Book Review: Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia.

A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

Release Date: September 2, 2014

I recently finished reading The Fault in Our Stars.  When I picked up Zac & Mia and realized I was reading another teenage cancer novel, I was reluctant to continue reading.  I assumed I already knew the story and the final outcome.  Well…I was wrong.

This is not another sappy teenage love story.  Yes, there is an undertone of young love but this novel chooses to focus on relationships in general.  The bond between family.  The bond between friends.  The bond between total strangers.  The bond we have with ourself.  I felt that I knew most of the characters well but could have used a little more depth with a few of them.

The author does a good job of connecting with the reader by using modern pop-culture references.  Any book that mentions Lady Gaga and Harry Potter is OK by me.  There was one line that I really loved.  “When an animals kicking and fighting the most, that’s the time you need to pull it closer.”  This sums up the book for me.  Sometimes people, myself included, act out…resisting and fighting love, friendship and intimacy.  Zac & Mia taught me to just pull closer.

This novel would not have been my first choice for a summer read but I am glad I read it.  If you liked The Fault in Our Stars you should most definitely read this because I enjoyed it twice as much.

5 Bards

fivebards

 

Cover Reveal: Edge of Falling by Valia Lind

I am so excited to read the newest book by Valia Lind.  I loved her debut novel Falling by Design, check out my review here, and simply cannot wait for Edge of Falling!

Release Date: August 13, 2014 (Ebook & Print)

Drum roll please…

 

edge of falling_ebooklg

For Chance, there’s always only been Dakota.

He’s been in love with the girl since the day they met. He’s tried everything to get her to notice him and nothing has worked. So when things suddenly start moving in the right direction, Chance can’t believe his luck.

Until Kyle comes along.

Kyle is like a new shiny toy and Dakota loves new and shiny. She falls for the tall, blonde and gorgeous fast and without looking back. Dating the summer before college wasn’t in the plans, but come on, Kyle is perfect. So why does Chance and his snarky grin keeps popping up in her mind now that Dakota has found her happiness?

When Chance’s world comes crashing down, Dakota proves the strength of their friendship, surprising herself and everyone around her, by helping him pick up the pieces. In return, Chance is finally able to crack her hard shell, discovering that not everything is sunny in Dakota-land. Her world is not what it seems on the outside, and together, they’re able to pull each other to the brink of safety and sanity.

Dakota likes that things are simple with Kyle, so why does she feel more like herself around Chance?

As graduation grows closer, both Chance and Dakota learn that the plans you make for your life don’t always play out the way you expect them and sometimes, everything starts to make sense when you find yourself on the edge of falling.

 

Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22674926-edge-of-falling

Blog: http://valialind.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ValiaLind

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ValiaLind

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/journeyofadreamer

 

You can also pick up book one, Falling by Design:

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Design-Valia-Lind/dp/1495967808/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1406314850&sr=8-1

 

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falling-by-design-valia-lind/1118734529?ean=9781495967801

 

Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Falling-by-Design-Valia-Lind/9781495967801

 

Rafflecopter giveaway for copies of book one, Falling by Design:

 

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Valia Lind in NYCAuthor Bio:

Author. Photographer. Artist. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valia Lind always had a love for the written word. She wrote her first full book on the bathroom floor of her dormitory, while procrastinating to study for her college classes. Upon graduation, she has moved her writing to more respectable places, and have found her voice in Young Adult fiction. You can visit her online at www.valialind.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter, where she spends way too much time, @ValiaLind.

 

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: December 23, 2014

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

 

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Authors I own the most books of

1. Sarah Dessen: how could I not own basically all of these? 

2. Cassandra Clare: 90% of my copies are even signed, which makes me excited

3. William Shakespeare: I wish I had these signed.

4. Karen Marie Moning: First edition hardcovers, because I love them so much

5. Charlaine Harris: Oh, True Blood.

6. Maria Tatar: She writes a lot of critical things about fairy tales, and I love fairy tales!

7. Katie McGarry: Ah, young love.

8. Julie Kagawa: Queen of Fantasy.

9. Kady Cross: Queen of Steampunk.

10. Amanda Hocking: you know you need to read her books.

 

Release Day Blitz

Check out the blog tour HERE
HAPPY RELEASE DAY OCEANBORN!



Author Amalie Howard has a message for you… 

 



ABOUT THE BOOK

 

The coronation is over.

But the battle has just begun.

Nerissa Marin has won her crown. But can she keep it? Already, her ties to the human realm are driving a wedge between Nerissa and her people. When word arrives that her part-human prince consort, Lo, has been poisoned, she makes the difficult choice to leave Waterfell and return landside. As the royal courts debate her decision, even more disturbing rumors surface: a plot is rising against her, led by someone she least expects.

On land, Nerissa learns another shocking truth: Lo does not remember who she is. As her choice to try to save him threatens her hold on her crown, changing loyalties and uncertainty test her courage in ways she could never have imagined. Nerissa will have one last chance to prove herself as a queen …and save the undersea kingdom she loves.

 

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SEAMONSTER by Amalie Howard (Aquarathi #1.5)

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AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 22 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts.

She is the author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, PW, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was an Amazon bestseller and a Seventeen Magazine Summer Read. As an author of color and a proud supporter of diversity in fiction, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on the popular Diversity in YA blog. She currently resides in New York with her husband and three children. Visit her at www.amaliehoward.com.

 

Website † Twitter † Facebook † GoodReads 

Book Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

12578077Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

I think I love Jennifer Armentrout.  She basically wrote this book for book bloggers, I mean the the main character is a YA book blogger and she is freaking awesome.  Now I am about to say something slightly controversial so bare with me here, this book is what Twilight could have been.  When I started reading it I got slightly scared, because it had some similarities to Twilight.  Girl moves to small town, meets a mysterious guy who doesn’t like her, he acts weird, and has a big family, and of course has a big secret.  Now do you see where I am coming from?  Fortunately our protagonist is not a vapid, shallow girl like Bella.  Katy is awesome, she is a reader and a blogger (bonus points), she is smart, and witty, and she doesn’t need some guy who is an a hole around her.

So I was a little skeptical that this book was about aliens.  It’s not something that is done much in the YA genre, and when it is done the aliens are not the main characters in the book.  But I liked what Jennifer (I feel like we are on first name bases now, we have a major friendship happening in my head in a none creepy way) did with the characters.  I understood their standoff ways and even thought well yeah, that’s how I would be.  I must say Daemon is hot.  But so are all the Aliens, one day I would like to have a supernatural character be not so hot…

I really appreciated that Katy wasn’t some helpless girl that stuck with the hot dude even know he treated her like crap.  She has backbone and chutzpah (sometimes I turn into a Jewish old lady).  Even at the end of the book when he starts to admit he likes her, she is skeptical and keeps him at arms length.  That is awesome and exactly how she should react.

Lets talk about the action in this book because it is not all about the romance.  I really dug the idea of having the light and dark dichotomy.  It was simple but at the same time complex.  And it causes some amount of tension and some awesome fight scenes in the book.  That thing that happened at the end, well that was something.  It was weird and I didn’t quite understand it.  But it was better explained in the other book (Onyx) that was ever so cleverly attached to Obsidian for my reading pleasure (I have Lux beginnings).  In fact it was so convenient that I didn’t stop reading once I finished Obsidian.  I have also learned there are 5 books so expect more reviews from me soon!

I would highly recommend this book.  Please ignore the similarities to Twilight, this is much better I promise!

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

 

 

 

Re-Read Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write a review of This Lullaby just because it is extremely hard for me to try not to gush about how much I love this novel and try to give it an actual critique-type review.  I am going to try though, but be forewarned: this is one of my favorite books of all time, so be prepared for gush.

Let me start off by saying that Dessen does an excellent job of establishing Remy’s, the narrator, voice immediately.  Not only is Remy a bit snarky, but she has some serious sarcastic and bitchy moments that really help characterize her for the rest of the novel.  Remy has a rock solid group of girlfriends to spend the summer with before college, and a typical place to hang out and sneak drinks underage.  I had all of these things as well.  Probably one of the reasons when I read this originally when it came out I felt like Dessen was writing about my life and my initial love for the novel.

After reading it again, I find that I am impressed by Dessen’s story telling ability and the subtle growth that Remy makes as the book continues.  Not only does Remy’s attitude start to shift, but she begins to become the person she needs to be in order to succeed in life.

Dexter, oh Dexter.  What can I really say about my first laugh-out-loud enjoyment and crush on a fictional character?  This doofus would likely be the love of my life if he was real.  The whole scene where Dexter and John Miller are discussing their respective relationships while sitting outside the QuikZip is brilliant.  Kudos to Dessen to making such an endearing character so vibrant and, well, crushworthy.

I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes from This Lullaby, and an active plea for you to pick up a copy of this novel as soon as you can.  You will not regret it!

Favorite Quotes:

“Everything, in the end, comes down to timing. One second, one minute, one hour, could make all the difference. So much hanging on just these things, tiny increments that together build a life. Like words build a story, and what had Ted said? One word can change the entire world.”

“I meant what I said to you. I wasn’t playing some kind of summer game. Everything I said was true, from the first day. EVERY GODDAMN WORD.” 

“Huffah.”

5 Bards to the story I’ve always loved and for the story I will always re-read.

 

fivebards

Book Review: The Young World by Chris Weitz

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he’s secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park…and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

Release Date: July 29, 2014

I actually had no prior knowledge of this novel before I went to Book Expo America and was just desperate to get a copy of Ryan Graudin’s The Walled City.  However, it turned out that Little, Brown Books for Young Readers was actually dropped The Young World with The Walled City, and I quickly decided that this was a book I had to read ASAP!

First thing you should know about this novel is that it is told in a dual point of view between a male and female character.  Now, I know what you are thinking, the voices have to be super distinct in order for this to work, and Weitz did this extremely well.  Jefferson’s voice was extremely straight forward and honest, just like his personality. He does have a tendency to go off on small tangents, but not nearly as much as his co-narrator, Donna.  Jeez, Donna’s voice is ridiculously annoying at times.  She overuses the word “like,” uses an extensive amount of pop culture references, and has a sarcastic cadence that really can get a bit much.  However, it is all of these things that made me adore her voice. See, Donna talks just like any teenager I know.  Plus, the pop culture references (which I normally don’t care for) helps a lot in this book to help show when the sickness began and what things these kids remember from Before.

Another thing I really liked was Weitz’s decision to capitalize certain words in order to emphasize their importance to the vernacular of the kids still alive. Examples: Before, Adults, etc

The plot moves at a decent pace, utilizing the “journey” trope, and then miraculously speeds up towards the end, which kind of took the winds out of my sails as a reader. But, I suppose Weitz set it up so there could be more than one novel.  I can’t say that I loved this book, but I definitely didn’t hate it, and look forward to the next installment.

3.5 Bards

3.5bards

 

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: 2015

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles… and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world—a parallel dimension filled with mutated and sadistic netherling outcasts.

In the final installment of the Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But even if everyone succeeds and comes out alive, can they all truly have their happily ever after?

 

Book Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?

It is no secret that Sarah Dessen is an author who pretty much defined my high school years and her novel This Lullaby is still one of my favorite novels of all time. So when I got this book last summer I devoured it and then put it aside.  It is almost personal for me to write a review of a novel by her, since I adore her work so much.  Well, I decided to suck it up and re-read The Moon and More so I could finally start doing some reviews of Dessen’s work.  Oh yeah, have I mentioned that Dessen is a North Carolina based author, and a lot of her summer stories feature landscapes and beaches from the Outer Banks?  Yay North Carolina!  So I decided that I’m going to re-read all of my favorite books by her so I can do some reviews and support her and hopefully introduce her to a whole new generation of young readers.

sarahdessen signedAll of Dessen’s novels have endings that are perfectly fitting and satisfying.  Now, saying this, be aware that not all of the novels end with a happy romance or anything like that.  Some of the stories are more based on the individual destiny of the character and the outcome of familial issues.  The Moon and More is one that is more based in Emaline’s destiny than about romance, which means that the summary can be a little misleading.  Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of adorable romantic moments between Emaline and the two leading men, Theo and Luke, but the story is really about Emaline.

I love this about this novel because it really focuses on how Emaline has been disappointed by her family and the fact that she comes to realize that her dreams aren’t necessarily what she thought they were.  The novel basically outlines how Emaline comes to adore her half-brother, work hard the entire summer, and eventually she understands that the things that happen with her estranged Father are devastating, but that a relationship between them can still be salvaged.  Go and read this book now.  Be sure to watch out for more of my Sarah Dessen reviews coming up…as I will be rereading my favorites!

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

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