Justine's books

Last Sacrifice
My Soul to Take
My Soul to Save
My Soul to Keep
My Soul to Steal
Wings
Spells
Illusions
Sing Me to Sleep
Girl Stays in the Picture
The Eternal Ones
Beastly
Ash
Huntress
Secret Society
The Trust
Ascendant
Rampant
0.4
Fairy Tale


Justine's favorite books »

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

PBA Release Day Blitz













When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.




Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face. Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw-out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?






The Dominion of Atalanta is at war. But for eighteen-year-old Aris, the fighting is nothing more than a distant nightmare, something she watches on news vids from the safety of her idyllic seaside town. Then her boyfriend, Calix, is drafted into the Military, and the nightmare becomes a dangerous reality.

Left behind, Aris has nothing to fill her days. Even flying her wingjet—the thing she loves most, aside from Calix—feels meaningless without him by her side. So when she’s recruited to be a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping she’ll be stationed near Calix. But there’s a catch: She must disguise herself as a man named Aristos. There are no women in the Atalantan Military, and there never will be.

Aris gives up everything to find Calix: her home. Her family. Even her identity. But as the war rages on, Aris discovers she’s fighting for much more than her relationship. With each injured person she rescues and each violent battle she survives, Aris is becoming a true soldier—and the best flyer in the Atalantan Military. She’s determined to save her Dominion . . . or die trying.



Author Info:
Aimee L. Salter writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, is still in touch with their inner-high schooler. She never stopped appreciating those moments in the dark when you say what you're really thinking. And she'll always ask you about the things you wish she wouldn't ask you about.

Aimee blogs for both writers and readers at www.aimeelsalter.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | AMAZON







Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. Since 2011, she's published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places.

Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit www.phoenixauthorink.com and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life.

You can find out more about her and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com



FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | AMAZON





Tracy Banghart is a cheesy movie-loving, fantasy football-playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began "practicing" her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family's cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | AMAZON















Friday, 25 July 2014

Release Day Blitz: Sanctum- Cameo Renae


Title: Sanctum (The After Light Saga #2)
Author: Cameo Renae
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian
Publisher: CHBB
Cover Design: Regina Wamba at Mae I Design Photography
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Tours


Blurb:
The Arvy threat worsens each day. They continue to destroy the hive’s vital fuel resources, leaving us with one option— evacuate to the largest government bunker, located in South Dakota. The injured hive members are moved as first priority, but a disastrous event occurs on the way to our drop-off zone. We find ourselves in a ghost town, surrounded by spiteful, revenge filled Arvies. Chaos ensues and our death toll rises. Just when we think the end has come, unsuspected help arrives. We are rescued and brought to an underground bunker. They call it Sanctum. With no way of reaching outside help, we must depend on each other to reach our pick-up zone, thirty miles away. If we don’t make it in time, we will be left for dead. Time is ticking. My name is Abigail Park. I am a survivor.



My family is what keeps my heart beating, and my world a happy place to be.

I love reading great books that whisk me away from reality, even if for a little while. :) Writing is my passion. I love creating new worlds and new characters, and taking wondrous adventures with them.

In My Dreams & Hidden Wings were both recently published through Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. Descent (A Hidden Wings novella) will be released May 15, 2013, and Broken Wings (Book 2 in the Hidden Wings Series) will be released June 1, 2013.

One day I will find my magic wardrobe, and ride away on my magical unicorn... ♥ Until then... I'll keep writing! ;)




Follow Cameo on:
Facebook * Blog * Website * Twitter

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Review #317: The Everafter- Amy Huntley

Title: The Everafter
Author: Amy Huntley
Pages: 248
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Summary: Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this - she is dead. And alone in a vast, dark space. The only company Maddy has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things she lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that, with these artifacts, she can reexperience - and even change - moments from her life.
Her first kiss.
A trip to Disney World.
Her sister's wedding.
A disastrous sleepover.
In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and frightening truths about her life - and death.
Review: I've had this book sitting on my shelf forever and one of my friends recommended that I pick it up so I did. I was drawn to this book because the cover is hauntingly beautiful and I want to know the story behind it. I really enjoyed the plot of this story. I liked how we were given random glances int Maddie's life but they were all connected and meant something. This novel is kind of a thriller, suspense and it through me for a loop. I had thought something totally different had happened. On the downside I felt like The Everafter read a bit slow for me, even when we were near the climax. The Munchousens aspect was my favourite part of this book. I would love to have more of that part of the story and it would have been cool told from the mother's point of view.

Review #316: Landry Park- Bethany Hagen

Title: Landry Park
Author: Bethany Hagen
Series: Landry Park, #1
Pages: 374
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal
In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won't allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty - her family and the estate she loves dearly - and desire.
Review: Ever since I heard about this book I thought it sounded amazing and wanted to read it. I really like the world that the author has created, it's a mixed between dystopian and Victorian. I also enjoyed the mystery, even though most of it could guess what was happening or going to happen. I liked that there was a bit of romance, but it was rather confusing to try and sort through ahah. 
I loved that our heroine fought for what she thought was right even if it was the opposite of what her family and friends believed. But boy, was she stupid with boys, finally at the very end of the book she admits to what I had wanted her to from the very beginning. If I was in her shoes it would have been harder for me to choose one of them. I loved the surprise character twist at the end.
I really enjoyed this read and I am excited to see what will happen next. I would recommend Landry Park to those who like dystopian and/ or Victorian reads.



About this author

I'm a born and bred Kansas Citian, meaning I can tolerate jazz for brief amounts of time and I'm offended by dry rub barbecue. I grew up reading Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur. When I’m not working at the library or running around with the kids and the husband, I’m writing or thinking about writing.

Review #315: Witches of East End- Melissa de la Cruz

Title: Witches of East End
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: The Beauchamp Family, #1
Pages: 272
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: From the author of the highly addictive and bestselling Blue Bloods series, with almost 3 million copies sold, comes a new novel, Melissa de la Cruz's first for adults, featuring a family of formidable and beguiling witches.
The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid--live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.
For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.
With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil.
Review: I fell in love with Melissa de la Cruz' writing after reading The Blue Bloods Series and even though I knew that this was an adult novel I had to read it. Also I was excited because it had become a Tv show too. This read was enjoyable, I liked all of the paranormal aspects and I enjoyed the overall story. I also liked the few twists that happened. I look forward to continuing this series. I would recommend this to those who love witch books.
Now what I really want to talk about. IF YOU HAVE READ THIS BOOK DO NOT WATCH THE TV SHOW!!! Or vise versa. They are nothing alike. A few names and points are the same but that's it. Names are different, none of the characters look like how they are described in the book and the whole storyline is different. It drove me insane. So just heed my warning.



About this author

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter. 

Review #313 and #314: If I Stay and Where She Went- Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay, #1
Pages: 262
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary: The critically acclaimed, bestselling novel from Gayle Forman, author of Where She WentJust One Day, and the forthcoming Just One Year
On a day that started like any other,
Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.
Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.
Review: The book is one of the most beautifully written books out there. It's filled with love, heartache, loss and so much more. The concept was so genius that I flew through it needing to know what the ending would hold. I loved that it moved between past and present, that gave me the backstory that I crave. If I Stay was a roller coaster of emotions and I definitely cried a few times. That ending was so bittersweet and I'm ready fro book two. 
I loved all of these characters, well except for the old, cranky nurse (self explanatory). I am happy that Adam was such a good guy that he stuck around, a lot probably wouldn't. I'm also thankful that Kim was such a good friend. Now I need more!
Everyone needs to read this book because it is so thought provoking. I'm sure the movie has also made it more popular so as long as the movie stays true to the book it will be a hit.

Title: Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay, #2
Pages: 264
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life.
And three years he's spent wondering why.
When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.
Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good - or can you really have a second chance at first love?
Review: I picked Where She Went up right after I finished reading If I Stay and I liked it just not as much as the first. I wish that it took place right after If I Stay, not three years in the future. I hate missing everything that happened in between. I know it talks about it in the flashbacks but I wish it was in real time instead. I'm happy with the ending but I would also love an update, wink, wink lol.
I'm not really sure what else to say about this book other than if you have Read If I Stay then you need to grab Where She went just to get some closure haha.




About this author

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a journalist who specialized in reporting on young people and social-justice issues. Which is a fancy way of saying I reported on all the ways that young people get treated like crap—and overcome! I started out working for Seventeen magazine, writing the kinds of articles that people (i.e. adults) never believe that Seventeen ran (on everything from child soldiers in Sierra Leone to migrant teen farm workers in the U.S.). Later on, I became a freelance journalist, writing for magazines like Details, Jane, Glamour, The Nation, Elle, Budget Travel, and Cosmopolitan.

In 2002, I went traveling for a year around the world with my husband, Nick. I spent time hanging out with some pretty interesting people, a third sex (we’d probably call them transvestites here) in Tonga, Tolkien-obsessed, role-playing punks in Kazakhstan (bonus points to those of you who can find Kazakhstan on a map), working class hip-hop stars in Tanzania. The result of that year was my first book, a travel memoir called You Can’t Get There From Here: A Year On the Fringes of a Shrinking World. You can read about my trip and see pictures of it here.

What do you do when you get back home after traveling the globe for a whole year? First, you get disproportionately excited by the little comforts in life: Not having to look at a map to get everywhere? Yay! Being able to drink coffee without getting dressed and schlepping to a café first? Bliss! Then, if you’re 32 years old and have been with your husband for evah, you have a kid. Which we did. Presto, Willa!

So, there I was. With a baby. And all of a sudden I couldn’t do the kind of gallivanty reporting I’d done before. Well, you know how they say in life when one door closes another opens? In my case, the door came clear off the frame. Because I discovered that I could take the most amazing journeys of my life without ever having to leave my desk. It was all in my head. In stories I could make up. And the people I wanted to take these fantastical journeys with, they all happened to be between the ages of 12 and 20. I don’t know why. These are just the people who beckon me. And I go where I’m told.

My first young-adult novel, Sisters in Sanity, was based on another one of those social justice articles I wrote when for Seventeen and you can click here to read the article. Sisters was published in 2007. My next book, If I Stay, was published in April of 2009 by Dutton. It is also being published in 30 countries around the world, which is surreal. The sequel/companion book to If I Stay, Where She Went, comes out in April 2011. I am currently working on a new YA novel, that is, when my kids (plural, after Willa we adopted Denbele from Ethiopia) allow me to. And after that book is finished, I’ll write another, and another….

Wow. This is crazy long. I suppose the short version of this bio could simply read: My name is Gayle Forman and I love to write young-adult novels. Because I do. So thank you for reading them. Because without you, it’d just be me. And the voices in my head.

Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications asJane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. 

Review #312: Smoke- Ellen Hopkins

Title: Smoke
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Series: Burned #2
Pages: 543
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated. Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life, but is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?
Review: I love Ellen Hopkins' books and I loved Burned so when I saw that the sequel had came out I needed it. This one is just as good as the first, it has both love and loss, plus we get to see some backstory. Also we find out some other things that we may not have known about otherwise. I really despise the girls mom in this book. She is such a coward ( well has really always been one) and I can't believe the shit that she pulls. I really want to smack her. I mean she finally redeems herself at the end but was pretty much forced into it. Deirdre was such an uncomfortable character and now I know why, she just gave me the worst feeling from the get go. She was a bomb ready to explode. Now after what happened I still want more. I know that Hokpins didn't even plan on writing this book so it's not looking good for a third now but one can hope. I think everyone who enjoys Ellen Hopkins' writing should pick this book up and also those looking for an amazing contemporary that isn't the typical fluffy young adult read.




About this author

Ellen Hopkins
 is the New York Times bestselling author of CrankBurnedImpulseGlassIdenticalTricks,FalloutPerfectTrianglesTilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin's Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the "only one who understands me", and she can be visited at ellenhopkins.com.

Like most of you here, books are my life. Reading is a passion, but writing is the biggest part of me. Balance is my greatest challenge, as I love my family, friends, animals and home, but also love traveling to meet my readers. Hope I meet many of you soon!

Review #311: Half Bad- Sally Green


Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Series: Half Life #1
Pages: 394
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Summary: Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy's struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.
You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.
You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.
You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.
You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.
All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.
Easy.
Review: After seeing so much hype about this book I decided why not pick it up and give it a go. I'm really glad I did and I really enjoyed Half Bad. I loved the premise and I loved how everything played out. I will say that some of the scenes were fairly graphic but otherwise I loved it. I liked that it's from a males point of view, I enjoyed the little bit of LGBT involved and I hope we get to see more of that later on. I even liked the somewhat insta- love that we had going on. Mind you the characters had known each other for years and I guess were secret friends lol.
Nathan is a super amazing character, he is hated just for being born and he doesn't let it get him down. I'm sure others would have given up and chosen to end things, but he found a silver lining in Annalise. I'm excited to see where that goes or doesn't go. I want more Marcus, like what's his deal. I will be continuing this series and I would recommend it to witch lovers.


About this author

Hi - I'm Sally Green, author of Half Bad. It's my first book - and the first in a series of three, to be published by Penguin in March 2014.

I've had a whirlwind 2013, submitting Half Bad to an agent in January (and getting an agent - the wonderful Claire) and then agreeing a deal with Puffin (UK) and Viking (USA) in March. In April I agreed a film deal with Fox 2000 with Karen Rosenfelt as producer (google her!). Since then Half Bad has been sold to more countries, and I've been busy editing Half Bad and have started work on the second book of the trilogy.

I live in north-west England. I love to read, walk in the country and would like to drink less coffee (but I know it's impossible - I'm an addict)!

My online world will be based at www.halfbadworld.com from November 2013 onwards, but until then, you can find me and Half Bad on Wattpad.

Follow me on twitter@sa11eGreen 

Review #310: Sanctuary- Melissa Marr

Title: Sanctuary
Author: Melissa Marr
Series: Wicked Lovely: Desert Tales #1
Pages: 176
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary: Discover Melissa Marr's mesmerizing world of Faerie . . .
The desert is far away from the schemes of the Faerie Courts—and that's how Rika likes it. Once a mortal and now a faery, Rika seeks isolation and revels in her ability to appear invisible to humans. Then, she meets him. Artistic and kind, Jayce is the last person Rika wants to hide from.
But change is coming, challenging Rika's freedom and her new romance, as her past pursues her, even into the heart of the desert. . . .
Review: This is officially my first graphic novel and honestly I was super nervous about it but I friggin loved it. I read it in like 15 minutes and I loved everyone of those minutes. The illustrations were amazing and very detailed. I just wished that they had been in colour to get the full effect. Regardless of the lack of colour, I still loved the story. I'm really glad that I have the sequel to this novel and I went out and bought the third one as soon as I was finished as well. 
I would recommend this to anyone who loves graphic novels or even those who aren't sure because I think that this was a great one to get your foot in the door.




About the author
I write books. I read books.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review #309: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making- Catherynne M. Valente

Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Series: Fairyland #1
Pages: 247
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Summary: Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.
Review: I've been hearing amazing things about this book over on youtube and I finally picked it up and I was utterly disappointed. Even from the first page I had issues, I really despised the writing style. My next issue is the target age for this group, I believe that it is intended for middle grades (the main character is twelve), but some of the vocabulary used was ridiculous and I had to look up my fair share of the words and I'm an adult, imagine a child. I honestly think that of the writing wasn't so weird I could have really enjoyed this book. I am going to read the other books in this series because I own them but no promises whether I will enjoy them or not.
I did enjoy the characters in this book. Also I enjoyed the twist at the end because it was something that I wasn't expecting. I will be happy to reunite with these characters once again in the next instalment. 
I'm not sure who I would recommend this book to only because I find the language too hard for children, but the story is whimsical so children would like it. Maybe to a parent reading it to their child would be the best option.



About this author

Catherynne M. Valente was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1979 in Seattle, WA, but grew up in in the wheatgrass paradise of Northern California. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics. She then drifted away from her M.A. program and into a long residence in the concrete and camphor wilds of Japan.

She currently lives in Maine with her partner, two dogs, and three cats, having drifted back to America and the mythic frontier of the Midwest.

Review #307and #308: Breaking Lauren and Losing Lauren- Jordan Deen

Title: Breaking Lauren
Author: Jordan Deen
Series: Lauren #1
Pages: 234
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Danny Cummings' life is far from a fairytale, but that's okay since he doesn't believe in happy endings. After spending a year in juvenile hall for maliciously beating his sister's boyfriend, Danny embraces his badass image. Spending most nights drinking, fighting and collecting gambling debts for his Uncle, Danny's life is out of control. His addiction to the bad boy lifestyle won't let him do anything about it, even with his family begging him to go straight. But, when fifteen-year-old Lauren McIntosh stumbles into one of his nightly escapades, the self-proclaimed anti-romantic can't concentrate on anything except Lauren and the fact that she's on the same path his sister was on. Danny knows true love happening for the villain is as common as gamblers paying their debt on time, but he's never backed away from a challenge before and he hates the idea that history will repeat itself. Growing old with the man she loves-in the small town where she was born-is the only dream Lauren McIntosh has ever had; that is until her family is practically run out of town amidst rumors of arson and adultery. So, when she meets Danny at her new school and hears the rumors about his activities from her new friends, she wants nothing to do with him or the gossip that seems to follow Danny everywhere. After a dangerous and ill-fated attempt at sneaking out, she develops unwelcomed feelings for Danny that he seems to reciprocate. But, Danny's unrelenting pursuit makes Lauren nervous, especially since he's the only one that wants to know the secrets surrounding her family's move. Lauren can't tell if Danny's intentions are true or if he has other plans for their newfound and unlikely friendship. The only way to figure out is to let him in and that could destroy everything, including the popularity and social acceptance she desperately seeks.
Review: I grabbed this book and a few others by this author at UtopYA 2014 Book convention held in Nashville and I'm so glad that I did. This is a young adult contemporary novel that deals with a ton of difficult issues and a lot of them are on the darker side. This story was a bit bipolar; it was cute and fluffy but also raw and full of angst, but in an excellent way. I flew through it. That ending though.
I'm in love with Danny, but I mean who wouldn't be? He isn't even the bad guy that he is perceived as, I feel like he did something that any brother would do for their sister. I love Sara and Jess, they are both awesome and caring people. Lauren is a different story, I kind of wanted to smack her to smarten her up. Josh had her so brainwashed and I am waiting for it to explodeAlso Lauren's mom was kind of confusing, so we will see about her.
Breaking Lauren was a quick and awesome read that I will be picking up the second book ASAP because of it. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a darker young adult contemporary read.


Title: Losing Lauren
Author: Jordan Deen
Series: Lauren #2
Pages: 246
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary: Dealing with the ill-fated decision to go to Lauren’s birthday party and finally deciding to let her go has been harder than Danny Cummings ever thought it could be. Faced with his final year at Mountain View High, Danny is struggling with what he should do versus what he wants to do; although doing the right thing has never been Danny’s strong suit. The idea that Josh has stolen another girl from his life has Danny more than ready to jump back into the fray and worry about the consequences later.
Lauren thought her life had ended the night of her sixteenth birthday party when the world came crashing down around her resulting in the ultimate battle between Josh and Danny. Trying to refocus on school and her goals is all she wants for her junior year of high school. But the fact is, tempting memories of Danny make it hard for her to make the right choice.
The initial battle for Lauren’s affections is over; but the battle is really just beginning.
Review: This was another book that I grabbed at UtopYa 2014 from author Jordan Deen. Losing Lauren was just as good as the first book in the series, if not better. It did leave me with a few unanswered questions, which I won't say anything because I don't want to spoil the story. I will say that I made the author aware of my wants lol so we will see what will happen next.
Losing Lauren wasn't as violent as the first, but it was just as eventful and entertaining. I would recommend this to those who loved book one and I would recommend this series to contemporary lovers.




About this author

I'm really outgoing and get teased (a lot) for my knack to make friends anywhere including, but not limited to: the bank, the store, the bathroom, the movies... you get the idea. 
A few of my fave things are my son, my yorkie, cupcakes, wine, coffee and (of course) tattoo'd boys. 
I'm available on Twitter, Facebook and of course, here on Good Reads.

Go Team #WolfPack!

Review #306: The Giver- Lois Lowry

Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Series: The Giver Quartet
Pages: 240
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary: Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.
Review: I've been hearing amazing things about The Giver for awhile now, but I had never had the chance to read it. That all changed this year at BEA when I had the opportunity to get myself a copy and also meet the talented author. Now I am kicking myself for not picking this book up sooner. The Giver is hard to describe because it is so weird to try and imagine the world that Lowry has created. It is a world of simplicity and that is safe. The leaders have taken away feelings (warmth, cold), colours and worst of all wisdom (books and memories). 
I loved Jonas! He was a little rebel, always so full of questions, despite not being allowed to ask or not getting an answer. He could tell the difference between what was done to their people for the better but also he thought things should be done differently to benefit everyone. 
Although I enjoyed this book I hated the ending. I need more! I have so many questions that I want to be answered. I am so glad that there are more books in this series, I will absolutely be picking them all up and reading them.



About this author

Taken from Lowry's website:
"I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to have been born the middle child of three. My older sister, Helen, was very much like our mother: gentle, family-oriented, eager to please. Little brother Jon was the only boy and had interests that he shared with Dad; together they were always working on electric trains and erector sets; and later, when Jon was older, they always seemed to have their heads under the raised hood of a car. That left me in-between, and exactly where I wanted most to be: on my own. I was a solitary child who lived in the world of books and my own vivid imagination.

Because my father was a career military officer - an Army dentist - I lived all over the world. I was born in Hawaii, moved from there to New York, spent the years of World War II in my mother’s hometown: Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and from there went to Tokyo when I was eleven. High school was back in New York City, but by the time I went to college (Brown University in Rhode Island), my family was living in Washington, D.C.

I married young. I had just turned nineteen - just finished my sophomore year in college - when I married a Naval officer and continued the odyssey that military life requires. California. Connecticut (a daughter born there). Florida (a son). South Carolina. Finally Cambridge, Massachusetts, when my husband left the service and entered Harvard Law School (another daughter; another son) and then to Maine - by now with four children under the age of five in tow. My children grew up in Maine. So did I. I returned to college at the University of Southern Maine, got my degree, went to graduate school, and finally began to write professionally, the thing I had dreamed of doing since those childhood years when I had endlessly scribbled stories and poems in notebooks.

After my marriage ended in 1977, when I was forty, I settled into the life I have lived ever since. Today I am back in Cambridge, Massachusetts, living and writing in a house dominated by a very shaggy Tibetan Terrier named Bandit. For a change of scenery Martin and I spend time in Maine, where we have an old (it was built in 1768!) farmhouse on top of a hill. In Maine I garden, feed birds, entertain friends, and read...

My books have varied in content and style. Yet it seems that all of them deal, essentially, with the same general theme: the importance of human connections. A Summer to Die, my first book, was a highly fictionalized retelling of the early death of my sister, and of the effect of such a loss on a family. Number the Stars, set in a different culture and era, tells the same story: that of the role that we humans play in the lives of our fellow beings.

The Giver - and Gathering Blue, and the newest in the trilogy: Messenger - take place against the background of very different cultures and times. Though all three are broader in scope than my earlier books, they nonetheless speak to the same concern: the vital need of people to be aware of their interdependence, not only with each other, but with the world and its environment.

My older son was a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. His death in the cockpit of a warplane tore away a piece of my world. But it left me, too, with a wish to honor him by joining the many others trying to find a way to end conflict on this very fragile earth.
I am a grandmother now. For my own grandchildren - and for all those of their generation - I try, through writing, to convey my passionate awareness that we live intertwined on this planet and that our future depends upon our caring more, and doing more, for one another."

Review #305: Frozen- Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

Title: Frozen
Author: Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
Series: Heart of Dread #1
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.
Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.
At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.
But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.
Review: I picked this book up because I love The Blue Bloods Series and Melissa de la Cruz' writing. Frozen has been sitting on my shelf for quite awhile and booktubeathon gave me a chance to read it. For some reason, I think the casino talk, made me think that this was an adult novel, I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn't. This was a unique read and I haven't read anything like it before. It's a dystopian with what I'm going to call pirates, a little romance and a lot of magic. I really want to read more because this book focused a lot more on character development than the actual story. I am excited to see how the journey continues and what will happen to these characters. 
I would recommend this novel to those who want something different. Although I would wait until the whole series is out only because it's that good.



About this author

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

Review #304: The Book Thief- Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Pages: 576
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids - as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
Review: I've been curious about this book for awhile because I find the nazi/ jewish history appalling but interesting at the same time. I liked that it was told from Death's perspective, but every once in awhile it felt like it switched and it wasn't, maybe that was just me. I felt bad for everyone and sad about everything that was happening but I wasn't emotionally connected to the characters or the story. I found myself more or less going through the motions, "oh I should be sad now". I'm going to watch the movie too and see how it is.
I will read more books by Markus Zusak because I want to see what else he can do. I would recommend this novel to those who are fans of World War II.



About this author

Markus Zusak was born in 1975 and is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief , which is translated into more than forty languages. First released in 2005, The Book Thief has spent a total of 375 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and still remains there eight years after it first came out.

His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and When Dogs Cry (also known asGetting the Girl), released between 1999 and 2001, were all published internationally and garnered a number of awards and honours in his native Australia, and the USA.

The Messenger (or I am the Messenger ), published in 2002, won the 2003 Australian Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) and the 2003 NSW Premier's Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize), as well as receiving a Printz Honour in America. It also won numerous national readers choice awards across Europe, including the highly regarded Deutscher Jugendliteratur prize in Germany.

It is The Book Thief , however, that has established Markus Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia. To date, The Book Thief has held the number one position at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, the New York Times bestseller list, as well as in countries across South America, Europe and Asia. It has also been in the top five bestsellers in the UK and several other territories. It has amassed many and varied awards, ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers. It was the only book to feature on both the USA and UK World Book Night Lists in 2012, and has now been adapted into a major motion picture.

The Book Thief (the film adaptation) is directed by Emmy Award-winning Brian Percival (Downton Abbey)and was shot in Berlin by Twentieth Century Fox. The cast is headlined by Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush (Shine, The King’s Speech) and Academy Award nominee Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Anna Karenina). It also includes exciting new talents Ben Schnetzer, Nico Liersch, and Sophie Nelisse (Monsieur Lazhar), with Nelisse cast as The Book Thief , Liesel Meminger.

The Guardian calls The Book Thief “a novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told.” The New York Times: “Brilliant and hugely ambitious…the kind of book that can be life-changing.” The Age: “an original, moving, beautifully written book.”

Markus Zusak grew up in Sydney, Australia, and still lives there with his wife and two children.