Monday, September 30, 2013

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Title: How to Love
Author: Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Source: ARC from BEA
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated--and pregnant--Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love--twice. 

Katie Cotugno's debut How to Love was easily one of my most anticipated books this year. As you can imagine, I had very high expectations and I really didn't want to be disappointed by the book. And in all honesty, I wasn't even close to bring disappointed. How to Love is one of my favourite books this year. 

Three years ago, Reena Montero was in love with Sawyer LeGrande. Had been in love with him for as long as she could remember. When Sawyer appears to be returning her feelings, Reena is ecstatic. But being love with Sawyer is more complicated than Reena ever thought it would be. And it gets more complicated until the day Sawyer disappears leaving everything and everyone behind, including a pregnant Reena. When Reena thinks she is finally figuring out how to live without Sawyer and raise her daughter, Hannah, Sawyer waltzes back into her life with no warning. But this new Sawyer is different from the Sawyer Reena knew three years ago. And before long, old feelings resurface. Could Reena be falling in love with Sawyer for the second time?

How do I even begin to explain how much I loved How to Love. I read the book on my way home from BEA back in June and even now, four months later, I still can't seem to get these characters and this story out of my mind. There was just something powerful about this story that touched me in a way I don't know how to explain. For starters, Katie Cotugno is a fantastic writer. With How to Love she essentially wrote two stories: the story of how Reena fell in love with Sawyer in high school and the story of Reena and Sawyer getting to know each other again three years later. I loved how the story alternated between the present and the past. It allowed me to understand the characters in a way I wouldn't have been able to otherwise. But it also allowed me to see that being in love doesn't always look the way you think it will, even if you think you know the person. There was just so much to love about How to Love that no matter what I say I just know I won't be able to do the book and the story justice. 

The thing about Reena and Sawyer is that I basically got a two-for-one deal in a way. Because there were two timelines, there was a past Reena and a present Reena. And the same goes for Sawyer. And like I've said before getting to know past Reena and Sawyer helped me better understand present Reena and Sawyer. And that meant I saw who they became who they now are. With Reena, I saw her go from being the wide-eyed girl who's been in love with the same boy since she was a child to being this hardened person who has had to learn how to get by on her own and care for a child. With Sawyer the change was obviously more drastic, but a bit more of a mystery. With the story being told from Reena's point of view, I was able to see the differences between past and present Saywer, but it was less clear how he became the latter. But honestly, I didn't really need to know. All that mattered was that, like Reena, I pretty much fell in love with Sawyer. 

I could keep going on and on about Katie Cotugno's How to Love. This is a book with a story and characters that will stay with you for a long time after finishing the book. But more than that, How to Love reminded me why I love YA and contemporary stories as much as I do.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Look!

So you may notice that things are looking a little different around, namely, there's a lot more purple than there was before. And that's because I decided that Emilie's Book World needed a new look. I've finally been getting out of a slump and decided that what I needed was a new look for the blog.

Thanks to the amazing Katie from KD Designs, I now have this awesome new look. If you're looking for a new design for yourself, I would strongly recommend Katie. Not only did she manage to pretty much read my mind and come up with a design I absolutely love, she did so in record time!

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blog Tour - Sidelined by Kendra C. Highley + Giveaway

Title: Sidelined
Author: Kendra C. Highley
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Source: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
After being pushed to excel her entire life, high school basketball star Genna Pierce is finally where she wants to be. University scouts are taking notice, her team is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the hot boy she'd daydreamed about since ninth grade, is showing some definite interest. When he asks her out and their relationship takes off, Genna believe things can't get better.

Then, it's over.

A freak accident ends her career before it's even begun. Her parents are fighting more than ever, her friends don't understand what she's going through, and she's not sure who she is without basketball. And while he tries to be there for her, Genna doesn't understand how Jake could ever want the broken version of the girl he fell for. 

Here life is a tailspin, Genna turns to the only solace that eases her pain: Vicodin.

So here's the thing about Kendra C. Highley's Sidelined, I knew next to nothing about the book when I first started reading it. To be honest, all I really knew was that it was a contemporary story, the main character played basketball and I had guessed from the title that something happens to her and she can no longer play. I was going in blind. But I'm glad I did because it meant I was able to enjoy the story in a way I don't think I would have otherwise. 

Genna always knew what her future would hold: she would graduate high school with an athletic scholarship to play basketball in college. And that reality was with her reach. Until one fateful moment on the court changed her life completely. A double leg fracture puts an end to her basketball career and now Genna has to rebuild her life from scratch.  But it's not just her basketball career that falls apart, it's Genna's whole life. And before long, Genna is spiralling downs dark whole where the only thing capable of easing her pain is the one thing that is bringing her down. 

I went in completely blind with Sidelined. I had briefly read over the summary and that had apparently been enough to convince me I wanted to read this book. And as much as I am sometimes weary of reading books when I know nothing about them going in blind can have some distinct advantages. I didn't have any preconceived ideas about the book. Sure after a couple chapters I had a vague idea of where the story might be going, but even then, Sidelined didn't end up going quite where I thought it would. I didn't really think it would go beyond exploring how Genna dealt with giving up basketball. And in a way, the story definitely did this but it also went deeper. All of a sudden I was reading a story about addiction and there wasn't much sugarcoating. I could see how much Genna struggled with being addicted to her pain meds. I could see how it was affecting not just her, but the people around her. And I appreciated the fact that I saw that inner struggle in Genna. It meant that I was able to see the progression, see her downward spiral to addiction and then her fight to get better. In a way, it made Genna feel a lot more real. 

So that brings me to Genna. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that I didn't really think much of her when I first started reading the story. Even once she got injured and had to deal with the implications of that injury, I still just saw her as someone telling a story.  But once she started getting addicted to her pain meds, I started finding her a lot more interesting as a character. Having the story told from Genna's perspective definitely helped with that. With the story told this way, I could see her inner turmoil, how the drug was starting to control her. And the I saw her inner fight against it. It all made her more interesting. And as much se there were other characters in the story that were both supporting her and  were there for conflict purposes, the story was very much about Genna and her conflict with herself. And for me, that made for a really interesting and engaging story. 

Kendra C. Highley's Sidelined wasn't what I thought it would be. Not knowing what to expect made for a more interesting reading experience. If you're looking for a story that's deeper an deals with a harder subject matter than I would definitely recommend Sidelined. 


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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blog Tour - The Great & Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms by Ian Thornton

Today I have the pleasure of Ian Thornton here on the blog to answer a few questions about his debut novel, The Great & Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms. While this book is not one I would normally pick up by myself, it is proving to be quite the entertaining and interesting read. So here is what Ian Thornton had to say.

Where did inspiration for The Great & Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms come from?

I read an article in a Sunday newspaper in England back in the early 90s about a young man in Sarajevo who left college one Friday evening and by the time the weekend was over, he had set in motion a chain of events, which has affected the lives of everyone on the planet today. Many great men spend their lives trying to alter a city block, and here was one young chap who just wanted to be left alone for the weekend and drink coffee and read books, maybe a newspaper, but instead set fire to the twentieth century. That is powerful stuff. Imagine the turmoil, the horror of dealing with that. This kernel always stayed with me, and when I decided I was going to write, there was never any discussion in my mind that this would be my subject matter. 

I guess too, in hindsight, there may have been some sub-conscious mirroring of events with those in my own life. I too had made some rather stupid decisions, and was running away from them. Maybe I empathised with this poor boy more than I realised at the time.

The book covers an entire century's worth of events. How did you decide when to be faithful to history and when to create your own version of history?

I attempted to create a moving, amorphous life against the rigid backdrop of historical events. I have not read Flashman (it is NEXT on the list, given the recommendations I have had) but I suspect parallels, though his fidelity to history seems to be legendary. I have actually avoided George Macdonald' Fraser's work while I was writing for the natural fear of mimicking what may already be of a similar feel. I think the real artistic license comes when the tale passes from the macro to the micro. Established and well-known events are solid and immovable. The minutiae of individuals movements and lives are pliable and malleable. These two positions merge when Johan's story becomes that of the planet and her trajectory, i.e. Sarajevo June 28th, 1914. This I will explain in a second.

First however, I think/hope it is quite clear from very early on that it is a fantastical tale. The line about 'the exaggerations of two old men and the DNA of the cadaver known as the tale' is a key one, explaining how this story is third-hand and told through a prism.

Yes, June 28th, 1914. The newspaper story I mentioned earlier planted the seed of doubt about who the chauffeur was. When I spent time in Sarajevo several years ago, the eminent professors there could provide no absolute answer and no overall consensus as to whether the driver was Loyka or Urban. So this, along with my memories of the newspaper article, allowed for enough room for conjecture, for fiction and for a third possible culprit.

Hemingway, Paker and Orwell were all in Spain at the same time, though quite unlikely to have been in Monreal del Campo on Hemingway's birthday in 1937. I guess it is the definition of historical fiction; an imagined story set against the immovability of history. Historical fiction in this regard does seem oxymoronic. The line may move as to where one starts and the other ends, but if the reader knows he or she is not reading non-fiction, then that license is understood, and one assumes Coleridge's willing suspension of disbelief.

On that note, how much research went into writing this story?

This is a good question. It is my first book, so I have no real measure, no yardstick. It seemed like a lot, I hope it comes across as such. I spent a lot of time in Sarajevo, Southern France, Vila di Bispo, the 'end of the world' in Portugal, Spain, London and Minehead.

Things like clothing, the architecture and the language I picked up osmotically through a raging love of early and mid-century cinema; English, European, you name it.

A lot of Johan's experiences were my own, transposed. I guess they were therefore in effect research, though I did not know it at the time. If this seems like a cop out by hanging out in these places and calling it research, then I guess I am guilty. In hindsight, it was a quite effective way of utilising many lazy and happy days for a more sensible and career-minded end. Don't they say 'write about what you know'?

Yes, there was the slog of library books and increasingly the internet, but a lot of the research came from having lived a life and watched hundreds of movies. I guess the downside of this, is that my next book is likely going to be more study-based. Or maybe not…

How would you describe The Great & Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms to someone who knows nothing about it?

The ten second La Croisette pitch? HIstorical fiction, black comedy, love story, buddy story set against the war-torn twentieth century.

The thirty second La Croisette pitch? The fictionalised life story of the man who inadvertently started the Great War, by being the driver for Franz Ferdinand on the day of the assassination. How he took a wrong turn and couldn't find reverse gear when the lead Serb assassin walked out of a cafĂ© to find, by chance, his target. How he (the driver) blames himself for not only the assassination, but also for the Great War and everything that led from there; the Russian Revolution, the Treaty of Versailles, the rise of Hitlerism, the Second World War, the gas chambers, the atomic bomb, Vietnam, you name it. A.k.a How I started a world war and finally learned to stop worrying about it. Sort of. 

About the book:
A wild, rollicking novel on chance, friendship, love, regret, and the entire history of the twentieth century. 

Johan Thoms is poised for greatness. A promising student at the University of Sarajevo, he is young, brilliant, and in love with the beautiful Lorelei Ribeiro. He can outwit chess masters, quote the Kama Sutra, and converse with dukes and drunkards alike. But he cannot drive a car in reverse. And as with so much in the like of Johan Thoms, this seemingly insignificant detail will prove to be much more than it appears. One the morning of June 28, 1914, Johan takes his place as the chauffeur to Franz Ferdinand and the Royal entourage, and with one wrong turn, he forever alters the course of history. 

Blaming himself for the deaths of the Archduke and his wife, Johan hastens from the seven , and for once his inspired mind cannot process what to do next. Guild-ridden, he flees Sarajevo, abandoning his friends, family, and beloved in the fear that he has caused them irreparable grievance. He watches in horror as the Great War unfolds, every death settling squarely on Johan's conscience. Turning his back on his old life, Johan does his best to fade out of memory.

But the world has other plans for Johan Thoms. As each passing year burdens Johan with further guilt for his inaction, he seeks solace in his writing and in the makeshift family he has assembled around himself. With everyone from emperors to hooligans at his side, and pursued by the ever-determined Lorelei, Johan winds his way through Europe and the Twentieth Century, leaving his indelible mark on both. 

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Blog Tour - Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl by Emily Pohl-Weary

Title: Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl
Author: Emily Pohl-Weary
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Chapters Indigo
Sometimes Living in the Big Apple Really Bites!

Eighteen-year-old rock start Sam Lee isn't like other girls. She's the super-talented bass player and songwriter for an all-girl indie band and an incurable loner. Then one night after a concert in Central Park, she's attacked by a wild dog.

Suddenly, this long-time vegetarian is craving meat--and the bloodier, the better. Sam finds herself with an unbelievable secret and no one she trusts to share it. And so begging the endless lies to cover up the hairy truth…

When a new girl gang appears in the city--with claws and paws--Sam suspects there's a connection to her own inner beast. Trapped in a tug-of-war between her animal and human selves, forced to choose between the guy who sparked her carnal appetite and the one who makes her feel like a normal teenage girl, Sam has to unravel the mysteries of the werewolf world before her bandmates, her mother, and the media catch up to her.
Q & A with author Emily Pohl-Weary

How do you go about doing research for your work?

I don't think I do anything particularly special! For me, research usually just involves wandering around the neighborhoods my character frequents, which in this case means New York's Lower-East Side and Brooklyn (which I absolutely love). I talk to people who live there, smell things (eww!), listen to the sounds. Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe my research process is to make like a fish and swim in my book's ocean. Really immerse myself. I listen to a soundtrack that gets me into the right headspace for writing. I read a ton--on average three novels a week, though I try to avoid anything too similar while I'm writing a book--and watch teen movies/TV shows to analyze plot twists and dialogue and get fashion ideas.

Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl from start to finish--what process did you go through while writing this book?

My writing process is a combination of haphazard writing spurts, chronic tinkering, and intense outlining. With Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl, I wrote about 50 pages in a rush, then sat back and thought about where it was headed, and wrote up detailed notes that would get Sam from point A (the attack in Central Park) to point B (the end, which I won't spoil). Then I wrote and wrote and wrote and stressed and outlined and wrote and re-outlined and wrote again. Repeat that for a couple years. Once I finished a draft, I asked a bunch of writer/reader friends to give me feedback. I edited again for several months, then gave it to my agent Alison MacDonald at The Rights Factory, who is an incredibly shrewd editor. And all of this was before the publishers bought it and started their own intensive editing process. Sometimes I think it's miracle that anyone books are finished. So much work goes into them.

What are some tips for writing a story with paranormal elements?

Keep everything as realistic as possible--the way characters talk, move, think, respond, live their lives--then toss in completely unreal things, but treat them like they're normal. For Sam Lee's world, I really wanted to put myself into the head of a girl who lives in a hectic, crowded city but is terrified that her inner monster will escape. I mean, for Sam it's a monster, but for the rest of us, there's usually a secret of something we've done/that has happened to us that we really don't want strangers knowing about. Rather than fixating on the magical elements of the story, I held onto the feeling of having to hide something awful. Oh, and what it would be like to be a rising indie rock star with less and less privacy!


I didn't really know much of anything about Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl by Emily Pohl-Weary when I first started reading. I didn't have many expectations, but it I did, they would have all been met. The story was fun and engrossing, exactly what I needed it to be.

Despite being in the spotlight with her band, Sam Lee has always been a major loner. So while biking home through Central Park one night after a show, Sam finds herself alone facing down two wild dogs and fearing for her lie. And so she gets bitten, but instead of going to the hospital, she gets back on her bike to go home. And the next morning, everything feels different. Sam finds herself craving foods she's never craved, and wanting to hurt people for no reason. Add to that, two boys being for Sam's attention and a new and mysterious girl gang, and Sam finds herself having to deal with a lot more people than she can handle. So much for being a loner.

I didn't know what to expect from Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl, but I certainly didn't expect what I ended up getting: an engrossing story that completely grabbed my attention. I didn't actually expect to enjoy the story as much as I did. This was just a fun story. I loved getting to know the characters, seeing Sam start to realize just how much her life was changing and come to terms with that fact. What I really enjoyed about the story though, was that despite the paranormal elements, it felt like I was reading a contemporary story the whole time. Sure, being turned into a werewolf isn't exactly realistic, but that aside, the story didn't feel paranormal at all. And I think that had a lot to do with my enjoyment of the story.

It may have taken me a few chapters to warm up to Sam, but once I did, I really liked her. I really enjoyed seeing her come out of her shell more even when I could totally relate to wanting to be alone. It was just great to see her learn to trust new people and open up to them. As far as her love interests were concerned, Harris rubbed me the wrong way right from the start. There was just something about him that was off for me, I can't really explain why. Though admittedly the same could be said about Marlon, but Marlon I definitely came around to. Once I got to know him more, I realized that he really had good intentions and that he really cared about Sam. Harris just came across as a jerk.

Emily Pohl-Weary's Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl took me by surprise. If you're not usually into paranormal stories, I recommend you give this book a try. Just like me, you might be in for a surprise.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

On the Topic Of...Slumps

If you've stuck around this summer (thank you, by the way!) you'll probably have noticed that things slowed down. Like REALLY slowed down. To the point where between June and the end of August, barely any posts when up here. So you're probably guessing what I'm getting at. Slumps: blogging slumps and reading slumps. ANd this post is going to serve two purposes: to explain where I disappeared to, and to talk about those unfortunate moments where, as bloggers and readers, we appear to lose all motivation.

So, you might be asking yourself, what did happen to me over the summer that resulted in me practically disappearing from the blogging world. Well here it goes. I graduated from university in the spring and then headed off to New York for BEA. And it was awesome. I came home really excited about all the books I brought home with me, I had all these ideas for what I would do on the blog. But then like got in the way. My family was visiting, I was working full time at a new job and the next thing I knew, blogging sort of fell by the wayside. It's not that I didn't want to blog, but my job involves me spending a good chunk of my time on social and writing blog posts. So when I got home at the end of the day, I was more interested in Netflix than I was in doing more of the same.

Eventually, I pulled myself out of it and got excited about writing reviews again. It helped that despite not blogging, I was still getting a lot of reading done. So now I'm left with a whole back log of reviews to write, but I'm actually looking forward to writing them.

So what did I do to get myself out of this slump? There isn't really one clear answer to that question. But the general idea is this: I didn't force it. Sure there were times when I felt really guilty when typing "Netflix" in the address bar of my browser instead of "Blogger," but I just wasn't in the mood to blog. What kept me going was reading. Eventually I read a book that made me want to share my thoughts with the world. And so I knew that I was back and ready to blog.

So here are the tips I can offer up to you if you ever find yourself in a slump. First and foremost, don't force it. The guilt that can come from that will probably suck, but in the long run, it's for the best. But also follow your mood. If you don't feel like writing a review, then don't. Same goes for what you choose to read. If you're in the mood for contemporary, read a contemporary. If you're in the mood for a dystopian, then read a dystopian story. You'll probably find yourself enjoying the story more if you're actually in the mood for it. That doesn't mean you should ignore any commitments you've made, but whenever you can, go with your mood. If you're like me, that may eventually bring you out of your slump and make you want to start sharing your thoughts again. And if that doesn't work, change of some sort can also help. Maybe it's time to get that new blog design you've been thinking about. Or that new feature you wanted to start. Something.

So that's what I've got to offer. It's not much, but it's something. What I've talked about in this post is what has usually gotten me out of a slump, but I'm always open to suggestions. What do you do when you're in a reading or blogging slump? Let me know in the comments!

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wait for You by J. Lynn

Title: Wait for You (Wait for You #1)
Author: J. Lynn
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Source: ARC from BEA
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago--an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on there left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe--please God--make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn't need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she's building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that's just so…lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she has no there choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her. 

And some things are worth fighting for...

Over the past year and a half, I've become quite the Jennifer L. Armentrout/J. Lynn fan. And after having now read Wait for You, I can say that she does New Adult contemporary just as well as she does Young Adult paranormal. In case that wasn't clear, I LOVED Wait for You. So much so I read it all in one sitting.

All Avery wanted out of college was a fresh start far away from home and all the tormenting of her past. But after literally waking into Cam Hamilton, things take an unexpected turn, especially once she finds out Cam lives across the hall from her. Before long, Cam has wormed his way into Avery's life and Avery isn't so sure she wants him to go away anymore. But the closer Avery gets to Cam, the more afraid she is that night five years ago is going to come back and haunt her. But what if Cam is exactly what Avery needs to finally move on with her life?

I love Jennifer L. Armentrout's paranormal stories and as excited as I was about Wait for You, I was a little afraid that it wouldn't quite live up to my expectations. In the end, I got sucked in right from the start. I had told myself I would only read a few pages to see what it was all about and before I knew it, it was a couple hours later and I was a couple hundred pages into the book. And I wasn't about to stop reading any time soon. Wait for You completely captivated me. There was just so much more to the story than I thought there would be. The story made me laugh, but it also brought tears to my eyes and broke my heart at times. And even though I could guess what had happened to Avery right from the start, I just kept reading, waiting to see if I was right. But I also just wanted to keep reading, if only just to see Cam and Avery's relationship develop. Because it was't perfect and that's what I loved about it.

Even though I hadn't gone through what she had, I could relate to many aspects of Avery's personality and that's what made me like her so much. That and she was a lot stronger than she gave herself credit for. Now if only she had trusted the people who really cared about her a little more, things could have gone a little smoother. But then I wouldn't have been able to see all the great sides of Cam's personality. Because Cam might just be my new book boyfriend. Cam was everything I hoped he would be. He was the whole package: good looks, smart, loyal and one of the sweetest and most caring guys. And he bakes cookies and cooks breakfast. So yeah, I might be a little in love with Cam. But can you really blame me?

Wait for You was so much more than I hoped it would be. It might even be one of my favorite books this year. And in my books, Jennifer L. Armentrout can do no wrong, no matter what she writes.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall 2013 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten Books on my fall TBR list.

I will preface this post by saying that some of these books have already been published, others are books that will be published at some point in the next few months. Regardless of if the book has been published or not, I am looking forward to reading all of these in the coming months.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth - There is a strong likelihood that Allegiant is on just about everyone's list and I totally understand why. After everything that went down in Insurgent, I can't wait to see how it will all come together. Plus we get Four's point of view.

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes - I found myself liking Falling Kingdoms last year so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. I've had an ARC of Rebel Spring sitting on my bookshelf for a few months and now that the release date is getting closer, I have the perfect excuse to read it.

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead - Richelle Mead. Adrian Ivashkov. Enough said.

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano - The premise of Perfect Ruin is that it takes place in a utopian world. And it's written by Lauren DeStefano. That's pretty much all I need to know in order to know I will want to read this book.

Crash Into You by Katie McGarry - My heart broke a little in Dare You To with what happened to Isaiah so I can't wait to finally read his story in Crash Into You. Plus, as far as I'm concerned, Katie McGarry can do no wrong.

How to Love by Katie Cotugno - I was lucky enough to get an ARC of How to Love while at BEA and I proceeded to read it on the bus ride back from NYC. But it's one of those books that I really, desperately want to reread. So since it's coming out soon, I'll most likely be doing just that.

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White - So far I have loved everything I have read by Kiersten WHite. And now she writes a book about mythology? Count me in.

Resist by Sarah Crossan - I loved Breathe. I want to know what happens next (though I may need a refresher between now and then). And that's all that really needs to be said about Resist.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black - Vampires and Holly Black. Do I really need to explain this any further?

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater - I only just recently read The Raven Boys but the moment I finished, I wanted the sequel. And now I have it. So you can bet I'll be reading The Dream Thieves and Ronan's story quite soon.

What books are on your fall TBR list?

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Title: Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths #1)
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Source: ARC borrowed from fellow blogger
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Kacey Cleary's whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she's working hard to bury the pieces left behind--all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls' college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it's time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord. a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen "profession." But Kacey's not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can't handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn't want to feel. She doesn't. It's safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she's not beyond repair. 

But Kacey isn't the only one who's broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgivable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey's newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.

If you saw my post over the weekend, you'll know that I'm really liking this whole New Adult phenomenon and the books it's bringing out. ONe of those books is K.A. Tucker's Ten Tiny Breaths, a book that took me completely by surprise and a book that I absolutely loved.

For the past four years, Kacey has struggled to keep it together. The only reason she's still standing is Livie, her fifteen-year-old younger sister. So when their uncle takes things too far, Kacey packs up their stuff and takes off for Miami with Livie. Surviving on their own is harder than Kacey thought, but with unexpected help from some neighbors, the Cleary sisters might stand a chance. But when Trent Emerson walks in to Kacey's life, everything threatens to fall apart, everything Kacey has worked so hard to keep in is on the verge of coming out. But Kacey isn't the only one keeping secrets, and Trent might be carrying a few darks ones himself.

I had no expectation whatsoever when I first started reading K.A. Tucker's Ten Tiny Breaths. All I really knew was what the synopsis said and that a friend thought it would be exactly my kind of book. So I figured, why not? And that friend wasn't the least bit wrong because I ended up absolutely loving Ten Tiny Breaths. I got completely sucked in to this story and I just wanted to find out more. This was as story that completely broke my heart. Everything the characters had gone through just didn't seem fair. But at the same time, through everything that happened, there was still alight at the end of it all. But what will stay with me are the characters who felt completely real.

I don't know what it says about me, but I love broken characters and that's exactly what I got with Ten Tiny Breaths. Kacey was so completely beyond broken, despite what she liked to think. And after everything, I so wanted for something good to happen to Kacey. So when Trent came into the picture, I thought he was the "something good." But that was before I realized that he was just as broken as Kacey. So the two of them together? Kind of disastrous in so many ways. But it wasn't all bad because I think Kacey and Trent both needed to go through this in order to get better. If only they had listed to the people around them, especially Livie. But talking about Livie is something I'll leave for a future review, because I have a lot to say about Livie.

I absolutely loved K.A. Tucker's Ten Tiny Breaths and I can't say enough good things about the book. If you are looking to give New Adult a try but aren't sure where to start, I would strongly recommend Ten Tiny Breaths.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

On the Topic Of...New Adult

I know by this point everyone has shared their opinions on New Adult, but I've wanted to throw my two cents in for a while. Because as a 22-year-old recent university graduate YA lover, there's a lot I could say on the subject of NA. So here goes nothing.

Right now, New Adult is the new and hot thing and because of the "newness" factor, people are having difficulty defining exactly what it is, or what even qualifies at New Adult. From what I've understood, NA stories are typically ones where the characters are out of high school and are now in college, therefore older than YA but not quite old enough to be "full-blown" adults (for lack of a better word). And inevitably there always seems to be more mature romance involved--sometime to the point where it feels like the book is more about the sexual content than the actual plot.

But what appeals to me when it comes to New Adult isn't the more mature content, but rather the fact that the characters are older. I love YA and some of the characters that come from YA, but as a 22-year-old, I can sometimes find it a little difficult to relate to those YA characters. But with NA, the characters are much closer to not just my age (not that I'm THAT much older than YA), but also to where I am in my life. I find myself relating to those NA characters in ways that I haven't been able to relate to YA characters in a while. And for that alone, I'll take all the NA books I can. 

But as much as I appreciate how much I am able to relate to some of the characters in those NA books, sometimes I get a little frustrated with them. I mentioned already that one of the recurring themes with a lot of NA books is the more mature and increased sexual content. While there is a time and a place for that sexual content, there are some NA books that take it a little far, making it so the story is more about the sex than the actual story. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that sexual content as much as the next person, but is it too much that it happen in the greater context of an actual story? Just because I am complaining about this it doesn't mean that there aren't NA novels because there are and I've read them. Books like K.A. Tucker's Ten Tiny Breaths and One Tiny Lie blew me away and helped sell me on NA as a thing. The same can be said about Cora Carmack's books and I'm sure plenty of others I just haven't had time to read yet.

So my final say on New Adult: I can definitely get behind it, especially if it means more books like the ones I mentioned in this post. Im all for stories that are a little more mature, with characters I can really relate to.

What are your thoughts on the whole New Adult phenomenon? If you've read a lot of NA are there any you would recommend above others? Let me know in the comments! 

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

Title: Infinityglass (Hourglass #3)
Author: Myra McEntire
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Source: From Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
The stakes have risen even higher in this third book in the Hourlgass series.

The Hourglass is a secret organization focused on the study of manipulating time, and its members--many of them teenagers--have uncanny abilities to make time work for them in mysterious ways. Inherent in these powers is a responsibility to take great care, because altering one small moment can have devastating consequences for the past, present, and future. But some time travelers are not exactly honorable, and sometimes unsavory deals must be struck to maintain order.

With the Infinityglass (central to understanding and harnessing the time gene) at large, the hunt is on to find it before someone else does.

But the Hourglass has an advantage. Lily, who has the ability to locate anything lost, has determined that the Infinityglass isn't an object. It's a person. And the Hourglass must find him or her first. But where do you start searching for the very key to time when every second could be the last?

If you've been around the last week or so, you probably know that I've fallen in love with Myra McEntire's Hourglass trilogy. Well the final book, Infinityglass, has completely solidified that love. It was exactly the kind of ending I wanted for this story, but it was also a whole lot more.

The Hourglass needs to find a way to stop Chronos and Landers. Until they're stopped, time is just going to keep getting more and more messed up. The way to repair all the damage is to use the Infinityglass. But first they need to find it. Until now, everyone thought it was an object, but thanks to Lily, the Hourglass now knows the Infinityglass is a person. And so Dune goes to New Orleans to protect and learn more about the Infinityglass. But once he meets Hallie, Dune realizes that his job might be more difficult than he thought it was going to be.

I've said this many times recently, but I am so beyond happy to have finally discovered Myra McEntire's Hourglass trilogy. With every book I read, my love for the story just kept growing more and more. Since Infinityglass was the conclusion to the story, I had pretty high expectations for the book and I wasn't disappointed. There was just so much that needed to be explained and resolved, I just wasn't sure how it was all going to happen. But it all played out perfectly and I was so happy with how it all turned out. I also really enjoyed seeing the story from both Hallie's and Dune's perspectives. It definitely kept things interesting since each had access to different information. And getting to know two more characters the way I got to know Hallie and Dune was pretty awesome.

Dune was always in the background in the first two books, but in Infinityglass he was front and center. Dune was amazing and I pretty much love him. Don't get me wrong, Kaled is still my favorite, but Dune was like a big teddy bear who was fiercely loyal and incredibly caring. It was just hard not to love him if you want to know the truth. And I loved the playful side Hallie brought out of him. Hallie took me a a little by surprise and I didn't expect to like her as much as I did. There was definitely more to her than met the eye, and because of that, she's kind of hard to put into words. But regardless of all that, Hallie more than deserved to have someone like Dune in her life. Really, they were perfect for each other.

Infinityglass was the perfect conclusion to Myra McEntire's Hourglass trilogy. It was exactly what I hoped it would be. And the epilogue? It totally put a smile on my face and made me laugh.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Infinityglass GIVEAWAY!

As you can probably tell from some of my recent reviews, I have become a huge fan of Myra McEntire's Hourglass trilogy. I devoured all three books and now I just want to share with the world just how good they are. So today is your lucky day. Thanks to the publisher, EgmontUSA, you can win a hardcover of the final book in the trilogy, Infinityglass, as well as a poster featuring the gorgeous cover. To enter, just use the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 About the book:
The stakes have risen even higher in this third book in the Hourlgass series.

The Hourglass is a secret organization focused on the study of manipulating time, and its members--many of them teenagers--have uncanny abilities to make time work for them in mysterious ways. Inherent in these powers is a responsibility to take great care, because altering one small moment can have devastating consequences for the past, present, and future. But some time travelers are not exactly honorable, and sometimes unsavory deals must be struck to maintain order.

With the Infinityglass (central to understanding and harnessing the time gene) at large, the hunt is on to find it before someone else does.

But the Hourglass has an advantage. Lily, who has the ability to locate anything lost, has determined that the Infinityglass isn't an object. It's a person. And the Hourglass must find him or her first. But where do you start searching for the very key to time when every second could be the last?

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Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Title: Timepiece (Hourglass #2)
Author: Myra McEntire
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking…

Kaleb Ballard was never supposed to be able to see ripples--cracks in time. Are his powers expanding, or is something very wrong? Before he can find out, Jonathan Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, reappears. Why is he back, and what, or whom, does he want?

In the wake of Landers' return, the Hourglass organization is given an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he's stolen on the people who might carry the time gene, or time will be altered--with devastating results for the people Kaleb loves most.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Landers. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough…

After Hourglass I learned my lesson, so I didn't hesitate to pick up Timepiece right away. And believe me wen I say that I loved it even more than the first book in the trilogy. All I can say is that I am now a big fan of Myra McEntire.

Kaleb thought he had lost everyone and everything he ever cared about. But that was before Emerson and Michael went back in time to save his dad. Even though Kaleb now has his father back, everything isn't back to the way it was. With the timeline damaged, who knows what's going to happen next. Th Houglass needs to find a way to stop Chronos and that means finding Jack Landers. But Kaleb doesn't even know where, or even when, to start looking. At least until Lily walks into his life and changes it completely.

If I thought Myra McEntire's Hourglass was awesome, that's nothing compared to how I feel now that I've read Timepiece. I already loved the story after the first book but I love it even more now. There are just so many layers to the story, details that at first don't make much sense that end up being of great importance. This world where time is malleable is so intricate and the more I read about it the more I want to know. Everything was just so fascinating to me. I also loved that this part of the story was told from a different perspective, even if it threw me a little at first. The story just wouldn't have worked as well if it still had been told from Emerson's perspective. Kaleb needed to be the one who told this part of the story.

I said in my review of Hourglass that there would be a lot of gushing about Kaleb in this review so consider yourself warned. I was totally and utterly charmed by Kaleb even before this part of the story started. As cocky and arrogant as he could be, he also had this vulnerable side to him that often pulled at my heartstrings. I couldn't help but want to hug and hold him. Kaleb had just been through so much and I wanted for something to finally work out for him. Thankfully, Lily came in to help with just that. Because Lily was definitely what was best for Kaleb. Not to sound clichĂ©, but they brought out the best in each other. Lily was strong and fierce, but just like Kaleb, she had that more vulnerable side to her that came out every so often. And through it all, I was of course happy to see the characters I'd grown attached to in Hourglass. 

I am so happy to have finally discovered just how awesome this dries truly is. Like with the first book, Myra McEntire's Timepiece took me on a crazy adventure in a world that I was so reluctant to leave. And immediately left me wanting to pick up the final installment. 

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Friday, September 6, 2013

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Title: The Beginning of Everything
Author: Robyn Schneider
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Source: ARC from BEA
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them--a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra's knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-running for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra's ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligence, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one's singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Robyn Schneider's debut, The Beginning of Everything, has been on my radar for so long that I was worried it couldn't possibly live up to my expectations. But I really didn't have anything to worry about. Because not only did it meet my crazy expectations, it completely surpassed them.

Ezra Faulkner knows more than anyone how one moment can completely change your life. Back at school for his senior year after having spent the summer recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident, Ezra doesn't know who he is and where he fits in anymore. Before the accident, Ezra was the golden boy. Now? Who knows. But there might be a silver lining to it all. If the accident hadn't happened, Ezra wouldn't have reconnected with Toby and he wouldn't have met Cassidy Thorpe. And without Cassidy, Ezra wouldn't have fallen in love.

I had so many hopes and dreams for The Beginning of Everything. I had talked this book up so much in my mind that I was almost afraid to read it. I was afraid it couldn't possibly live up to those hopes and dreams. But I really shouldn't have worried because Robyn Schneider and her story completely blew me away. In The Beginning of Everything, she wrote this absolutely amazing story that fully captured my attention and stole my heart. I have so much love for this book and its characters. This is a unique, special and incredibly touching story. As much as it made me smile and laugh, it also brought tears to my eyes and broke my heart. And that just made me love the story that much more. To the point that putting it all into words is proving to be quite difficult. And then, you know, there was Ezra.

How do I even begin to describe Ezra. No matter what I say or do, I just know that I'm not going to even come close to doing him justice. Ezra Faulkner stole my heart, there is no doubt about it. Right from page one I knew this would happen and there was still nothing I could do about it. I wanted the best for Ezra and at times I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him everything would be okay. But Ezra wasn't the only amazing character in this story. The secondary characters were all unique and memorable in their own way. Whether it was Toby's bow-ties, Austin's attachment to his electronics or Cassidy's crazy outfits, each character had something that made it so I wouldn't forget them any time soon.

In case it wasn't obvious: I have so much love for Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything. It was so much more than I hoped it would. And it's books like The Beginning of Everything that are the reason I love contemporary stories as much as I do.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Blog Tour - A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers

Today I have the pleasure of having Lisa Desrochers, author of the Personal Demons trilogy and the upcoming A Little Too Far. I have read and loved Lisa's YA trilogy and I am beyond thrilled at the propsect of reading more from this author and can't wait to get my hands on a copy of A Little Too Far. But for the time being, I have Lisa hear to talk about the writing YA and paranormal vs. New Adult and contemporary. Be sure to keep reading for your chance to enter a pretty awesome giveaway.

How is writing new adult contemporary different from writing young adult paranormal?

Honestly, there's really very little difference in the process. For me, all writing is just getting into character. Whether that character in a millennia old demon (Hi Luc!) as in my YA books, or a woman in her twenties, as in my New Adult novels, it's all a matter of connecting with them and understanding what makes them unique. The things that make a demon (or vampire or angel) tick are going to be different, so you need to understand what they are and how they'll affect that character's decisions, actions, and reactions. But honestly, once you're literally inside your characters' heads, the writing process doesn't change. What changes is what you'll find in there. (Writing from inside a demon's head for my YAs was an interesting experience.) As long as you're true to your character and their voice, and you understand their motivations, you'll be able to keep them "real." Because, let's face it, no matter who we're writing, they're all really fictional, as alive as they seem in our heads as we're reading/writing them. If you can get them to leap off the page into the reader's heart, any fantastical creature, such as a demon, can be just as "real" as a normal twenty-year-old woman. The beauty of fantasy, however, is that anything's possible as long as you make it believable, so you can make stuff up that doesn't exist in the real world. For my contemporaries, I do a lot more research. I'm always very concerned that things happen in the way they would in real life.

As far as New Adult versus Young Adult, both are dealing with the same firsts. The difference is that, with New Adult, the characters are dealing with them in an environment with non of the safety nets that most young adults have (family, teachers, etc.) to support them. They're usually handled in a slightly more mature manner, and because I'm writing for an adult audience, there are no holds barred. There is no fade to black or softening of language. You can be one hundred percent true to the character without worrying about the audience.

About the book:
"More than a ridiculously sexy, HOT read, Desrochers takes you on a wild ride of self-discovery and bittersweet romance."

Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it's more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he's been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years…and is so off limits. It's a good thing she's leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.

But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can't seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt…and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional and right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy-on-the-eyes deacon…only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro two closer, and when Alessandro's signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn't know what to think. She's torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn't want and the man she can't have. And she isn't sure how she can live with herself either way.


About the author:
Lisa Desrochers lives in northern California with her husband, two very busy daughters, and Shini the tarantula. If you'd told her five years ago she'd write a book, she'd have laughed in your face. As it turns out, she'd owe you an apology. Writing has become an addiction for Lisa and A Little Too Far, courtesy of HarperCollins, is her first novel for adults. She is also the author of the young adult Personal Demons trilogy from Macmillan.

When she's not writing, she's reading, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise. Connect with her online at, on her blog at, on Twitter at @LisaDez, and on Facebook at


The prizes:

- An iPad Mini - one winner
- A knowledge pendant, tote bag, and tattoos (Trent's tattoo!) - one winner
- A signed copy of HarperCollins' BETWEEN THE COVERS sampler with the 1st two chapters of A LITTLE TOO FAR annotated, knowledge tote, and tattoos - one winner
- A signed copy of BETWEEN THE COVERS with the 1st two chapters of A LITTLE TOO FAR annotated, and tattoos - two winners

The rules:
-  Giveaway is US/Canada ONLY.
-  There will be FIVE winners total.

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Want to find out more about A Little Too Far? Be sure to also visit The Irish Banana to find out one reader's opinion on the book!

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