Saturday, June 29, 2013

[Short Reviews]: The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin, Destiny's Fire by Trisha Wolfe, I Kissed the Boy Next Door by Suzanne D. Williams,

The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin
Published on August 2, 2012 by Putnam Juvenile

One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better. Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend. Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture.
Everyone has that one "filler-book", they chose because the cover was gorgeous, the summary was not hideous-sounding, and they just can't seem to find anything else to read at the moment. 
For me, that was The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin.   

I enjoyed the novel's premise; how Zielin manages to craft sufficient back stories for each character, and intertwine them through their scavenge for tornadoes. I mean, right off the bat, I knew these kids had to have some serious baggage if they were chasing tornadoes for fun. (A topic for another day.)

I found that I wasn't able to connect with the protagonist, Jane, in a way that made we want to vouch for her. Rather, I found myself, asking on several occasions "What the hell is your problem, man?" She was extremely melodramatic, whiny and self-centered. I really liked the love-interest, Max. Zielin was able to appropriately pace he and Jane's relationship in accordance with Jane's hurt, confused, and guilty feelings about leaving her troubled and ever-dependent alcoholic mother alone for the summer. 

The pace of the novel was also kind of slow, so if you're in search of a contemporary novel that flows right into its plot, then The Waiting Sky is not the book for you.

Destiny's Fire by Trisha Wolfe
Published on January 10, 2012 by Omnific Publishing
It's the year 2040, and sixteen-year-old Dez Harkly is one of the last of her kind—part of a nearly extinct race of shape-shifters descended from guardians to the Egyptian pharaohs. Her home and her secret are threatened when the Council lowers the barrier, allowing the enemy race to enter the Shythe haven. As the Narcolym airships approach, Dez and her friends rebel against their Council and secretly train for battle. Not only is Dez wary of war and her growing affection for her best friend Jace, she fears the change her birthday will bring.  When Dez's newfound power rockets out of control, it's a Narcolym who could change her fate...if she can trust him. Dez's guarded world crumbles when she discovers why the Narcos have really come to Haven Falls, and she's forced to choose between the race who raised her and the enemy she's feared her whole life.
Destiny's Fire  is a  jaw-dropping, drama leaking, insomnia-inducing read that I'm going to accredit for my new-found love for paranormal thrillers, and the not-so-pleasant mark I recently received for my latest history assignment. Trisha Wolfe does an amazing job in developing the setting for this almost post-apocalyptic time frame, where Destiny's new race is given to a second-class hybrid stature. (Not that this stops her from befriending first-class "purebreds.")

The action scenes described by Wolfe, were crazy vivid. I fell in love with Destiny, and her struggle against the powers-at-be. Each and every combat scene crafted by Wolfe, can only be described by two words: 
I flipped through the pages like a maniac, and finished reading Destiny's Fire in an hour and a half. One thing I really loved about Wolfe's writing was the pace -- it was perfect.  The book did look a bit short, so I went into the novel expecting the pace to be fairly fast.

I Kissed The Boy Next Door by Suzanne D. Williams
Published on April 6, 2013 by Barnes and Noble
There’s a new boy next door. Then again, not so new. Because to Lucy McKinsey, he’s a face from her past and a childhood memory of summer camp and a dare. Kiss Jackson Phillips. But what a fourteen-year-old would do to impress her friends, changes in three years. Right? Maybe not. Yet this time Jackson isn’t the same as he was. He’s taller, more handsome, and far wiser. What is the pain that he carries inside? And can something as simple as a well-meant kiss cure the boy next door?
A cute, refreshing, short contemporary story about two neighbors, Jackson and Lucy. They've always had chemistry, especially after Lucy kissed him when they were fourteen as a dare. An okay read for a short story, things did develop pretty fast between them which was a little surprising for me. The conflict in the story, though realistic was a little too played out. I didn't like the ending. It was too happily-ever-after, and not the slightest bit practical.

Friday, June 28, 2013

[Book Blitz]: Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey

Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey
Published on June 30, 2013 by Elle Casey 

IT HAPPENED IN VEGAS. I can't be held responsible. Things that happen there are supposed to stay there, right? Right? Yeeeah. Not so much. ... Andie's just days away from tying the knot, but there's just ooooone little glitch. Apparently, she's already married. Or someone with her name is married to a guy out in Oregon of all places, and the courthouse won't issue her a marriage license until it's all cleared up. Tripping her way through cow pies and country songs to meet up with a man who gets around places on horseback is her very last idea of how to have a good time, but if she's going to get married, make partner at the firm, and have two point five kids before she's thirty-five, she needs to get to the bottom of this snafu and fix it quick ... before her fiance finds out and everything she's been working toward goes up in flames.
                                                              Purchase on amazon for $0.99!                                                                     We're so excited to be hosting the Book Blitz for Elle Casey! In fact, we have a mini-interview with her about her writing and other influences on her work.

- Interview -
You started out writing in YA.  What brought you over to New Adult?
I've been a reader of new adult titles even before they were called 'new adult'.  And I love the age group it covers.  18-30 years old is such a great time in life, isn't it?  I mean, it's when you sow your wild oats, learn about yourself in the context of the whole world and not just your family and friends; it's where you figure out who you're going to be.  The adult-formative years I guess you could call it.  And the sex part is awesome too, I won't lie.  You can only get so sexy with a YA book, so as a writer, I have to hold back.  In NA, I don't have to do that.  It can be passionate, raw, sometimes awkward and full of bad decisions, but it can be REAL.  I guess that's what I love about NA most … it's raw and real.

You have a lot of novels in the urban fantasy genre.  What interested you in writing romances?
Romances were my first love.  Well … aside from Disney fairy tales.  But then again, those are all romances aren't they?  They've got misunderstood heroines - beaten down by others - who are looking for love and understanding, finally finding it in the hands of a guy on horseback.  I've read hundreds of romances in my time, from every publisher out there, including indie authors of course.  It doesn't matter how many I read, I always want more.  Since I love them as a reader, I really wanted to try my hand as a writer in the genre.  I have so many romance stories simmering in my brain right now, at this point, it's like therapy just getting them out of there.  I have 6 romances planned for the rest of the year and lots more for 2014.  I'm going to be very busy.  But I'm happy being busy because it's very important to me that I keep hunger readers fed.  I live to write for voracious readers. 

How do you write so many books in such a short period of time?
Short and sweet:  I have a system for getting the work done, and I'm a helluva fast typer.  More details: I have a ton of stories always waiting in my head to be told, and when I sit down at the computer, the words just kind of spill out.  My stories are very character-driven, meaning I don't make up the story.  I just find the characters wandering around in my head, put them in a situation, and let them run with it.  Now that I'm a full-time writer, I can dedicate more of my time to writing that I used to when I was also teaching at a university.  I treat writing as a business and try to be very disciplined about it.  After eighteen months of writing, I've published 20 novels, so I think my system is working.  :)
Elle Casey is a full-time writer of New Adult and Young Adult titles in several genres, including romance, urban fantasy, sci-fi dystopian, and action-adventure. She's an American girl who's been living in southern France with her husband and three children since 2010. She loves chatting with her readers, so feel free to drop her a line.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

[Cover Reveal]: Landlocked (Surface # 2) by Tiffany Daune

Author: Tiffany Daune 
Release Date: Summer 2013
Summer 2013

As if staying focused in trigonometry wasn't hard enough....Eerie visions are plaguing Theia's mind, driving her insane.  Someone or something is reaching out to her, dragging her into a dark underwater world. And, to add to her metal delirium, she has no control over her newly awakened Siren senses. She thinks she can hear her cat's thoughts, she wants to pummel Sarah Collins, and she's trying to keep it together so she doesn't lose her scholarship. She needs someone who understands—someone bound to the ocean water she craves—she needs Luc.  But contacting him is risky, and returning to the water a death sentence. She must find a way to harness her Siren senses even though the waves are calling to her. Denying her intended destiny may be the only way to stay alive.

Website / Facebook  / Twitter / Goodreads
Tiffany Daune doesn't get why people want to grow up or why anyone would ever stop eating candy. Her purse is filled with books, lip gloss and a few pieces of Lego bricks. She writes best with a dish of chocolate chips on hand and finds licorice makes a better straw than plastic.

She lives on an island and believes mermaids may be raiding her candy stash, though she hasn't caught them, yet.

Surface is her first novel and pairs well with gummy sharks.

[Review]: Waiting for You by Shey Stahl

Author: Shey Stahl
Publisher:  Self-Published - Woo hoo!
Release Date: February 21st 2013
Pages: 292
Read in: 3 days
Bailey Gray is tired of her perfectly planned life. Everything about her life has been organized and lived out to the expectations set of her parents. She is the class valedictorian, has perfect grades, the perfect friends, a perfect boyfriend, basically perfect life...or so everyone thought. That's when she realizes the path planned isn't always the path chosen. 

On graduation day she makes a decision. One that changes everything she thought she knew about her intended future.

On a whim, she runs away with the town rebel, Dylan Wade, in search of the unknown.

Dylan Wade isn't looking to run away from anything.

He knows what he wants as he's been waiting on it for years.

On a journey to find the unknown, they discover a friendship they once knew along the open highway and have not a care in the world. Between the yellow and white lines of the heated summer asphalt, a spark draws them together as Dylan's past and Bailey future try to ripe them apart.

Could it be that Dylan and his GTO are exactly what her perfectly planned life needs?

Bailey Gray is used to playing by the rules. She has perfect grades. A perfect best friend. And the perfect boyfriend. Since she was nine years old, Bailey has been bound by expectations formed by her parents. These expectations constrict her so much she finally cracks -- literally.  As valedictorian, Bailey is expected to make a speech for the senior class on Graduation Day. "With the right mindset, you can achieve anything." This, however, didn't happen. Instead, Bailey finds herself doing something she  wants for once. Something wild, crazy, and ridiculously stupid. She decides to give the senior class, her parents, and her superficial friends one last "Fuck you!" -- aloud. Even crazier? Bailey runs away from home, her full college scholarship, and from the Bailey everyone wants her to be with her mysterious first-kiss and ex-best-friend, Dylan. Together they'll make up for lost time, and fall in to a love so strong their respective families can't even top it.

I thought Bailey's character was fantastically developed. At first I thought her character was bit inconsistent, because of the fact that one day she's a yes-girl, and suddenly the next she's cursing and running away with one of the town's known delinquents. Although, after a while, I began to admire the spontaneity of the road trip Dylan and Bailey embark on. It added to the intense sparks that started flying between them, less than midway through the book. The conflict. It was a huge plot twist that I totally did not see coming. When the climax was finally revealed, I had to put my Kindle down. I literally had no words, and way too many feels. Which explains why it took me three days to read Waiting for You  instead of one. 
I wasn't a fan of the ending. I loved the uncertainty at the end, especially since Bailey is so used to having all her plans laid out. It made the reader unsure of what was to come, as if nothing had been put into writing. However, what didn't sit too well with me was this sort of epilogue turn of events that occurred. It wasn't as practical as I would've like it to be.

 The fact that there's a sequel. What could possibly happen that didn't already take place?! They settle down as some sort-of-runaway-sweethearts, marry and have kids? Actually, maybe a sequel doesn't irk me as much. How about the fact that it's apparently a trilogy now? I think the story has a lot a potential, but a TRILOGY?! In my opinion, it will drag Dylan and Bailey's story out to a point of no return, and no enjoyment.
I thought the story of Dylan and Bailey was heart-warming, and yet heart-breaking all in one shot. Waiting for You  surpassed all expectations I had previously established from reviews I've seen prior to my reading it. Served as a great addition to summer reading lists of 2013.
(3.5, really.)

                      Website / Facebook  / Twitter / Goodreads
Shey Stahl is a romance writer who enjoys writing about racing and a good love story that will sweep you off your laughing ass. Growing up she was surrounded by racing watching her dad at the local Northwest tracks. 

Writing wasn't something she thought she would ever do but when a rough pregnancy landed her on bed rest three years ago, a passion was discovered. Now, aside from chasing around her little princess with magical powers, it's rare for her to put down the pen.

Currently Shey is finishing up her series, Racing on the Edge, that follows a dirt track racer on his rapid rise to the glitz and glamour of NASCAR and the family who supports him.

Monday, June 24, 2013

[Musing Mondays]: Bookish Rant | My Summer Reading List

We realize the meme is Musing Mondays, but we made the graphic before we noticed the mistake. We apologize :)

This week we actually answered two questions:

Books we're looking forward to reading - 

We recently finished making our Summer Reading List for 2013. We were so excited ... up until we counted how many books we had on the list. An impossible total of 88 books!! Between demanding summer jobs, AND SAT prep -- we don't know what we're going to do. As a result, we're just  aiming to read 2 - 4 books every week each. Let's see how that works out.

The books we plan on reading this week:

A bit of an intense read. The author is amazing <3

From what we've heard this is a light read. 1st one I want to tackle.
A friend on Goodreads suggested we read it.
Recently saw a review on this one. Seems like a decent read.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

[Bookish Issues]: The Ever-Growing To-Read List

Haven't done one of these posts in a while. I'm back in the blogging game officially, though. Oh, boy. Hope I don't offend anyone...

Wrote this post late at night. Correcting grammatical errors as I go, as well as any obvious deliria. 

There's a book-related dilemma that pretty much every book blogger, or "obsessive" reader has come into contact with - at least once. This dilemma? The ever-growing to-read list. 

Yeah, that's right, I'm calling you  out - anyone who "plans to read" more books than 10 times the amount of books they've read up to date. Since I'm especially guilty, I'll reveal the stats I  have on Goodreads. 

93 books (Read) - A complete lie. Due to the fact that I almost always  forget to post my reviews for novels (until recently).
838 books (To-read) - It's a bit sad, isn't it?


For those of you unfamiliar with this common problem. I shall explain the process, a bibliophile's mind goes through. 

1 | bibliophile sees book on Goodreads.

How the person came across the book:
  •  Another friend added it -  (9%)
  •  Someone recommended it (Confession? I pretty much ignore ALL of my recommendations.) - (2%)
  •  Rafflecopter Giveaway said so - (17%)
  •  Read a review on it / Blog Tour - (1%) - (Because who reads reviews when they can leave a meaningless comment like: "Added to my TBR-list. Great review! New follower. [Insert link to their book blog]." And copy & paste like there's no tomorrow.)
  •  BOOK HYPE. - (32%)
  •  The book came to you ... - (39%)
Nonetheless, you arrive at the book page and your eyes pull a move like so:

(Notice how the description has not been expanded.) WHAT DOES THE BIBLIOPHILE DO NEXT?! Oh, gosh. I feel like Dora.
You're freaking ecstatic. 
 BUT, you don't want to judge the book by its cover (something you've already done)  ... so you read the summary. *Rolls eyes* Pretty decent. 

2 | Bibliophile adds book to their to-read list.

BEHOLD - the enemy.
Does anyone wonder why that button doesn't say "Finished Reading"? The book has been added to your to-read list. Then for the slightest moment you let yourself think about the other books you still have NOT read yet, or the amount of books already  on your to-read list. And you're just like:


3 | Bibliophile never reads book. 

OR, says they'll get to it soon ... they never do. I blame half of this on Goodreads since their purchase links NEVER work and it's so much work to open a new tab and go to a retailer's site. I'm sorry, but get it together, man!

 It's a cycle, guys! You know why?! Because the books they call to us:

When we're sad:

When we're lonely: 

When people think we need social lives:

Before, I end this post I'm going to add some side notes. 

4| Side Notes. 

I'M COMING CLEAN ABOUT EVERYTHING ... I REMEMBER                                                                                                       

    The Purchase Links 
Alrighty. I don't know if any of you guys have noticed this small bar on Goodreads? Looks like this:
Something most people don't notice is that the ONLY link that work is Amazon's. (Pause. I know that most of you reading this post are going to go confirm that.) I mean, SERIOUSLY. 
Amazon is everywhere. I think it's a conspiracy. Although, my sanity is very much questionable at this point. So, who cares what I think.

     Rating the Book

The book clearly doesn't come out for another year. Unless you're the agent, an editor, or related to the author. Then you do NOT have a copy. I have ARCs. I get it. I really do. BUT NEVER EVER have I heard of a person getting an ARC that  early on. SO, WHY THEN ARE PEOPLE RATING THE BOOK IF THEY HAVE NOT READ IT? I don't know. I'm confused. Can someone explain that to me? It just blows my mind when people do that. I don't care if every word that the author publishes is written in gold - Please DO NOT rate a book if you haven't read it. If you didn't finish it, that's a different story.

Have you guys seen book summaries like this:

Comparing the novel to another amazing series that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the novel. Is this a  marketing strategy? Frankly, I think it's misleading and annoying. If I loved a certain novel, and a considerable amount of people loved it as well, don't take that for granted and lie to us! ESPECIALLY if the book you're trying to sell, simply put, SUCKS.

  ★ The Not-In-Your-Lifetime-Release-Date
Did you ever add the book to your to-read list, and then check the release date? And the publisher pulls a stunt like this:

And you can't function. It's like the publishers almost ... expect you to go on with your life? It's preposterous, that's what it is. I'm not going to go into depth with this one since I had a separate rant, way back when - here.

 I'm so sorry if I offended anyone. I ranted, I stated my opinion; but my opinion is just that, MY OPINION. No one should ever take me seriously, I'm not exactly ... mentally stable. 

If you're going to comment on how every point I made is invalid -- LEAVE. If you disagree with me, please let me know! Tell me why. I love  feedback. :D But, if you're just here to rain on my pretty amazing parade? Exit this tab, immediately.