Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ava Dellaira's "Love Letters to the Dead" + Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box" (obviously)



I really enjoyed this book. Okay, maybe I loved it. I requested and received a digital ARC from NetGalley.

From Goodreads

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

It's written as letters to dead people (obviously) and normally I don't like this kind of thing (sorry, Stephen Chbotsky) but Ms. Dellaira does a great job with this book. Laurel, the author of the letters, has lost her sister, and in the beginning, all we know is that she feels guilty about this. She has defined herself through her sister, her family, and when she loses these things, she loses her way.

While Laurel feels lost and scared, she actually does a great job of being introspective - examining her life, and the lives of people around her. We manage to get a great view of everything in her world through these letters, and through her similarities with the famous people she writes too.

She also mentions some favorite high school things that have/had lots of meaning for me - my high school crush (now husband) loved Nirvana and my favorite song of theirs is mentioned several times - Heart Shaped Box. She also mentions after shock, a cinnamon alcoholic beverage I was a fan of as a teen, and Cool Runnings, so bonus points for the flashbacks :)

Here are some good quotes to help you to get a vibe for the book:


Since she's been gone, it's hard to be myself, because I don't know exactly who I am.

His eyes were like your voice - keys to a place in me that could burst open.

Your daddy would carry you outside, and it was time to drive home in his big car, like a boat swimming over the dark asphalt surface of the earth.

I think a lot of people want to be someone, but we are scared that if we try, we won't be as good as everyone imagines we would be.

The song choice for this one is obvious. 


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tracey Martin's "Wicked Misery"


Tracey Martin's "Wicked Misery (Miss Misery #1)"


From Goodreads:

It s all quasi-legal fun until somebody gets framed for murder.

Jessica Moore thrives on misery. Literally. Thanks to a goblin's curse, she gets a magical high from humanity's suffering. A shameful talent like that could bury a girl in guilt, so to atone, she uses her dark power to hunt murderers, rapists and other scumbags until one of them frames her for his crimes.

In desperation, Jessica seeks refuge with the one person she trusts to not turn her in, a satyr named Lucen. Like every member of his race, Lucen uses his lusty magic to control Boston's human population, and Jessica isn't immune to his power. But the murder victims belonged to a rival race, and when they discover Lucen is harboring Jessica, dodging the cops becomes the least of her problems.

With only five days to find the real killer, Jessica faces a danger far more serious than the brewing magical war. The danger of succumbing to Lucen's molten seduction.

Warning: Contains a heroine with a lust for misery, creepy murders, and creepier goblins, satyrs so hot you'd sell your soul for one, and scaly sewer rats masquerading as dragons. Who said magic was all sparkles and tiaras?

Okay, so if this book didn't have me at the Tracey Martin part (it did, I confess. You've seen how much I loved "Another Little Piece of My Heart," right? Jared. *swoon* That one's only $2.51 on Amazon! I'm hoping Harlequin prints it because I want to hug it and put it on my shelf.) it would have had me at "quasi-legal fun" and the warning at the bottom. 

For me, this book was a little hard to get into, just because Ms. Martin took a spin on some familiar myths and whipped them all up into a whole new world. However, once I got there, it was pretty great. This mystical world is shoved into the real world - Boston, specifically - and the overlay of the mystical with the real is complex and interesting. There is a lot of story in this book, but it moved along nicely and I enjoyed the ride. 

Quotes!

"There's lots you don't know about me because you're always running away."

"But you see, being evil is a lot like sex. The release is fantastic, but the release is fleeting. It's the buildup to the release that's so sweet and lasting."

"I can read you better than you read yourself, because you hide things from yourself and you can't hide them from me."

This book reminded me of Richelle Mead's Succubus series, though it's been so long since I read that series I can't specifically say what it is. 

ALSO, hot satyr. I know, it seems nuts, but without being spoiler-y, here's the cover for Miss Misery #1.5 - 


You're welcome.

Now go, give it a read - only $4.24 for the ebook! That's a latte! 

Okay, I need a song to go with this book. I had a note scribbled suggesting a song, but I think it was for her other book, and that so won't work here. 





Monday, March 24, 2014

Cover Reveal! Jennifer L. Armentrout's "Lux: Beginnings (Obsidian & Onyx)"

Okay, so if you've read this blog at all, you probably know that I love me some Jennifer Armentrout. The woman is a story telling phenomenon, cranking out awesome story after awesome story. 

I fell into her books when I discovered Obsidian, the first story in her Lux series. It reminded me a lot of that TV show, Roswell, which I also love (and rewatched, in it's entirety, about six months ago) but with a hotter, snarkier alien as the lead guy. 

Oh, Daemon. You are so hot. 

Well Jennifer started out small. Smaller publisher, smaller fan base. Well guess what? I am like a barometer of book awesomeness, and she gets a ton more popular each and every day. The Lux series? Optioned for a movie. WHAT? I know. Yes please. Also, in order to get the series out to more readers, they're repackaging the first four books in the series (there will be five, total, with the fifth book coming out in August) into two volumes of two each.

Today, here's the cover reveal for the first of these two books - "The Lux Series: Beginnings"! 


June 3, 2014

Lux: Beginnings (Obsidian & Onyx) Summary: 

Obsidian
There's an alien next door. And with his looming height and eerie green eyes, he's hot...until he opens his mouth. He's infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, he lights me up with a big fat bulls-eye. Turns out he has a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal his abilities and the only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to him until my alien mojo fades. If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Onyx
Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro alien connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems. I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

Preorder your copy!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.


Contact Jennifer or read more about her!



Jennifer's publisher will also be raffling off two fan inspired artwork from fans of the Lux series sent from the author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, herself. Just go to the Rafflecopter!


ALSO, if you want to read my entry into Jennifer's fanfic contest from some months back, here it is! (Spoilers if you haven't read the series)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Marie Lu's "Champion"/The Legend Trilogy

I don't know about you, but post Veronica Roth's "Allegiant," I live in constant fear of being "allegianted" by a trilogy. Yeah, I made up a word for it. 

Post "Allegiant" and to a lesser degree for Gayle Forman's "Just One Day," there was a lot of online discussion about whether or not authors owed a certain story to their readers. Of course I don't think authors owe us anything, but that doesn't mean we don't have certain expectations and wants. While I won't go into the other two stories (I try to be spoiler free here), I'll just go back to Marie Lu's trilogy.


Marie Lu's The Legend Trilogy



From Goodreads:

He is a Legend.


She is a Prodigy.


Who will be Champion? 



... (I erased the middle of the summary just in case you're behind and haven't even started this amazing trilogy yet. You've read Divergent and The Hunger Games, right? This. Is. Better.)



With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.


From the very beginning, I loved this story. Our two heroes are so different, but both so amazing and lovable in their own special ways. June Iparis, the once military hero of the Republic, raised by her brother Metias. Day, the rebellious criminal from the streets. If you haven't started this trilogy yet, you must. If you've started it but you're scared to finish it, don't be - it's everything I didn't know I wanted.

Thanks to The YA Series Insiders I have a signed box set of this series now (which is awesome, because I went to Y'allfest last year and missed out on meeting Marie so my set never got signed)! 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Nina LaCour's "The Disenchantments" + Joan Jett and the Blackhearts "Hate Myself For Loving You"



From Goodreads:

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans - and Colby - to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?

Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.

I really loved this book. It is heartfelt and well written and fun and heartbreaking. In many ways it's your typical teenage roadtrip/voyage of discovery book, but it's more. It's deeper somehow, and easier to love. I can't really say more about it - just go read it. Okay? 

Also, this book features a version of one of my dream vehicles - granted, Melinda isn't this exact model or color, but it gives me an excuse to show it off, in case you have one you want to gift me. Behold the beauty of the VW 21 window bus.



This video is for Colby. She's a little older, but Joan is always Joan. (Bonus points to Joan for being a kick ass vegan.) 






Alyssa B. Sheinmel's "Second Star" + The Drums "Let's Go Surfing"

Alyssa B. Sheinmel's "Second Star"

Release Date: May 13, 2014


From Goodreads:

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete's nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she's falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up--and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

I went back and forth before I requested this book from NetGalley. I knew it was a Peter Pan adaptation, and I wasn't at all sure if that was a good idea or an awful idea. I am relieved to say that it was a good idea.

I've read a few reviews for this book that really make me wonder what people expect from adaptations, and I wonder about how fanatical a person is about the original and how that relates to their expectations. So many people seem to expect that in an adaptation, an author will stay true to the letter of the story as strictly as possible. I don't want that. I like that this book takes the essences of the story and molds them into something new. Anyway.

I liked this book. It was well written, original, and touched on the points of Peter Pan without clinging to it like a desperate lifeline. It has Wendy, her brothers, Peter Pan and Hook (but without a hook, of course), Tinkerbell, and the Lost Boys. 

I recommend it.





Thursday, March 13, 2014

Joy N. Hensley's "Rites of Passage"

Joy N. Hensley's "Rites of Passage"

Release Date: September 9, 2014

From Goodreads:

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What’s she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty...no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

I received an ARC of this book to read and review from the author, who I have been lucky enough to befriend thanks to the magic of twitter :) 

I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure if the knowledge I've gleaned about the military from my husband (who has been in the Army 18 years) would help or hurt my enjoyment of this book, but for me, it helped a little, though I definitely think that those unfamiliar with the military would enjoy this book (and maybe even learn a few things).

This is one of those books that I read and enjoyed even though I have almost nothing at all in common with the main character (some books you love because they are your life, and some books you love because they aren't), Our one similarity is that she leaves for military school from Ft. Bragg, NC, where I currently live (and, let me tell you, I'd almost join military school just to get out of here! Okay, I wouldn't.). Oh, okay, and she can spot problems with anyone's military uniform with only a glance - being married to a soldier with strict standards has given me the same affliction - as Sam says, "it's like a disease." 

So how is Sam not like me? She is strong, determined, and courageous. She's one of the first females allowed at a typically all male military school, and of course she has to fight her way there, the whole time. Every day is a battle for her (this is not a relaxing book; ) Additionally, Sam's home life is so very far from perfect. 

If you're looking for an original, suspenseful, edge of your seat YA read, you have to give this one a try.

Quote!

"The ocean may seem overwhelming if we're looking at it from the shore, but if we've got the ocean all bottled up inside us, all the power we need to succeed - nothing can stop us."