Monday, August 31, 2015

August Wrap Up

August Wrap Up

Books Reviewed:

Event Recap:

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

 Vengeance Road
By: Erin Bowman
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source: ARC from BEA
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate. In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation. (Goodreads)

I absolutely loved Vengeance Road! It was one of my most anticipated books of the year from the moment I saw the cover and read the synopsis.

Vengeance Road is the story of Kate who is seeking revenge on the Rose Riders who killed her father because of a journal he kept with a map to a gold mine. So Kate pretends to be a boy and heads out after them on their search for gold. Along the way she meets a pair of brothers and learns that her father was keeping a lot of secrets from her. 

Kate was a great protagonist and developed really well. She's tough, determined, smart, and quick on her feet. She's still flawed though and has a lot of inner conflict going on. I just really loved how there were so many different layers to her. Then there are so many great side characters that Kate meets along the way. I especially loved the brothers, Jesse and Will. They are both so different from each other. 

Vengeance Road was so exciting and filled with action. The plot had shootouts, bar fights, poker games, and more. There were a lot of twists and surprises too. I honestly gasped out loud a few times. The story just had a great balance of adventure and drama. There was a little romance, but I liked how it wasn't a huge point in the plot until much later.

I also loved the setting and traveling on the road with Kate. Bowman really brought the setting to life and it became its own character entirely. She did a great job with writing in the dialect too. It brought me even more into the setting.  

Overall I loved Vengeance Road! It was such a different and refreshing story. This book took me on an exciting adventure with a character I won't be able to forget about anytime soon. I definitely recommend picking up a copy! I know for sure that I will be rereading this book again very soon.

My Review: 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #220: The Word for Yes

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

The Word for Yes
By: Claire Needell
Release Date: February 16, 2016

After their parents’ divorce, Jan, Erika, and Melanie have to get used to the new world order: a father who’s moved to another continent and a mother who throws herself into moving on. Jan, off at her first semester of college, has plenty to worry about, including an outspoken roommate who’s kind of “out there” and an increasingly depressed and troubled long-distance boyfriend. Her younger sisters, left at home in New York City, and dealing with all the pressures of life in high school, aren’t exactly close. Erika is serious and feels awkward and uncomfortable in crowds, though her beauty tends to attract attention. Melanie is socially savvy and just wants to go out—to concerts, to parties, wherever—with her friends. The gap between all three girls widens as each day passes. Then, at a party full of blurred lines and blurred memories, everything changes. Starting that night, where there should be words, there is only angry, scared silence. And in the aftermath, Jan, Erika, and Melanie will have to work hard to reconnect and help one another heal. At once touching and raw, Claire Needell’s first novel is an honest look at the love and conflicts among sisters and friends, and how these relationships can hold us together—and tear us apart. (Goodreads)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between
By: Jennifer E. Smith
Released: September 1, 2015
Source: ARC from BEA
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever? (Goodreads)

I really enjoyed reading Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. I'm a fan of Jennifer E. Smith's books because she writes these really cute and sweet stories.

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is the story of Clare and Aidan on their last night home before leaving for college. They've been dating for years  and don't know whether they should stay together or break up. They spend the night reliving old memories and making new ones as they try to decide the future of their relationship.

Clare and Aidan were both great and realistic characters. They each have their own set of flaws and those flaws come out several times throughout the course of the story. Clare likes to have a plan and make the logical decision. While Aidan rather take a risk and not play it safe. Their relationship isn't perfect either. They are both so different from each other in certain ways. However, it's clear how much these two care about each other. I also loved the side characters, Scotty and Stella. Honestly I would have loved to see even more of them in this book. I especially enjoyed the subplot about the friendship this group shared.

The plot held my attention from beginning to end and I finished this book within one day. For me, this book brought back so many memories of the summer before college. Smith really captures that feeling of excitement, nervousness, and uncertainty. It felt like a lot of the time the characters were talking about the same thing over and over again, but it's realistic. These characters are uncertain about their future and saying goodbye to the people you love isn't easy. 

I'm always cautious about books that take place within such a limited time frame, but Smith is one of those authors who always writes it so well. I loved how she gave the reader just a couple of flashbacks between Aidan and Clare, but for the most part this book takes place during one night. I also really enjoyed the setting too and exploring Aidan and Clare's town with them.

Overall I really enjoyed Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. It was a really sweet and realistic story about moving forward.

My Rating:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything
By: Nicola Yoon
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source: ARC from BEA
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. (Goodreads)

Wow Everything, Everything was absolutely stunning. I read this book in under four hours because I just couldn't put it down.

Everything, Everything is the story of Madeline who has never left her house. She has a rare disease where she is basically allergic to the world. She spends her days with her mom and her nurse as her only company. She follows the same routine and has accepted that this is what her life will always be like. However, that all changes when she starts to get to know her new neighbor, Olly. She begins to want to be a part of the world outside.

Madeline was a really well developed character. She grows a lot as the story progresses. She has been isolated within her own home for seventeen years and missed out on so much. Reading about the world through Madeline's eyes just made me want to appreciate every single thing that much more.  

Olly was another great and well developed character. I quickly fell in love with him after the bundt cake joke. I also loved the way the relationship between Madeline and Olly developed. They both need each other to see the world differently.

As I mentioned above, I couldn't put this book down once I started it. The plot was funny, sweet, and heartbreaking. It also had a really great twist that I was not expecting at all. I loved how Yoon told this story through first person narrative, emails, drawings, and book reviews. I loved every single page of this book from the front cover to the back cover. Yoon's writing is beautiful and I wrote down so many quotes. 

Overall I loved Everything, Everything! This is definitely one of my top books of the year. I highly recommend picking up a copy because you won't want to miss out on Madeline's unforgettable story.     

My Rating:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #219: Shade Me

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Shade Me
By: Jennifer Brown
Release Date: January 19, 2016

Nikki Kill does not see the world like everyone else. In her eyes, happiness is pink, sadness is a mixture of brown and green, and lies are gray. Thanks to a rare phenomenon called synesthesia, Nikki’s senses overlap, in a way that both comforts and overwhelms her. Always an outsider, just one ‘D’ shy of flunking out, Nikki’s life is on the fast track to nowhere until the night a mysterious call lights her phone up bright orange—the color of emergencies. It’s the local hospital. They need Nikki to identify a Jane Doe who is barely hanging on to life after a horrible attack. The victim is Peyton Hollis, a popular girl from Nikki’s school who Nikki hardly knows. One thing is clear: Someone wants Peyton dead. But why? And why was Nikki’s cell the only number in Peyton’s phone? As she tries to decipher the strange kaleidoscope of clues, Nikki finds herself thrust into the dark, glittering world of the ultra-rich Hollis family, and drawn towards Peyton’s handsome, never-do-well older brother Dru. While Nikki’s colors seem to help her unravel the puzzle, what she can’t see is that she may be falling into a trap. The only truth she can be sure of is that death is a deep, pulsing crimson. Shade Me is award-winning author Jennifer Brown’s first book in a thrilling suspense series about Nikki Kill. (Goodreads)


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

Until Friday Night
By: Abbi Glines
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Source: ARC from BEA
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer. Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away. As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else. West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go… (Goodreads)

I liked Until Friday Night. I've read a lot of Abbi Glines books and while I don't absolutely love them, I don't hate them either. They are quick and enjoyable stories.

Until Friday Night is the story of West and Maggie. West is a popular football player, but he is hiding that his dad is dying of cancer. Maggie is new to town and has just moved in with her aunt and uncle. Two years ago she saw her dad kill her mom and she hasn't spoken a word since. West finally opens up about his dad to Maggie and soon West and Maggie form a connection that just continues to grow stronger. 

I liked how the chapters alternated between West and Maggie. Both of these characters are so different from each other, but they share a similar type of pain and grief. I wanted more development from these characters though, especially with Maggie. Maggie has such a tragic past and I think she was developed way too quickly. Her personal story, separate from her relationship with West, felt rushed.

The plot held my attention and it had a good balance of drama and romance. There was a lot of heartbreaking moments, but a lot sweet moments too. I liked the whole small town setting, but I would have definitely liked for there to be more football though. I thought that this book was going to be centered around a lot more football, but it surprisingly wasn't that big of a part of the story. Also aside from the characters, I would have liked to see the plot developed more consistently as well. I felt like a lot of moments were rushed and the ending left me with a couple of lingering questions too.

Overall I liked Until Friday Night. I would definitely recommend it to any Abbi Glines fans. 

My Rating:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #218: Thicker Than Water

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Thicker Than Water
By: Kelly Fiore
Release Date: January 5, 2016

Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated. Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills. Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome. Thicker than Water is an unforgettable dark, harrowing look into the disturbing truth of drug addiction and the desperate love of a sister watching her brother deteriorate before her eyes. (Goodreads)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Every Last Breath
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Released: July 28, 2015
Source: Purchased
Purchase the Book: Amazon

Some loves will last ’til your dying breath. Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust. Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction. Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…(Goodreads)

I really enjoyed Every Last Breath. I've been so excited to see how this series would end and I think this was a great conclusion. 

Every Last Breath picks up where Stone Cold Touch left off. The Lilin is still causing trouble and Layla needs to stop her. She also needs to find a way to help Sam and that may mean striking a dangerous deal. 

Layla has come so far since the first book in this series and I've loved reading her journey. She has grown and learned so much about herself. She's also become more confident and accepting of who she is. This book really showed all of that. I also have really come to love these side characters even more than I thought I would. I adore Roth and Zayne. I have my favorite, but I really will miss both of these guys now that the series has ended. 

The first page jumps right in to action and I enjoyed how the plot really started moving immediately. At times I felt like it rushed through things a bit too quickly though. It felt like there was a lot of information being dropped and not enough time was given to process it. However, then in the middle, the plot slowed down too much. I kept waiting for something more to finally happen. I would have definitely loved to see the pacing be more consistent. Other than that though, I really enjoyed the plot. In typical Armentrout style, this book made me laugh a lot. I love the humor in all of her books. There were also plenty of really cute moments too. 

Overall I really enjoyed Every Last Breath and this entire series. I definitely recommend checking it out if you haven't already.  

My Rating:

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

The Heartbreakers 
By: Ali Novak
Released: August 4, 2015
Source: ARC from BEA
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD...for four hours. She's totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she'll never see him again. Except, Stella's life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life? But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer? (Goodreads)

I liked The Heartbreakers. It was a cute and quick story to read. I love books that incorporate music in any way, so I was really excited for this one.

The Heartbreakers is the story of Stella who tries to meet her sick sister's favorite band and get her a signed cd. Stella hates their music, but she'll do anything for her sister. However, it's a surprise to her when the cute guy she flirted with at the coffee shop actually turns out to be the band's lead singer.

Stella was an interesting character. She's a triplet and wants to have her own separate identity. However, she's still scared about being apart from her siblings. I loved how close Stella, Cara, and Drew were. Their love and support for each other came right off the pages. Stella's love for photography and a night with the Heartbreakers leads her to an amazing opportunity that will completely change her life. Stella grows up a lot through the course of the story and learns a lot about herself. 

The side characters were also really great. I loved Stella's siblings, Cara and Drew. I wish that Drew didn't just drop out of the story in the middle though. He was in the beginning and end, but I would have loved to see him more consistently throughout the whole book. I also loved the Heartbreakers too. They were all a fun group of guys to get to know and the pranks they would play on each other were hilarious. I especially loved Alec and JJ. I honestly liked them even more than Oliver. Oliver wasn't always likable and it made me question the romance between him and Stella several times.

The plot was fun and I finished this book within a day. The moments with Stella's sister would take a much more serious turn though. However, the plot did become repetitive quite a lot, especially in the middle. At times I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again in chapters.  

Overall The Heartbreakers was a fun story to read. I laughed out loud a lot, especially when the Heartbreakers were all together. I would definitely love to read another book based on the other characters.         

My Rating:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #217: Shallow Graves

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Shallow Graves
By: Kali Wallace
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Breezy remembers leaving the party, the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to the face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain the necklace of bruises around her neck. She also can’t explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch. Returning home seems impossible. Her parents and sisters have clearly grieved and struggled to move on, and Breezy can’t begin to answer their inevitable questions. Her heartbeat comes and goes, she doesn’t need to eat or drink, she can see the inky memories of murderers, and she can somehow pull on this dark guilt to kill them. Haunted by the happy memories from her life and disgusted by the half-dead creature she’s become, Breezy embarks on a reckless quest to find answers and a dangerous healing magic…but the cure is as dark and terrible as the disease. Set in a gorgeous, terrifying world, Shallow Graves is a stunning novel about the heartbreaking trauma of a girl’s life cut short and her struggle to reconcile her humanity with the creature she’s become. (Goodreads)


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Hunger Games Exhibition

The Hunger Games Exhibition

This past weekend I visited The Hunger Games Exhibition in New York City. It was a really fun experience for any movie or book fan. I went with my dad and my sister, who are both big fans like myself. We had a coupon so we ended up with vip tickets and those came with the mobile guide. I don't think the mobile guide is all that necessary and if I didn't have the coupon, I wouldn't have spent the extra money. With all that being said though, I liked that the mobile guide forced me to slow down and really take my time in each section. The exhibit is broken into sections which make you feel like you are walking through the movies from start to finish. There were costumes, props, and a ton of interactive activities. You could look at an interactive map of the districts, sit on the train to the capitol, sit down for an interview with Caesar, use the Gamemakers table to look at mutations, learn a fight sequence, or make your own propaganda video in district 13.

Below I've included many of the pictures that my sister and myself took.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

Between Us and the Moon
By: Rebecca Maizel
Released: June 30, 2015
Source: Publisher
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett. Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself. (Goodreads)

I liked Between Us and the Moon. It definitely made for a good summer read. 

Between Us and the Moon is the story of Sarah who is spending her summer in Cape Cod. Sarah is an aspiring astronomer. She's always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Scarlett, who is a ballerina. However after her boyfriend dumps her, Sarah is determined to become a girl more like Scarlett. That is when she meets Andrew, an older college boy, and one lie turns into something more.

Sarah was an interesting protagonist. I loved how much she was into astronomy. She sees the world so differently and I liked that this book taught me a few things about the stars. However, it was understandable why she would want to try to be more like her sister. She wants to stand out and get the attention for once. She feels like an outsider even in her own family. She doesn't get along with her sister or aunt. She connects the most with her grandmother. As the story progresses, Sarah becomes bolder and more confident. I was cheering her on as she stood up for herself. When she meets Andrew, she feels like he sees her as a completely different person. I liked Andrew and he was a really interesting character to get to know. He has his own issues that he is trying to cope with.  

The plot held my attention and I finished this book in a day. The setting in Cape Cod is what definitely makes this a great book to read during the summer or while at the beach. I just wanted more from this story though. Once I got to the last page, I felt like it still lacked any real closure. I wanted more character growth from Sarah in the end. It all just wrapped up so quickly within the last couple of chapters.

Overall I liked Between Us and the Moon.

My Rating: