12 March 2012

Review- Identical

Title: Identical
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: Purchased

In the latest hard-hitting YA novel by the New York Times bestselling author, 16-year-old identical twin girls must come to terms with their abusive father.
Kaeleigh and Raeanne are 16-year-old identical twins, the daughters of a district court judge father and politician mother running for Congress. Everything on the surface of their lives seems Norman Rockwell perfect, but underneath run deep and damaging secrets.
Kaeleigh is the good girl-her father's perfect flower, something she has tried so hard to be since she was nine and he started sexually abusing her. She cuts herself and vomits after every binge, desperate to feel something normal. Raeanne uses painkillers, drugs, alcohol, and sex to numb the pain of not being Daddy's favorite. Both girls must figure out how to become whole, but how can they when their world has been torn to shreds?

My thoughts: 

For a very, very long time I avoided books written in free verse like the plague. And I honestly don’t know why. I would read a synopsis of a book, think to myself that it sounds really good, discover that it’s written in free verse and literally decide right there that I’m not going to read it. So I’ve heard really good things about Ellen Hopkins books and I knew in the back of my mind that if I was going to read a book in free verse that I was going to read one of hers. One day I’m browsing my local Barnes and Noble and I come across one of her books. While standing in the aisle reading the first chapter I was literally blown away.

I feel like when books are written in free verse that every word is carefully chosen and not one single word is wasted. Ellen Hopkins definitely has a gift and a way with words. Identical is very raw and emotional and the issues are presented in plain view instead of being danced around. Since I’m pretty sure I’m the last blogger to read this book, I have to tell you guys that I did not catch on to the twin thing until almost the end! I was completely fooled.

My favorite character is the old lady from the nursing home. She reminds me a lot of a lady I know who lived through WWII and her family hid Jews in their attic. She’s one of bravest women I know.

Identical is a powerhouse of a novel and while I found it very hard to read because it is so intense, it was also very hard for me to put down! Needless to say, I was completely shocked by the ending but this book definitely rocked my world!

11 March 2012

In My Mailbox (36)

In My Mailbox is an awesome way to connect with our blogger and reader friends and share which amazing books we received, bought or borrowed during the week! This weekly meme is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

For Review: 

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Entangled by Nikki Jefford
Nikki will be stopping by the blog this week for a guest post! Don't miss it!


The Girls of No Return by Erin Saldin

I also bought a new bookshelf because my main bookshelf was just overflowing.  I also got a few review books from Netgalley!

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker
Transcendence by C.J. Omolou
New Girl by Paige Harbison

Special thanks to the publicists at Bloombury USA and Harlequin Teen!

I can't wait to see what's in your mailbox!

Weekly Wrap-up:

Review- The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Review- Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
Top Ten Tuesday- Favorite Covers

Waiting on Wednesday-Fated by Alyson Noel


09 March 2012

Follow Friday (27)

Follow Friday is a really fun way to network your blog and meet some other really cool bloggers in the process! This weekly event is hosted by Alison Can Read.  This week's featured blogger is Novel Days.

Q:  Have you ever looked at a book's cover and thought, This is going to horrible? But, was instead pleasantly surprised? Show us the cover and tell us about the book.

The first book that comes to mind for me is Divergent by Veronica Roth (my review).  I did not like this cover at all before I read it.  I thought it was going to be some weird action book that I was going to have no interest in. But, because of the amazing reviews it was getting, I bought it.  And then it sat on my nightstand, just staring at me, daring me to read it.  It must have sat there for a good two months at least.  Then, as most of you have experienced, I started it and finished it the next day because it was SO GOOD! And now I think it's the perfect cover for that book.

Another cover that just didn't appeal to me right from the beginning is Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols (my review).  I bought it, again, because I had heard she is one of the best YA contemporary writers out there right now.  So I bought the book but it sat on my shelf for about three months before I cracked it open.  then, for some reason I can't remember now, I read the first chapter and put it down without finishing it.  I didn't even think about it again until about a year later when I read another review saying how awesome it is.  So I grabbed the book off my shelf, sat down and read it in literally a couple of hours.  It has now become one of my all time favorite books!  And I would never want it to have a different cover!

As always, thanks for following my blog and don't forget to subscribe to my feed if you can!!  Happy reading everyone!

08 March 2012

Review- A Spy in the House

Title: A Spy in the House
Author: Y.S. Lee
Series: The Agency #1
Publisher: Candlewick
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: Purchased

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

My thoughts:

Historical fictions involving some kind of mystery are always appealing and super fun for me to read. In modern times, solving a mystery usually involves some sort of high skilled computer work, fancy gadgets and overcoming expensive alarm systems. Even though those are fun to read as well, I’m always going to be partial to the cloak and dagger type of mysteries.

In the beginning of this novel we meet Mary Quinn as a young girl who is about to be hanged for thievery. She is given a second chance and is sent to live at a school for girls and given an education in the hopes that she can make something of herself by the time she reaches the age of eighteen. Fast-forward five or six years, Mary has become a teacher at the school for girls but finds herself unsatisfied in her position. That is when she is given the chance to become a part of the Agency, a female detective agency.

Mary is a very strong main character whose survival instinct is very intense. She’s not like most young ladies in that century who have fragile sensibilities and faint every time they have a fright. She’s on a mission and she won’t let anyone get in her way.

I absolutely loved James who becomes somewhat of a love interest for Mary. He is very much her equal and blew me out of the waters with his mysterious way of finding information and almost one-upping Mary. I liked that it was more mystery than romance and even by the end their relationship is still in the very early stages.

A Spy in the House really was a fun read. It was intriguing and held me at the edge of my seat while throwing in bits of comedy and romance. I think it’s going to be a very interesting series!

07 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (48)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating. This is one of my favorite memes because not only is my TBR pile so much bigger at the end of the night but also the covers are always amazing!

Title: Fated
Author: Alyson Noel
Hitting the Shelves: May 22, 2012

Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.

There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.

What are you waiting for? 

06 March 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (2)

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature of lists that varies every week created by The Broke and the Bookish!

My top ten favorite covers:

10. Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann:
I love the original cover of Cryer's Cross because it fits the story just perfectly. The story is creepy and so is the cover!

9.  Unearthly by Cynthia Hand:
This cover is just gorgeous.  Even though it kind of looks flat on the screen, it just jumps off the page in person!

8.  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

7.  Envy by Gregg Olsen:
I'm a big fan of the creepy cover!

6.  Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday:
I love the blue of the background and lettering matching the blue of her eyes.  I also love the play with the ear buds.

5.  Wither by Lauren DeStefano

4.  Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

3.  Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater

2.  Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

1.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Review- Charmed Thirds

Title: Charmed Thirds
Author: Megan McCafferty
Series: Jessica Darling #3
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: Purchased

Jessica Darling’s in college!

Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she’s more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, than ever (so what if he’s at a Buddhist college in California?); and she’s making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope.

But Jessica soon realizes that her bliss might not last. She lands an internship at a snarky Brooklyn-based magazine, but will she fit in with the ├╝berhip staff (and will she even want to)? As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she end up falling for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA . . . or the hot (and married!) Spanish grad student she’s assisting on a summer project . . . or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it through college now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?

My thoughts: 

The Jessica Darling series is one of my favorite contemporary series ever! So, of course, I could not wait to dive right into the third installment, Charmed Thirds. Before I started reading it, I scoured the reviews and surprisingly I found a lot that stated that they were disappointed with the book and that it did not live up to their expectations. Those statements could not have been further from the truth for me.

Even though Jessica Darling is her same moody, gloomy and sarcastic self, I believe she shows a lot of growth. She makes mistakes, she gets frustrated, she makes bad decisions and she learns that there is no easy way to do anything. It’s all part of becoming an adult. Knowing all this, I was still very upset when she made the worst decision of all! But then I have to realize that Jessica is not perfect and her boyfriend hardly talks to her while he is at his meditation college.

The decisions she makes that force her to live in certain places are absolutely hilarious and ironic. I was just dying with laughter. No matter what they go through, Jessica and Marcus will always be in my top 5 favorite couples. I need to hurry up and get book four and five because I must know if they live happily ever after!

05 March 2012

Review- The Pledge

Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Pledge #1
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: Purchased

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

My thoughts: 

Kimberly Derting is one of my favorite mystery authors! So when I got wind that she was writing a dystopia novel, I was beyond excited! The synopsis sounded amazing and I could not wait to get my hands on it and dig in! Of course I pre-ordered it; what kind of Kimberly Derting fan would I be if I didn’t!

Even though the book was really good, I felt the story was a bit lacking. I can tell you something was missing until the cows come home but I can’t really tell you what that something is. It’s a really weird feeling to not be able to identify a missing element. But since I can’t really tell you what is missing, I’m not going to spend any more time on it. I want to tell you what I liked about this book.

I like the languages and the way they separated people in their classes. To me, it had a very “landed gentry” feeling to it (I know, I’m a history geek). Within the town that Charlie lived in, there were the rich and then there were the not so rich who I like to call part-time serfs. But I liked, it worked. Now I wasn’t sure if these specific languages were something they learned to speak as children or if they were born with the ability to speak only certain languages. It is said in the book that, over time, people had lost the ability to lean new languages which is why language classified people. I loved that element of the book.

I liked the relationship dynamic between Charlie and her two best friends. Especially her relationship with Brooklyn. For most of the book, Brooklyn is this care-free, wild spirit, partier type of girl and Charlie is always trying to make sure that she doesn’t take it too far and do something that could get her killed. But then Brooklyn totally blew me out of the water!! She is one of the most dynamic characters of the book!

And of course I loved Max! He’s Charlie’s protector, secret keeper and encourager of her destiny. And he’s tall, dark and handsome! A winning combination! Even though I liked the Body Finder more than The Pledge, it still had me on the edge of my seat so I give it four stars!

04 March 2012

In My Mailbox (35)

In My Mailbox is an awesome way to connect with our blogger and reader friends and share which amazing books we received, bought or borrowed during the week! This weekly meme is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

It's so good to be getting back to my normal routine.  I want to tell everyone thank you for your condolences and your encouraging words.  I appreciate everything very much. Now on to the books!

For Review:

Slide by Jill Hathaway


Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shephard
Partials by Dan Wells
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

What's in your mailbox?

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