Monday, October 31, 2011

Saving June by Hannah Harrington: Book Review

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Pages: 304
Published: November 22nd, 2011 by Harlequin Teen
Summary:
Everyone's sorry. But no one can explain why.

Harper Scott's older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June's ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going—California.

Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper's just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except…Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down—again.

My Thoughts:

Rage, remorse and regret, Saving June by Hannah Harrington is an emotional yo-yo that faces the everyday truths of teen suicide and the impacts of those closest to them.

Harper Scott never saw it coming.

Her sister June was the good one, the one that had it all together. She wasn't supposed to be the one who killed herself. But in the insane spin of Harper's reality, that's exactly what life has become. Not only that, as if that isn't bad enough, Harper's divorced parents want to split what's left of June in half. Harper is numbly devastated, and while she and June weren't as close as they once were, there at the end, Harper knows June would never have wanted her final resting place to be so closed off and cornered. So, Harper does the only thing she can think to do to set June free. With the help of her best friend Laney and Jake the mysterious boy who has some kind of connection to June, Harper steals June's ashes and runs off to California, the one place June wanted to be in life. Along the way, Harper discovers that nothing is what she thinks it is...it's way more complicated than that.

Saving June is sentimental and poignant, with a delicate mixture of bereavement and the everyday, Ms. Harrington grasps our hearts and minds with her temperamental story and takes us for a ride we will never forget. Close to my heart in subject, Saving June isn't a novel that I can easily speak about. Maybe it's because I understand June and why she'd want to do what she did. And yet, I also understand Harper and all her tumultuous emotions concerning her sister and the suicide. It's never easy to make it through the insanity that is life and high school seems to be the epitome of emotional turbulence, rising to epic levels of awesome exuberance and teetering at the edge of torturous depression, hormones have this way of making every teenage day challenging in its own right.

Saving June starts off with a plunge, the first page of the book being June's funeral. And while it's never easy to develop a character who isn't alive for the entire book, Ms. Harrington has done a wonderful job of creating June and all those who love her. Intentionally slow, the development of plot and characters glides along at a pace that is perfect for the melancholy tone of the book while also helping us grasp all of the nuances of each character as well as their rambling emotions.

Harper, the brilliantly flawed and roughly edged narrator, is a strong and somewhat abrasive character, softened by the morose thoughts she has running through her head and the pain and anger she's experiencing at the loss of her sister. Missing her sister more than she ever thought possible, Harper feels a sense of responsibility at her death and a simmering hurt that her sister could leave her like she did. Unable to cry, she plows through all the required events only to feel numb and empty inside where her sister's presence used to fill. This is the major reason for Harper's escapades of taking off with June's ashes. Yes, it was for June, but it was also for Harper.
Maybe Laney's right. Maybe June did love me. But I'm far less certain that she knew I loved her. Did she realize how much I needed her around? It's not like I ever told her. I was too wrapped up in my world to notice what was going on in hers. Even if she did know, it wasn't enough to count. It wasn't enough to make her stay. So really, what did it matter, in the end?

The bottom line is, it's my fault.
A painful journey of discovery, Saving June is not only about Harper, but the little secrets we hide away in the smallest parts of us. Little surprises around every corner, Ms. Harrington shows us readers that things are never what they appear to be and even once we've found the root of the thing...there is always more to find. Jacob Tolen, the boy who mysteriously knew June and wants to help Harper to California brings with him his own musical secrets. And as Harper and her best friend Laney get to know him and vice versa, we get to see all of the things June never really let out. We also get to see Jake show his world and the music to people who need it.
"Have you played me that Clapton song? I whisper. [...]

[...]Jake stirs behind me. "No, I don't think so."

"How does it go?"

He moves so his mouth is right under my ear, brushing the skin there, and one of this hands slides up, resting on my rib cage. My whole body tingles as he starts to sing softly into my ear. I'm not facing him, my eyes are closed, but I can imagine the look on his face.
We get to see Harper change from being "not-June" into "just-Harper" in all the ways that matter. Because in the end, finding peace in a raging see of grief and anger, is never easy. It can't be solved with a boy or road trip across the greater United States. It's something that must be painfully found along the way while the world keeps turning, no thought to what those who live on it are going through.
It isn't fair. It isn't fair that I have no answers. It isn't fair that June isn't here to give them. Most of all it isn't fair that she did this to me, that she left me to deal with this mess on my own. That's how I feel: completely and utterly alone. Even with Laney here. Even with my mother. I'm still alone.
Saving June is a heart rending story, beautifully written and emotionally taut. And while I mostly loved the book, sometimes I had difficulty with the caustic arguments between Jake, Harper and Laney. On the flip side, those same arguments, quite often, created the comedic relief that was necessary in such a serious book. Besides, being that Harper used her anger as a shield for her pain, I can see why the fighting came about in the first place. So, I give Saving June a 4.5 out of 5 and recommend it to those who enjoy YA, Contemporary fiction that deals with tough issues. Also, this book contains swearing, drugs, alcohol and sex and I recommend it for older readers.
The Author
website/blog/twitter

Pre-Order SAVING JUNE by Hannah Harrington
Release Date: November 22, 2011 by Harlequin

Friday, October 28, 2011

Author Interview: Jus Accardo and TOUCH

I'm seriously excited today to welcome Jus Accardo to In the Closet With a Bibliophile! I absolutely loved TOUCH so I'm kind of fangirling about having her here. (For all those who are curious, you can read my review HERE) Without further ado, I'd like to welcome Jus!

Interview:

In the beginning scenes of TOUCH, Dez meets Kale in the woods and he tells her he needs her shoes. Dez gives them up because of the look of fear on his face. If you were in the same situation, what kicks would you be wearing and would you have given him your shoes or ran in the opposite direction?
Me? I'm with Dez. Van's all the way, baby. As for forking them over, I donno. I'd say probably--but that's mainly because I can see the expression Kale gave Dez at that moment so clearly in my head. Poor guy was spooked. If I didn't have that, then I'd probably tell him to walk on his hands and leave WITH my kicks.
What was your favorite scene to write in TOUCH?
It's a tough call... There's a really short bear scene that I love, but I think if I have to pick, it's the scene where Kale is in Dez's room for the first time.
What was the last book you absolutely loved so much you read it in one sitting?
I recently read Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout. Devoured it like it was pure chocolate! Before that, well, pretty much anything Rob Thurman writes.
In TOUCH, the Sixes all have a power that makes them more than human. For Kale, when he touches people, he kills them. If you could pick any ability to have, which one would you choose and why?
Well, Dez's ability kicks some serious ass... And Alex's ability would make it nice and easy to make my coffee without ever leaving the chair... But I think my favorite is from a character you don't meet until book two who has the ability to talk to animals. I'm a huge animal lover. I'd LOVE to know what my Akita is thinking as she sits there and stares at me for hours. :)
Knowing what you know about Dez (past, present, future) what advice would you give her at the end of TOUCH?
Don't get too comfortable... You're in for a bumpy ride.
Dez is an adrenaline junkie and will do just about anything to get her hit. Have you ever tried or wanted to try something with that kind of rush? If so, what?
I'm no where near as hardcore as Dez, but I like a good rush once in awhile. I've gone bungee jumping (actually for research purposes). I'm terrified of flying so this will sound way off, but I'd actually love to sky dive. I can't even imagine the rush you'd get from feeling so free. Kale would definitely be a fan of that...
If Kale was asked what he finds the most attractive or remarkable about Dez (besides that he can touch her) what would he say? Dez about Kale?
Kale would probably look at you funny and say, it's Dez. He just loves everything about her. Everything from the way, in his eyes, she lights up a room by simply entering it, to the stubborn set of her jaw when she's arguing with someone. Dez would probably tell you she's in awe of his strength and goodness. He's lived through something horrible and it didn't poison his soul. Plus, yanno, he's a hottie!
I'm a secretly messy person. My house is clean, but if you move to the darker recesses, my desk is stacked with papers, my closet is a bit chaotic, my bookshelves don't even need to be spoken of because they make everyone who look at them do a double take and then laugh hysterically. Are you a person who has to have everything in its proper place or do things just kind of go where they fit?
Yeah... There are a million tiny scraps of paper everywhere with notes, phone numbers, and grocery store lists. Things are clean, but the organization system is something only I can make sense of. I'm totally in the go where it fits school of thought :)

The first time Kale is in Dez's room is one of my favorite scenes! Also, I don't think I'm brave enough to jump out of a plane...or bungee for that matter. You are a braver woman than I! Thanks so much for being on the blog today, Jus!

website/blog/facebook/goodreads

Buy Touch by Jus Accardo!

When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.

A secret Kale will kill to protect

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unlovable by Sherry Gammon: Book Review

Title: Unlovable
Author: Sherry Gammon
Pages: 307
Published: January 19, 2011 by Wordpainting Unlimited, Inc.


Summary: Port Fare, New York, has fallen into the clutches of true evil. The Dreser brothers have arrived with a scheme to increase drug sales in the area by whatever means possible. Seth Prescott is part of MET (Mobile Enforcement Teams) a branch of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). He's been assigned to work undercover at Port Fare High, and things aren't going very well, until senior Maggie Brown enters the equation. He's harbored a secret crush on her from day one, and now that she is in the center of the case, he's trying to stay clear and objective while walking the line between business and unrequited love.

Maggie is truly the poster child for Heroin Chic, complete with jutting bones and dark-ringed eyes, but is she an addict, or is there another reason for her appearance? She struggles with her feelings for Seth, fearing he is just another person who will eventually let her down, as everyone in her life has done thus far.
Maggie has spent her life caring for her alcoholic mother. A task that has left her heavily burdened and alone. Before long, her mother's health takes a turn for the worst, sending Maggie's life into a tale-spin.

While Seth works relentlessly to inject fear into the dealers and flush them out into the open, Maggie fights to stay alive as the hunt turns deadly.

Seth and Maggie's romantic journey is one of humor, heartbreak, and self-discovery.
My Thoughts:

A mother too drunk to get off the couch, a girl who has put up with her drunk mother since she lost her grandparents at the age of four, an undercover cop who is trying to breakup the drug ring that has been circling around the city killing off people: that is what awaits in Unlovable by Sherry Gammon.

A heart wrenching contemporary thriller, Unlovable is the story of a girl and what she must do to survive. Maggie's mother has always drank, at least as far back as Maggie can remember. If it wouldn't have been for the drunk driver that killed her grandparents, Maggie wouldn't have had to move in and take care of her mother at the age of four. Most days and nights her mom is passed out on the couch, drunk. But for Maggie, this has always been her life so she deals with it the best way she can.

Seth Prescott, a member of the Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) is currently undercover as a senior at Port Fare High School. Seth and a couple others from his team have infiltrated the school in an effort to find the supplier of the heroin that has been causing the deaths around the city. Highly trained and highly attractive, Seth must find the supplier before more people wind up dead.

I had mixed feelings when reading Unlovable and if I could rate it in sections I would say I liked the first half, but I loved the second half. It was like Ms. Gammon's writing just kept getting better and better as the book progressed. Writing in a double narrative, as Unlovable is, is never an easy thing [as I said in a totally unrelated book review], but Ms. Gammon was able to make it mostly work. I could definitely differentiate between the two narrators, Maggie and Seth, their unique voices pushing through the chapters. I could feel the older voice of Seth when he spoke and Maggie's younger voice with an added judgmental air about it almost always told me it was her speaking.

Seth--sans some of the beginning chapters because he was kind of cheesy--was actually a freakishly awesome guy. He was strong, kind, sweet and understanding more than anyone ever should be. He was pretty humble and protective and full of this unyielding passion for most things around him and most people for that matter. Seth had suffered a lot in his life and I think it kind of made him into this saintlike guy. I would say, the only problem I had with Seth was that he was too perfect. I had a hard time connecting with him if only for that reason, but in the end I still really loved him.

Maggie on the other hand I had a little trouble getting to like and I couldn't really figure out why Seth liked her. She was awfully judgmental and just assumed that Seth was a jerk because he hung out with the popular crowd and because he was freakishly sexy. Now, I can totally say that in high school I was guilty of the same thing so I guess I couldn't hold it against her...at first. But she kept at it for awhile and I kind of wanted to hurt her. About halfway through the book she finally develops enough as a human being to realize she's being an idiot, because Seth is unfailingly kind and sweet and doesn't deserve her attitude, and I could finally like her.

The last half of the book was so much different from the rest. I think it's because the characters finally took on a more layered characterization as did the plot. It kind of turned the whole book around for me and the only thing that I can say is that everything just kind of turned technicolor and seemed a lot more real. Seth was a little less perfect, Maggie had emotions every shade of the rainbow and the plot was fast paced and intense. A couple of the parts may have been a bit unrealistic, but it didn't really bother me.
"[...]He wrapped his warm hands around my face and pulled me next to him.

"Are you saying I don't matter to you?" (Seth)

"No. We're friends, good friends." I swallowed hard at my words.

"So if I were to kiss you, it wouldn't mean a thing to you?"

"It'd be like kissing my brother," I whispered.

"Is that right?" He ran his thumbs along my jaw, sending a shiver up my back. He smiled. "Let me show you who the delusional one is, Maggie. Oh, and if I'm boring you, feel free to stop me at any time." He leaned forward and in one swift motion captured my mouth with his before I could utter a word.

Overall, Unlovable turned out to be a pretty good read and the fact that I couldn't get Seth and his relationship with Maggie out of my head for a good couple days only proves as much. Sherry Gammon has a way with dialogue that really gets to a reader and I loved the interactions between Seth and Maggie and all of the sub-characters. I give Unlovable a 3.5/5 and recommend it to those who enjoy clean YA Fiction, Thrillers and Law and Order type books. And while it's not categorized as Christian Fiction, some of the writing reminds me of it. I'd definitely put it in Inspy Fiction.
The Author

Friday, October 21, 2011

Touch by Jus Accardo: Book Review

Title: Touch (Denazen No.1)
Author: Jus Accardo
Pages: 251
Published: October 9th, 2011 by Entangled Publishing
Summary:When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home. Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized. Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.
A secret Kale will kill to protect.


My Thoughts:

Disturbing and lovely, Touch by Jus Accardo will leave your heart pounding as the race to live begins. Jus Accardo's unique voice fights its way through the melee that is young adult fiction, braving the streets of fantasy and holding its own amongst the high rollers and big dreamers.

A novel that is real and rough as much as it is sweet and emotional, Touch is the story of a girl who wants nothing more than to piss off her father--an emotionally distant man who doesn't seem to care much about anything to do with her--and the boy who has just discovered there is more to life than captivity. Dez, our adrenaline junkie narrator, has no other goals than to have fun and tick off her father so that maybe, just maybe, he'd finally notice she was alive. But, on the way home from a party she crosses paths with a boy running from some men dressed in lycra. And while she ponders the hilarity of their suits, she also is more than keen to the fact that the boy, Kale, is running for more than just a game, he fears the men chasing him.

So, Dez decides to help Kale by hiding Kale and taking him home with her. Because what could upset daddy dearest more than a boy in the house with her in the wee hours of the morning? Except, Kale turns out to already know her father and the events that bring Kale and Dez together will teach Dez there is more to her fathers distance than she could have ever thought possible.

One of the reasons that I so enjoy young adult novels is because of their ability to portray periods of a persons life that it is their first time experiencing aka first loves, first loss, milestones and so on. There is just something about the firsts in life that amaze and enthrall me. Touch is the epitome of firsts. Kale, the boy who Dez finds has a gift. And while Kale doesn't find it so much a gift, he has the ability to kill with his touch. So, as you can imagine, Kale hasn't really been able to get close to anyone in that regard. He has never been able to touch anyone until he meets Dez.

Never, ever underestimate the power of human physical contact. Because while you can talk and flirt and discuss things of importance with someone, that first touch of skin--a finger grazing a hand, a hand caressing the length of a neck--there is this feeling of knowing that person in a completely different way. So, for Kale, that small little thing of being able to touch Dez, surmounts into something akin to a constant sizzle of energy, happiness and lust. Making almost every experience Kale has throughout the book a first for him and an epic win for me. Kale is innocent and sweet but on the other end, he has no problem killing if its something that need be done. He is amazingly layered and conflicted and I couldn't help but feel for everything he'd been through and everything he was going through.
I opened my mouth to tell him he didn't need to beg, that I wanted this as much as he did, but his actions stopped me. Lowering himself, he slid one arm under the hollow of my back, the other resting across my stomach. Reaching over, he grabbed my hand and laced his fingers with mind. As he nuzzled my stomach, a soft noise escaped his throat.

The wind outside picked up as Kale's breathing evened. I wrapped my arms around him and closed my eyes.

"I understand now, Dez," he whispered sleepily. "I understand the hand thing."
Dez, on the flip side, has done just about everything. On a path to be noticed, she is always out for the next adventure, but while she comes off as abrasive and crass quite often, she has this kind layer interwoven into her basic makeup. She may not have been a lab rat, but emotional heartache can cause its own kind of damage. Besides, Dez is more than just rebellious, she also just wants to be loved. Dez, for some may have been a difficult character to relate to, for me, she was perfect. She's lived a life for so long where emotions were a weakness that she couldn't afford. With a father who she could only disappoint, she grew a skin so thick that it seemed only adrenaline could penetrate. It's made her into a fighter and a girl who says what she thinks and does what she must to survive. Dez is strength. And while strength is important, it always has a weakness somewhere and that is what gives Dez her humanity.
I got to my feet and turned away. I didn't want Kale--or anyone for that matter--to see the tears trailing down my cheeks.

"How could he do this to her? To me?" I whirled around, voice uneven. Forget the tears--bring on the anger. "How could he lock her away and tell me she was dead! She's been there this whole time?"
A story that blind sighted me with its awesomeness, Touch was original and fun and undoubtedly its own kind of adrenaline rush. And while there are still quite a few unanswered questions, such as why is Dez the only one Kale can touch? Overall, it was some of the most fun I've had in ages. I recommend Touch to those who like Young Adult, X-Men, Fantasy type of books. Also, this book has a lot of swearing and some sexual content and I recommend it for older readers.

The Author
website/blog/facebook/goodreads

The Book

Buy Touch by Jus Accardo!

(Available in Paperback and Kindle)



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Want to be in a Book Trailer?

Okay everyone, I don't know if you've heard of this pretty cool thing the publishers are doing for the book trailer for Masters of the Veil by Daniel Cohen, but I'm posting to let you all know. It's called Book Trailer Casting Call and its where you film some clips of yourself acting as a fan who has witnessed the all time epic fail of Texas football. It sounds awesome and honestly, just reading the Casting Call was making me giggle. Now, I'm not the best actor, but everyone should at least check it out because can't you imagine the amount of fun you can have with this?!?! All those whose clips are chosen will win an ARC of Masters of the Veil, so it sounds pretty win to me! So, go check out the Book Trailer Casting Call and see if you will be the next book STAR!

Life can't get much better for Sam Lock. Popular, good-looking, and with a future as a professional football player. every guy at Stanton High School wishes he were Sam. That is, until his championship football game, when Sam accidentally links with an ancient source of energy known as the Veil and reveals his potential to become a powerful sorcerer.Sam is whisked off to Atlas Crown, a community of sorcerers who utilize the Veil as a part of everyday life. Once there, he trains beside a mute boy who speaks through music, an eternal sage who's the eyes and ears of the Veil, and a beautiful girl who's pretty sure Sam's an idiot.As it becomes clear Sam's meant for power magic-the most feared and misunderstood form of sorcery-people beyond Atlas Crown learn of his dangerous potential. An exiled group of power sorcerers are eager to recruit Sam, believing that he is destined to help them achieve their long-held goal. If they succeed, they could bring about the downfall of not only Atlas Crown. but all humankind.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crave by Melissa Darnell: Book Review

Title: Crave (The Clann No.1)
Author: Melissa Darnell
Pages: 416
Published: October 25th, 2011 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Vampires, Witches, Fantasy, Romance
Content: Kissing, minimal swearing
Summary: Savannah Colbert has never known why she's so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It's as if he's a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she's destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can't stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences…. (From Goodreads.com)

My Thoughts

In Crave by Melissa Darnell, darkness hides around every corner, watching and waiting for the perfect moment to come swooping in, capturing everything it has ever wanted. A relationship forbidden, Savannah and Tristan were childhood friends until one day they suddenly weren't and neither really knew why. Savannah has never understood the turn of events that took her best friend from her in the fourth grade, but years later at the age of sixteen, she still misses him.

Tristan has no idea why his parents, the leaders of The Clann, have forbade him to associate with Savannah, but he feels this pull to her, no matter what they say or do. But, will it be worth it for Tristan to give in to the pull and do what he has been told he must never do.

Crave is a story that I wanted to like, but in the end, I just couldn't get into it. I've discovered that when reading, if I look down at the percentage read at the bottom of my Kindle and I think "that's it, that's all I've read?" than the book I'm reading is just not something I'm enjoying. Crave was one of those books.

The writing, while not horrible was bland and forgettable. Crave felt more like a book I have already read a couple times before and for some reason I just couldn't find my groove amongst the words and characters. Savannah as a character had so much potential. The book begins with her waking up sick and getting progressively worse. I was really really interested in this whole aspect of the story. Why is she sick? What's going on with her? Is she really going to die? In the end, it wasn't as surprising or interesting as I'd hoped for. She turned out to be half vampire--which really doesn't give anything away as this all happens in the first couple chapters--and I suppose that the back story to her becoming the half incubus (succubus?) that she is, feels drawn out and stretched and a little weak kneed.

I would say that my biggest complaint with Crave is the dual narrative point of view. As narrators, Savannah and Tristan are extremely interchangeable and I wouldn't have known who was speaking if it hadn't been for the name at the top of their sections. A dual narrative is always hard to nail because the individual voices must be so unique that character titles, while presented, aren't really necessary. Savannah and Tristan were basically the same person. They even used the exact same nicknames for people which really didn't work because they hadn't been on speaking terms for eight years or something like that and the nicknames were not something I'd imagine a boy saying, ever.

I actually finished this book about two weeks ago, but I keep trying to think of what pushed me to finish it when I was kind of bored throughout. I think I've finally pinned it on the prologue. Now, I really don't see the need for most prologues, but in this instance it made me keep reading because I wanted to know how the story went from her being a normal and clueless human to being surrounded by people debating to kill her. I think if the book had been written better, the prologue would have been completely unnecessary. In the end it was okay, but I just didn't mesh well with Crave and its characters.
The Author
Website/Blog

The Book
Pre-Order Crave by Melissa Darnell
(Release Date: October 25th, 2011)


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Busy Times Call For Desperate Measures

Hey, I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm not going to be on much this week and possibly part of next week. That's why there has been a lack of posting this week. My mom is moving and I'm attempting to help her pack up the house she's been living in for the past 27 years while also taking care of my own family and working extra hours. I have 1 or 2 posts already scheduled (can't remember how many now) so you'll see those, but I may suck at returning comments. Just know this...when I am back, I'll return all the ones a got before. :D

*hugs*

Jen

Sunday, October 9, 2011

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones: Book Review

Title: There You'll Find Me
Author: Jenny B. Jones
Pages: 320
Published: October 4th, 2011
Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary, Christian, Inspirational, Romance, Tough Issues
Content: kissing, anorexia
Summary: When Finley travels to Ireland as a foreign exchange student, she hopes to create a new identity and get some answers from the God who took her brother away and seems to have left her high and dry.

But from the moment she boards the plane and sits by Beckett Rush, teen star of the hottest vampire flicks, nothing goes according to Finley's plan.

When she gets too close to Beckett, a classmate goes on a mission to make sure Finley packs her bags, departs Ireland-and leaves Beckett alone.

Finley feels the pressure all around. As things start to fall apart, she begins to rely on a not-so-healthy method of taking control of her life.

Finley tries to balance it all-disasters on the set of Beckett's new movie, the demands of school, and her growing romance with one actor who is not what he seems. Yet Finley is also not who she portrays to Beckett and her friends.

For the first time in her life, Finley must get honest with herself to get right with God.(from Goodreads.com)

My Thoughts:

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones is an inspirational tale of God, love and those we lose along our Way.

Finley, our narrator, has had her brother ripped from her, murdered during an act of terrorism in Afghanistan where he had been building children's schools. Anguished and hurt, Finley searches for comfort around a bubbling and bouncing South Carolina, only to end up feeling empty and lacking, afterwards. After counseling and therapy, Finley decides to change her life around and find answers in the same place her brother, Will, had found them - Ireland. By following his travel journal, Finley will go to Ireland and follow the trail Will has left her, in the hopes that she will once again find God and closure toward her brother's death. Except, things don't go exactly as Finley planned and on the airplane to Ireland she ends up sitting by the famous teen heartthrob/vampire actor, Beckett Rush, a guy who exemplifies everything she is leaving behind. And while Finley snarks his flirting right back to where it came from, he still seems to be everywhere she is trying to get to, and the path she feels she must follow is not as strait and clear as she thought it would be.
"Page fifty-one." The dimple in his cheek deepened. "And as for girls who try to stay away from me--my charm always wears them down." [Beckett Rush]

"I'm up-to-date on my shots, so I'm pretty much immune to everything." [Finley]

Beckett just tipped his chair back and laughed. "Famous last words, Flossie. Famous last words."
There You'll Find Me, is a journey of a girl who only wants to find her place in life. A girl who has so many questions, but not a single answer. I supposed this was one of the reasons I so connected with Finley. She feels lost and alone, and in a world as bleak as hers, that is a devious road to travel. I haven't read much Christian Fiction as of late, although I read a lot in high school. There You'll Find Me is my jump back in and I must say that I was more than pleasantly surprised. Ms. Jones' characters are layered and loveable while also being raucously conflicted, making their need for God and love more believable and less preachy. Because while Finley struggles with all the raging emotions inside of her, she grasps for any control she can find which comes in the form of food and exercise. As Finley slowly withdraws from things she probably shouldn't, she acts like nothing is wrong, lying to all those she learns to care for.

And while the plot and interweaving storyline of Finley escalates and grows, causing the underlying tone to be serious, Ms. Jones' characters add the perfect amount of comedic relief at just the right moments, helping me to understand and appreciate them and all they are going through and striving for, while still allowing me to connect with them and retain some humor in such a serious world.

Becket Rush, the male lead in the novel, and the flirtatious actor with sharp pointy teeth, was probably my favorite character of the book. He was able to look at his life and understand that it wasn't always about him. He was fun and light while also deep and serious. Beckett is a difficult character to understand because he seems to have so many faces and while reading, we aren't sure of anything about him, but I always had this underlying feeling of what kind of person Beckett was. His kindness and loyalty in a world that seems to lack for it daily, was refreshing and poignant.
"It's touching to know you were praying for me." He looked down, pinning me in place with that gaze. "And to think I believed you were ignoring me."

Good heavens, Harry Potter didn't have any magic like the kind this boy was brewing. "Why would you think that?"
There You'll Find Me is a sensational book that I loved immensely and will not forget easily. Finley and Beckett, two young people wearing the skins they think everyone wants to see, but the truth underneath clashes harshly and isn't always pretty. They portray how trials and decisions affect our lives and those around us and that right decisions are not always easy to find, let alone make. But in the end, it is always worth it.
"Johnny." My Charleston accent was just as exaggerated as it was loud. "Don't worry about that rash you have. Our love will see us through." [Finley]

His arm squeezed a little tighter. "Frances, dearest," he drawled, "when we get back home, I will give you that wedding ring you've begged me for. It's only right after you gave me those triplets at the ripe age of sixteen." [Beckett]

"I'm an unwed mother?" I hissed.

"I'm a diseased baby daddy."

This made me laugh. "I think you just got the title for your next movie."

The Author
blog

There You'll Find Me: Buy the Book!


Friday, October 7, 2011

In Which I am Well Informed 3: How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse


Do you find non-fiction objectionable? Do you loathe and abhor self-help books? Do you find memoirs so depressing you think you may go out and beat your neighbor to make yourself feel better? Well...that's how I feel. If you feel the same, you've found the right place. In my feature IN WHICH I AM WELL INFORMED I will be reading something of a non-fiction nature and I will tell you what I've learned from said item. No worries, this is going to be fun!

**I just want to preface this post by saying that all my thoughts are my own and are only meant in fun and not to be offensive. Sometimes life should be laughed at and not taken so seriously. It's better that way.**
So this week's post, while some may fight me on its realistic value, comes directly from the CDC {Center for Disease Control}: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse by Ali S. Kahn
We all know that one day the zombie apocalypse is inevitable. I mean, with all the things that can go wrong and do go wrong, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if one day it actually happens. Either way, if you're prepared for the ZA then you'll be prepared for any other emergencies that may precede it.

What I learned:

1. Stock Emergency Supplies: The CDC notes that included in this is
  • 1 Gallon of water for each person
  • Non-perishable food
  • Medications
  • Tools and supplies (I assume supplies thus related to tools)
  • Clothing and Bedding
  • Important Documents
  • First Aid Supplies
I would like to add one of the things that is missing from this list. GUNS AND AMMO. Because, really people, what good is any of that stuff if you can't protect yourself from the hordes of dead who will most likely be banging at your door wanting to eat your brain? None. For something temporary against a very small horde, a bat could help, but it will only temporarily move the dead aside while you run to get your very large gun. They are strong and persistent and have been known to keep going even after losing limbs, flesh and parts of their head. So, for guns, think big. What would do the most damage? I've also heard recommendations for crossbows because they are silent, although, I know they are harder for accuracy points. Overall though, remember be prepared or prepare to be munched on while still screaming.

2. Plan your contact area and evacuation group:
So, if you get separated from your family/loved ones/friends/strangers who are not zombies, you should plan to meet up somewhere. You should pick one place close to your house and one place farther away. Reason being, your home could be infested with zombies...you need options. Planning your evacuation route is important because everyone else is going to be trying to get out of town and you don't want to be caught in dead-lock traffic (emphasis on dead).

3. If you are unable to get out of town, fortify your base:
I recommend keeping some kind of fortifying supplies around the house just in case your home is saved in the whole downfall. I would think nice strong wood for fortifying the windows and something really heavy for the door to try and keep the living dead from breaking it in. (See The Forest of Hands and Teeth ending scenes) I don't know how well the zombies can climb, but treetop and rooftop living seem to be a satisfactory way to avoid zombies eating the flesh from your warm body.

4. Search for survivors:
This is a tough one because if you go out to search for survivors you may end up zombified, but you would most likely go crazy if you end up alone (See I am Legend). However, if you can get a large enough group, mostly armed, this should be okay. Just be careful and quiet. While zombies have been known to be able to find humans based on smell alone, too much noise and signals may also capture their attention.
5. Notify the CDC:
If this is all in the early stages, don't forget to notify the Center for Disease Control and they will send out an investigation party to check on the "infected". Hopefully all of the army, military and government will not be killed off first as in every zombie movie I've ever seen and every zombie book I've read. And, I don't know about you, but I'm going to check my guns and see what my ammunition situation is.

Until next time...Don't forget to check your own ammunition situation. Lock and load!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 338
Published: September 29th, 2011 by Penguin
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Content: Swearing and thoughts of sex (I recommend it for ages 15 and up)
Summary: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. (from Goodreads.com)
My Thoughts:

I always find that it is more difficult to write a review about the books I love the most rather than those I simply didn't care for. I believe it's because I am never fully able to expand on the depth of my feelings for said book and why I feel the way that I do. Lola and the Boy Next Door, for me, is one of those books.

I keep going over and over in my head what it was about Lola and the Boy Next Door that had me so enthralled that I could not put it down for the life of me. The characters are positively sensational and so developed I kind of wanted to step outside of my house just to double check that I was still in Arizona and not San Francisco, living next to Lola and Cricket. Lola is this fascinating and eccentric character - my very favorite kind of character - who spins this world of wonder and joy around her. Yes, she complains like every other teenager does, but she is also unique and good and fun and with every wig she put on and every costume she wore, I admired her even more. Plus, she is one of those teens who loves her parents more than anything. Then again, I loved her parents more than anything. Two fathers who love her more than life itself, two fathers who are there for her whenever she needs them. Two fathers who also have a kind loving relationship. Admittedly, I was a little jealous of her.

Lola has this love for life and the way we would all like to live it....or rather how I would like to live it; by letting my inside shine by displaying all the emotions and colors I feel inside on the outside, like blue hair and pink shoes or dresses that make me feel like I'm on fire. Maybe this sounds stupid, but to me it sounds wonderful.
I plan my outfit. If this is going to happen, I need to look better than the last time I saw him,[...]

I settle on a similarly checked red-and-white halter dress, which I made from an actual picnic blanket for the last Fourth of July. I add bright red lipstick and tiny ant-shaped earrings for theme, and my big black platform boots because walking will be involved. They're the sportiest shoes I own. I smooth my dress, erect my posture, and parade downstairs.
And then there is Cricket. Cricket Bell, neighbor extraordinaire, student of mechanical engineering at Berkley, the one person who Lola has always wanted. For me, my thoughts concerning Cricket do not develop into coherent words, more like a salad of words that dribble out of my mouth as I stare and gaze longingly after him. I think the reason for this is that I know him, or rather someone who is almost exactly like him (with a bit less height) and he is probably one of the most amazing people I have ever known or will ever know in my short life. So, I know how Lola feels because even though Lola is with someone else, she still wants Cricket there, in her life. Because in the end, you'd rather have them there than not at all because every moment you're with them, they lift you up and make you feel things you wish you could always feel.
"Lola, do you remember when you told me that I had a gift?" [Cricket]

I gulp. "Yes."

His eyes open and lock on mine. "You have one, too. and maybe some people think that wearing a costume means you're trying to hide your real identity, but I think a costume is more truthful than regular clothing could ever be. It actually says something about the person wearing it. I knew that Lola, because she expressed her desires and wishes and dreams for the entire city to see. For me to see."

My heart is beating in my ears, my lungs, my throat.

"I miss that Lola," he says.

I take a step toward him. His breath catches.

And then he takes a step toward me.
And that my dear friends is really and truly the heart of my feelings for this book. The plot.

A story that is sweet and kind as much as it reflects the darker side of life's capricious peculiarities, Lola and the Boy Next Door is the story I would have wished to happen over and over, but never did and most likely never will. Has this kind of story been told before? Probably, but I really don't care. Stephanie Perkins has this way with words that captivates me so much that I am mesmerized by it every time. Anna and the French Kiss was no different, but in Lola and the Boy Next Door I see a little more of myself and my hopes and dreams in Lola and Cricket and it makes me sigh page after page.
He glances down and notices that I'm still wearing a certain blue something, and, this time, it's his index finger that wraps underneath my rubber band.

I shiver wonderfully. "I'm never taking it off."

Cricket brushes the delicate skin of my wrist. "It'll fall off."

"I'll ask you for another one."

"I'll give you another one." He smiles and touches his nose to mine.
Stephanie Perkins writes tender, heartwarming, love stories where characters live and learn and fall in love and get hurt regularly. Her female leads are strong and flawed and I can't help but love them for everything they are and everything they aren't. If you are looking for a review where I break down the book and tell you what I did and didn't like, well...this not that review. No, the book wasn't perfect. Yes, there were a lot of similarities to Anna and the French Kiss. But for me, what it comes down to is, I loved this book so much for its simplicity and kindness, for its differences and eccentricities, for its relationships and fights, for its ability to make my heart ache and emotions soar and I will never, ever be able to say anything but how my heart swells remembering Lola and Cricket and the story that brings them together.

This book, this lovely little novel, reminds me of why I love to read and that there are still stories out there that I will stay up until near morning to finish. So, thank you Ms. Perkins. Thank you for writing the story you did. Thank you for Lola and Cricket and for crooked-happy endings that make me smile and sigh. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Related Posts: My Book Boyfriend - Cricket Graham Bell


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kindle Book Deals - ($2.99 or Less)

Okay everyone, so I'm an Amazon stalker because, seriously, what is better than getting a free or massively cheap book??? So, I wanted to let you know about the latest cheap books because they scream AWESOME! (No, really, they do...you may need to plug your ears. :D)

Halfway to the Grave: Night Huntress novel No. 1
(With Bonus Material)
by Jeaniene Frost
$1.99 Kindle Book
For a limited time, discover Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series with Halfway to the Grave. Plus, as a bonus, you will receive exclusive material, including deleted scenes and excerpts!

I love this series! Bones and Cat are seriously hilarious and fun and I just never get tired of Bones...*drools* He is delicious!


Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her...
I've read one other book by Ms. Kinsella and I actually really enjoy her work. It's usually Adult Contemporary Fiction, but I'd also paste feel good fiction on there as well.


by Julie Berry
$2.99 Kindle Book
When a mysterious piece of jewelry and a strange visitor arrive in the jewelry shop where she works for her evil aunt, Lucinda's course takes a surprising turn. With the help of the Amaranth Witch, a young (and harmless) con-artist, and a prince, Lucinda uncovers secrets about her own royal past. A strong seller in hardcover, this original fairytale marks an exciting debut from a lyrical new voice.

This one has been on my TBR of a bit. It looks cute.

by D.D. Barant
$2.99 Kindle Book
Her job description is the “tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers.” What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek’s brave new world—one in which only one percent of the population is human—is that a woman’s work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day…
Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she’s the best there in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves. David’s world—one that also includes lycanthropes and golems—is one with little knowledge of mental illness. An insane serial killer is a threat the NSA has no experience with. But Jace does. Stranded in a reality where Bela Lugosi is a bigger box office draw than Bruce Willis and every full moon is Mardi Gras, Jace must now hunt down a fellow human before he brings the entire planet to the brink of madness. Or she may never see her own world again…
This book I'm so excited for! It looks seriously AWESOME! I mean, listen to this line, "Her job description is the “tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers.” HELLO, epic! :D *squee*



Tantalize (Tantalize No.1)
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
$2.99 Kindle Book

Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything? TANTALIZE marks Cynthia Leitich Smith’s delicious debut as a preeminent author of dark fantasy.
I love this cover, but beyond that, this has been on the TBR for awhile.



Bloodthirsty
by Flynn Meany
$2.99 Kindle Book
Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls. Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before-he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part. With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected. This hilarious debut novel is for anyone who believes that sometimes even nice guys -without sharp teeth or sparkly skin - can get the girl.

I've seen some rave reviews of this one, so I'm really excited to get my hands on it!


Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts No.1)
by Stacia Kane
$0.99 Kindle Book
The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.
This one I've already read, but it seriously, SERIOUSLY was so freaking amazing. I've been dying for book 4 in the series forever, but it's not released til next year. All you who haven't read this series MUST READ THIS SERIES!!! *Team Terrible*


Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid No.1)
by Richelle Mead
$2.99 Kindle Book
When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical? But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid's life is far less exotic. At least there's her day job at a local bookstore-free books; all the white chocolate mochas she can drink; and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can't.But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle's demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won't help because Georgina's about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny-

Gosh I loved this series. It is smexy and hot and the plot was intense. Besides that, the characters rocked. I highly recommend this series!


Okay, that's all I've got for now. If I see any else that are worth your while, I'll let you know. :D

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