Friday, May 31, 2013

Blog Tour - The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby? 

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

If you've been reading this book for any length of time, you have probably heard me say at some point just how much I love Sarah Dessen. And I was so excited at the prospect of having a new book of hers to read. Almost immediately after receiving my copy of The Moon and More, I started reading and I couldn't have been more happy to be back in the world of Colby.

Emaline thought she had a plan: she was going to go off to college with the boy she has been dating since first starting high school. Everything was all set. But the summer before all that is set to happen, things change and suddenly everything Emaline knows is falling to pieces around her. She wanted to have one of those summers where she can be someone completely different, like the people she sees renting the properties where she works. The only thing Emaline couldn't have predicted was that at the end of it all, what she so desperately wants to get away from is what will make her want to stay with everything she is familiar. 

I will apologize in advance if this seems to be turning into an ode to Sarah Dessen and her books, but here it goes anyways. Here's the thing about Sarah Dessen and her books, they make the absolutely perfect summer read. But they aren't all just fluff and fun times in the sun. Often there is something more going on with the story and the characters and that is typically what makes me love these stories so much. With The Moon and More, I felt like I could relate to the story in a way that I can't always relate to other stories. That feeling of leaving home for the first time and being excited about it, but also kind of afraid of what the unknown holds. This story was very much about that. The main character, Emaline, was really excited at the prospect of leaving home, but at the same time she wants to hold on to everything that feels familiar around her. And that aspect of her story, and the greater story, is something I could really relate too and I'm sure I wasn't the only one. What I really enjoyed about The Moon and More as well was that it didn't really follow the same pattern that typical Sarah Dessen stories do. There were those elements to the story that I have come to love, but the way it all played wasn't necessarily what I expected to happen but it was something I enjoyed seeing. I can't help but come back to the fact that Sarah Dessen knows what she is doing. She knows what works in her stories and that's what makes it so I keep loving her books, even after having read so many of them. And The Moon and More was everything I hoped it would be.

Like I've already said, I could relate to Emaline's story and for that reason I could also really relate to certain aspects of her character. When I was getting ready to leave for college, I may not have been dating the same boy since the start of high school, but I could definitely relate to the part where you are eager to move on to the next part of your life while at the same wanting to hold on to everything that is familiar. For me, that made Emaline really likeable and made it so I really liked her. She was one of those characters that I found myself taking a liking to her right from the beginning and so throughout the story I was eager to see what would happen to her, the decisions she would make about the different aspects of her life. And those aspects of her life got pretty complicated after a while. Sure, the whole Luke vs. Theo part of things was mostly her own doing, but there wasn't all that much she could do about the situation with her father. And her father kinda annoyed me. I could see why he was doing what he was doing and could understand where he was coming from, but that didn't make him any more likeable to me. But Benji I loved. In some parts of the story, it felt like he kinda stole the show. But I also loved the side of Emaline that he brought out. I think it was a side of her personality that even surprised Emaline herself at times. The other thing about Sarah Dessen books is that more often than not, I can't help but fall a little (or a lot if that person is Wes) with her love interests. But with The Moon and More, that didn't really happen on the same scale I thought it would. Sure, I liked Luke and his familiarity just like I liked Theo and his newness. But beyond that they didn't necessarily impress me that much. But that's okay because in the end, I almost wanted Emaline to end up alone, because that would mean that she would be able to actually be herself and do what she wants to do. And that's what I wanted for Emaline.

So this is my ramble-y way of saying that I absolutely love Sarah Dessen and The Moon and More. If you have loved Sarah Dessen's books in the past, you won't want to miss out on this one. It may not have been exactly like I thought it would have been, but that didn't stop me from loving it just as much as this author's other books. 

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Starcrossed Week - The Characters

At this point, you've heard me rave over just about everything having to do with Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed trilogy. The story is absolutely amazing and a large part of that amazingness comes from the characters. Because even the really unlikeable characters have some sort of redeeming qualities and the more minor ones feel fully fleshed out. And some of those characters, they are completely underrated.

Hector was one of those characters I wasn't too sure what to make of when I met him in the first book. But the more I learned about him, the more I realized he was just one big teddy bear. Once the Furies let up with the whole Helen hating the Delos and vice versa, Hector became this other person. Every time he appeared in the story, it just put a smile on my face. The way he was with his family just made him that much more endearing. And that was only amplified whenever he was interacting with Helen. As hard as he could be with her, she also brought out this other side of his personality. So Hector is someone I came to love. Anytime something bad happened to him, it just hurt my heart.  And after everything that had happened to him, I just wanted him to have a happy ending. 

Matt was one of those characters that is there but spends a lot of time in the background. He's been one of Helen's best friend for as long as anyone can remember and even through all of the Scion stuff, he sticks by her side, somewhere along the way falling in love with Ariadne. But all of a sudden in Goddess, so much happens to Matt. Right from the start, so many hints were dropped and knowing what I know about the Trojan War, I could see where things were heading. And it was not heading somewhere I liked. But it was inevitable, it was where the story needed to go. Not that it was something I actually accepted. Through it all, my heart was breaking as I saw what was happening and what it was doing to all the other characters. And even after everything, I still loved Matt because there was nothing he could do about the situation he was in.

I feel like all I'm doing is talking about the boys in this trilogy, but there were so many amazing ones. Orion found himself stuck in a love triangle with Helen and Lucas. There wasn't really much eh could do about it. And in spite of everything he knew that he wouldn't come out on the winning side. But for once, a member of a love triangle stood up for himself. Orion realized that he deserved better than what Helen would ever be able to give him. And for that alone, I have so much respect for Orion. But my heart is also breaking for him. Not just because of his "position" in the love triangle, but because of everything I know about his life and how difficult his childhood must have been. I just wanted him to have someone who would be there for him, who would take care of him and who would love him even more than he deserved to be love. Because Orion seriously needed some good in his life.

I've said that even the most unlikeable characters somehow have redeeming qualities and with Daphne, it was hard to find them. For the better part of three books, I wanted nothing more than to punch Daphne and for her to just leave everyone alone because she was causing a lot more harm than good. But despite all that, I could understand where she was coming from. It wasn't a justification for what she did by any stretch of the imagination, but I could understand why did the things she did and why she wanted what she wanted. But then she had this moment of clarity in Goddess. I don't know what finally made her see everything for what they were, but she did. And in that moment, I was able to start to forgive Daphne for some of what she had done. It didn't wipe the slate completely clean, but I could begin to forgive her, all things considered.

I could go on endlessly about each and every one of the characters in this trilogy. Each of them has something that makes them completely unique and memorable. I could talk about how badass Helen is, about how much more there is to Lucas than what I originally thought, to how absolutely selfless Ariadne and Jason are, how surprising Claire can be, and the list just keep going on. If for the characters alone, you should give Josephine Angelini's books a try. And if characters aren't your thing, you can check out all my other posts about the trilogy from this past week.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Starcrossed Week - Why others love Starcrossed

I am not the only person who has read and loved Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed books. As amazing as they are, it shouldn't come as a surprise that others share my feelings. So keep reading to see what others have thought of these wonderful books.

Kathy from A Glass of Wine
As someone who has been lucky enough to read all three novels in Josephine Angelini’s trilogy, I knew immediately what I wanted to talk about when Emilie asked me to contribute a few sentences on this amazing series - the set up involved. Josephine has laid everything out in the first two novels out perfectly. The characters, their importance and the setting all lay waiting like dominoes for Josephine to move that first piece and send everything else falling into place. It’s this set up, and execution that left me awe struck when I closed the last piece. This trilogy ends the way it HAS to because any other ending wouldn't fit the carefully planned structure that cumulates in the stunning finale.

The Starcrossed series has, over the years, become one of my favourites, and this is for a number of reasons. One of them being the subject matter. I am a huge fan of greek mythology and I especially like it when it is retold in novel form. The Helen of Troy myth has been done before but not like this. Set in modern times and add in superpowers and you have one supercharged series. An amazing love story doesn't hurt either. I mean the sexual tension and the forbidden aspect drives this story forward in ways you cannot even imagine. The characters and the plot line are unique and extremely well written. This is one series you should not miss, it is a must read for sure. 

Meaghan from Feeling a Little Bookish
I read Starcrossed a few years ago for review and I really enjoy reading it.  One of the things that I really enjoyed about this novel is that while it is a novel with some Greek mythology elements to it, it is not overt and in your face. Angelini doesn't bog down her story with too much background on greek mythology. She added this into her story in a way that flowed really well. I also love that Helen finds out that her life may not quite be what she has been told and she doesn't automatically change her entire life and not question things.  She does want to rebel a bit but she doesn't completely change who she is. She continues to hold her relationships dear and she makes an effort to try to fit into her new lifestyle.  Starcrossed is a great novel and if you haven't started this series yet you need to go out and pick it up ASAP.  

Lost At Midnight Reviews
I think two of the best things in Starcrossed were the reimagined mythology and the family dynamics. I loved the way Josephine Angelini recreated these classic myths while still keeping the tradition strong. I was fascinated by the plot line and the way the Greek mythology was woven into the story. It was fresh and interesting and made me want to learn more! I also adored the Delos family! Coming from a big extended family, I could totally relate to the chaos in the house and the hilarious interactions. The clear bond the family shared warmed my heart and made for a fantastic book! I mean really, mythology and awesome characters? How could you not love it!

So there you have it: more reasons to read the Starcrossed trilogy. And if you missed it yesterday, be sure to check out all the giveaways I have to celebrate these awesome books!

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Starcrosssed Week - Giveaways!

To celebrate Starcrossed Week, I have the pleasure of hosting 3 fantastic giveaways. So keep reading to find out more!

Giveaway One - Canada Only

Thanks to the wonderful folks at HarperCollins Canada, I am giving paperback copies both Starcrossed & Dreamless, the first and second books in Josephine Angelini's trilogy. Since the publisher will be sending out the books, the giveaway is open to people with CANADIAN mailing addresses only. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Two - US & Canada Only

If you haven't yet started the books and are looking for a full set, check out this giveaway! I am giving away a full, hardcover set of the trilogy. Since I will be sending out the books myself and 3 hardcovers can be kinda heavy, this giveaway is open to people with US & CANADIAN mailing addresses only. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Three - International

Thanks to the awesome Renée from Rad Graphic, I am giving away a "Team Fate" tote bag and "Hamilton" t-shirt. I have some stuff from Renée myself, and let me just say it is awesome. So even if you don't win, be sure to check her out on Facebook. And since this is light and easy to ship, this giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to everyone!

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Starcrossed Week - Goddess by Josephine Angelini

Title: Goddess (Starcrossed #3)
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Chapters
After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count. 

To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas's life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.

In Josephine Angelini's compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that's been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched.

When it comes to my most anticipated books of 2013, Goddess was easily at the top of that list. After everything that happened in the first two books, I couldn't wait to see how Josephine Angelini would bring everything together in this final instalment. I'll admit that I was a little afraid, but I shouldn't have been because, with Goddess, Josephine Angelini wrote a stunning finale. 

Now that the four houses have been accidentally united, there is nothing left to hold the gods on Olympus. So with gods on the loose, free to do as they please in the human world, Helen and the other Scions need to find a way to stop them. But the last time this happened, the gods were imprisoned only after a devastating war. But that's the least of Helen's problems. Between the Oracle's prophecies about the Tyrant, her confused feelings about Lucas and Orion and the rising tensions between everyone, there is a lot to deal with. Everyone will have some difficult decisions to make. With war looming on the horizon, everyone is ready to prepare for the worse.

There are so many things I can and want to say about Goddess. So I will apologize in advance if this turns into me simply gushing about everything I loved about this story. But here's the thing, I know just how much the first two books affected me so I was very much afraid of what Goddess would do to my poor heart. And this was a perfectly legitimate fear. Throughout the book, there were many moments where I wasn't sure I would be able to take much more. Every time another piece of the puzzle fell into place, I became increasingly afraid of what it would mean for the big picture. But that didn't stop me from loving this story. Because there wasn't a singly moment where I wasn't loving it. This story is so layered and complex. There is so much happening, but at the same time it's all connected. Just seeing how everything fit together, those little moments from previous books that all of a sudden took on a whole new meaning, was amazing. Even just thinking about how each of the characters had their Greek or Trojan equivalent must have required a lot of planning on Josephine Angelini's part. And that's another thing, even though I knew it, Goddess reinforced what an amazing writer Josephine Angelini is. Because Goddess is an absolutely stunning finale to this series I love. And it was the kind of conclusion that didn't leave me wanting. Everything ended the way it should have. Though there were some disappointments along the way, I don't think this story could have ended any other way. And the way it ended was just what I wanted.

Let me now say that Helen is a total badass. I've known all along that Helen was a strong and that she wouldn't let very much get in her way. But in Goddess, Helen more than rises up to the occasion. My the end of the book, she had my complete respect and admiration. The way she handles everything that is thrown her way, I don't know how she comes out of it all standing. Because anyone else would be curled up in a ball, crying in a corner somewhere…or at least I would be. So this book just made me love Helen even more. And the title of the book being Goddess is fully appropriate. Like I've already said, there is so much going on with all the characters in this story. Everyone of them is so complex. And I loved seeing the parallels between the different players in the Trojan War. And admittedly that parallel allowed me to predict some parts of the story which at times made me a little angry. But as much as there was some heartbreak involved, everything that happened to the characters happened for a reason. I might be repeating myself, but I couldn't really have asked for a more fitting ending for the story and for these characters. Sure, it might not have been happy for everyone, but it was the only possible outcome.

Over the course of three books, I have come to love this story and I couldn't have asked for a better ending. With Goddess, Josephine Angelini confirmed that she is a fantastic writer because this was an absolutely stunning finale. I will say this again, but if you haven't yet read this series, I strongly recommend it because I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Starcrossed Week - Why I Love this Trilogy

Every so often you will pick this book for whatever reason. It could be that it has a pretty cover, the synopsis sounds interesting, you've heard other people talk about it. Whatever the motivating factor, you end up grabbing the book off the shelf and start reading. And the more you read, the more you find yourself liking the story, eventually getting to the point where you love the story. And if you're me, that might happen with a fair amount of books. But then, there is that one book that just seem to rise about the others. It's not really something I can explain, but once in a while there is that one book or that series that just seems to capture your attention in a way that no other book has. And over the last two years, Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed trilogy did just that for me.

I have always had a fascination with Greek history and mythology. For as long as I remember, it's a subject that has always fascinated me and often results in me picking up any book even remotely related to this topic. So that's why I first picked up Starcrossed when it came out two years ago. Well, that and the cover was stunning. And though I bought the book right when it came out, I waited until a few months later to actually start reading it. And once I did, I couldn't seem to do anything else. Josephine Angelini managed to take me out of my world and into the one she has created for this story. And there wasn't one minute while I was reading that I wasn't fully captivated by everything that was happening in Starcrossed

But now here's the thing. I often find that the second book in series just aren't quite as good as the first one and so as much as I was looking forward to Dreamless, I was still also a little apprehensive because I didn't want it to disappoint me. But I really shouldn't have worried. If anything, Dreamless made me love this series even more. And by the time I was finished, I couldn't believe I would have to wait a year to find out who everything would all come together. After having now read, Goddess, I can say that this series has become so much more than I thought it would be when I picked up that first book two years ago and that alone is reason enough for me to love this series as much as I do.

The thing about the story Josephine Angelini wrote is that there are so many dimensions and layers to it, to the point that everything is perfectly laid out. Things you see in the first book that you don't really make much of later come back and all of a sudden are the missing puzzle piece to make everything fit together. Goddess, the third and final book, made me realize just how much thinking and planning must have gone into writing this story the way it was. There were so many pieces to fit together, and by the end, they fit perfectly in a way that made sense and left me with very little questions. And that, more than anything is why I simply adore the Starcrossed trilogy. Over the course of three books, there is so much happening, but there is a reason for it all. And the way it all plays out, will simply amaze you and make you realize what a fantastic writer Josephine Angelini is. 

So this is my (long) explanation of why this series deserves attention. This is the kind of story that will keep you engaged, with characters you can't help be get attached to. You don't even need to know about mythology or even have a particular liking of it to be able to enjoy this story. All you have to do to enjoy and maybe fall in love with this story is be looking to read a complex, layered and captivating story. 

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Starcrossed Week

If you have been following me on Twitter, you will know that I have a special event happening over the course of the next week here on the blog. Starting tomorrow and lasting until the end of the week, everything will be about the Starcrossed trilogy and its author, Josephine Angelini. So be sure check back every day this week for special posts, guest posts and a massive giveaway at the end of it all. Want a preview of what that giveaway includes? Check out one of the pictures that I've posted in the last week. 


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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Summer Reading - 2013 Edition (3)

Among my friends, I'm known as the book person. As a result, whenever someone is looking for a book recommendation they come to me. This time of the year, this happens a lot since summer is fast approaching and a lot of my friends are typically seasonal readers--as in they read when they have time to do so and that time is often summer. Like I did last year, I thought I would post these recommendations--by genre--here on the blog as well. Up this week, some fantasy and science fiction recommendations.

- The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey - Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few weeks, then you've probably heard all about how amazing The 5th Wave is. And I'm here to tell you that it is even better than everyone has been saying it is. Basically, the story takes place after aliens have wiped off most of Earth's population, and the world as we know it is gone. Even if you aren't into aliens, you will like these books. These books are not the kind of aliens you imagine. And the story is awesome and filled with action. Seriously, read this book.

- Breathe by Sarah Crossan - Picture a world where everyone lives in a dome where oxygen is controlled and rationed because there is no longer enough oxygen in the planet's atmosphere. Now add three teenagers being stuck outside the dome, with dwindling supplies of oxygen, trying to make it to a Resistance stronghold. Sarah Crossan's Breathe felt incredibly realistic while I was reading it and for that reason it makes a great dystopian. If you are looking for a book that will make you think about what could happen in our planet's not-too-distant future, than I strongly recommend Breathe.

- Possession trilogy by Elana Johnson - Here's the thing about Elana Johnson's Possession trilogy, I wasn't entirely convinced after reading the first book, Possession. But then I read the second book, Surrender, and I was sold. There is just so much happening in these books and a certain level of complexity that makes you really think while you are reading. Bonus side: the final book, Abandon is going to be out in just over two weeks so you won't even have to wait too long to find out how it all ends.

- Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth - If you haven't been living under a rock you should have heard about Veronica Roth and Divergent at this point. Between the movie being made and the final book, Allegiant, coming out in September, this trilogy is practically everywhere. But this trilogy totally deserves this attention because it is that good. Divergent is a fast-paced and action-packed dystopian story. This is the kind of book you will pick up and not want to put down again until you have read it all. So if a page-turner is what you're looking for, then Divergent is the way to go.

- The Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren DeStefano - This was on my list of recommendations last year and I still stand behind it a year later. Though I will admit I still have to read the final book, this is a series I have loved so far. Lauren DeStefano's writing is reason enough to read this series. Reading these books will transport you to another world and another place. If nothing else, they will provide you with the perfect escape for a few hours. And on the plus side, the entire trilogy is out so you can read all three books back to back if that's what you want to do.

Like I've said every week, this is not an extensive list by any stretch of the imagination. If you are looking for some more dystopian or post-apocalyptic recommendations, you are free to check out my recommendations from last year. And if this is not the type of book you are looking for, be sure to come back next week for my last batch of summer reading recommendations

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she'll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn't.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it's the things Cricket hadn't counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

You've probably heard me say this before, but I love any and all contemporary stories and if they are summer themed, there's a strong likelihood I'll love it even more. And Leila Howland's Nantucket Blue was just that. But it was also more than I expected it would be. All I know is that I couldn't stop reading once I started.

Cricket Thompson thought she was going to have the perfect summer. For the first time, she was going to be able to go on a summer adventure like all of her friends. And what better way to do that than to go to Nantucket with her best friend Jules' family. But then something tragic happens and all those plans fall apart. Now Cricket is left behind as Jules leaves for Nantucket with her family, but she is still determined to have the perfect summer. On a whim, Cricket decides to pack up her bags and go to Nantucket, getting a job as a chambermaid at an inn on the island. And though things may not turn out the way Cricket thought they would, her summer is still filled with friendships, adventures and romance…just not with the people she thought.

Since I've already dedicated an entire post to my love of contemporary stories, I'm not going to go into that too much again. But I will say that Leila Howland's Nantucket Blue had everything I love in a contemporary. I mean, who doesn't love a good summer story that takes place at the beach? But Nantucket Blue was also a whole lot more than just a summer beach read. Sure, it has all the elements that are typically present in a beach read, but it was also filled with heartbreak of all kinds. If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen that by the third chapter I was already trying to hold back tears. Right at the beginning of the story, tragedy strikes and from that point on, things aren't quite as happy as I thought they would be when I started reading. But slowly, everything sort of builds itself back up. Things I thought would happen do, but they don't really happen in the way I thought they would. The friendship aspect was there, just not between the two people I expected. And for the romance, I love the way it came about. Though I could see where things were going, this relationship happened naturally and felt completely real. And I loved that romance, it wasn't too cheesy and it was just what the characters needed in order to start getting better after the tragedy that happened early on. And I'm not going to lie, the romance is an important part of why I just couldn't put this book down. 

Right from the first page, I loved Cricket. There was something about her that I could just connect with. For whatever reason, I could just see a lot of myself in her. Especially her insecurities when it came to what people thought about her and how she viewed herself. That aspect of Cricket's character felt very much real to me and it was an aspect of her personality that I could really connect to. And that's probably the second reason why I couldn't stop reading. There was something about Cricket that just felt so real and I wanted to know if everything would turn out alright for her. But Cricket wasn't the only character that felt real. Though I didn't particularly like some of them, all the other characters in the story felt like real people. Liz just exploded off the page, Jules was that friend that just turned on you without really giving a reason, and Zach was that boy next door who has always been around but suddenly starts to become more. And that brings me to the third reason why I couldn't stop reading Nantucket Blue: Zach. Zach is that boy who's always been around, but you never really thought about him in any other way than as a friend, until you can't seem to think about as just a friend anymore. Like all the other characters, Zach was real to me. And for once, the good guy  was good right from the start and I, like Cricket, fell for him somewhere along the way. 

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland, was exactly what I wanted it to be. But it was also something more. It's hard to put into words exactly what that something more is, but it is what made me love this story as much as I did. My only wish is that I could have spent more time with these characters because, by the end, I had grown all too attached to them.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan

Title: Invisibility
Author: Andrea Cremer & David Levithan
Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life--because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen's mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen's NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don't go as planned, especially when Stephen's grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they're willing to make for Stephen to become visible--because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.

Invisibility is one of those books that I've been wanting to read for quite some time for a number of reasons. The premise was different from anything else I've read recently. Though I've had some issues with the stories, I love Andrea Cremer's writing. And I've been hearing for a long time how long how amazing a writer David Levithan is. So why shouldn't I read Invisibility? And in case you were wondering, it was as good as I hoped it would be.

His whole life, Stephen has been invisible. Not just to everyone around him, but also to himself. Stephen has to concentrate just to be able to hold a fork or open a door. It's not easy to go through life without anyone ever seeing you, but it's something that Stephen has had to live with. But then Elizabeth moves into the apartment next to his and all of a sudden someone can see him. And from the moment Stephen realizes that Elizabeth can see him, everything changes. Now Stephen has someone on his side, someone who has the potential to be able to do something to break Stephen's curse. But is all comes down to what sacrifices everyone is willing to make.

As I've already mentioned, there were many factors that contributed to my desire to read Invisibility. For starters, the premise was quite unlike what's currently out there in YA. And invisibility curse clearly suggests paranormal, but for 90% of the story, it reads almost like a contemporary. Which in turn made it so I just flew through the pages. For the most part, the action is concentrated in the last 50-75 pages or so. Before that action picks up, as a reader you get to see so many different relationships develop. And as much as I liked the action packed ending, I loved seeing those relationships develop and blossom. Those relationships were very much different from other relationships you see in books. For starters, there's the whole invisibility thing that kind of puts a wrench in things. But despite the fact that some of the involved parties couldn't actually see each other, the relationships still felt incredibly real and like the whole invisibility thing was a non-issue. But it did make some of the interactions between characters quite interesting.

Having one of the main characters be invisible to all but one of the other characters makes for quite the interesting situations. But having Stephen be invisible also makes you feel for him in a way that you won't necessarily for other characters. With Stephen, you not only feel the pain attached to the loss of his mother, but you also feel the lifetime of pain that comes from having been invisible to everyone who cares about you. Until Elizabeth come along that is. And Elizabeth was definitely a character with many layers. After what happened to her brother, Laurie, I can understand Elizabeth's attitude towards people, not willing to let herself trust anybody, for fear that they would hurt her or the people she cares about. But then when she's with Stephen, you get to see this whole other side of Elizabeth, like he brings out something in her that she keeps guarded around everyone else. So because of all that, the relationship between Stephen and Elizabeth is really interesting to see develop and grow. But I also have to mention Laurie, because he often put a smile on a my or made me snicker. And I also admired him. Because after everything that happened to him before his family moved to New York, to see him act the way he does and have the attitude he does, I just have to respect and admire him. Not a lot of people would be able to come back from what he did so I feel like it is worth mentioning. 

Andrea Cremer and David Levithan's Invisibility was just as good as I had hoped it would be. The story captured my attention from start to finish, and I loved the contemporary feel that was attached to this story despite the paranormal elements. If you want a cross between contemporary and paranormal, I would definitely recommend Invisibility because it has just the right mix of the two genres.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (29)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga of Tynga's Reviews. It's a weekly post where book bloggers showcase the book they received throughout the week.

It was quite the busy week at my mailbox this week. Some books I won showed up as did a few books for review. At least I haven't been buying to many books lately so my TBR pile isn't growing too much, which is a good thing with BEA coming up in two weeks. So here's what I got this week.

- How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler
- Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick
- Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Thank you to Raincoast Books and Scholastic Canada for sending me these books for review.

- Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen
- The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter
- The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter
- Covet by Melissa Darnell
- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Thank you to HarlequinTeen and Teen Librarian's Toolbox for these books.

So these are the books I received this week. Be prepared for a busy couple of weeks here on the blog. I am finally catching up on reviews and on May 20th I will be kicking off a week-long event so be on the lookout for that. 

Enjoy your week!

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Summer Reading - 2013 Edition (3)

Among my friends, I'm known as the book person. As a result, whenever someone is looking for a book recommendation they come to me. This time of the year, this happens a lot since summer is fast approaching and a lot of my friends are typically seasonal readers--as in they read when they have time to do so and that time is often summer. Like I did last year, I thought I would post these recommendations--by genre--here on the blog as well. Up this week, some fantasy and science fiction recommendations.

- The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - If you haven't heard of Cinder and Scarlet, you are seriously missing out. The Lunar Chronicles are fairytale retellings set in a futuristic world where humans, cyborgs and androids co-exist. Believe me, it's just as awesome as it sounds. Cinderella is Cinder, a cyborg and Little Red Riding Hood is Scarlet, a girl who runs a farm with her grandmother. With the Lunar Chronicles, be prepared to rethink a lot of what you know about fairytales and that's what makes them so awesome.

- Unremembered by Jessica Brody - When I read it, Unremembered wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. But it turned out to be quite the sci-fi read. If you choose to read Unremembered, be prepared to be surprised because for much of the book it doesn't feel like you're reading a sci-fi story. So if you're looking to read some sci-fi that doesn't feel too much like a sci-fi story, then Unremembered is a good option. The only downside is that it's the first in a trilogy and the two sequels aren't out just yet.

- Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes - Even if you aren't a particularly big fan of fantasy, you should still read Morgan Rhodes' Falling Kingdoms. I can't really say whether or not this is a valid comparison or not, but this book has been compared to Game of Thrones. Though I can say that it is a truly fantastic story (no pun intended). Falling Kingdoms is the kind of book that will grab your attention right from the beginning. Though a word of warning, characters have a tendency to die…especially the ones you get attached to.

- The Gypsy King by Maureen Fergus - Again, even if you aren't that into fantasy, The Gyspy King by Maureen Fergus is s story that will grab your attention right away, or at least it did for me. The story was very different from what I thought it would be and from other fantasy stories I've read (not that I've read all that many). And if you still need some convincing that The Gypsy King is a book to pick up, the sequel is coming out this fall, so you won't have to wait that long to find out what happens next. Though if you are outside of Canada, it might be a little trickier to get a copy of this book.

- Witchlanders by Lena Coakley - Witchlanders was one of my summer reading recommendations last year and I still stand behind that recommendation. The story in this book felt incredibly real despite the clear high fantasy elements and the characters were memorable. And for a nice change in YA, the two main characters are boys. Even though Witchlanders is not quite as recent as some of the other recommendations on this list, it's still a great fantasy read if that's what you are in the mood for.

So these are just a few fantasy and sci-fi recommendations and is not an extensive list. If sci-fi/fantasy isn't what you are looking for you can always check out my contemporary and paranormal recommendations or come back next week for some post-apocalyptic and dystopian recommendations.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Other ways to follow...

As some of you may have heard, Google is soon going to be taking away Google Friend Connect and Google Readers, two of the main ways you can follow this blog. If you are still interested in following this blog, here are a few options for you to choose from.

  • You subscribe using RSS - Just add the blog to your reader of choice
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You can always follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page if you prefer keeping up this way.

And if you have any questions, you can always leave me a comment here or talk to me on Twitter and Facebook

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

I'm With Stupid by Geoff Herbach

Title: I'm With Stupid
Author: Geoff Herbach
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 1, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Felton Reinstein has never been good with stress. Which is why he's seriously freaking out. Revealing his college choice on national TV? It's a heart attack waiting to happen. Deciding on a major for the next four years of his life? Ridiculous. He barely even knows who he is outside of football. And so…he embarks on The Epic Quest to be Meaningful.

Which leads to:
1. Mentoring a freshman called Pig Boy.
2. The state of Wisconsin hating him.
3. His track coach suspending him.
4. The funniest viral video the world has ever seen.
5. A whole new appreciation for his family, his friends, and what's really important in life. 

Here's the thing about Geoff Herbach's books: they don't get nearly enough attention. So far I have loved everything I have read by this author, and I'm With Stupid was no different. I loved seeing Felton's story come to an end, but I will admit, by the end of it all, it was bittersweet.

Now in his last year of high school, Felton Reinstein has a lot on his plate. Recruiters from all over the country are getting in touch with him by any means necessary. That's enough to drive anyone crazy. But for someone who doesn't do well with stress, the college recruitment process is enough to give Felton a heart attack. And if that wasn't enough, everything else in Felton's life seems to be on the verge of falling apart. Except that maybe things aren't so bad. Because this nerd-turned-jock's friends and family have his back. Even if Felton hasn't realized it just yet. 

Like I've already said, I sometimes feel like Geoff Herbach's books don't get nearly enough attention. Having read all three Felton Reinstein books, I can say that they are truly fantastic books. While I was reading the last book, I'm With Stupid, I couldn't help but think about how authentic the story sounded. And that's what is so amazing about this story. It just felt real, and even though I had very little in common with a lot of the characters, I could still find myself relating to what they were going through. And therein lies what is so great about Felton Reinstein's story. But beyond the authentic feel of the story, Geoff Herbach's story are also filled with humor. I just know that there will inevitably be moments while reading that i will be trying to wipe a stupid smile off my face. And while this was still true with I'm With Stupid, there were also some more serious moments in this book. I loved reading those deeper parts of the story because that they showed there was a lot more to this story than just a nerd-to-jock transformation.

Speaking of the nerd-to-jock transformation, I have come to love Felton Reinstein. What I've come to realize over the course of these three books is that despite the transformation that happened in the first book, Felton is still that same nerd he was before the growth spurt that made him a fantastic athlete. Everything he went through in I'm With Stupid showed me that Felton still has those same insecurities he always had, and if anything they are only amplified by the fact that everyone is that much more aware of who he is and everything he does. But the best part about Felton is his voice. His way of telling the story almost feels conversational and that's what allows the reader to connect with him. It's like having someone telling you about their day. And again, Geoff Herbach just nails that aspect of the book. The way he writes Felton makes him sound like someone I could have known at my own high school. And that just adds to how spot on this book is. 

If you haven't already picked up one of Geoff Herbach's books, then you are missing out. I have loved Felton's story from the very beginning and I couldn't have asks for a better conclusion than the one I got in I'm With Stupid. But I will admit I was sad to say goodbye to these characters. Because as you'll realize, they almost start to feel like they are part of your life. 

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (76)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where book bloggers devote a post to an upcoming book release they are particularly looking forward to. This week I have two titles I am particularly looking forward to reading.

The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski
September 24, 2013
Greenwillow Books
On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, Jack Polovsky has just taken a handful of pills when his cell phone rings. Here's some news: his ex-girlfriend has given birth and Jack is the father. Jack hasn't spoken with Jess in about nine months--and she wants him to see the baby before he is adopted. Maybe it's the pills. Maybe it's Jack's general state of mind. But Jack needs to introduce the baby to his grandma--and tell him a few important things along the way to Grandma's house. Then, maybe everything will be all right. Then at least he will have had a day or two with his son and done his best to shape him. Jack kidnaps the baby, names him Socrates, stocks up on baby supplies at Wal-Mart, and hits the road with his best friend Tommy and with the ex, Jess. As they head to Grandma's house (eluding the police at every turn), Jack tells baby Socrates the Greek myths--because all stories spring from those stories, really. Even this one.

In turns funny, heart wrenching, and wholly original, this debut novel by Emil Ostrovski explores the nature of family, love friendship, fatherhood, and myth.
Ever since I first heard about The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski, I have been wanting to read this book. It sounds like a fantastic contemporary story that's a little out there but stil has a lot of potential. I can't wait to find out for myself.

Blackout by Robison Wells
October 1, 2013
Harper Teen
Laura and Alec are trained terrorists.

Jack and Aubrey are high school students.

There was no reason for them to ever meet.

But now, a mysterious virus is spreading throughout America, infecting teenagers with impossible powers. And these four are about to find their lives intertwined in a complex web of deception, loyalty, and catastrophic danger--where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all. 
Though I haven't read any of Robison Wells' other books, Blackout sounds fantastic. Just from reading the synopsis, I can tell this is going to be a crazy and intense story. Though I feel like this might also be the kind of story that is going to make me think a lot. But those are the best kinds.

Resist by Sarah Crossan
October 8, 2013
Greenwillow Books
What would you do if you were desperate? 

Bea, Alina, and Quinn are outlaws. They started a rebellion and have been thrown out of the pod--the only place where there's enough air to breathe. Bea has lost her family. Alina has lost her home. And Quinn has lost his privileged life. What will they find, now that they are refugees in the perilous Outlands? Their final safe haven may be harboring dark secrets. But together, the three teens find the will to keep fighting, to save one another, and to break free from everything that's holding them back.

Sarah Crossan has created a dangerous, shattered society, and brought to life three heartbreakingly relatable teenagers who come into their own. A wrenching, thought-provoking, and unforgettable post-apocalyptic novel.
I really enjoyed Sarah Crossan's Breathe last year, so I can't wait to see what happens next in Resist. The synopsis doesn't give too much away, but from what I remember from the first book, I just know that this is going to make me think that this is something that could actually happen.

So these are the books I'm waiting on and am excited about this week. What are you waiting on? 

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tudor Tuesday - Teaser & Giveaway

In preparation for the release of Katherine Longshore's Tarnish in June, I have the pleasure of starting off this year's edition of the Tudor Tuesday. So keep reading for a teaser, some notes on the inspiration for what's in the teaser and a giveaway. Enjoy!

I follow the other ladies from the queen's chambers down the great start and into the fall. It is already decorated with swags of colored silk, as the lists will be. The forest green of the Tudors, accented with white and gold.

And alternating with swags of blue.

Jane falls back to join me as the ladies make their way to the viewing towers. The duchess casts one scathing look back at her, and I wonder that Jane doesn't combust on the spot.

"Are you sure you want to be seen with me?" I ask. "I'm certainly persona non grata today."

"I'm through with the Duchess of Suffolk and her crowd. I want to be like the Boleyns."

"And what are the Boleyns like?" I ask. We are opinionated. Ambitious. Jealous.

"Different. Exciting."

"No one wants to be a Boleyn."

She looks into my eyes, and the strength of the passion behind hers surprise me.

"I do. More than anything."


Jane Parker (Boleyn) is such a complex (and possibly misunderstood) historical character. We see her in GILT, after the Tudor court has sucked much of the life out of her. I wanted to write her younger self as someone with spirit and hope--someone who believed in love even when faced with the cynicism of the court and society. Someone who might inspire Anne to believe the same.


Since today is also the day that Gilt comes out in paperback, here is your chance to win a signed copy of the book. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US/Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to look out for the other Tudor Tuesday post coming up every week for your chance to win a copy of Tarnish

May 14 - Katie @ BlookGirl
May 21 - Rachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf
May 28 -  Kathy @ A Glass of Wine
June 4 - Kelly @ Belle of the Literati
June 11 - Jessica @ Read My Breath Away

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Tessa Gray should be happy--aren't all brides happy?

Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.

A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.

Here's the thing about Clockwork Princess, I was absolutely terrified of the book. As much as I was dying to read it and find out how everything would end, I was still terrified of what it would do to my poor heart. And at times I was perfectly legitimated in my fear because Cassandra Clare really knows how to break my heart over and over again. But at different times, she also managed to help piece it all back together.

All Tessa Gray wants is to protect those she cares about. But there is only so much that is in her control. With Jem seemingly getting more and more sick every day, Tessa can't help but feel like she has to do something to help him. And with the threat of Mortmain looming over the London Institute, everyone is on edge, afraid of an attack that can happen at any moment. But what if there was something Tessa could do that would protect the Shadowhunters? Should she risk her own life in order to keep everyone she loves safe…or will they even let her?

As I've said, I was absolutely terrified when I started reading Clockwork Princess. Having read all of Cassandra Clare's books to date, I know what she is capable of doing and how that has affected me in the past. And my fears were completely legitimated. As those who were receiving my texts while I was reading can attest, there were many moments when I was afraid that the story just couldn't hurt me any more than it already had. Because, honestly, that's what the story did: it broke my heart over and over again. But don't get the wrong idea because it is a fantastically written story. There were so many scenes that took be completely by surprise, both good and bad. And some of those scenes are what helped me piece my heart back together. Until the epilogue came along (please excuse the mini rant that it about to come). The thing about Clockwork Princess is that it had the perfect ending, one I was completely satisfied with. And that ending came before the epilogue. That's not to say that the epilogue wasn't good, because parts of were. But then there was that another part of me that made me kind of mad. And the way things played out, it felt a little like a cop out to me. And I'm sure some of you who've read the book might agree. So my final say on that? The book should have ended before the epilogue and still been just as fantastic, if not even more so.

Here's the thing about the characters in Clockwork Princess: I adore them all…well at least the good guys. Over the course of the three books I have come to care about so many of them. But if I'm being completely honest, in Clockwork Princess, Gideon, Sophie, Cecily and Gabriel completely stole the show. Those four characters quickly became some of my favourites in this series. Without giving too much away, the interactions between these four people were often what helped put parts of my heart back together. But that doesn't mean I still don't love Will, Tessa and Jem. Because those three people have a special place in my heart. The thing about these three characters is that Cassandra Clare managed to write their stories in a way that made it so I have never really been able to decide who Tessa should be with. And somehow this leads me back to the epilogue. Again I apologize if this quickly dissolves into me ranting some more. Without revealing what happens, with the way things played out, I was perfectly happy with who Tessa ended up with at the end--the end that came before the epilogue. But then the epilogue came about and all of a sudden it made me feel like the relationship Tessa had had with one of the boys was rendered meaningless because of what happened in that part of the book. But moving on from my anger with the epilogue, Will, Jem and Tessa are what broke me in this book. And as much as they were responsible for my heart breaking, I will not stop loving them because that's just how attached to these characters I've become. 

Pushing my anger with the epilogue aside, Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Princess was a fantastic read. Any moment I wasn't reading I spent wishing I could be back in that world, watching everything unfold alongside some of my favourite characters. As much as this is a story that will break your heart, if you haven't already discovered the world of the Infernal Devices, you should consider doing so.

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Summer Reading - 2013 Edition (2)

Among my friends, I'm known as the book person. As a result, whenever someone is looking for a book recommendation they come to me. This time of the year, this happens a lot since summer is fast approaching and a lot of my friends are typically seasonal readers--as in they read when they have time to do so and that time is often summer. Like I did last year, I thought I would post these recommendations--by genre--here on the blog as well. Up this week, some paranormal recommendations.

- Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout - If you're plugged in to the blog world at all, you will have heard of this series at some point in the last year. So here's the deal, the Lux series is about aliens. Yes, you read that right, aliens. And not only that, but they are absolutely addicting. Once you start reading these books, you will just fly through them and keep wanting more. Though you'll probably question your addiction to these books at time, they are the perfect read when you are looking for romance and action.

- Embrace series by Jessica Shirvington - This series deals with angels--fallen angels and half-angels. But here's the thing, the first book might not have you hooked, but keep reading. If you do, you'll find that the story just keeps getting better and more complex. But beyond that, the Embrace series is different from other angel books out there. And like any good paranormal these, days the Embrace series comes with a good dose of romance. And swoon-worthy boys.

- Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer - The Elemental series is very much unlike anything else that's out there in paranormal YA. This story deals with four brothers who can each control different elements. And the thing about those brothers is that they're quite the dreamy bunch. But of course there's also a lot more going on. So far there are two books out, with the third one coming out at the end of the month, so it's the perfect time to pick up this series.

- Personal Demons trilogy by Lisa Desrochers - This is one of those really underrated series. I have absolutely loved this series and every time there was a new book I just devoured it. As the name suggests, this is a story about demons and angels--some pretty swoon-worthy ones at that. But in all seriousness, you should really read this trilogy if you are looking for a story with not only two hot boys and one kick-ass heroine, then pick up Personal Demons. Bonus: all three books are already out so none of that annoying waiting between books.

- Starcrossed trilogy Josephine Angelini - You will be hearing me talk about this series a lot in the next few weeks because I absolutely adore this trilogy. This is a story about love, and demigods and you might see a few parallels with the Trojan War. And it's just a fantastic story that is so complex and layered, something I realized while reading the final book. But seriously, if you haven't already, you need to read this series. Plus the last book comes out at the end of the month so you won't have too long to wait if you decide to read these.

This is not an extensive list. If I wanted to, I could probably keep going on for days with paranormal recommendations. These are just a few of my favorites from the last year that I strongly recommend. If you are looking for paranormal recommendations, you can check out last year's post. And if paranormal is not your cup of tea, you can come back next week for some sci-fi and fantasy recommendations.

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