Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Archived by Victoria Schwab A Review

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary-
 Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

I never read The Near Witch. I still have it on a special shelf, sitting there signed by Victoria Schwab who I met soon after it came out and yet there it sits. I just haven't gotten to it. I'm going to get to it soon. I don't know how to say in words what I want to say about The Archived. It is an emotional story, and those emotions are so ordinary,but with Victoria Schwab writing them, she took ordinary and dissected it to make it extraordinary.  I almost felt like I was Mac going through this with her, as her. I understood her completely, didn't blame her a bit for anything she did. Victoria Schwab's writing isn't fancy words and images. It's in the every day things that she makes you feel. "The silliest things shatter you. A T-shirt discovered behind the washing machine. A toy that rolled under a cabinet in the garage, forgotten until someone drops something and goes to fetch it, and suddenly they're on the concrete floor sobbing into a dusty baseball mitt."(p.4) Just everyday words, but it punches you right in the emotional gut because you know exactly what she's saying. The writing is simple but "the sum is more than it's parts."

I have to laugh at myself and say I had the world totally wrong in my head. I was thinking that Mac lived at a place called the Library where they keep the histories and she patrolled the hallways during the day looking for escaped histories and then she neatly tucked them back in their books, maybe a little tussle or two, but nothing dangerous and then at the end of the day she goes home to her comfy bed. HA! HA-ha! Now that would have been a boring book. And yeah, I don't want to read it either. But that isn't what Mac does. Mac has to sneak in a place called "The Narrows" on the sly without being seen, catch the "runaway history", shove it through the right door, and then get back out of "the Narrows" somewhere close to her home. It isn't quite as complicated as it sounds but it probably sounded that way the first time her Da explained it to Mac. And the older the history that escapes, let's just say, the harder they fall!

Mac is trying to put some painful memories behind her. Her little brother Ben died in a hit and run accident and she can't let it go. She wants so desperately to see him in the Archives, but she knows it's not allowed. And she can get no comfort from a hug from her parents because she feels everything they feel and think when they touch her, they are too loud for her. It comes with being a Keeper and even though she tried, she never learned how to shut out the noise of someone else's touch. Her parents have no idea what she is or what she does. They didn't know what Da was either. It's about keeping secrets and telling lies so they don't find out. Da taught her well, but she took over when she was only 12, the youngest Keeper yet. And Mac is so lonely. Her best friend is back home, even though she couldn't tell her what she does, but at least she was familiar. Ben is gone. And her mother and father are inaccessible to her. Mac was trained to fight, to keep herself safe, but she always had Da to talk to.

The people of the Coronado are the kind that keep to themselves. As readers we meet very few of them. There is Jill and her cousin Wes who just happens to be Mac's age. And bonus, he's cute and funny! Then there is Ms. Angelli and Nix. Mac takes baked goods to Nix because he's blind, wheelchair bound and on the topmost floor. Ms. Angelli is curt and short with Mac. She doesn't like Mac prying into the history of the building. But Wes, he shows her the wonders of the building, the overgrown courtyard with it's stone benches and literary quotes. There's a lot more to Wes than meets the eye and Mac learns a lot, if not the most from him. 

So, we have a young girl, still reeling from the loss of her brother, no comfort from anyone, vulnerable and suggestible chasing histories that have escaped from the archives. There is also this really cute guy that hangs out at her building a lot even though he doesn't live there and his motives are unknown. Mom and Dad are on auto pilot with the barest register of realizing they have a daughter. And then KA-BLAM something big happens in the Archives and Mac is working to figure it out. All kinds of mysteries are stacking up and you will never ever guess who she turns to for comfort and help. I'm thinking that the Archive could do with a therapist or maybe a psychiatrist for their Keepers after what they have to deal with. At least they'd have someone to talk to! I kind of thought this was a series, I'm not sure, but I would love to see another book with these characters in it. It was full of suspense and questions and you didn't know who to trust or whether someone would get killed. It was great! (You might want to have a tissue or two on hand, just in case).

As a lover of the hardbound hold in my hand book, I'd like to describe to you just how beautiful this book is. The cover is that newish kind where it isn't slick but it's not papery, kind of a velvety feel to it.  You see the front above, but on the back is a picture I think of  The Coronado, the hotel/apartment building because I can see the gargoyles at the top (yes the place has gargoyles all over the top on the roof). But then, you open it up and the end papers are silver and dark blue and have this very rich elegant feel to it, what I imagine The Coronado once felt like in it's hey day. But even the next page is gray and cream with the same elegant design. I love that the beauty of the book matches both inside and out. 

Thank you for the beautiful book Ms Schwab!

Heather


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi Review

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Amazon, Kindle, Audible Audio EditionBarnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary-It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

So, it's finally here and I couldn't have been more excited for it to get here. But I was scared to read it. I had heard/read that as much as Under the Never Sky was Aria's book, Through the Ever Night was Perry's book. I was worried Aria and Perry wouldn't be together. They are my favorite part. I certainly didn't want any love triangles, even though we know Roar is in love with Liv. I did worry about my expectations. I had built this book up in my mind. It really had a lot to live up to. But, I was not disappointed. Veronica Rossi turned the story around completely in a new direction from Under the Never Sky.

How could this be the same story yet so different? Aria is a changed person, but that we already knew. She's part of the outside world now. She can take care of herself. She thinks on her feet and though she may not like it, she makes decisions based on what's best for Perry and their relationship. She doesn't keep secrets from Perry or Roar. She is so sure of herself in this novel and I really like her character.

Perry has a bigger than big job getting the Tides to accept him as Blood Lord. He starts out shaky, but he's just being Perry. The aether storms are wreaking havoc as they get worse even though it's spring, a time when the storms usually don't hit. And with Perry losing the faith of the Tides, he isn't sure that they'll follow his plan to protect them.

So much happens in this novel, things I don't want to reveal to you because I don't want to give any spoilers. This novel doesn't suffer in the least from a sophomore slump. If anything, it surpasses  Under The Never Sky and I loved Under the Never Sky! I highly recommend this series. The characters are well developed, complex and layered. The plot, though you think you know where it's going, is well developed yet unpredictable. As it's headed in the direction you think, the subplots veer it off course drastically, in a good way.

I can't wait for the final installment of this series, and yet I can. This is one of my favorite series of all time and I could read about the world and the characters forever.

Happy Reading!
Heather

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary- A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

Okay this will be short because much like If I Stay and Where She Went, I have no idea how to review this novel. It was just so, so much.  It was everything. And everyone should read it. I know, I know. I'm not giving you much to go on. But it was so BIG and so intimate and everything else in between. It was everything I've ever wanted to do and didn't and did and what happens and doesn't. And  full of what if's and doubts and chasing dreams. And I think about life and I think maybe that's what it is, just one chase after another trying to catch our dreams. I mean this book, it makes you think about everything big and small. It O-P-E-N-S your mind. Not to anything in particular, but it makes you wonder. This book was like magic to me. I don't want to tell you anymore about it. It was special to me but it will be something different to you. Still special, but you'll experience it in a different way. So read it and share what you want. And wait with baited breath for Just One Year. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis Review

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe Trilogy) by Beth Revis
Amazon, Kindle, Audible Audio EditionBarnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary-  The final book in the  New York Times bestselling trilogy, perfect for fans of Battlestar Galactica and Prometheus!
Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceshipGodspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.
FUELED BY LIES.
RULED BY CHAOS.
ALMOST HOME.

First, if you're reading this, I'm assuming you've read the first two books in this series because if you haven't, and you've read the premise for this book, you've already ruined the biggest surprise in the previous books. Second, there WILL be spoilers from the previous two books. And again, if you are reading this without even having read the second book, you've already read spoilers just by reading the summary. So, stop now, go back and read the first two. AH-MAH- ZING. Don't miss them!

This is it. The last one in the series. I was scared to read it. Across the Universe and A Million Suns are two of the most awesome books in a series I've ever read. The way you can't predict anything in the plot is unbelievable. The slow building romance, is achingly slow, but so amazing and just perfect. I was worried. Would Shades of Earth live up to the other two books? Could it be as BIG as Across the Universe? Could it fill the enormous expanse of A Million Suns?  Yes, Yes it could and it did and more. And now, I can breathe a huge sigh of relief because Beth Revis knows how to BRING IT! And she DID!

Oh when I opened the pages of Shades, from the beginning it was fraught with tension. Amy man, you're killing me! But I would have had her same reaction, she makes Elder wait to push the launch button. Once that shuttle leaves Godspeed, it's gone forever. And the people on Godspeed are there forever, the ones that chose to stay. It is a momentous occasion and one that Elder and Amy should have paused for, I'm glad they did. But there is  no more pausing for the rest of the book.

I'm not going to summarize the book. I'm going to tell you how Beth Revis brought it for me. Action right away and unexpectedly. I never knew when something would explode, a pterodactyl would fly down, or a dead body would be found. Always betrayal, Beth Revis is so good at lies and betrayal, really she should be training the CIA in counter terrorism. There are two people that you can trust in this book and they area the same two you've been able to trust throughout the series. Yep, Elder and Amy. And that's the other thing I love and where Beth Revis brings it. Elder- Elder screwed up really bad in the first book, but he owned up to it. That sealed my love of Elder right then and there. But let me tell you, Elder absolutely rises to the occasion and surpasses the truthfulness and integrity that he has shown in the past. He doesn't waver from his  leadership role despite those that would take that power from him. Amy too doesn't just blindly follow her father's orders or her mother's and doesn't really care if they like Elder. Amy is still Amy and I just love her. I want to be more like her. She is honest, loyal and wants the right thing to be done for the right reason. She can look at Elder's people and feel that they should be treated equal despite Orion's warning's that they won't be.

And then, Beth Revis brings it! Battles of epic proportions, the real reason everyone is there, discoveries, and Elder and Amy right in the middle possibly losing each other forever because of their loyalty and sense of duty. I thought, Oh God, I was crying. I thought Beth hadn't brought it all the way home. That not everyone would get to enjoy Centauri Earth. But Beth brought it! Emotions and Endings and I will read anything she writes, a sticky note, a torn scrap of paper, a grocery list because I am convinced that whatever she writes it will be brilliant! I am so sad to see this series end. But I'm looking forward to whatever Beth Revis has waiting in the future.

Enjoy!
Heather

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WOW Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Here is what I'm waiting for:


ACID - the most brutal police force in history.
They rule with an iron fist.
They see everything. They know everything.
They locked me away for life.

My crime?

They say I murdered my parents.
I was fifteen years old.

My name is Jenna Strong.

Now with a cover like that (I envy that tool belt) and I very self assured Jenna Strong don't you want to read that too??

SHITE! Would you believe it publishes in the UK this year and not until 2014 here? That just wrong!


“The shrinkadinks think I have a screw loose. Ain’t playing with a full deck. Whacked-out wiring. Missing marbles.” 

Irreverent, foulmouthed seventeen-year-old Cricket is the oldest ward in a Catholic boys’ home in Maine—and his life sucks. With prospects for the future that range from professional fighter to professional drug dealer, he seems doomed to a life of “criminal rapscallinity.” In fact, things look so bleak that Cricket can’t help but wonder if his best option is one final cliff dive into the great unknown. But then Wynona Bidaban steps into his world, and Cricket slowly realizes that maybe, just maybe, life doesn’t totally suck.


Okay, we're okay with this one, it's published March 26th by Harcourt Children's Press. Now, I direct you to the summary. How can you not read a book with the word "rapscallinity" in the summary? I mean c'mon????!!!!! I'm looking forward to this one!

Can't wait to see what you're waiting for!
(Hopefully my computer will be back)

Heather

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (The Memory Chronicles) Review

Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles)  by Lenore Appelhans
Amazon, Kindle, Audio CD Audiobook, Audible Download,  Barnes and Noble, Indiebound,
Goodreads Summary- Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).

'I pause to look around the hive - all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories ... I've wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.'

Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend ... and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.

Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.

So I am so happy for Lenore Appelhans first off, a book blogger that took the time to explain what a dystopian novel was to me when I first started blogging back in 2010. She won't remember me, but I totally remember her blog, it was kind of pea green with a woman floating at the top drawn with a single line. It didn't look very dystopian but it was simple. And Lenore was as gracious as she could be. Little did I know I would be reading her novel a few years later! So congratulations Lenore!

The way the novel is set up is perfect. Felicia wakes up on Level 2. We already know she's dead but we don't know why or what's happened in her past. The way the story is built though, a delicious kind of tension is built up between the past and the present. The past starts in Germany with Felicia and her friend, Autumn meeting Julian and the story moves back and forth between the Julian/Autumn/Felicia story to the Felicia/Neil story to the present. The present is Level 2 and the past is accessed through memory screens almost like video's of Felicia's life. She can view them over and over again. And other people can view them as well. Other people can even view her videos. She labels them and rates them and other viewers can rate them as well. It's kind of like reviews, label, rate.....

Felicia is a wonderfully layered character. We see her complexity on every page as she works through her memories, her past, coming to terms with what happened both because of her and to her. And what's happening now. There is a point where she is going to church a lot and involved with youth group. I was afraid this book was going to be preachy, but no, this has nothing to do with God. There isn't any preaching or anything, just one of the characters is closely related to the church. I can't take religion in books. I don't want anyone telling me what to believe or what to think, but that's not what this book does. It's just not. So don't be scared away when religion come up.

The thing is, I felt like the ending was very easy and almost too perfect. I loved the book! The tension build up was almost unbearable. But then in the end, it was almost too good to be true. And there are so many ways to look at that. Maybe that's what Heaven is, too good to be true. Or, a character told her on Level 2 that someone could plant memories in her mind. So is that what's happening and she's going to wake up and have to start all over again?  After all, this is a series. I just have no idea what's going to happen. If I was going to choose and ending, I would have chosen the one I got only made it last a bit longer. Appelhans did such a great job building the tension to Felicia's death, to what she was so ashamed of, I think she could have built the tension to the ending more. I'd really love someone else's take on this one! It seems that people either love it or hate it. I loved it!

Buy it! Because if this is the first one....Enough said!

Happy Reading!
Heather

Monday, January 21, 2013

Shadowlands by Kate Brian Review

Shadowlands by Kate Brian
Amazon, Kindle, MP3 CD Audiobook, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary- Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived… and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye. 

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

Well, this one made me scared of things that go bump in the night. And even the daytime! Anything with a serial killer, a particularly prolific and determined one scares the beejeebeez out of me. This novel was different right from the beginning. First, because the serial killer is laying in wait for his prey and we view the attack from his point of view. But then, after it's over, the family just doesn't seem to take it seriously.  There's no therapy for Rory, no coddling, no bringing the family closer. Everyone stays in their separate worlds, sequestered in their house for a week while the FBI searches for the serial killer. Darcy, Rory's older sister even gets angry when she can't go out to a graduation party. I can assure you, if it were me, I'd have a gun and a guy from the FBI by my side ALL the time. I'd sleep with him, eat with him, shower with him, breathe with him. And I would not whine about a party. I would probably make a fort in my closet and not leave until the serial killer was dead. So their reactions were a little off to me. I know they haven't recovered from the mom's death several years earlier, but it just seems off.

Then they have to leave everything and everyone they know at the drop of a hat. I think they get an hour. Maybe less. They have no idea where they are going so they don't know what to pack. They just fill a bag and go. The GPS is programmed and only one person in the FBI knows where they are going. And they are off to safety.

So, Rory. Well she escapes a serial killer so she's strong. You do have to give her that. She does not freak out like I would expect her to or like I think she should. When they move she's the only one that questions things. She's the center of attention which is the exact opposite of what it used to be. But I have to say, there wasn't much to her. The story was mostly about her, but it's more of a plot driven story and she is used to drive the plot forward.

So what does that say about Darcy and Dad? Well there is some interesting interaction between Darcy and Rory, but again, it's to move the plot along. The same with a tender moment between Dad and the girls. All to move the plot forward. I don't think any of the characters are well developed but the story doesn't suffer from it. I'm a character lover, but that wasn't what I cared about in this story. I needed to know about the serial killer and if he was going to kill again. And I needed to know what was happening on the island. I really didn't care about the characters. I wanted to get to that plot! And it was a great one!!

I thought I had things figured out and everything was fitting into place. Except...for a few things. And I couldn't make them fit no matter what I did. And even though there's a huge thing that happens towards the end, you aren't finished yet. You aren't finished until the last sentence of the book. So don't peek! You will ruin the surprise. But I can't for the life of me figure out what the series is going to be about. It feels complete. So needless to say, I can't wait for the next book! And I'm a character  girl, but that plot just can't be ignored!

Happy Reading!
Heather

Friday, January 18, 2013

Exposure by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes Review

Exposure: A Modern Day Spin on Shakespeare's Macbeth (Twisted Lit 2) by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary- Double, double, toil and trouble. Sometimes, the quest for high school royalty can be deadly! In this emotionally-charged twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a self-conscious shutterbug named Skye Kingston navigates a treacherous school year in Alaska fraught with unspoken secrets and tragic twists of fate. Along the way she encounters three strangely prophetic BFFs; one social-climbing, sociopathic cheerleader; and a heart-stopping hottie named Craig McKenzie: the man who would be Prom King. Can Skye save the boy she loves — and herself — before they get caught in the crosshairs?

Okay, so here's the truth, I don't remember MacBeth. I remember something about "Bubble, Bubble toil and trouble" and I recognized the three witches but they weren't anywhere near the mean ugly witches in Shakespeare's story. But, that's the thing about this story, it's a big switch up on the original tale.  Skye is a very tall, creative and pretty, though she doesn't know it, red head. She takes pictures for the school newspaper, her favorite subject being the star of the hockey team, Craig McKenzie. They are friends only when no one else is around, when his popular friends can't harass him about it. His girlfriend, of course, is a cheerleader  and a typical mean girl. Or maybe not so typical. Beth seems to be even meaner than most mean girls needing not only Craig's attention, but the attention of anyone else she can get as well.  Skye has spent most of her high school career avoiding Beth, but she has been caught a time or two talking to Craig, a huge mistake in Beth's eyes. She gets reamed for it so she tries not to be noticed. Most of her school experience has been from behind a camera lens, so when Craig issues an invitation to an in crowd party out in the woods at a hunting shack, Skye, in a fit of anger or craziness or something accepts and she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe the right place at the right time. She hears and sees things she's never heard before, things that make her question herself and everything she believes in.

Skye also has an unusual home life. She has an infant brother and a father who stays home most of the time with him while mom goes back to school to get a degree in medicine. She wants to be a doctor. And just when Skye thinks her mother and father are getting a divorce, they snuggle up to each other at Christmas and seem even more close than they ever have been. Things seem better with them than ever.

It's really hard to review this story other than to say, I remember bits of MacBeth and I thought the twists on it were very good for a contemporary twist on Shakespeare. I really enjoyed the story and could have actually done with a much longer epilogue! But I really loved this story all the twisted minds and social politics. Damn high school is rough!

I highly recommend this novel for lovers of Shakespeare, contemporary YA fiction and anyone that loves a good story. It's light on romance and heavy on the drama. It's a really great story told very well with a lot of dialogue and action. It's a lot of fun!

Thanks to the authors for contacting me about their Twisted Lit novels I enjoyed both that I read, but I think this was my favorite. I did receive a free E-ARC for review through NetGalley. This in no way influenced my opinions.

Heather


Monday, January 14, 2013

Revenge of a Band Geek Gone Bad Blog Tour Review


Revenge of a Band Geek Gone Bad by Naomi Rabinowitz
Goodreads Summary-Shy, overweight Melinda Rhodes' sophomore year of high school isn't going so well. Her own mother mocks her weight. Her pants split in the middle of school, earning her the nickname, "Moolinda." She then loses first chair flute in band to Kathy Meadows, her pretty and popular nemesis.
Her luck changes when she catches the eye of Josh Kowalski, a rebellious trumpet prodigy and class clown. Josh has also been hurt by Kathy and asks Melinda to help take Kathy down. Mel figures that she has nothing to lose ... and Josh is adorable with gorgeous blue eyes and a winning smile. She agrees to team up with him and looks forward to finally getting back at her rival.
At first, the pair's pranks are silly, and as they work together, Mel comes out of her shell. Even better, she finds herself falling for Josh and it appears as if he might feel the same way about her.

However, their schemes become more and more dangerous and Mel is surprised to discover her dark side. Just how far will she go to get what she wants -- and is Josh really worth the risk?

Thanks to Goddess Fish Tours and Naomi Rabinowitz I am reviewing the contemporary YA Revenge of a Band Geek Gone Bad. If you'd like to follow the tour you can do so here.  Naomi will be awarding a prize package of her Flute Path CD and a pair of handcrafted music earrings to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 

So here's my take on the novel- it was a really cute contemporary YA romance. Mel is having a hard time with her peers and her mother. She's having a really hard time with mean girl Kathy who is vying for first chair in the band, Mel's spot.  She has only one friend, Lana who has been her best friend since first grade. But for some reason, class clown and very cute and popular, Josh is trying to catch her eye in band. What does he want? Why would he be looking at her? I mean she split her pants on the first day of school and everyone saw her granny panties and made her a laughing stock. But Josh, who's never talked to her before becomes her knight in shining armor. And she doesn't know for sure, but when  they team up together to get revenge on Kathy, she thinks he might like her. 

I liked Mel. At first she was so unsure of herself and full of hate, self hatred really, but bitterness, too. Things are bad. Her parents are never home and when her mom is home she does nothing but criticize Mel about her weight. Honestly, Mel wears a size 12 and even goes down to a 10 and her mother still is very critical. I see this as a bit dangerous for high school girls. It never says how tall Mel is but the mother's criticism of a girl that wears a size 10 seems like it's sending the wrong message about weight and teenage girls and body image. The issue was eventually dropped but body image did come up again. It was one issue that I think probably wasn't completely wrapped up suitably. But moving on, Mel goes from this bitter, self loathing, quiet person to an out going, self assured person who knows how to take on the bullies and mean girls all by herself. She is strong enough and confident enough to make tough decisions even though they may break her heart.

Josh is the class clown, but he lives a charmed life. He seems to, just by the skin of his teeth, get away with everything. And he's interested in Mel. Not just Mel, but in  helping her get her first chair back, get revenge on the girl who took it, and show Mel how to live. He teaches her all about how to live her music, not just to play it in band. He teaches her to play in clubs, freestyle, just making it up as she goes along. He has constant surprises for her always, but always keeps her, and us, guessing as to whether he likes her or not.  When  Mel is ready to grow up, Josh is still in the cycle of playing pranks on the mean girl. 

There are a lot of ups and downs in friendships, love lives, parent child relationships and even student teacher relationships. It's about growing up, and life lessons and love. It's a fun book to read. I did have a problem with the way the mom picked on the daughter's weight when she didn't sound that overweight. It seemed more like the mom's problem. I think it could have been just as effective if the mom picked on her grades, her hair, her clothes, anything else to show that it was more the mom's problem than the daughter's. But, this didn't permeate through my mind as I read the novel. It really was a funny and touching book to read. I wouldn't have minded a boyfriend like Josh who cared so much about me!  I recommend it to lovers of YA contemporary novels that are mainly romance and coming of age.

Heather

Thanks again to Goddess Fish Tours and Naomi Rabinowitz for the complimentary copy of the novel. This in no way influenced my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

(Danny this one has your name written all over it!)
You can reach the author here:

* Twitter: @NaomiRDesigns

Friday, January 11, 2013

Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Review and Giveaways

Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Author Links
Jennifer Lynn Barnes Blog- http://jenniferlynnbarnes.tumblr.com/
Goodreads Summary: There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away. 

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they verare—because no one else ever notices them.

We've probably all felt like a nobody at some time or another, like we were in a room full of people and yet we were all alone. Some of us might have even felt like that at home in our own families. But what if it were really true. No one saw you. No one noticed you ever. You could shout in their face and they wouldn't hear you. Your parents had to have notes on the back door to remember they had a child. They would leave you at the park, in the car, at the mall. No one ever noticed you until....you feel the hairs on the back of your neck raise and a chill run down your spine. You turn and look and are thrilled and terrified. Someone has noticed you. He's looking right into your eyes and he sees you and he's pointing a gun  right at your heart.

Quite the way to meet someone, right? Nix is a nobody who while not supernatural, seems to have some kind of unique power that makes him fade so that he is "nothing." In that form he can walk through walls, people, trees, nothing can hurt him and no one can see him. Except Claire and she thinks he's the most beautiful boy she's ever seen. But he's supposed to kill her. From a distance, no needles, no knives.  But once he sees her and he knows she's seen him, he has to make it personal. He's been told she's a Null, an empty shell of a human with no conscience who kills randomly and charms people into doing whatever she wants them to do. She must be eliminated. But each time he tries, she contradicts him. And why can she see him? Is she that good of an actress?

This story is funny, a romance, a thriller and a bit magical. Love always is a bit magical, isn't it? 

I did have a few problems with the novel. I couldn't remember what a Nobody or a Null was. Which one was okay to be and which was the psychopath. And in the middle the pace dragged a bit to where I found my interest flailing a bit, but then something would happen and I'd be drawn back in. The ending was fast and very unexpected. I thought for sure there was going to be a sequel but I think everything is wrapped up. I liked the ending, it fit very well.

And now, I have the opportunity to give away not one, but two books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
A Hardback copy of Nobody and a paperback copy of Every Other Day which comes out in paperback on the same day Nobody comes out!  US and CANADA ONLY. Thanks to Karen at Media Masters Publicity and Egmont for the giveaway! Just fill out the form below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WOW Waiting on Wednesday

WOW

Okay, so Blogger decided to repeatedly crash on me all day long so this is the fanciest thing I could come up with for the Waiting on Wednesday which is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

In the After by Demitria Lunetta
Release date June 25th by Harper Teen
They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

You can contact Demitria Lunetta here

Now this one sounds a little more scary than I'm used to but Demitria was one of the first people I met on Facebook and even though we haven't stayed in touch, I have to read this one. When you call the villain "Them" you know it's gotta be good!

And....


That Time I Joined The Circus
by J.J. Howard
Release date April 2013 by Scholastic Point
A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake—and facing a terrible tragedy— Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi’s mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus.

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn’t there…but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus’s fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions.

But then Lexi’s ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it’s Lexi’s own future that’s thrown into question… 

With humor, wisdom, and a dazzlingly fresh voice, this debut reminds us of the magic of circus tents, city lights, first kisses, last heartaches, and the importance of an excellent playlist.

I bet there's a really good playlist that goes with this book! I used to go to the circus every year for my birthday and brought my friends with me. I didn't know Barnum and Bailey from the poor man's circus that came, I just was happy to go to the circus with my friends! And I felt special because they came every year on my birthday! Of course, that kinda wore off when I found out my dad got free tickets because he worked for the city and it was in the coliseum and they booked the place for like 20 years at the same time every year. But hey, when you're a kid, the circus is fun! Now I have issues with animal treatment and confinement and all the fun is gone but I'm gonna put that out of my mind while I read this book!
Oh, and you can contact J.J. Howard here

And lastly I have to do this one because I think you guys might know this blogger!
Presenting Lenore blog owner Lenore Appelhans has written and gotten her book published!
Yay!!!! And I'm going to a book signing for it very soon! And maybe I'll be bringing a second copy with me for a giveaway! Here is her book-


Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Release Date January 15th Simon and Schuster 

Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Says- Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2).

'I pause to look around the hive - all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories ... I've wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.'

Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend ... and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.

Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.

You can contact Lenore at her blog Presenting Lenore 

What are you waiting to read???

Heather

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cleopatra Ascending by Maureen Lipinski Review

Cleopatra Ascending (Shadows Edge #2) by Maureen Lipinski 
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary Sweet Sixteen = You're a Queen
Despite living with a shaman, a witch, and a muse for sisters, Rhea Spencer feels like a normal teenager-even if she is the reincarnation of Cleopatra. But all that changes on Rhea's sixteenth birthday, when her visions of the Egyptian queen start unraveling a very different version of history, and Declan, a hot representative of the secret Order of Antony, shows up on the doorstep to keep her from being kidnapped. Together, Rhea and Declan travel to Egypt to stop the Octavians, a dark cabal trying to tap into Rhea's growing powers. The cabal seeks to access the magic deep below the desert sands, a potentially devastating force that only Rhea can protect.

I didn't know that this was a second book in a series when I picked up at NetGalley, but that really didn't seem to matter while I read the book. There were a few references to something that happened in the first book and I thought, I wish the author had written about that first. Duh, how stupid am I? She did write about it in the first book featuring a different sister called Shadow's Edge. There are four sisters and I'm betting each sister will get a book. Cleopatra Ascending was Rhea's book, the reincarnation of Cleopatra. Now, I didn't expect much from this book, it just hasn't had a lot of press and it's kind of unassuming just sitting there despite that gorgeous crown and the girl with the smoldering eyes and that hair! 

Anyway, I started reading this book and I couldn't put it down! It wasn't too taxing to the brain and it didn't make me worry to much, but it was just a fun, enjoyable read. I loved the relationships between the sisters even though there was the usual sister fighting that goes with being a sibling. They all had one sibling they would go to for confiding in that they could trust. Rhea would go to her sister Morgana a witch. Her other sister Leah is a Shaman for the Creatuir (sorry don't know how to do all the symbols) and her other sister, Gia, is a Muse. Her mother has spirit guides and can predict what is going to happen from them and her father is a policeman. Yeah, he's normal. But, on her 16th birthday, Rhea becomes the reincarnation of Cleopatra and starts having very realistic dreams about her. The Octavian's, the people that raised Cleopatra's children, are trying to kidnap her to use her to raise a zombie army. Ah ha, I knew I'd get some of you with the word ZOMBIE. But that's not really the biggest part of the book. 

What I really want to say about the book is that if you love Egyptology and some romance, then you'll love this light read. I am going to go back and read the first book in the series so I can understand every one's powers and how Rhea met her boyfriend Slade and exactly what he is. Not human, that's for sure. You might not like Rhea at times, but you also need to put yourself in her shoes. She's a tad selfish, but I would be too, given the circumstances. She never asked to be Cleopatra's reincarnation and all that entails. So if you remember that, you'll probably see her point of view. And she is only sixteen, weren't we all selfish at that age???

I say give it a try! It was a fun quick read and before all the dystopian sequels come out or during, if you need something light but with some mystery to it, this is a great one to try. I'll let you know what I think of the first book.

Thanks to the publishers at Flux for the E-ARC galley made available through NetGalley. It was given for a fair and honest review. This in no way influenced my opinions.

Heather

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