Friday, January 31, 2014

Be With Me by J. Lynn

Title: Be With Me (Wait For You #2)
Author: J. Lynn
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year--she's in love with her big brother's best friend, but he hasn't spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It's time for Plan B--college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he's not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend's incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn't have time for relationship. But it doesn't help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they're thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can't keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they're willing to risk to be together, and what they're willing to lose if they're not...

I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record at this point but, J. Lynn/Jennifer L. Armentrout can do absolutely no wrong, no matter what she writes. So of course, I absolutely LOVED Be With Me and I just couldn't seem to turn the pages fast enough.

Teresa always thought she would be going to the Joffrey Ballet School once she graduated from high school. But when a fall on stage results in a torn ACL, Teresa finds herself registering for classes at the same university as her brother, Cam. Which would be fine, if Teresa wasn't completely in love with Jase, her overprotective brother's best friend. It wouldn't be so bad if she knew Jase felt nothing for her, but a year ago they shared an epic kiss…and she hasn't heard from Jase since. Now, everywhere she goes on campus, Teresa seems to run into Jase. She knows she should stay away and not get involved with him. But unless Teresa's mind is playing tricks on her, Jase seems to also be attracted to her. Except Jase has secrets of his own he's not sure he's ready to share just yet.

To say I devoured Be With Me would be somewhat of an understatement. Once I started reading, there's very little that could have gotten me to put the book down. That might have had to do with the fact that I was dying to read the book when I got a copy of it. So it really shouldn't come as a surprise when I say that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED Be With Me. I loved getting lost in this story. It helped that I already knew the world and the characters, and I loved that all the characters I got to know in Wait for You were still around. It made me enjoy the story that much more. One thing I was concerned about with Be With Me was how it could possibly live up to what I had built it up to in my head. And I was afraid it wouldn't be as good as Wait for You was. But really, I had nothing to worry about. Once again Jennifer L. Armentrout didn't disappoint. I couldn't have asked for a better story for Teresa and Jase. And as you may have suspected, the romance was there and there was plenty of it. And I LOVED it. Because I ADORED Jase and Teresa.

When I read Wait for You last summer, I had gotten glimpses of both Jase and Teresa, but I didn't know much about them beyond the basics. And I'm glad I really got to know them in Be With Me, because I fell in love with both of them. Teresa was different than I thought she was going to be. At first I couldn't help but think of her as Cam's little sister, but I quickly stopped thinking of her that way. Teresa was her own person, and she deserved to find someone who really cared about her after everything she had been through. And though he didn't seem like it at first, Jase was absolutely that person for Teresa. Jase was no Cam, but he was something special. For most of the book, Jase was this code I was trying to crack. But once I did, I just wanted to hold him. Without revealing too much, just know there's a lot more to Jase than what you might think for the better part of the book. But know that it's worth it to take the time to peel back Jase's layers. 

If it wasn't clear, I LOVED Be With Me. It more than lived up to what I had hoped it would be. If you haven't already give J. Lynn's New Adult a try, you really should because you won't be disappointed.

 photo signature.png

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (77)

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 reading.


A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in from of--and behind--the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.
A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.

Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She's enigmatic…She's beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi's understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

As some of my blogger & bookish friends would say, Everything Leads to You sounds like a total "Emilie book" and I would have to agree completely. Though I still have read to Hold Still (I'm working on it!), I absolutely loved reading Nina LaCour's The Disenchantments and I can't wait to read more from this author. Just from the synopsis, I know there is going to be so much for me to love about this story! And call me shallow, but that cover is just absolutely GORGEOUS and I haven't stopped starting at it since it was revealed.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour will be published May 15, 2014 by Dutton Juvenile.

 photo signature.png

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Rapunzel's tower is a satellite. She can't let down her hair--or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in two. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker--unfortunately, she's just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can. 

It's no secret that I LOVE Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles. I've devoured every book so far, and with each one, I find myself loving this series more and more. As expected, Cress completely blew me away and has solidified the Lunar Chronicles' position among my all-time favourite series.

Cress has spent the better part of her life alone, in a satellite, doing the Lunar Queen's bidding. But at least by spending all this time alone with netscreens, has been able to pick up some hacking skills that have been quite helpful to Cinder, even if Cinder doesn't know it yet. Cinder is on the run with Captain Thorne, attempting to stay one step of the authorities. And with Scarlet and Wolf's help, Cinder is determined to stop Emperor Kai from marrying Queen Levana. Their only hope though, is with Cress's help. But when their rescue mission takes a turn for the worse, things become even more complicated as the group is torn apart and separated. Now not only do they have to find a way to reunite themselves, they also have to save the world in the process.

Let me get this out of the way before I say anything else: if you haven't already started reading the Lunar Chronicles, go do so now because you are missing out big time. But in all seriousness, Marissa Meyer and her books are amazing. And so it goes without saying that I absolutely ADORED Cress. Marissa Meyer always manages to capture my attention right from page one. In this case, Cress picks up right where Scarlet left off, so right away I was thrown into the middle of the action. And from there, the story just kept on getting better. I loved the way Marissa Meyer re-imagined Rapunzel's story, and I'm happy with how that story played itself out. When I started reading, I was worried that Cress would just spend most of the book stuck in her satellite, but I should have just trusted Marissa Meyer because she did not disappoint me. My only concern now is the year-long wait for Winter, the final book in the series.

Out of all the fairy tale characters Marissa Meyer has introduced so far, I think Cress is my favourite. I don't really know what to say other than the fact she was just relatable. Basically, Cress was like any teenage girl who's ever had a crus on someone famous (except she got to meet, said person). And I loved her, and how innocent she could be. But at the same time, she was a lot smarter and stronger than people gave her credit for. And I loved the side of Thorne she brought out. Because as much of a jerk as he can be, I kinda love Thorne anyway. And of course, I loved getting to know the other characters even better than I already did. Cinder now is so different from the girl I met in the first book, but at the same time, deep down, she's still the same person. And Scarlet is a lot stronger than I initially gave her credit for. It'll be interesting to see what happens to Scarlet in the final book. Regardless of the character, I'm sure there are plenty of surprises in store for us. 

I've said this before, but if you haven't already started reading the Lunar Chronicles, you should really get on that. Cress was truly amazing. There's not a single page of it I didn't absolutely love. I can't wait to see what Marissa Meyer has in store for us in Winter, even though I really don't want this series to end.

 photo signature.png

Friday, January 24, 2014

Belladonna by Fiona Paul

Title: Belladonna (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2)
Author: Fiona Paul
Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Source: From publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancĂ©, Luca. 

But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he's arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass's life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose--the only evidence that will prove he's innocent.

So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who is working for the Order's eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself. 

Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?

Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.

Other than with a few exception, I do this thing with series where I'll read the first book and then promptly forget that there are more books to come. And that's why Fiona Paul's Belladonna had been sitting, unread, on my shelves for the last six months. After having now read it though, I remember why I love this story and these characters so much.

Cassandra is determined to forget Falco, the artist who ran to Florence and took part of her heart with her. After everything that's happened, Cass is ready to start the calm and stable life she had been promised when she was engaged to Luca. But things once again go off course when soldiers come to her aunt's palazzo in the middle of the night to take Luca away. Now it's up to Cass to do what it takes to save Luca before it's all too late. To do so, Cass must travel to Florence in the hopes of finding the Book of the Eternal Rose, the one thing that can help prove Luca's innocence. But in Florence, Cass can also find Falco, but after everything can she really trust him. And will her heart survive it all?

I said this back when I reviewed Venom, but I love the Renaissance. It's always been one of my favourite periods of history to study. So it's almost guaranteed that I'll read any story set in Renaissance Italy. And reading Belladonna, I was reminded of why I love those stories so much. The way Fiona Paul writes, it's almost as if the setting comes to life. As I'm reading, Renaissance Venice and Renaissance Florence take form and I was able to picture both cities as if I were right there. It allowed me to completely lose myself in the story, allowing me to enjoy it that much more. Beyond just the vivid setting, what kept drawing me back into the story was the intrigue and the mystery. This is the kind of story that constantly makes you question everything you know, and everything you're being told. Every step of the way, I felt like I just kept getting more and more confused. Until it was all laid out in front of me, and even then I still didn't trust what I was being told. I guess I'll just have to read the third book, Starling, to find out how it will all end.

Cass has always been a surprising character to me. She's not exactly what you have in mind when you think "Renaissance" and "teenage girl." Basically, Cass is the total opposite of what you would expect. She isn't afraid to do what it takes when it comes to the people she cares about, even when that means putting herself in harm's way. But still, I admired her bravery and her determination. What could use help sometime, is Cass's heart. After Venom, I would have said I was all for Cass being with Falco, but I'm not so sure about that anymore. But that's not to say that I'm completely sold on Luca either. Each boy definitely had his own merits, but it seemed like neither one of them was ever fully honest with Cass. It will be interesting to see how it will all play out in Starling. And hopefully, I'll finally get to see more of Luca. 

If you like intrigue and historical fiction, I strongly recommend you try reading Fiona Paul's Secrets of the Eternal Rose series. I loved reading Belladonna and I can't wait to see how the story will come to a close in Starling.

 photo signature.png

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Mad, Wicked Folly Blog Tour - Author Interview

Today I have the pleasure of participating in Penguin Canada's blog tour for Sharon Biggs Waller's debut novel A Mad, Wicked Folly. Sharon has been kind enough to answer some questions on behalf of Will Fletcher, one of the characters (and love interests!) in the story. To find out more about him and his story, just keep reading.

What is it like being a police constable in London in 1909?

The suffrage movement took up a lot of police time. 1909 (and the years of suffrage movement in general) was a strange and confusing time for a lot of constables because they weren't used to dealing with the arrest of women. Most women they encountered were members of the working class, namely prostitutes. When the suffragettes came along, constables found themselves dealing with women who were often socially superior and who wouldn't go quietly. The constables were instructed to "act with firmness as well as tact." But sometimes constables were forced to handle them roughly anyway. Many police officers hated treating women in this way, but others relished it. The suffragettes had an odd relationship with the police. They needed them for protection from hostile crowds, but the police were also enforcing rules that suffragists found unfair.

What is is about the Suffragettes movement that made Will want to help them, even though all other police constables seem to be against it all?

William Fletcher is a young man who believes in fairness and in helping people. He feels he's tasked to keep the peace, but he doesn't agree with preventing people from fighting for their rights. When Will became a police constable he promised to protect victims, not create them. In addition, as he tells Vicky, he doesn't see the point in denying half the population the right to vote.

How has Will's job as a police constable helped him write his story?

As a police constable Will sees the suffering of people up close, and so he knows the destructive nature of poverty and how class can hold people in poverty. He's also seen how destructive inequality can be. His beat lies in the wealthiest parts of town, but he lives in a poorer one. Most people in Edwardian England remained in their own area and didn't usually frequent places where other classes lived. But Will moves through all faces of London every day, both in his work life and his personal life. He's able to see and experience life from many angles, and that helps him create believable characters.

What did Will think when he first made Victoria Darling's acquaintance?

I love this question! I thought about it a lot because when Will first sees Vicky, he looks at her like he knows her. I think we all feel this way when we first meet people we have a natural connection with. We get this feeling of, "oh, there you are!" I imagined Will saw the intensity on Vicky's face when she was drawing and recognized that in himself. Here was this potential dangerous situation and Vicky wasn't backing down. Rather, she was frantically trying to capture the scene, like any fervent artist or writer would. (Of course, Will thought she was beautiful, too!) When he heard Vicky denying she was a suffragette, he was intensely disappointed because he had this idea about her, and now he was wrong, and that caused him to act like a rotter. Will hates a coward.

What was it like working and collaborating with Victoria? The two seem to have quite an unusual relationship.

Both Vicky and Will support each other's talents wholeheartedly, and so they both feel encouraged and accepted when working together. You are right that this is unusual because they are both of different classes, but art and literature has a way of transcending class and gender, so if you look at their relationship from this angle it makes perfect sense. Of course, that comes back to bite Will on the bum. He forgets they are from two different worlds and starts to see her as something other than a collaborator.

What does Will hope for in the future?

He hopes that Vicky will be happy to keep collaborating with him and that they will be able to earn money from their work. As far as life with Vicky goes, Will is going to keep that one to himself. :)

Thank you Sharon for being kind enough to answer these questions on behalf of Will. It was great getting to know more about him. If you are interested in seeing what I thought of A Mad, Wicked Folly, be sure to check out my review.

 photo signature.png

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Title: A Mad, Wicked Folly
Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: January 23, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darlin, who wants only to be an artist--a nearly impossible dream for a girl.

After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse--or may be the love of her life As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

After having recently discovered the awesomeness that is Downton Abbey, I was told that Sharon Biggs Waller's A Mad, Wicked Folly was like if Sybil had gotten her own book. And that's how I was sold on the book. Once I started reading, I pretty much devoured A Mad, Wicked Folly.

All Victoria Darling really wants to do is draw. Away at finishing school in France, Vicky has found ways to sneak out and join an atelier so she can further her art. But when a classmate discovers that she has posed nude for her class, Vicky is sent back to London where her parents take away all her art supplies. But Vicky won't let that stop her. Determined to find a way to get into the Royal College of Art, Vicky agrees to marry Edmund Carrick-Humphrey, the boy her parents have chosen for her. But while out drawing a suffragette protest, Vicky meets Will Fletcher, a young police constable who seems sympathetic to the women's movement. The more her path crosses Will's, the more Vicky finds herself attracted to him. But being with a working-class boy goes against everything that's expected of Vicky. Is she willing to sacrifice it all and follow her heart?

When I was told that this book was comparable to Downton Abbey, if it were all about Sybil, I just knew I had to read Sharon Biggs Waller's A Mad, Wicked Folly. Reading the synopsis and finding out more about the story only reinforced that desire. Once I started reading, it didn't take long for me to know that I would love this story. And I did. I found myself getting sucked in to 1909 London, following the Suffragette Movement, and watching people start to break away from the class system. Sharon Biggs Waller really did her research. A Mad, Wicked Folly felt authentic and real, and I loved the way she presented it all. Seeing the changes happening in London society through Vicky's eyes added to that authenticity. In a way, the changes in society were mirrored in the ways Vicky was changing herself. It was interesting to then see the two sets of changes side by side. But if I'm being completely honest, what I loved most was seeing Vicky and Will's relationship grow and develop. And believe me when I stay that I was totally rooting for them.

Victoria Darling wasn't exactly a typical seventeen-year-old girl, especially no in 1909 London society. But that's what made her such an interesting character to read about. Vicky wasn't afraid to break out of the mold. She could typically be found doing the opposite of what was expected of her, and she thought for herself, something not many girls her age did at this time. But as rebellious as Vicky could be, she still struggled with the idea of leaving her comfortable life behind, and this struggle could be seen in her feelings towards Will. Will was a police constable, a working-class boy who hopes to one day be a writer. He's not the kind of boy Vicky should be spending time with and she knows that, but she can't seem to fight her attraction to him. And I loved seeing that relationship develop, and even if they shouldn't have been spending time together, you could tell they just really worked together. And I was TOTALLY rooting for them.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, you won't want to miss out on Sharon Biggs Waller's A Mad, Wicked Folly. This was a story I absolutely loved and it showed in just how quickly I raced through it. If I'm being honest, I would reread it in a heartbeat.

 photo signature.png

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Title: Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1)
Author: Bethany Griffin
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up…and tantalizing ways to forget it all. 

But in the depths of the club--in the depths of her own despair--Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does. 

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for--no matter what it costs her.

I have a bit of a them going on here lately: book club has been forcing me to read books that have been sitting on my shelves for ages. And that's how I finally found myself reading Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death. And though it wasn't what I expected, I absolutely loved reading it!

Araby is one of the lucky few. She has a mask to ear to protect herself from the red death. But even with a mask, Araby doesn't take any risks: she avoids going outside unless she has to, and she never touches anyone without being protected. But after one night at the Debauchery Club, things start changing for Araby. She can't seem to get Will, the boy from the Debauchery Club, out of her head. Araby knows she should stay away from Will, even though she knows how dangerous it could be. And Elliott, April's mysterious brother, who keeps appearing in Araby's life. She doesn't know who she can trust. Everywhere Araby turns, someone seems to be keeping secrets from her. Who can she trust, and what will she do to keep herself safe?

Like anyone who's gone through high school English classes, I've read a few of Edgar Allan Poe's stories, but I had never read his The Masque of the Red Death, so I knew very little about the story. So I wasn't entirely sure what to think when I first heard of Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death. I had friends who loved the book telling me that I should read it, but I still wasn't completely convinced. Once again, it took book club choosing the book for me to finally read Masque of the Red Death. As I started reading, I struggled a little to get into the story. But once I got a better understanding of the world and how it all worked, I pretty much got sucked into the story. The world was really unlike anything I'd ever encountered in YA previously. It was dark, haunting and mysterious, and at the end of the day, my own curiosity about it all is what drew me in. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a world where I would have to live in constant fear of contracting an unknown, airborne, lethal disease. That aspect of the story alone kept me reading because I just wanted to find out more about the disease, where it came from, if there would be a way to cure it. And of course, like any YA story, there was some romance through it all.

As much as I'm getting a little tired of love triangles, it felt like the on Bethany Griffin wrote in Masque of the Red Death really worked. Maybe it was because Araby didn't really know either Will or Elliott, so both had a certain air of mystery about them. Regardless of what it was, I had trouble picking one boy for a good chunk of the book. In the end, though, Will's interactions with his little bother and sister are what won me over. That, and at times, something just felt off about Elliott. Through it all though, I enjoyed getting to know Araby and seeing her change and grow. By the time I finished reading the book, the Araby from the end felt like a completely different person than the girl I met at the beginning of the story. It will be interesting to see how that growth will continue in the sequel (because I still haven't read that either).

I'm glad I've finally read Bethany Griffin's Masque of the Red Death, because it was just as good as everyone had told me it was. Now I just have to read the sequel, Dance of the Red Death, to see how it all ends because i just know it's going to be an interesting read.

 photo signature.png

Friday, January 17, 2014

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Title: Incarnate (Newsoul #1)
Author: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only one, and will Ana's enemies--human and creature alike--let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all? 

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Like many books in my house, Incarnate had been sitting unread on my shelves for a long time. But book club made it so I finally had to read it, and I found myself pleasantly surprised. Though I wasn't sold on the premise when I first started reading, but the end I was totally loving Incarnate.

Ana isn't like everyone else. She hasn't lived through hundreds of lifetimes and reincarnations. When Ana was born, a soul mysteriously disappeared, and no one really knows or understands how Ana came to be. Her whole life, people have been afraid of her, afraid of what her existence might mean for everyone else in Range. Determined to finally get some answers about who she is, Ana travels to the city of Heart. But there are some obstacles along the way, and there are many people who want to stop her. Sam, though, is willing to stand up for her, to do what it takes to convince everyone that Ana's soul is good. And with Sam by her side, Ana is ready to take on anything.

I'll admit I wasn't completely sold on the premise of Jodi Meadows' Incarnate, but after hearing a lot of positive things about the book I decided to buy a copy anyway. And then it sat on my self, unread, for the better part of the last two years because I pretty much forgot about it. But my book club chose it as one of our books and I was finally reading Incarnate. And the more I read, the more the premise grew on me, until I was completely engrossed in the story. The way Jodi Meadows tackled the topic of reincarnation was really interesting and I was fascinated. In this world, a finite set of souls keeps getting reincarnated over and over again, well at least until Ana comes along. That means that everyone has known each other and been together pretty much since the beginning of time. So basically, in one lifetime you might be paired off with the person who was your "parent" or your "child" in a previous lifetime. That aspect of it all really made me think and that's ultimately made me really like Incarnate. It got me thinking all philosophically about it all and I loved it. And the most interesting aspect was how Ana fit into all of this.

Ana was an interesting character on more than one level. On one level, Ana herself made me want to root for her. I wanted her to find out who she was an how she fit into Range. I wanted people to come around to her side, and I wanted her to get what she wanted as far as Sam was concerned. Because Sam was kinda perfect for Ana and in my opinion they just needed to be together. On a different level, Ana was interesting as a piece of the world she lived in. In the world of Incarnate, Ana is what upset the status quo. In a world that had been the same for thousands of years, Ana was unexpected and she altered the basic functioning of her society. Again, this was all just interesting to think about and made the story that much more engaging.

Had I known how much I would enjoy Jodi Meadows' Incarnate, I would have read it sooner. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. This was s tory that had the kind of romance I love, and a world that fascinated me and had me thinking long after I was finished reading. If you haven't already given Incarnate a chance, I strongly urge you to do so.

 photo signature.png

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Redemption of Callie & Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

Title: The Redemption of Callie & Kayden (The Coincidence #2)
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: February 11, 2014 (Paperback)
Source: Purchased eBook
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden comes an emotional new story about two troubled souls sharing one all-encompassing love…

The dark secret Kayden has kept hidden for years is finally out. Worse, he's facing charges for battery. The only way to clear his name is for Callie to speak up--something he'll never ask her to do. Instead, he'll do whatever he must to protect her…even if it means letting go of the only girl he's ever loved.

Callie knows Kayden is going back to his dark place and desperately wants to save him. But that means facing her greatest fear and admitting her own painful secrets aloud. The thought of breaking her silence terrifies her--but not as much as the thought of losing Kayden forever.

Deep in her heart, Callie knows the time has come for her and Kayden to forget the pain of the past. With the help of her friends Seth and Luke she makes a plan to show Kayden the life they could have. But can she convince him they can make a fresh start together--or is she already too late?

It looks like I am continuing on with my newfound, mild obsession with New Adult, and so far I'm loving everything I've been reading. Jessica Sorensen's The Redemption of Callie & Kayden was what I hoped it would be, and I loved continuing on with the characters I'd gotten to know in the previous book.

His whole life, Kayden Owens has worked to keep his secret hidden. To everyone else, Kayden was the popular football player, but at home things weren't the same. But now people know what his father has been doing all these years. Except not everyone has the right story. Now the only way for Kayden to make things right is with Callie's help. But the last thing he wants is to ask Callie to do the one thing he was never able to do, speak up. Callie knows she has to help Kayden, but she doesn't know how. THe last thing she wants is to lose Kayden, but it seems like everything she does only ends up pushing him away. With Luke and Seth's help, Callie sets out to show Kayden the life he could have, but will he be willing to do what it takes to live that life?

The first book in this series, The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden, ended on a cliffhanger that left me pretty desperate to know what would happen next. Unfortunately for me, I was on a plan at the time and had no way of getting The Redemption of Callie & Kayden. As soon as I got off the plane, though, I dug my Kindle out of my bad and got myself the next book. Where the first book was more focused on what happened to Callie, this one focused more on Kayden. My heart broke multiple times while reading. There were many times where it hurt to see Kayden struggle with his father's absue and his own self-harm as a result of that abuse. For me, that struggle kept off the page, and once again, the way Jessica Sorensen presented these subjects felt disturbingly real. But more than the pain and struggle present throughout the story, there's also hope and love. In The Redemption of Callie & Kayden, the two titular characters' romance shone through everything else. It was their story and no one else's. Callie and Kayden just needed to realize that their best chance of survival was together, not apart.

Because of the way Jessica Sorensen wrote their story, Callie and Kayden have felt like real people from the start. Once again, my heart broke while reading Callie's story, not just because of what had happened to her but also because of everything that was happening with her and Kayden. This time though, I grew a little frustrated with Kayden at times. I understood where he was coming from, but I just wanted him to stop pushing Callie away and get the help he needed and deserved. But beyond that, seeing Callie and Kayden together warmed my heart and gave me hope. These were two people who had suffered so much and but managed to find each other and start to build something new that would be good for them. And I was happy to see their story get as happy an ending as possible given their circumstances. I'll also say that I was happy to see more of Seth and Luke, but I'm still waiting for them to get their own stories.

Jessica Sorensen's The Redemption of Callie and Kayden was a nice conclusion to Callie and Kayden's story. If you aren't sure if New Adult is for you, Callie and Kayden's story is a good place to start. With these books, you'll get a story filled with pain and struggled, but that also has shining moments of hope throughout it all.

 photo signature.png

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bitter Sweet Love by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Bitter Sweet Love (Dark Elements #0.5)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Release Date: December 1, 2013
Source: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon / Indigo
In a sizzling prequel novella to her new series THE DARK ELEMENTS, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons.

Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny--fending off demons and maintaining balance between good and evil. He was her everything…right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally. 

And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart--or shatter it all over again…

By this point, I will read anything that Jennifer L. Armentrout writes. In my personal opinion, she can do no wrong, and unless she somehow starts doing wrong, I will keep reading her books. As predicted, Bitter Sweet Love was a great introduction to her new Dark Elements series, and I loved reading it.

Jasmine has spent the last three years trying to move on from her best friend, Dez. Right when she things she might finally be over him abandoning her with no explanation, Dez walks right back into her life. And on top of it all, he wants Jasmine to be his mate. All the feelings Jas thought had disappeared come rushing back. But this time around, she's not taking any risks: Jas is giving Dez seven days to meet all of her conditions. At the end of those seven days, maybe Jas will be ready to risk it all and say yes to Dez.

I'm not usually one for novellas, but every so often I decide to give one a shot. Add to that the fact that this particular novella was written by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and that's all the push I needed. Bitter Sweet Love was a great introduction to Armentrout's new series, The Dark Elements. As I could have predicted before I even started reading, I knew that this particular story would get me hooked on this new world. Gargoyles is definitely something that hasn't been done before in YA, and it has me completely intrigued. This novella helped set the stage. It introduced us to the world of Wardens, giving readers a small glimpse of what's to come in this new series. 

Some of the characters were also intro ducted. Granted Bitter Sweet Love focused on Jasmine and Dez, but we did get to see Layla and Zayne, the two main characters of the upcoming White Hot Kiss. Ann though the rest of the story won't be focused on them, I hope we'll still be able to catch glimpses of Jasmine and Dez. Despite how brief it was, I loved getting to know them and I got a little attached. But judging from what I saw in Bitter Sweet Love, I should still be able to see them in future books.

Jennifer L. Armentrout's Bitter Sweet Love did what it was supposed to do: it set the stage for the rest of the sees and got me excited about the future Dark Elements books. If you are eagerly awaiting the release of White Hot Kiss, I recommend you read Bitter Sweet Love to get a taste of what's to come.

 photo signature.png

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Emilie's Book World in 2014

This post is coming a little later than I would've hoped. The holiday period got beyond busy for me, as a result (and as some of you may have noticed), I pretty much disappeared from the Internet during that time. Now that the holiday season is over and I'm getting settled back into my regular routine, I thought I would share my "Year End/New Year" post with all of you. So here goes…

2013 as an interesting year. On some fronts, it was a great year, while on others it wasn't quite as stellar. On the more person front, 2013 was the year I finished my undergraduate degree and graduated from university. It was also the year I got my first "grown-up job" (as I like to call it), which so far has been going really great. But the busyness that came with my last semester of school, and finding my rhythm with my new job meant that the blog suffered. At times it suffered A LOT, so I apologize for that. And that's where things were a little less stellar. There were long stretches of time in 2013 where I just couldn't bring myself to blog or even read. And that SUCKED because I love doing both those things. But now 2013 is over, and it's time to move forward.

So. 2014. There's lots to be looking forward to this year. I'm looking forward to continuing on with my job and to find out what life post-university looks like for me. I'm looking forward to going to New York again to attend BEA for the second time. I'lm looking forward to spending more time with my awesome and fantastic Ottawa blogger friends. And of course, I'm looking forward to more awesome books and continued blogging. 

So what can you expect from me and Emilie's Book World in 2014? That's actually a pretty good question, one I'm not entirely sure how to answer, but I'll give it my best shot. One thing's for sure: I want to still be reading, and writing reviews, and blogging in general. I'm hoping to be able to post reviews regularly, either two or three times a week depending on how busy things get. I'm also hoping to start posting some new discussion posts more frequently (if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments!). Reading-wise, I would like to start reading a little more outside of YA this year. Before I started blogging, my reading tastes were much more varied, and I'm hoping to get some of that back this year. And that's pretty much all I've got so far.

Who really knows what 2014 is going to bring? I'm just going to be hoping for the best, whether that's in my personal life or my blogging/reading life, and I'm wishing the same to all of you.

 photo signature.png

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: The Impossible Knife of Memory
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy's PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down. 

I'll be the first to admit that the only book of Laurie Halse Anderson's that I've read prior to this, was Speak. After hearing so much about her and her books, I put a lot of expectations on The Impossible Knife of Memory and it paid off, because this was a really special story.

Hayley Kincaid hasn't had what you would call a traditional childhood. But for the past five years, normal meant travelling across the country with her veteran father as he attempts to run away from the memories of war that haunt him. Now that Hayley is about to start her senior year of high school, though, her father decides that she should go back to a regular high school to increase her dances of getting into college. But moving back home means that her dad's episodes are more frequent and Hayley starts to feel like she's becoming the parent. And at school there's Finn, the hot geeky guy who likes her, but has his own troubles to deal with. Will Hayley be able to let go of the memories that haunt her before it's too late for her to really live her life?

Like I've already admitted, the only other book by Laurie Halse Anderson I've read is Speak. It's not that her other books haven't appealed tome, but rather that they have been so talked up that I was afraid I would be disappointed if I read them. But I figured I would give The Impossible Knife of Memory a chance, it sounded different and like it could be a very special story. And it was. This story wasn't the uplifting kind. There were moments that were downright painful to read, they were so raw and realistic. But it was most definitely a moving story, especially when considering the subject matter it dealt with. Laurie Halse Anderson portrayed Hayley and her dad's struggle in a way that felt read and felt completely raw. Reading Hayley's story and seeing her struggle and her pain often broke my heart. She didn't hold anything back when it came to telling her story, and at times the whole thing almost felt hopeless. But there were still some bright spots in the story, moments that showed that there was some hope left for Hayley and her dad. And they needed whatever hope they could hold on to.

There's so much I could say about Hayley and her dad. Right from the start, I knew Hayley would worm her way into my heart, and she certainly did. Hayley is the kind of person you want to root for. She just needed to be cut a break and she more than deserved one. But more than anything Hayley deserved to be taken care of, instead of her taking care of everyone. And her dad did his beat, but there was only so much he could do if he didn't first start taking care of himself. But he tried and you've gotta give him some credit for at least trying, even if he wasn't always successful. The person that really shone tough, was Finn. Throughout everything he was always willing to stand by Hayley's side, even if he had troubles of his own at home. I liked that he didn't have a perfect life because his imperfection is part of what made him so perfect for Hayley.

Laurie Halse Anderson's The Impossible Knife of Memory was a powerful, moving and incredibly touching story. Though moments were downright difficult to read, Hayley's and her dad's story is one that deserves and needs to be read and shared by everyone. 

 photo signature.png
Related Posts with Thumbnails