Monday, October 31, 2011

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

When Rose’s mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go.  As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family’s gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she’s going through. Can loss lead to love? - GoodIreads.com

It's a very simple summary that Goodreads.com gives us, but what's between the pages of this book is anything but simple.  This was one of those books for me... the kind that grabs you from the start, worms its way into your emotions, and leaves an impression.  I had been in somewhat of a small reading slump.  I was enjoying the books that I was reading, but I kept waiting for one to really grab me emotionally.  This one did.

The situation Rose is facing is tough.  Anyone who has ever dealt with the loss of a close loved one knows what Rose is going through, and I have to assume that this author has lived through it as well, in order to so closely, accurately, and poignantly depict the emotions and behavior that not only Rose, but also her father and brother suffer at the loss of their mother.  This girl has done all she can to step into her mother's place in the family, take care of everyone, while at the same time, pretty much withdrawing from everything in her life that used to be important to her.  She's a shell and has drawn inward so much.  Her mother's Survival Kit pushes her a little at a time to start awakening and opening back up again.

Will was the perfect companion for her.  Having suffered loss himself, he knows exactly what Rose feels, and it seemed like a glove fitting on a hand when these two were drawn together and fit together so well.  Healing takes place, almost without them realizing it.  So much of the time when I read a story like this, I can feel myself being maneuvered by the author to see the "lessons learned", the progression of healing, etc... but not so in this case.  It was such a natural progression, and their relationship moved forward in tiny, sensitive steps.

The way the author handled this story was breathtaking.  This was a beautiful story with beautiful writing.

If you liked this book, you might also like:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (42)



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Here's what I got this week!


Lost In Time (Blue Bloods #6) by Melissa de la Cruz
Flying Blind (Dragon Diaries #1) by Deborah Cooke
Isle of Night (The Watchers #1) by Veronica Wolff



Silence (Hush, Hush #3) by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
The Farewell Season by Ann Herrick

Leave a comment and let me know what you got this week!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

After Adam by Katie Aleo

After Adam by Katie Aleo
Release Date: July 8, 2011
Publisher: Self Published Kindle Direct

Anna starts the second summer after her boyfriend Adam's death with a new determination to rejoin her peers. She even takes a summer job waitressing at The Shack - a greasy diner in the small beach town where she lives. Her feelings get complicated however when Adam's older brother, Camp, comes home from college and starts working there too. - Goodreads.com

After Adam was a book I found while trolling through the Barnes and Noble online shelves.  It appears to be a self-published book, and it is living proof that self-published authors can be really awesome writers and that their books can really sparkle.  I absolutely loved this book.  The story was simple, and when I say that, don't think I mean lacking in plot, originality or lacking in any way.  I mean simple as in straightforward, honest, and just very real.

Anna is trying to get over the death of her boyfriend, a simple but very brutal circumstance that this author handled with sensitivity and honesty.  Camp was a wonderful foil to her, a complementing companion, and it was so easy to see how these two would be drawn to each other.  There weren't any huge events in this story, as it was very character driven.  Sometimes, however, these make the best stories, if handled by the right author, and Katie Aleo did a phenomenal job pulling me in, making me care, and making me read to the final page.

This book was very cheaply priced, but it is proof that you can definitely find some gems out there, at any price or publisher.  I hope to see more from Katie Aleo.  Great book.

If you liked this book, you might also like:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gotta Have It YA Releases: November 2011

A new month! New books to yearn for!! These are titles that I am salivating over and can't wait to get in November 2011.


Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie (11/1/2011)
My Very Un Fairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski (11/1/2011)
Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts (11/1/2011)




Reckoning (Strange Angels Series) by Lili St. Crow (11/1/2011)
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman (11/1/2011)
Touch by Jus Accardo (11/1/2011)


Prized (Birthmarked #2) by Caragh M. O'Brien (11/8/2011)
Faking Faith by Josie Bloss (11/8/2011)
Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough (11/8/2011)



The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff (11/15/2011)
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (11/15/2011)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (11/15/2011)



Dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman (11/15/2011)
Kiss of Frost (Mythos Academy #2) by Jennifer Estep (11/29/2011)
Legend by Marie Lu (11/29/2011)


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lemniscate by Jennifer Murgia

Lemniscate by Jennifer Murgia
Release Date: March 21, 2011
Publisher: Atlantic Publishing

For Teagan, these last few months have been heaven on earth - especially now that Garreth, her boyfriend and guardian angel, is earthbound. But perhaps Garreth is becoming a little more human than either of them expected.
Now, Teagan must realize that her world is once again about to shift, as she questions the faith she held in others against those once considered enemies.
In this continuation of Angel Star, Lemniscate will draw you even deeper into the world of dark and light as Teagan realizes the angel who could possibly save them all is the one angel she feared the most. - Goodreads.com


This was definitely a worthy sequel to Angel Star!  There were some parts of it that had me very frustrated, and a couple things that made me go "Um, but..." BUT...all in all, it was a very good story that entertained me and kept me very interested.

Teagan, once again, proved to be an intriguing and strong character.  She has to deal with quite a few unexpected things in this story, not least of which is how her angel, now boyfriend, Garreth, is becoming more human.  And it's not always a good thing.  Having the human experience thrust upon you was probably a big shock to someone who has been a guardian angel for years... so in many ways I could definitely understand why Garreth made some of the choices he did, despite the fact that those choices often irritated and frustrated me.  However, it didn't irk me because it was believable.

When the Goodreads.com summary mentions an angel that could possibly saving them all being the one angel they fear... I won't say who it is.  Let me just say, yeah... that was a bit of a surprise.  At first, I had a little trouble with this one because I was just so surprised that it would happen, but at the same time, I definitely understood it.  There was some really good potential for a great love triangle here though, and I feel like the author didn't play with this enough.  However, it didn't really detract from the story.

All in all, I thought this was a really great sequel.  The author did a great job keeping me interested and keeping me where I cared about her characters.  I'm not sure if there will be a third book, as this one seemed to tie everything up very neatly. However, that's what I thought about Angel Star too, and I was wrong.  So maybe we'll get a third installment.  Hope so!

If you liked this book, you might also like:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!



Release Date: August 1, 2012
Why I love it: A girl who
bakes cupcakes. A sweet romance!

Buy it on Goodreads

Leave a comment and share your WoWs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:




  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week comes from:

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
Small blurb from Goodreads.com: When Rose’s mom dies, she leaves behind a brown paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside the bag, Rose finds an iPod, with a to-be-determined playlist; a picture of peonies, for growing; a crystal heart, for loving; a paper star, for making a wish; and a paper kite, for letting go. As Rose ponders the meaning of each item, she finds herself returning again and again to an unexpected source of comfort. Will is her family’s gardener, the school hockey star, and the only person who really understands what she’s going through. Can loss lead to love?

Teaser from page 11: "An image of my mother with a thick bunch gathered in her arms cut through my mind, and my fingers automatically released the sticky green stem as if it were covered in thorns.  The flower fell to the ground, and I stared at it lying there.  A car horn sounded.  Chris Williams, my boyfriend of two years, pulled up in front of the house.  I hurried to meet him, the sole of my boot crushing the red petals of the daisy against the brick."

Share your teaser for this week!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen

Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail? At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:
As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list. When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long. - Goodreads.com

As far as story recreations goes, this one was pretty good.  I've read a lot of Pride and Prejudice redos... some really great and some were just complete copies to where you can predict exactly what's going to happen next.  First of all, I do like a good redo, but when the author has stuck so closely to the formula like that, then it looks like they followed a formula and didn't do anything to make the story fresh, or to give it a new spin.  This one was one of the good ones.  The author did a really great job staying true to the original story, but still making the story new and innovative.  I didn't feel like I knew exactly what was coming around the next corner at EVERY corner.  I liked how she blended old elements in with new.  It made the story more hers and not so much like a copy of the original.

Elise was a great character, as was her older sister.  The author did a great job recapturing the dynamic between the two sisters, as well as bring "Lydia" to life in the younger sister.  Derek was a great Mr. Darcy.  I thought the author did a super job in creating his character.  About the only thing you can really make a guy today that might equate to old British royalty a la Mr. Darcy, is Hollywood royalty.  Perfect way to create this character and set the stage for him to be Darcy-like.

I can't really point to anything about this story that disappointed me.  I thought it was very well done, entertaining and fun.  A really good recreation.

If you liked this book, you might also like:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (41)



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Here's what I got this week!


The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Legacy by Molly Cochran
Kiss of Death (Morganville Vampires #8) by Rachel Caine


Ghost Town (Morganville Vampires #9) by Rachel Caine
Bite Club (Morganville Vampires #10) by Rachel Caine
Passion (Torment #3) by Lauren Kate


The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas


Leave a comment and let me know what you got this week!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby
Release Date: June 9, 2011
Publisher: Speak

While most students at Burtonwood Academy get to kill demons and goblins, fifteen-year-old Emma gets to rid the world of little annoying fairies with glittery wings and a hipster fashion sense. She was destined to be a dragon slayer, but cute and charming Curtis stole her spot. Then she sees a giant killer fairy - and it's invisible to everyone but her! If Emma has any chance of stopping this evil fairy, she's going to need help. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Curtis. And now, not only has he stolen her dragon-slayer spot, but maybe her heart as well! Why does she think it's going to be a fairy bad day? - Goodreads.com

This was a cute, fun read that had lots of humor and a great story.  I wasn't sure what I would think of it because I'm not a big fan of fairy books, but this one was an exception.  Emma was a fun character to listen to.  She was funny, determined to have her way and be a dragon slayer, and her interactions with the fairies were so funny I couldn't help but laugh aloud many times.

It was entertaining to see hers and Curtis' relationship develop, as of course, he has what she wants.  But when they begin to work together, the story really amps up.  The strange, hidden fairy is much like a dragon, so in a way, Emma is in her element trying to battle this strange being.  Add to that the fact that her mother is very intimately connected with this creature's appearance, and we have some great conflict here.

This was one of those stories that pure escapism and you just had to love it.  Fun and entertaining!

If you liked this book, you might also like:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Variant by Robison Wells

Variant by Robison Wells
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen

Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. He was wrong. Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive. Where breaking the rules equals death.  But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible. - Goodreads.com

When I first got this book, I had absolutely no expectations.  I had read the blurb, of course, and the summary was so intriguing that I was definitely looking forward to reading the book.  I did not expect to fall in love with it!  I finished it all of two minutes ago and couldn't wait to write my review for it.  I'm not sure what to praise first.

This was one of those books that just grabs you from the very first sentence, takes you on an absolute roller-coaster ride of constant, relentless suspense, and doesn't let go, not even with the last sentence.  I read this story in one sitting with very few breaks, because I truthfully didn't want to put off reading a single page.  I had to know what happened next.  There was very little "down time" in the book.  It was constant...taking you from one breathtaking event to another. 

The characters were real, honest, sympathetic, and you just couldn't help but love them. Especially Benson.  This is one smart guy, brave, but smart enough not to be stupidly brave when bravery won't work.  So much of the time you see a good character make a really stupid decision trying to be brave. Not this guy.  He knew when to back off and live to fight another day.  He knew how to keep things to himself and make smart choices.  You had to admire him.  The other characters, even the bad ones, were so well drawn that I could imagine them so clearly.  You also had to feel sympathy for the bad ones because it seemed they were misguided. 

When the "big reveal" comes about halfway through the book, where Benson finally discovers a small piece of what might be happening around him, I was utterly floored.  I never in a million years expected it.  And when the last big secret is revealed, I didn't expect that either.  The author did an awesome job planting doubts in your head and yet still managing to surprise you.

This story was brilliantly plotted, beautifully written and was so suspenseful that you can't soon forget it.  It had me right up until the end, and even now I am still in suspense.  There is obviously going to be a sequel and I can't believe I have to wait for however many months, or a year, to read what happens next. 

Read this story!  I dare you not to love it!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!


Release Date: February 8, 2012
Why I love it: Amanda Grace!
After her book But I Love Him,
I can't wait to read anything by her!
 
Buy it on Goodreads

Leave a comment and share your WoWs.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:






  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week comes from:



Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

Small blurb from Goodreads.com: While most students at Burtonwood Academy get to kill demons and goblins, fifteen-year-old Emma gets to rid the world of little annoying fairies with glittery wings and a hipster fashion sense. She was destined to be a dragon slayer, but cute and charming Curtis stole her spot. Then she sees a giant killer fairy - and it's invisible to everyone but her! If Emma has any chance of stopping this evil fairy, she's going to need help. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Curtis. And now, not only has he stolen her dragon-slayer spot, but maybe her heart as well! Why does she think it's going to be a fairy bad day.

Teaser from page 12: "Burtonwood had instilled in its students from an early age that it was a slayer’s job to be discreet and fly under the radar, and despite the pounding sensation in her head from where the debris had hit her, Emma was fairly sure that exploding cold rooms did not count as discreet.  Which was why she did the only thing any sane slayer would do. She pressed her hand to her aching face and ran."

Share your teaser for this week!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eve by Anna Carey

Eve by Anna Carey
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her. Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.  - Goodreads.com

I wasn't sure what to expect from this story, as I had read mixed reviews about it.  I was very pleasantly surprised though, as I didn't have any problems at all sinking into this story.

Eve has been brought up to believe that graduation will bring a new life for her, where she will be placed in a position to learn a valuable trade which she will then use out in the world.  When she learns from a fellow student the terrible secret behind the "trade school," I was so happy by her reaction.  I expected her to do what I've seen a lot of other YA heroines do, deny it up and down forever, despite the evidence, until finally the evidence has to hit her smack between the eyes and then she finally believes.  Eve wasn't like that though.  Although she didn't want to believe it, and denied it verbally to the friend, she immediately sets out to prove or disprove what she's been told.  She finds out immediately, and then even more quickly takes action.  She didn't waste valuable time moping around and still "trying to deny it" to herself.  I found this very refreshing.  It also gets the action off to an immediate start, which I also found refreshing.  The story, therefore, had a really good pace that kept my interest.

Caleb was great.  I really loved this character.  He was a gentleman in a world where there's no such thing as gentlemen anymore.  He is very sensitive to Eve and where she's come from, and the things she's experienced.  He understands the fate that was lying in store for her.  Their romance was really intriguing because they live in a world where boys and girls have been kept separated, and so the romance grew with a sweet innocence that I found really endearing.

I have to admit that a big part of the book that I found to be my favorite was the growing relationship between Eve and her "friend."  I don't want to reveal who it is, but anyone reading the book will figure it out fairly easily.  This was an unlikely friendship, and it was great to see it grow.  I kept expecting this friend to turn into a stereotypical dystopian friend like so many I've read in the past... you know the kind.  The kind that appears to have made friends, but really they're either out to sabotage the heroine, or else they get jealous, upset, or angry, and at some point sell out the heroine to the bad guys.  Not so here.

So basically, everywhere that I could see a cliched or overly utilized plot device building, Anna Carey surprised me every time and went a completely different way with it.  It made the story very appealing and exciting and kept me very interested.  I will definitely be looking for the sequel to this story. 

If you liked this, you might also like:

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