Mar 31, 2016

Review: The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer


Title: The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy
Author: Kate Kattemer
Publisher: Ember
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Paperback, 336 Pages
Published March 2016 
(First Published April 2014)


Summary: Witty, sarcastic Ethan and his three best friends are students at Selwyn Arts Academy, which has been hijacked by For Art’s Sake, a sleazy reality-television show. In the tradition of Ezra Pound, the foursome secretly writes and distributes a long poem to protest the show. They’re thrilled to have started a budding rebellion. But the forces behind the show are craftier than they seem. The web of betrayal stretches farther than Ethan could have ever imagined, and it’s up to him, his friends, and a heroic gerbil named Baconnaise to save Selwyn.



This book was first published a few years ago, but Penguin/Random House just came out with a new cover, so they sent me a copy to review. It was a total surprise, but I was super excited because it seemed like the perfect blend of a contemporary and a mystery for me, so I got into it right away. (Although this was possibly the longest time it's taken me to read a book ever, being that I am so far behind in things because of everything that's happening with our school dance competition - which Amber and I explain here.) 

So as the summary explains, the students of Selwyn Academy have a serious predicament. A new reality TV show is being filmed at their school, and it's bringing out the ugly side of some people, and there's just a fishy air about it in general. So Ethan and a handful of his friends decide that they're going to get down to the bottom of kTV and For Art's Sake - no matter the costs.

I just mentioned that when I received this book I already thought I was going to enjoy it, which is true. What I was not expecting was to enjoy it as much as I did. Ethan's narration made the book ten times more enjoyable for me - I felt the same way about this book as I did when I read Me, Earl and the Dying Girl this past summer. When a narrator has razor-sharp wit and humor and can't help making a few jokes per page, it really gives you an enjoyable reading experience. At times I found it hard to put the book down because I wanted to keep reading and see what Ethan was going to say next. 

Ethan definitely made the book for me. There were plenty of other worthwhile and funny characters (for example, Elizabeth and Jackson), but Ethan definitely had the reigning sense of humor that made the book such a hysterical read. (I would DEFINITELY recommend this book if you need a little bit of humor in your life at the current moment. It's a good pick-me-up.) 

(There are some mild spoilers ahead so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet!) The one person/thing that I really didn't like about this book was Luke. When he turned around and did what he did to his supposed "best friends," I didn't like the fact that Ethan missed him. Sure, he was your best friend previously and you had a lot of history together, but friends don't backstab one another like that. So at the very end of the book when he makes a reappearance and everyone seems alright with it, I was pissed. I would've kicked him the heck out right away. (But then again, I personally can hold a grudge like nobody's business.)

All in all, The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy was a novel full of secrets, reality TV, betrayal, and lots and lots of humor. I definitely recommend it to anybody looking for an entertaining read! Kate Hattemer has an excellent sense of narration and writing style, and I'd totally be open to reading more work of hers in the future.

I'd like to thank Penguin/Random House for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! All thoughts expressed here are entirely my own and in no way did the author or the publishers have any prior knowledge of this review before it went up live today. :-)



Mar 30, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #54: Nemesis & Gemini


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Amber's Waiting on:


Title: Nemesis
Author: Anna Banks
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: October 4th 2016

Summary: 
The princess didn't expect to fall in love--with her nemesis. Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king's servitude. Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined. Sepora's gift could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?


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Jessica's Waiting on:

Title: Gemini
Author: Sonya Mukherjee
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Publication Date: July 26th 2016

Summary: Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins, Clara and Hailey, have lived in the same small town their entire lives—no one stares at them anymore. But there are cracks in their quiet existence and they’re slowing becoming more apparent. Clara and Hailey are at a crossroads. Clara wants to stay close to home, avoid all attention, and study the night sky. Hailey wants to travel the world, learn from great artists, and dance with mysterious boys. As high school graduation approaches, each twin must untangle her dreams from her sister’s, and figure out what it means to be her own person.

The entire concept of this book intrigues me - I don't know how I would feel if I was a conjoined twin that wanted to go out and have my own life experiences while my sister wanted to have experiences that were the exact opposite. I definitely want to read this book and see what it's like for the sisters and how they make things work. I'm excited to get my hands on this one!

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


Mar 29, 2016

Book Blitz + Giveaway: WALK THE EDGE by Katie McGarry

Walk the Edge - RWB banner

One moment...That’s all it takes to change your life.

What happens when your entire future is on the line because of one reckless moment? This is what Breanna Miller and Thomas “Razor” Turner have to face in Katie McGarry’s WALK THE EDGE. Blackmail, family secrets, future plans on the verge of collapsing, two people who aren’t supposed to be together fall in love, and the power of social media in defining who you are when you’re not even sure who that person is yet…Join the Club and and immerse yourself in the world of the Reign of Terror. Pick up WALK THE EDGE today!


 About Walk The Edge: 



Walk the Edge - cover

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds. Smart. Responsible. That's seventeen-year-old Breanna's role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyberbully's line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas "Razor" Turner into her life.
Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don't belong. But when he learns she's being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it's time to step outside the rules.
And so they make a pact: he'll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she'll help him seek answers to the mystery that's haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they're both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they're going from here.

Amazon * iBooks * Barnes and Noble * Kobo * Indiebound


Add to your Goodreads


Don’t miss the first book in the Thunder Road Series,

NOWHERE BUT HERE!



Walk the Edge - The Boy Everyone Needs

"There's something about McGarry's writing that's totally enthralling. Her characters are vivid, flawed and riveting, making this is a truly amazing read!"
~ RT Book Reviews

"Katie McGarry is a master of her craft! Raw emotion, pure grit, I hang on every word. Her characters are real people with real problems and I cheer them every step of the way. Ready for a new addiction? Look no further than Katie McGarry's books."
~ Gena Showalter, Bestselling author of Firstlife

"I finished WALK THE EDGE by the amazing Katie McGarry. It was SO good that now I feel bereft. I already miss Razor & Bre - I need to know more! She is by far my #1 favorite author. She paints a picture with the words, puts you IN the story... LOVE."
~ Lori Foster, New York Times Bestselling Author



Walk the Edge - preorder graphic

DON’T MISS THIS AWESOME INCENTIVE OFFER FOR AN EXCLUSIVE ECHO AND NOAH SHORT STORY!


Order WALK THE EDGE, Register your Order by April 1st and receive an exclusive Echo and Noah short story and a chance to be in the next Thunder Road novel! Register at https://offerpop.com/campaign/796530.




About Katie McGarry:


Katie McGarry - author pic
Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads


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Mar 28, 2016

Happy 18th Birthday to Me!

It's My 18th Birthday!

Time to celebrate!

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Amber and I are ten days apart, and ten days ago was her eighteenth birthday- which means that today is mine! I'm so super excited for this next year of my life and I'm so so grateful and appreciative of everything I've accomplished and worked towards in the past seventeen years of my life - so now it's time to spend this first awesome year as an adult rocking it as well!


And of course, you can't forget the party GIFs. 

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So now if you'd excuse me, I'm off to celebrate my 18th birthday! Thank you for all of the warm wishes, everybody!! :)


Mar 27, 2016

The New Authors On The Block: Five Little Known Facts about Stone Feild + Giveaway


Welcome back to the fourth and final week of the March edition of The New Authors on the Block with March debut Christy Lenzi

5 little known facts about Stone Field:


  1. There are little homages to some of my favorite poets tucked away in the book. Some are obvious—Walt Whitman is mentioned outright—but other, more subtle references are in there too. You will find one in Cat’s surname and her father’s first name, for instance.

  1. Too many curling fingers! Before my editor alerted me to it, there were about ten moments in the book when characters’ fingers were curling in to fists. It was after the ARCs were done when the repetitions were discovered. We went through and edited most of them. If you read the finished book and find there are still more than one or two curling fingers in it, please don’t tell me, or I might curl my fingers into a fist and shake it at the sky.

  1. Annie Dillard says it takes ten years to write a book. For me, looking back, perhaps that is true, because I can see elements in STONE FIELD that I have been pondering and writing about for a long time. One of four unpublished novels I wrote before STONE FIELD explored similar themes, as well as life in the same troubled area and time period. One of my early published short stories for younger kids in Cricket magazine explored it from yet another angle. So though the actual writing of STONE FIELD took closer to 1-2 years, the development of it in my mind took closer to ten.

  1. STONE FIELD’s book birthday is the day after my daughter turns 21. I dedicated the book to her and meant it to be a birthday surprise, but the ARCs arrived unexpectedly when she was home from college on a visit and she discovered my gift early. I like the thought that my two first-borns arrived in the world almost exactly 21 years apart.

  1. This has been a well-kept secret until now, but I think the time is right to reveal it: STONE FIELD is a palindrome. You can read the whole book forward or backward and it will read the exact same way. It was a difficult feat, I can tell you. And my poor editor! She almost had a breakdown. But I am very proud of this little known fact. (We are playing the Four Truths & One Lie game, right?)

About Christy: 



Christy Lenzi first stuffed a note into an aspirin bottle and threw it in the creek when she was eleven, hoping her words would reach someone out in the big world. Eventually her notes got longer and turned into books. One of her favorite things to do is to ride her motor scooter, Roxanne, down a winding road at sunset. Christy lives in California’s Central Valley with her family.

Connect with Christy: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Pinterest


About Stone Field:



Title: Stone Field 
Author: Christy Lenzi
Genre: Historical Fiction, Retelling, Romance
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: March 29th 2016


Summary: 
In a small town on the brink of the Civil War, Catrina finds a man making strange patterns in her family’s sorghum crop. He’s mad with fever, naked, and strikingly beautiful. He has no memory of who he is or what he’s done before Catrina found him in Stone Field. But that doesn’t bother Catrina because she doesn’t like thinking about the things she’s done before either. Catrina and Stonefield fall passionately, dangerously, in love. All they want is to live with each other, in harmony with the land and away from Cat’s protective brother, the new fanatical preacher, and the neighbors who are scandalized by their relationship. But Stonefield can’t escape the truth about who he is, and the conflict tearing apart the country demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep. Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Stone Field is a passionate and atmospheric story of how violence and vengeance pervert the human spirit, and how hatred can be transcended by love.

ADD IT TO GOODREADS!


What to expect this month:


Giveaway:


  • Please be 13 years or older or have a parents permission to enter
  • This giveaway is open to US residents or those with US mailing addresses
  • The Book Bratz and Chisty are not responsible for any lost or damaged packages.

Mar 26, 2016

You Asked, We Answered - Q & A!

You Asked, We Answered!

We spend so much time talking to all of you guys about your lives, and it suddenly dawned on us that we haven't really had much time to talk to you about ourselves! So a few weeks ago we put out a Tweet into the Twitterverse telling you guys to ask us any questions that you want us to answer, book-related and not! So that's exactly what we did. We hope you guys enjoy this post and it helps you to know a little more about us!


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What aspects of college/post high-school are you looking forward to?


Jessica: I'm looking forward to the independence and the dorm life. I've always been a pretty independent person, and I'm super in love with the college that I've chosen -- it seriously couldn't be a better fit for me. So I'm just excited as a whole to start the next chapter of my life! (Haha, get it? Chapter? A book blog? ...No? Okay.)

Amber: My post high school plans are going to beauty school. For the past few years makeup had interested me more and more, and I want to be able to make a career out of it. Right now, I am not cut out for college with things that happened the past few months. I'm deferring from my top college for a year before I go to get my degree in Business. 

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What will you be studying?

Jessica: I haven't officially declared or anything, but right now it's looking like I'm going to be an English major with a double minor in Marketing and Creative Writing. (The perfect cocktail of degrees for the publishing world.)


Amber: Makeup! Publishing! Business! Medicine! *Rolls the magic eight ball* ask again later! 

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How did you two become friends?


Jessica: I met Amber when I was five years old - we were in the same kindergarten class!

Amber: What she said. I was actually really jealous of Jessica's backpack.

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On average, how long does it take you to read a book?

Jessica: During the school year, a week if I'm lucky. When I have down time and it's the summer and I have a lot more time to read, three days at most.

Amber: It varies on the book, currently like a week. But once Blue and Gold ends probably a day or two. In the summer I knock books back pretty fast, but I have to get a job so the future of my reading habits are unclear at the moment. 


book books reading icarly


How often do you go to the library?

Jessica: I used to go at least once a week, but once we got into blogging I've had so many books and ARCs sent to my house that I maybe go once a month now, if that, because I spend so much time reading the books that we were sent.

Amber: Never. I am always back loaded with ARCs. Maybe once a year? 


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Are there times that you guys disagree on what to post or where to take your blog? How do you work so well together?

Jessica: We definitely disagree on things from time to time - as we should, because that's what collaborators do. We never actually get mad at each other, though. We occasionally have clashing opinions about what post to do, or a meme, or (most frequently, LOL) changing the layout of the blog. But the reason we work so well together is, in my opinion, because we've been friends off of the internet world for such a long time. So we talk things out and find a middle ground and make it work, because in the end we both have equal ownership of this blog and nobody's opinion is more valuable than the other.


Amber: Here goes Jessica stealing my answers *sigh*


fight justin online mirror gossip



What would you guys cook for Chef Ramsay as a signature dish?


Jessica: Oh man, he'd definitely hate me because I can't cook. But I come from a big Italian family, so maybe some sauce? I think I could make some relatively decent sauce.

Amber: Please look at the GIF below, that  is me. 


gordon ramsay



What's the best moment you've experienced in your time blogging?

Jessica: BookCon, hands down. I can't make it this year because it's so far away from us, but next year I'll be able to go and I am just so excited. I love all of the panels and meeting all of the authors and amazing blogger friends that we spend so much time talking to online! It's seriously great.


Amber: Bookcon too, but the one time that HarperTeen sent us book mail was pretty awesome too! 


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We'd like to thank everybody that asked us some of these awesome questions! If you have any other questions you want us to answer, we'd totally be open to doing another post - just put your questions in the comments down below! :-)

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Mar 25, 2016

Likes-Dislikes ARC Review: The Art Of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

Title: The Art of Not Breathing
Author: Sarah Alexander
Source: Edelweiss 
Genre: Contemporary 
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 26th 2016 

Summary: 
Since her twin brother, Eddie, drowned five years ago, sixteen-year-old Elsie Main has tried to remember what really happened that fateful day on the beach. One minute Eddie was there, and the next he was gone. Seventeen-year-old Tay McKenzie is a cute and mysterious boy that Elsie meets in her favorite boathouse hangout. When Tay introduces Elsie to the world of freediving, she vows to find the answers she seeks at the bottom of the sea.


**Spoilers are in red** 

I don't have much to say about The Art of Not Breathing. I did like it. But it isn't my favorite book I ever read. It also won't be one of the most memorable. There were qualities that I liked, and then many things that I disliked. 

Likes: 

  • I like that is was set in Scotland. It took a little getting use to the terms that were use. But it was refreshing to read. 
  • Alexander created a cast of realistically flawed characters (For the most part. Read in the dislike section for more) 
  • Free diving isn't something you read about. It was cool to read about. It actually makes me want to try it out. (I won't) 
  • I especially liked that Elise was depicted as a chubbier then most girls her age, and she views her body in a disdainful way. I found it realistic about how some girls view themselves. 

Dislikes: 

  • Flawed characters are good. They make a story sometimes. But every character in this book was flawed. It was hard to keep up with what was going on with who, and why this character acted this way. 
  • There was one part of the story that threw me off. Elsie's other brother has a girlfriend. So one day she is peaking through the lock on his door and catches them having sex. Most people would turn away, but Elsie continues to watch for a minute or two. (Which maybe isn't a big thing? But I just found it odd) And then one day that girlfriend says that Elsie could watch if she wanted too. 
  • From the summary the book it makes you think that the story is about Elsie coming to terms with Eddie's death and stuff. It is and it isn't. But suddenly Elsie is is trying to piece together the memories of that day she can't remember, and then who else was involved. How her brother knows Tay and Adam. It suddenly turned into a mystery. 
  • In the last half of the book, Elsie's brother develops an eating disorder. But it comes out of nowhere. One minute he was fine and the next minute he is sickly thin. 
  • Overall I found the story rushed and too much crammed into less then 300 pages. It might have benefited if it was longer then 288 pages. 




Mar 24, 2016

ARC Review: Flawed (Flawed, #1) by Cecelia Ahern


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Title: Flawed (Flawed, #1)
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Publication Date: April 5th, 2016
Hardcover, 368 Pages

Summary: Celestine North lives a perfect life. She's a model daughter and sister, she's well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she's dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan. But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule. And now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.


I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and at first I was a bit weary when I started because I didn't really understand it -- the laws about being Flawed and how they worked and everything. But that only lasted for a chapter or two before I got familiar with everything. This book definitely takes a little bit of getting used to. But once you're caught up with the world and the system of how the laws work and everything, Flawed is actually a gripping story about facing the consequences for doing what you think is the right thing.

The one phrase that stuck in my mind a lot while reading this book was this: Stand up for what you think is right, even if you are standing alone. That's what happens to Celestine when she sees the old Flawed man having breathing trouble on the train. She goes out of her way to help him, even though she knows that's not proper etiquette for society, because she knows that no matter what the laws may say, you always need to reach out and help somebody in dire situations. 

It just so happens that the consequences for Celestine's actions may end up being a lifetime of misery and being ostracized. So yeah, that's a bit of a problem.

I really admired Celestine's character throughout the entire book. Even though she knew what would happen to her if she helped the Flawed man on the bus, she did it anyway because she knew that she couldn't live with herself if she sat by and let something happen to him. Even when facing her punishments, Celestine refused to scream and give her tormentors the satisfaction of thinking they broke her. And then she became the face of a rebellion that she didn't even have any interest in being a part of.

It was really interesting to see how society worked around the Guild, which was technically not the enforcer of laws, but the enforcer of morals. But as all good stories go, if you give some sort of authority figure any kind of control, they're eventually going to run rampant with it, as the Guild did. There were several parts throughout the story where characters brought up the fact that the Guild was getting out of control and doing more things than they technically had the right to, and it was just really interesting to see.

(Minor spoilers ahead so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet!) The one character in this book that I really wasn't crazy about was Art. (Which is kind of weird, I know, since he's the one that Celestine loves and everything.) I just knew that there was something off about him from the start, and he got so easily jealous and crazy with that party invitation that I just got really, really turned off by him. As the series goes on, I'm predicting that he's going to let something as petty as jealously or Celestine's brandings to get in the way of their relationship. 

All in all, Flawed was an interesting read about standing up and doing the right thing even if you know that there will be consequences. This book made me think a lot about what I would do in Celestine's situation - and I can honestly say that I don't know. Of course I want to say that I'd stand up and do the right thing, but when motivated by fear, maybe I would've kept quiet. I really don't know. This book definitely throws a lot about my own self-morals into question, and I'm just in total awe of Celestine's bravery. I definitely recommend this book even if stories like this aren't really your thing, because I didn't expect to enjoy this book so much but I ended up really, really liking it! It reminded me a little bit of the Matched series. 

I definitely will be reading the next book in this series when it comes out!