Feb 28, 2015

Stacking the Shelves #15: Book Buying Bans NEVER Work

Stacking the Shelves is a book meme created and is being hosted every Saturday by Tynga’s Reviews. This is the chance to showcase all the books you have bought and added to your shelves!

Bought:


I finally gave in... I'm obsessed and I still have yet to read Heir of Fire 


Apparently I don't understand what a book buying ban means....

Upcoming Blog Tours







What did you get this week? Leave your links so I can stop by! 


Feb 27, 2015

Let's Talk: Blogger & Author Appreciation


Blogger & Author Appreciation

Recently, some tension has developed among the blogging and writing communities. (If you know of the whole "Bingo Card" extravaganza, you know what we're talking about.) Us ladies here at The Book Bratz have decided to reach out to several other bloggers and authors alike - and see what they have to say about the other side! Because, despite what you may think, bloggers and authors need each other. We have a perfect dynamic that keeps things running smoothly!

So, we asked some bloggers what they feel about authors and vice versa. Here's what they had to say! Due to the overwhelming amount of submissions we've received, a good friend of ours named Rachel over at A Perfection Called Books posted even more kind things that authors and bloggers had to say over at her blog! Go ahead and go give it a peek!!

What BLOGGERS want to say to AUTHORS:

"Authors are some of the hardest-working people I know. It takes a whole lot of courage to put your work out there for other people to look at and judge (sometimes harshly). Hats off to them for their bravery and super-awesome talent - can't wait to be like you guys when I get older!"
 -Jessica, blogger at The Book Bratz

"Authors opened up a whole new world for me, and I am grateful for that. We work side by side every day. They need us and we need them. None of this would be possible without each other." 
-Amber, blogger at The Book Bratz

"Authors are some of the coolest people around, and I love them to pieces. I love their commitment to their stories and to their readers, and I love that they spend so much of their time creating characters, worlds, and relationships we all love. I want to give all authors hugs and cookies/cake, basically." 
-Sydney, blogger at Utterly Bookish

"Books have always been my best friends, always have been there to make bad days better and to help me push back the darkness...and now, not only the words by the authors in book shape can help me when I need it, but some authors themselves have been there for me on the tough days, have made me smile when I needed it, and make me smile because book people are MY people!"
 -Pili, blogger at In Love With Handmade

"We bloggers are so fortunate to have such fantastic authors who write amazing books and engage with their readers. People can make mistakes, and sometimes we just need to let things go. We need to move on and show authors how much they truly mean to us; without their books, what would we be blogging about?"
-Xander, blogger at ForeverBookish (in reference to the bingo card disagreement)

What AUTHORS want to say to BLOGGERS:
 
"I'm lucky enough to have the backing of a large publisher, but my book would be nowhere without bloggers to spread the word. I can't thank you all enough for reading and reviewing (good or bad). You bring so much light and heart to our industry, doing everything you can, usually for nothing, and always with the best intentions." 
-Victoria Aveyard, author of Red Queen

"I'm so thankful for bloggers. Whether they give positive feedback or not, it gives my book exposure and helps me grow as a writer. The mutual benefits for bloggers and writers when working together are wonderful, and you gain new friends and supporters."
 -Juliana Mae, author of The Way He Looks at Me

"Bloggers are literary fairy godmothers. They can send a deserving debut author to the ball where every eligible reader is searching for a princely tale. Way better than glass slippers and everyone gets a happily ever after. Without bloggers, authors would be stuck at home with the mice." 
-Sarah Negovetich, author of Rite of Rejection

"As a debut author, I’m still acclimating to reviews. While the positive ones fill me with a little extra glow, I’m grateful to all bloggers and reviewers. Anyone who’s invested energy in my book - and then given their time to discuss it - has broadened the conversation. The more perspective and insight, the better off we all are." 
-Moriah McStay, author of Everything That Makes You

"If there is one piece of advice I could give every published author in the world it would be this: engage genuinely with bloggers, because they will be your biggest and brightest champions. Through my publishing journey, some of the nicest, smartest, and most creative people I have met were book bloggers. They’re amazingly impassioned readers and so astonishingly supportive. If you make friends with the bloggers talking about and sharing your book, there’s nothing you can’t do. Facing the blank page is a lot less scary when you know you have such a caring community cheering you on." 
-Erica Crouch, author of the Ignite Series

"Before Zodiac, I’d been trying to get published for ten years. Then in March of 2014, I received Z's first printed galley, and I honestly can’t remember what that moment felt like. What I do remember is the blogger who messaged me after reading the galley, gushing about how much she loved Z. She was the first reader to reach out to me, and though she doesn't know it, she will forever be the first person to have made me feel like an Author. I also remember the pair of co-bloggers who warmly welcomed me into the world of Twitter book chats by allowing me to be part of their reading experience. Listening to their honest feedback was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Most of all, I remember the bloggers who included Z among their lists of favorite reads for 2014—I was going through the hardest moment in my life at the end of last year, and though they didn't know it, for awhile their love and support was the only light in my world. I don’t know what it would be like to be an author without blogger friends, and I don’t want to—thank you for reading my stories, for supporting me, and for reminding me I’m not alone." 
-Romina Russell, author of Zodiac

Now, it's your turn!

We want to hear what you have to say! Either comment down below or spread the love even further by putting up an entire post on your blog expanding your thoughts. Bloggers - how and why do you appreciate authors? Authors - how and why do you appreciate bloggers? 

If you read this and felt super warm and fuzzy inside, great! That's the point - we all need to love and appreciate one another! So spread the warm and fuzziness! Create a post on your blog explaining why authors are important and vice versa. Tweet it, post in, and put your link down below with the others. Help us spread the Blogger/Author Love!

Thank you so much to all who contributed to this post and sent us in their opinions, bloggers and authors alike! They're going to expand their thoughts with full posts on their blogs talking about the Blogger/Author appreciation. Take some love and send it on! 

Did you submit a blurb and not see it here? Due to the overwhelming amount of responses we received (you guys seriously rock!), some of the blurbs were passed on to Rachel at A Perfection Called Books for her post. (Don't worry, it's the same thing - just another place for people to see it!) Go check it out!





Feb 26, 2015

Review: Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

Title: Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1)
Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: January 6th 2015 
Add it to Goodreads / Buy it on Amazon

Summary: 
Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes. Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden. But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

Review 


I really enjoyed Amanda's Trylle trilogy (Which I read a while ago) and was really excited when I learned the news of a spin off series being published. I liked Frostbite so much better though, it was easy to fall back into the world that Amanda had created. Even if you haven't gotten around to reading the Trylle trilogy you will have no problem reading Frostfire (Though I do recommend it). Plus these books have really beautiful covers. 

Bryn wants to fit it in, but being half Kanin and half Skojare she finds it hard. She's made the best of her situation though, she worked harder then everyone else in school, and bought herself up to one of the best trackers in the Kanin tribe. Four years prior to Bryn's tracking career her father was attacked by Konstantin, someone who Bryn had idolized. Konstantin managed to escape, now leaving him the most wanted man in Kanin. Years later when Bryn is out on a mission to bring back a changeling, she never expected to cross paths with Konstantin.

I loved Bryn, she is incredibly strong. She lives in a tribe where she stands out with her pale skin, blue eyes and blond hair, and is constantly judged and looked down upon because of it. Where most people with fade away to avoid the spot light Bryn only worked harder to become the tracker she is, and to reach her goal of being an Hogdragen. Bryn is dedicated to her work, even when she knows it is dangerous she wants to be out there doing it. At the same time though she is struggling with her feelings towards Konstatin, does she trust him? Is he really only a pawn in this all? I loved the small struggles that Hocking out her through. Being in a relationship, her loyalty towards the people she loves. 

I expected more romance then we really got, I am a little disappointed about that. Though I am happy to see there is no love triangle yet, which I really hope she stays away from this time around. Ridley is Bryn's boss, which makes him off limits to her, and he has a girlfriend (Yup.) Slowly over time though Bryn has come to realize that her feelings aren't just friendly towards him, she craves something more. But Bryn also doesn't like commitment. But underneath it all there is a connection between them that I hope will come out in the next two books in the series. (I also have a big crush on Ridley, so I want to see him and Bryn together very badly!) 

Hocking has a talent for world building. She created the world of Trylle, and now using a similar world created the Kanin who is another tribe. I did feel that there were a few things missing, I hope they do get filled in as the series goes on. 

The ended was a cliff hanger, and left me with no idea where the next book is going to take us. Which is the same thing that happened with the Trylle trilogy. My favorite part about this series is that all the books will be published in 2015 so I won't have to wait years to know how it will all end. Overall, I am really looking forward to book two! 


Rating:




Feb 25, 2015

Book Blitz: Louder Than Words by Iris St. Clair {Giveaway}



Louder-Than-Words-Banner

Welcome to the first
Swoon Romance YA Wednesdays!

This week features

Louder Than Words by Iris St. Clair.

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Louder-Than-Words-Cover
Disappointment has been on speed dial in Ellen Grayson's life lately. Her dad died, her mom numbs the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called friends have slowly abandoned her.
Trusting a popular teacher with her troubles should have been safe and should NOT have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt that made her desperate to escape the final moments of Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all the sordid details to herself and trust no one.
Enter Rex Jacobi, a cocky boy, recently transplanted from New York City and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her in, she can't let him get too close. And summer is just long enough and hot enough to keep a boy like that at arm's length.
But by the time Rex's charm wears down her resistance, it's too late. He's put Ellen on the "just friends" shelf and has shifted his romantic attentions to the impossibly annoying and perky anti-Ellen. Even worse, the teacher who tried to get her to sleep with him is still at it, preying on other girls while Ellen struggles to come to terms with what happened.
With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about the well-liked teacher and risk retribution, tell Rex how she really feels about him and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside. After all, it's the only safe place she knows when the only thing louder than words is the fear of being rejected.

add to goodreads

Title: Louder Than Words

Publication date: September 16, 2014

Publisher: Swoon Romance

Author: Iris St. Clair

Available for Purchase:

About-the-Author

Iris St. Claire
Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a
Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night. (Her alter ego Tatiana Ivanadance also choreographs gravity-defying routines in those fantasies, but that's another bio.)
No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside.
In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding.
Iris believes in the two-year "fish or cut bait" dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.

Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

Feb 24, 2015

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Hardcover, 227 Pages
Published May 2014
Add it on Goodreads!
Summary: A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
I've heard so many great things about this book, but after reading it I just feel...meh. That's pretty much all of my thoughts on this book summed up into one word. I'll try to define meh and how it makes me feel.

(First off - this review in no way expresses my opinion towards E. Lockhart as a person or even as an author. This book just wasn't my cup of tea. It happens. I didn't hate it. It was okay. And I certainly don't hate her.)

This book, summed up in a sentence, is about a girl named Cady who comes from this rich, white, perfect American family, except for the fact that all of the mothers are divorced and everyone's racist and crazy and oh yeah, she hit her head.

(That run-on sentence was intentional.)

So, like I said, that sentence up there is pretty much the entire book. For the longest time I felt like I didn't feel any sort of plot evolving whatsoever. I felt like I was just following Cady and her crazy family for 227 pages of pure rich-people crazy.

One thing that really, really bothered me was the really random line breaking. All of a sudden
the book
would go like this and
it had absolutely no
rhyme or reason
And
I couldn't
take 
it.

Like, what? I really didn't understand. There wasn't anything significant about those lines or the specific breaking up of them. It was cut off at random parts. For artistic affect, maybe? But I wouldn't call that artistic. More like mildly irritating.

The end of this book, however, it really screwed me up. Big time. I was left with a giant question mark above my head. I'm a logical person, so naturally I want answers. Things about that ending just didn't make any sense at all.

****THE NEXT PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SPOILERS. SCROLL DOWN UNTIL I GIVE THE ALL-CLEAR IF YOU WANT TO AVOID THEM.***

My biggest question about the ending is how did she get away with that? Clearly Cady is crazy and imagined the ghosts of Gat and Mirren and Johnny. I get that part. But throughout the book during that summer, she had distinct conversations with her mother and family about the three of them. Spoke of them. Spoke to them. As far as I can remember (and I finished this book yesterday, so I'm pretty sure I remember), everyone acknowledged their existence. Nobody acted like they weren't there. And Cady never got caught talking to "herself" or doing stupid stuff by "herself." I just feel like you can't get to the end of the book and all of a sudden be like "LOL yeah they're the crazy girl's ghost friends" without any evidence of it earlier in the book. Even subtle evidence is important. But I can't recall a single second of that book where there was any proof whatsoever that they may have been ghosts. Or just that something was up in general. Did I just happen to miss anything? I don't think so.

***OKAY, YOU'RE ALL CLEAR NOW. :-)***

So yeah, the ending messed with my head a little bit. And totally didn't make sense to me. But like the summary said, I'm supposed to lie about the ending and not tell you anything. So if you read it already, feel free to scroll back up and check out what I had to say. If you didn't, DON'T! There's a definite shock factor with this one that you'll enjoy if you go into the book having no idea how it ends.

All in all, We Were Liars felt like a book with such a small plot to me, nothing important happening and nothing being elaborated. This book just wasn't my cup of tea, but that doesn't mean that somebody else may not enjoy it! I encourage everyone to pick up this book and give it a try. It's gotten raving reviews alongside some "meh" ones. It all depends on where you stand. I'm still glad I picked up this book and gave it a shot. I just wish I felt differently about it.

Rating: 

Feb 23, 2015

Review: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang


Title: Falling into Place
Author: Amy Zhang
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 304 Pages
Published September 2014
Add it on Goodreads!
Summary: On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? 
First of all, this book wasted no time getting into the gripping stuff. The story opens up with Liz's suicide-masked-as-an-accident. From the get-go, my eyes were wide open and I was drawn in. The second thing that makes this book so peculiar (in a good way) is the point of view. (There's a mild spoiler up ahead. Nothing major. If you don't want to know who the narrator is, feel free to skip the rest of this paragraph and move on down to the next one.) The story is told from the point of view of Liz's childhood imaginary friend. It isn't officially confirmed until the end, but it's pretty obvious throughout the novel. This imaginary friend doesn't have a name or a gender (but some would assume it's a girl), but he/she is Liz's imaginary friend nonetheless. The way he/she describes it, Liz grew up and forgot about her, but she followed Liz throughout her whole life and was beside her the entire time.

The narration in general is kind of weird, which is probably what kept me from giving this book five stars. I was a bit too confused at time. One chapter would describe something that happened years ago. Then the next would be a scene five minutes before the accident. Then the next is a hospital scene hours later. Then the next is five days before the accident even occurred. It wasn't too difficult to follow, but I definitely recommend paying attention, or you'll be hopelessly lost.

So, as for the story itself. Liz Emerson is the definition of a high school wild child. She can't be pinned down, told what to do, or bossed around by anybody. She moved to Meridian in fifth grade and immediately earned herself the top spot. Just for being herself. So, naturally, nobody would be able to fathom the fact that Liz Emerson just tried to kill herself. It's irrational. It can't happen to a girl like her. Because if Liz Emerson can't fight through her problems, who can?

So, Liz makes her attempted suicide appear as an accident. She swerves off the road at an icy spot she'd practiced on many times before. People would just assume she slipped and crashed and died. Right? What a tragedy. 

Wrong.

Because Liz isn't a physics whiz. And her calculations were wrong.

This was such a great book, in my opinion. I stayed up late into the night reading chapter after chapter because I just wanted to know what was going to happen next. I couldn't help myself. I just had to know. I finished this book in less than 24 hours. That's how great it was. I wasn't able to put it down and do anything productive. I just wanted to read.

Amy Zhang's characters themselves were great. Each student had a different story, and you got to take a turn in each of their heads. Several times. Including Liz's. It was interesting to see from one perspective how everyone thought of Liz, and from another, how she thought of herself. They were drastically different.

And I just had to put this out there - being an AP Physics student myself, a part of me inwardly cringed every time something physics-y was mentioned. That class is seriously the bane of my existence. 

Overall, Falling into Place was a really good stand-alone novel. The narration, the point of view, and the overall story itself was gripping, and I couldn't put it down. Amy Zhang has an excellent writing style and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Rating: 

Feb 22, 2015

ARC Review: The Color of Happiness by K.P. Gazelle


Displaying The_Color_of_Happiness.jpg
Title: The Color of Happiness
Author: K.P. Gazelle
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Expected Publication Date: March 1st, 2015
eBook, 157 Pages
Add it on Goodreads!
Summary: Faith Lane is the girl who has everything. At least, that’s what everyone thinks when they see her rocking a killer dress while laughing with her best friend, Tiffany. But Faith’s life is far from flawless. Her peers torment her relentlessly, and her parents expect her to be the epitome of perfection. Criticized and pressured at school and home, Faith retreats into silent acceptance and finds an escape in her passion of dancing. Then she meets Alex – quirky, forever with a pass, and concealing a mysterious secret of his own. And through his encouragement, Faith starts believing in her gift for dance and gains courage to stand up for herself. But will she be able to keep her footing when the events of one night consume her with the need to jump off the rocky cliffs near her coastal home? And what has pushed her to the edge of reason?
I received an ARC copy of The Color of Happiness from Radiant Books in exchange for an honest review, so that's exactly what I'm going to give: an honest review. I have nothing against the author, Radiant, or even the author's writing style. It was an okay book. It was well-written and semi-easy to follow.

My issue? I didn't know what I was following, honestly.


This book reminded me a lot of the Alice on her Way series. They were decent books. The issue was that they never followed what the summary said they were about. The book makes it seem like Faith is "tormented" by her peers. And that her life is a living hell. Which it isn't. The opening line of the summary states that "Faith Lane is the girl who has everything." Everything except a cell phone, a car, a popular fashion sense, etc.? Granted, these things are material and unimportant in the grand scheme of things, sure.


It just frustrates me because the summary makes it seem like Faith is an "It" girl with a perfectly awesome life who is being bullied and tormented to the point of suicide. First of all, I found it really hard to pinpoint Faith's mentality. According to the book she's a sophomore in high school, which means she's about sixteen. But some of the things she says makes me feel as if she has the mentality of a twelve year old, and some make her sound wise beyond her years. I just didn't get it.


The plot is a hard-hitter here, for sure. For 95% of the book, I had no idea where the story was going. Events were coming and passing and being resolved before I was anywhere near the end. I wasn't quite sure what the main plot even was, which led me to look at the summary again and have my frustration grow.


The redeeming quality of this book was without a doubt that major plot twist that I'll pity you people and not spoil. (Because this book deserves a fair shot, so go pick it up yourself!) But when I got up to that part of the story, this said Plot Twist hit me smack in the face. I dropped my iPad and sat there stunned for a few minutes. I could hardly believe it.


It's definitely not anything that any of you see coming, that's for sure!


So even if this book wasn't really my cup of tea, that doesn't mean it can't be somebody else's. It was a nice, easy read about a young girl navigating her way through high school, sticking to her morals and finding herself among her peers and family. 


All in all, The Color of Happiness was an alright book. The story itself was good, although I just wish that it had been a little clearer and followed one plot line instead of fifty different ones. As for the actual writing style, K.P. Gazelle definitely shows some talent. This is a quick, easy read for anybody looking for something nice and breezy to get through among all of the dreary dystopians we all have been picking up lately. :)


Another thank you to Radiant Books for providing me with a copy of The Color of Happiness for review!


Rating: 

Disclaimer: Although Radiant Books provided me with a review copy, all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Neither Radiant Books nor author K.P. Gazelle have seen this review before its publication on February 22nd, 2015.

Feb 21, 2015

ARC Review: When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling

Title: When My Heart Was Wicked
Author: Tricia Stirling
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Edelweiss 
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Add it to Goodreads / Pre-order it on Amazon

Summary: 
16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She's a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind. Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter's heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the "old" Lacy starts to resurface. But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light?

Review: 


This book was incredibly short, which I liked. It was quick and too the point. At the same time short books lack depth, which When My Heat Was Wicked didn't. My emotions are torn about this book, did I like it? Did I not? The answer is a mix of both things.  


Liked Lacy as a character, I didn't connect to her on how I wanted to. I did connect with her on one thing though. I haven't seen a book where I character currently or use to self harm in a long time. It struck a bit of a nerve with me. I did enjoy how Lacy does resist the urge to cut herself. Something she never did when she lived with her father and stepmother. Lacy lived a hard life, you can see in the pages how hurt she it. Even if it wasn't spoken out loud. 

I expected this book to focus a bit more on the magic, I think I was expecting witches and secret societies. I don't know. When My Heart Was Wicked focused more on Lacy's battle with the light and dark of herself and her mother. I can't place my finger on it yet, but I feel there is more that this story was missing. There was just something that made it lack its wow! factor.

Overall I wasn't crazy about When My Heart Was Wicked. Tricia is a talented writer though and did manage to suck me in with her writing, so I looking forward to see future works from her. 

Rating:




Feb 20, 2015

Adi Alsaid Talks Never Always Sometimes!


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You may know author Adi Alsaid from his latest novel, Let's Get Lost. But that isn't all - he has a brand new story coming out later this year...Never Always Sometimes! We asked Adi a couple of questions about his latest book and also just writing in general, so here's what he had to say. (Plus, side note: Isn't this cover just freaking gorgeous?)

Title: Never Always Sometimes
Author: Adi Alsaid
Expected Publication Date: August 4th, 2015
Hardcover, 352 Pages
Add it on Goodreads!
Summary: Dave and Julia are best friends. On the brink of high school, they made a list of cliches they would never do. Now in their senior year, Dave and Julia decide to try every Never on the list. As they break out of their comfort zone and have many adventures- both together and apart- they learn a lot more about who they are and what their true feelings are for one another.
And now, our interview with Adi! 

What was your inspiration for Never Always Sometimes?
High school is a microcosm for a lot of things you experience later in life, but one of the major ways it resembles adulthood is that there’s a constant struggle between wanting to fit in and wanting to be your own, unique person. When you’re a teenager it’s such a well-defined, clear struggle, and I wanted to explore that in a way that was fun and would allow me to zoom in on how two characters experienced that struggle.

Why do you think readers will enjoy NAS? What makes it special?
I imagine/hope that what they’ll enjoy more than anything is the relationship between the two main characters, Dave and Julia. Writing the book definitely had its challenges, but from the beginning the chemistry between them felt absolutely natural. I just wanted to keep writing scenes with the two of them, and the more I did, the more time I wanted to spend in their company. I hope readers feel the same way.

How did you come up with the title for the book?
I kind of suck at titles. As with Let’s Get Lost, this book had a non-snappy title for a good chunk of its development, and it was my wonderful editorial team that came in to save the day with Never Always Sometimes

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Just the mere fact of getting to do it. Writing is something I’d be doing whether or not I got paid to do it, whether or not anyone was reading. That I can sit at coffee shops day after day and, whether I’m doing a great job or sucking at it, whether I’m drafting and just trying to get a story down, or revising and trying to get the story to the best version of itself, I get to do what I love to do.

Is there anything that you find particularly challenging with writing?
Control. It’s hard to define what ‘control’ really means in writing, but it’s something I can spot and admire in other writers. Because I love language so much, I think sometimes I struggle to hold myself back when the story demands it. I want to press on the pedal and just speed down the highway, but maybe I’m taking a curve and speeding is neither safe nor appropriate. Writing is so fun and so freeing that it’s hard not to want to yank readers by the wrist and show them what I want them to see. I admire those authors who have the control to lead a reader gently by the hand, like you would with a toddler crossing the street. It’s something I constantly am aware of and wanting to improve on.

Did you learn anything from writing Let's Get Lost and Never Always Sometimes? If so, what?
Well, for one, I learned how to write on a deadline, and what it feels like to know that what I’m writing will be out in the world and in bookstores for potentially thousands of people to read. 

What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve been a writer for most of my life. The urge to do it has been coming since I was in sixth grade, and I don’t think I ever had a choice but to write. My career, though, spawned less romantically. I went to business school and wanted a day job, but my international student/visa status made it hard to find one. Without any other options, I thought back to a story idea I’d written down in the middle of the night (because I had no choice but to write it down) and I wondered if maybe I could turn it into a book. A few years later, I had a book deal. 

What's the book you're currently reading right now?
The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan. 80 pages into it and pretty hooked by the promise of what’s to come.

Have you made any cool author friends now that you're an author yourself? If so, who?
The world of YA authors is so friendly, I feel like listing every author I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, even if it was briefly. I’ve had the most face time with fellow Harlequin TEEN authors Julie Kagawa, Michelle Madow, and Robin Talley, particularly in Vegas and New York. I also have had the immense pleasure of being at conventions/festivals/panels with Stephanie Perkins (who is as wonderfully nice as you may have heard), Jen E. Smith (who’s always up for a milkshake in a Georgian diner/hunting shop), Alaya Dawn Johnson (fellow Mexico City resident!), Adam Selzer, Lex Thomas, Andrew Smith, Becky Albertalli, Jasmine Warga, Adam Silvera and tons more whom I wish I could be actual real life friends with.

Anything specific you want to say to your readers? :-)
Tons of stuff, but I think I’ll just say thanks, and leave everything else I’d like to say to our social media interactions. 

About The Author

Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it's no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He's now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let's Get Lost is his YA debut.
Connect with Adi on his...


*A special thank you to Adi Alsaid for allowing us to conduct this interview! We're sooooo excited for Never Always Sometimes!!!!

Feb 19, 2015

ARC Review: Little Peach by Peggy Kern

Title: Little Peach
Author: Peggy Kern
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Source: Edelweiss
Publisher: Balzer & Bray / Harperteen
Publication Date: March 10th 2015
Add it to Goodreads / Pre-order it on Amazon / Read Jessica's Review!

Summary: 
What do you do if you're in trouble? When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options.  Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels. But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition.  This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive.

Review 


I never felt so sick as a read something in my life. This story didn't suck, it was really good. But the subject matter? It is a real eye opener. Little Peach is short, only 200 pages, but it is packed with the terrible reality for some young girls in large cities. 

Michelle is fourteen years old when her mother tells her to leave, to find some place more stable to live. With her best friend gone, and her grandfather dead Michelle leaves the only home she ever known. When she arrives in New York with no plan she meets a mysterious stranger named Devon who says he can help her. Michelle is skeptical but she accepts, not knowing what else to do now. That night Michelle is taken advantage of and learns quickly that she is in more then she can handle. When she wakes up the next morning in pain and unsure of what happened Devon informs her of her new life. She will serve the men that Devon her "Daddy" sends to her. 

I inhaled this book in two hours. As sick as it made me I had to keep reading. I needed to know the outcome. We are introduced to Kat and Baby. Baby is only twelve years old, Kat closer to Devon's age (so I assume) Who both seem pretty comfortable in this life they have with Devon. Though Michelle knows this life is wrong she falls quickly in routine with her new life. During the day they eat, sleep, and do what ever and at night they go to the hotel where Devon will send men for them. 

Peggy touched on a very sensitive subject matter and twisted it into a dark tale. Little Peach is a big eye opener in a matter that I never thought much about before. I do hope people won't be afraid to pick up this book and read it. It is worth the time. There is so much more that I can say about this novel that won't even give it justice. This is something you need to pick up and read. Heart breaking, eyeopening, dark Little Peach is something that you will keep thinking about long after you've read it cover to cover. 

Review:




Feb 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #22: Nowhere But Here & Ice Like Fire

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine.

Jessica's Waiting On:


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Title: Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1)
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: Contemporary 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 26th, 2015

Summary: 
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both. Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down. No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home
I am so excited for Nowhere But Here! I am such a huge Katie McGarry fan, and her Pushing the Limits series was one I followed since the first book. I'm more than ready for Nowhere But Here - the cover is gorgeous and I just can't wait to get my hands on it! May can't come fast enough!


Amber's Waiting On:


Title: Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2)
Author: Sara Raasch 
Genre: Fantasy 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 13th 2015

Summary: 
It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell. Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves? Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats? As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.
Talk about major cover lust. This cover is stunning, even more so then Snow Like Ashes. I loved the first book in the series and when I finished I couldn't wait for news on this one. I need more Theron in my life!!! 

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back! 


Feb 17, 2015

Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

Title: The Program (The Program #1)
Author: Suzanne Young
Genre: Dystopia
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 30th 2013
Add it to Goodreads / Buy it on Amazon

Summary:
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program. Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories. Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Review: 


I haven't cried during a book as much as I have during The Program. This book is terrifyingly real, and haunting. This is my second time reading The Program and it has effected me more this time then it did the first time I read it. Young's description of depression managed to hit the nail on the head, something I have seen no other author do. I can try my hardest to review this book, but I won't ever do it justice. 

Its and epidemic, 1 and 3 teenagers are killing themselves and many more are hiding the signs of depressions, for the fear of their memory being wiped by the Program. Three of those teens are Sloane, James, and Miller are just holding on. Keeping the dark feelings down and trying to appear normal. But when Miller can't handle it any more and kills himself, Sloane must keep James from falling into a depression and being taken away from her. With her brother's suicide a year earlier and now one of her best friend's suicides the darkness is coming for Sloane, and close behind is The Program.

In the beginning of the novel Young gives you one set of characters, half way through she wipes them clean. It is heart breaking, because the story isn't just about suicide and depression it is about the power of love. Both James and Sloane are wiped clean. They have no memories of each other at all. In the first half of the novel you had two characters who are crazy in love and in the second half, those same characters don't even know each other anymore. 
“You're right, you know," he says. "You're just right for me. And I'd bet my life that we've done this before. Because I can't imagine that I wouldn't have fallen in love with you the first time.” - James
In the beginning of the novel we hear a lot about the returners (people who have been through the program, and now are being reintroduced into society) and in the second half we see Sloane begin her life again, but every times she looks at James her heart races a little, almost like she knew him before. I loved getting to see them getting to fall in love with each other all over again, sure it was heart breaking about what happened to them, but they still found each other like they promised each other before they were wiped. 

Overall I loved The Program, Young managed to screw with my feels and make me cry a ton of times. I am a bit bummed that this series has only two books, but I know that Young will wrap everything up well for us. (*crosses fingers*) Then there is The Remedy coming out in April.


Rating: