Title: The Good Girls
Author: Sara Shepard (@sarabooks)
Published: June 2nd, 2015
Series: The Perfectionists #2
Genre: YA mystery/thriller
POV: 3rd, multiple
Pages: 368
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher (unsolicited)
Find on: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads
Rating: Really Liked
From Sara Shepard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, comes the shocking sequel to The Perfectionists--with an ending you'll have to read to believe!

Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things. Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn't actually go through with it. It's just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right? Except Nolan wasn't the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they're being framed. Or are they about to become the killer's next targets?
Highlights: The girls from The Perfectionists are back, and if you think you know what's going to happen in this book, guess again. The killer steps up their game in this story, leaving no one safe as the body count rises and the mystery builds. And Shepard makes it quite a fun mystery to unravel. Even after I correctly guessed the Big Bad, Shepard still manage to throw in another plot twist that completely blew my mind and left me with the desire to reread the first novel in order to see how I could have possibly missed it. The Good Girls is a thrilling sequel that pull you in with exciting chapters and twists.

Lowlights: The characters still don't feel like real people. They're easy to differentiate from one another, but the constant jumping back and forth in POV makes it hard to really connect with them or even see them as fully-developed characters. 


Title: Messenger of Fear
Author: Michael Grant (@MichaelGrantBks)
Published: September 2014
Series: Messenger of Fear #1
Genre: YA paranormal
Pages: 272
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publicist (unsolicited)
Find on: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads
Rating: Great

I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear. 

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out . . .

Highlights: Grant excels at writing eerie scenes, and I was glued to this fast-paced story from the first page to the last. The Messenger himself is a fascinating side character, undoubtedly full of secrets. His job is both just and somewhat villainous, as he gives those who have done something wrong the chance to play a game in order to atone for their mistakes. Mara's time with the Messenger is predictable, but fascinating as she struggles to find out what she's doing there and why he needs her. Grant packs in a myriad of themes and ideas into such a small number of pages, but it never felt overwhelming. Instead, this creepy story packs a punch with strong morals and ideas. Excellent worldbuilding and an intriguing start to a new series, Messenger of Fear is a disturbing and haunting tale that will leave you eagerly waiting for more. 

Lowlights: Fascinating story, but far too short. The twist was very predictable, and the story far too formulaic (I wonder if it was intentionally written that way, because I know Grant is skilled at writing a surprising and unique story).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Blogoversary Giveaway: 6 YEARS!!!!

Today, my blog turns 6 years old! YAY!!!!!!!!!!

I'm kind of in shock that this blog is that old. Sometimes I feel like I've been blogging forever, and other days, it feels like I only just started. Before I get to the fun (giveaways!), I wanted to take a moment to share a very quick list of things I've learned from blogging:

6 Things I've Learned From Blogging

6. The blogosphere is full of amazingly kind, incredible people. One of my goals this summer to reach out more to each of you (readers, bloggers, authors), because all of the the small interactions I've had so far have been so positive and fun. There may be some drama now and then, but the blogosphere is full of so many people with good (bookish) hearts. 

5. Book blogging is a surprisingly great learning tool, especially for anyone looking to be knowledgeable in social media. I'm going to be teaching in the fall, and I'm looking into ways to possibly incorporate blogging / social media into the curriculum, since it's such a huge part of students lives today. Additionally, blogging has taught me to learn things like HTML -  While I would never hire me to build a website, I have basic skills in HTML now, and can usually figure out how to adjust / change certain features. It's fun to be able to know how to do those kind of things. 

4. There are so many under-the-radar books I never would have known about if I hadn't of been a part of the blogosphere. I used to only read a handful of authors back when I was a non-blogger, and so I'm grateful to the blogging community for pointing out so many incredible stories and authors that I would have missed. 

3. There's no right or wrong way to blog. And that's what I've come to love - how each blogger has their own style and way of doing things. It's fun to be able to participate in memes, but also post on books or bookish topics that I want to discuss. But what's even better is that blogging allows for growth, and change. You're never stuck - you can always shake things up with something new, whether it's a new type of post or style of writing. 

2. Blogger / Reader interactions are always a highlight. Whether it's one comment on a blog post or twenty, one bookish tweet or a dozen, I'm always excited to see what other bookworms have to say, and to have the chance to fangirl over books with other people. 

1. Despite the fact that blogging can become stressful, crazy, chaotic, at the end of the day, it's an incredibly fun, worthwhile hobby that I am so glad to have. I've been around for 6 years, and taken weeks or months off here and there, but I always come back each time I step away. 

I wanted to say THANK YOU so much to my readers, new and old, regular readers who comment and silent lurkers who stop by only occasionally. You all rock, and you make book blogging such an amazing experience. I look forward to another year of blogging and growing as a blogger!

To celebrate, I'm giving away some books! 

Contest Policy
One YA book, winner's choice, from Amazon or The Book Depository. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check back later today for another giveaway post!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Borrowed From Library

Purchased For College

From ALA | For Review

So many exciting books to read this month! I'm reading Illuminae and The  Bloody Chamber right now, and they're fantastic. 

What books did you recently get? 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (166): WHEN WE COLLIDED

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

April 5th, 2016 from Bloomsbury

Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn't be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi's zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there's something important Vivi hasn't told him.

Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jandy Nelson, When We Collided is a powerful story of two teens whose love is put to the test by forces beyond their control.
Emery Lord has been killing it when it comes to YA contemp, so this one is high on my wishlist. She writes her characters so authentically, and the emotions just jump off the page. Very excited for this book!

What are you waiting on? 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Review: DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas

Author: Abigail Haas (aka, Abby McDonald)
Published: July 16th, 2013
Genre: YA thriller / mystery
Pages: 388
POV: 1st person present
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Kindle eBook
Source: Purchased
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf

Paradise quickly gets gruesome in this thrilling page-turner with a plot that’s ripped from the headlines and a twist that defies the imagination.

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.

But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone ever imagined...
You know how people slow down when driving past an accident, because they are so incapable of not taking a quick glance at the wreckage before them? Reading Dangerous Girls left me with that vibe, where everything is slowly unraveling into chaos, you don't know why you can't look away, you just know you have to see it unfold. Every moment flipping through Dangerous Girls is a thoroughly intriguing one, and the reveal in the end is undeniably a shocker.

Anyone who has ever been in a poisonous friendship will read Dangerous Girls and wait uncomfortably as the story unfolds. On the surface, Anna and Elise are great for each other. They have fun, understand one another, and together, they are simply unstoppable and wild. But underneath, their friendship is a bit less friendly than it should be. And, after Elise is found dead, Anna becomes the number one suspect. Her other friends, and even strangers, are quick to turn on her as Anna attempts to figure out who killed her best friend, and why. As the mystery of Dangerous Girls unfolds through alternating chapters, Haas makes every moment a thrilling ride.

Highlights: Anna is a very accessible protagonist, and it's easy enough to feel sorry for her as she faces such a difficult situation. While I'm usually not a fan of past / present POV chapter switches, it worked in this novel because it allowed a complete view of who Anna and Elise are/were and how this mess came to be. The writing flows nicely, keeping me hooked for hours and hours. Someone spoiled the big twist for me online, but even despite that, Haas still kept me curious, intrigued, and addicted from start to finish. 

Lowlights: It ended? 

Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf: Loved, 4+ out of 5. Despite the fact that I knew the twist ending before going into this novel, I still found Dangerous Girls to be captivating from start to finish. I almost let this story pass me by, and I'm incredibly glad that I decided to check it out. This novel was exactly the thriller / mystery I needed to read, and I loved every second of it. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Giveaway! THIS LULLABY + One Surprise ARC

To celebrate the Summer of Sarah Dessen, one lucky reader will win a paperback copy of THIS LULLABY (thanks to Penguin Teen)! This book is truly the perfect summer read. Read a summary below: 

She's got it all figured out.

Or does she? When it comes to relationships, Remy's got a whole set of rules.

Never get too serious. Never let him break your heart. And never, ever date a musician.

But then Remy meets Dexter, and the rules don't seem to apply anymore.

Could it be that she's starting to understand what all those love songs are about?

ALSO, I'll throw in a surprise winter 2015/2016 ARC. So, the winner will receive the surprise ARC + a copy of This Lullaby!

To enter, use the rafflecopter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mini-Review: THIS LULLABY by Sarah Dessen

Image from PenguinTeen

Title: This Lullaby
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: 2012 (reissue)
Series: N/A
Genre: YA contemporary
POV: 1st person
Pages: 345
Publisher: Speak
Format: Paperback
Source: Publicist (for review)
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf.

She's got it all figured out.

Or does she? When it comes to relationships, Remy's got a whole set of rules.

Never get too serious. Never let him break your heart. And never, ever date a musician.

But then Remy meets Dexter, and the rules don't seem to apply anymore.

Could it be that she's starting to understand what all those love songs are about?

Remy Starr is used to watching relationships fail - her mother, novelist Barbara Starr, is on marriage number five, while Remy is an expert in knowing when to break things off in her own love life. But when a clumsy musician named Dexter bursts into her well-ordered life, Remy finds that her usual rules in romance don't apply, and she might need to give up the rules she clings to if she wants a real shot at love. If you're looking for a sweet summer romance, a slightly complicated family, and a novel with awesome BFF's, This Lullaby is the story for you. 

Highlights: Easily one of Dessen's better novels1, This Lullaby is a delightful mixture of sweet and serious. Remy is one of Dessen's more mature and slightly pessimistic protagonists, with her cynical view on love and messy history. She's blunt, in your face, and isn't afraid to say whatever is on her mind, whether or not you want to hear it2. The love interest, Dexter, is an endearing sort of awkward, quirky, and sweet. Dessen takes care to flesh out each side character out with their own distinct personalities, and manages to create quite a few wonderful characters. While the romance is fun to read, the friendships and familial bonds are equally intriguing and well written. 

Lowlights: Hate Spinnerbait3.

Allusions: Scarlett Thomas from Someone Like You makes an appearance. And any Dessen fan will recognize many of the locations as well, since they are featured in Dessen's other books.

Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf: Loved, 5 out of 5. A story with fresh, believable characters and a unique protagonist, This Lullaby is more than just your typical love story.  

1 The Truth About Forever and Along for the Ride are still my top favorites, but this one comes close.
2 Naturally, she rocks. It's nice to read a Dessen book with a protagonist who is full of attitude. Very different from her other heroines!
3 Sorry. I had to put it somewhere.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (165): THE YEAR WE FELL APART

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

January 26th, 2016 from Simon Pulse

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year, she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hookup, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But the worst mistake was her first one: destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence between Harper and Declan, Declan is home from boarding school for summer break. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger . . . handsomer. But Harper has changed too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on with her. But after she betrayed his trust, he’s also the one person she’s lost all right to seek comfort from.
As shared friends and shared histories draw them together, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still possible to fix and which parts they’ll have to live with forever.
I have such high hopes for this book! Plus, LOOK AT THE COVER! *stares at the loveliness*

What are you waiting on?