Saturday, March 31, 2012

Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler

Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Sometimes the end is just the beginning.  Gabby lived under the radar until her makeover. Way under. But when she started her senior year as a blonder, better-dressed version of herself, she struck gold: Billy Nash believed she was a the flawless girl she was pretending to be. The next eight months with Billy were bliss...Until the night Gabby woke up on the ground next to the remains of his BMW without a single memory of how she got there.  And Billy's nowhere to be found.  All Gabby wants is to make everything perfect again. But getting her life back isn't difficult, it's impossible. Because nothing is the same, and Gabby's beginning to realize she's missed more than a few danger signs along the way.  It's time for Gabby to face the truth, even if it means everything changes.  Especially if it means everything changes.  -

This story surprised me on a couple different levels.  First of all, the story is told alternately between then and now.  I thought, at first, oh boy, this is going to be confusing.  But the author handled this switch back and forth so skillfully that it didn't pull me out of the story or confuse me at all. 

Gabby is faced with some challenges here and earns a new strength as she journeys through this situation.  I love watching a character's journey as they grow and change to meet what's happening to them, and you definitely saw this with Gabby.

I wanted to kick the crap out of her mother on more than one occassion.  In most scenes Gabby has with her mother, I just couldn't help but think that some people don't deserve to be, and should never be, parents. 

There were a few surprises in this story for me, some I saw coming, and some I didn't.  Bottom line, the story was very good, a fast read that kept me interested.  The author's writing style was so good... I love this kind of deep-heart narrative that really strips barriers away, where you truly feel like you're in the person's head.  Some of the writing was so beautiful.

A great debut by author Ann Redisch Stampler.  Definitely someone to watch for!


Friday, March 30, 2012

Gotta Have It YA Releases: April 2012

It's time to celebrate the upcoming titles for April release.  I've been waiting so long for some of these, so I'm super excited!!

Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg  (4/1/2012)
Above by Leah Bobet  (4/1/2012)
The List by Siobhan Vivian  (4/1/2012)

Pure (Covenant #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout  (4/3/2012)
Radiate by Marley Gibson  (4/3/2012)
Immortal City by Scott Speer  (4/3/2012)

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers  (4/3/2012)
Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt  (4/10/2012)
Predestined (Existence #2) by Abbi Glines (4/4/2012)

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman  (4/10/2012)
The Calling by Kelley Armstrong  (4/10/2012)
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross (4/10/2012)

Lexapros and Cons by Aaron Karo  (4/10/2012)
Taken At Dusk (Born At Midnight #3) by C. C. Hunter  (4/10/2012)
The Last Echo (Body Finder #3) by Kimberly Derting  (4/17/2012)

Glimmer by Phoebe Kitandis  (4/17/2012)
The Springsweet (Verspertine #2) by Saundra Mitchell  (4/17/2012)
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris  (4/24/2012)

The Temptation by Alisa Valdes  (4/24/2012)
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin  (4/24/2012)
The Story of Us by Deb Caletti  (4/24/2012)

Social Suicide (Deadly Cool #2) by Gemma Halliday  (4/24/2012)
Blood Born by Jamie Manning (4/24/2012)
Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf  (4/24/2012)

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa  (4/24/2012)
The Selection by Kiera Cass  (4/24/2012)


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: Harcourte Children's Books

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.  As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?  -

At first, I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this story.  It started off a little slow for me.  I know there was a lot of set up going on, but I almost felt that the author could have started the story off with Haven's arrival at the hotel, with a few small flashbacks to catch the reader up to her purpose there.  Going through all the events leading up to her arrival seemed to make the story plod a little at first.  However, I'm glad I stuck with it.

Once she arrives at the hotel, it doesn't take long for things to really take off and for the story to begin heating up.  By reading the summary, I had the idea that the story was going to go one certain direction, but it turns out that the summary is a little misleading.  I was pleasantly surprised though by where the author took things.  This was an intriguing and unique idea that I haven't really seen much of in other books, so she had something fresh and new here that was very interesting to read.

The characters were great, especially Haven.  She was smart, but add to that the fact that she's also able to keep her mouth shut when she needs to, and you've got an interesting character.  So much of the time, you see a heroine in stories and they end up telling everybody and their dog what's going on, and end up getting herself in a heap of trouble by telling the wrong person.  Haven kept her mouth shut though.  Of course, this meant she had to carry the burden on her own for a while, but when she did choose to tell someone, she made the right choice at the right time.

I wasn't sure if I'd like her pairing with the romantic lead, because he isn't typically the kind of guy in books that makes me swoon... but I stuck with it and he grew on me.  He was a great character.

Bottom line, this was a a really good story, a fast read, and great characters.  I am definitely looking forward to the sequel.

If you liked this book, be watching for the next installment, as yet untitled, and due to out in 2013.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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: June 26, 2012

Why I love it: A fairytale
prince who lives inside a fairtyale
but who wants to break out.  Ooooh!!
Buy it on Goodreads

Leave a comment and share your WoWs.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten list complete answers. This week's Top Ten list is:

Spring Fever!!!  What are the Top Ten books I'd play hook with.  In no particular order:

1.   Claudia Gray's Balthazar.  I've heard amazing things about this and he was always my favorite character in her Evernight series.

2. Veronica Wolff's Vampire's Kiss.  Sequel to her awesome first book in the series.  Can't wait to read this.

3. Leanna Renee Hieber's Darker Still.  A "Dorian Gray" type synopsis.  Love it!!

4. Jessica Shirvington's Embrace.  I'm currently reading this one and would love to skip work tomorrow to finish it.

5. Jessica Therrien's Oppression.  Mythology!  What can I say... you guys know how much I love mythology books.

6. Robin Wasserman's The Book of Blood and Shadow.  Have you read the summary for this book?  So awesome.

7.  Sarah Cross's Kill Me Softly.  Fairytales coming to life.  Super kewl!

8. Eve Marie Mont's A Breath of Eyre.  I've been waiting so long for someone to write a retelling of Jane Eyre.

9. C.C. Hunter's Taken at Dusk.  This is the next installment of her series and I absolutely adore these books.

10. Veronica Roth's Insurgent.  It comes out in May and I'm about to have a fit waiting for it.

Leave a comment and let me know your top tens!!

Leave a comment and share yours!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

In My Mailbox (67)

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

Here's what I got this week.  A good mix of the new and the slightly older.  Click on the picture to see the Goodreads page and summary for each book.

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


Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Release Date: June 21, 2012
Publisher: Balzer & Bray

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten...
Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger. But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.  Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.  -

I know I'm a little late in reading this book.  It came out last year, but I just acquired it and just now managed to read it.  Wow... why did I wait so long?  This was a fantastic book.  I dived through it so fast and finished it so quickly, I was hardly even aware that time was passing. 

The characters in this story were amazing.  The interactions between Charlotte and her best friend Sarah were some of my favorite parts in the story.  Their relationship was so close, so sweet, and so caring.  It actually took me back to high school in my head to what it was like for me and my best friend at the time.  It tugged at my memories and emotions, which is always a great thing for a book to be able to do.  It made me feel like I was there.

I really expected that Charlotte's little paranormal ability was going to be kind of cliche, as I've seen the concept before in other books, but what the author did with it from there was amazing and heartbreaking.  What a unique concept! 

And her relationship with Harlin.... wow.  Melt, melt, melt.  I loved this guy, and it was so sweet to see how much he cared for and loved her.  It was my second favorite thing about this story.  And that ending!!  Wow.  What's going to happen now?  In a way I think it's good I waited to read this, because now my wait for the sequel won't be quite so long. But I still can't wait!!

If you liked this book, be watching for:

Coming in June 2012!

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