Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Quick Update

I fell behind a bit on blogging / commenting because of finals and graduation - life became very, very busy with all of the papers and exams I needed to work on in order to finish the semester. Because of all the craziness, I needed a little time to recharge my mind and some relaxation. But, I'm officially done with my Bachelor's degree! YAY! 

I'll be taking the rest of this week off, and I'll start blogging and catching up on commenting starting next week. 

Hope you are all doing well and having a fabulous week!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: TORN AWAY by Jennifer Brown

Title: Torn Away
Author: Jennifer Brown
Release: May 6th 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 288
Publisher: Little, Brown, BYR
POV: 1st person
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf
"Born and raised in the Midwest, Jersey Cameron knows all about tornadoes. Or so she thinks. When her town is devastated by a twister, Jersey survives -- but loses her mother, her young sister, and her home. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with her only surviving relatives: first her biological father, then her estranged grandparents.

In an unfamiliar place, Jersey faces a reality she's never considered before -- one in which her mother wasn't perfect, and neither were her grandparents, but they all loved her just the same. Together, they create a new definition of family. And that's something no tornado can touch."

One minute, life was normal. Jersey was busy ignoring her little sister, trying to catch a show on the TV. The next, a twister devastates her hometown, destroys her neighborhood, and leaves her alone with a stepfather who doesn't want her and paternal grandparents who see her as nothing more than a familial obligation. Torn Away is a gripping, heartbreaking glimpse into what happens after losing everything and everyone you ever loved. Jersey's journey is a day to day process, full of a variety of emotions and memories. From twisters to messy family reunions, Torn Away is a gripping story about loss and family that is sure to tug at your heartstrings. 

Highlights: I enjoyed how complicated Jersey's relationship was with her paternal family - it was messy, terrible, and it isn't fixed by the end. The beginning tornado scenes were tense, and the aftermath was terribly sad. This story makes you appreciate the time you have with your loved ones, and forces you to realize that the little annoying things aren't worth fighting over. There's barely a hint of romance, and it was the perfect amount, considering the situation. Jersey herself is a great main character, and one who is much stronger than she may initially think. 

Lowlights: I remember feeling like someone hit me in the gut when I finished with Brown's Hate List, so I was surprised by how easily I let this story go once it ended. I wish Brown had spent more time with Jersey's maternal grandparents - I quite liked them, and wish I could seen them and Jersey together for a bit longer. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf (mid-to-high 4 out of 5)


Thanks to Shane from Itching for Books and the publisher, I have one copy of TORN AWAY to give away to one US entrant. Use the rafflecopter below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 5, 2014


Author: Jenny Han
Published: April 15th, 2014
Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before #1
Genre: YA contemporary
Pages: 368
POV: 1st person
Publisher: Simon and Schuster BYR
Format: Print ARC
Source: Vine Program
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

The concept for Jenny Han's latest YA contemporary To All the Boys I've Loved Before is likely every teenage girls worst nightmare, and Han pulls it off wonderfully. Lara Jean [Song] Covey is an apprehensive driver, middle sister, and a quiet, all-around good girl (plus, she has very classy taste in clothing). But, when the five love letters she keeps put away in her deceased mother's old hatbox are mailed to the boys, Lara Jean's life becomes a bit more complicated as she tries to control the damage in any way she can, with a little help from one of the recipients...

To All the Boys I've Loved Before is fun, flirty, awkward, and incredibly entertaining. Lara Jean is an easy girl to relate with, and much braver than she gives herself credit for. I was entirely unsure of what to expect from this novel, and Han surprised me with the directions she took. But, like all Han stories, this novel features realistically flawed characters, a strong emphasis on family, a complicated yet very sweet romance, and healthy dose of drama to tie it all together in one messy but realistic bow. To All the Boys I've Loved Before  is a sweet story that will make you feel a variety of emotions, and enjoy every second of it.

Highlights: Han excels at creating realistically flawed human beings. They make smart decisions and silly mistakes, they bicker and fight, they make you smile, they make you sigh with annoyance, and they make you chuckle under your breath. Lara Jean's family is very present in her life, and even when everything is chaos, they are still there for each other. 

Lowlights: I wasn't ready for the story to end. The romance aspect is only just beginning, and I'm curious to see where the sequel will take readers. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf (high 4 out of 5). While I love Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty much more, To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a wonderful story about family, friendship, and romance.