Friday, December 7, 2012

Interview with Emmy Laybourne + Giveaway!

I'm so excited and honored to introduce to you Emmy Laybourne, author of the popular YA book Monument 14! Thanks for agreeing to answer some of my questions and for providing an audio copy of your book, Ms. Laybourne.

I'll be asking her a few things and at the end of this post - readers, you can enter to win an audio book of Monument 14 - how cool is that?!

Ok, let's get started. Did writing Monument 14 present any specific challenges for you?
Yes, Monument 14 is about fourteen kids who are trapped in a superstore while civilization collapses outside the gates. It was hard, frankly, to make such a nice cast of kids and then do such rotten things to them. As a mother, half the time I just wanted to tuck them in and have them get a good night of sleep! But of course, that's not the kind of story I was writing. Things were very scary and very serious for the kids in the store - and they continue to be that way in the rest of the series!
That would be difficult! What are your plans for the series, other than what you just mentioned? How many books can we expect?

Monument 14 Book 2 is called Sky On Fire. It will hit bookstores in June of 2013. I am currently outlining book 3. After I write the third Monument 14 book, I will be ready to start something new! I will be developing a fantasy series, which I'm very excited about!
Something to look forward to for all of us! How long have you been writing? Do you think you will continue doing so?

I've been writing fiction since elementary school! I wrote a creative thesis in college and even during my early twenties, when I was mostly working as an actor, I was still writing - creating my own material to perform. One of my favorite things that I've ever written is the comedy song that I performed with my brother, Sam, on Comedy Central. It's called, "We Can't Make Love Because We're Related!" You can see it at!
"This or That" Time!
Night owl or early bird?

Early bird all the way! I love to be up before the sun and hit my keyboard at just as the sun comes up over the horizon! I do all my best thinking before 10 am.
Past or future?

I am thankful to the past, but I pick the sweet, myseterious future!
Dag Hammarskjold, the former UN Secretary General, said it best: "For all that has been - Thank You. For all that is to come - Yes."
Loner or social butterfly?

Ach - I'm both! I love the solitude of writing, but I am outgoing as well. This is not as rare as some might think - I've met lots of writers and book lovers who share this strange simultaneous intro & extrovertedness.
Writer or reader?

Double ach - both again!!! I love to write and I love to read in equal measure, though of course, the experiences are very different. Reading is consuming - writing is creating. When I read, I get sucked right into the story. I devour novels for the story - sometimes I skim descriptions of setting and tone to get to the action and dialogue. If I really love a book, I will then re-read it, and get the full experience. Writing is a completely different action. When I am writing, I spend a lot of time walking, actually! I walk and walk until I understand the scene ahead of me and then I sit down and the story pours out of me. Sometimes it coms faster than I can type. I've heard writing (and all creative arts) called "touching the divine" and that is how it feels to me. For moments at a time, I feel like I somehow cease to exist, and I am connected to something bigger, and smarter and all-knowing. Those moments are what I love most about being a novelist.
Wonderful answers! I love throwing those hard questions at people (not really but its fun to hear their answers)! Thanks for your cooperation!!
Here is the book description and trailer:
"Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about the author behind Monument 14, thank you for reading and be sure to enter below for a chance to win an audiobook!! May the odds be ever in your favor! A big thanks to Emmy for coming on the blog and for providing an audio book for you readers!
Rules and Conditions and Stuff You Need To Know:
This giveaway is for ONLY the U.S. and Canada
Winner will be picked randomly on New Years Eve (December 31, 2012)
Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen
Winner's email address will be forwarded to author for shipping purposes only - it will not be shared with anyone else and will be deleted after
To enter fill out the Rafflecopter below
** Monument 14 Audiobook GIVEAWAY **

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Review for Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger's Epic DetourAmy and Roger's Epic Detour
By Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books
Bought Paperback
368 pages

"Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. " - Goodreads
 Amy and Roger's Epic Detour was absolutely epic. The way the story was presented was perfect to showcase the character's development and the unforgettable journey both teenagers had. No doubt, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour would make a wonderful summer read.

Of course being the out-of-sync person that I am, I ended up reading it during winter. Still, this tale of two strangers was enough to warm me up! I admit, at first I didn't quite like Amy. I'm not sure why but I assure you, soon she became a great narrator. To say the least, she was relatible and I enjoyed seeing her reactions to sometimes awkward situations. Roger was utterly charming and just thinking about him makes me grin. At the beginning of the trip, they are strangers and I was so satisfied at how their relationship - first as friends - grew and developed. It was realistic and heartwarming. As soon as the detour begins, adventure sets in. The fact that they both had not seen much outside of California had great potential for memorable scenes. By the end of their trip together, they had both wrestled with what was holding them down and the reader can feel how they have grown as people. The friendships they fix and the people they meet along the way add to their dynamic. On a side note, I loved the part where Amy talks with her brother - wow, it was so heartwarming!

The places they go and the experiences they have made me want to pack up and take a road trip! The receipts, pictures, postcards, clippings, playlists, and doodles added so much to the experience of reading. It was like I was along for the ride. The scenery was brought out by the descriptive writing and the mystery in the background had me wondering. Yes, mystery. This may be a small thing but I noticed how the author kept off telling us what exactly happened. During the road trip, we see glimpses of what happened and so forth but not the whole story. It had me eagerly awaiting the part where we found out how the accident occured! That also brings me to mention the flashbacks; they really created a deeper story because of all the background information.

I'd highly recommend Amy and Roger's Epic Detour to those who enjoy roadtrips, cool music references, unhealthy snacks, and a brilliantly portrayed growing friendship! Trust me, you can read this any time of the year and have a completely epic time!

Yosemite Hike-u
Led by Ranger Carl

This is so stupid
Haikus are so very dumb.
Plus, getting blister.
- Amelia E. Curry
You were the one who
wanted to go on the hike 
Of Half Dome, 'member?
-Roger H. Sullivan
That was before I
Read the fine print, which was
very, very, very, very, very scary.
Amy, I don't think
Haiku are supposed to rhyme
Or repeat same words.
- R.H.S.
Is the plural of
Haiku really haiku, Rog?
I doubt it somehow.
Like mice, like moose, like
Aircraft, plural is the same.
And "Rog"? Stretching it, "Ame."
Book Trailer

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review for Bourne by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Bourne (River of Time, #3.1)Bourne (River of Time #3.1)
By Lisa Tawn Bergren
Published by Bergren Creative Group, Inc
Bought Ebook
116 pages

"The dramatic tale about the Betarrinis and Forellis continues, picking up directly after where Torrent left off… The battle is done at the front, but the battle is only beginning back at Castello Forelli. Marcello fights for his life; Lord Greco fights to find his place; and Lia fights for love." - Goodreads

Oh how I have missed the Betarrinis and Forellis! This novella wets your appetite and now I seriously need more (Tributary here I come)!

I'm trying not to go completely fan-girling here but Bourne focuses more on Luca and Lia's relationship. JUST what I asked for *squee*. I love them! Although I still consider Waterfall my favourite book out of the series, novella's are brilliant. Through them we get to know the characters just a bit better and we get that much more attached to them. For Lord Greco fans - there is much more of him in this novella... as for Gabriella, Marcello, Evangelia, Luca, they get a nice amount of face time too. Since it is so short, not enough time as I would have liked, obviously.

One hundred and sixteen pages is short. Yet, somehow I felt like I had a read a well written book. There is character development, a plot, a resolution... me craving for more. The normal cycle. I loved learning a little bit about the secret brotherhood and I can't wait for more to be revealed. It definitely adds a level of intensity and danger to the series. An additional plus, was the fact that the chapters alternate between Gabriella and Lia's POV. Being able to read through Lia's POV was exciting, her view on things is very different from Gabs. She's not head over heels in love with the century and everything it brings but she is willing to stay because of her family. But I think the medieval times are growing on her *cough* Luca *cough*.

To read Bourne, you have to first read Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent because you know, I said so. I recommend this to historical lovers who enjoy romance, Italian men, and castles.


***A little Luca and Lia banter for you: (your welcome)***
 That shyness was the antithesis of his constant flirtation, telling me it was real, not an act, his fondness for me. And I thought it pretty dang enticing.
"It'd make it far simpler to keep you all in order," he said. "To have you all at the castello."
I pulled away and resumed walking, smiling over his words. "So you believe you can keep us in order, then? Like a bunch of chickens in a coop?"
"Twould have to be a hen keeper worthy of Hercules' court, but a man can try." We shared a quiet laugh, and he lifted a fallen limb from the road and flung it into the woods. "I think you'll be fast friends with Adela," he mused. "If she is as I remember her."
"Since she is kin to you, 'tis destiny that we shall be," I said. It was my turn to give him a shy smile.
And it made Luca grin as widely as if I had just made it Facebook Official.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Review for Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Insurgent (Divergent #2)
By Veronica Roth
Published by HarperTeen
Bought Hardback
525 pages

 "One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so." - Goodreads

After I finished Insurgent, I ranted and raved how much I loved it (sorry Twitter). It blew my mind and that's saying something because my mind had previously been blown by Divergent. Insurgent has serious Author Brain characteristics (all credit goes to Small for the term!) Don't get me wrong, I loved Divergent just a little bit more but together they are an amazing pair.

These characters will grow on you, they will dig their way into your mind and set up camp... days after reading I still have them in my head. They have become that real to me and my emotions are completely invested in this series. Tris, she goes through some really rough times and how does she come out? Stronger than ever. She learns and fights till the end. Its one of the best character growths I've seen. Although I understand where she was coming from, I was disappointed that she kept lying though. As for Tobias, he has to put up with a lot and he has his personal skeletons to deal with but no matter what he keeps strong. Together, their relationship is rocky but it goes deeper... after all they experience they are still together. They build on their mistakes and their relationship has seriously gone to the next level so much so that I truly believe their "I love you's". One of the best fictional couples ever. I love them to pieces!

Insurgent had me smiling ("happy" serum scene anyone? Where Tris is at Amity headquarters?) but mostly it had me clinging to its pages breathless. There is a lot of action and a lot happens. We get to see into different factions and layer upon layer of the society is being revealed to us. The world building still amazes me. This society Roth has created was clearly thought out to the slightest detail. Be warned once you start reading, you won't reemerge until the end! And then your jaw will drop because of the cliff hanger ending (once you recover you might have the slight side effect of repeatly saying, "no,no,no,no,no it can't end, no,no....). 

Again, I highly recommend this series (of course if you are younger mabye not because of all the deaths)! It's a series you don't want to miss out on, Veronica Roth has a brilliant talent!

"Four!" I call out. Why am I calling out a number? Oh yes. Because that's his name. I call out again, "Four! Where are you?"
"Tris?" says a voice from the trees on my right. It almost sounds like the tree is talking to me. I giggle, but of course it's just Tobias, ducking under a branch.
"What did they-" he starts, but I stop him with my lips. He kisses me back, but too quickly, so I sigh heavily.
"That was lame," I say. "Okay, no it wasn't, but..."
"Tris," he says. "What did they do to you? You're acting like a lunatic."
"That's no very nice of  you to say," I say. "They put me in a good mood, that's all. And now I really want to kiss you, so if you could just relax-"
"I'm not going to kiss you. I'm going to figure out what's going on," he says.
"What did you do to her?" Tobias says, terse. "What in God's name did you do?"
"I..." Johanna frowns at me. "They must have given her too much. She's very small; they probably didn't take her height and weight into account."
"They must have given her too much of what?" he says.
"You have a nice voice," I say.
"Tris," he says, "please be quiet."
"The peace serum," Johanna says. "In small does, it has a mild, calming effect and improves the mood."
The serum wears off five hours later.... Tobias shut me in my room for the rest of the day, checking in on me every hour. This time when he comes in, I am sitting on the bed, glaring at the wall.
"Thank God," he says, pressing his forehead to the door. "I was beginning to think it would never wear off and I would have to leave you here to...smell flowers, or whatever you wanted to do while you were on that stuff."
"I'll kill them," I say. "I will kill them."
Book Trailer

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review for The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your KingdomThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
By Christopher Healy
Illustrated by Todd Harris
Published by Walden Pond Press
Bought Hardback
419 pages

"Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Debut author Christopher Healy takes us on a journey with four imperfect princes and their four improbable princesses, all of whom are trying to become perfect heroes--a fast-paced, funny, and fresh introduction to a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems." - Goodreads

What a great read! Put aside all your fears about middle grade books (yes, those, "but it's too young for me", "it's FAIRY TALES", "I'm too old"), let that love of adventure and laughter move you to pick up this book! Trust me, no matter what your age, you will fall in love with these characters and their unique situation.

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (from this point on referred to as THGTSYK), is a fresh take on the classic fairytales: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel. What do you really know about these tales? Don't answer that, it was rhetorical. Basically, you don't know the half of it. Healy takes the tales we know and adds on to it with his own twists, creating a whole new story with whole new characters. Every character be it a Prince or a Princess or a Troll or a Bandit, they have very unique qualities and personalities that simply make them shine. The four Princes Charming have a quirky chemistry together that will have you laughing and smiling throughout their adventure. I love them all SO much that I just want to burst! Simply put: they rock.

The pace of THGTSYK is great, it's not cheetah speed but it's not snail speed. The style in which it was written was different and it worked great. The humor present lifted my spirits and had me in a feel good mood: the perfect emotion I want when reading a fairytale-based book. I think the thing that I most appreciated though were the illustrations. They were absolutely gorgeous and help you to envision what is happening.

I'd highly recommend this to people of EVERY age. It will have you laughing, gasping, giggling, smiling, and most of all entranced. It's truly a fairytale mash up for everyone!

Prince Charming is afraid of old ladies. Didn't know that, did you? Don't worry. There's a lot you don't know about Prince Charming: Prince Charming has no idea how to use a sword; Prince Charming has no patience for dwarfs; Prince Charming has an irrational hatred of capes. Some of you may not even realize that there's more than one Prince Charming. And that none of them are actually named Charming. No one is. Charming isn't a name; it's an adjective. But don't blame yourself for you lack of Prince Charming-based knowledge; blame the lazy bards. 
Book Trailer

Friday, August 3, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #5

Stacking the Shelves is a meme created/hosted by the lovely Tynga @ Tynga's Reviews! (All credit goes to her for this meme.) If you want to participate click on the link! The more the merrier! It's a chance to showcase titles that arrived in the mail or for review... any book goodies over the past week (or weeks for me)!

I received these books quite awhile ago and I have already read/reviewed Social Suicide (I enjoyed it). Next up is The Hero's Guide and OH MY am I ever excited to get started on it!! Look at these illustrations:

Isn't that the neatest? I hear the story is very funny and I need a fun read :) Amy and Roger's Epic Detour looks great too!
In other news, my summer has been quite busy. That's why you're seeing quite a bit of reviews and nothing else. I'm taking a summer course for school, have a summer job (sort of), and have been bouncing around from my house to my friends. Also, wait for it, I'm licensed now! Yep! I got my Learners (Class7L) a couple weeks ago :) SO happy about that... watch out road users *winks*

 What did YOU guys get? Leave LINKS to YOUR posts!!!
Thanks for reading and stay cool!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review for Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)Where She Went (If I Stay #2)
By Gayle Forman
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Bought Paperback
264 pages

"It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other."-

Where She Went is a breath-taking read. Gayle Forman is a spectacular writer brandishing a rare talent that I think everyone should experience. No one captures a story and creates such amazing characters as her: her writing is truly one in a million.

Just as it's predecessor, Where She Went is raw and undoubtedly one of the most heartbreaking - yet completely beautiful reads. When you're reading, you do not just feel for the characters (namely, Adam) - you feel them. You will completely be immersed in Adam's emotions. Its like the pages ooze his thoughts and deepest feelings.... that connection is indescribable.  If you have any doubts about Adam narrating the book, put that fear away and lock it up because honey, you want to experience the pain, torture, and later joy through his eyes. In the beginning, Mia seems like a distant mirage almost, but later her persona shines forth - changed from the previous book obviously - but still the Mia I grew to love. Their connection is palatable and I can sincerely say, they are one of my favourite couples because of their realness and deep-rooted friendship.

Where She Went picks up three years after Mia left for Juilliard. Through Adam, we see some things that have transpired in "flashbacks" if you would call it that. Especially regarding the aftermath of the accident. I really enjoyed this and some memories brought a smile to my face. Forman's writing will have you on an emotional roller coaster. Somehow the reader is left feeling happy - a hopeful happy, with a touch of sadness, by the end. Its hard to explain exactly what emotions boiled within me. I found that the pacing of this book was nice and all the while I was hoping for a nice ending (as for telling you if it does end that way, my lips are sealed) all I can say is I am deeply satisfied.

I'd highly recommend Where She Went to those who have read If I Stay. I'd recommend this series to everyone who can handle epic romances that may have some side effects, namely heart breaking, crying, laughing, smiling, and ultimately loving. Its true that this series is intense but its the best kind of intense.


My gaze returns to earth and when it does, its her eyes I see. Not the way I used to see them - around every corner, behind my own closed lids at the start of each day. Not in the way I used to imagine them in the eyes of every other girl I laid on top of. No, this time it really is her eyes. A photo of her, dressed in black, a cello leaning against one shoulder like a tired child. Her hair is up in one of those buns that seem to be a requisite for classical musicians. She used to wear it up like that for recitals and chamber music concerts, but with little pieces hanging down, to soften the severity of the look. There are no tendrils in this photo. I peer closer at the sign. YOUNG CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS MIA HALL.

Book Trailer

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review for Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday

Social Suicide (Deadly Cool #2)
By Gemma Halliday
Published by HarperTeen
Bought Paperback
277 pages

"Twittercide: the killing of one human being by another while the victim is in the act of tweeting.

Call me crazy, but I figured writing for the "Herbert Hoover High Homepage" would be a pretty sweet gig. Pad the resume for college applications, get a first look at the gossip column, spend some time ogling the paper's brooding bad-boy editor, Chase Erikson. But on my first big story, things went . . . a little south. What should have been a normal interview with Sydney Sanders turned into me discovering the homecoming queen-hopeful dead in her pool. Electrocuted while Tweeting. Now, in addition to developing a reputation as HHH's resident body finder, I'm stuck trying to prove that Sydney's death wasn't suicide.

I'm starting to long for the days when my biggest worry was whether the cafeteria was serving pizza sticks or Tuesday Tacos. . . "- Goodreads

Social Suicide is a great follow up to Deadly Cool, that you can easily devour in one sitting. Halliday's ability to create a witty, mysterious-yet-light, almost fluffy story amazes me.  It 'goes down easy' leaving the reader to want a second helping.

Hartley is as sarcastic and witty as ever. She can't seem to stay away from bad situations (involving her classmates) and is sucked into another investigation. Hartley is very determined and immerses herself into her work- that of writing an article for her school's newspaper regarding the death of Sydney. Her antics and tactics are hilarious and over the top. Hartley is a great protagonist who portrays a teenage girl's attitude well. Her best friend Sam is as great as ever and Chase certainly held to his position in the series. I liked the interactions between every character and their conversations. Side characters such as Hartley's mom, Detective Raley, and all the suspects had a certain charisma about them that makes the story SO entertaining.

The plot had a nice pace that keeps you reading until you figure out who the killer is... I applaud Halliday's ability to keep the reader guessing who the suspect is and what their motives are.  The character's detective skills very creative and I loved the situations they found themselves in. But, yes there's usually a but, I felt as though Social Suicide fell into a very similar plot style as the first book, Deadly Cool. I found myself nodding and going, "yep, something similar happened in the first." Also, I was really hoping that Hartley and Chase's relationship would develop into something more. I certainly appreciate the author's way of doing things, I do not want insta-love but I just wish maybe their friendship would have been taken a step further.

I'd recommend this to those who love mysteries and who love charming characters that have wit on their side. Social Suicide is a great light, mystery read.


Then Chase leaned in close. "Hey."
"What?" I whispered back.
"Are you wearing perfume?"
I swallowed hard. "No," I lied. "Why would I be wearing perfume?"
Chase shrugged. "Maybe you're going out?"
I gritted my teeth together. Sam was so going to hear about this.
Chase sniffed the air. "You sure you're not wearing anything? It smells like jasmine."
"Must be the bushes," I said.
Chase shifted. "I don't think there are any jasmine bushes around here. Don't they have flowers?"
"I don't think so."
"Yeah, little white ones, right? There are definitely no little white flowers on these bushes."
"Shhh!" I said. "Someone's coming."
Which, thankfully, was true.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review for The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

The Luxe (Luxe, #1)The Luxe (Luxe #1)
By Anna Godbersen
Published by HarperCollins
Bought Paperback
433 pages

"Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with sly smiles and dangerous intentions.
White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.
This is Manhattan, 1899.

Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone - from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud - threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future.

With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear...."- Goodreads

The Luxe can be compared to Gossip Girl (or so I've heard) just with very (very!) pretty dresses and the fact that its 1899. I was utterly swept up in all the scandals and found myself devouring this novel in one day.

Since there are so many characters whose stories intertwine completely, like a kitten whose stuck in a ball of yarn (bad comparison), I cannot really relate them all to you in detail. That would just make a really long review. So. Elizabeth is what I would consider the main character. I understood her and sympathized with her situation: that of choosing between keeping her family off the streets of Poor Land or following true love. I found myself completely drawn to her younger sister though: Diana. I loved her mischievousness and playfulness. The fact that she was a devoted book reader won me over and I really just love her relationship with Him (no names, for spoilers sake). There was also Will who I thought was sweet, Henry who I thought was a total hottie, Penelope who I hated, Lina who I sympathized with, and many others.

The plot was slow. I loved the intricate way that each other's lives and desires became tangled but I found the writing style hard to follow. There was a lot of description and the POV was one I wasn't used to. It was like it was being narrated yet the reader is able to know the characters thoughts (omniscient? I think that's what its called). I found it hard to become fully invested in the story, instead I was just a side person viewing it all. That was why I could fully connect with the characters; meaning I didn't really care what happened to them. Enjoyable, though, was how each chapter rotated between all five main teenage characters. I liked being able to jump into each other's story, although I always wanted to go back to Diana's and His story.

I'd recommend this to Gossip Girl lovers, that enjoy scandals, mystery, high-society, history,  romance, deception, betrayal, luxury, and all those sorts of things. Clear your schedule because The Luxe will snatch you in and hold you down until you're through with it.


 "Oh... I know you," Diana said, surprised at herself for thinking that he was actually delicious-looking even though everyone else thought so, too. "You're the famous Henry Schoonmaker." She bravely held his gaze. "The one who can't sit still and breaks hearts all over the place. Well, that's what they say, isn't it?
"Why do you girls always love gossip so much?" he asked in reply. "Do you think all the stories about me are true?"
"If they are true, then you are a very interesting person." She smiled, tucking her lower lip under her teeth.
"Well, I deny them all categorically." He shrugged before continuing: "Except the one about me liking pretty girls, which is more or less true. But how old are you? You can't have been out for very long at all. Look at you, you've probably never even been kissed, and you're---."
"I have too been kissed," she interrupted, the way a child would. She felt her cheeks flush, but was too thrilled to be right where she was  to really mind.
"Not very well, I'd bet," Henry replied with an arch of his eyebrow.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review for Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red (Edelstein Trilogie #1)
By Kerstin Gier
Translated by Anthea Bell
Published by Square Fish
Bought Paperback
352 pages

"Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon—the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the eighteenth century and in contemporary London, they can trust."-

Ruby Red was a great time travel book that had me reading late into the night! I believe that this series holds much promise for an exciting tale.

Gwyenth Shepherd is a character that most girls will relate to; she's a normal girl (except for her gift) and has thoughts just like an average teenage girl. She's into things like movies, hanging out with her best friend etc. Gwen's relationship with her best friend Lesley was simply fantastic. I loved (gah LOVED!) that she confided in  her and didn't have any secrets. Their strong friendship allowed Gwen to deal with, well with having her life turned upside down: it grounded her. Lesley's role in the story was super, she's definitely one of my favourite characters.

Ruby Red did start off a bit slow, I think the author wanted to properly introduce all the characters to the reader and have them understand the situation. I thought the character development was great. Every character had their own personality and background. Gideon is your typical male counterpart to the main character but I found his personality qualities were great. How can one resist some arrogance? Especially when they know that under neath it all is a sweet boy? One thing I'd like to mention to potential readers: at the end of the book there is a character page to help you keep track of everyone --use it! I didn't know about it till the end but I think it would have helped greatly.

The author was definitely using this book to set up the real adventure; I felt at the end that the excitement just started. It took a long time before the interesting parts began happening, namely Gwen travelling back in time with Gideon. The first half of the book introduces us to the characters and to the situation, as well as explains what these time travelers are all about. A few things regarding the mysterious 'Circle' flew over my head but I found it all very fascinating. The fact that it was set in London was so awesome (I've always wanted to go there). And the little quotes/diagrams in between the story really helped to clear up family ties and such. I must also applaud the translator of this book (it was originally written in German) - the story flowed smoothly and I kept on forgetting that this was a translation.

I'd recommend this to time travel fans that love some romance and intrigue thrown in there. Ruby Red had me begging to read more, I want more adventures with Gwen and Gideon!


"Gideon, this is Gwyneth Shepherd," said Mr. George, with a little sigh. "Gwyneth, this is Gideon de Villiers."
Gideon de Villiers. The polo player. The other time traveler.
"Hello," he said politely.
"Hello." Why was my voice hoarse all of a sudden?
Gideon nodded. "I was on my way up in any case. See you, Mr. George. Good-bye for now, Winnie."
Who was Winnie?
"Gwyneth," Mr. George corrected him, but Gideon had already turned the corner.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Review for Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Between the LinesBetween the Lines

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review for Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1)
By Anna Banks
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Won from Claire
336 pages

"Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . . "-Goodreads

Of Poseidon may make mermaid haters -oops, I mean Syrena-haters- turn to Syrena-lovers. Banks really created a fun, funny, fishy tale that leaves readers dangling, or in my case, floundering on a hook.

The start of this book was a bit rocky for me. Emma and her best friend are on the beach about to do some surfing when, you guessed it, Emma bumps into a gorgeous guy. That didn't bother me, it was what happens after. Whoever has read the book knows what I mean, it just shocked me and devastated me. As the story continues my emotions stabilized though and all was alright.

Emma is a very down to earth type of girl, she views herself as an average girl and it was easy to connect with her because of that. Her sarcastic remarks and sauciness made me smile and I thought it was a nice touch that she has qualities you find in teenage girls - for instance, she is very easily embarrassed and blushes. Galen is what you'd expect a prince of the Syrena to be: incredibly handsome, smart, and of course loyal. Although it was a bit of an insta-love connection, I couldn't help but fall head over heels for those two. In the beginning their interactions with one another will have you tingling and sometimes even laughing. The secondary characters were amazing too: Galen's sister, Rayna and Toraf's relationship was priceless; Galen's brother Grom, Rachel and Emma's mother had great personalities that added so much to the story. It caused so many laughs and I just loved all of them.

The writing was smooth in itself. The POV's do switch between Emma and Galen. The only thing that takes some getting used to is that Galen's POV is third person, while Emma's is first person. It took some time for me to get used to it but in the end, I thought it made the writing style very unique and it gave a very different perspective on things.

The plot was really interesting. Although predictable (I was able to decipher the answers), I thought it was intriguing. I loved the political aspect that Banks took, it creates a sense of unrest and 'more things to come'. But, let me warn all you potential readers, the ending is a major 'wow' or perhaps more of a 'NO, how can it end right now?!?!'

I'd highly recommend this to romance, Greek mythology, and Syrena lovers. Of Poseidon is a great summer read that will leave you screaming and begging for more! And ohmysweetgoodness, I AM begging for more!


 "So, it kind of threw me when she said she didn't like fish," Toraf says.
"I noticed. Surprised me too, but everything else is there."
"Bad temper."
"The eyes."
"That white hair is shocking though, isn't it?"
"Yeah. I like it. Shut up."
"Plus, you feel the pull---" Toraf is greeted with a forceful shove that sends him skidding on one foot across the slippery marble floor. Laughing, he comes back to stand beside Galen again.
"Jackass," Galen mutters.
"Jackass? What's a jackass?"
"Not sure. Emma called me that today when she was irritated with me."
"You're insulting me in human talk now? I'm disappointed in you, minnow."

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review for The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat FriendThe Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
By Kody Keplinger
Published by Little Brown/Poppy
Bought Hardback
280 pages

"Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone."- Goodreads

The Duff is a quirky read for more mature audiences regarding a girl who is dubbed as "the Duff" - the designated ugly fat friend within a group. The Duff shows Bianca's transition between hating the term to growing to appreciate it and doing likewise to the one who called her that.

Bianca Piper is dubbed "the Duff" by Wesley Rush, an arrogant -and lack of better term- man slut. Although I did not completely connect with Bianca and never really did understand her decisions, her voice really made this story have a nice vibe to it. Her humor lightened the dialogue up and pried some smiles out of me. Wesley is somewhat of a jerk. He's arrogant, popular with the ladies, handsome, and completely a teenage boy. Even when he opened up to Bianca in their very messed up "relationship" (why yes, it consisted of only the three letter word), I still did not fall head over heels for him. The only redeeming thing about Wesley Rush is that he took an interest in Bianca and cared about her - he did show some sensitivity. When he sticks up for Bianca regarding her dad I finally had that major fan-girl moment. But I highly disagree with the "relationship" they had. (Although it did cause some butterflies to do back flips in my stomach when they would talk and banter.) By the end of the book, I felt like they were a great couple and I was happy that they were going to start a *cough* healthy relationship. Sigh. What can I say? Wesley -and even Bianca- totally grew on me. Their hate-turned-love thing worked out in the end.

Bianca's best friends were awesome. I just wish we could have seen more of them and I was angry at how Bianca kept secrets from them. I wish I had two besties like that! Her parent's characters were really well done too. Especially Bianca's dad. He was such a complex character and their relationship is one that I think many can relate too.

The whole plot was focused around Bianca's struggle with her life: this consisting of her Dad and Mom's situation, her problems with her friends, and of course her "enemies-with-benefits" relationship with Wesley. Somehow, it was a page-turner, I couldn't put it down. The writing quality had a smooth flow and like I said before, Bianca's voice really adds a special element to the book. The ending was sweet and I thought it was well done. A nice stand-alone ending.

I'd recommend this to older audiences (just because of the content) who love a good romantic comedy but also a book that has a lot of character development. Bianca really went from a "duff" to a "duff" that knew she was good enough.


 Wesley sighed. "Fine. You're being really uncooperative, you know. So I guess I'll be honest with you. I've got to hand it to you: you're smarter and more stubborn than most girls I talk to. But I'm here for a little more than witty conversation." He moved his attention to the dance floor. "I actually need your help. You see, your friends are hot. And you, darling, are the Duff."
"Is that even a word?"
"Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend," he clarified. "No offense, but that would be you."
"I am not the-!"
"Hey, don't get defensive. It's not like you're an orge or anything, but in comparison...." He shrugged his broad shoulders.


"Look," he said, "you have hot friends....really hot friends." He paused, watching the action on the dance floor for a moment, before facing me again. "The point is, scientists have proven that every group of friends has a weak link, a Duff. And girls respond well to guys who associate with their Duffs."


With one swift motion I jumped to my feet and flung the contents of my glass in Wesley's direction.


"If you think I'm letting one of my friends leave this place with you, Wesley, you're very very wrong," I spat. "You're disgusting, shallow, womanizing jackass, and I hope that soda stains your preppy little shirt."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review for Stuck by Jennifer Bosworth

Struck (Struck #1)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #4

Stacking the Shelves is a meme created/hosted by the lovely Tynga @ Tynga's Reviews! (All credit goes to her for this meme.) If you want to participate click on the link! The more the merrier! It's a chance to showcase titles that arrived in the mail or for review... any book goodies over the past week (or weeks for me)!


Ok, I *really* need to go on a book buying ban because I have a lot to read now. But I COULDN'T RESIST - they were at a second hand store... for cheap!! I got all four of them for $20! A steal of a deal :) I've already read The Year of Secret Assignments (loonng time ago) and am so so happy to have it sitting on my shelf (I loved it). And I have read The Duff - it was quite enjoyable. Review is coming soon!



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Thanks for reading and stay cool!