Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios 
Release date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt BFYR
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Links: Author's Website/Goodreads 
If seventeen-year-old Skyler Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage-months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings them together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper. Gritty, romantic, and ultimately hopeful, I'll MEET YOU THERE explores the complicated lives of an unforgettable cast of characters. This is the story of teens outside the picket fence. It doesn’t soften the edges of adolescence or the individual consequences of war; it’s life on the fringes—maddening, weirdly endearing…and completely screwed up.

I have a strange obsession with contemporary YA of late and I'll Meet You There sounds like a heart-breaking blend of young love, broken dreams, and tragedy.

Waiting on Wednesday Is Hosted By: Breaking the Spine

Monday, July 21, 2014

What I've Been Watching

Orange is the New Black 
Netflix / Season 2

I can't believe I waited this long to start watching OITNB! I finished the first season in just over a week and am about half-way through the second one now. Everything about this show is awesome: the characters, the drama, the plot twists. I don't know how I am going to wait for season 3 after I finish the next few episodes. I definitely recommend watching this show ASAP if you have access to a Netflix account.

American Horror Story
FX / Season 3

Well this show is just plain crazy! I watched the first season on Netflix a few weeks ago and am currently working on season 2. I think my favorite thing about this show is how dark and unexpected it is. I have never been a big horror fan, but AHS definitely changed that for me. I also love how each season features a new plot and characters. Hopefully I'll be able to get caught up before the fourth season airs this fall!

Breaking Bad
AMC / Five Seasons

I am definitely late to the game with this show, but I like the fact that I'm never left with a cliff-hanger because all of the seasons are on Netflix! I'm almost done season 3 and can't wait to see what happens next. This show is dark, intense, and incredibly well-acted. I never expected to get as into this show as I am, so if you haven't dived into this show yet I highly recommend it! Breaking Bad is completely unlike any other show out there and it only gets better each season.

What shows have you been watching? 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Love, Lucy by April Lindner

Love, Lucy by April Lindner 
Release date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Poppy
Reading level: Young adult
Genre: Contemporary
Links: Author's Website/Goodreads
While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.
In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.

I adore contemporary romances, but what makes this one even more special is the setting: Florence, Italy.

Waiting on Wednesday Is Hosted By: Breaking the Spine

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 256
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Source: Publisher
Links: Goodreads

Overall: 3.5 out of 4 stars

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I've watched the danger swell.
The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I'm the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I'm tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.
I'm tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don't know why. I think it's because death is coming for one of them, or both.
All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.
From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

I didn't read much about The Vanishing Season before I picked it up, so I had no idea what to expect. It was a beautifully written and mysterious read that I was able to finish in one sitting. While it did leave something to be desired, I enjoyed the uniqueness of the story, the characters, and the writing style.

Maggie and her parents move into an old house in Door County just as winter is arriving and girls are beginning to disappear. Maggie was not your typical teenager. She was quiet, well-behaved, and respectful. She had never had a boyfriend and spent most of her time saving up for college and being home-schooled. A lot changes when she meets the free-spirited Pauline who lives next door. Maggie and Pauline become fast friends, but little do they know how much can change over one frozen winter.

Pauline and Maggie both frustrated me in different ways. Maggie needed to grow a backbone and Pauline needed to stop thinking she deserved everything without working for it. I still felt for them when everything became very dark in Door County and they had to face some serious situations.The mystery angle with all of the missing girls was very creepy and I was always anxious for our two main characters. The ghostly narrator was another unique and mysterious aspect of the book. We also don't find out their identity until the very end. I do wish we got more closure on the criminal aspect-we never really get a full answer of who was responsible. The paranormal side was less in your face, but the ghostly presence definitely played an important role.

The Vanishing Season was very beautifully written; Jodi Lynn Anderson has a way with words that can make almost any story worth reading. There wasn't necessarily a plot to The Vanishing Season, but it is a quick read that drew me in. This book will certainly not be for everyone, but I did like it as a whole, mostly because it was so different from everything else I've been reading lately.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Release date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Pages: 416
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Netgalley
Links: Author's Website/Goodreads 

Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The X-Men meets Ocean's Eleven in this edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure about a band of "super" criminals.
When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She's what's known as an illusionist...She's also a thief.
After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn't?
The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives.

Wow, I am so glad I decided to request Illusive on Netgalley! The catchphrase "X-men meets Ocean's Eleven" immediately caught my attention and I have to say the book definitely surprised me in more ways than one. I thoroughly enjoyed this debut from Emily Lloyd-Jones and will be recommending it to everyone this summer!

The plot was unlike anything I have read before. A virus has attacked the planet and the vaccine brings out some surprising side-effects. Suddenly, certain members of the population are discovering they have new super-powers. This was such a creative idea and I loved the world Lloyd-Jones created. Those individuals who got side-effects from the vaccine are feared by the rest of the population and end up involved in a variety of professions. For our main character, Ciere, it's theft.

Illusive was told through alternating points of view and in third-person point of view. At first, I wasn't sure how I would like that, but I ended up liking this method of story-telling a lot. Ciere was an awesome protagonist and I loved how independent and brave she was. Ciere had already been through a lot when she found other people experiencing similar side-effects as she had. It was fascinating to read about the different powers people had and how they used them- for good or for evil?

The characters were easy to like and they made the book for me. Daniel, Kit, and everyone else had something unique about them and it seemed as though no one was what they seemed. Although Illusive was over 400 pages I was engrossed from the start!

I haven't heard anything about this being a series, but the ending definitely left me wanting more! I am eager to see what happens next in what will hopefully be an equally action-packed and character driven sequel. I would highly recommend picking this up when it releases in July!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Review: Fault Line by Christa Desir

Fault Line by Christa Desir 
Release date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 240
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Publisher (ARC)
Links: Author's Website/Goodreads 

Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.
But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.
Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?
Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.

I have had Fault Line sitting on my to-be-read shelf for a really long time now and I finally decided to dive into it this summer. I was in the mood for a gritty contemporary read and from what I have read about this one it would definitely fit the bill. While I am impressed with how Desir tackled such a dark subject, I didn't get as much out of this debut as I had hoped to.

Ani is the new girl in town and she quickly attracts the attention of popular swimmer Ben. I liked how this was told from Ben's point of view. It's not often I find a contemporary YA written from the male's perspective. The reader was able to see Ani through Ben's eyes and understand how much he liked her. The only problem was I was left with so many questions about Ani and her life. Ani was such a mystery and we find out so little about her old life, why she moved, and who she really is. I liked how independent and sarcastic she was, but I think it would have helped a lot if I had been able to connect with her more.

Everything changes after Ani goes to a party without Ben and is raped. She's, understandably, a completely different person and Ben has to struggle to make things right. From the party onward was definitely difficult to read. No one should have to go through what Ani did and to have to face the torment and jibes by kids at school made it so much worse. It was admirable how Ben stayed by her side and dedicated to her, but I wondered why he didn't tell his parents or her mom right away. This definitely would have allowed Ani to get more help and not spiral downward like she did.

This was a fast paced read that brings out the emotions. I felt for Ani and Ben, but there was just something missing. What exactly happened that night? There were so many unanswered questions. Ben and Ani are two of the most unique characters I have read about in a long time and their story did share some important lessons. It opened my eyes to how one night can change everything and how rape not only turns the victim's life upside down, but the lives of everyone close to them as well.

Overall, Fault Line was not the book I had hoped it would be, but it did tackle an important, and dark, subject matter. The ending also felt very sudden and cut-off. I wanted to know more! I will be reading more by Christa Desir in the future because I can tell she has a lot of promise and isn't afraid to write about difficult, real-life issues.