Friday, March 29, 2013

Blog Tour: Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington :: Interview

I'm so excited to have Jessica Shirvington on the blog today answering my questions. I'm totally embarrassed about my first question, because I asked it before I knew that there are more books in this series. But ultimately, it's great news so it's okay! I love Violet and Lincoln so much, I'm ecstatic there are two more books still coming. Now for the interview:

In the Best Worlds: It's so exciting and bittersweet to read the end of Violet's story. What was the hardest part about ending this amazing trilogy?
Jessica Shirvington: Actually, it isn't a trilogy - There will be five books in the series in total. But I can totally understand how you thought it was going to be a trilogy - there were a lot of early descriptions that outlined the series as a trilogy even though it was never intended to be one.
Endless, book 4, will be out in October and book 5 will follow shortly after!

ItBW: Lincoln is an amazing hero and definitely a character worth crushing over. Who is your number one book boy crush?

JS: I'm not really sure. Though I always took a shine to Valek from Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study series.

ItBW: What is the main idea/theme/character/etc. you hope translates perfectly into the Embrace TV series? 

JS: Violet. It has to be her because everything is built around her, around her emotions, around the choices she makes and how she deals with the consequences. Phoenix and Lincoln are very important too.

ItBW: Since you are writing books for teens - what were you like as a teenager?

JS: Lost, mostly. And complicated. And probably not too dissimilar to most teens out there now. But I also fell in love when I was 17 and that changed my life and my future. That is part of the reason I love to write YA, why I feel it is so important what happens to our hearts in those precious years.

ItBW: Finish these sentences: 

The weirdest thing on my desk is...currently, a My Little Pony figurine. There is always something my daughters leave behind on their visits!

The last dream I remember was...actually not a good dream. I can't remember it perfectly but I know I woke up very unhappy and worried.

We could be best friends if...you could forgive me for being constantly preoccupied with my fictional character's lives.
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About Emblaze: Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice....and the consequences are unimaginable.
Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was. 
Now Violet has something Phoenix - the exiled angel who betrayed her - will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too. 
Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn't take him long to realize exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.
With the help of  surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to... 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

For Darkness Shows the Stars - Diana Peterfreund

Synopsis: It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.
Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.
But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.
Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.


I'm so mad at myself for not reading this book sooner. It was one of my most anticipated releases last year and I had it on pre-order for months, but for some reason I kept putting other books ahead of it. I'm to say that it has something to do with the serendipity of things that come to you when you need them, and I think at this time I really needed this book. It's so beautifully and brillantly written, I hardly noticed when reality faded and I was brought to this incredibly world that's so bleak and lovely at the same time. A couple weeks after reading it, I still feel as though I'm being lit up from the inside from all the hope, strength and wisdom that came from reading Elliot and Kai's story.

Persuasion is actually my favorite Jane Austen, probably because it's her most cynical - while still being completely heartwarming. It wasn't just the characters and the general plot that Peterfreund adopted, but she managed to capture that same tone and feeling I got when I read Persuasion. I also love the way she worked in the navy and twisted it to fit this dystopian world she's created. The navy in this case are actually shipbuilders who are all about innovation and exploration.

Which brings me to the dystopian world. The dystopian twist was the part I was most nervous about, but it's pulled of spectacularly. It's this fabulous mixture of a future world that has come to view technology and progression as a sin, so it resembles a few different versions of our past. It kind of envisioned it as a colonial Haiti, with a mixture of the new world exploration feeling of naval exploration from Christopher Columbus's time. It took a little bit to figure out all the terminolgy but the social hierarchy is very familiar. But utlitmately I am just amazed by it because it has that romantic feeling of the past, while still containing horrors like slavery.

Then there's Elliot and Kai. Their relationship is so complicated. It's complicated by their history and by their separation in class. They're raised with a different view of the world - Elliot is part of the elite ruling class, even though she works so hard to keep her estate running. Kai is from a lower class, but he goes out and makes something of himself. Their past relationship is wonderfully told through letters, which bothered me at first and then I realized how Jane Austen that was to tell part of the story though letters, and as their story progresses in the present it gets richer and more intense as you learn more about their past. Everything about these two is so intense because they're so right for each other, they're clearly not communicating properly, and they're both so stubborn that I really did find myself tensed up, anticipating their interactions.

This book went straight to my heart and it's not going anywhere. I love this book like a Jane Austen novel, it's one you go back to when you need a little bit of faith or reason to hope, or you need the feeling of loving someone so much it almost hurts. I can't stress enough how beautiful this book is and I have high hopes that Across a Star-Swept Sea will be just as fabulous.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blog Tour: Moonset by Scott Tracey :: Review + Giveaway

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Moonset, a coven of such promise...Until they turned to the darkness. After the terrorist witch coven known as Moonset was destroyed fifteen years ago - during a secret war against the witch Congress - five children were left behind, saddled with a legacy of darkness. Sixteen-year-old Justin Daggett, son of a powerful Moonset warlock, has been raised alongside the other orphans by the witch Congress, who fear the children will one day continue the destruction their parents started.
A deadly assault by a wraith, claiming to work for Moonset's most dangerous disciple, Cullen Bridger, forces the five teens to be evacuated to Carrow Mill. But when dark magic wreaks havoc in their new hometown, Justin and his siblings are immediately suspected. Justin sets out to discover if someone is trying to frame the Moonset orphans...or if Bridger has finally come out of hiding to reclaim the legacy of Moonset. He learns there are secrets in Carrow Mill connected to Moonset's origins, and keeping the orphans safe isn't the only reason the Congress relocated them...

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This book reminds me a bit of The Secret Circle, which made it an automatic love for me. Scott Tracey works magic, history and politics into his book so well, he brings a really fascinating world to life. Beyond just being a great story complete with power struggles, family loyalty, a hero who's slightly tortured, a bit of love and of course, witches, it really feels like this book is saying something and serving a purpose greater than itself.

It seems that every teenager, at some point, has to deal with who their parents were, or the choices they made. A large part of this book is the fact that these five teenagers are living with the consequences of their parent's mistakes. They're punished and restricted, even though they are innocent (for the most part...). They have to fight for their own rights and freedoms, but they are often held back or shut down. I love the (often sneaky) ways they manage to hold onto or claim their own power and to claim themselves as individuals.

Individuality is also a struggle these characters are facing. At one point Justin mentions that the crimes of an individual are the crimes of the entire coven. The other four witches in Justin's coven are like family to him, but almost involuntarily, as they can never be too far apart. They're all treated the same, even though each one is an individual. I think this is what made Jenna, Justin's "twin" the most interesting character to me. She just seems to be doing her best to hold on to herself, to hold on to her power, and it just comes off as her being difficult and kind of mean. She's also the one who fights the most for her rights, especially her right to learn about her powers and defend herself.

It's also about repression. There's a great debate that happens in the middle of the book, where Justin is kind of forced to stick up for his evil ancestors, even though he doesn't really believe in what his parents did. The debate though, takes on the form of any debate in which a minority group is fighting for their rights. It comes down to - who has the right to decide what is best for another group of people and why can't we seem to separate an individual from a label?

I've talked about all these issues that seem to surface in the novel, but these are all the things I see that give this book depth. I loved Justin and I loved the way the "family" dynamics played out. With five important characters to keep track of, I was really happy that everyone got page time and I felt like I came to understand the way everyone worked. I think I actually channeled Justin's character in the respect that I didn't trust anyone who wasn't in his coven. Everyone else was lying until they proved themselves.

I really loved this book and just kind of fell for the characters and for the magic. There's a really rich history that goes with the Moonset world and I'm really looking forward to finding out where that background propels them in the next book. I'm looking forward to more from Justin and I actually want to get into Jenna's head a bit more, just to find out what she's thinking. But if you like witches, and if you're like me and think there just aren't enough books about witches, then definitely pick this one up!
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About Scott Tracey: Scott Tracey is a YA author who lived on a Greyhound for a month, wrote his illustrated autobiography at the age of six, and barely survived Catholic school (and definitely not for the reasons you might think.)
He is the author of WITCH EYES, chosen as one of Amazon's Best LGBT Books of 2011, as well as an ALA Popular Paperback in the Forbidden Romance category. The final book in the WITCH EYES trilogy, PHANTOM EYES, will be released in the fall of 2013.
He is also the author of MOONSET, a new series which will be released April 8, 2013, as well as a contributor to the SHADOWHUNTERS & DOWNWORLDERS anthology, edited by Cassandra Clare. 
His career highlights include: accidentally tripping a panic alarm which led to nearly being shot by the police; attacked in a drive-thru window by a woman wielding a baked potato, and once moving cross country for a job only to quit on the second day. 
His gifts can be used for good or evil, but rather than picking a side, he strives for BOTH (in alternating capacity) for his own amusement.
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Check out the other stops on this tour this week:
Mar. 25th - Me, My Shelf and I - Guest Post
Mar. 26th - Book Brats - Interview
Mar. 26th - In the Best Worlds - Review
Mar. 27th - Once Upon a Twilight - Guest Post
Mar. 28th - BookHounds YA - Interview
Mar. 29th - WinterHaven Books - Review
Mar. 30th - The Book Cellar - Guest Post
Mar. 31st - Magical Urban Fantasy Reads - Review
See the entire tour schedule!

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Giveaway: There are FIVE copies of Moonset up for grabs for five winners! Giveaway is US only, must be 13 or older to enter. Giveaway ends on April 20, 2013.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blog Tour: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi :: Guest Post + Review

I'm SO excited to have Jessica Verdi on the blog today with a guest post for the My Life After Now tour. After you read Jessica's post, check out my own thoughts on this amazing novel.

Now Jessica on the musical theater in her novel:
Thank you so much for the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog! I’m superpsyched to get to talk a little bit about my new book My Life After Now.

To say I love musical theater is an understatement. I blast show tunes at all hours of
the day and night, singing along at the top of my lungs—my neighbors must hate me. The bulk of my pre-writing years were spent on stage (and in NYC audition rooms). I’d always been into music (I sang and danced and played the violin from a pretty young age), but the moment I joined my high school drama club, I don’t know, something just clicked for me. Musical theater isn’t just about singing and dancing. It’s about emotion. It’s about telling a story that’s so big, so real, that words alone can’t contain it. No matter if it’s a drama or a comedy, the songs, belted out by a thirty-person chorus or a single actor under a spotlight, bring it all to another level.

When I set out to write My Life After Now, I knew I didn’t want my main character, Lucy, to be just a walking statistic. Like, she has HIV so that’s all we need to know about her. No, she needed to be a real person, with a very full life. And I also wanted to make sure I balanced out the darker moments of the story with lightness and joy. What better way to do that than to submerge Lucy in the world of theater? Throughout the book, Lucy is on stage, at auditions, studying her script, listening to show tunes, quoting plays, and so much more. The chapter titles are all titles of songs from musicals (“What I Did for Love, “It’s a Hard-Knock Life,” and so on) because I felt like if Lucy were describing the chapters in her life, well, that’s how she would do it.

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy Lucy’s story!
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My Review: 
Synopsis: Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it's all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.
And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family?
Now her life is completely different...every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.
(From Goodreads)

I started reading this book when I really didn't have time to read a book. I was about 50 pages in before I knew everything would take a back seat until I'd finished reading this. I read straight through and finished at about 12:30 in the morning and had to actually restrain myself from texting all my thoughts to my poor friend in the middle of the night. This book is absolutely amazing and consuming. I don't know the last time I ever cried so much in a book, but put it down feeling so happy and uplifted. 

Lucy is a strong, beautiful heroine. I know embarrassingly little about HIV, but I do know that Lucy handles it with grace. She has her moments of freaking out and she does make some poor judgement calls, but ultimately she's so inspiring. As amazing as she is, she'd be so much worse with out the people in her life who care for her. Her dads were the source of 90% of the tears I shed in this novel. Their reactions, their rise to action, their love and support just make them the best characters ever. They are flawed, but exactly the kind of parents any child would be lucky to have. 

There's no doubt that this book has a heavy subject matter, but Verdi does such a wonderful job of balancing the HIV part with the happier parts of life. Lucy has a life before and after she's infected and that life is wonderful. I love the theater parts and I love how something like that is there for her to come back to even after she has such a hard time. I also appreciated the authenticity in the conclusion where not everything is wrapped up and not everyone ends up happily ever after. I just strongly recommend this book because I know I walked away understanding more about people who have HIV and I felt a little bit like I made a new friend in Lucy.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Impostor - Jill Hathaway

Synopsis: What if a killer took control of you?
Vee Bell's gift (or curse) of "sliding" - slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes - has been someone under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago. 
But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.
As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide - and that this "slider" is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies. (From Goodreads) 

It takes something special for me to pick up books in the mystery genre. They're just not my thing. But I picked up Slide last year and totally fell in love with the characters. So I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Imposter and it was just as great as the first book. Vee is amazing and Rollins is perfect, and I really just felt like I was able to fall back into their world as if no time had passed.

Of course, time has passed in real life and in Vee's world. The story picks up six months after the crazy conclusion to Slide. There was so much I wanted resolved and I feel like this book was the perfect follow up to the first. It was completely satisfying without feeling forced or fake. I like that there's a lot of forgiveness and shifting relationships happening in this book.

Samantha, Vee's ex-best friend comes back into play and I actually ended up kind of liking her - which unfortunately comes about through some terrible circumstances. But I think her character actually brings a lot of issues that face teens today into the light and kind of make you think about the way society is built to support some pretty awful behavior. Also, I love Vee's relationship with her little sister, Mattie, that stays really strong through everything. It's great to see siblings in a YA novel that have a healthy relationship.

Now, I have to admit, a big reason I came back to this series was Rollins. I know, this is probably sad, but sometimes I just need to gush on the boys. And I want to gush about him. He would have been my dream in high school. He's a good person, and he's understanding, he listens, he has an edge, and a lip ring. I just have such a clear image of who he is in my head and I just think he's wonderful. That's not to say I didn't want to smack him upside the head a few times for being dumb, but hey, he is a teenager and he's pretty much bound to make some bad decisions here and there.

In fact all of these characters are completely teenagers - there's no false wisdom or adult qualities about them. They aren't forced to grow up too early - or at least not as much as a lot of YA characters are. They get to accidentally stay out all night, make plans for prom, and come up with completely destructable revenge ideas while still thinking it's the perfect plan. I just absolutely love the way that Jill Hathaway stays true to her character's ages and creates a genuine reading experience.

Notice I haven't said much about the actual mystery. I liked it, it kept me on my toes, but like I said - mystery isn't really my thing. I acknowledge that it was the plot in this book, but I'm just so attached to these characters, I kind of feel like they could do nothing but shop, eat and go to class and I think I'd still love them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blog Tour: Give Me Something by Elizabeth Lee :: Interview + Giveaway



I'm SO stoked to be a part of the Give Me Something tour and to have the fabulous Elizabeth lee on the blog today answering my questions! I loved Give Me Something (I'll have a review up next week) so you should definitely check it out. If you stick around through the interview, you can find out more about Elizabeth's second novel (her first novel, Shattered, is also worth checking out) and enter into a great giveaway. *Please note that Give Me Something is a new adult novel and does contain mature situations.*
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Interview with Elizabeth Lee

In the Best Worlds: How would you describe yourself in a sentence?

Elizabeth Lee: This question is my worst nightmare. :-) Haha! I'm so bad at describing myself. I'll say...I'm just a girl from the country with a big imagination!

ItBW: Your books fall into the new adult category What drew you to the genre? What is your favorite thing about new adult books?

EL: What's not to love about NA?! The NA category features characters who are just starting out in their adult lives. It's such a fun age to write because you get to create characters who are trying to figure out how to be "grown ups" -- new relationships, college, living on their own for the first time, new jobs, etc... I love the way New Adult books appeal to such a wide audience. Some readers are experiencing the same things as the characters, while others are reading to relive a time in their lives before work, marriage and babies took over. 

ItBW: You're from the Midwest, which is also the setting for your first book. Will you talk about how your background influences you and your writing? 

EL: I've always heard, "write what you know," and believe me...I know the Midwest. I know about cournfields, cow tipping, small town gossip and country boys. 

ItBW: Congrats on your second novel! What did you learn from publishing your first book? What has changed in releasing your second?

EL:  Releasing my first book was a pretty overwhelming experience. I had this story that I loved and I really wanted people to read it. So, I put in the time, did the research and figured out what worked for me. I was fortunate enough to chat with some great indie writers that offered up some wise words. One thing that I did differently this time around was reaching out to the wonderful world of book bloggers prior to the release of Give Me Something. It's such a wonderful community and I can't thank them enough for all of their support and kind words -- you included, Hannah!

ItBW: What can we expect from your newest book?

EL: Love, lies, manipulation, two super cute guys and one sassy leading lady! This book was so much fun to write and I hope everyone has fun reading it!

ItBW: What are you working on now? 

EL: I don't want to give anything away, but I've got a word document open on my computer right now that features one of the characters from Give Me Something. :-)

ItBW: Do you have any writing rituals or habits?

EL: Nothing too exciting. It's just me, my computer and whatever playlist I've devised to inspire. Oh! And, Vanilla Mt. Dews!

ItBW: If you could pick one song to represent Give Me Something what would it be?

EL: This may be a big surprise, but it's actually "You Give Me Something" by James Morrison. This song has been out for awhile, but every time I heard it I knew there was a great story in my head to go with it.

ItBW: If Give Me Something was turned into a movie, what actors do you think would best represent Lila, Nick and Tucker?

EL: Let's see... 

ItBW: Finish these sentences:

1. We could be best friends if... you speak sarcasm.
2. The best thing a guy could do to win my heart is... make me laugh.
3. You should read my book if.... you are looking for a book that's a little different from the rest, but still has the romance that you love!
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About Give Me Something: Here's the deal...I learned a long time ago that sometimes you have to use what you've got to make things happen. What I happen to have is a pretty smile, long legs and the ability to make men believe anything I say. Before you get on your high horse and start judging me, can you honestly say you've never batted your lashes at some guy for a free drink at the bar? That's what I thought. 
Keep that in mind as I tell you my story of how I took it one step further. My story of lies, deceit, manipulation and love. Yeah, love. Believe me, it fits. Especially, when you factor in Nick and Tucker - one had my heart and the other wanted it all for himself. Which one? Well, I can't tell you that. It would defeat the purpose of the story. If I'm going to fill you in about me, Lila Garrison, and my life as a con artist you're going to need to know all the facts, including the ones about the two guys who made me want to give up the life of fancy clothes, expensive jewelry, fast cars and easy money. Because sometimes, one person can give you something that's more valuable than all of that. 
If you're still interested, stick around. Just remember, I'm pretty good at convincing people to do what I want, so if by the end of this whole thing you feel worked over, don't say I didn't warn you. 

Book Links: Amazon :: B&N :: Smashwords :: Goodreads 
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About Elizabeth:
Born and raised in the middle of a Midwestern cornfield (not literally, that would be weird), I've spent my entire life imagining stories. Stories were the right guy always gets the right girl, first kisses are as magical as they are on the big screen and anything is completely possible if you believe. 

Although this journey began years ago, it recently took on a whole new life. After years of devouring hundreds of Romance, YA and New Adult novels, I had an epiphany...I should write a book. And I did it! My first YA/New Adult novel is out now!

If I'm not reading, writing, enjoying drinks with my amazing group of girlfriends or chasing around a sarcastically funny one-year old, I'm probably watching television shows that were created for teenagers, while my husband teases that I'm too old to watch them. 

Connect with Elizabeth: Facebook :: Blog :: Goodreads :: Twitter

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Giveaway
Up for grabs is a signed paperback copy of both Give Me Something and Shattered. The winner will be chosen and notified on Monday, March 25. Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Sweetest Dark - Shana Abe

Synopsis: Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.
England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.
Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves. (From Goodreads)

I knew I had to read this book when I saw that it was recommended for fans of Libba Bray and Lauren Kate. Then I got so excited when I relalized we were dealing with dragons (or drakons). I've finally begun watching Game of Thrones and Khaleesi is my favorite, so I was pretty psyched about this. It got even better when it was 1914 England and a super gothic boarding school. I think by the time I was 100 pages in, I was so hyped up that the rest was ultimately disappointing.

The reason I couldn't quite get on board were the characters. The setting is perfect, the history is awesome, and the paranormal aspect is so cool. But I had no idea who Lora really was. One minute she's a passive woman in accordance with her time peroid and then the next minute she's sassing a duke and threatening high born girls. She ahs this bizarre confidence that doesn't really seem to come from any where, especially when the rest of her character feels uncolored - her witty moments felt too scripted. There are two love interests as well (kind of) and neither are appealing. One's instalove, the other is (kind of - I guess it's more that he's attracted to her) insalust and both boys are cookie-cutter. Jessie is mysterious to the point where you know nothing about him and the other is a bored rich boy with a bit of an edge. The connections between them feel forced and flimsy.

It's just such a bummer, because everything else is beautiful. This book is exactly what I think of when I think of purple prose, which I actually found kind of funny since it seems that the only color she metions in the book is purple - her eyes, the sky, etc. It's flowery and could easily be excessive, but it works quite well. It's just that with out solid characters to latch on to I felt a bit like I was wandering through a dream of a world that looks like this, rather than being completely transported.

So here's my thing I hestiate to recommend or to not recommend this book. I'm firmly in the middle. Because there are a lot of awesome things happening and other readers will probably connect to the characters in a way I just couldn't. So take my thoughts with a grain of salt, and if it sounds like this book is up your alley then give it a shot. I mean it's dragons, England, 1941, boarding school - the worst that's going to happen is you feel like you're in a dreamland for a little while.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fight or Flight Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

I'm so excited to be a part of the Fight or Flight blog tour and to have Jamie Canosa - the author of this touching novel about teen runaways - on the blog with a guest post. There's more about the book and the author following Jamie's post, plus an awesome giveaway.

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Guest Post: Jamie Canosa on the Characters of Fight or Flight

I’ve done several guest posts so far for this blog tour—most of them focusing on either me or the book in general. For this particular stop, I’d like to take a closer look at the characters. Characters are as diverse as people, each one has their own distinct personality, and as an author I get to interact with a LOT of them. Some I enjoy writing, others . . . well, others can be a bit more of a challenge.

Let’s start with Jay, shall we? Jay is awesome. The end. I freaking loved writing Jay. Several of his chapters were actually completed early because I liked being inside his head so much. As much as Jay is a private person and doesn’t share his story with many people, once you know it, he’s easy to understand. His actions, his motivations, it’s all obvious. He may not let many people in, but those he does are his to love, cherish, and protect. That is how he sees the world, and how I got to see Em through his eyes. Cue swoon.

Em was a lot more challenging. She has her own demons, just like Jay, but while his anger is directed outward, hers is centered back on herself. It’s difficult for her to accept that someone could genuinely love her when she can’t even love herself. She’s also more of a passive character than I’m used to writing. My previous female leads—Kaleigh from Dissidence, Mel from Heart and Soul, Callie from Our Own Worst Enemies, and even Sara from How We Came to Be—were independent, kick-ass ladies. They fought back against their circumstances and didn’t take crap from anyone along the way. Em didn’t fight back, she ran away. She hid. She thinks of herself as a coward, and until she can shake that pre-conceived notion of herself, she has trouble reacting any other way.
 Em’s character was a bit of an eye opener for me. While my previous characters all reacted in ways I hope I’d react in their circumstances, I got real with Em. Her thoughts and actions are more openly honest. How many people could leave behind everything they know, escape some pretty heavy stuff to a scary, dangerous place where they don’t know anyone and immediately start kicking ass and taking names? Not many. I know I couldn’t. I would be scared, hesitant, and probably a complete disaster—just like Em. While writing her POV was sometimes a taxing and emotional task, I enjoyed every single second of it and I fell completely in love with her.

Then, there’s Sam. No joke, until I started writing this post I did not realize I have a formerly unidentified baker fetish. In my previous novel, Dissidence, I also wrote a character who comes to the rescue, who is also—you guessed it—a baker. Not really sure what that’s all about. Possibly my sweet tooth showing through? But I digress, then there’s Sam. I love Sam. Seriously, every time he’d pop up, it would make me smile. He’s the rock of the story. While their lives are a storm of action and emotion, Sam is the one unchanging constant. The one thing in their world that can be counted on. Everyone needs a Sam in their life.

And, Al. Oh, Al. I cannot tell you how much I adore Al. She was my dose of kick-ass in this book. She’s about as different from Em as you can get, but they were still able to bond through similar circumstances and grow close in a short amount of time. Al was someone for Em to confide in. Someone who managed not to take things to a dark place, by keeping even the heaviest conversations light. She’s funny and strong-willed, but still caring and loyal to a fault. I actually enjoyed writing Al’s character so much that she earned her own book, coming out sometime this summer. Unlike Jay, I couldn’t just let her go.

I hope you grow to love and care for each of these characters—these individuals—as I have. If you let them into your heart, they may break it, but then they’ll put it back together again stronger than ever before. 
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Be smart.
Keep your head down.
And look out for number one. 
These are the rules Jay has lived by for the past two years. The rules of surviving life on the streets. But when Em comes bursting into his life, in all her disastrous glory, the rules go right out the window.

Survive.
Flee what's been left behind.
And never look back. 
Emerson's plan was simple. Though, it was easier said than done. The city streets are dangerous and unforgiving to a new arrival. Especially, a seventeen-year-old girl who's never known anything but life in the suburbs. Sometimes, however, what's lurking behind those white picket fences can be more frightening than any dark alley.

Both of them made the same decision when life got overwhelming - to run from their demons. Brought together by fate or circumstance, Em and Jay find the kind of love neither of them ever expected. But, when those demons come back to haunt them and their love is on the line, which instincts will they choose to follow this time...Fight or Flight?

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Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Upstate NY with her husband, and their three crazy kids . . . plus the dog, the bird, and the rabbit.

Her debut novel, Dissidence, was published in 2012 along with several novellas, including the first in her Heart and Soul series, ‘Temptation’.

Find Jamie Online: Blog :: Facebook :: Goodreads

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Giveaway


Top Ten Tuesday - Still Waiting

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I HAD to Buy...But are Still Sitting on My Shelf Unread

 (This is kind of an embarrassing post...)

1. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
2. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

3. Rise by Andrea Cremer
4. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
5. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

6. The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines
7. Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky
8. The Essence by Kimberly Derting

9. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
10. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Monday, March 18, 2013

17 & Gone - Nova Ren Suma

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.
With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost. (From Goodreads) 

I pretty much fell in love with Nova Ren Suma's writing in Imaginary Girls. She just has this way of crawling under your skin with her beautiful words and sneaking into your brain and flipping just one small switch that makes you view the world a little bit differently. It's amazing and unnerving the way she makes you feel a little mad, completely untethered to reality and floating in a dangerous, but somehow still gorgeous world. Reading Suma's work is an exercise in creating your own reality, while still being immersed in an intriguing story.

I really won't tell you much about this book, because I almost feel like uttering character names or places or any plot point would be betraying somebody's trust. All I'll say is there's so much more to this book than you'd know from the synopsis. The way Lauren's story unfolds contains its own sort of magic and it's something you have to experience without any preconceptions. So I'm not going to touch on the storyline.

Reading this book feels a little bit like that hovering in that in-between moment when you're awake, but still dreaming. You want to believe in what you're seeing, but somewhere you know that you're actually still in bed clinging to the last moments of blissful unconscious. It's safe, but still exciting and stepping too far back into the dream will remove you from the world, while waking up will make you lose all the images you're clinging so tightly to. So the best that you can do is cling to Lauren and use her as your guide as you walk this line. You can only follow her lead and just be on her side, because otherwise you could get a little lost.

The other aspect of this book that is so fantastic, is that it's one that will have your thoughts crawling for long after you finish. There's social commentary in here that I'm still trying to grasp. It seems obvious that Suma is drawing attention to missing girls, to runaways, to those still unfound, to those that the world has stopped looking for. But I feel like there's more to it than that - more issues that surface as the book goes on - that I don't think I'll wrap my head around until I sit and think it through and/ or talk it out. In fact, I feel like this is a book you need to read with someone else so that you can bounce your thoughts and feelings against someone else.

I can't recommend this book enough. Nova Ren Suma is a talented writer and this story is so well thought out and executed, I just want everyone to experience it. I really can't wait to see what kind of dreamworld she'll create next.

(Sidenote: I read acknowledgements to books before I read the book itself - which is probably weird, but in case it's not, please don't do this. Because the acknowledgements are next to an author's note, which can spoil the huge turn in this book. While I don't get upset over spoilers easily, you might, and this is my warning.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blog Tour: Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Synopsis: Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others. 
In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again. (From Goodreads)

This is Megan Miranda's sophomore novel, but it's the first of hers I've read. And as soon as I have a moment, I'll go back and read Fracture because I'm so impresed with her writing. This book was intense and riveting. Maybe I've watched a little too much SVU lately, but it seems like this situation is one that probably happens too often, but is never really talked about. Mallory kills her boyfriend in self defense and then has to deal with the aftermath of that moment of high pressure and snap decisions. She was scared, she reacted, and now she's living with the consequences.

The reality line is so blurred in this novel because Mallory can't remember certain parts of that night and  then she's haunted by his death. She hears things and feels things - she wakes up repeatedly with hand-marked bruises on her shoulder. I was never really sure if something paranormal was happening or if it was all in her head. It was actually quite terrifying and there are some great almost-gothic scenes in this novel that I wasn't really expecting.

The best part of this book is the way the past - the leading up to an actual moment where she kills her boyfriend - is weaved in with the present tense. There's this dual intensity happening because her life is at stake in the present and her life is at stake in the past. We know right away that she kills Brian, but we don't know the why or what actually happened until the last few pages of the book. Generally when a book switches from past to present, I tend to like one narrative line more - generally the present tense - and I'll kind of dread the points where a book takes me out of a story to give me backstory, but this book does it so well. I loved both story lines and I'd get excited when she'd tell more about what happened that night or how her relationship with Brian progressed.

Even more than the terror and the killing, this book is kind of really about mending relationships and moving on. Naturally, after she kills her boyfriend, her relationships change. People are afraid of her, her mother locks her bedroom door at night, her best friend still loves her but feels abandoned when she goes to boarding school. Then she's in a new setting and still doesn't have a clean slate because there's Reid, a boy she has a history with. They rekindle the spark between them and even though she seems a little crazy and she has a few issues to deal with, there seems to be a strong flame there. But it was the way her relationship with her mother played out that was really amazing. Mallory is hurt because your mother is supposed to love you no matter what, and now her mother doesn't trust her and actually seems to be scared of what she'll do. After a lot of work, on both their parts, they seem to start to mend their relationship a bit and that was really beautiful.

My heart was beating so hard through most of this book, and not just for the scary parts. There are emotional moments that make you love and care for Mallory. I was really in her head and indignant for her when people treated her like she could snap at any minute. I kind of can't believe how much I got into her stories. I can't imagine having to do what she did and then live with myself after that. She's a strong character and whether she admits it or not, she has some awesome people in her corner. I was really impressed with this novel and I can't wait to read more of Megan Miranda's work, because she totally hooked me with this one.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's Next? (6)

What's Next is a new meme hosted by Iceybooks, and you can participate!
Every Thursday select three-five books that you want to read but can't decide which one to read first.

Ok. It's been MONTHS since I've participated in this, but I've kind of missed it. Plus, I actually really need help deciding what to read next. 

The choices:

1. Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington
Why it's on my TBR: I LOVED the first two books in the Embrace series and there's a blog tour coming up...

2. The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
Why it's on my TBR: It was described for fans of Lauren Kate and Libba Bray. That's pretty much all I need to convince me I should read it. 

3. Impostor by Jill Hathaway
Why it's on my TBR: Loved SLIDE and I need more Rollins! 

What do you think I should read next? 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Unbroken Book Blast + Giveaway




Sneak Peek...
“So, you own the bar now?” I say, “That’s great. Why didn’t you say?”

Emerson gives me a measured look. “You didn’t ask.”

I stop. How is this my fault? “Yeah, well I didn’t exactly have time, what with you pummeling a guy, pretending like you were going to make out with me, then judging every one of my life choices.”

My reply whips out before I can stop it. I clamp my hand over my mouth, and stare at the shocked expression on Emerson’s face. He so wasn’t expecting that! But why the hell shouldn’t I say it? It’s the truth, after all. I let out a giggle, unable to stop myself.

His expression changes.

“You’re drunk.” He says shortly.

I shrug, defensive. “So what if I am?”

“You never could hold your liquor.” He shakes his head, and takes another gulp of his beer. “I wonder, what else has changed…?” Emerson’s mouth curves into a lascivious smile. “You still make that breathy noise when you come?”

I gasp, shocked. “Fuck you!”

“Already been there, darlin’.”



About Melody Grace
Melody is a small-town girl turned SoCal beach-lover. After spending her life with her nose in a book, she decided it was time to try writing one for herself. She loves bad boys, steamy romances, and (of course) happily-ever-afters.
Find Melody Grace



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cover Reveal - Because of You by T.E. Sivec

I'm so excited to share the cover for Because of You by T.E. Sivec! This is the second book in the Playing with Fire series. Because of You will be released on April 29, 2013! This amazing cover was created by Sara Hansen at Okay Creations.


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About Because of You: Brady Marshall has made a career of playing it safe. When he decides to do something rash and becomes a Navy SEAL, he thinks he's finally escaped the rigid structure of the high society life his parents forced down his throat. All he does is trade in one set of rules for another. He follows military protocol to a T, but it still results in the death of an entire team of Navy SEALS and puts his best friends directly in harm's way. He's struggled to stay afloat and not drown in grief, guilt, and booze, but he's losing that battle quickly. When his baby sister flees her abusive husband and shows up on his doorstep with his young niece in tow, he has no choice but to clean up his act. He will stop at nothing to protect them and never let them down again, even if it means taking a job that goes against everything he believes in. If protecting a pop star princess who thinks she's better than everyone means he can keep a roof over their head, what other choice does he have? 
Layla Carlysle has lived a life of luxury. She's been a star since the young age of fifteen, and every record she releases shoots straight to the top of the charts. She has people surrounding her every single day telling her how amazing she is, how beautiful she is, and how lucky she is, but she's never felt more alone in her entire life. She wants nothing more than to break free and do what she really wants to do: write her own music, sing her own songs, and find a way to finally be happy with her life. The only thing standing in her way is her mother, Eve Carlysle. Eve has controlled every single aspect of her daughter's life and will stop at nothing to achieve fame and fortune, even if that means using herdaughter to get there. When an overlyamorous fan's letters become increasingly more sinister, Brady will have to suck up his opinion of how the other half lives to take the job seriously. The pair will need to learn to trust each other and put aside their differences before the letters become a reality and someone's life is in jeopardy.
Brady has been to hell and back, and he refuses to let anyone else get close to him again. Layla has never lived her life for herself, and the emptiness is threatening to break her for good.
Sometimes our lives are already planned for us, but because of you, all of that could change in an instant.  
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About T.E. Sivec: This is the pen name of Tara Sivec. Under T.E. Sivec, she writes romantic suspence novels. T.E. Sivec lives in Ohio with her husband and two children, living the dream of being a full-time writer.
Find T.E. Sivec online: Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Goodreads

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Touch Menacing - Leah Clifford

Synopsis: Eden is dying. For real, this time.
She is crumbling to ash, and an unnatural plague is ravaging mortals and immortals alike. With both Heaven and Hell out to destroy her, Eden can no longer tell the difference between good and evil.
Friends become enemies. And enemies are everywhere.
But don't underestimate Eden. She'll fight for her life, for the lives of those she loves, and for every life she has ever touched.
She'll fight for revenge. For redemption. For—just maybe—the chance to be mortal again.
Everything began with forbidden love.
What will be sacrificed at the bitter end?
The dramatic conclusion to Leah Clifford's dark, alluring trilogy of life, death, and epic love. (From Goodreads)


I just don't even know how I'm supposed to articulate my thoughts and feelings about this series. It's awesome, it blows my mind, it makes me swoon and cry and freak out and it never does what I expect it to. It's unique. That's for sure.

There are two things I absolutely adore about this series:

1- The plot doesn't follow traditional guideposts. There's no real way to mark the beginning, middle, and end. It doesn't have an arc - or it doesn't have just one. Even though these characters are pathless, the way their story is told feels like a path - there are turns and they unexpectedly cross one another, their lives intertwining at different moments, their destination unsure. It feels a lot more like life - people don't just show up when their supposed to or things don't feel like they happen because it's convenient to move the story along. Also- there are a lot of different players in this game. There isn't just one girl who the fate of the whole world seems to revolve around. Technically, I guess Eden is the main character, but she's by no means the most important person in this equation.

2- The lines between good and evil are so blurred, I'm not even sure they exist. In fact, even by the end I'm not sure who is on which side. Generally, I like my lines to be a little more clear; however, I love the way the blurring of good and evil is executed here. Because you don't get behind a character because of what their fighting for, you get behind them because you like who they are. I was rooting Eden because I've been with her from the beginning. But then you root for Gabe even though he's made some bad choices because I feel like he has a really great heart. And Kristen, I root for her because she's crazy and I love it. Then, the really baffling one - I root for Luke, even though he's supposedly the big bad. I can't help it, because somehow the big bad totally stole my heart.

Of course there's so much more to love - like the dark humor, the fact that some characters make me irrationally angry, or the way it's still a new and surprising world even after 3 books. I'm going to miss Kristen and her grave robbing and Luke and his strawberry lemonade. I'll miss Eden and Az dancing at Rockefeller and Gabe running around trying to make everybody happy. These are characters I've come to adore and admire and it's a little hard for me to let this series go.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Blog Tour: Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington :: Interview

I'm so excited to have Jessica Shirvington on the blog today answering my questions. I'm totally embarrassed about my first question, because I asked it before I knew that there are more books in this series. But ultimately, it's great news so it's okay! I love Violet and Lincoln so much, I'm ecstatic there are two more books still coming. Now for the interview:

In the Best Worlds: It's so exciting and bittersweet to read the end of Violet's story. What was the hardest part about ending this amazing trilogy?
Jessica Shirvington: Actually, it isn't a trilogy - There will be five books in the series in total. But I can totally understand how you thought it was going to be a trilogy - there were a lot of early descriptions that outlined the series as a trilogy even though it was never intended to be one.
Endless, book 4, will be out in October and book 5 will follow shortly after!

ItBW: Lincoln is an amazing hero and definitely a character worth crushing over. Who is your number one book boy crush?

JS: I'm not really sure. Though I always took a shine to Valek from Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study series.

ItBW: What is the main idea/theme/character/etc. you hope translates perfectly into the Embrace TV series? 

JS: Violet. It has to be her because everything is built around her, around her emotions, around the choices she makes and how she deals with the consequences. Phoenix and Lincoln are very important too.

ItBW: Since you are writing books for teens - what were you like as a teenager?

JS: Lost, mostly. And complicated. And probably not too dissimilar to most teens out there now. But I also fell in love when I was 17 and that changed my life and my future. That is part of the reason I love to write YA, why I feel it is so important what happens to our hearts in those precious years.

ItBW: Finish these sentences: 

The weirdest thing on my desk is...currently, a My Little Pony figurine. There is always something my daughters leave behind on their visits!

The last dream I remember was...actually not a good dream. I can't remember it perfectly but I know I woke up very unhappy and worried.

We could be best friends if...you could forgive me for being constantly preoccupied with my fictional character's lives.
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About Emblaze: Once again Violet Eden faces an impossible choice....and the consequences are unimaginable.
Violet has come to terms with the fact that being part angel, part human, means her life will never be as it was. 
Now Violet has something Phoenix - the exiled angel who betrayed her - will do anything for, and she has no intention of letting it fall into his hands. The only problem is that he has something she needs too. 
Not afraid to raise the stakes, Phoenix seemingly holds all the power, always one step ahead. And when he puts the final pieces of the prophecy together, it doesn't take him long to realize exactly who he needs in order to open the gates of Hell.
With the help of  surprising new allies, ancient prophecies are deciphered, a destination set and, after a shattering confrontation with her father, Violet leaves for the islands of Greece without knowing if she will have a home to return to... 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

For Darkness Shows the Stars - Diana Peterfreund

Synopsis: It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.
Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.
But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.
Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.


I'm so mad at myself for not reading this book sooner. It was one of my most anticipated releases last year and I had it on pre-order for months, but for some reason I kept putting other books ahead of it. I'm to say that it has something to do with the serendipity of things that come to you when you need them, and I think at this time I really needed this book. It's so beautifully and brillantly written, I hardly noticed when reality faded and I was brought to this incredibly world that's so bleak and lovely at the same time. A couple weeks after reading it, I still feel as though I'm being lit up from the inside from all the hope, strength and wisdom that came from reading Elliot and Kai's story.

Persuasion is actually my favorite Jane Austen, probably because it's her most cynical - while still being completely heartwarming. It wasn't just the characters and the general plot that Peterfreund adopted, but she managed to capture that same tone and feeling I got when I read Persuasion. I also love the way she worked in the navy and twisted it to fit this dystopian world she's created. The navy in this case are actually shipbuilders who are all about innovation and exploration.

Which brings me to the dystopian world. The dystopian twist was the part I was most nervous about, but it's pulled of spectacularly. It's this fabulous mixture of a future world that has come to view technology and progression as a sin, so it resembles a few different versions of our past. It kind of envisioned it as a colonial Haiti, with a mixture of the new world exploration feeling of naval exploration from Christopher Columbus's time. It took a little bit to figure out all the terminolgy but the social hierarchy is very familiar. But utlitmately I am just amazed by it because it has that romantic feeling of the past, while still containing horrors like slavery.

Then there's Elliot and Kai. Their relationship is so complicated. It's complicated by their history and by their separation in class. They're raised with a different view of the world - Elliot is part of the elite ruling class, even though she works so hard to keep her estate running. Kai is from a lower class, but he goes out and makes something of himself. Their past relationship is wonderfully told through letters, which bothered me at first and then I realized how Jane Austen that was to tell part of the story though letters, and as their story progresses in the present it gets richer and more intense as you learn more about their past. Everything about these two is so intense because they're so right for each other, they're clearly not communicating properly, and they're both so stubborn that I really did find myself tensed up, anticipating their interactions.

This book went straight to my heart and it's not going anywhere. I love this book like a Jane Austen novel, it's one you go back to when you need a little bit of faith or reason to hope, or you need the feeling of loving someone so much it almost hurts. I can't stress enough how beautiful this book is and I have high hopes that Across a Star-Swept Sea will be just as fabulous.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blog Tour: Moonset by Scott Tracey :: Review + Giveaway

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Moonset, a coven of such promise...Until they turned to the darkness. After the terrorist witch coven known as Moonset was destroyed fifteen years ago - during a secret war against the witch Congress - five children were left behind, saddled with a legacy of darkness. Sixteen-year-old Justin Daggett, son of a powerful Moonset warlock, has been raised alongside the other orphans by the witch Congress, who fear the children will one day continue the destruction their parents started.
A deadly assault by a wraith, claiming to work for Moonset's most dangerous disciple, Cullen Bridger, forces the five teens to be evacuated to Carrow Mill. But when dark magic wreaks havoc in their new hometown, Justin and his siblings are immediately suspected. Justin sets out to discover if someone is trying to frame the Moonset orphans...or if Bridger has finally come out of hiding to reclaim the legacy of Moonset. He learns there are secrets in Carrow Mill connected to Moonset's origins, and keeping the orphans safe isn't the only reason the Congress relocated them...

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This book reminds me a bit of The Secret Circle, which made it an automatic love for me. Scott Tracey works magic, history and politics into his book so well, he brings a really fascinating world to life. Beyond just being a great story complete with power struggles, family loyalty, a hero who's slightly tortured, a bit of love and of course, witches, it really feels like this book is saying something and serving a purpose greater than itself.

It seems that every teenager, at some point, has to deal with who their parents were, or the choices they made. A large part of this book is the fact that these five teenagers are living with the consequences of their parent's mistakes. They're punished and restricted, even though they are innocent (for the most part...). They have to fight for their own rights and freedoms, but they are often held back or shut down. I love the (often sneaky) ways they manage to hold onto or claim their own power and to claim themselves as individuals.

Individuality is also a struggle these characters are facing. At one point Justin mentions that the crimes of an individual are the crimes of the entire coven. The other four witches in Justin's coven are like family to him, but almost involuntarily, as they can never be too far apart. They're all treated the same, even though each one is an individual. I think this is what made Jenna, Justin's "twin" the most interesting character to me. She just seems to be doing her best to hold on to herself, to hold on to her power, and it just comes off as her being difficult and kind of mean. She's also the one who fights the most for her rights, especially her right to learn about her powers and defend herself.

It's also about repression. There's a great debate that happens in the middle of the book, where Justin is kind of forced to stick up for his evil ancestors, even though he doesn't really believe in what his parents did. The debate though, takes on the form of any debate in which a minority group is fighting for their rights. It comes down to - who has the right to decide what is best for another group of people and why can't we seem to separate an individual from a label?

I've talked about all these issues that seem to surface in the novel, but these are all the things I see that give this book depth. I loved Justin and I loved the way the "family" dynamics played out. With five important characters to keep track of, I was really happy that everyone got page time and I felt like I came to understand the way everyone worked. I think I actually channeled Justin's character in the respect that I didn't trust anyone who wasn't in his coven. Everyone else was lying until they proved themselves.

I really loved this book and just kind of fell for the characters and for the magic. There's a really rich history that goes with the Moonset world and I'm really looking forward to finding out where that background propels them in the next book. I'm looking forward to more from Justin and I actually want to get into Jenna's head a bit more, just to find out what she's thinking. But if you like witches, and if you're like me and think there just aren't enough books about witches, then definitely pick this one up!
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About Scott Tracey: Scott Tracey is a YA author who lived on a Greyhound for a month, wrote his illustrated autobiography at the age of six, and barely survived Catholic school (and definitely not for the reasons you might think.)
He is the author of WITCH EYES, chosen as one of Amazon's Best LGBT Books of 2011, as well as an ALA Popular Paperback in the Forbidden Romance category. The final book in the WITCH EYES trilogy, PHANTOM EYES, will be released in the fall of 2013.
He is also the author of MOONSET, a new series which will be released April 8, 2013, as well as a contributor to the SHADOWHUNTERS & DOWNWORLDERS anthology, edited by Cassandra Clare. 
His career highlights include: accidentally tripping a panic alarm which led to nearly being shot by the police; attacked in a drive-thru window by a woman wielding a baked potato, and once moving cross country for a job only to quit on the second day. 
His gifts can be used for good or evil, but rather than picking a side, he strives for BOTH (in alternating capacity) for his own amusement.
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Check out the other stops on this tour this week:
Mar. 25th - Me, My Shelf and I - Guest Post
Mar. 26th - Book Brats - Interview
Mar. 26th - In the Best Worlds - Review
Mar. 27th - Once Upon a Twilight - Guest Post
Mar. 28th - BookHounds YA - Interview
Mar. 29th - WinterHaven Books - Review
Mar. 30th - The Book Cellar - Guest Post
Mar. 31st - Magical Urban Fantasy Reads - Review
See the entire tour schedule!

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Giveaway: There are FIVE copies of Moonset up for grabs for five winners! Giveaway is US only, must be 13 or older to enter. Giveaway ends on April 20, 2013.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blog Tour: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi :: Guest Post + Review

I'm SO excited to have Jessica Verdi on the blog today with a guest post for the My Life After Now tour. After you read Jessica's post, check out my own thoughts on this amazing novel.

Now Jessica on the musical theater in her novel:
Thank you so much for the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog! I’m superpsyched to get to talk a little bit about my new book My Life After Now.

To say I love musical theater is an understatement. I blast show tunes at all hours of
the day and night, singing along at the top of my lungs—my neighbors must hate me. The bulk of my pre-writing years were spent on stage (and in NYC audition rooms). I’d always been into music (I sang and danced and played the violin from a pretty young age), but the moment I joined my high school drama club, I don’t know, something just clicked for me. Musical theater isn’t just about singing and dancing. It’s about emotion. It’s about telling a story that’s so big, so real, that words alone can’t contain it. No matter if it’s a drama or a comedy, the songs, belted out by a thirty-person chorus or a single actor under a spotlight, bring it all to another level.

When I set out to write My Life After Now, I knew I didn’t want my main character, Lucy, to be just a walking statistic. Like, she has HIV so that’s all we need to know about her. No, she needed to be a real person, with a very full life. And I also wanted to make sure I balanced out the darker moments of the story with lightness and joy. What better way to do that than to submerge Lucy in the world of theater? Throughout the book, Lucy is on stage, at auditions, studying her script, listening to show tunes, quoting plays, and so much more. The chapter titles are all titles of songs from musicals (“What I Did for Love, “It’s a Hard-Knock Life,” and so on) because I felt like if Lucy were describing the chapters in her life, well, that’s how she would do it.

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy Lucy’s story!
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My Review: 
Synopsis: Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it's all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.
And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family?
Now her life is completely different...every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.
(From Goodreads)

I started reading this book when I really didn't have time to read a book. I was about 50 pages in before I knew everything would take a back seat until I'd finished reading this. I read straight through and finished at about 12:30 in the morning and had to actually restrain myself from texting all my thoughts to my poor friend in the middle of the night. This book is absolutely amazing and consuming. I don't know the last time I ever cried so much in a book, but put it down feeling so happy and uplifted. 

Lucy is a strong, beautiful heroine. I know embarrassingly little about HIV, but I do know that Lucy handles it with grace. She has her moments of freaking out and she does make some poor judgement calls, but ultimately she's so inspiring. As amazing as she is, she'd be so much worse with out the people in her life who care for her. Her dads were the source of 90% of the tears I shed in this novel. Their reactions, their rise to action, their love and support just make them the best characters ever. They are flawed, but exactly the kind of parents any child would be lucky to have. 

There's no doubt that this book has a heavy subject matter, but Verdi does such a wonderful job of balancing the HIV part with the happier parts of life. Lucy has a life before and after she's infected and that life is wonderful. I love the theater parts and I love how something like that is there for her to come back to even after she has such a hard time. I also appreciated the authenticity in the conclusion where not everything is wrapped up and not everyone ends up happily ever after. I just strongly recommend this book because I know I walked away understanding more about people who have HIV and I felt a little bit like I made a new friend in Lucy.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Impostor - Jill Hathaway

Synopsis: What if a killer took control of you?
Vee Bell's gift (or curse) of "sliding" - slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes - has been someone under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago. 
But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.
As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide - and that this "slider" is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies. (From Goodreads) 

It takes something special for me to pick up books in the mystery genre. They're just not my thing. But I picked up Slide last year and totally fell in love with the characters. So I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Imposter and it was just as great as the first book. Vee is amazing and Rollins is perfect, and I really just felt like I was able to fall back into their world as if no time had passed.

Of course, time has passed in real life and in Vee's world. The story picks up six months after the crazy conclusion to Slide. There was so much I wanted resolved and I feel like this book was the perfect follow up to the first. It was completely satisfying without feeling forced or fake. I like that there's a lot of forgiveness and shifting relationships happening in this book.

Samantha, Vee's ex-best friend comes back into play and I actually ended up kind of liking her - which unfortunately comes about through some terrible circumstances. But I think her character actually brings a lot of issues that face teens today into the light and kind of make you think about the way society is built to support some pretty awful behavior. Also, I love Vee's relationship with her little sister, Mattie, that stays really strong through everything. It's great to see siblings in a YA novel that have a healthy relationship.

Now, I have to admit, a big reason I came back to this series was Rollins. I know, this is probably sad, but sometimes I just need to gush on the boys. And I want to gush about him. He would have been my dream in high school. He's a good person, and he's understanding, he listens, he has an edge, and a lip ring. I just have such a clear image of who he is in my head and I just think he's wonderful. That's not to say I didn't want to smack him upside the head a few times for being dumb, but hey, he is a teenager and he's pretty much bound to make some bad decisions here and there.

In fact all of these characters are completely teenagers - there's no false wisdom or adult qualities about them. They aren't forced to grow up too early - or at least not as much as a lot of YA characters are. They get to accidentally stay out all night, make plans for prom, and come up with completely destructable revenge ideas while still thinking it's the perfect plan. I just absolutely love the way that Jill Hathaway stays true to her character's ages and creates a genuine reading experience.

Notice I haven't said much about the actual mystery. I liked it, it kept me on my toes, but like I said - mystery isn't really my thing. I acknowledge that it was the plot in this book, but I'm just so attached to these characters, I kind of feel like they could do nothing but shop, eat and go to class and I think I'd still love them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blog Tour: Give Me Something by Elizabeth Lee :: Interview + Giveaway



I'm SO stoked to be a part of the Give Me Something tour and to have the fabulous Elizabeth lee on the blog today answering my questions! I loved Give Me Something (I'll have a review up next week) so you should definitely check it out. If you stick around through the interview, you can find out more about Elizabeth's second novel (her first novel, Shattered, is also worth checking out) and enter into a great giveaway. *Please note that Give Me Something is a new adult novel and does contain mature situations.*
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Interview with Elizabeth Lee

In the Best Worlds: How would you describe yourself in a sentence?

Elizabeth Lee: This question is my worst nightmare. :-) Haha! I'm so bad at describing myself. I'll say...I'm just a girl from the country with a big imagination!

ItBW: Your books fall into the new adult category What drew you to the genre? What is your favorite thing about new adult books?

EL: What's not to love about NA?! The NA category features characters who are just starting out in their adult lives. It's such a fun age to write because you get to create characters who are trying to figure out how to be "grown ups" -- new relationships, college, living on their own for the first time, new jobs, etc... I love the way New Adult books appeal to such a wide audience. Some readers are experiencing the same things as the characters, while others are reading to relive a time in their lives before work, marriage and babies took over. 

ItBW: You're from the Midwest, which is also the setting for your first book. Will you talk about how your background influences you and your writing? 

EL: I've always heard, "write what you know," and believe me...I know the Midwest. I know about cournfields, cow tipping, small town gossip and country boys. 

ItBW: Congrats on your second novel! What did you learn from publishing your first book? What has changed in releasing your second?

EL:  Releasing my first book was a pretty overwhelming experience. I had this story that I loved and I really wanted people to read it. So, I put in the time, did the research and figured out what worked for me. I was fortunate enough to chat with some great indie writers that offered up some wise words. One thing that I did differently this time around was reaching out to the wonderful world of book bloggers prior to the release of Give Me Something. It's such a wonderful community and I can't thank them enough for all of their support and kind words -- you included, Hannah!

ItBW: What can we expect from your newest book?

EL: Love, lies, manipulation, two super cute guys and one sassy leading lady! This book was so much fun to write and I hope everyone has fun reading it!

ItBW: What are you working on now? 

EL: I don't want to give anything away, but I've got a word document open on my computer right now that features one of the characters from Give Me Something. :-)

ItBW: Do you have any writing rituals or habits?

EL: Nothing too exciting. It's just me, my computer and whatever playlist I've devised to inspire. Oh! And, Vanilla Mt. Dews!

ItBW: If you could pick one song to represent Give Me Something what would it be?

EL: This may be a big surprise, but it's actually "You Give Me Something" by James Morrison. This song has been out for awhile, but every time I heard it I knew there was a great story in my head to go with it.

ItBW: If Give Me Something was turned into a movie, what actors do you think would best represent Lila, Nick and Tucker?

EL: Let's see... 

ItBW: Finish these sentences:

1. We could be best friends if... you speak sarcasm.
2. The best thing a guy could do to win my heart is... make me laugh.
3. You should read my book if.... you are looking for a book that's a little different from the rest, but still has the romance that you love!
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About Give Me Something: Here's the deal...I learned a long time ago that sometimes you have to use what you've got to make things happen. What I happen to have is a pretty smile, long legs and the ability to make men believe anything I say. Before you get on your high horse and start judging me, can you honestly say you've never batted your lashes at some guy for a free drink at the bar? That's what I thought. 
Keep that in mind as I tell you my story of how I took it one step further. My story of lies, deceit, manipulation and love. Yeah, love. Believe me, it fits. Especially, when you factor in Nick and Tucker - one had my heart and the other wanted it all for himself. Which one? Well, I can't tell you that. It would defeat the purpose of the story. If I'm going to fill you in about me, Lila Garrison, and my life as a con artist you're going to need to know all the facts, including the ones about the two guys who made me want to give up the life of fancy clothes, expensive jewelry, fast cars and easy money. Because sometimes, one person can give you something that's more valuable than all of that. 
If you're still interested, stick around. Just remember, I'm pretty good at convincing people to do what I want, so if by the end of this whole thing you feel worked over, don't say I didn't warn you. 

Book Links: Amazon :: B&N :: Smashwords :: Goodreads 
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About Elizabeth:
Born and raised in the middle of a Midwestern cornfield (not literally, that would be weird), I've spent my entire life imagining stories. Stories were the right guy always gets the right girl, first kisses are as magical as they are on the big screen and anything is completely possible if you believe. 

Although this journey began years ago, it recently took on a whole new life. After years of devouring hundreds of Romance, YA and New Adult novels, I had an epiphany...I should write a book. And I did it! My first YA/New Adult novel is out now!

If I'm not reading, writing, enjoying drinks with my amazing group of girlfriends or chasing around a sarcastically funny one-year old, I'm probably watching television shows that were created for teenagers, while my husband teases that I'm too old to watch them. 

Connect with Elizabeth: Facebook :: Blog :: Goodreads :: Twitter

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Giveaway
Up for grabs is a signed paperback copy of both Give Me Something and Shattered. The winner will be chosen and notified on Monday, March 25. Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Sweetest Dark - Shana Abe

Synopsis: Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.
England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.
Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves. (From Goodreads)

I knew I had to read this book when I saw that it was recommended for fans of Libba Bray and Lauren Kate. Then I got so excited when I relalized we were dealing with dragons (or drakons). I've finally begun watching Game of Thrones and Khaleesi is my favorite, so I was pretty psyched about this. It got even better when it was 1914 England and a super gothic boarding school. I think by the time I was 100 pages in, I was so hyped up that the rest was ultimately disappointing.

The reason I couldn't quite get on board were the characters. The setting is perfect, the history is awesome, and the paranormal aspect is so cool. But I had no idea who Lora really was. One minute she's a passive woman in accordance with her time peroid and then the next minute she's sassing a duke and threatening high born girls. She ahs this bizarre confidence that doesn't really seem to come from any where, especially when the rest of her character feels uncolored - her witty moments felt too scripted. There are two love interests as well (kind of) and neither are appealing. One's instalove, the other is (kind of - I guess it's more that he's attracted to her) insalust and both boys are cookie-cutter. Jessie is mysterious to the point where you know nothing about him and the other is a bored rich boy with a bit of an edge. The connections between them feel forced and flimsy.

It's just such a bummer, because everything else is beautiful. This book is exactly what I think of when I think of purple prose, which I actually found kind of funny since it seems that the only color she metions in the book is purple - her eyes, the sky, etc. It's flowery and could easily be excessive, but it works quite well. It's just that with out solid characters to latch on to I felt a bit like I was wandering through a dream of a world that looks like this, rather than being completely transported.

So here's my thing I hestiate to recommend or to not recommend this book. I'm firmly in the middle. Because there are a lot of awesome things happening and other readers will probably connect to the characters in a way I just couldn't. So take my thoughts with a grain of salt, and if it sounds like this book is up your alley then give it a shot. I mean it's dragons, England, 1941, boarding school - the worst that's going to happen is you feel like you're in a dreamland for a little while.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fight or Flight Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

I'm so excited to be a part of the Fight or Flight blog tour and to have Jamie Canosa - the author of this touching novel about teen runaways - on the blog with a guest post. There's more about the book and the author following Jamie's post, plus an awesome giveaway.

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Guest Post: Jamie Canosa on the Characters of Fight or Flight

I’ve done several guest posts so far for this blog tour—most of them focusing on either me or the book in general. For this particular stop, I’d like to take a closer look at the characters. Characters are as diverse as people, each one has their own distinct personality, and as an author I get to interact with a LOT of them. Some I enjoy writing, others . . . well, others can be a bit more of a challenge.

Let’s start with Jay, shall we? Jay is awesome. The end. I freaking loved writing Jay. Several of his chapters were actually completed early because I liked being inside his head so much. As much as Jay is a private person and doesn’t share his story with many people, once you know it, he’s easy to understand. His actions, his motivations, it’s all obvious. He may not let many people in, but those he does are his to love, cherish, and protect. That is how he sees the world, and how I got to see Em through his eyes. Cue swoon.

Em was a lot more challenging. She has her own demons, just like Jay, but while his anger is directed outward, hers is centered back on herself. It’s difficult for her to accept that someone could genuinely love her when she can’t even love herself. She’s also more of a passive character than I’m used to writing. My previous female leads—Kaleigh from Dissidence, Mel from Heart and Soul, Callie from Our Own Worst Enemies, and even Sara from How We Came to Be—were independent, kick-ass ladies. They fought back against their circumstances and didn’t take crap from anyone along the way. Em didn’t fight back, she ran away. She hid. She thinks of herself as a coward, and until she can shake that pre-conceived notion of herself, she has trouble reacting any other way.
 Em’s character was a bit of an eye opener for me. While my previous characters all reacted in ways I hope I’d react in their circumstances, I got real with Em. Her thoughts and actions are more openly honest. How many people could leave behind everything they know, escape some pretty heavy stuff to a scary, dangerous place where they don’t know anyone and immediately start kicking ass and taking names? Not many. I know I couldn’t. I would be scared, hesitant, and probably a complete disaster—just like Em. While writing her POV was sometimes a taxing and emotional task, I enjoyed every single second of it and I fell completely in love with her.

Then, there’s Sam. No joke, until I started writing this post I did not realize I have a formerly unidentified baker fetish. In my previous novel, Dissidence, I also wrote a character who comes to the rescue, who is also—you guessed it—a baker. Not really sure what that’s all about. Possibly my sweet tooth showing through? But I digress, then there’s Sam. I love Sam. Seriously, every time he’d pop up, it would make me smile. He’s the rock of the story. While their lives are a storm of action and emotion, Sam is the one unchanging constant. The one thing in their world that can be counted on. Everyone needs a Sam in their life.

And, Al. Oh, Al. I cannot tell you how much I adore Al. She was my dose of kick-ass in this book. She’s about as different from Em as you can get, but they were still able to bond through similar circumstances and grow close in a short amount of time. Al was someone for Em to confide in. Someone who managed not to take things to a dark place, by keeping even the heaviest conversations light. She’s funny and strong-willed, but still caring and loyal to a fault. I actually enjoyed writing Al’s character so much that she earned her own book, coming out sometime this summer. Unlike Jay, I couldn’t just let her go.

I hope you grow to love and care for each of these characters—these individuals—as I have. If you let them into your heart, they may break it, but then they’ll put it back together again stronger than ever before. 
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Be smart.
Keep your head down.
And look out for number one. 
These are the rules Jay has lived by for the past two years. The rules of surviving life on the streets. But when Em comes bursting into his life, in all her disastrous glory, the rules go right out the window.

Survive.
Flee what's been left behind.
And never look back. 
Emerson's plan was simple. Though, it was easier said than done. The city streets are dangerous and unforgiving to a new arrival. Especially, a seventeen-year-old girl who's never known anything but life in the suburbs. Sometimes, however, what's lurking behind those white picket fences can be more frightening than any dark alley.

Both of them made the same decision when life got overwhelming - to run from their demons. Brought together by fate or circumstance, Em and Jay find the kind of love neither of them ever expected. But, when those demons come back to haunt them and their love is on the line, which instincts will they choose to follow this time...Fight or Flight?

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Jamie Canosa is a full time author of YA literature, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. She currently resides in Upstate NY with her husband, and their three crazy kids . . . plus the dog, the bird, and the rabbit.

Her debut novel, Dissidence, was published in 2012 along with several novellas, including the first in her Heart and Soul series, ‘Temptation’.

Find Jamie Online: Blog :: Facebook :: Goodreads

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Giveaway


Top Ten Tuesday - Still Waiting

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's topic is: Top Ten Books I HAD to Buy...But are Still Sitting on My Shelf Unread

 (This is kind of an embarrassing post...)

1. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
2. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

3. Rise by Andrea Cremer
4. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
5. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

6. The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines
7. Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky
8. The Essence by Kimberly Derting

9. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
10. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Monday, March 18, 2013

17 & Gone - Nova Ren Suma

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.
With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost. (From Goodreads) 

I pretty much fell in love with Nova Ren Suma's writing in Imaginary Girls. She just has this way of crawling under your skin with her beautiful words and sneaking into your brain and flipping just one small switch that makes you view the world a little bit differently. It's amazing and unnerving the way she makes you feel a little mad, completely untethered to reality and floating in a dangerous, but somehow still gorgeous world. Reading Suma's work is an exercise in creating your own reality, while still being immersed in an intriguing story.

I really won't tell you much about this book, because I almost feel like uttering character names or places or any plot point would be betraying somebody's trust. All I'll say is there's so much more to this book than you'd know from the synopsis. The way Lauren's story unfolds contains its own sort of magic and it's something you have to experience without any preconceptions. So I'm not going to touch on the storyline.

Reading this book feels a little bit like that hovering in that in-between moment when you're awake, but still dreaming. You want to believe in what you're seeing, but somewhere you know that you're actually still in bed clinging to the last moments of blissful unconscious. It's safe, but still exciting and stepping too far back into the dream will remove you from the world, while waking up will make you lose all the images you're clinging so tightly to. So the best that you can do is cling to Lauren and use her as your guide as you walk this line. You can only follow her lead and just be on her side, because otherwise you could get a little lost.

The other aspect of this book that is so fantastic, is that it's one that will have your thoughts crawling for long after you finish. There's social commentary in here that I'm still trying to grasp. It seems obvious that Suma is drawing attention to missing girls, to runaways, to those still unfound, to those that the world has stopped looking for. But I feel like there's more to it than that - more issues that surface as the book goes on - that I don't think I'll wrap my head around until I sit and think it through and/ or talk it out. In fact, I feel like this is a book you need to read with someone else so that you can bounce your thoughts and feelings against someone else.

I can't recommend this book enough. Nova Ren Suma is a talented writer and this story is so well thought out and executed, I just want everyone to experience it. I really can't wait to see what kind of dreamworld she'll create next.

(Sidenote: I read acknowledgements to books before I read the book itself - which is probably weird, but in case it's not, please don't do this. Because the acknowledgements are next to an author's note, which can spoil the huge turn in this book. While I don't get upset over spoilers easily, you might, and this is my warning.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blog Tour: Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Synopsis: Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others. 
In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again. (From Goodreads)

This is Megan Miranda's sophomore novel, but it's the first of hers I've read. And as soon as I have a moment, I'll go back and read Fracture because I'm so impresed with her writing. This book was intense and riveting. Maybe I've watched a little too much SVU lately, but it seems like this situation is one that probably happens too often, but is never really talked about. Mallory kills her boyfriend in self defense and then has to deal with the aftermath of that moment of high pressure and snap decisions. She was scared, she reacted, and now she's living with the consequences.

The reality line is so blurred in this novel because Mallory can't remember certain parts of that night and  then she's haunted by his death. She hears things and feels things - she wakes up repeatedly with hand-marked bruises on her shoulder. I was never really sure if something paranormal was happening or if it was all in her head. It was actually quite terrifying and there are some great almost-gothic scenes in this novel that I wasn't really expecting.

The best part of this book is the way the past - the leading up to an actual moment where she kills her boyfriend - is weaved in with the present tense. There's this dual intensity happening because her life is at stake in the present and her life is at stake in the past. We know right away that she kills Brian, but we don't know the why or what actually happened until the last few pages of the book. Generally when a book switches from past to present, I tend to like one narrative line more - generally the present tense - and I'll kind of dread the points where a book takes me out of a story to give me backstory, but this book does it so well. I loved both story lines and I'd get excited when she'd tell more about what happened that night or how her relationship with Brian progressed.

Even more than the terror and the killing, this book is kind of really about mending relationships and moving on. Naturally, after she kills her boyfriend, her relationships change. People are afraid of her, her mother locks her bedroom door at night, her best friend still loves her but feels abandoned when she goes to boarding school. Then she's in a new setting and still doesn't have a clean slate because there's Reid, a boy she has a history with. They rekindle the spark between them and even though she seems a little crazy and she has a few issues to deal with, there seems to be a strong flame there. But it was the way her relationship with her mother played out that was really amazing. Mallory is hurt because your mother is supposed to love you no matter what, and now her mother doesn't trust her and actually seems to be scared of what she'll do. After a lot of work, on both their parts, they seem to start to mend their relationship a bit and that was really beautiful.

My heart was beating so hard through most of this book, and not just for the scary parts. There are emotional moments that make you love and care for Mallory. I was really in her head and indignant for her when people treated her like she could snap at any minute. I kind of can't believe how much I got into her stories. I can't imagine having to do what she did and then live with myself after that. She's a strong character and whether she admits it or not, she has some awesome people in her corner. I was really impressed with this novel and I can't wait to read more of Megan Miranda's work, because she totally hooked me with this one.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's Next? (6)

What's Next is a new meme hosted by Iceybooks, and you can participate!
Every Thursday select three-five books that you want to read but can't decide which one to read first.

Ok. It's been MONTHS since I've participated in this, but I've kind of missed it. Plus, I actually really need help deciding what to read next. 

The choices:

1. Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington
Why it's on my TBR: I LOVED the first two books in the Embrace series and there's a blog tour coming up...

2. The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
Why it's on my TBR: It was described for fans of Lauren Kate and Libba Bray. That's pretty much all I need to convince me I should read it. 

3. Impostor by Jill Hathaway
Why it's on my TBR: Loved SLIDE and I need more Rollins! 

What do you think I should read next? 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Unbroken Book Blast + Giveaway




Sneak Peek...
“So, you own the bar now?” I say, “That’s great. Why didn’t you say?”

Emerson gives me a measured look. “You didn’t ask.”

I stop. How is this my fault? “Yeah, well I didn’t exactly have time, what with you pummeling a guy, pretending like you were going to make out with me, then judging every one of my life choices.”

My reply whips out before I can stop it. I clamp my hand over my mouth, and stare at the shocked expression on Emerson’s face. He so wasn’t expecting that! But why the hell shouldn’t I say it? It’s the truth, after all. I let out a giggle, unable to stop myself.

His expression changes.

“You’re drunk.” He says shortly.

I shrug, defensive. “So what if I am?”

“You never could hold your liquor.” He shakes his head, and takes another gulp of his beer. “I wonder, what else has changed…?” Emerson’s mouth curves into a lascivious smile. “You still make that breathy noise when you come?”

I gasp, shocked. “Fuck you!”

“Already been there, darlin’.”



About Melody Grace
Melody is a small-town girl turned SoCal beach-lover. After spending her life with her nose in a book, she decided it was time to try writing one for herself. She loves bad boys, steamy romances, and (of course) happily-ever-afters.
Find Melody Grace



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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cover Reveal - Because of You by T.E. Sivec

I'm so excited to share the cover for Because of You by T.E. Sivec! This is the second book in the Playing with Fire series. Because of You will be released on April 29, 2013! This amazing cover was created by Sara Hansen at Okay Creations.


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About Because of You: Brady Marshall has made a career of playing it safe. When he decides to do something rash and becomes a Navy SEAL, he thinks he's finally escaped the rigid structure of the high society life his parents forced down his throat. All he does is trade in one set of rules for another. He follows military protocol to a T, but it still results in the death of an entire team of Navy SEALS and puts his best friends directly in harm's way. He's struggled to stay afloat and not drown in grief, guilt, and booze, but he's losing that battle quickly. When his baby sister flees her abusive husband and shows up on his doorstep with his young niece in tow, he has no choice but to clean up his act. He will stop at nothing to protect them and never let them down again, even if it means taking a job that goes against everything he believes in. If protecting a pop star princess who thinks she's better than everyone means he can keep a roof over their head, what other choice does he have? 
Layla Carlysle has lived a life of luxury. She's been a star since the young age of fifteen, and every record she releases shoots straight to the top of the charts. She has people surrounding her every single day telling her how amazing she is, how beautiful she is, and how lucky she is, but she's never felt more alone in her entire life. She wants nothing more than to break free and do what she really wants to do: write her own music, sing her own songs, and find a way to finally be happy with her life. The only thing standing in her way is her mother, Eve Carlysle. Eve has controlled every single aspect of her daughter's life and will stop at nothing to achieve fame and fortune, even if that means using herdaughter to get there. When an overlyamorous fan's letters become increasingly more sinister, Brady will have to suck up his opinion of how the other half lives to take the job seriously. The pair will need to learn to trust each other and put aside their differences before the letters become a reality and someone's life is in jeopardy.
Brady has been to hell and back, and he refuses to let anyone else get close to him again. Layla has never lived her life for herself, and the emptiness is threatening to break her for good.
Sometimes our lives are already planned for us, but because of you, all of that could change in an instant.  
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About T.E. Sivec: This is the pen name of Tara Sivec. Under T.E. Sivec, she writes romantic suspence novels. T.E. Sivec lives in Ohio with her husband and two children, living the dream of being a full-time writer.
Find T.E. Sivec online: Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Goodreads

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Touch Menacing - Leah Clifford

Synopsis: Eden is dying. For real, this time.
She is crumbling to ash, and an unnatural plague is ravaging mortals and immortals alike. With both Heaven and Hell out to destroy her, Eden can no longer tell the difference between good and evil.
Friends become enemies. And enemies are everywhere.
But don't underestimate Eden. She'll fight for her life, for the lives of those she loves, and for every life she has ever touched.
She'll fight for revenge. For redemption. For—just maybe—the chance to be mortal again.
Everything began with forbidden love.
What will be sacrificed at the bitter end?
The dramatic conclusion to Leah Clifford's dark, alluring trilogy of life, death, and epic love. (From Goodreads)


I just don't even know how I'm supposed to articulate my thoughts and feelings about this series. It's awesome, it blows my mind, it makes me swoon and cry and freak out and it never does what I expect it to. It's unique. That's for sure.

There are two things I absolutely adore about this series:

1- The plot doesn't follow traditional guideposts. There's no real way to mark the beginning, middle, and end. It doesn't have an arc - or it doesn't have just one. Even though these characters are pathless, the way their story is told feels like a path - there are turns and they unexpectedly cross one another, their lives intertwining at different moments, their destination unsure. It feels a lot more like life - people don't just show up when their supposed to or things don't feel like they happen because it's convenient to move the story along. Also- there are a lot of different players in this game. There isn't just one girl who the fate of the whole world seems to revolve around. Technically, I guess Eden is the main character, but she's by no means the most important person in this equation.

2- The lines between good and evil are so blurred, I'm not even sure they exist. In fact, even by the end I'm not sure who is on which side. Generally, I like my lines to be a little more clear; however, I love the way the blurring of good and evil is executed here. Because you don't get behind a character because of what their fighting for, you get behind them because you like who they are. I was rooting Eden because I've been with her from the beginning. But then you root for Gabe even though he's made some bad choices because I feel like he has a really great heart. And Kristen, I root for her because she's crazy and I love it. Then, the really baffling one - I root for Luke, even though he's supposedly the big bad. I can't help it, because somehow the big bad totally stole my heart.

Of course there's so much more to love - like the dark humor, the fact that some characters make me irrationally angry, or the way it's still a new and surprising world even after 3 books. I'm going to miss Kristen and her grave robbing and Luke and his strawberry lemonade. I'll miss Eden and Az dancing at Rockefeller and Gabe running around trying to make everybody happy. These are characters I've come to adore and admire and it's a little hard for me to let this series go.