Thursday, May 31, 2012

LIES BENEATH by Anne Greenwood Brown

Lies Beneath
Anne Greenwood Brown

Grade: B

Release Date: 6/12/12

Description from
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

My thoughts on the book:
I have never read a mermaid book before, and I never thought I'd want to. However, this story sounded too interesting to pass up, and I'm glad I made the decision to give mermaids a try. Lies Beneath completely submerges you in mermaid life, and it's a lot darker than one might imagine. These mermaids aren't from the Disney cartoon movies. They are serial killers, and they hold a grudge. 

Lies Beneath is told from Calder's POV, and it was a bit hard for me to adjust to that, being a female and all. Once I got into the story, though, I barely noticed the gender of the narrator. A few things that bugged me were the fact that the everyone called people by their first and last names 99% of the time. Seriously, no one talks like that. It got on my nerves and pulled me out of the story at times. Another thing that bothered me was the fact that Calder called Victorian Era poets "the Victorians," like these authors were in some bad indie rock band or something. Other than that, though, the book was wonderful. 

It took Calder awhile to grow on me, but once he did, I could definitely sympathize with his character. He wasn't created to be a killer, and he didn't want the life he'd been given. I felt bad for him in that aspect. He also had a good heart, and always tried to do the right thing. He did the best he could with the lot he'd been given, and I couldn't fault him for the mistakes he made. I never really related to him, but I did sympathize with him. I cared what happened to him and wanted to finish his story. 

Lily was a very brave character, and I enjoyed learning about her through Calder's eyes. I wish I could have known what she was thinking, though. She made some strange, and sometimes not-too-bright, decisions, and I would have liked to have known what motivated her actions. I do understand why this book was told from Calder's POV, though, and the story wouldn't have been complete had it not been from his perspective. I wish Brown had switched back and forth or something, but it may not have had the same effect. In this aspect, I'm leaving it at the author knows best. If there is a sequel, maybe we can get to know how Lily's mind works.

The other characters in this story weren't incredibly well-developed, but they definitely weren't stereotypes, which was a relief. Also, the book wasn't set in a high school, and that made for a nice change. I didn't realize how tired I was about reading books set in high schools until I read one that wasn't set in a school. I know high schools are part of daily life for teens, but sometimes, a change of scenery is nice. 

The story itself is a bit slow moving at first, but by the middle, it's impossible to put the book down. I had the basic idea figured out, but I wasn't sure how it'd play out. Brown also rewarded me with plenty of surprises along the way to keep me interested. I wasn't bored at all while reading this book. Brown's writing, for the most part, is very good and believable. The story has a nice flow to it, and the pacing was pretty spot on. The ending wrapped everything up nicely, but managed to leave the possibility open for a sequel, should the author and publisher so choose to produce one. 

Over all, I would recommend this book to people who love mermaid tales and those who are new to the genre, like I am. I think most people would enjoy this story. So if you're looking for something different in the YA genre, check out Lies Beneath. You won't regret it.

Want to pre-order Lies Beneath?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guest post by Lisa Kessler, author of NIGHT WALKER

Hey guys, I'm excited to welcome Lisa Kessler, author of Night Walker to Fall Into Books today as a guest poster! Also, Lisa is giving away a signed paperback copy of Night Walker and a $25 Amazon gift card! See the end of the post to enter!

Night Walker History and Mythology

Hi everyone -

Thanks so much for having me on the blog today!  I'm excited to share my latest release, Night Walker, with you.  This is the first book in the Night Series, featuring blood drinking immortals similar to vampires, but they're actually descended from the Mayan civilization.

When I started to write Night Walker, I wanted to set the book in San Diego.  It's easy to forget that the west coast has lots of interesting history to share, and I wanted to pull that in.  So I started researching at the oldest building in San Diego, the Mission de Alcala.  I learned so much about Father Junipero Serra and the Spanish missionaries exploring the New World and settling in San Diego.  They were masters at spreading Catholicism and their culture, pulling in the native Kumeyaay tribes to work and farm…

But the more I researched, the more a European vampire didn't seem to fit.  They're too flashy and lived in a much different world in 1700's Europe than my setting on the untamed west coast of the New World.  So I turned my research to one of the oldest civilizations in the western hemisphere, the Mayans.

Combining Mayan mythology and Kumeyaay research, I came up with the Night Walker race.  It's been exciting as I write the series to see the world unfold, and I hope readers will enjoy a new “western” twist on vampires…

Do you enjoy paranormals that weave in real history?  I'd love to hear from you…

Lisa J

As a historian, I LOVE Paranormals that weave in real history! Great work Lisa, and thanks for stopping by!

About the book:
THE NIGHT SERIES - Book One by Lisa Kessler
Title: Night Walker
Genre: Paranormal Romance

View the book trailer at

Book Description:
He gave up his soul for a second chance to love her…

Two and a half centuries ago, Calisto Terana lost everything when a zealous priest murdered the woman he loved. Now, desperate for another chance to love her, he wants redemption for the mistake that cost her life.

She’s haunted by dreams of her own death…

After catching her fiance with another woman, Kate Bradley returns to San Diego to clear her head. The last thing she needs is romance, but after meeting Calisto she’s drawn to him in ways she doesn’t understand.

They’ve waited in the shadows for centuries…

Calisto has no doubt Kate is the reincarnation of his lost love, but the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo has a new watcher with dark ambitions of his own. As old enemies reemerge and a new threat arises, the betrayal that enslaved Calisto to the night might destroy the only woman he’s ever loved again.

About the Author:
Lisa Kessler is an avid reader and writer of dark fiction. Her stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved was a finalist for the Bran Stoker award.

Lisa recently signed a 4 book deal with Entangled Publishing to release her Night Series.  The first book,  Night Walker, is scheduled to be released August 5th.

When she's not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other
musical theater companies in San Diego. You can learn more at

 Lisa lives in southern California with her incredibly fun husband and two amazing kids.

Connect with Lisa:

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Amazing news from Brodi Ashton!!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FireStarBooks: 600 Followers Giveaway!

FireStarBooks: 600 Followers Giveaway!: WOW! I just realized how many of you are following me. Thank you guys so, so much! It seriously means the world to me! I LOVE ALL OF YOU GU...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Smitten over Books: Comeback giveaway!

Smitten over Books: Comeback giveaway!: As promise, here's the giveaway! These are some of the April/May titles I'm most anticipating.  You can choose from any of them as long as ...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

HIDDEN by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong

Rating: A
Synopsis from
Hiking through the snow, holiday baking and playing board games by the fire – what’s not to love about an old-fashioned family Christmas?

Werewolves Elena Michaels and Clayton Danvers want to give their four-year-old twins, Kate and Logan, something their parents never had: a nice, normal holiday. No Pack responsibilities, no homicidal half-demons or power-hungry sorcerers to deal with – just the four of them, alone, at a chalet outside Ontario’s Algonquin Park.

Then a strange werewolf shows up at their door…while the town is buzzing about a young man, back from college, found half-eaten in the woods. And there’s the missing little girl …

With all the signs pointing to a rogue mutt with a taste for human flesh, Elena and Clay have no choice but to investigate. But are they the hunters – or the hunted?

If you haven't read Bitten through Frostbitten, then don't read this review. It contains spoilers for those books.

DUST GIRL by Sarah Zettel

Dust Girl
Sarah Zettel

Rating: C-
Release Date: 06/26/12
Synopsis from
Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone, when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west" (California). 

Along the way she meets Jack a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company—there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.

My thoughts on the book:
Dust Girl is unlike any novel I've ever read. It's set in the 1930s in the Dust Bowl in Kansas, and it's about a mixed race fae, Callie, and her need to reach California. While Zettel's descriptions had me feeling as if I was actually in the Dust Bowl with Callie, the world-building itself was lacking. Also, the characters were flawed and believable, but I found them hard to relate to. 

Callie's race, which always hovered in the background, was a good reminder of which time period you were in, but I don't like the incorporation of the random Native American, which seemed rather racist on the part of the author. As an American Indian Studies major (political Anthropology and political History), I am extremely sensitive to how American Indians are portrayed in novels and to what these portrayals do to them politically. When Native American lore is presented in a decolonizing fashion, such as how Bethany Wiggins presented Navajo mythology in Shifting, I simply adore it. Wiggins shot all of the settler colonial ideas straight to hell with her novel and really illustrated how American Indians are very much a part of contemporary society. However, when some random Native American is thrown in and acts all weird and mysterious, simply because that is how Native Americans are viewed much of the time in contemporary society, it irks me. Yes, I know it is supposed to be Coyote, and Coyote is a trickster figure. But Coyote isn't a trickster figure for all American Indian nations, and just throwing Coyote in there to conveniently move the plot along only to have him disappear is a bit depoliticizing. And I'm not even going to go into a literary reading of the whole idea of now that the Indian was helped and he did his part, he'll disappear thing, considering that the mid-1930s was the end of the Assimilation Era when they wanted Native Americans to disappear.

But I digress. *deep breath* Okay. Moving on. I couldn't really connect to Callie, even though she was an extremely mature and strong character. I just didn't feel any emotional connection with her at all.Even though Zettel was good at showing the setting and time period, she did more telling when it came to the emotions. Because of this and the huge political faux pas at the beginning, I really didn't give a big crap if Callie made it to California or not. Also, while she and Jack seemed quite compatible, there was no romance to speak of. Just adolescent crushes and such. I'm not sure I would have cared had there been a romance since I couldn't relate to the characters, but generally that tends to spice up a dragging plot.

This plot was fairly slow moving for me. I mean I know they had insect fae and all of that, which completely grossed me out... I hate bugs, but it still took me forever to get through this book. It took me a long time because I was bored and because the plot was kind of random and didn't really make sense a lot of the time. Things would happen without any lead up whatsoever, which left me thinking, "where did that come from?" Then I would ignore the next chapter or so trying to figure out why this random event occurred. By the time I began to pay attention again, something else random would happen. I like a bit more order to my stories than this. 

Overall, I'd say check this book out from the library before you buy it. I know a lot of people have loved it, and the setting is wonderfully done. However, the characters, while believable, are not easy to relate to... at least in my opinion. Also, there are a lot of plot holes. I wouldn't say avoid it completely, but I would say try before you buy. 

Want to pre-order Dust Girl?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #4

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by  Tynga's Reviews! This meme showcases the books received, bought, or checked out from the library over the course of the past week.  

Squeeeeeeee I'm so excited about this... I hugged it when the UPS guy dropped it off.

A signed copy of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

This is one of my favorite books! To read my review of it, click here

Synopsis from
Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting asThe Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

Books Won:
I was so excited to win this book! This completes my Kelley Armstrong YA collection! After I receive Hidden (ordered it yesterday) and Thirteen comes out, I'll have every paranormal Kelley Armstrong book ever released! I have this book on my Kindle and I LOVED it, but I wanted it for my shelf collection as well. Weeeee! She's my favorite author, so I'm very proud of my Kelley collection!

The Gathering
By: Kelley Armstrong
Won from the awesome blog,
Synopsis from
Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.

Until now.

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.

From the library:
I love our library. Durham is kind of small, and there are like six libraries, so it's pretty easy to get new releases rather quickly. This book is a freaking beast. 534 pages. I hope it's good, otherwise I will be SO bored. 

City of Lost Souls
By: Cassandra Clare
Synopsis from
The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

That's it for me. What did you guys add to your shelves this week?

Friday, May 25, 2012

SHADOWS by Jennifer L Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: B+
Synopsis from
The last thing Dawson Black expected was Bethany Williams. As a Luxen, an alien life form on Earth, human girls are…well, fun. But since the Luxen have to keep their true identities a secret, falling for one would be insane.

Dangerous. Tempting. Undeniable.

Bethany can’t deny the immediate connection between her and Dawson. And even though boys aren’t a complication she wants, she can’t stay away from him. Still, whenever they lock eyes, she’s drawn in.

Captivated. Lured. Loved.

Dawson is keeping a secret that will change her existence...and put her life in jeopardy. But even he can’t stop risking everything for one human girl. Or from a fate that is as unavoidable as love itself.

My thoughts on the book:
Shadows is the novella that tells the story of Dawson, Daemon and Dee's brother, and Bethany, a human girl. It takes place before Obsidian, but was released after Obsidian (Confusing, I know, haha). This story is good, and I liked Dawson and Bethany just fine. However, I could not keep myself from comparing them to Daemon and Kat, and in my opinion, they just couldn't compete. Daemon and Kat seem like the real deal to me, and Dawson and Bethany had a bit of insta-love going on. They were all syrupy sweet while Daemon and Kat are sarcastic. Because of that, I wasn't into Shadows as much as I was into Obsidian. However, I did enjoy learning about Dawson and Bethany, and this story helped clear up why Daemon is the way he is. 

Dawson is a bit more laid back than Daemon, and because of that, I can see how people would like him better. He's more social, and he seems to like people more. He's also not afraid to follow his heart, consequences be damned. However, he is flawed. He's extremely selfish, and I feel that he could have been a bit less bratty when pleading his case about Bethany. I believed they should be together if they wanted to be, but I didn't think that he needed to get all pissy about it constantly. Because of his flaws, he came across as very real and easy to relate to. I felt for Dawson, but for the life of me, I couldn't understand his obsession with Bethany. I mean I get being attracted to someone and wanting to get to know them, but he was a bit obsessive about her. Not stalker-type obsessive, but internally obsessive... I hope that makes sense.

Don't worry, though. Bethany, too, was obsessed with Dawson. She started painting him and daydreaming about him constantly after she spoke to him once. I expect that behavior more from a female, but I still don't understand it. Bethany is a lot weaker than Kat, and because of that, I didn't like her as much. She's more of a pushover when it comes to letting people walk all over her. She is a nice girl, though, and I did like her... just not as much as Katy (see what I mean with the comparing?). Her personality went well with Dawson's, though, and they seemed to compliment each other nicely. 

This story read more like a romance than Obsidian. Basically, the plot revolves around the trials and tribulations of Dawson and Bethany's relationship. How they have to overcome obstacles, such as being different species, and how they have to go against mean girls and angry aliens in order to be together. The threat of the DOD and Arum gave the story an underlying sense of danger. There was not a lot of action until the very end. The story, of course, ends abruptly since it's only leading up to Obsidian, so if you haven't read Obsidian yet, the cliffhanger may annoy you. Since I read Obsidian first, it wasn't annoying to me. Basically, you should buy Obsidian when you buy Shadows, then you won't have the cliffhanger problem! :D

Overall, I recommend this novella to anyone who is a fan of the Lux series. If you haven't heard of the Lux series, I'd recommend starting with Obsidian, then buying this novella to tide you over until Onyx is released in August. Also, Shadows fills in a lot of the gaps that were present in Obsidian. I know a lot more about Dawson and Bethany's story now, and I also know a lot more about the reasons for Daemon's jerkiness. Furthermore, I feel that Dawson and Bethany paved the way for other aliens to intermingle with humans more if they so desired. In the end, I admire Dawson and Bethany for standing up for their love and what they believe in. I just wish they hadn't been so damn sappy about it. 

Want to buy Shadows?

Follow Friday #14

This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!

If you can't follow via GFC, then please follow via NetworkedBlogs or e-mail! :)

Please state in the post if you're a new follower or old follower. If you don't tell me that you are following, then I don't know that you are. Therefore, I'll not follow you back. I would like to follow each and every one of you back, so it is important that you clearly state that you are following me and not just stopping by. When someone says, "just saying hi!" or "just hopping through!" then I have no idea if you are following or not. That means that I may or may not return the visit, depending on how much time I have. The people who state they are following me will definitely get a visit and follow back. Also be sure to leave a link back to your blog, otherwise I won't know where to go to follow you! Thank you.  

Q: Activity! Dream cast your current read

A: I'm currently reading Shadows by Jennifer L Armentrout, so I'll cast the entire Lux series. I can't leave out Katy just because she's not in this book!

Daemon and Dawson: Ian Somerhalder 

Dee: Mila Kunis

Katy: Kelly Clarkson even though she doesn't act... It's my casting call, I can do that.

Bethany: Jennifer Lawrence 

Ash: Dianna Argon

Adam and Andrew: Alex Pettyfer

Matthew: Sam Claflin 

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn

Rating: B
Release Date: 06/05/12
Synopsis from
"'What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?'"

Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what did really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife? And what was left in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war...

My thoughts on the book:
Gone Girl is one of those novels that will mess with your head and stick with you long after you've finished it. The first half of the book lulls you into a false sense of familiarity. We've all heard the story a thousand times, a loving and devoted wife goes missing, this time on her fifth wedding anniversary. Who is to blame? Well the husband, of course. He's lied to the police, and come to find out their relationship wasn't doing so well. However, in Gone Girl, nothing is as it seems, and the second part of the novel will blow your mind. This story is told between Nick's present-day POV and Amy's diary entries from the past, so who can you trust? Flynn teaches the reader that sometimes you can't trust anyone... even the narrators.

The first half of the book made me feel bad for Amy, especially, but also Nick (in some parts). These characters really played on my sympathies by telling me only certain parts of the whole story. In the second part of the book, it becomes apparent rather quickly that both narrators are big liars. At first I was kind of angry about this. I mean I trusted these narrators, and for what? So they could lie to me? But after I thought about it, I realized that the story would not have been half as intriguing if Flynn had not written it in this manner. Being unable to trust the narrators made it hard for me to believe anything that happened, though. So I finished the novel feeling unsure about what was real and what wasn't. Basically, no one is innocent and everyone is guilty of something. It's insane. 

The story was quick-moving, and I never felt like it lagged at all. It also didn't feel rushed, which is a good thing. However, the pages flew by, and before I knew it, the book was over. I was left sitting there staring at it, trying to recover from the intensity. The plot is scary, dark, twisted, and captivating. Once you start this novel, you will not be able to put it down until the very last page. I'm going to end my review here before I spoil anything for future readers of this book.

Overall, I'd recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good mystery/suspense. The book is wonderfully written, and the story will draw you in. Gone Girl is a horrifyingly intense roller coaster that you do not want to miss. 

Want to pre-order Gone Girl
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

Thursday, May 24, 2012

KEEP HOLDING ON by Susane Colasanti

Keep Holding On
Susane Colasanti

Rating: C-
Release Date: 6/14/12
Synopsis from
A romantic and empowering book about bullying

Noelle's life is all about survival. Even her best friend doesn't know how much she gets bullied, or the ways her mom neglects her. Noelle's kept so much about her life a secret for so long that when her longtime crush Julian Porter starts paying attention to her, she's terrified. Surely it's safer to stay hidden than to risk the pain of a broken heart. But when the antagonism of her classmates takes a dramatic turn, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself--and for the love that keeps her holding on.

My thoughts on the book:
This is a difficult review for me to write because I feel strongly about bullying in schools. I feel that there is no excuse for it and it needs to be stopped. It's one of the most disgusting things one human can do to another, in my humble opinion. I also feel that it is important to talk about the bullying problems in schools and open up a dialogue in order to solve the problem, and Colasanti is attempting to do just that. For that reason and that reason alone, I am giving this book a higher rating than I would have otherwise. I did not like the narrator/main character, Noelle, and Colasanti did a lot of telling instead of showing. Furthermore, there are many inconsistencies between the picture that Colasanti is trying to paint and what seems to be the reality of the situation. 

Noelle is bullied because she is supposedly extremely poor. However, I've seen people who were extremely poor, and they aren't too proud to take a free lunch because that's the only meal they'll be getting that day. They would not turn down a free meal that they are qualified for because it would embarrass them to eat it. They are more focused on survival than what other people think. On the weekends, these people are unable to eat anything again until they get to school to get their free lunches. THAT is the poverty that Colasanti seemed to be hinting at, but Noelle's actions and words were in stark contrast with that. Noelle wasn't as bad off as she thought she was, in my opinion. At least not with the money issue. She was poor, yes, but she was not impoverished. There is a difference. 

Also, Noelle makes fun of a teacher for wearing the same pair of pants twice and on a schedule, however she's supposedly so poor that she doesn't have enough clothes to wear either. Hypocritical much? Then when she sees others get bullied, she turns the other cheek, yet she complains with others do the same to her. Seriously, do unto others and all that, Noelle. Look into it. 

My biggest pet peeve about this whole novel was the fact that Colasanti doesn't show us anything. I couldn't relate to Noelle, and this was a first person narration. I did not feel what she was feeling. Furthermore, I couldn't "see" what was going on. Noelle just told the reader what she wanted them to know. Considering how I feel about Noelle's character, I obviously didn't trust what she told me very much. Needless to say, if Colasanti had shown instead of told and Noelle had been a likable character, I would have enjoyed this book much more. 

Regardless of my irritations with this novel, the message in Keep Holding On is extremely important. It lets people know how people who are bullied feel. I doubt bullies are the most empathetic people in the world, but I think that addressing a problem and opening up a dialogue about it are the first two steps in solving it, and at least Colasanti did that. If nothing else, this novel should be read simply for the anti-bullying message that it portrays. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is strongly opposed to bullying, but I would suggest checking it out from the library before buying it. 

Want to pre-order Keep Holding On?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Amazing Book Perk

Book Perks is currently offering signed copies of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi! These signed books are 20% off of the normal hardcover price, and the shipping is FREE! Since this is one of my favorite books that I've read this year, I ordered mine yesterday. There are only 6 books left! Order yours before it's too late!

Click here to buy your copy!
Click here to read my review of Shatter Me.

Synopsis from
Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting asThe Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

Waiting on Wednesday #16

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted at Breaking the Spine. Here are the upcoming releases that I'm not-so-patiently waiting for!

Sapphire Blue
By: Kerstin Gier
Release Date: 10/30/12
Synopsis from
Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.
At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

Why I'm Waiting:
Ruby Red is one of the most amazing books I've ever read. I can't wait to see what happens to Gwen next. If you haven't had the chance to read Ruby Red yet, go out and buy it today. You won't be sorry. 

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers

This Is Not a Test
Courtney Summers

Rating: B
Release Date: 6/19/12
Synopsis from
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

My thoughts on the book:
This is one of the most depressing books I've ever read. That is why it has a B instead of an A. This Is Not a Test has plenty of action, suspense, and mystery. However, it just made me sad. That being said, I can recognize the quality of this novel, and I am going to do my best to review it objectively. You guys know how I feel about sad books. I just don't enjoy reading them. I'm a pansy in that way. 

This Is Not a Test is not your typical zombie book. Every single main character in the book (there are six) is well-developed and unique. Instead of having a gore-fest with no character growth, Summers took away a lot of the gore and focused more on the characters, making this a very character driven novel. The plot was pushed forward by each character's will to survive. Our narrator Sloane had no desire to live whatsoever, but the others seemed to want to get out of the zombie apocalypse alive. However, the book mostly focuses on Sloane and how she'd rather let the zombies kill her and turn her into one of them than remain in this world. 

Sloane's mother is dead, her sister left her, and her father is abusive. The beginning of this story is depressing and intense because the reader is able to fear Sloane's fear of her father. Then the woman knocks on the door and all hell breaks loose, literally. Sloane ends up being one of six surviving teenagers barricaded in the school's gym, which is kind of ironic since she just wanted to die. Throughout the course of the novel, Sloane is forced to repeatedly see the lengths the other people will go through to live. Being a part of these six teenagers deeply changes Sloane, and she is a completely different character in the end. I love when authors have a lot of character growth in a novel. 

The plot is a bit slow at first, and the zombies are never the main focus. They're always there in the background, and every time you almost forget about the, Summers brings them up again. This subtle addition to the story adds an underlying tension to the narrative that could have been forgotten in the hands of less skilled authors. As the story progresses, the tension builds and things begin to get more intense. Sloane learns a lot of information, some of it she would have preferred not to find out. The pacing toward the end is extremely fast, and I was literally white-knuckling the book and hurriedly turning the pages to see what happened next. The ending itself ties things up nicely. It's not exactly a happy ending, but there is some hope. After a zombie apocalypse, I suppose that's all you can really ask for. 

Overall, I'd recommend this novel to anyone who loves emotional dystopian/post-apocalyptic books. Summers' writing is fantastic, the plot is captivating, and the characters are realistic and easy to relate to. As long as you're not a pansy like me, you will love this book. 

Want to pre-order This Is Not a Test?
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

Monday, May 21, 2012

MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door
Huntley Fitzpatrick

Rating: A
Release Date: 06/14/12
Synopsis from
A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

My thoughts on the book:
This is one of the best contemporaries I've ever read. Normally I like a dramatic plot, either paranormally driven or tragically driven. This plot, however, is mostly happy, and when I finished the novel, I was left with a content feeling. This is very much a feel-good book. There are ups and downs, and a dramatic build-up at the end that kept me on the edge of my seat, but overall, this novel just made me happy. I'd recommend My Life Next Door to anyone who wants to read a relaxing, feel-good summer story. 

There are a lot of characters in My Life Next Door. Jase's family alone consists of eight children and two parents. Additionally, Samantha has a sister, a best friend, the best friend's brother, a mother, and the mother's boyfriend is integral to the plot as well. However, it wasn't hard to keep the characters straight because Fitzpatrick managed to create an insane amount of unique, well-developed characters. Each character has his or her own quirks and stands out. Furthermore, the characters are believable, flawed, and easy to relate to. I could understand everyone's motivations but Clay's (the mother's boyfriend). Also, Samantha, the narrator and leading character, grew so much throughout the course of the novel. She made plenty of mistakes along the way, but in the end, she was better for it. I found that I cared about her, her family, and her friends, and wanted the best for everyone. 

Samantha is a likable character, and she tries very hard to do the right thing. From the outside looking in, it seems that she's had an easy life. In many ways she has, but people sometimes resent her and judge her harshly for this. Jase, however does not. Jase's family, the Garrett's are constantly struggling financially. He never seems to resent Samantha, though. He is the perfect love interest because he's caring, compassionate, and responsible. He's a hard worker and an all around good person. He does have his flaws, as everyone does, but they are few and far between. He really cares about Samantha and wants to do what's best for her. It's impossible not to root for them to overcome their obstacles and remain together. 

The plot is interesting, but not intense. I never once got bored, but the first 70% of the book is just establishing Jase's and Samantha's relationship. Things are not rushed with them and there is no insta-love (thankfully). The relationship develops at a natural pace, and the reader gets to observe all of the milestones. Because of the relationship's pacing, it comes across as believable and healthy. Also, the focus on Sam and Jase's relationship allows the reader to see how Samantha changes because of Jase. When the suspenseful scene begins, it's almost impossible to believe. However, Samantha and Jase needed to be tested. It wouldn't have been much of a novel without a huge obstacle to overcome, right? Nevertheless, I was extremely worried about how things would turn out. 

There is some swearing in the novel, and people do have sex (though the scenes are not graphic). Also, there is drug use and underage drinking done by some of the characters. However, the novel does not glamorize any of these things, and especially with the drug use, it shows how drugs and alcohol can ruin lives. The only reason I mentioned these things was to give you guys an idea of what to expect. I know everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to what they read. None of the stuff bothered me, but I'm pretty liberal. And as I said, nothing was glamorized, graphic, or trashy. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to pretty much anyone. My Life Next Door is one of those books that leaves you feeling content after you read it. The story is touching and the characters are well-developed. I read this book in one day, even though it's close to 400 pages long, and I wasn't bored once. If you want a fun summer read, then pick up My Life Next Door. You won't regret it. 

Want to pre-order My Life Next Door?