Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Little Break

So, it turns out, I have a lot to do for school from now until February 15. Between that and work, I need to take a little break from the blog. But I do have a whole list of reviews to write and post after the 15th including for:

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Glass Housesby Rachel Caine
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Stupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfield
Matched by Allie Condie
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Conjure by Lea Nolan

And maybe more! See you all soon. (:

-Elizabeth


Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Finished on: January 12, 2012
Released: July 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Source: Library E-book
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
I hurried to read Pushing the Limits, because I'm super interested in the Katie McGarry's Dare You To. With all the amazing reviews I read of Pushing the Limits, this really wasn't what I was expecting. I know I have a definite minority opinion with a 3.5 review, but I just couldn't get super into it.

That isn't to say I didn't like it, because I did, but it was in a ebb and flow pattern. There were times where I didn't want to put it down and times where I struggled to want to pick it up again. I don't even know what to pinpoint that made me not love it. The story was interesting and so where the characters, I think it just slowed down a little too much at times. I couldn't quite get into the dual perspective, either. I found myself so much for interested in Echo's point-of-view over Noah's.  Every time it was an Noah chapter I just wanted to get back to Echo. I really, really liked Noah as a character and as the male love interest, just not so much as a narrator. Echo's story with her parents and her history absorbed me more than Noah and his brothers. But I must say, Noah is definitely one of the more realistic and true-to-real-life male characters in contemporary.

The secondary characters were also great. I loved Lila as Echo's best friend and Isiah and Beth as Noah's. And apparently Dare You To isn't Beth/Isiah: ohmygoshwhat?! I trust that Katie McGarry knows what she's doing though!

Overall, this was a very well-written emotional contemporary with some touching and heart-wrenching moments. I definitely recommend it because like I said before, I can't even explain exactly what made me not love it. Most likely, I just wasn't in the mood for this kind of story at the time. I'm still really looking forward to Dare You To. (:


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stacking the Shelves [3]


Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's reviews to share the books we've bought, won, received as gifts, or borrowed this week. 
 
Bought:
Down to You By M. Leighton

Borrowed:

 Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

My goal here is to catch up on a few much older books that I haven't quite gotten around to yet before loading up on some 2013 releases next week. :)


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday [9]

Waiting on Wednesday (WoW) is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm featuring:
Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
Release Date: July 16, 2013
From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…
What do you think? What's your WoW pick this week? (:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Title: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Series: Stand-Alone
Finished on: January 14, 2012
Released: August 26th 2008 by HarperTeen
Source: Library E-book
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham 17, finally confronts her past. Hannah, the closest adult she has to family, disappears. Jonah Griggs, moody stares and all, is back in town. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.
For the first little bit of this book I didn't know what the hell was going on. Fortunately, I was aware of this from other reviews and decided to push on. I am so glad I did because Jellicoe Road has earned its spot as one of my favorite books ever. By the time things all began to clear up and click, I couldn't set this book down. I was up until 3am finishing it.  I really am shocked by how much I ended up loving this story.

Jellicoe Road alternates between two different storylines: the main one that includes our main character, Taylor, and her peers/friends and a secondary one where we see bits and pieces of a manuscript that Hannah is working on. I really enjoyed both, but honestly, I couldn't get enough of the manuscript. The characters in it really reached out and made me connect with them from the beginning. I didn't begin to connect with Taylor and co. until about half-way through. But when I did, I loved all of them very much, too.

As for Melina Marchetta's writing: absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to dive into more of her books! I can't believe how deeply this story touched me. It's one of those books that I'm going to have a hard time picking up another too soon, because I know it probably won't reach the level Jellicoe Road did. It's one of those books where I was so disappointed it was over because I really, really wanted more. I wasn't ready for these characters to be gone yet. Jellicoe Road is definitely one of those books that I will go back and re-read again, probably a few times.

This is a hard reviews to write, just because I don't want to give too much away, which is probably pretty easy to do. If you've been wanting to read this one for awhile and haven't yet, I urge you to clear your schedule for a day and just do it. The biggest thing I can say is this: if you're not super into it at first don't.give.up. Jellicoe Road is worth the finish.

“It's funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that's why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It's not the pain they're getting over, it's the love.”


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Review: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Title: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
Series: The Vincent Boys #1
Finished on: January 5, 2012
Released: October 12th 2011
Source: Owned for Nook
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
There was something wicked about Beau that drew me to him. What was wrong with me? Why did I want to sin so badly?

Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist...
 Ooh, what is there to say about The Vincent Boys except that I loved it. This was my first book by Abbi Glines and as soon as I finish The Vincent Brothers I won't hesitate to read more by her. This was everything I look for in a great contemporary. Great characters, interesting storyline/setting, super cute boys, and an awesome romance.

This was another one of those addicting stories that I read through in one sitting. The pace was perfect and never slowed down, keeping the pages turning. There are some issues explored here that don't sit well with many people i.e. cheating, but the way Abbi Glines handled it, I was fully able to understand how and why it happened. I couldn't help but feel a little heartbroken for the sweetie that is Sawyer Vincent, but at the same time I know he's not a good match for Ashton.

But what really makes this book is the characters. They are all awesome and well-developed. I really liked Ashton and she was easy to relate to. And, of course, any girl would absolutely love both of the Vincent boys! Even the secondary characters, like Lana, are great. 

I recommend this to anyone looking for a well-written, guilty-pleasure,  YA contemporary.

Counts as 3/21 for the 2013-TBR-Pile-Challenge

Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Review: Remembrance by Michelle Madow

Title: Remembrance by Michelle Madow
Series: Transcend Time Saga #1
Finished on: January 4, 2012
Released: July 27th 2011 by Dreamscape Publishing
Source: Owned for Nook
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:
Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England ... but she doesn't know it yet.

Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's high school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she get him out of her mind?

Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, fighting fate isn't going to be easy.
And yet, another book in which I was pleasantly surprised with just how good it was. I wasn't blown away or anything, but it was enjoyable and addicting; a book to read in one or two sittings.

The writing was very well-done and flowed nicely. The overall story was unique and kept me guessing as well my attention from beginning to end. The relationship was as epic as you'd expect from soulmates that have transcended time, but sweet nonetheless.

We get a good cast of characters here. The main character is likeable and easy to relate to. She's just your average high school girl: not too much of any extreme. You can tell that Drew is handsome and sweet: the kind of guy any normal high school girl would become infatuated with. Chelsea, the best friend, is a copy of any other typical best friend. All the formulas for a cute romance are at work here. Nothing is too overdone, however, nor does it become cookie-cutter. Michelle Madow gives us everything we typically want in a romance while still giving us a unique and refreshing premise.

I'm not over-excited about Remembrance, but I did enjoy it as a quick read and I'll be checking out the next installment in the series. I hope to see the romance develop a bit deeper. I want to truly believe Lizzie and Drew are soulmates! (:

“But it was time to realize that I wasn't Cinderella, and no matter how hard I wished it were true, life wasn't a fairy tale where everyone lives happily ever after.”


Counts as 2/21 for the 2013-TBR-Pile-Challenge

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

Title: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
Series: The Coincidence #1
                                                     Finished on: December 29, 2012
Released:
December 13, 2012

Source: Owned for Nook
Rating:
5/5


Summary from Goodreads:

There are those who don’t get luck handed to them on a shiny platter, who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, who don’t get saved.

Luck was not on Callie’s side the day of her twelfth birthday when everything was stolen from her. After it’s all over, she locks up her feelings and vows never to tell anyone what happened. Six years later her painful past consumes her life and most days it’s a struggle just to breathe.

For as long as Kayden can remember, suffering in silence was the only way to survive life. As long as he did what he was told, everything was okay. One night, after making a terrible mistake, it seems like his life might be over. Luck was on his side, though, when Callie coincidentally is in the right place at the right time and saves him.

Now he can’t stop thinking about the girl he saw at school, but never really knew. When he ends up at the same college as Callie, he does everything he can to try to get to know her. But Callie is reserved and closed off. The more he tries to be part of her life, the more he realizes Callie might need to be saved.
This was the last book I finished in 2012. I read it after all the "Best of" lists and posts, which is extremely unfortunate, because this was easily one of the best, if not actually the best, book I read all year.  I can't articulate enough my extreme love for this book! In no way, shape, or form, was I expecting this fantastic-ness.

I mean I really, really liked Ella and Micha and knew Sorensen had a flair for awesome contemporary writing, but seriously, Callie and Kayden blew my away. And yes, this is going to be a very gushy review. I'm not going to apologize either, just warn.

Intense, intense, intense. Definitely not "light reading" but oh-so-addicting! Sorensen seriously handles heavy moments and subjects so beautifully; As well as creating some awesome characters. I mean, come on, Seth? Move over, Callie, I want to be his best friend! I love Sorensen's way of making her secondary characters become just as memorable and great as the MCs.

The romance is spot-on. It's believable and there was absolutely no question that Callie and Kayden just had to find a way to be together. Kayden has taken the top spot as my favorite YA male character. (Previously held my Jude Ryder from Crash). He's sweet and adorable and so understanding of Callie
and her situation. My heart just breaks for him and his own life. Honestly, I found this story to be nothing less than perfection.

The only negative thing I can find is that dang ending. I seriously thought I still had a few more pages to go and then out of no where -BAM- there were no more words left. I'm going to go crazy waiting for book 2 to find out what the heck is going to happen!

GO READ THIS ONE NOW!

"Life is full of luck, like getting dealt a good hand, or simply by being in the right place at the right time. Some people get lunch handed to them, a second chance, a save. It can happen heroically, of by a simple coincidence, but there are those who don't get luck on a shiny platter, who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, who don't get saved."


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Review: Clash by Nicole Wiliams

Title: Clash by Nicole Williams
Series: Crash #2
Finished on: December 27, 2012
Released: September 2, 2012
Source: Public Library e-book
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
The only easy thing about Jude and Lucy’s relationship is their love for one another. Everything else is hard.

Especially when it comes to reigning in Jude’s trigger touch temper and Lucy’s increasing jealousy of Jude’s Spirit Sister on the cheer squad who’s attached herself to him in just about every way a girl could. Feeling the stress of trying to hang on to her quintessential bad boy while becoming the foremost dancer in her class, Lucy knows something’s going to break. She wants both. She needs both. But if she doesn’t make a choice, she risks losing everything.

For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love might be the thing that just isn’t enough.
I was so addicted to this book! I began reading it right before a dinner date with my boyfriend and had to struggle to put it down to go. Then all through dinner all I could think about was getting back home to continue on with my reading. Needless to say, I finished the entire thing in one sitting after the dinner.

Nicole Williams is a fantastic writer who has no problem taking the reader through every emotion that they are supposed to go through. I felt everything Lucy was feeling as she was feeling it and I think that's a wonderful thing for a writer to be able to accomplish. When Lucy was heartbroken, so was I. When she was infuriated, so was I. This may have contributed to an unnecessary increase in blood pressure, but so be it. I can't get enough of Jude's and Lucy's story. Even though this was one of the most frustrating books I've read in a very long time.

Jude's Spirit Sister, Adriana Vix, is a nasty, crappy person and just found herself on my most hated character list. Every scene with her was so frustrating and you just want to reach inside the book and pull her hair out. AHH! But anyway...

By the end though I was completely satisfied and content with the way the story was heading and now I'm way too anxious for the third installment. If you haven't read Crash yet and if you love intense contemporary love stories, please pick it up! Very worth it.






Waiting on Wednesday: Crush by Nicole Williams

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

It's absolutely no secret how much I loved Crash and Clash so it's only fitting that I'm anxiously waiting for:

Crush by Nicole Williams!

This is the third book Jude's and Lucy's story and I'm so, so excited for it!

A football fantasy. A giant diamond. The modern-day Romeo and Juliet are taking their relationship to the next level. . . .

Jude and Lucy are happily engaged, but that doesn't mean life's a bed of roses.

Once again, the hottest couple around is torn apart, this time by football training and a summer job. Now it's Jude with the trust issues.

Will Lucy's life-changing news bring them back together or end their relationship for good? Can love triumph forever?
Expected publication: April 23, 2013 by HarperCollins


If you haven't read the first two books yet, I highly recommend them.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Goals For 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013
  • First off, my Goodreads Challenge goal is to read 75 books. I think this should be pretty attainable. (:
  • One of the challenges I signed up for is the 2013 TBR-Pile Challenge and you can find the info about it here. I want to read between 21 and 30 books for this one.
  • Another challenge I committed to is the 2013 Debut Author Challenge in which I want to read 12 books. You can find info about this one here.
  • The last challenge I'm signed up for at the moment is the 2013 Stand-Alone reading challenge and I hope to read 15 books. Info about this challenge is here.
  • READ ALL THE BOOKS I OWN. I have shelves, a Nook, and a Kindle filled up with books that I'm so excited to read and then I just keep buying more. 
  • Blog regularly. I just started in October and I'm still trying to find my way around and find my niche. I hope I start to get a balanced schedule soon.
  • I want to participate in a read-a-thon this year!!
  • FINISH ALL THE SERIES THAT I'M ONLY HALF THROUGH!
  • I'd like to branch out to more genres more often. Instead of a huge majority of YA contemporaries I'd like to read more YA in other genres and also more Adult fiction.
  • And last, but not least, I want to challenge myself to reading every Jane Austen novel that I have not read yet this year.

Book Review: Derailed by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Title: Derailed by Alyssa Rose Ivy
Series: Clayton Falls #1
Finished on: December 26, 2012
Released: September 23rd 2012
Source: Owned for Nook
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
When you're lost, sometimes the only place you can go is home.

Broken over the death of her fiancé, Molly leaves law school to return to her childhood home in North Carolina. Expecting to lay low until she can figure out what else to do with her life, she finds herself in the arms of her high school sweetheart, the boy who represents everything from the past she tried to leave behind.

Looking for an escape, she instead finds a way back to the girl she almost forgot existed and a future she never dreamed possible.
Holy crap! What a shock this was. I was not expecting to fall in love with Derailed this much, but I definitely did.  I absolutely could not put this one down. Alyssa Rose Ivy created a sweet and touching yet realistic contemporary that I was absolutely hooked on.

First off, I'm a sucker for small town, everybody knows everyone's business, settings. Clayton Falls doesn't disappoint. I also love the high school sweethearts concept, which we also get a good dose of. Alyssa Rose Ivy handles the situation between Molly and Ben (the HS love) fantastically. The whole progression of their relationship after Molly returns to Clayton falls is realistic and believable. And it's handled in a way where the reader isn't left with "Uhm.. what about Adam, your dead fiance!" There are some moments and some information revealed which was very heart-wrenching at times but the author did such a beautiful job with it.

These characters were wonderful. They were the kind of group that I would want to be friends with myself. I can't get enough of their stories. I'm a officially a fan and have already started reading the next in the series: Veer. This was a beautiful and addicting contemporary that I recommend to all fans of the genre.

“I never believed there was anyone else out there. I knew completely that no one else would ever make me feel the way you did. You were the best thing that ever happened to me, and from the day I realized I loved you, I never even considered a future without you.”

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Title: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen
Series: The Secret #1
Finished on: December 24, 2012
Released: October 4th 2012
Source: Owned for Nook
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:
Ella and Micha have been best friends since they were kids. But one tragic night shatters their friendship and their lives forever.

Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now it's summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home.

Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.

Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes.

(New Adult Contemporary)
*Mature Content** Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.
So I originally saw reviews for Ella and Micha on a few blogs and then later on saw it on B&N for 99 cents for Nook and decided to give it a try. (I've been noticing lately that some of the best books are the ones for 2.99 and less, why is that, anyway?) What a great buy!

I love these characters! I really connected with Ella and Micha was just so sweet. Their romance is very believable and I couldn't help  but root for them to be together. I also really, really liked Lila and Ethan and can't wait to read about their own story in The Temptation of Lila and Ethan. I will definitely be reading all of Jessica Sorensen's current and upcoming contemporaries.

This was one addicting story! And an emotional roller coaster. We get some seriously funny moments, some steamy make-outs, but also some heart-breaking moments. Sorensen did a wonderful job of handling all the situations (especially those heart-wrenching ones) and created a fantastic little contemporary. I want more!!!

"You can't just change who you are on the outside and expect it to change who you are on the inside."

"It was one of the things that made me fall in love with her; the fire, passion, and the need to stick up for the outcasts, even if it meant being an outcast herself."
"When it all comes down to it, it's just me and her against the world. Always has been."
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