Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: Brother, Brother by Clay Carmichael

Brother, Brother
After his grandmother's death, seventeen-year-old Brother sets out, with the abandoned son of a friend, on a 200-mile trip to North Carolina's Outer Banks to find his twin brother, of whose existence he just learned.

Part coming-of-age story, part love story, this is a book about finding out that who you are and where you come from aren't necessarily the same thing.
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Kat's  Review
When Brother sets out to find the twin he never knew he had, the reader gets a good idea of his personality. He's a simple teen, raised to be self-sufficient, conscientious, and kind by his grandmother. He's a loyal friend, and knows how to take care of himself. Losing his grandmother meant he was losing the only family he had, until he found out about his long lost family.
The family Brother never knew is much different from the one he lost. Rich, powerful, and political , his long lost brother seems to have it all. But as Brother gets closer to them and begins to learn their secrets, he's no longer certain that he didn't have the better life. His brother is rude, arrogant, and deeply hurt. His relationship with his father is strained, and no one seems at ease in his household.
I have mixed feelings about this book. The characters are well drawn, and the storyline is interesting. It's clear that clay Carmichael is a gifted writer. The setting sets the mood, and no one is who they seem except for Brother himself and the girl he meets along the way. It's a story about what makes a family, how we become who we are, and where our loyalties lie.
If I have a complaint, it's that I kind of found it to be anti-climactic. I can't decide if that's a good thing or not because while overdone, overwrought, overly dramatic books are everywhere and can sometimes be eye-roll inducing, this book left me feeling as though there was something more that wasn't included. I like quiet, understated books, and this one certainly fits the bill, so my complaint is a small one in the context of a book that I really enjoyed.
Rating: Worth a Look
I would certainly recommend this novel, but not to everyone. If you are a reader who needs a lot of action and drama, this book isn't for you. Much of the novel deals with Brother's introspective journey to figure out who he really is and where he belongs. If you like a bit of a deeper read and don't mind finding it in the form of a teenage protagonist, you might appreciate this book. I did.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (25)

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and
superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will.

Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the arch nemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
Expected publication: September 24th 2013
This book has received a lot of early attention, and it sounds interesting and creepy all at the same time!
What are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: The Wednesday Daughters by Meg Waite Clayton

The Wednesday Daughters (Wednesday #2)
Meg Waite Clayton, nationally bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters, returns with a compassionate, wise, and enthralling new novel of mothers and daughters, best friends who become family, and secrets and dreams passed down through the generations.

It is early evening when Hope Tantry arrives at the small cottage in England’s pastoral Lake District where her mother, Ally, spent the last years of her life. Ally—one of a close-knit group of women who called themselves “The Wednesday Sisters”—had used the cottage as a writer’s retreat while she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter, yet Hope knows nearly nothing about her mother’s time there. Traveling with Hope are friends Julie and Anna Page, two other daughters of “The Wednesday Sisters,” who offer to help Hope sort through her mother’s personal effects. Yet what Hope finds will reveal a tangled family history—one steeped in Lake District lore.

Tucked away in a hidden drawer, Hope finds a stack of Ally’s old notebooks, all written in a mysterious code. As she, Julie, and Anna Page try to decipher Ally’s writings—the reason for their encryption, their possible connection to the Potter manuscript—they are forced to confront their own personal struggles: Hope’s doubts about her marriage, Julie’s grief over losing her twin sister, Anna Page’s fear of commitment in relationships. And as the real reason for Ally’s stay in England comes to light, Hope, Julie, and Anna Page reach a new understanding about the enduring bonds of family, the unwavering strength of love, and the inescapable pull of the past.
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Kat's Review

This novel is more than just a book about Hope and her mother's secret life, it's about coming to terms with the past and acknowledging how it has shaped the person you are today. This isn't a book with a lot of action, it's a book with a lot of conversation, recollections, and journal entries. When Hope's mother dies unexpectedly, Hope arrives in England to clean out the cottage her mother used as a writing retreat, and stumbles upon the secret of her mother's past, and the life she led while away from home. As Hope begins unravelling the truth of her mother's past, she begins searching through her own.

What I enjoyed about this book was the way the "Wednesday Daughters," as Hope's group of friends refer to themselves, had authentic and nuanced relationships with each other. There was love and support, but also irritation, annoyance, and petty jealousies. This made the characters real to me, in a way that those who only offer unconditional love with no friction never could. Anna Page is jealous of Hope's relationship with her mother, while Hope felt that Anna Page had no right to mourn her mother's loss as strongly as Hope did. Julie always felt like the outsider, the twin sister who could never measure up, and now finds herself looking to replace her own sister after Jamie's death.

Add in a gorgeous setting, some Beatrix Potter, and two men mourning the loss of a woman who loved them both, and you get a wonderful mix of a love story, a tale of friendship, loss, and new beginnings. It's a book to be enjoyed with a cup of tea on a windy afternoon.

Rating: A Good Read

I have not read the Wednesday Sisters, the novel about the mothers of the women in this novel, but I will be reading it soon. The Wednesday Daughters was a book that moved slowly, but in a relaxed, meandering sort of way that I enjoyed.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

A Really Awesome Mess
A hint of Recovery Road, a sample of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and a cut of Juno. A Really Awesome Mess is a laugh-out-loud, gut-wrenching/heart-warming story of two teenagers struggling to find love and themselves.

Two teenagers. Two very bumpy roads taken that lead to Heartland Academy.
Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin's summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents' divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.

Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog-- and Emmy definitely doesn't. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.

Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.

A funny, sad, and remarkable story, A Really Awesome Mess is a journey of friendship and self-discovery that teen readers will surely sign up for.
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Kat's Rating
I knew I was going to like this book rom the start. The narrative switches from Emmy to Justin, and both characters are real and interesting and made me care about them from the first pages. We meet each student as they enter Heartland Academy (loving referred to as Assland later in the novel), and over the course of the book we learn more about what landed them in the reform school in the first place. The reader is also introduced to an interesting cast of characters that form the group of friends that help each other move past their issues. There's a compulsive liar, a selective mute, a gambler, and a student with a huge problem with authority.
Despite the serious subject matter, this book is funny. The characters are sarcastic, and witty, and just typical teenagers who happen to be dealing with some tough issues. The language in this novel is authentic and sometimes strong, with references to sex, anorexia, suicide, and mental illness, so if that kind of thing bugs you, this may not be the book for you. Still, I think you would be missing out. The authors manage to take serious topics and approach them with respect, but also with a huge dose of humour.
What I enjoyed most about the book was watching the characters move from a place of denial to one of acceptance of their issues. No one is magically healed by the end of the story, but the progress is evident, and the way the teens look out for each other and help each other get better was one of the book's strengths.
Rating: A Good Read
The authors created characters with great voices and a completely engrossing story to tell. I enjoyed this one and recommend it for anyone looking for an emotional but funny ride.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: This Girl (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover

This Girl (Slammed #3)

There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will’s.

Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling Slammed series has brought countless readers to their knees with a whirlwind of love, passion, and heartache.

Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure in their union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he begins to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met.

In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from his point of view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series.
Pubisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: April 3, 2013
Kat's Review

When I like a book, I'm always a fan of hearing the story told from another point of view. If you're a fan of the Slammed series and were left wanting more, this book rehashes the events from Will's point of view. If you're looking for something more than that, you won't find it, but it is pretty fun to see how everything happened from Will's perspective.

I found Will to be a bit aloof in the original book, and although I liked him, I wasn't as won over by him as I was by Holder in Hopeless. This book changes that, and helped me to see things from his point of view, and to understand his motivations for the way he behaved in the original book.

This is a short review because if you've read the series, you already know the story. If you haven't, then you should start with the first book before reading this one if you want this book to mean something. It's a great addition to the series in that it brings things around full circle for the reader, and gives an inside view to Will's thoughts.

Rating: A Good Read

If you haven't read the first two books in the series, I recommend them. I like Colleen Hoover's writing style and the characters she creates. If you have read the other two, this one doesn't offer anything new, but it does give the reader a chance to hang out in Layken and Will's world for a little bit longer.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: Undone (A Country Roads Novel) by Shannon Richard

Undone (Country Roads #1)
Things Paige Morrison will never understand about Mirabelle, Florida:

Why wearing red shoes makes a girl a harlot
Why a shop would ever sell something called "buck urine"
Why everywhere she goes, she runs into sexy-and infuriating-Brendan King

After losing her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend, Paige has no choice but to leave Philadelphia and move in with her retired parents. For an artsy outsider like Paige, finding her place in the tightly knit town isn't easy-until she meets Brendan, the hot mechanic who's interested in much more than Paige's car. In no time at all, Brendan helps Paige find a new job, new friends, and a happiness she wasn't sure she'd ever feel again. With Brendan by her side, Paige finally feels like she can call Mirabelle home. But when a new bombshell drops, will the couple survive, or will their love come undone?
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Kat's Review
This book is a cute, fun read. It's the perfect summer read, and I must admit, I read quite a bit of it sitting in my backyard enjoying the sun!
The author manages to inject humor into this love story between the city girl from the North and a small town boy from the South without drifting too far into stereotypes. As Page tries to navigate a new life in a small town where she doesn't feel like she fits in and very few people go out of their way to make her feel welcome. After being dumped by her boyfriend and losing her job, her self-esteem is at an all time low, and her difficulties finding employment in this new town isn't helping.
When Page meets Brendan, things start looking up. Brendan is a genuinely nice guy, whose own past allows him to empathize with Page's feelings of being an outsider. After he helps her secure a job, their relationship grows, and they begin navigating the waters of dating in a small town where gossip it its own currency. With so many forces trying to rip them apart, the couple faces obstacles that test the limits of their feelings for each other.
This book is fun, but it's not always light. There are some serious issues broached here, and the author explores each character's past as well as their emotions in ways that feel realistic. I found myself rooting for the couple to win out in the end, and was shocked at some of the twists and turns the book took along the way.
Rating: Worth a Look
This book made me smile, but also managed to surprise me. It kept me reading to the end, and I walked away from it with a satisfied grin. A perfect read for the last few weeks of summer.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

Starry Nights
by Daisy Whitney

A star-crossed love story with shades of The Thomas Crown Affair from critically acclaimed author Daisy Whitney.
Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.
The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest art . . . at the expense of the greatest love they've ever known.
Like a master painter herself, Daisy Whitney brings inordinate talent and ingenuity to this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated new novel. A beautifully decorated package makes it a must-own in print.

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 3, 2013

There's not much more to say here than Paris! Art! Cursed Love! What more could  one want from a book?

What are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review: Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend (Confessions #2)
Rose Zarelli has big plans for sophomore year—everything is going to be different. This year, she’s going to be the talented singer with the killer voice, the fabulous girl with the fashionista best friend, the brainiac who refuses to let Jamie Forta jerk her around...

...but if she’s not careful, she’s also going to be the sister who misses the signals, the daughter who can only think about her own pain, the “good girl” who finds herself in mid-scandal again (because no good deed goes unpunished) and possibly worst of all...the almost-girlfriend.

When all else fails, stop looking for love and go find yourself.
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Kat's Review
I liked the first book in this series well enough, but was impressed at the author's willingness to address tough topics once again in the sequel. Although Rose's kind of relationship with Jamie Forta is still a central part of the book, the story touches on so many other areas of Rose's life that it's not just the same storyline rehashed. Central to this book is the them of homosexuality, and gay-bashing in the context of a high school setting. Rozett doesn't back down from some of the difficulties gay youth face at school, and she doesn't make the adults in authority experts on how to deal with them, nor does she make them entirely clueless. 
Amidst all of this, Rose is still mourning the loss of her dad, her brother is increasingly lost to drugs, her relationship with her mother is deteriorating by the day, and Rose learns disturbing information from Jamie about the girl she hates. Still, throughout all of this, Rozett is able to infuse humour and sarcasm into the story, giving it a bit of levity. Rose as a main character can be both frustrating and hilarious, as she tries to navigate how to handle situations that even the adults don't know how to handle. She struggles with her conscience, particularly when her efforts to help go unappreciated even by those who she is helping. It's a difficult position to be in for a young girl, who feels as though everyone else is playing a game and she alone doesn't understand the rules.
I feel Rose grows quite a bit in this novel, and I really like the person she is on the way to becoming by the end of the book. I'm curious to see how things work out for her in the next novel.
Rating: A Good Read
This is the kind of book a teen could probably identify with and enjoy, particularly the parts where Rose is faced with situations to which there really are no good ways to respond. It's a great book to get kids thinking about current issues without being too preachy, and discussing different ways to handle the same situation.  Good read.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: The Instructor by Ann Ireland

The Instructor
The moment 19-year-old Simone Paris walks into Otto Guest's art class, she knows that she must have him. Old enough to be her father, Otto is everything her ascetic, willfully out-of-touch parents are not: worldly, sensual, gregarious, at ease with modernism, a risk-taker. In short, an artist. She sets out to seduce him - and succeeds. He will be her mentor, her lever into the larger world beyond the sedate boundaries of home. When he invites her to travel in Mexico with him, she readily agrees. Soon she finds herself in an unfamiliar world of heat and grit, immersed in an intensely erotic relationship, thirsty for all that Otto can teach her, yet struggling to maintain her claim on his emotional life. As they stalk, dodge, and confront one another within the confines of a tiny Mexican village - one reaching toward the future, the other grappling with the past - Otto begins to teach Simone lessons she never wanted to learn: that love is not the force that drives every affair, and that knowing theories about art is not the same as understanding how to live.
Publisher: Dundurn
Publication Date: April 25, 1997 (being re-issued)
Kat's Review
This book is a new release of a novel originally published for the first time in 1997. Despite that, the story itself still feels fresh. There are a few times when the technology is obviously outdated, like when the instructor goes to a local bar to use a payphone, but it doesn't make the story itself seem outdated. When Otto returns to Simone's life after a long absence, she is surprised by the difference in his appearance. In today's world, the internet probably would have made it possible for the two to have kept track of each other, even if they hadn't kept in touch.
Still, the story is timeless. A young, optimistic student, aching to escape the confines of her parents' small house, who falls in love with her older, more worldly instructor. She believes that the sexual attraction between them means more than it does, and allows herself to be swept away by the romance of the affair, even following him on what promises to be a romantic adventure to Mexico.
Instead, Simone learns some hard lessons about life, love, and relationships. When Otto's wife (separated) and son, who is almost her age, show up, she begins to see him as he really is, rather than how she wishes him to be. The novel tells the story of their affair through the eyes of an older and wiser Simone, looking back at everything from a more mature perspective.
This is a beautifully written book, honest and at times uncomfortable, but certainly the story of one too many young, naïve girls on the verge of becoming women, and the older men who hope to recapture some of their lost youth through them.
Kat's Rating: A Good Read
An engrossing novel by an extremely talented Canadian writer.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.

Review: Left Drowning by Jessica Park

Left Drowning
What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?

Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.

*This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.

Note: due to mature content recommended for Ages 17
Published: July 16th 2013        
Publisher: Skyscape
Kat's Review
I don't like comparing authors, and I generally shy away from books that advertise as being "for fans of..." but I couldn't help but think of Colleen Hoover's Hopeless as I was reading this. Not because the storylines are the same, just that there is enough similarity to make me think of one while reading the other. I'm not saying that in a negative way, nor am I suggesting there's any plagiarism going on here, because there's not, but this book is an intense, emotional ride that isn't afraid to tackle some pretty difficult issues, just like Hopeless. 
I wasn't convinced that I was going to love this story at the beginning. I'm not sure what it was, but it took me a few chapters to be convinced that I wanted to invest in it. I'm glad I stuck it out, because by the end I really felt for the characters. Jessica Park did a great job of introducing the reader to a cast of characters who are great at  hiding what's really going on underneath the surface. The entire group of friends that Blythe becomes close to slowly reveal more and more of their true selves as the book goes on, and that's when I found myself emotionally invested in how the story was going to play out.
At first I thought that it would be Chris saving Blythe from herself, but in the end it becomes clear that everyone is helping each other work through issues that are perhaps too big for even the group to tackle. It feels as though any one of them could fall apart at any moment, and yet the tension and the seriousness are handled in a way that allows for moments of happiness and laughter to seem real, and also bittersweet.  I have to admit that I figured out the twist close to the beginning, but the twist really is only a small part of the book. There are so many intertwined storylines here that I came to care about each of the characters and I couldn't put it down.
Rating: A Good Read
This book surpassed my expectations, particularly after I was a bit underwhelmed at the beginning. It picks up speed as it goes, and the characters become more and more real as the story progresses. Recommended.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.

Winner of the YA Summer Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win the YA Summer Giveaway. I appreciate everyone who reads the blog and participates in my giveaways.

A very special congratulations to Alison H. , winner of the YA Summer Giveaway! Check your email!

If you didn't win, no worries. I have some great giveaways planned in the near future. Check back for details.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cover Reveal (11): Wicked Thing by Angeline Kase

Welcome to the cover reveal for Wicked Thing by Angeline Kase! The book will be published in September, so the cover will have to hold you over until then!

Carmyn Rafferty witnessed the aftermath of her mother's affair. She learned at a young age not to trust anyone. Especially not your spouse. So she's planned. She's planned every detail of her life: who her husband will be, what their careers will be, what their lives will be like. All to avoid the pain of infidelity.
Dallas Brown lives a life all his own. He doesn't do relationships, he doesn't care what anyone thinks of him, and he doesn't live up to anyone's expectations but his own. 
When Carmyn's fiancé cheats on her, it sends her into a whirlwind of one-night stands with the most infamous player on campus. She can't seem to stay away from this tough guy and his dangerous motorcycle. Everything about him is the complete opposite of who she'd planned to fall in love with: tattoos, dark stubble along his jawline, and hair that brushes his shoulders.
As Dallas and Carmyn begin to fall deeper and deeper into each other, they learn that love can truly be a wicked, wicked thing.
Author Information
 Angeline is a Scorpio living in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and dogs. She loves all things paranormal, believes ghosts are real, werewolves aren't, and vampires? Definitely real! At least in the Vampire Born world they are. She is currently at work on her first New Adult Romance, Wicked Thing, which releases September 2013.
Website  //   Facebook  //  FacebookFan Page  //  Twitter  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #2)

When we met, I had no idea he would be the catalyst…for the end of everything. In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice.
After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as “normal” as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for--his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he’s forbidden to see her again.
But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, “normal” simply isn’t to be. For Ethan’s nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan’s and Keirran’s fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan’s next choice may decide the fate of them all.
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: October 29, 2013

I have to admit, I love pretty much everything that this author writes, so I don't see why this particular book would be any different. I'm really looking forward to it!

What are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: Second Impact by David Klass & Perri Klass

Second Impact
by David Klass & Perri Klass

Kendall is football town, and Jerry Downing is the high school's star quarterback, working to redeem himself after he nearly killed a girl in a drunk driving accident last year. Carla Jenson, lead reporter for the school newspaper's sports section, has recruited Jerry to co-author a blog chronicling the season from each of their perspectives. When Jerry's best friend on the team takes a hit too hard and gets hurt, Carla wonders publicly if injury in the game comes at too high a cost in a player's life—but not everyone in Kendall wants to hear it... David Klass and Perri Klass's  Second Impact is an action-packed story will resonate with readers who have been following recent news stories are football injuries.
Publisher: MacMillan Children's Publishing
Publication Date: August 6, 2013


Kat's Review

This book is told from two perspectives, the high school football quarterback and the star writer of the school paper. It is told completely in the form of blog posts, which is intriguing as a concept, but I found it to be a bit awkward at times, particularly when they were describing encounters that were too personal or too detailed to write on a school blog. I really liked the storyline of the problem with football injuries and the pressure to play while injured, but I would have liked to experience some of the scenes with the characters. A case of show, not tell, I guess.

The book touches upon a debate that has been in the media quite a bit lately, not just in regards to football but in all contact sports. The more we learn about brain injuries, the more difficult it is to continue to support the way children's sports are run. Writing a story about how this debate plays out in one school, in one town, is a great way to bring the subject down to a more personal level, rather than keeping it an abstract issue that nobody really takes too seriously. I also liked that both main characters were athletes, and that they were both stubborn in their own way. The issue was interesting, but I feel like it was told in a bit of an impersonal manner. I don't have anything against this format, but for some reason it kept me at arm's length from really being able to care about these characters in a personal way. The style was probably the biggest barrier for me to really fall in love with this book.

Rating: Worth a Look

The story is timely and there are some interesting issues broached in the book. the back and forth blog posts might not be as distracting to someone else as it was for me.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this title by NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: A Good Time (O'Leary's #2) by Shannyn Schroeder

A Good Time
A passionate free spirit and a sweet-talking playboy sound like a match made in heaven—until life gets in the way of all the fun and games…

Indy Adams values her freedom above all else. She works hard to support herself, moonlighting as a waitress while she fights for her first big sale in the Chicago real estate market. The last thing she needs is to be tied down, so she doesn’t think twice about declining her philandering boyfriend’s marriage proposal. Besides, she just landed a new client, a wealthy lothario—exactly the kind of guy who would understand her no-strings approach…

Handsome, rich, and charitable, most women jump at the chance to even talk to video game developer Griffin Walker, let alone date him. So he can’t understand why Indy wants nothing more than a few steamy nights together. Despite his romantic track record, Griffin longs for real love—complete with a home and family—and he wants it with Indy. But a blessing in disguise may lead them both to a life they never expected, and give Griffin a chance to show Indy that it’s okay to want more than a good time…

Publication Date: July 4, 2013


Kat's Review
***This review may contain some spoilers. I try to write spoiler free reviews, but I found it difficult to write an accurate review without revealing some info that might be considered "spoilery".

This is the second book I've read by this author, and I think that although this story is a bit more far-fetched than the last, the pace and writing have gotten better.

When Griffin hires Indy to be his real estate agent, the two are already acquainted. Griffin's best friend is marrying Indy's sister, and the two have spent time together as a result. Griffin has overcome a difficult childhood to become a very successful businessman due to his video game company. Indy is a struggling real estate agent who waitresses on the side for extra money. She doesn't know about Griffin's past, she only sees the successful man he is today. When she splits up with her boyfriend, Indy and Griffin begin to explore their feelings for each other.

Then she discovers she's pregnant, and everything falls apart. Indy isn't sure who the father is, and she must decide what to do about the baby. Griffin is suddenly thrust into a relationship that was supposed to be about fun with a woman who may be having a baby. As Indy struggles to figure out how she's going to deal with the curveball thrown her way, Griffin must also come to terms with what he's been trying not to admit, even to himself: that Indy is worth a whole lot more than just a good time.

I like Griffin's character, and Indy's independence even through tough times was something I admired, although sometimes I found her to be really stubborn. As I mentioned earlier, the storyline was a bit farfetched with the two potential fathers thing, but I did like the way it played out in the end. This was a fun, easy read that had some sweet moments. I liked that it dealt with some deeper subject matter, and that it didn't shy away from the realities of modern relationships.

Rating: Worth a Look

I have enjoyed both books by this author so far. They aren't deep reads, they're fun books about modern relationships that are heartwarming and great for a rainy day. There's nothing wrong with that.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sorcerers of the Nightwing (The Ravenscliff #1) by Geoffrey Huntington

Sorcerers of the Nightwing (The Ravenscliff #1)
In  house haunted by the paranormal, only one boy stands in the way of the nightmares.

Devon March has grown up knowing two things: the monsters in the closet are real, and he is stronger than they are. But at fourteen years old, he still doesn’t know why.

Now an orphan, Devon has been sent to live at Ravenscliff Manor with the foreboding Amanda Muir Crandall, her troubled nephew Alexander, and her feisty daughter Cecily. In the dark seaside mansion, plagued by ghosts, Devon learns the answers to at least some of his questions. Namely, his birthright as a sorcerer of the Order of the Nightwing, a three-thousand-year-old tradition of mysticism and magic, with roots that run deep in Ravenscliff. Living in the most mysterious place in a small town filled with colorful characters, Devon will have to quickly decide who he can trust, as Ravenscliff’s worst nightmare is about to return – and Devon is the last line of defense.
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Kat's Review
I have to admit, I requested this book on the basis of this cover alone. It looked creepy but interesting, and I was in the mood for something that fit that bill.  I wasn't convinced that I would like it at the beginning, but as the book got going and the storyline started to unfold, I found myself drawn deeper and deeper into the book.
When Devon's father dies, he's sent to live with a guardian he's never heard of, in an old mansion run by a woman determined to keep its secrets hidden. Devon's appearance seems to set off strange occurrences within the house, and Devon quickly realizes that if he doesn't figure out how to unravel the mystery of who he is, that he could be in grave danger. There's a whole cast of interesting characters here, both dead and alive, and the story gets better and better as it goes along. I made the mistake of reading some of the book at night, and my fear of clowns may have grown exponentially. So much so that I won't even post the other cover for the novel.
I think that this is the start of an interesting series, great for teens or older readers who enjoy YA. Devon finds an ally in the daughter of his guardian, and manages to find a group of friends who keep him grounded, while at the same time he is delving into his past. He realizes just how much his adoptive father didn't tell him, and how important it is for him to figure it all out. The way the story plays out is actually pretty engrossing, and there are enough secrets to keep the reader guessing right up to the end.
Rating: Worth a Look
This book was a pleasant surprise for me. The storyline got stronger as the book progressed, and there were some serious creeptastic moments in there. I'm really looking forward to the sequel.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley & the publisher in return for an honest review.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: The Translator by Nina Schuyler

The Translator
In silken prose and with subtle suspense, Nina Schuyler brings us a mesmerizing novel of language and translation, memory loss and heartbreak, and the search for answers in a foreign country.

When renowned translator Hanne Schubert falls down a flight of stairs, her injury is an unusual but real condition--the loss of her native language. She is left speaking only Japanese, a language learned later in life. With her personal life at a crossroad, Hanne leaves for Japan. There, the Japanese novelist whose work she translated stunningly confronts her publicly for sabotaging his work.

Reeling, Hanne struggles for meaning and seeks out the inspiration for the author's novel--a tortured, chimerical actor, once a master in the art of Noh theater. Through their passionate and intriguing relationship, Hanne begins to understand the masks she has worn in her life, just as the actor dons the masks that have made him a legend of Noh. The demons from her past and present begin to unfold and Hanne sets out to make amends in this searing and engrossing novel.
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Kat's Review
This novel is not an easy read, though I think it's certainly a good book. If you're willing to invest some time in reading a story that's about more than what it seems, you may really enjoy this one. Although it doesn't have any strange or surprise twists, the story certainly doesn't go in the direction it looks to be heading at the beginning. The ending, while inevitable, is not predictable, or forced, and the book leaves the reader with a strange sense of completion, without actually tying up any of the loose ends.
Hanne is a translator working on the English translation of a Japanese novel about a man who must say goodbye to his wife, who has been lost to mental illness. This loss parallels the loss in Hanne's life of her estranged daughter, Brigitte. Without intending to, Hanne projects her own emotions into the translation, earning her the wrath of the novelist. Hanne, suffering from a head injury sustained earlier, sets off to find the person the author based the novel on, to see if she could have actually been that far off the mark in her translation. In a way, she's also setting off to reassess her notion of who she is, particularly in the wake of the injury that has robbed her of the English language.
The book could have taken so many predictable directions, from an epic romance with the actor who was the inspiration for the novel, to Hanne's tragic death from the head injury, and so on, but it doesn't. It moves quite fluidly, introducing the reader to understated but powerful characters who are as complicated as Hanne is herself. Hanne begins to see the world from a different perspective, a less rigid one, and one that allows her to finally understand the role she played in the estrangement of her daughter. There is no one turning point, nor is there a pat ending, but the book is still powerful. I found myself identifying with some of Hanne's rigid tendencies, and it helped m rethink my outlook on some things. An unintended benefit of the book, I suppose!
Rating: A Good Read
This book won't be for everyone. It doesn't have the highs and lows of most novels, nor is there a ton of conflict that erupts. It's a solid story with an intriguing subplot and complex relationships. I really enjoyed it, and I think that many others will too.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.