Monday, April 29, 2013

You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith

You Are HereEmma and her neighbor Peter are both lonely in a way that only bothers them on occasion. They both come from families they don’t quite understand. They both feel like something big is missing from their lives—and they’re both about to search for answers. When Emma makes a discovery that shakes the foundations of her identity, she convinces Peter to join her for a road trip. Each of them has something to find: For Emma, it is a grave—a grave that may be her only connection to her family. Peter is seeking something harder to define, but perhaps easier to navigate—a freedom, a sense of something more than what he has. Together, they take to the open road, engaging in a universal quest to make sense of who they are and where they come from…and learning a thing or two about love along the way.

I love this book so much. Ever since I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I knew I loved Jennifer E. Smith’s writing. Despite my high expectations, I didn’t know what to expect going into You Are Here. It was published before The Statistical Probability, so I didn’t know if her writing style used to be different. I was not disappointed at all. You Are Here is a road trip book, and an awesome one at that.

I loved Emma. I loved that she embraced her differences and wasn’t afraid to defy her siblings/parents to go do what she believed in. And then there’s Peter. Peter was fantastic as well. He was adorable and, like Emma, felt like he didn’t belong. However, Peter found solace in Emma’s family. He could relate to them. I loved Peter’s personality. He was smart, selfless, and willing to stick with Emma through all the craziness that was happening while they were on the road trip.

You Are Here is a fantastic read. Jennifer E. Smith is one of those writers who can flawlessly pull off writing a book with romance, while still making it about more than just love. I will forever recommend all of Jennifer E. Smith’s books.

FTC- Bought.

Friday, April 26, 2013

An Interview with Kristin Halbrook

I recently had the opportunity to interview Kristin Halbrook, author of the awesome book Nobody But Us. Without further to do, here is the interview-

Nobody But UsFirst of all, a huge thank you to Zoe for featuring me with these great questions!

1. Nobody But Us is told from a dual perspective. Which perspective was the most difficult to write?

I loved writing the dual perspective for this book and trying to make Will and Zoe have distinct voices. It's always amazing to hear from readers who thought I did a good job with that. :)

As for the tougher voice, it's hard to say. Zoe's rhythm is more natural to me, but I had to be careful to match her book smarts and more poetic speech patterns with her real-world naivete. Will's voice, on the other hand, was one that I had to revise sevearl times to get right: the patterns, language, conflict were all challenges. I would probably say his was tougher to write, for me. 

2. In the novel, Will and Zoe go on a road trip. Have you ever been on a road trip? If so, what's your favorite road trip memory?

I have been on road trips all over the western U.S. and Canada. Taking Highway 101 down the Oregon and California coasts is a classic--so beautiful! But I also loved the roadtrip I took to Yellowstone in Wyoming. Driving through the forests of Idaho was lovely, and I really loved Yellowstone Park. An underrated wonder of the world, I think!

3. This book made me cry like a small child. Was it emotional for you while writing it?

Aw, thank you. I think! :)

I had lots of emotional moments writing this book. Sometimes, it was difficult to wrangle certain scenes out of me, even though I knew they had to happen. Even now, when I hear certain songs--Family of the Year's "Hero" or Bruce Springsteen's "American Skin (41 Shots)" I get choked up. I think a big reason for that is because even though this is a fictional story about two specific teens, the themes and the way they feel--desperate, alone, good-intentioned in an unkind system--are ways many people feel.

4. Can you tell us anything about your next book(s)?

I will hopefully soon have a lot more to say about my next books, but for now I can say that I have several projects in development, from my next YA contemporaries featuring promises, broken hearts and overseas settings, to something rather darker, with a gothic feel. Hopefully, I will have lots of contemporaries to put on the shelves--I love writing about realistic teens.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Nobody But UsWill
Maybe I'm too late. Maybe Zoe's dad stole all her fifteen years and taught her to be scared. I'll undo it. Help her learn to be strong again, and brave. Not that I'm any kind of example, but we can learn together.
When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can't run fast enough.
Maybe it'll take Will years to come to terms with being abandoned. Maybe it'll take forever. I'll stay with him no matter how long it takes to prove that people don't always leave, don't always give up on you.

I kept hearing people (especially people who’s book opinion I trust) rave about Nobody But Us. So I finally decided to go get myself a copy. Now I completely understand what all the hype was about. Kristin Halbrook is a fantastic writer. Nobody Byt Us captured me immediately.

I felt for Zoe (and not just because we have the same first name). She was put into a horrible situation, and I admire her for staying strong and getting away from the toxic environment she was in. Though I never completely felt supportive of her running away with Will, it was definitely the wiser of her two choices. Will was great. I wouldn’t say he’s one of my favorite book boys, but he was super sweet.

The reason I liked Nobody But Us so much was the ending. I’m not going to say anything specific about it, because I don’t want to spoil anything. But I will say that it stuck in my mind for days after I had finished reading the book. Nobody But Us was awesome. I liked it a lot and I grew to feel for the characters. Though it probably won’t be a reread for me, I do recommend it. Halbrook is an amazing author, who excels when it comes to writing meaningful stories that you won’t forget.

FTC- Bought.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (69)


Waiting on Wednesday is an amazing weekly topic that is brought to you by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)Ink by Amanda Sun

June 25, 2013

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.
Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.
A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.
And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.
Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.
Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Hysteria Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

This book is crazy, but it is also awesome. I loved Megan Miranda’s debut novel, Fracture, so naturally I was excited to read Hysteria. It’s difficult for me to articulate my feelings about Hysteria. I liked it a lot, however, for a great deal of the book I was confused. However, like I already mentioned, I did end up liking it a lot. One of my favorite things about Hysteria was how it’s set up. Readers figure out things as Mallory is figuring them out. Not only does it add to the mystery of the story, but it also adds a whole new depth.

I felt so sad for Mallory. She didn’t know what to believe and her life was crazy. Her paranoia translates perfectly through the story. When Mallory was freaking out and paranoid, it made me a little paranoid. Though like everyone, Mallory had her flaws, she did still end up being an awesome character. Reid was fantastic. He was adorable and hunk-tastic (yes, I did just use that word). Every scene that he was in made me even more engrossed in what I was reading.

Though I wouldn’t call this one of my favorite books, I still enjoyed Hysteria a lot. Megan Miranda is a talented writer who’s able to seamlessly bring you into the world that she’s created. Hysteria was enthralling, and I couldn’t put it down.

FTC- Received via Netgalley

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Survive by Alex Morel


Jane is on a plane on her way home to Montclair, New Jersey, from a mental hospital. She is about to kill herself. Just before she can swallow a lethal dose of pills, the plane hits turbulence and everything goes black. Jane wakes up amidst piles of wreckage and charred bodies on a snowy mountaintop. There is only one other survivor: a boy named Paul, who inspires Jane to want to fight for her life for the first time.
Jane and Paul scale icy slopes and huddle together for warmth at night, forging an intense emotional bond. But the wilderness is a vast and lethal force, and only one of them will survive.

Even though the summary of Survive basically tells you that the book is sad, I still wasn’t prepared for what I read. This book starts off sad, so one can assume that it will get happier. However, Survive doesn’t really get happier. There are moments of joy or giddiness, but there was always a looming sad feeling. That being said, I loved this book. I read it a month ago but I still keep thinking about it.

Jane is an amazing character. From the very beginning of Survive, I didn’t know if I should feel bad for her or be frightened of her possibly doing something. She ended up really growing throughout the novel, and I loved her character progression. Paul was fantastic. I loved him. Jane saw him as annoying at first, but from the very first time he’s introduced- I loved him. Jane and Paul are fantastic together and I loved how their relationship/friendship developed.

I couldn’t stop reading Survive. It captured me instantly, and wouldn’t let me go. Alex Morel is a fabulous writer. Survive made me gasp with anticipation, laugh, and cry. It was so easy to connect with Jane and Paul- that I miss reading about them now. I highly recommend Survive. It was spectacular.

FTC- Received from Publisher.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Burning Blue by Paul Griffin

Burning Blue

How far would you go for love, beauty, and jealousy?
When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that--he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He's a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he's in--and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.

This book was crazy, but I loved every minute of it. Before going into it, I hadn’t read the summary- so I had no idea what to expect. I certainly wasn’t expecting what I discovered. In a way, I think not reading the summary helped me out a lot. When Nicole got hit with acid, I was completely surprised. I had to read it the scene over a few times, just to fully understand what had happened.

Ultimately, I loved Nicole. At times she annoyed me, but I’m sure if I had to go through what she went through- I would act like she did. Jay was great. I really liked how intelligent he was. He was secretive (and mysterious) which added a whole different aspect of mystique to the novel.

Though Burning Blue was a mystery, it wasn’t action packed. The secrets of the novel just sat there and simmered, getting more and more intense with every page. This is the first book I’ve read by Paul Griffin, and it won’t be the last. Burning Blue was interesting, addicting, and original. Griffin is a superb writer, and I can’t wait to check out some of his other books.

FTC- Received from publisher.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She's desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark's feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her "sext" photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now...
I was first attracted to this book when I read its title. Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) is an epic title. And once I read the summary, I just had to read it. Blaze is a super short book. I read it mostly while at the gym, yet it was able to keep me hooked the whole time.
Blaze was awesome. She was intelligent, nerdy, and someone who I could totally see myself being friends with. I loved her love of comic books and her snarky humor. I also loved that she had a soccer mom can- it adds so much personality to the story! The relationship between Blaze and brother is one of the best parts of this  book. The bickering between them was incredibly real- and I loved every minute of it.
The situation that Blaze is put through is terrible, but I think she handled it well. Though I admit that what Blaze did to Mark wasn’t completely fair, what Mark did to Blaze wasn’t fair either. The whole debacle was crazy, but I think it was really well written. There aren’t a whole lot of books about this topic, and I think it’s an important one to explore.
This was Laurie Boyle Crompton’s first novel, and I can’t wait to read her next ones. Though Blaze was shorter than I wanted it to be (I would have loved to spend more time with the characters), I really enjoyed reading about Blaze and her story.
FTC- Received as an eGalley from Edelweiss.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (68)

Waiting-on-Wednesday_thumb1_thumbWaiting on Wednesday is an amazing weekly topic that is brought to you by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

Two Boys KissingTwo Boys Kissing by David Levithan

August 27, 2013

New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.
While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.
This follow-up to the bestselling Every Day showcases David's trademark sharp-witted, warm-hearted tales of teenage love, and serves as a perfect thematic bookend to David's YA debut and breakthrough, Boy Meets Boy, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2013.

Monday, April 8, 2013

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This Is What Happy Looks LikeIf fate sent you an email, would you answer?
When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.
Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

I love Jennifer E. Smith’s writing, so I was super excited to read This is What Happy Looks Like. I loved Smith’s previous novel, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. This is What Happy Looks Like did not disappoint. Jennifer E. Smith wrote a cute novel about the internet and how people across the country can connect through it.

The beginning of the novel confused me a bit, but once I caught on to what I was reading, I fell completely in love with the story. Ellie and Graham’s emails back and forth to each other were adorable. While I was reading them, it felt like I was looking in on a relationship about to form. Their conversations were so honest, I loved them. Ellie was really cool and an overall awesome character. She acted reasonably to most of the situations that she was put in, and I feel like her character was true and honest. Graham was adorable. He wasn’t arrogant or fake, which I appreciated. It was interesting watching their relationship unfold. All of the twists and turns and hardships were really moving.

Jennifer E. Smith is a fantastic writer. She is able to convey relationships beautifully, while still making her novels about things other than romance. I can’t wait to see what she has coming out next, because I’m pretty certain it will be amazing.

FTC- Netgalley.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (67)

Waiting-on-Wednesday_thumb1_thumbWaiting on Wednesday is an amazing weekly topic that is brought to you by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

Another Little PieceAnother Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

June 11, 2013

The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn's haunting debut.
On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.
A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.
Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese's fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.