Monday, December 30, 2013

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

The Promise of Amazing

Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.
Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.
One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

I really enjoyed The Promise of Amazing. It’s Robin Constantine’s debut novel, so I didn’t have any expectations in terms of what to expect from Constantine writing-wise. However, the cover and summary are both adorable, so I had fairly high expectations when it came to the actual story. Though I wouldn’t call The Promise of Amazing one of my favorite books, I like it a lot. While I was reading it, I couldn’t bring myself to put the book down. Constantine’s writing and characters captured me completely. The story is adorable, the characters are unforgettable, and the writing is superb. That being said, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing from the story. I’m a huge fan of adorable romances that make you think, and The Promise of Amazing accomplished that. However, it just seemed to be missing something that would really set it apart from all of the others.

That being said, I did really enjoy it. Wren and Grayson’s story is fun and easy to read. In terms of being a YA romance, Constantine did everything right. The characters never fell flat and neither did their chemistry. I loved every part of The Promise of Amazing. I wish I would have had more time with the characters, because they were all so darn adorable. Wren’s family is crazy, but you can’t help love them. Grayson, though at times got on my nerves, was ultimately a great character and companion to Wren.

The Promise of Amazing is adorable and addicting. It will appeal to fans of John Hughes movies and Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson. The characters and their story come alive and practically jump off of the page. Robin Constantine is definitely a writer to watch.

FTC- Received from publisher via Edelweiss.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Blog Tour and Scavenger Hunt: Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin

18336825 In my post, you’ll notice that I’ve linked to one song from the Another Little Piece of My Heart Claire’s Summer Survival Playlist. There are 12 songs on the playlist in total, and therefore 12 stops on the scavenger hunt (posting from November 29 – December 1). Find them all, and discover 12 chances to win great Harlequin TEEN books and Another Little Piece of My Heart swag.
But there’s more! One grand-prize winner will be randomly drawn to receive a $25 iTunes gift card in addition to books and swag! To enter for the grand prize, send the complete, 12-song playlist, along with your contact information (including the address where you’d like to receive your prize) to the author by using this contact form: The winner will be notified by email after the contest ends on December 5th.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the playlist using the contact form above by December 5th at noon Eastern Time. Entries sent without the correct playlist or without contact information will not be considered.

Song Number 11 on the playlist is Afterlife by Nemesia!

You can buy Another Little Piece of My Heart HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Originals by Cat Patrick

1579088617-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life...
Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.

This is the first Cat Patrick book that I’ve read, and man did it make me want to read more of her books. The Originals was fantastic. I had no idea what to expect, and what I found was a shockingly original novel that I couldn’t put down. Cat Patrick executed her idea beautifully. There was never a dull moment, and there was action on nearly every page. It was impossible to put down.

Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey are triplets, but their differences set them apart from each other wonderfully. Though Sean isn’t the only love interest to appear between the three sisters, he is definitely the best. Sean forces Lizzie to see that she’s different from her sisters, which leads to Lizzie uncovering some shocking secrets about her family. This leads them on a wild adventure that adds awesome twists and turns to the story.

I highly recommend The Originals. It has made me want to explore Cat Patrick’s other novels, and I’m sure it will have the same effect on you. The Originals is addicting, original, and an overall really fascinating read. Every single character is written flawlessly, and it’s most of them are really easy to relate to.

FTC- Received for review via Netgalley.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Presenting- Entangled Flirt! and a Giveaway

Today is the launch of 5 new stories that are a part of Entangled Publishing’s romance imprint, Flirt! Flirt focuses on publishing romance short stories for every type of romance reader. Here is a bit about each book that Flirt is launching with, and at the end of this post there will be a Rafflecopter giveaway for three lucky winners (Grand Prize: Kindle Fire, Second Place: $50 Victoria Secret Gift Card, Third Place: $25 Amazon/B&N Gift Card)
by: Chloe Cole
Human sexuality professor Cricket Malloy typically likes bad boys, but when buttoned-up science teacher Tucker Lamb needs help with an experiment on aphrodisiacs, she goes the extra mile to help him out. After all, what could go wrong? He’s totally harmless…
Tucker Lamb was born into a life of a grifter. He used to pride himself on his fast fingers and quicksilver tongue, but ever since being placed in the witness protection program, he’s been on the up and up. Still, something about Cricket Malloy makes him ache to see if his tongue is as fast as it used to be.

Buy it from Amazon HERE.
Buy it from B&N HERE.
18810372Cowboy’s Way
by: Cathryn Fox

Sports medicine doctor and weekend cowboy, Chase Cooper, is ready to settle down, and he’s beginning to wonder if his best friend from high school, Mari Blair, could be the one that got away.  Coop and his buddies have come up with a plan, but he never imagined it would be Mari’s sister, Julia—the girl who was always off-limits—, who would take him up on his invitation.
When lawyer, Julia Blair, finds herself on a dude ranch half way across the country, only to discover the invitation was meant for her vivacious twin sister, she knows she has two choices—go home alone or walk a day in her sister’s shoes. When she sets eyes on sexy cowboy Chase Cooper, the choice becomes easy. She's determined to stay and have some carefree fun while at the ranch.
Coop can’t believe the mix up, but when he discovers Julia wants to play, then play they will. When things get steamy and playtime becomes so much more, he’s determined to prove she’s the girl for him. And he’s not above using a few tricks of the trade to get his point across…

Buy from Amazon HERE.
Buy from B&N HERE.
18761270Falling for the CEO
by: Audra North

Finance genius Meredith Klaus prefers numbers to people, especially around the holidays. At least the large sum of money that’s mysteriously vanished from the company accounts will distract her from the ghosts of Christmases past. Until her sexy boss asks her to be his last-minute date to a fundraiser gala, that is, and the promise of a special evening calls to something long-buried in her.
Andrew Stanton, Manhattan’s best-known philanthropist, has worked hard building his reputation in the industry. He offers to work closely with Meredith to fix his company’s financial crisis, but the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to look at her as just a colleague.
A beautiful dress. A handsome man on her arm. A challenge she can’t refuse. Can they find the missing money and fulfill their holiday wishes, or will Meredith be unable to overcome the demons of her past and lose her chance at happiness?

Buy from Amazon HERE.
Buy from B&N HERE.
18761342If You Dare
by: Jessica Lemmon

Lily McIntire is tired of losing every office wager to her overly cocky—and yeah, devilishly handsome—coworker, Marcus Black. After a few too many tequila shots, and a taunt from Marcus that she's a wuss, Lily lays down a bet he can't refuse: One night in the abandoned and spooky Willow Mansion alone for his recent office win, a trip to Hawaii.
There's only one thing Marcus wants more than his upcoming vacation to Hawaii, it's to take his sexy coworker on a real date. Every time he's tried to get close to her, she's shut him down cold. Too bad the sexual tension just keeps climbing the charts. Now, he'll have to scare her out of the mansion if he has any chance of going out on a real date with her any time soon.
But in between trying to scare Lily out of her pants and get his hands into them, Marcus realizes there’s more to Willow Mansion than either of them counted on. Suddenly, it’s not just he and Lily that are going "bump in the night".  If they manage to survive the night and escape the mansion unscathed, can they survive each other in the light of day? Or will what happens at Willow Mansion stay at Willow Mansion?

Buy from Amazon HERE.
Buy from B&N HERE.
18761394Playing Doctor
by: Jan Meredith

When a fellow RN jokingly predicts that Beth Roberts will meet a tall, ripped and totally lick-o-licious stranger who will fulfill her deepest desires, it’s supposed to be from across a crowded room, not giving CPR to a wedding guest. Given her tragic love life, Beth has no desire to become involved again, but who could have predicted the ponytailed doctor with the mischievous smile would break through her defenses?
Dr. Gabriel North blamed himself for his wife’s death. Now, after two years of battling guilt and meaningless hookups, he’s ready to move on. When he sees the sexy brunette at his friend’s wedding, his attraction is swift and strong, and he wastes no time in pressing his advantage. One night with the woman who makes him feel alive again isn’t enough, but gaining her trust as a man was going to take more than medical school had prepared him for.
Buy from Amazon HERE.
Buy from B&N HERE.
18761457Take a Chance series bundle
by: Diane Alberts

What happens in Vegas...can lead to romance.It took one wild night for Sergeant Jeremy Addison to realize that Vegas? Was a bad idea.Bloody. Bruised. Dehydrated. Abandoned in the desert, and left to stagger down the road. The only way this leave could get worse was if his savior was his ex-best friend's sister...and the girl he'd loved since childhood.
The last person Erica expected to find on the roadside was her high school crush. She hadn't seen Jeremy in seven years—ever since the night he said he loved her, and she ran away. Losing him then had been a mistake, but wanting him now could be catastrophic if he discovered the secret that chased every other man from her life. But with a tall, tattooed Marine determined to prove he's always been faithful, can Erica resist his advances...or will she surrender ground and give love a try?
Thomas Jones has come to Vegas to win yet another account for his marketing company. But when he sits across from beautiful and sensual Brianna Falk to deliver his pitch, his desire to leave Vegas as quickly as possible is replaced by the need to get closer to her. Yet she resists his charm.Brianna knows a date with Thomas could jeopardize her job, but he’s so maddening and insistent, she has a hard time denying him just one date. But that’s all it can be: one date. Because she has to protect her job and her secrets, even if it means giving up a chance at a life she never thought she’d have again.
Even the best-laid plans can go awry. Single-mom Kiersten Worth knows a bottle of champagne and night of hot, no-strings-attached sex is the perfect solution to her jilted bride blues…and Garrett Kelly, long-time friend and her teenaged son’s sexy basketball coach, is just the stud for the job. Garrett wants more from the elusive temptress than a casual affair, but he never expects it to come in the form of an unexpected pregnancy. When he proposes an unorthodox solution—move in and raise their baby together—Kiersten has to decide whether to let down her guard and open her heart to the man who secretly loved her for years, or risk losing his tender embrace for good.
Married in the morning…Professional heartbreaker Mike Worth thrived on the chase—and dancer Morgan Collins represented the ultimate prize. But there was no way he was going to throw away his single-man status…not even for an elusive redhead with sparkling eyes and mile-long legs. So how did he let one drunken Vegas night end with I do instead of hell no?
Morgan’s life revolved around her career and she had no intention of letting a man interfere—even if Mike made her question all her rules about love. At his urging, she reluctantly agreed to give their spur-of–moment marriage a chance. But once their trial-honeymoon ended, would she choose to follow the dance and leave her unforgettable husband behind?

Buy from Amazon HERE.
Buy from B&N HERE. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hideous Love by Stephanie Hemphill


An all-consuming love affair.
A family torn apart by scandal.
A young author on the brink of greatness.
Hideous Love is the fascinating story of Gothic novelist Mary Shelley, who as a teen girl fled her restrictive home only to find herself in the shadow of a brilliant but moody boyfriend, famed poet Percy Shelley. It is the story of the mastermind behind one of the most iconic figures in all of literature: a monster constructed out of dead bodies and brought to life by the tragic Dr. Frankenstein.
Mary wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, but inspiration for the monster came from her life-the atmospheric European settings she visited, the dramas swirling around her, and the stimulating philosophical discussions with the greatest minds of the period, like her close friend, Lord Byron.

I really wanted to like Hideous Love more than I did. I love books in verse and I love books that involve people writing books, so I had fairly high expectations when it came to Hideous Love. That being said, I was pretty disappointed. Stephanie Hemphill thought of an amazing idea. I love the fact that this is about Mary Shelley while she was writing Frankenstein. But to me, the writing just fell flat. I usually find myself flying through verse books, and can usually finish them within a few hours. However, I found myself trying to force myself to get through Hideous Love. The writing isn’t bad per-se, but it was just really slow and at times it felt like Hemphill was holding back.

I enjoyed getting to read about Mary Shelley, and in the beginning her story really interested me. However, as the book progressed I found myself getting tired of her. Yes, Shelley’s is a story wrought with scandal. Though this is interesting and added more depth to the story, the barrier created by the slow-paced prose distracted me from a story that I probably would have otherwise enjoyed.

Though I didn’t enjoy Hideous Love as much as I would have liked, I think fans of historical fiction and those interested in the life of Mary Shelley would really enjoy it. Despite not being able to connect to the writing, I admire Stephanie Hemphill for thinking of writing about Mary Shelley’s life through verse and will be on the lookout for her next book.

FTC- Received from publisher via Edelweiss.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

On Reviewing Books

Hey everyone!

I know the reviews have been slim around here, but I promise that there will be more posting soon. I’ve been reading a whole bunch, I just haven’t had time to write the reviews. However, I also have a question for you all.

I started this blog in 2008 (5 years ago, eep!), when I was 12. Since then, my reading taste has kind of changed (but only recently). I still read YA, since it is my one true book love. But more recently, I’ve started to read adult romance and New Adult. My question for you is- would you be interested in reading reviews of those types of books too? They obviously deal with more racy/sexual content. So how do you feel about me posting reviews of romance and new adult books on here? Let me know in the comments!

I’m still teetering on whether or not I want to write reviews of the romance books I read, so your opinion will help me decide that. If you don’t want to voice your opinion in the comments, you can always email me at zaser_jam AT yahoo DOT com. I always love hearing from you.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Legend by Marie Lu

9275658What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

I have no idea why I put off reading this for so long. Once I started reading Legend, I couldn’t stop. Marie Lu kept me under her spell until the very last page, and even then I couldn’t help but want more of the story. Legend is unlike any dystopian book that I’ve read before. It has action and romance, which coexist flawlessly.Though I know that writing is a difficult task, Lu made it seem effortless. Her prose is smooth, and always leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat.

June is one of my current favorite book characters. She was independent, smart, and totally kick-butt. Though June is basically a genius, I loved that she didn’t go around flaunting it. Yes, she used her smarts to get where she wanted to go- but she never flaunted her intelligence. She was a genuine character, and I couldn’t help but love her. From Day’s first chapter, I was enthralled with him. He’s this really interesting, badass crusader and I completely succumbed to his appeal. Though both characters have pretty intense emotional and familial issues, Day’s issues were more in the moment and therefore I think they were written better. That being said, it was still easy to empathize with June’s situation.

The world building in Legend was incredible. Legend is the kind of book that needs really intense, detailed world building in order to work- and Marie Lu is an excellent world-builder. Though the world that Legend is set in has the opportunity to get kind of confusing, I never once got confused regarding what was going on.

Marie Lu is a fantastic writer. I honestly can’t believe I put off reading Legend for as long as I did, and I regret putting it off. Legend is a one of a kind novel that isn’t easily forgotten. The writing is beautiful, the characters are magnificent, and the story is one like you have never read before. I can’t recommend Legend enough.

FTC- Received for review.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Thrill of It by Lauren Blakely

Today I have the cover reveal for the fantastic new New Adult book by Lauren Blakely, The Thrill of It! Here is a summary of the book, and at the bottom of the post you can enter to win a giveaway for one of three signed copies of The Thrill of It! You can pre-order the book HERE.
A new adult story of Love. Sex. Addiction. Blackmail. And Power...
Some say love can be an addiction. Others say it's the thing that
makes life worth living. Let me tell you everything I know about
love...Love isn't patient, love isn't kind. Love is a game, a chase. A
thrill. Love is wild and war-like, and every man and woman must fight
for themselves. At least that's how it was for me. A high-priced
virgin call girl by the time I started college, I was addicted to love
and to sex. Even though I've never had either. I controlled love,
played it, and held the world in the palm of my hands. Then I fell
down from those highs, and I'm being blackmailed for all my mistakes,
forced to keep secrets from everyone, except the only guy I don't
With all the other women, I knew what they were. They were temporary.
They were pills, they were bottles, they took away all the pain, and
numbed the awful memories that wore down my ragged, wasted heart.
Until I met Harley. She's the only girl I ever missed when she walked
away. But now she's back in my life, every day, and there are no
guarantees for us, especially since I don't know how to tell her my
secrets. What happened to my family. All I know is she's the closest
I've ever come to something real, and I want to feel every second of
How can you love with no regrets when regret is all you know?
Without further to do, here is the cover!
The Thrill of It by Lauren Blakely for Oct 16 cover reveal
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem's story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson's own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

I can’t even explain how excited I was for Just One Year. I loved Just One Day so much, so when I got the sequel in my mail, I basically screamed and danced around my house. It was all worth it, because this book is fantastic. I loved the whole concept of Just One Year. I loved that it had the same events as Just One Day, but from Willem’s perspective. Since I hadn’t read Just One Day in a few months before reading Just One Year, parts of the book were confusing. However, I was still able to figure out what was going on. I just recommend that you reread Just One Day before picking up Just One Year.

Ever since the first book, I’ve loved Willem. Given, there were some times where I got really annoyed with him. However, in the end, Willem is a fantastic character- and Just One Year reinforces that. Willem was sad for a lot of this book. It got to the point where I was kind of getting annoyed with him. However, I understand why he was so sad- and his emotions were both justified and realistic. I loved how his perspective provided a whole new depth to his and Allyson’s story. This sort of series hasn’t been done before, and it’s a great idea. Though she didn’t appear in the story much, I still love Allyson. Even weeks after first reading Just One Year, I still can’t get her and Willem out of my head. These characters are unforgettable. As soon as you start reading about other characters, these ones just pop right back into your head.

Gayle Forman has been one of my favorite writers since I read If I Stay, and her books have never disappointed. Just One Year is an unforgettable novel about how there’s two sides to every story- and how someone’s life can change in just one year. Forman’s writing is spot-on. If you haven’t read Just One Day (or Just One Year) you need to go pick up a copy right now, because it’s amazing.

FTC- Received for review.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

An Interview with Trish Doller, author of Where the Star’s Still Shine

Today I have the amazing Trish Doller here for an interview. She wrote the recently released novel, Where the Star’s Still Shine. It’s fabulous, and you can find my review of it here. Without further to do, here is the interview-

  1. Where the Stars Still ShineWhich character in Where The Stars Still Shine can you relate to the most, and why?

I think I most relate to Callie’s dad, Greg. While I’ve never had a child go missing, I am a parent and to write Greg I had to put myself in his shoes. Callie is frustrating and I can imagine that sometimes he wants to lash out at her and be angry, but at the same time he’s fearful that he’ll push her away. Greg and I both had to coax Callie slowly out of her shell.

  1. Did you have to do any research before/while writing Where The Stars Still Shine? If so, what was your favorite and least favorite things to research?

The most fun research was visiting Tarpon Springs--the town in which the book is set--where I ate a lot of Greek food, visited gift shops, and took a ride on the dive tour boat that was inspiration for the boat in the book. It was much more difficult to research sexual abuse and mental illness. But I wanted to make sure that Callie’s mother’s illness was handled with sensitivity--and accuracy--and that Callie’s responses to sexual situations rang true.

  1. Both your first book, Something Like Normal and Where The Stars Still Shine deal with really intense topics. What do you think draws you to write such intense novels?

The easy part of my answer is that I like reading intense books. The harder part is the why...and I guess it’s because I find the darker parts of life more interesting. That’s not to say I’d never write a light-hearted romance, but I’m fascinated with finding out what my characters will do when life is hard.

  1. Where The Stars Still Shine has a wildly swoon-worthy love interest. Can you recommend some YA books (besides your own, of course) that have some swoon-worthy boy characters?

I swoon so hard for Ryan in Raw Blue, an Australian YA novel by Kirsty Eagar. He’s my hands-down favorite book boy. Followed a close second by Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and I really love Brigan from Kristen Cashore’s Fire.

    5. Can you tell us anything about what you have coming up next?

My next book is tentatively titled Arcadia Falls, but that will be changing soon, and it’s due in April 2015. It’s about Arcadia Wells, a small town Florida girl who impulsively joins a couple of good-looking boys on a road trip through Florida. Except one of the boys is not what he seems. The trip goes tragically wrong and Arcadia hopes she’ll make it home alive. It’s a little bit of a departure from Something Like Normal and Where the Stars Still Shine because it’s kind of a psychological thriller, but I’m really excited about it!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Simone Elkeles’s books. I loved her Perfect Chemistry series. Naturally, I was excited to read Wild Cards. Though I appreciated that this book had less “boy from the slums falls for the good girl” than the usual Elkeles books, it did still have a little bit of that vibe. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE those stories. but after awhile, it gets old. That being said, Elkeles’s writing is still as amazing as usual. Overall, I think I liked this plot better than her other novels, but it also seemed less steamy (and I love steamy).

Though Derek puts on the front of being a “bad boy”, it’s evident to see that there’s more to him. It was easy to get annoyed with Derek. He made confusing decisions that didn’t take anybody into consideration other than himself. A lot of the times, he didn’t treat people fairly, and was quick to judge. However, he did have his moments. Derek was also sweet to Ashtyn and ultimately was driven to do the right thing. Ashtyn is tough. She wasn’t afraid to go out and get what she wanted. At times, she got a little weak- but that’s what makes her more realistic. Though the relationship between Derek and Ashtyn is a rocky one, it is a signature Simone Elkeles romance. It makes you swoon and go weak in the knees.

Though I had problems with some aspects of Wild Cards, I ultimately liked it. The book was addicting, and the romance was to die for. Elkeles stays true to her writing style, and produces unforgettable characters.

FTC- Received for review.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still ShineStolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Words cannot even attempt to describe how much I love this book. Trish Doller is such a talented writer. Her debut novel, Something Like Normal, was one of my favorite books of 2012. Where the Stars Still Shine is one of my favorite books of this year, and it is unforgettable. I keep wanting to talk about it and shout my love of it from the roof tops. This book is beautiful.

Callie’s story isn’t an easy one. It’s hard to process, and even harder to read about. However, she’s an extremely strong character, who is able to overcome the difficulties she faces- and ultimately succeed. It was nice seeing Callie take hold of her own life. The boy in Where the Stars Still Shine is the best. He is one of my favorite YA boys of 2013, and totally swoon-worthy. Trish Doller excels at writing good, unforgettable characters. These ones are still stuck in my head, and I finished the novel awhile ago.

Trish Doller is an amazing writer. Her writing is lyrical, fast-paced, and genuine. These characters are the best. I didn’t think I could love Where the Stars Still Shine as much as I loved Doller’s debut, but I do. Her writing just gets better and better, and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

FTC- Received for review.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace

The Truth About You and Me

Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things.

Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennet. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured - and missed out on - in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love.

There's only one problem. Bennet is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen - because she hasn't told him the truth.

The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennet - both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.

This book is a whirlwind of a novel. Amanda Grace (the pseudonym of Mandy Hubbard) consistently writes beautiful novels that are shockingly honest. The Truth About You and Me captured me from the very beginning. Grace’s writing is beautiful and lyrical. I always look forward to reading her novels, because they never cease to amaze me.

Madelyn isn’t the easiest character to empathize with, but she is still a well written character. Her emotions come across beautifully in this narrative, and I honestly wanted the best for her. I hate to admit it (because of what this book deals with), but I really liked Bennet. Part of Amanda Grace’s writing style is making you see both sides of the story. Yes, student/teacher relationships are bad, and everyone knows this- however, in The Truth About You and Me, Grace brings to light the fact that things aren’t always how people perceive them. Despite Madelyn and Bennet’s relationship being illegal and socially unacceptable, reader’s are still able to see how much Madelyn cares for Bennet. This is probably my favorite part about this novel, along with all of Amanda Grace’s other novels. They make it easy to see that there are multiple sides to every story.

The Truth About You and Me gave me so many emotions. I was laughing, swooning, and crying with the turn of a page. Amanda Grace/Mandy Hubbard is a wonderfully talented writer. I can’t wait to read her next book, because it’s sure to be fantastic.

FTC- Received via Netgalley.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlA coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow beehind?

I love Rainbow Rowell SO MUCH. I love her writing so much that I used all caps. I never use all caps. I was a little late on to the Rainbow Rowell fandom, but once I read Eleanor and Park I was completely hooked on her writing. I couldn’t wait to read Fangirl. I wasn’t even worried if it would live up to my expectations. I knew it would. I read this a few weeks ago, and I’m still ecstatic about it. Rainbow is a writing genius. Fangirl is addicting, thought-provoking, and awe-inspiring.

The characters in Fangirl are impeccably real. I would gladly sit down with them over coffee any day. Cath was so relatable. Her love of Simon Snow was adorable and one of the best things about the story. Fangirl had fan fiction. I mean, do I need to say more? Though the bits of fan fiction that were included in the story distracted a bit from the actual story, I liked it. I just loved all the characters in Fangirl. I honestly have no complaints about the story. This book is one of the ones that you read when you need a friend, or if you feel like curling up with a good, unforgettable novel.

Rainbow Rowell is one of the best young adult authors of today. Her writing eclipses that of other novels. I can honestly say that Fangirl was one of my favorite novels of this year (along with Rainbow’s YA debut, Eleanor & Park). This review isn’t so much a review, as a huge fangirly post about how much I love Rainbow and her writing. But, everything in this is totally true. Fangirl is SO GOOD. You should all go read it, because I’m sure that you will love it.

FTC- Received for review via Edelweiss.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Guest Post- Daisy Whitney, author of Starry Nights

Today I have a guest post by the fantastic Daisy Whitney to share with you all. Her new book Starry Nights was recently released, and it’s about pictures that come to life in a Paris museum (it is such a good book, you should all go read it pronto). Since the novel takes place in Paris, I asked Daisy what her all time favorite thing to experience in Paris is.

My favorite thing to experience in Paris is, quite simply, all of it!

But if you’re going to force me to specify - I’d have to say my favorite part is simply wandering through the city. I’d start along the River Seine, watching the water as it winds through the city, and enjoying the people-watching along the bridge. Then I’d cut through the sixth arrondissement and gaze upon the gorgeous homes, admiring the windows and flower pots and courtyards and all the cool doorways because Paris rocks when it comes to pretty doors - orange, green, purple, blue, gleaming chrome and massively tall and high doors too! Then, I’d catch the metro to Montmartre and meander along the curvy cobblestoned streets, checking out the adorable little homes and flats and cafes, and stopping in a fantastic bakery or two, finding the best apricot tarte and nibbling on that as I then made my way to the Marais for a falafel that’s the best in the world.

In a nutshell - walking, looking and eating. That’s what I love to do most in Paris.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney

Starry NightsSeventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.
The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest art . . . at the expense of the greatest love they've ever known.

I’m a huge fan of Daisy’s writing. However, I totally wasn’t expecting Starry Nights to end up the way it did. I went in to the novel without reading the summary, so I didn’t really have a full understanding of the plot before going into it. This lead me to be pleasantly surprised when I realized that Starry Nights isn’t just a Contemporary YA novel. It has this really cool thing going on, where the main character (Julien) can see paintings come to life after the museum closes. I love this idea so much. It’s super original and overall really fun to read.

Julien was *so* fantastic. I loved how much he loved art and how passionate he was about the museum. Clio was equally as great. The relationship between her and Julien was adorable, and I’m still not over it. I love how, despite the way things end up playing out, they still fight for each other. Starry Nights explores how far two people from (literally) different worlds will go to stay with each other. It is beautiful.

Daisy Whitney has always been one of my favorite writers, and Starry Nights just reinforces my love of her writing. Julien and Clio’s story will capture your heart and won’t let go. Starry Nights is the type of novel that, once you’ve finished reading it, you have to sit back and process the enormity of what you have just read. Whitney has written an original novel that I hope everyone will be talking about.

FTC- Received from publisher.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkSet over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

Words cannot accurately convey how much I love this book. I was way late to the Eleanor and Park fangirling party (I first read the book in June). However, I am so there right now. I had heard countless praise about this book so I was extremely excited to read it. Eleanor and Park more than lived up to the hype. I couldn’t put this book down. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is hopeful and heartbreaking and unforgettable. Her characters fly off the page, and you can’t help but relate to them.

Eleanor and Park were both fan-freaking-tastic characters. They were both ridiculously easy to relate to, and I immediately felt a connection towards them. I loved the connection that they had to each other, and to music. Eleanor’s home life sucked, but she prevailed and was fantastic. Park is lovely and sweet and awkward. He tries to rebel and though it totally works on his parents, readers will just fall more in love with him. My favorite thing about these two characters is how they interact with each other. Eleanor and Park was the sweetest, saddest, yet most hopeful novel I have read in a long time. Eleanor and Park’s relationship with each other is unforgettable. It perfectly captures the awkward high school years, where you don’t know if you want to be alone or if you want to share your high school life with someone. I honestly have no complaints about any of the characters. I loved them all so much, even the ones who I disliked (in terms of personality).

I have no idea what to say about this book, besides the fact that you should go out and buy it right this instant. Yes, this book caused tons of hype. Yes, that will probably make a lot of you weary to pick it up. However, the hype is more than worth it. You will never want to forget Eleanor and Park- and you never will. Even months after first reading it, I keep finding myself going back to re-read Rowell’s brilliant prose. Rainbow Rowell has almost instantaneously become one of my favorite authors. Her characters are witty and relatable, and her writing is beautiful. Eleanor and Park is a must-read for everyone.

FTC- Bought.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Quest To Do All Of The Things aka School is Starting

I’m writing this on the eve of my first day of school, and it will be posted on my first day of school. So, hello from the past!

This post is just a little update to tell you all that I’m starting school again and because of that, I may not be very active on twitter or any other social networking sites. However, let’s be honest, I will probably be on twitter a lot because I love procrastinating. I’m starting my senior year of High School (eeeep!), which means that life will be even crazier than usual. However, I’m still going to be doing all of the book things that I regularly do. And here is a list that rounds those things up- (1) This blog which is basically my baby (2) Interning for the lovely Sarah Ockler, whose books you should read (3) Interning for the lovely Daisy Whitney, whose books you should also read (4) being an Editorial Assistant at Teen Eyes Editorial (5) setting up book festivals and moderating literary events and fangirling like a madwomen (6) being a reading intern for the new and lovely Creston Books.

My school schedule this year is the craziest it’s every been. I’m taking 3 AP classes, an Honors class, and then two normal classes (but those normal classes are Pre-Calculus and Shakespeare, so they will still be crazy). I’m also hoping to get an actual job at some point, and also join clubs because this introvert should really branch out some more.

I was going to make this post longer, but I’m tired and I should really go to bed so I’m not late on the first day of school.

That being said, despite being busy, I still LOVE to hear from all of you. You can email me, or tweet to me (@zoealea). We can talk books, TV, movies, or anything else. I love talking to all of you because you are awesome.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Playing With Her Heart by Lauren Blakely

** This book contains some sexual content that isn’t appropriate for younger audiences.**

17452343When you’re acting the role of a lifetime, how can you know if love is real—or all just a part of the show?
Twenty-three year old rising theatre star Jill McCormick has built a life out of pretending. Pretending she’s happy, pretending her long-distance crushes add up to something real, pretending she’s not haunted by the dark secret that shattered her world six years ago. Cast in her first Broadway show, she desperately needs to keep her façade intact, but that’s before she comes face to face with her devastating new boss…
Hot-shot director Davis Milo knows the first rule of directing: never fall for your leading lady. Captivated by Jill’s raw talent, he fights his feelings, but watching Jill on-stage with another man is more than his jealous streak can take. Keeping things professional isn’t an option. He wants all of her.
Soon the ingénue and her director are staying late in the empty theatre, their private rehearsals spiraling into new, forbidden territory. Caught up between fiction and reality, Jill struggles to find the truth in all their staged kisses. But how can she be sure that what she feels is real, and not a part of the play? And when two people spend their lives pretending, what happens after the final curtain falls?

I admit it, I was one of those people who "didn't read romance books". I thought it wasn't my thing and all I could think of when I thought about romance books were the masses of older ladies coming into the used bookstore I used to work at- all purchasing huge hoards of romance books. They would usually finish the stack of books within a week, and would then proceed to come back for more. So up until yesterday, I didn't read romance books.

And then I read Playing With Her Heart. And now I would proudly say that I read romance books, because Lauren Blakely has changed my mind. In the past day, I've read three of Lauren's four books. All of them have been beyond fantastic, but Playing With Her Heart has been the one that's stuck with me the most.

Not only are the characters good, but so is the writing. Blakely captured me from the very first page. I was immediately hooked, and couldn't stop reading. Jill is a strong minded main character who isn't afraid to go out and get what she wants. She wants a career on Broadway- and she gets it. She wants Davis Milo- and she gets him too. Jill, like the rest of the characters in Playing With Her Heart was very well written. She had an incredible amount of depth. Her past, and the way she tried to hide it, added so much to her character. Jill wasn't just what she appeared to be on the outside- she was so much more. She jumped off of the page, and completely took over. Another character that did this was the gorgeous,dark, and brooding Davis Milo. I always talk about loving YA book boys, but Davis Milo is definitely my favorite romance book boy. Every scene with him was electric. He took over the story and demanded to be noticed. Any scene with him is guaranteed to be extremely sexy and extremely unforgettable.

Lauren Blakely is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. Playing With Her Heart captured my heart, and I don't want to let it go. Davis and Jill were both fantastic characters, and I really want to know more of their story. This is a must read for anyone who is looking for a good, steamy story that doesn’t fall short when it comes to depth.

FTC- Bought.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Since You Asked by Maureen Goo

Since You AskedA humorous, debut novel about a Korean-American teenager who accidentally lands her own column in her high school newspaper, and proceeds to rant her way through the school year while struggling to reconcile the traditional Korean values of her parents with contemporary American culture.

Before I started reading Since You Asked, I hadn’t really heard much about it. I saw the cover and the book looked cute and sassy, so I decided to pick it up. Though I did like the book, I was also disappointed. This book was cute and sassy, yes. However, at times the sassiness got to the point of sounding immature.

The main character, Holly, starts out being really awesome. She writes for his high school newspaper, she’s determined to stay true to herself, and has no problem with speaking her mind. However, at times she took it too far. Holly’s column went from being a space to share her honest opinion, to being a space where she just ripped on everything that was happening for no reason. Her motivation at times felt fake- and so did she. Though Holly’s bluntness is what makes her relatable to many teens, it is also what makes her unrelatable. She is angry about so many things. I’m a teenager, I know that teenager’s are moody and angry and filled with angst. But from my own personal experience, I’ve never met a fellow teenager who is this full of angst. It was rare to find a moment in Since You Asked where Holly wasn’t complaining about something. There were parts that I liked about Since You Asked. I liked the overall idea of the novel, despite my problems with how it was executed. I liked all of the secondary characters. They added some reality to the story, and I really liked all of the relationships.

Though it wasn’t my thing, I think that some people would enjoy Since You Asked. It reminded me of something that may be like YA chick-lit, minus the super-romance aspect. Going in to it, you have to be prepared for Holly, though.

FTC- Received via Netgalley.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Book Events!

Every so often I post about book event’s happening in my area. Partly so those of you who live in the CA Bay Area will know about the awesome events and hopefully attend, and partly because I just adore my local indie Copperfields.

So today, I’m here to tell you all about two that I’m SUPER EXCITED ABOUT. The first one is with Stacey Jay and Corina Vacco. This excitement is both caused by my love of both of the authors and their books (I mean, seriously. I’m reading Corina Vacco’s book right now, and it is freaking awesome) and by the fact that Copperfields asked me to moderate the event. Yay! The other event is with actor/writer extraordinaire Chris Colfer. I (sadly) won’t be able to go to the event, but I love the fact that he’s going to be at Copperfields. So, without further to do, here is the information-

Corina Vacco (author of My Chemical Mountain) and Stacey Jay (author of the Juliet Immortal series, and most recently Of Beast and Beauty)

Copperfields Books in Montgomery Village

Friday, August 16th.


You can learn more about the event by going here.


Copperfield’s is also having Chris Colfer (you may have heard of him, you know, from the show Glee).

Copperfields in Petaluma

Saturday, August 17th.


This event is ticketed, and you can learn more about it by going here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Giveaway: A Really Awesome Mess

Today I have the opportunity to giveaway a copy of A Really Awesome Mess by Brendan Halpin and Trish Cook! I loved this book so much, and am really excited that one of you will get to read it. You can read my review here. Here is a summary of A Really Awesome Mess-
A Really Awesome MessTwo teenagers. Two very bumpy roads taken that lead to Heartland Academy.
Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin's summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents' divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.
Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog-- and Emmy definitely doesn't. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.
Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.
A funny, sad, and remarkable story, A Really Awesome Mess is a journey of friendship and self-discovery that teen readers will surely sign up for.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Dirty Little SecretBailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.
Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

No matter how many Jennifer Echols’ books I read, they never lose their magic. This was especially evident when it comes to Dirty Little Secret. I’ve read and loved all of Echols’s romantic dramas, so I admit, I was skeptical to read this one. I thought it couldn’t possibly top her last four romantic dramas. I was wrong. I loved Bailey’s story. It was interesting and unusual, and made for a really awesome read.

Bailey was a great character. She was spunky and talented and overall really unforgettable. When staying with her grandfather and working at the local mall, she meets the mysterious and adorable Sam. Sam is yet again another perfect heartthrob. I will never tire of the boys in Echols’s books. They are all incredibly swoon-worthy. I loved that Sam was able to convince Bailey to step outside of her shell. The two of them had drama, but ultimately  they both helped each other grow as individuals. I really liked that Bailey’s family played a part in this. Though they weren’t always there, it was really clear how Bailey felt about her family- and especially her sister. All of the characters in Dirty Little Secret were written flawlessly. They each had their own attributes, and were overall really likeable.

One of my favorite parts of Dirty Little Secret was the plot. You don’t see very many YAs that have to do with music. I always get super excited when I get to read a YA with music involved, because they’re always amazing. So I was happy to see that Dirty Little Secret fit the bill. Nashville was the perfect location for this novel. It really adds to the story, and plays such a big part that it’s kind of like a separate character.

Dirty Little Secret is an adorable, well written, unforgettable novel. Jennifer Echols never disappoints. For anyone who hasn’t read her books, you really should. Echols has become one of my favorite YA romance writers. Her books, including Dirty Little Secret, are always immensely original.You can’t help but fall in love with the characters and their story.

FTC- Received for review.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

A Really Awesome MessTwo teenagers. Two very bumpy roads taken that lead to Heartland Academy.
Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin's summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents' divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.
Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog-- and Emmy definitely doesn't. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.
Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.

I was skeptic to start this book. I had heard good things about it, but I didn’t know how much I would like it. I ended up liking it a lot. I went in to A Really Awesome Mess thinking it would be a depressing book, with cynical kids that would get on my nerves. Though the characters were cynical, they didn’t annoy me at all. In fact, their humor lifted the story up to a whole other level. That was one of my favorite things about A Really Awesome Mess. Though the characters had mental illnesses and were cynical and didn’t want to be where they were- they all had a really great sense of humor. It was admirable and added a lot more depth to the story.

The main characters in particular, Emmy and Justin, were both extremely well written. The novel is told in alternating point of view, and though it’s very hard to pull of, Halpin and Cook did a perfect job of writing the two points of view. Emmy was at times annoying. I didn’t like how hung up she got on certain things, but I could also understand why she acted the way she did. Justin was great. I liked his sense of humor the best. He was a smart-ass and not afraid to admit it. The way the two characters acted around each other was perfect. I loved seeing their emotions towards each other change as the story progressed.

This book may be triggering to some people (the main character struggles with anorexia, and there are very other illnesses discussed). A Really Awesome Mess was one of the best books I’ve read recently. The writing is flawless, and the characters are unforgettable. I haven’t read Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin’s other books, but I want to go out and read them immediately. A Really Awesome Mess is an addicting and well written novel that you won’t be able to forget about.

FTC- Received from publisher.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Giveaway: Changeling and Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory

Hey everyone!

Today I have a giveaway for the first two books in the Order of Darkness series by Philippa Gregory! This giveaway is open to US addresses only. All you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Here is a summary for the first book in the series, Changeling-

Changeling (Order of Darkness #1)Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.
Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.
Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 12, 2013

Relay for Life

Hey, everyone!

This is kind of a random post, but it’s about something I really really care about- so I would appreciate it if you continued reading.

For the past 7 years, I’ve participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. I started going to my town’s event when I was 10. At the time, I knew about cancer and I knew that it had affected people in my family, but I didn’t really grasp what it was and how much of an impact it can have on someone’s life. Obviously, I know more about it now. I know more about the literal disease, but I also know more about just how much of an impact it can have.

When I was younger (before I started participating in Relay), I lost two of my great-grandparents to cancer. I was too young to really grasp just how much of a struggle they had to go through. My great-grandma was diagnosed with brain cancer in July (I honestly don’t remember the year), they caught it in the later stages, and she ended up passing away in December of the same year. In the summer of 2006, my great-grandfather (on the other side of my family) was diagnosed with cancer. Because he was taking care of my great-grandma, who was also ill at the time, he didn’t go to the doctor until after she had passed away. Since he had taken so long to figure out what the pain in his abdomen was, the doctors diagnosed it as cancer. It had already spread throughout his body and it was too late to do anything. He ended up passing away in October of 2006.

Most recently, I have had two more family members diagnosed with cancer. My great aunt (the sister of my previously mentioned great-grandfather) was diagnosed last year. Though she went through treatments, the treatments were unsuccessful, and she passed away.

In the past year, someone closer to me, my Papa (grandfather), was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma (a type of cancer that affects lymph tissue). This was the first time that I really saw the affects of cancer (in all of the previous stories I told, I was either too young to remember or the relative didn’t live in the area). Seeing my Papa have to go through chemo and radiation and personal, internal struggles gave me a new perspective. I had heard stories of what it was like and how hard it was, and I didn’t doubt those stories- but watching someone go through it is way different than just hearing about it. Earlier this year, thanks to the treatment that he went through, we got the fantastic, amazing news that my Papa is now in remission.

You may be asking yourself why I wrote this super long post. I didn’t write it because I had the urge to share information about my personal life, or because I was told to write it. I wrote this post as a demonstration of just how many people are affected by cancer.

So this year, instead of walking on somebody else’s Relay for Life team, my family decided to band together and create our own- in honor of my Papa. You don’t have to, but I would really appreciate it if you were to donate to our Relay team, Bare it All. Any little bit helps. The American Cancer Society provides services that help educate people about cancer, help people take steps to try and prevent cancer, help those who have already been diagnosed with cancer, and ultimately trying to find a cure for cancer.

Like I said previously, you don’t have to donate. I completely understand that not everybody can. However, if you can, I would more than appreciate it.

**You can donate to my Relay team, by going to my ACS page HERE, and clicking “Donate Now”.**

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

Right of WayHere are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.
Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.
Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

Two-way Street was the first Lauren Barnholdt book I read, so when I found out that there was going to be a companion, I was overjoyed. Barnholdt did not disappoint at all. Peyton and Jace were both fantastic characters. They each had their own thing going on, but when they were together- the novel was completely electric. The chemistry between them was so good. I read this book quite awhile ago, but it’s still stuck in my head.

Jace was kind of dark and brooding, but in a super adorable and fantastic way. Though at times he annoyed me, it was mainly because of how Peyton thought of him. That being said, it was obvious that even when they were fighting, Peyton and Jace still cared deeply for each other.

Right of Way (like Two-way Street) had a road trip. Road trip books are some of my favorite kinds of books. However, it’s really easy to make them seem unnecessary and awkward. Barnholdt knows how to successfully write a road-trip book. My one tiff with this book is the pacing. The beginning of the book went by so fast. It was addicting and easy to read. However, towards the end, the pacing started to get really weird. The book felt longer and a little more messy.

Despite the pacing issue, I still really liked Right of Way. Lauren Barnholdt is one of the best Contemporary Young Adult novel writers. Right of Way makes a perfect summer read. I recommend Right of Way, along with Barnholdt’s other novels. They’re all really well written.

FTC- Received for review via Edelweiss.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Thousand Words

Ashleigh's boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her while he's away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh's friends suggest she text him a picture of herself -- sans swimsuit -- to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits "send."
But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone -- until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he's the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh's photo -- and didn't look.

I was skeptical when starting Thousand Words. I loved Brown’s debut novel Hate List (and still do, because that book is freaking amazing), and was worried that Thousand Words wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Though it didn’t end up living up to my expectations, I did still enjoy the novel. I found myself trying to start Thousand Words a multitude of times- so I definitely think that it is the type of book that you have to be in the mood to read. That being said, once I started it, I read it in one sitting. Though I wouldn’t call this Brown’s best title, her fantastic writing style and realistic plot are still prevalent and stand out amongst other YA titles.

Ashleigh, though hard to empathize with, was still a well written character. I felt bad for her, however, I didn’t agree with a lot of her choices. At times she came off as being overly clingy and annoying. However, as the story progresses, she grows into a stronger, more independent character. Kaleb was a huge jerk- but he’s supposed to be. Their relationship is one of the cases where I don’t understand why the two people ever got together in the first place. Though the unlikely pairing annoyed me, it made sense with the actions of both characters.

Thousand Words was small, and I feel like it was too small. The story didn’t really grow as much as I had hoped it would. Though I liked that it dealt with something prevalent in our society- Thousand Words doesn’t strike me as something that I’ll remember. It worked as a good, high quality quick read, however I’m afraid it won’t have the impact that it should have.

FTC- Received from publisher.

Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance

Spies and PrejudiceFields’ Rule #1: Don’t fall for the enemy.
Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She’s busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she’s sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.
So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her “nothing amazing,” it’s no loss for Berry. She’ll forget him in no time. She’s more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother’s death.
But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can’t Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

For some reason, despite the fact that I’ve never actually read Pride and Prejudice, the various adaptations of it fascinate me. Because of this fascination, I jumped on the opportunity to read Spies and Prejudice. There are a lot of Pride and Prejudice adaptations, and this one was one of the better young adult ones. This book is like if Veronica Mars and Jane Austen had a baby. Fantastic.

Berry is a total badass. I loved her. She was a no-holds-barred type of character, and an excellent spy. I loved how devoted she was to the business she was in, and how strong of a character she was. Berry is the type of character that I want to read about all the time. She isn’t afraid to do what she wants or be herself. Then there’s Tanner. Tanner, Tanner, Tanner. I’m not even going to attempt to cover up my love for him. I love Tanner Halston, because he is dark and brooding and basically a horribly irresistible YA love interest. I loved the banter between him and Berry- it was one of my favorite parts of the whole book.

Spies and Prejudice is a novel that will capture you from the very beginning. It’s well written, addicting, and has spies. What’s not to love? Talia Vance is a writer that I’ll definitely be reading in the future. I love her writing style, and the way she sculpts her stories. Spies and Prejudice isn’t an Austen re-make that you’ll soon forget.

FTC- Received from publisher.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Art Girls Are Easy by Julie Klausner

Art Girls Are EasyFifteen-year-old Indigo Hamlisch is an art prodigy looking forward to her last summer at the Silver Springs Academy for Fine and Performing Arts for Girls. But her BFF Lucy Serrano is a C.I.T. this year, and that means she doesn't have to hang out with Indigo and the other campers anymore: she can mingle with the counselors -- including Indigo's scandalous and unrequited crush, paint-splattered art instructor Nick Estep. But it's not like anything is going to happen between Lucy and Nick... right?
As Indy becomes more and more paranoid about what's going on between her best friend and her favorite counselor, Indy's life -- and her work -- spin hilariously out of control. Funny and bold, Art Girls Are Easy is a comedy of errors filtered through the wry, satirical eyes of a girl who's been there, done that, and is just looking for a little inspiration.

Oh, this book. Art Girls Are Easy was one of those books that I come out of thinking it is so good, and then after awhile the actual story starts to sink in- and I notice some of the not so good parts. While I was reading it, I really liked Art Girls Are Easy. It took awhile for me to get into it, but ultimately I enjoyed the story and the writing.

However, my biggest problem with Art Girls Are Easy appears when talking about the characters. Though I found Indigo to be quite spunky, which I like, she also appeared to be whiny and really immature. She was resilient when it came to boys, however, when it came to art- something she’s been passionate about her whole life, she was willing to give it up over basically nothing. Indigo came off moodier than what would have been realistic, and her personality seemed a bit artificial. Despite these things, I did admire her spunk and individuality.

I previously mentioned that I enjoyed the story and writing in Art Girls Are Easy. Despite my distain for Indigo, I genuinely did enjoy the story. I liked that it had to do with art- specifically an art related summer camp. Indigo’s struggle to maintain motivated while producing her art work was something that people can relate to, even if they aren’t artists. The writing in Art Girls Are Easy was good in a catchy way. The characters weren’t very realistic or developed, but the writing kept me hooked.

Though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Art Girls Are Easy to everybody, I do think that it will appeal to some people.

FTC- Received via Netgalley.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

GoogleReader is Closing!

Okay, so I feel like I should make one of these posts because (1) everybody is (2) GoogleReader is closing and I really want you all to continue reading Zoe’s Book Reviews, despite that (3) I re-organized the sidebar to *hopefully* make following Zoe’s Book Reviews easier.

I assume most of you have heard about the closing of GoogleReader (it closes July 1st, for those who didn’t know). I’m also assuming that a lot of you probably follow my blog, and other blogs using GoogleReader. Since it’s no longer going to be around, I thought I would let you know about other ways you can follow Zoe’s Book Reviews.

1. Bloglovin’- I’ve been using Bloglovin’ for a few weeks now, and I absolutely love it. It makes reading blog posts super easy and I’ve found it’s easier to go to the actual source of the blogs and comment (so personally, I’ve been commenting more an blogs. Yay!). Out of all the blog-following websites I’ve looked at and tried out over the past month, this is definitely the one I would recommend. You can follow me on Bloglovin’ by clicking the Bloglovin’ widget in the sidebar.

2. RSS – There are a lot of different types of reader’s that follow via RSS feed. I don’t know a whole lot about RSS feeds and how they work, but I know you can totally follow Zoe’s Book Reviews via RSS if you want.

3. Email - There is a little box on the sidebar where you can enter your email to get Zoe’s Book Reviews posts emailed to you, if you want. Sidenote- I also LOVE receiving emails. It’s one of my favorite things. So, you know, if you ever feel like emailing someone to talk about books, life, BBC shows, or anything else- you can totally email me.

4. Social Networking Websites - I am super active on twitter, and I’m always tweeting about reviews I’ve posted or giveaways I’m having. Zoe’s Book Reviews also has a Facebook page. I try and update this as much as possible. Sometimes I forget, but usually the Facebook page is updated. I don’t post links to reviews and giveaways here, but you can also friend me on Goodreads if you want to see what books I’m reading.

I think I covered the various ways you can follow Zoe’s Book Reviews. If you have any questions, or the links don’t work, tell me in the comments or email me and I’ll see what I can do. I have links to all of the things I’ve listed, in the sidebar.

Happy Reading!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Giveaway: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Yay! Giveaway time!
One of you will have the chance to win a signed hardcover copy of The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler. You can enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post. Sorry to those who live internationallyy, but this giveaway will be US entries only.
Though I don’t offer extra entries for following Zoe’s Book Reviews, I would greatly appreciate it. Since GoogleReader is no longer going to be active, you can follow me through Bloglovin’, RSS feed, and by email (links to do all of those things are in the sidebar). You can read my review of The Book of Broken Hearts here
The Book of Broken HeartsJude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.
Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?
Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?
Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Transparent by Natalie Whipple

TransparentPlenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.
An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.
After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.
Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

I have been anticipating Natalie Whipple’s debut novel for a long time. So when I finally got my hands on a copy, I read it immediately. Transparent is a fast-paced novel that captured my attention from the very beginning.  The world building is impeccable. I’ve never felt so immersed in a book world before. Whipple is a master world crafter. I would love to be a part of the world in Transparent. Everything seems extremely realistic and dramatic and entertaining.

I liked that the people in Transparent didn’t have to keep their powers completely a secret. It was refreshing that there weren’t bunch of secrets relating to character powers. They were able to be open about their powers, and therefore- readers were able to get a better understanding of the character and their involvement in the story. Fiona is fantastic. She is strong willed and totally badass, and she stands out as one of the most memorable characters that I’ve read recently. Her brothers were both individual while also still acting like they were brothers. Though there were many characters in this story, the character development didn’t suffer. Each character was well written, and it was easy to get a full understanding of them.

Transparent is a fantastic novel. Whipple nailed her debut, and I can’t wait to read what she has coming out next. Transparent is a book that I would gladly reread over and over again. Natalie Whipple is an extremely talented writer. Transparent will appear to readers of all genres.

FTC- Received as an eGalley for review.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How My Summer Went Up in FlamesRosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.
To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

I admit it, the cover is what first drew me to How My Summer Went Up in Flames. It’s an adorable cover, and mixed with the title- made the book seem super appealing. However, the story was appealing as well. Though the beginning was a bit slow, I couldn’t help but get sucked in to Rosie’s story. It wasn’t completely relatable, but it was entertaining.

It was difficult to read about Rosie sometimes. She was too set in her ways, and at times I found her annoying. However, by the end of the book I really liked her. The relationships she made with the secondary characters helped her morph her attitude about life into something more manageable. The secondary characters were impeccably written. Their character development didn’t suffer because they were secondary characters- which is one thing in particular that stood out to me while reading. Part of me was concerned at the beginning of the book, because I thought that there was going to be a love triangle. Though there was an essence of one, it was easy to figure out which boy Rosie would end up with, so the triangle didn’t really distract from the story.

Though it isn’t one of my favorites, I did enjoy How My Summer Went Up in Flames. It was a quick, adorable novel. Jennifer Salvato Doktorski wrote a really interesting story, that is perfect to read on a hot (or cold) summer’s day.

FTC- Received from publisher.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken HeartsJude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.
Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?
Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?
Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

I swear, every single Sarah Ockler book takes my breath away in ways I can never even begin to imagine before I start reading. The Book of Broken Hearts made me laugh, cry, and swoon like no other book. From the very first page, I connected with the story (and characters). Ockler sculpted a wonderfully addicting story that is difficult to put down.

In addition to being having an adorable romance, The Book of Broken Hearts also deals with more serious subjects. Jude has to learn how to come to terms with her father’s declining health, while still keeping her sanity. Though the summary of the novel offers a glimpse into the familial aspect of the story, I don’t think it does that part of the book justice. Jude’s family (especially her father) play a huge part in the story. The non-romantic relationships in The Book of Broken Hearts make it even more special. They add depth to the characters, and to the story.

Jude, the novel’s main character, is fantastically written. A lot of the times in Contemporary YA Romance books, the main character is not very memorable and lacks a strong personality. Jude, however, is neither of these things. She’s headstrong and intelligent. She is impeccably caring and family-oriented. Emilio, the adorable swoon-worthy love interest in this novel is well written also. He’s cute, but also intelligent and genuinely caring towards Jude. Their relationship is complicated, yet they make it work.

The Book of Broken Hearts is one of my favorite contemporary novels (along with Ockler’s other novels), and is something I’ve reread multiple times. Ockler’s writing is beautiful, well-paced, and unforgettable. These characters will capture your heart from the very beginning. The Book of Broken Hearts is a must-read for anybody, especially those looking for a meaningful yet cute summer read.

FTC- I received a copy from the publisher, however, I also purchased a final copy.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg

Our Song

Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she’s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place.
Then Olive meets Nick. He’s dark, handsome, mysterious . . . and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind romance—until Nick makes a troubling confession.
Heartbroken, Olive pieces together what really happened the night of her accident and arrives at a startling revelation. Only by facing the truth can she uncover the mystery behind the song and the power of what it means to love someone.

This is the first of Fraiberg’s books that I’ve read, and it won’t be the last. Our Song was a quick read that left me wanting more. This novel, though a good summer read, isn’t necessarily a “light” one. Our Song deals with more serious issues, however, the issues are blanketed by a beautiful romance.

This book is more character-driven than plot-driven, so it’s important that the characters were well developed. In the beginning of the novel, Olive struck me as being kind of weak- to the point where it was annoying me. She was hung up on her boyfriend who wasn’t talking to her, and she didn’t want to move on with her life. As the novel progresses, she ends up moving past all of that, and becomes a more likeable character. Nick was wonderfully dark and mysterious. He also annoyed me a bit (because of all the mysterious brooding), but it worked for him. Oliver and Nick’s relationship was fantastic. They both helped each other come to terms with things in their past, and assisted each other in the process of moving on. I loved it.

Our Song is a beautiful, touching, haunting novel that you won’t be able to put down. Jordanna Fraiberg is an extremely talented author. She nailed her sophomore novel. I haven’t read her first book, In Your Room. But after reading Our Song, I definitely want to get my hands on a copy of her first book.

FTC- Received from publisher.