• Introducing Across The Wire

    I am so excited to be posting this today you guys, you don't even understand.  The author of this book has been a close friend of my family for as long as I can remember, looking back it's like th...

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  • Cold Spell Review

    I am going to go out a limb here and say that the entire world heard the giant sigh of relief that I let out upon finished Jackson Pearce's Cold Spell. After more than two weeks of constantly strug...

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  • Made of Stars Review

    I remember reading Kelley York’s Hushed last year and really liking the ominous quality of the writing. When I started Made of Stars I was looking for more of that and I got it in droves. On the ...

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  • Dangerous Girls Review

    I have complained on many occasions in the past about the lack of good murder mysteries in the YA genre. The ones that I have gotten the chance to read often feel much too far fetched for my liking or...

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  • Another Little Piece Review

    This was the perfect kind of mind fuck book in my opinion. I spent much of the novel feeling like I was looking at everything through a haze, only getting a blurry picture of what was actually going o...

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A New Year, A New Me

January 1, 2014 Reading 13

Hey Everyone!

In case you haven’t noticed I haven’t been posting here much lately.  A big part of that was the holidays but another big factor in that was that my zest for blogging has been going the way of the dodo bird in these last few months.  I haven’t been feeling like I can keep up with the demanding schedule of meeting all of the review requirements I sign up for (totally my fault) and I haven’t been able to maintain a steady posting schedule.  Then when I randomly do post I am so out of the loop that the readership just isn’t there.  I’ve been thinking for a while now that a co-bloggership could probably alleviate a lot of the stress I feel when it comes to blogging but I really didn’t know how to go about making that happen and who I would want to do it with.  I mean that’s big! Inviting someone else on board to share your baby.  Then I got an invite from Giselle of Xpresso Reads that has festered in the back of my mind for quite a while now.  Waking up this morning I decided that it was a new year and it was time to bite the bullet and start making things happen…

So after much consideration (and prodding from Giselle)  I have decided that I am going to be moving. That’s right, I am now a part of Xpresso Reads and I am pretty excited.

Of course there is a big part of me that is pretty nervous about it all because, I mean come on, it’s like packing up and leaving your childhood home!  But Giselle and I have been talking daily for almost two years now and I really think we can make this work and have a lot of fun doing it.  I am expecting there to be some head butting along the way, I know how much we argue about books already. But we always take it in stride and usually come to a point where we have a good laugh about everything.  She has been really great with making me feel at home over there, even giving me a lady in a fab dress to represent myself on the header (though I did have to ask her to cover up some of the boobage!) and I of course brought over my Edmonton Book Blogger Badge because I have to represent :).

For a while I will keep this guy up and running, because I feel like I have to, It’s my blog baby but I don’t think there will be anything to see over here. I hope everyone who was an avid reader of my blog will follow me over there to watch the tomfoolery that Giselle and I get up to.  I’m planning on having some epic reviews on books that we disagree on and one of my new years resolutions is to start vlogging again so please be sure to watch for that!

See you on the Xpresso side!

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Roomies Review

December 12, 2013 Review 9 ★★★½

Roomies ReviewRoomies
by Sara Zarr, Tara Altebrando
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on December 24th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher for review
Buy the BookGoodreads
It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

After seeing the cute premise for Roomies and noticing that one of the co-authors is Sara Zarr I knew that it was one I had to get my greedy hands on.  After taking the novel in I’m a little confused on my feelings for it. I liked it, and was excited to be reading it, I even had my fair share of swooney moments throughout, but there were elements of the story that felt out of place and the characters themselves got kind of grating at times as well.

Looking back at my reading experience with Roomies it seems fitting to start with what I did like about the novel because I was all about it in the beginning.  The voices of these two girls, Elizabeth (or EB) and Lauren was something that I connected with immediately. Their tendency to overanalyze everything and search for a great deep meaning really reminded me of the narration in one of my favourite shows ever, My So Called Life. Just like Angela Chase these girls thought everything through meticulously which I really appreciated. I think because of the transitional time they were at in their life they thought about things in a more mature way than is often found in YA novels.

The relationships are also a bit more mature, which was great.  Both Lauren and EB are in new relationships and we get to watch them blossom as the story goes on.  Lauren’s relationship with Keyon felt like it grew much more organically so I came to really ship these two and want to see them get closer in their own time.  EB and Mark move pretty fast, sex and tokens of affection coming pretty early on, but Mark was really sweet so I found myself wanting them to thrive as well. What really shines in the relationship department is the familial connections in this novel.  Lauren comes from a large family, she has five siblings that are much younger than herself.  As the summer wears on and she is faced with leaving her home we see her really struggle with saying goodbye to her brothers and sisters and we also get to see her parents try to make up for lost time. They realize that she was forced to grow up pretty quickly once the younger kids were born and this leads to some sweet parent/daughter moments that are really heartwarming.  EB just lives with her mom but we watch her attempt to form a relationship with her estranged father and it leads to quite a bit of drama as well.  While EB’s home life wasn’t as heartwarming as Lauren’s I still enjoyed watching her and her mom struggle to find common ground.

All of this has been pretty positive so far but there were some parts of the novel that bothered me and felt just a little off.  There is this fixation on race in both girls’ narratives that felt really weird to me. Lauren and Keyon begin dating and it’s like in every situation that becomes a focal point of sheer awkwardness for some reason.  I don’t think the focus on this ever lead to some big revelation in any of the characters of race not really mattering so it felt like it served no purpose when it was constantly pointed out.  I mean, I can see that it was maybe used to form an authentic feel in the voices, showing that the girls are real because they have honest thoughts but it just felt thrown in there for no good reason to me. Also, EB’s dramatics began to really grate on me as the story wore on but this is why I always had guy friends growing up instead of girlfriends.

Despite my few issues with the novel this was a fun read that I really enjoyed.  It’s pretty easy going and flows really well. I liked the end, which felt like the culminating moment of everything and left me with a smile on my face.  If you’re looking for a read that just might pull at your heart strings this holiday season I think Roomies could be a great place to look.

3.5 Stars

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Glass Review

December 10, 2013 Review 5 ★★★★

Glass ReviewGlass
by Ellen Hopkins
Series: Crank #2
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on August 21st 2007
Genres: Contemporary, Verse, Young Adult
Pages: 681
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
Crank. Glass. Ice. Crystal. Whatever you call it, it's all the same: a monster. And once it's got hold of you, this monster will never let you go.

Kristina thinks she can control it. Now with a baby to care for, she's determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong, and before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She needs it to feel alive.

Once again the monster takes over Kristina's life and she will do anything for it, including giving up the one person who gives her the unconditional love she craves -- her baby.

The sequel to Crank, this is the continuing story of Kristina and her descent back to hell. Told in verse, it's a harrowing and disturbing look at addiction and the damage that it inflicts.

I’m happy that this is a series I bought with my own money and am reviewing on my own time because this review turns into more of a rant in the second half.  Apologies.

I was quick to run to the store and grab the remaining books in Hopkins’ Crank series upon finishing the first book. I had to know where Kristina’s story went, this isn’t one that I am OK with parting from until I take in every detail of where her life goes. I really feel like she became a real person in this novel and just as much as I enjoyed reading her tale, it was one that frustrated me to no end.

See, I don’t think it’s right to base my review/rating off how I perceive the characters’ actions because these are stories and what fun would stories be if the characters always did what was right in every situation. That being said, I was so very angry with Kristina for most of this book. She starts out as a new mom trying to get away from the monster and quite quickly she delves back into darkness and before long she’s kicked out of her house and fighting to survive. For much of the novel I wondered if she even remembered that she had a son at home that she was supposed to take care of.

Once again we get to go through some tumultuous situations with Kristina and see how everything affects her relationships. We see her mother come to the end of her rope and have to remove Kristina from her life and through that she basically loses her whole family. We also see her strive to find love in a partner and struggle to find what is real and who is in her life just for convenience. I didn’t trust anyone that she met in this novel, talk about hanging out with the wrong crowd. But the lengths that she goes to and the people that she willingly brings back into her life are shocking.

What really scares me about this series is it kind of puts the world of meth addiction right in your own backyard. Cheerleaders using it to improve their pep, college students using it to study for that upcoming test and even the poster girl with good grades slips into the grips of addiction. There is a little essay by Hopkins at the end of the novel where she touches upon the controversy surrounding her books and I have to say that I completely agree with her. Blindness to the issue isn’t the answer when bringing up our children. As they say curiosity killed the cat, so I believe that being open and honest when children are curious about something is key to bringing up a generation of people who are informed enough to make their own decisions.

This review has kind of turned into a rant, but just know that I hate this series for the story it is telling but I love it for the very same reason. Both Crank and Glass have made me angry, made me sad and made me really think about what situations my children are going to find themselves in growing up.

4 Stars

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These Broken Stars Review

December 5, 2013 Review 14 ★★★★

These Broken Stars ReviewThese Broken Stars
by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Published by DIsney-Hyperion on December 10th 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher for review
Buy the BookGoodreads
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

--

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

I was pleasantly surprised with this one! We did get off to a rough start, when the “titanic in space” references were far too present.  Lower class boy from lower deck falls in love with elite girl from the upper decks and then the most advanced/largest spaceship ever crashes.  I was seriously waiting for Tarver and Lilac to run down a hallway to find an escape pod and see a band playing until the ship’s very last moments. But rest assured that those titanic references die out very quickly after the first few chapters and this is actually a very sweet & intense survival story.

At the heart of this novel is the budding romance between Lilac and Tarver and despite the situation they were thrust into I appreciated how organically the romance flourished.  These two aren’t jumping each other’s bones right off the bat and Tarver constantly fights his feelings because he knows that a girl like Lilac would never go for him in any other situation.  It could have easily became a romance of opportunity and therefore one that I didn’t believe but it grows really slow and we see a whole new side of Lilac once they crash land.  Her transformation was immense and shows that people aren’t always what they seem at first glance.  Seeing her get her hands dirty and work with circuitry as well as she did was great, I was so happy that she wasn’t portrayed as simply a helpless girl, she really pulled her weight.

Pulling her weight wasn’t the easiest thing because she is plagued very early on in the novel with visions that are quite frightening.  She begins hearing voices and they seem to be leading Tarver and Lilac somewhere.  The way these little details were scattered in the novel had me dying to find out what was going on in this world that they landed in.  The level of mystery throughout the story was awesome and really made it something that was hard to put down at any time.  Also making it hard to put down was simply the journey itself.  They were constantly finding new elements that were getting in their way and going through some really rough terrain.

With that stunning cover I was a little worried that this one would be a huge disappointment (which happened far too much this year) but I think this is one that no one should miss. The only reason this one isn’t garnering a full 5 stars is because it didn’t really pull its weight in the feels department, but it was still really good. Full of mystery, great character development and a truly sweet romance, These Broken Stars is sure to please a lot of readers.

4 Stars

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Across The Wire Blitz (Excerpt/Giveaway)

December 4, 2013 Blitz, Giveaway, Reading 5

Across The Wire Blitz (Excerpt/Giveaway)

Today I am very excited to be taking part in the book blitz for Stella Telleria’s novel Across The Wire.  As some of you may know, Stella is a close personal friend of mine and I am so excited that she has unleashed her novel into the world and I can’t wait to see what people think of it. Below you will find a short excerpt from Chapter one of the novel along with a chance to win an ebook copy for yourself (INTL) and even a chance to win some sweet swag & a physical copy of the novel (US/Can only.) First here is a little more about the book:

Across The Wire Blitz (Excerpt/Giveaway)Across The Wire
by Stella Telleria
Series: The Male Amendment #1
Published by Self Published on November 2013
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Buy the BookGoodreads
When Mia Mitchell, a hardcore but lonely former Marine, steps into an alley to pull some thugs off an unlucky foreigner, she walks into a fight she expects. What she doesn’t see coming is the foreigner making her a job offer any sane person would refuse. So, she takes it. She thinks she’s headed for some third-world country; instead she’s mysteriously transported to an Earth-like parallel world. That’s a mad left-hook.

Mia discovers a matriarchal dystopia where freedom doesn’t exist and fighting for it means execution. Lethal force bends all to the law; women fear for their families and un-wed men suffer slavery. Mia’s job is to train an underground syndicate of male freedom-fighters for a violent revolution. However, the guys don’t want a pair of X chromosomes showing them the way.

Eben, an escaped slave, is encouraged by Mia to become a leader among the men. But when he turns his quiet determination on her, it spells F.U.B.A.R. for cynical Mia. Their unexpected connection threatens more than her exit strategy; it threatens the power struggle festering with in the syndicate.

Haunted by nightmares and post-traumatic stress, unsure who to trust or how to get home, Mia struggles to stay alive as she realizes all is not what it seems.

Excerpt From Chapter One

I continued putting books and figurines back on the shelves. The sound of broken ceramics and ambient street traffic filled the room.

“I’ve buried three husbands,” she added.

I placed another framed picture of a different wedding on a shelf. A young Mrs. Bateman smiled in the picture. I wondered how she had survived such sadness and how so much pain could find its way to certain people’s door steps. I scratched at my left wrist but forced myself to stop. I understood why she lived alone now.

The two most insignificant words, words I’d heard a million times, came out of my mouth. “I’m sorry.”

She nodded. “Most people think it’s a joke I’ve buried three husbands.” Her voice was hard.

The glass of the picture caught a glint of sunlight. “It’s not,” I said, and heard an ambulance off in the distance through her open window.

“I don’t know why some think it is.” Her eyes seemed unfocused. “It’s not easy watching the ones you love die.”

She was hurt, she’d lost things she’d loved, and maybe she’d lost confidence in her independence. I could understand those things.

“Maybe it’s some people’s way of dealing with it,” I said. The siren became louder—getting closer.

Mrs. Bateman sat staring at me. “Of dealing with what?”

I went back to placing a bunch of unbroken records on the shelf. “That fortune holds no favorites. That everyone dies.”

A fragment of a figurine stood out of the wreckage on the floor. A decorative ceramic mask smashed roughly in half. It was white with sparkles painted on the lips and a tear glittering on its cheek. It lay there with its broken side to the floor and a wave of déjà vu hit me in the gut. The broken figurines and records became gravel. The mask became Sergeant Kosher’s head, what was left of it. The sparkled mouth became blood that caught the light. The tear was some other bodily fluid that seeped out of his remaining eye because there’d been no time for tears. His brain was scattered around his head like a halo. Kosher, the patron saint of car bombs. He never saw that IED; he never knew what was coming. It’d made me feel better about it somehow.

“The worst isn’t what people say,” I said.

“What’s worse?” Mrs. Bateman’s voice was hushed as if we were in church.

“That there’s nothing you could’ve done or will do to make their deaths worth it. Nothing that’ll explain why you survived and they didn’t.”

About Stella Telleria

DSC_4636ewc-1

All my life I’ve dreamed of stories or have had my nose buried in one. I live in Edmonton, Canada with my husband and my weird sense of humor.

I love old war movies, dystopian fiction, and any story with action, a good plot, and characters I'd get into a fight at the pub for. Not that I'm a brawler or anything. Unless you think that out-of-print book or vintage piece at the thrift shop is going home with you instead of me. Then, my friend, the gloves are off.

Giveaway #1
For my stop on the blitz (which is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours) you can enter to win yourself an ebook copy of Across The Wire
Winner will receive their choice of PDF, mobi or epub
Open internationally
Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2
One lucky winner will receive the blitz grand prize which includes a goddess necklace, an Across The Wire coffee mug and a print copy of Across The Wire
Giveaway is open to US/Can addresses only
Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Crank Review

December 3, 2013 Review 13 ★★★★

Crank ReviewCrank
by Ellen Hopkins
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on October 1, 2004
Genres: Contemporary, Verse, Young Adult
Pages: 537
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
This is a story about a monster. Not a dragon or a mythological beast, but a very real, very destructive monster--crystal meth--that takes hold of seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow and transforms her into her reckless alter-ego Bree. Based on her own daughter's addiction to crystal meth, Ellen Hopkins' novel-in-verse is a vivid, transfixing look into teenage drug use. Told in Kristina's voice, it provides a realistic portrayal of the tortured logic of an addict.

 

One of the greatest things book blogging has done for my life is open my eyes to different types of books that I would never have looked at before. Sure, my foray into verse novels began accidentally, with me requested two books that I didn’t realize were verse. But through those accidents and forcing myself to sit down and review books I went out of my way to request I have found that I now go to the book store and actively seek out verse novels.

Ellen Hopkins is an author that I have recommended to me a lot when I tell people that I like gritty & raw contemporaries.  I was holding off on purchasing any of her work because they were in verse but I finally bit the bullet this past weekend and I am so happy that I did.  While I didn’t find Crank to be as gut wrenching as I had imagined, it was a tough tale to read and one that was told incredibly well. In the beginning we get a foreword from the author telling us that this story and the character of Kristina is based heavily on her own daughter.  In the story we watch Kristina go on a court ordered visit to her estranged father’s house one summer and come back a completely changed person.  She refers to herself as Bree, but really Bree is just Kristina doing things that Kristina would never do.

I found myself incredibly frustrated with this book. Once she goes back to her mom’s house and continues her downwards spiral by “walking with the monster” (doing crystal meth) she displays all the signs of being a drug user but it all goes largely unnoticed in her house.  I wanted somebody to grab this girl and shake some sense into her, but I guess you never think that your child could have that dark side and it’s easier to pretend it isn’t as bad as it is than confront it head on.  This book doesn’t sensationalize drug use, it shows it for the ugly beast that it is and shows exactly how it could mess up even the purest, healthiest of teenaged lives.  The things that Kristina/Bree ended up doing to get her fix, the sacrifices that she was willing to make to get high were just shocking.

I think that the use of verse to tell this story was incredibly effective. I have mentioned before how I look at verse as a very bare bones way of telling a story, there is no room for filler or to pretty things up and I think that’s what I always end up appreciating most.  Crank moves incredibly fast, it’s a 600 page book that I easily finished in 2.5 hours because you just can’t put it down. Kristina’s descent into drug abuse is engrossing and like a train wreck that you just can’t look away from.  I am excited and yet incredibly nervous to see where her story goes next. I am hoping for a happy ending to this series but I really don’t see how I could get one.

4 Stars

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Prodigy Review

November 28, 2013 Review 14 ★★★★½

Prodigy ReviewProdigy
by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #2
Published by Putnam Juvenile on January 29th 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 371
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

If you have read my recent reviews here on the blog you will probably know that I have been struggling with sequels lately. They have been boring me and leading me to question whether I am truly a fan of trilogies or not. Then Prodigy came along. You guys, this one surpassed Legend in every way possible. The romance was sweeter, the action was more intense and the tangled political web was weaved much more intricately. I think this is what a sequel should be.

We catch up with Day and June as they are headed to Las Vegas to find Tess and ask the patriots for help. I have to mention here the cool writing used in the novel. We get June’s perspective in the generic font just like in Legend, but in this one Day’s parts are told in cool blue writing! I was so excited to see this. I was thinking about it while reading and I think that subliminally this helps enforce the two POV’s and make them really stand apart from each other in the readers mind, neat little tactic if I may say so myself. Anyway, in Prodigy we get to see June and Day get to know each other much more and their relationship is strengthened as the story goes on. This is a surprising development for me because looking back they actually aren’t together all that much in the novel and that is what had me on pins and needles through the whole thing.

June heads back to the Republic to use her charm and knowledge to get in good with the Elector while Day stays with the patriots to plot and carry out the Elector’s assassination. As the story goes on, both June and Day are finding out different parts of the big picture of what is happening and are unable to communicate with each other. This had me nearly screaming at my book because they were on the same mission but their thoughts were on completely different wave-lengths and they couldn’t pass messages along to one another. Needless to say the path to get them into a safe place was not smooth at all and was filled with action sequences that will blow your mind. Marie Lu knows how to write an action sequence and they come in droves in Prodigy.

Along with the amped up action comes much more detailed world building that helped me to get completely lost in the story. With Legend I didn’t feel that we got enough back story as to how the world became the way that it was but those issues were quelled in this one. We find out what caused the war and what other countries in the world are like through pretty detailed history discussions that didn’t feel info-dumpey at all. These details were weaved into the story at the perfect points so that they felt like the right addition to the story at the time, rather than just like random information being thrown at us.

With a shocking ending that I didn’t see coming at all, Prodigy has left me dying to pick up my copy of Champion and see how all of this ends. I have heard that I need to grab a box of tissue when I finally do pick it up so I am going to make sure I am prepared for that. I’m happy that I started this series (better late than never, right?) If you haven’t picked up these books I think you should the next time you are shopping for goodies, you won’t regret it!

4.5 Stars

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Blog Tour: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

November 26, 2013 Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review, Top Ten List 23

Blog Tour: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Today I am very excited to be part of the blog tour for the latest book in the Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kenneally.  I have read & loved each of these books which has made Miranda skyrocket to the top of my auto-buy list.  In my stop you will see my review of the novel, along with a great Top Ten List from Miranda and an exciting giveaway for you to enter. To see all the stops on this tour be sure to click the banner above or CLICK HERE!

Blog Tour: Racing Savannah by Miranda KenneallyRacing Savannah
by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #4
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on December 3rd 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher for review
Buy the BookGoodreads

They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

My love for Miranda Kenneally’s work will never cease to be a high point in my life every time I pick up one of her novels. She always incorporates the right amount of athleticism, romance and friendship in her stories and gets the reader so wrapped up in her characters lives. She nailed it again with Racing Savannah, and while I did feel like the characterization of our MC wasn’t quite what I had hoped it to be, I loved this story and everything that it stood for.

We meet Savannah, who is a new addition to the Hundred Oaks gang. She just moved into town with her father and his newly pregnant girlfriend because her father got a job as a groomer at Cedar Hill Farms. The one rule that was enforced upon her as she began living at the farm was to stay out of the lives of the Goodwins (the owners of the farm) because they value their privacy. But once she meets Jack Goodwin, who is 17 years old and acting as owner of the farm in practice for his future, she can’t keep her eyes off of him. As always, we are given a pretty swoon worthy romance. For much of the novel I was frustrated with Jack and his inability to do what he wanted for fear of disappointing his father but the stolen moments that him and Savannah found were really great. Along with the budding romance we get to watch Savannah settle in and make some strong friendships along the way. I had worried that the camaraderie I have come to expect in these novels wouldn’t be present in this one because Savannah is new to town but Miranda made sure it was there in full force. Rest assured that you still get all the inside jokes and awkward moments that were present in the previous novels.

We also get glimpses of some of the characters that we have come to know and love. Will and Parker make a very special appearance and even Jordan, Sam and Ty take the stage here and there. I can’t stress enough how much I love seeing characters that I have loved in the previous books. Through Miranda included these scenes that they are in we have really gotten to watch them grow up and see all the different, sometimes unexpected, places that life has taken them.

I did find myself longing for more of a connection to Savannah through the first half of the novel. I’m not sure what was missing there, but something kept me from becoming completely lost in her story. But as the story goes on we come to see that she she is an incredibly headstrong girl. She knew what she wanted and she wasn’t afraid to go after it. I loved watching her excel in a predominantly male sport and her love for horses had me actually feeling for the animals as well. This is quite the feat because I am not an animal person at all, but I have to admit that I loved Star (the horse that she begins to train and later jockey.) This horse had an attitude! I didn’t know much about horse raising/racing/grooming but I think I learned a lot from this novel. We learn about the good and the bad of the sport, there are some people out there who put the horses through some pretty cruel things just to earn a buck.

Another strong addition the a series that I have come to love so very much, Racing Savannah is a must read, just like everything else by Kenneally. I can definitely see animal lovers finding a special place in their heart for this one and of course people who love themselves a good romance will as well. As a last little note I have to say to Miranda that I came out of this really wanting Kelsey’s story. So uhh, just think about that please.

4 Stars

Miranda Kenneally’s Top 10 Movies

I cannot believe you gave me this topic, Jenni! It’s just going to show everyone what a huge nerd I am. If you are as big a nerd as me, will you please let me know in the comments below? ☺

1. Independence Day: If this is on TV, I drop everything to watch it, no matter what.

2. Deep Impact: I always tear up when the astronauts are going to make a suicide run at the asteroid and the lady astronaut says: “At least they’ll name high schools after us.”

3. The Lord of the Rings-Fellowship of the Ring: God, I love Legolas.

4. The Lord of the Rings-Two Towers: God, I love Aragorn. Especially when he whispers, “A hobbit lay here.”

5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: God, I want to be the center of a Legolas and Aragorn sandwich.

6. Star Wars: My favorite whiny Luke line is, “But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!”

7. The Princess Bride. “Mawidge…”

8. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. “Captain! There be whales here.”

9. Zoolander: Funniest. Movie. Ever.

I honestly can’t decide on a 10th movie. I love all of the Harry Potter and Twilight movies. They are glorious.

Thanks for having me here today!

I’m going to go out on a limb here, Miranda, and guess that you are a Lord of The Rings fan? Thanks for sharing!

About Miranda Kenneally

Miranda

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

Giveaway
As part of the tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours, Miranda is offering up a $25 iTunes gift card for giveaway!
Giveaway is open internationally.
Last day to enter is December 19, 2013.
Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter:

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Legend Review

November 21, 2013 Review 11 ★★★★

Legend ReviewLegend
by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on November 29th 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
From different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths...

Until June's brother is murdered, and Day becomes the prime suspect.

In a shocking turn of events, the two uncover what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths to which their country will go to keep its secrets.

This past weekend when I went out and bought Champion by Marie Lu, I came home and decided that it was time to hunker down and actually start reading the series. Now I know I am very late to the Legend party here, but I am happy that I finally joined it at least! This was such a fun book to read. While it wasn’t perfect, it was definitely one that I couldn’t put down.  I’m not sure what new information I can put on these here inter webs for someone looking to read it, but here is my two cents:

Legend is action packed from beginning to end.  It seriously didn’t let up at all and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.  I loved how intelligent June and Day were and how this intelligence was enforced at every opportunity in the story.  Because of this constant reminder of how intelligent and agile they are it wasn’t a hard sell to believe they were able to accomplish all that they did. What I did struggle with in the story was the lack of back story the reader gets.  There is talk of colonies and patriots but we get very little information these things.  I know this is the first book in a series but I would have definitely liked a little more in the way of world building so I could get a little more lost in the world instead of being left to simply question everything.

As far as the romance goes, it was pretty insta-lovey.  Despite that, I am happy to say that by the final page of the novel I did become a fan of June and day together.  From the beginning we are bombarded with their stolen glances and accidental touches and it did annoy me at the get go but June goes through such a huge change in the novel and became someone I am happy to see Day with.

Me liking this one so much has really surprised me because I have been really burnt out on dystopians lately.  If you are looking for a diamond in the rough of the genre I think this is a great place to look. I’m so happy that I held off on reading this one for so long because now I can jump straight into the rest of the series.  Sorry, I am keeping this review short so I can go and do just that. Bye!

4 Stars

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Sex & Violence Review

November 19, 2013 Review 14 ★★★★★

Sex & Violence ReviewSex & Violence
by Carrie Mesrobian
Published by Carolrhoda LAB on October 1st 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
AT FIRST YOU DON'T SEE THE CONNECTION.

Sex has always come without consequences for seventeen-year-old Evan Carter. He has a strategy--knows the profile of The Girl Who Would Say Yes. In each new town, each new school, he can count on plenty of action before he and his father move again. Getting down is never a problem. Until he hooks up with the wrong girl and finds himself in the wrong place at very much the wrong time.

AND THEN YOU CAN'T SEE ANYTHING ELSE.

After an assault that leaves Evan bleeding and broken, his father takes him to the family cabin in rural Pearl Lake, Minnesota, so Evan's body can heal. But what about his mind?

HOW DO YOU GO ON, WHEN YOU CAN'T THINK OF ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER?

Nothing seems natural to Evan anymore. Nothing seems safe. The fear--and the guilt--are inescapable. He can't sort out how he feels about anyone, least of all himself. Evan's really never known another person well, and Pearl Lake is the kind of place where people know everything about each other--where there might be other reasons to talk to a girl. It's annoying as hell. It might also be Evan's best shot to untangle sex and violence.

This book has solidified the thought in my mind that my bloggy friends know what I will like better than I do.  This book came to me highly recommended by 3 very reliable sources in my life and I have to take a moment to thank Kara, Christina and Wendy for bringing this book to my attention because somehow this one went completely under my radar until they brought it up to me.  Sex & Violence blew me away, I was so invested in Evan’s story and I found myself enraptured in the slow transformation that he went through in the novel.

When we meet Evan he is what he calls the constant Fucking New Guy.  His dad has him constantly moving around the country since his mother passed away and he knows how to get the girls to drop their panties.  That’s all girls are to him, a lay, then he deletes their number out of his phone the very next day.  Very early on in the novel Evan sleeps around with the wrong girl and finds himself nearly beaten to death and being moved back to the small lake-front town where his father grew up.  Here we see Evan actually form strong relationships and realize that girls are much more than tits and ass.

I feel like I need to start by talking about Evan’s voice.  From now on, when I think about novels where an author has authentically written the opposite sex, this novel will be the first to come to mind. Mesrobian blew me away because it didn’t feel like she was trying to convey a male voice at all, it just was a male voice.  I find a lot of the time when this happens, especially a female writing a male, the character comes across as too hard, with no soft edges for me to connect with.  But Evan had his soft side, as much as he was arrogant, he was very self aware and not afraid to say what he thought.  Watching what he went through was hard, at so many points in the novel I wanted to cry for him, but what I admired was that he never played the blame game.  He knew that what he did in his past, the bad decisions he seemed to constantly be making, set him up for what happened to him (what happened to him shouldn’t happen to anyone, but you know what I mean.)

We get to see a lot of different types of relationships in Mesrobian’s debut.  We watch Evan and his father learn how to live together again, and struggle to find common ground on which to build their relationship.  We also get to see him form friendships with guys, which he has never bothered to do before.  Evan struggles with everything in the aftermath of his attack and it was a slow process for him to work back to trust and being comfortable with something as simple as taking a shower.  He builds a respect toward women as the novel goes on.  He meets strong, sassy, sexy Baker and she really helps him see that women are so much more than he once thought.

This is an incredibly strong debut and one that should not be missed by anyone looking for a raw, honest, and unflinching read.  It’s heavy on the sex and on the violence, just like the title implies and Mesrobian handles every element of the story masterfully.  I will be highly recommending this one to anyone who will listen.

5 Stars

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