Tuesday, March 30, 2010

For Keeps by Natasha Friend Review

Book: For Keeps
Age: YA
Release date: April 6th, 2010
Pages: 267
Source: Publisher
For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It's been the Gardner Girls against the world, and that's how Josie likes it. Until one day, in the pet food aisle of Shop-Co, they run into the parents of Paul Tucci, Kate's high school boyfriend--the father Josie has never met. If Mr. and Mrs. Tucci are back in town, it's only a matter of time until Paul shows up. Suddenly Josie's mature, capable mother regresses to the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away.

Meanwhile, Josie's on the verge of having her first real boyfriend, while her free-loving best friend, Liv, begins yet another no-strings-attached fling. When Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci, she finds herself questioning what she's always believed about her parents--and about herself.
Review: For Keeps is sweet, thoughtful, and realistic. 

For Keeps delivers a tale about Josie, her mother Kate, and all of the relationships that touch their lives. For Josie, Kate is the only parent she's ever known, and she likes it that way. They have such a unique relationship, and it's absolutely refreshing (to begin with, anyway). Josie keeps people at an arms distance, especially boys like Matt, who seems to be quite interested in her. You can't really blame her though, since her own father Paul Tucci left Kate years back when she was pregnant.

So when Paul's parents, and Josie's grandparents, move back to town, everything gets a bit more complex. Suddenly, Josie's facing her grandfather on almost a daily basis, dealing with her budding relationship with Matt, and watching her mother fall for a guy that just doesn't seem to fit.

Highlights: I really found this novel easy to get into, and I adored the way Friend portrayed the relationships in the novel. I've got to admit too, some of the revelations that Josie makes regarding her family just broke my heart a bit. 

Lowlights: Josie's best friend, Liv. At first I kind of liked the girl, but then she got on my nerves. Also, it seemed fairly obvious where this story was leading up to (kind of like A + B = C). The story was a bit too predictable for my tastes, yet enjoyable.


Monday, March 29, 2010


Melissa from I Swim For Oceans is having a great giveaway for two signed copies of Glorious by Bernice L. McFadden.The novel sounds like a wonderful and touching story. Melissa gave it 4 out of 5 stars, so it must be great!

But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 3rd!! Click here to go enter!!!

And don't forget to go check out Teens Read and Write, they have an awesome interview with Bree Despain as a part of The Dark Divine Blog Tour, and some The Dark Divine Nail Polish up for grabs!

And as a quick addition, the lovely Raila from Get the Books Out of the Bookshelves is having a 50 Follower's contest!!! She's got a copy of The Body Finder and some swag up for grabs, so check it out!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In My Mailbox 24

IMM is hosted by The Story Siren.

For Review:

Exit Strategy by Ryan Potter (Thank you Ryan!)

The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride (Thank you Egmont USA!)

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller (Thanks Penguin!)

Paisley Hanover Kisses and Tells by Cameron Tuttle (Thank you again, Penguin!)

Pixie Dust by Henry Melton (Thank you Henry!)

Birthday Gift:

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman (FINALLY! I've only been dying to read this for a year!)

Hope you all had a great week and are having a fantastic weekend!

Lea :)

Blog Tour: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain + Giveaway

Today is my stop for Bree Despain's debut novel, The Dark Divine (released on December 22nd, 2009). If you haven't read this novel, you absolutely must go check it out!!

Which character was the most difficult for you to develop in The Dark Divine?
Definitely Jude. He's such a complex character. He also seems so perfect at first, but probably has more inner conflict than anyone else in the book. There's so much going on with him, but most of it is behind the scenes because he doesn't have as much "screen time" as Grace and Daniel.

Secrets play a large role within the plot of The Dark Divine...what's one secret that readers' might not know?
Hmm, about me or the book? How about I give you one of each...

About the book: Don Mooney's family history becomes more important in THE LOST SAINT (the sequel to TDD).

About me: I live in a house full of boys, yet I can best any one of them in a burping contest. In 9 years of marriage, my hubby has only won 3 times.

What's your favorite memory so far regarding The Dark Divine (writing stages, pub day, et cetera)?
Probably my debut party. Because of the holidays, my official launch party signing was scheduled to be a couple weeks after my actual pub day. But I didn't want my book b-day to go without any celebration (how anti-climatic would that be!) so I threw a party for my closest friends and family to thank them for all their support.

My BFF (who is a wedding planner and photographer) handled the arrangements for me, and it turned out so amazing. We served food featured in the book, and there were so many candles and flowers in the place that it felt like a dream. The best part was being able to get up and personally thank each person who was there and share how they contributed to making TDD possible.

If you had to choose: Daniel or Jude?
Daniel. All the way.

Thanks for the interview Bree! I'm very excited for The Lost Saint!!

Now onto the giveaway, I have three lovely bottles of The Dark Divine violet nail polish (thank you Nisa!) to give away. Open only to US (sorry! If you have someone in the US I can mail to, feel free to enter).

Please go to The Sweet Bookshelf, http://thesweetbookshelf.blogspot.com/ tomorrow to see the next stop on The Dark Divine Blog Tour.

Friday, March 26, 2010


All right, there were a total of 912 entries for the signed arc of SHADE by Jeri Smith-Ready contest, and the winner is.....

Congrats Denise! I just sent you an email, so email me back within 48 hours!!

Huge thanks to everyone who entered or posted about this contest! I'm sorry you couldn't all win, but be sure to go show Denise some love on her blog!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson Review

Age: YA
Release date: May 18th, 2010
Pages: 352
Source: YA Addict (for a tour)
Torn between two destinies...

Claire is having the perfect sixteenth birthday. Her pool party is a big success, and gorgeous Matthew keeps chatting and flirting with her as if she's the only girl there. But that night, she discovers something that takes away all sense of normalcy: She's a werewolf.

As Claire is initiated into the pack of female werewolves, she must deal not only with her changing identity, but also with a rogue werewolf who is putting everyone she knows in danger. Claire's new life threatens her blossoming romance with Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. Now burdened with a dark secret and pushing boundaries of forbidden love, Claire is struggling to feel comfortable in either skin. With her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, she will make a choice that will changer her forever....
Review: Claire de Lune was nothing like what I expected, but in a great way.

At first, I was a bit perplexed that everyone seemed to know about the werewolves, but I kind of liked how Johnson really made it her own story that way. There's a bit of romance mixed into the story, which definitely complicates Claire's life even more. Despite the werewolf aspect, it seemed to be fairly realistic, which kind of caught me off guard.

The beginning starts out with Claire learning that she's a werewolf, and her struggle with this new part of herself (the physical change, keeping it a secret, et cetera). Claire definitely didn't ask for this, and it was easy to see that at first she was so upset about it all. Claire is a very likable protagonist, and I found it easy to relate to her.

The plot moves along nicely, keeping the suspense rolling as to who is attacking people in the town, while Claire struggles with all her different relationships (friends, love interest, et cetera). At times, a bit more action would have been nice, but overall, Claire de Lune was spectacular.

Highlights: There were plenty of mysterious moments, and the description was wonderful. I loved the moments that Claire was changing into a werewolf, they were always so intriguing. I couldn't help myself but to keep flipping the pages, curious as to what would happen next, so this is definitely a great aspect to the story and the writing. I really loved the relationships in this novel as well, especially the moments between Claire and her mother, when they really (and finally) started to understand one another as the barriers between them fell.

Lowlights: I felt like the rogue werewolf was presented very obviously (which bothers me, because I usually love the guessing game where I keep switching ideas of who it is), and I also really disliked how some of the pack members weren't fully delved into. I honestly kept forgetting about the other pack members entirely, which is such a shame since I really enjoyed reading about the pack. 

As a whole, I really, really enjoyed the story and hope that Johnson's next one it just as incredible!



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Book: Fallen
Lauren Kate

Release Date:
 December 8th, 2009
Won from Ellz Reads
There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at Sword & Cross boarding school in Savannah. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are screwups, and security cameras watch every move.

Except Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce -- he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret...even if it kills her.
Review: Fallen is dark, mysterious, and interesting (despite it's flaws).

When Luce shows up at Sword and Cross, she makes only a few friends, and a couple instant enemies. Yet, she can't seem to stop thinking about Daniel (even if he is a complete jerk to her....repeatedly. But that's the new "sexy", right?), but then there is nice ol' Cam (maybe I'm the only one that gets the "creeper" vibe off this guy?). Needless to say, she's got herself in one interesting love triangle that I couldn't tear myself away from. Add to that the mysterious shadows that Luce always sees, and quite a few more interesting moments (and accidents) at Sword and Cross, and you've got yourself a page turner. I'd say more, get a bit more detailed, but then I'd ruin the entire plot.

While I enjoyed the story, there were some flaws and inconsistencies. Despite this, the writing is wonderfully addictive. The story is intriguing, and I never really knew just what was going to happen next, which is fun for a reader like myself. 

Fallen weaves mystery, intrigue and shocking moments into one enchanting story. I was shocked quite a few times.

Highlights: The description kept me interested, and it was an easy novel to lose myself in. The pages kept turning and turning until I was done, and I was surprised at how quickly I finished. This is just one of those novels that keeps you curious, keeps you wondering, which was a definitive plus. Lauren Kate's writing is just my style, so I'll definitely be excited for the second installment, Torment

Lowlights: A lot of emphasis was placed on looks. "He's so hot, sexy...His smoldering eyes...blah, blah" (this is a generalization) -- Obviously, this wasn't working for me. Who cares if he's hot? Is he a nice guy (not at first)? Is he a good guy (questionable)? Sometimes I wanted to slap Luce, because she really focused too much on a pair of guys, and neither were really interesting beyond the looks department. I'll definitely be looking forward to seeing more about these two guys, development-wise.

Also, security was almost a joke in this novel. The teens ran off whenever they felt like it, and never got caught. They tamper with the security cameras, without consequence. How about some realism here?

In the end, I really enjoyed the story, as long as I didn't think about the details and just focused more on the story and the writing.

Rating:   3.5 out of 5