Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Purple Moon Blog Tour Stop–Austin’s Diary Entry


PM Blog Tour Banner1

Over the spring, I was given the amazing chance to be a beta reader for a new YA Christian novel. The book, Purple Moon, is now out and everyone should definitely go get it, because it was incredible.

So I now get the chance to be a stop on the Release Tour!


Selena's life isn't turning out to be the fairy tale she imagined as a kid. That hope seemed to vanish long ago when her dad kicked her and her mom out of the house. This summer might finally hold the chance of a new beginning for Selena ... but having to live with her snobby cousin in Lake Lure, NC while waiting for her mom to get out of rehab wasn't how Selena was planning on spending her summer. She soon begins to wonder why she committed to give up her "bad habits" for this.

Things don't seem too bad, though. Especially when Selena gains the attention of the cute neighbor next door. But when her best friend back home in Brooklyn desperately needs her, a secret that's been hidden from Selena for years is revealed, and when she becomes a target for one of her cousin's nasty pranks, she finds herself having to face the scars from her past and the memories that come along with them. Will she follow her mom's example in running away, or trust that God still has a fairy tale life written just for her?


Find “Purple Moon” on Amazon

Find “Purple Moon” on Goodreads

Like “Purple Moon” on Facebook


My Review:

First Sentence:
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little princess named Selena.” (Prologue)

I absolutely loved Purple Moon! There truly aren’t enough books written for Christian teens.

This novel is the story of Selena Taylor who has been struggling in life for years. It started when her mom and Selena stopping living with Selena’s dad. But this summer, Selena has to stay at her bratty cousin’s house for the summer while her mom is in rehab. Selena might be completely depressed about the thought of staying with her relatives for the summer, but she initially tries to make the best of the situation. Sadly, it doesn’t take long for Selena to be swept back into the party routine and ignore her problems. The boy next door won’t let her completely forget though. Austin remembers Selena from when they were little and played together. He becomes her friend again and gently tries to witness to this girl who is so lost and determined to avoid God.

Selena’s journey is such a realistic one. She has been through almost all the bad things one can go through. Boyfriend issues, friend problems, drinking, smoking, a disappointing mom, an absent father, etc. She is legitimately messed-up. But God can take even the most beaten, confused, and sad people and turn them into peaceful, joyful, and loving people. I connected to Selena throughout the whole story. Every time she made another mistake or pushed away someone who just wanted to help her, I felt so sad and desperate for her to turn her life around. Whenever she did make good choices, I was so, so happy for her.

Sometimes I feel like Christians are presented as either hypocrites or perfect, and Austin was neither. He made mistakes in his friendship with Selena and he owned up to them. But I admired that he just kept being there for her and forgiving her when she was a complete jerk to him. I quite like him.

The pacing and storyline were excellent. It did not wrap up too quickly and perfectly, like some books. The story was realistic in the timing and in the ending. Also, the ending was not all “la-di-da, everything is perfect.” There were some nice moments of certain mean side characters coming around and becoming better people, but not a completely unrealistic redeeming of all the not-so-nice characters.

If I had to say something I didn’t like so much, it would be that Selena literally had every problem in the book (pun not intended). I felt she had an excessive number of hardships that were almost overwhelming. But that also added to the beautiful ending of moving past all of these troubles that had weighed her down.

Also, the supporting characters were SO amazing!! Audrey, Brooke, Cole, Hayden, Lexie, Selena’s mom, Hilarie, and even the not so wonderful characters were all so fleshed out and entertaining! I especially loved Audrey and Brooke. I could totally read another book about them.

Bottom line: I loved it. It is a fantastically written and inspiring book, and I look forward to more books from Tessa Emily Hall.

Content Warning: Nothing.



Now for the guest post!


Austin’s Diary Entry

The previous fact or fiction was TRUE.

In celebration of yesterday being the release day for PURPLE MOON, I’ve decided to give you all a peak into one of the main characters, Austin’s, diary. He wrote this entry at some point during PURPLE MOON. If you can guess at which point of the story that Austin wrote this—and email your answer to me at christiswrite [at] gmail [dot] com—you will receive 10 extra entries for the “Purple Moon” Prize Pack. However, I will need your answer by October 25th.

(Click the image to make it larger, or simply read the entry underneath if you’d rather.)


I’m beating myself up right now. Why in the world did I say that to Selena? I can’t explain how terrible I feel. She only lives next door, but I don’t even have the courage to go over there and apologize. I wish she understood the reason I feel so protective of her, and jealous of him, is because of how much she means to me. Regardless of what I told her, she’s nothing like other girls. That’s what I regret saying the most. I know it’s not true. It’s funny, how sometimes I judge people based on their behavior, but with Selena…with Selena, all I can see is her heart, and how beautiful she is. I wasn’t playing around when I told her I’ve known there was something about her, ever since we were young. Now she’s probably going to be so upset with me, and I feel horrible about it.

But the weirdest thing is—as much as I want to go over there and apologize to her right now, I’d rather not talk to her for a while. I think maybe is hold just back off and give her space. That’s what she told me to do anyway, right? In the meantime, I don’t care how long it takes, I’m going to pray my heart out for that girl. I’m going to pray until she somehow opens her eyes and sees how absolutely incredible God’s love is, how unending and beautiful his grace is. Guess that’s all I can do at this point: pray for the girl I haven’t been able to get out of my mind all summer.


Fact or Fiction?:

Guess this fact or fiction, and be sure to stop by the next blog tour stop to see if you guessed correctly! (You’ll also receive one extra entry for the “Purple Moon” Prize Pack if you send me your guess.)



Great news!
You can win a copy of this book!

Purple Moon” Prize Pack!

Two people will receive the below prizes-- a Rafflecopter giveaway


Definitely go check out the other stops on the tour!

“Purple Moon” Blog Tour Stops:

Wednesday, September 18th: Purple Moon Blog Tour Launch: The Story Behind the Story: Christ is Write

Thursday, September 19th: 5 Facts about Purple Moon: Kim Vandel

Friday, September 20th: Character Sketches + Character Cast Contest: Who YA Reading?

Monday, September 23rd: Behind the Scenes: Why I Chose Lake Lure: Words to Dreams

Tuesday, September 24th: Release Day! Selena’s Diary Entry + Creative Photo Contest: Writing for Young Adults

Wednesday, September 25th: Austin’s Diary Entry: Amy’s Book Blog

Thursday, September 26th: Q & A: Notebook Sisters

Friday, September 27th: Purple Moon Playlist: Ashley Carr

Monday, September 30th: Purple Moon Excerpt: Wooden Swings: Heather Brice

Tuesday, October 1st: Dealing With Anxiety—The Spiritual IV: The Destiny of One

Wednesday, October 2nd: Q & A: Saved by Grace

Thursday, October 3rd: Behind the Scenes: Name Meanings: Labor Not In Vain

Friday, October 4th: Is It Okay To Be An Introvert?: Alex Inks It

Monday, October 7th: Story Behind the Cover Art: Candy Apple Books

Tuesday, October 8th: Purple Moon Excerpt: Cherishing the Sunrise: Author Casey Bond

Wednesday, October 9th: Q & A: Writing While the Rice Boils

Thursday, October 10th: Behind the Scenes: Christian Human Videos: Writing in Wonderland

Friday, October 11th: Teenage Substance Abuse: Emily Rachelle

Monday, October 14th: Behind the Scenes: Lake Lure Academy of the Arts: Worthy 2 Read

Tuesday, October 15th: My Middle & High School Experience: Hello Highlights

Wednesday, October 16th: Purple Moon Excerpt: Meatless Turkey Sandwich: Diane Estrella

Thursday, October 17th: Body Image Laurel’s Leaves

Friday, October 18th: Behind the Scenes: Brewer’s Coffee: A Splash of Ink

Monday, October 21st: Purple Moon Excerpt: Farkle at the Park: A Slightly Nerdy Bookworm

Tuesday, October 22nd: Teenage Dating: Tell The World

Wednesday, October 23rd: Q & A: The YA Book Stack

Thursday, October 24th: How Much of My Personal Life Did I Put Into “Purple Moon”?: Read For Your Future

Friday, October 25th: Fairy tales & Happy Endings + Contest Winners!: Inspiring Daring


And finally, check out the fabulous author!

Author Headshot_Tessa Hall

Tessa Emily Hall is a 19-year-old author of Purple Moon, her YA Christian fiction novel to be published September 2013 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also the editor over the faith department for Temperance Magazine, a column writer for Whole Magazine, a contributing writer for More To Be, as well as the PR for God of Moses Entertainment. Other than writing, Tessa enjoys acting, music, Starbucks, and her Teacup Shih Tzu—who is named Brewer after a character in her book, as well as her love for coffee.




Thank you, Tessa, for letting me read your book and hype it up for you!

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Review: City of a Thousand Dolls



Title: City of a Thousand Dolls
Author: Miriam Forster
Series: Bhinian Empire #1
Published: 2013 by HarperCollins Publishers
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Library

An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.
Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.

First Sentence:
’Don’t move, Nisha.’ The words were playful, but the sharp slash of light along the blade of the throwing dagger was not.”

Oh my goodness. City of a Thousand Dolls blew me away. I absolutely loved everything about this book and I NEED the sequel. Now.

Nisha was abandoned as a child in the City of a Thousand Dolls. Orphan girls are brought up to be great at a particular skill that will make them useful as wives or workers in various fields. Nisha did not get the chance to join one of the groups, so she runs errands and helps out. Suddenly girls are being mysteriously murdered, and Nisha is best placed to gather evidence and quickly try to figure out the connections between the victims, while trying to figure out her own personal life.

Combine murder mystery with fantasy awesomeness and you have this book. I think it is one of the greatest combinations ever. The mystery is complex, perplexing, and unpredictable. I think I only predicted one plot twist in the entire book (and there are quite a few!).

Nisha is a wonderful heroine! She is determined to solve the mystery and stop these killings. Going to the far edges of the City, she does everything she can to figure it out. Many times endangering her own life in the process. Also, this book takes Nisha on a HUGE journey of self-discovery. What is she good at? How can she relate to her friends? Will a boy want to marry her? Why did her parents abandon her? And she is a boss and figuring these out. She never gives up until she has her answers.

Um, so the “talking” cats were just about the coolest part in the whole book. I want one! Also, I could so easily visualize this City and each House and the paths and mazes and walls. The setting had incredible detail and vivid imagery. Perfect.

This book series can go so many places with this amazing world Miriam Forster created. I know she’s writing a sequel and I’m calling it: it’s going to be so amazing that it will blow this book out of the water. She is a creative storyteller and anything she writes, I would read.

Content Warning: Nothing


5 Pigs

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Update! – Bloglovin’

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

So now you can follow my blog through Bloglovin’! I still have the Google Friend Connect widget set up, but in case that completely shuts down in the near future, I got this as a back up for you all!

Thank you for following me, and I will be updating soon!!

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review: The 5th Wave

Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The Fifth Wave #1
Published: 2013 by Penguin
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Library

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

First Sentences:
Aliens are stupid. I’m not talking about real aliens.”

Oh. My. Gosh. I totally understand the hype now!!
I requested this because I’d heard such good things, but when I read the synopsis it sounded like just another futuristic story with a mysterious boy and a quest. But oh my goodness is it original!

First off, I have not read many, if any, alien stories. I’ve seen the movies (that were so appropriately mentioned in the book) that portray alien attacks as “Rock on humans! These aliens are stupid to attack our might and power!” This is a more “realistic” (because how realistic can it really be?) story of how it would all go down. It has heart and humanity and emotion, because most of it is narrated by people who remember what they JUST lost a few months ago, that normal life that is now gone. They remember all the friends who are probably dead and they can’t trust anyone new. They’re in this alone and for the long haul fighting against something that seems unbeatable.

Cassie’s story starts with her living in a forest alone and unable to trust anyone. She recounts how all of this came to be by explaining the alien attack, sharing stories of her family and friends, and expressing her thoughts on the whole situation. Anyways, after you learn the whole story, the present action starts. She meets a guy named Evan Walker who might be a bit untrustworthy and she sticks to her plan of finding her younger brother. Interspersing Cassie’s narrative are other narratives by other characters which can be a bit confusing at first but overall really add to the story.

Cassie is amazing and realistic and brave and scared and strong. She doesn’t let this whole crazy world that now exists bring her down. She knows what she’s lost but she also knows what she has left to gain if she keeps pressing on. Sure, there are quite a few times where she feels really depressed. It does seem like nothing good will ever happen again. Seems like there is nothing to do to fight against these superior creatures. But that doesn’t mean giving up, it means making each moment count and thinking about those humans who are still left.

I’m not going to discuss the other characters because they are meant to be surprises and plot twists. But every one of the characters is complex with many facets to their personality and motivations. It’s a truly fascinating book that sometimes feels like a character study in the face of chaos. SO GOOD!!

I guess I’m just used to these futuristic books that say, “This is the way life is (blank) years in the future.” But Yancey wrote this like it will happen tomorrow. There are no dates except one in the very beginning that doesn’t do much except tell you that the setting of the book is around now. And that’s not something I’m used to seeing in apocalyptical books. It’s contemporary! But with aliens! It’s basically awesome! Also, it’s pretty long, which I always love.

So, if Rick Yancey could come out with the sequel as quickly as possible (but with enough time to make it perfect) that’d be great. :)


Content Warning: Some profanity, including about four “f” words, kissing.

5 Pigs

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking #1
Published: 2008 by Candlewick Press
Version: Paperback
Obtained: Purchased

Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.
But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?



First Sentence:

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say. About anything.”

I think I need to read this again right away to understand everything that was thrown at me. I just…loved so much about this book. It’s excellent, and I need to work on getting the sequels really soon!

So here we are in a New World. It takes some reading to learn all there is to know about this place, and I think that’s partially what makes this such a great read. It’s not like some dystopians where the first few chapters are dedicated to explaining all there is to know. Ness takes his time in explaining his world and that makes it feel very thought out and intricate (which it is). Anyways, New World isn’t like anything you’ve read of before. It’s a pretty crazy place that got pretty messed up real fast. Todd is just a twelve-year-old about to be a man at thirteen and he’s almost as naïve as the reader.

But it doesn’t take long for reality to catch up to Todd as he gets shoved out into the world he knows nothing about. He slowly learns secrets about his world that change everything he has been raised to believe. Something very bad is happening in New World and it centers around him, the last boy in Prentisstown. Todd is the perfect narrator for this story and mainly the reason The Knife of Never Letting Go is so incredibly fantastic. He makes it what it is and it is stunning. He is reluctant to change his perceptions even when he knows he must. He has a hard time trusting other people. He has human, normal flaws that create the best narrators. I cannot wait to see where his journey will take him and how he will change.

This whole concept of Noise kind of freaks me out. I couldn’t stand to hear everyone’s thoughts or have people hear mine. It’s just such an original concept and it works in scaring the reader. I’m very interested in learning more about this Noise in the other two books.

I always love books more when they’re not afraid to change up the fonts. It’s just something stupid that I like, but I think it makes the reading experience more fun! I enjoy a change up. The parts that were other people’s Noise was always in a different font depending on the person. And the full pages of it were also great.

Anyways, so I will definitely continue reading this series because Todd is an incredibly relatable narrator and the other evil characters are so evil I just…I hate them. Also, it ended with a cliffhanger!! Time to go out and buy the two sequels!

Content Warning: Occasional curse words including one use of the “f” word.

5 Pigs

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: The Raven Boys

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published: 2012 by Scholastic
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Library

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them—until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, and he’s a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

First Sentence:
Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.

As she did with her masterful book, The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater takes her incredible imagination and weaves a completely unique story with heavy emphasis on characterization. I have never read something like The Raven Boys, and I do not think I ever will.

This story mostly follows Blue Sargent as she tries to figure out what is going on after something strange happens. On St. Mark’s Eve, she sees a spirit of a boy who is going to die in the coming year. After a series of chance meetings, she ends up joining this boy, Gansey, and his friends in a search for the ley line in the surrounding area. A ley line is a line of supernatural occurrences. Across these lines, the supernatural grows stronger.

Each of the characters were strong and complex. Gansey was probably the most developed in this book. His rich boy façade was covering a boy who desperately wanted to find this ley line and have an adventure for deep rooted personal reasons. I cannot wait to get to know more and more about him. I want his friends to realize the depth of his character, because it seemed like there was always miscommunication about his motives. Adam’s character was also explored to great extent. I have no idea where his character will go in the next few books, but I like him, even though he reads too much into situations. Ronan was interesting as well, but had little development in this first book. I do think that throughout the series we will see much about him and about his motives and personality.

The narrative was in third-person but it cycled through which character it was focused on each chapter. Sometimes I did not feel like Blue was the main character at all (like the synopsis suggests). Blue was not as developed as I wish she could have been. It almost feels like she does not even really need to change or grow because she has no faults. However, I cannot wait to see her perception of the boys change as they grow closer. I enjoyed that she was off-beat and quirky. Her family members were also great. I never thought about what a whole family of psychics would be like!

Stiefvater is a complete genius at crafting characters and plotlines that are fresh and different. I do feel like her books drag quite a bit though. It takes awhile to fully get immersed and I wish I could have been sucked in faster. But when I think back on the story, I can’t really figure out why it dragged.

I am excited to keep reading this series and see all the mysteries finally get solved!

Content Warnings: Includes strong language.

4 Pigs

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (4)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share one or two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

White sparks flashed across Scarlet’s vision, and it took all her willpower not to pull the trigger and erase his smugness. ‘Why are you following us?’ She said when the throbbing rage had become a manageable simmer.”

- pg. 214, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I actually just finished this and it was GREAT! The review will be up in a few days!

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

In My Mailbox (6)

Since it is officially summer, I went a little crazy at the library and picked up all of these fine titles.


First Pile:
Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Second Pile:
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Poison by Bridget Zinn
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Mind Games by Kiersten White
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons
Sever by Lauren DeStefano

All of these make me so excited to get down to reading! I hope to make it through most of these (and more!) by the time summer is at a close.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Star Cursed
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2
Publishing Date: June 18th, 2013

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.
Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.
In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

I loved Born Wicked (even though I haven’t reviewed it yet. Oops) and I can’t wait to see what will happen next for the Cahill sisters. I love the feel of these books and the magic that is involved.

Side note, I’m sad they switched up the covers, because the hardcover version of Born Wicked was beautiful. BUT, I do think this is a stunning cover as well. Hopefully it matches the tone of the book!

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Series: --
Published: 2013 by Little, Brown and Co.
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Library

Perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neill meet – albeit virtually – when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail about his pet pig, Wilbur. The two seventeen-year-olds strike up an e-mail relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don’t even know each other’s first name.

In a witty and unforgettable correspondence, Graham and Ellie share details about their lives, hopes, and fears. But they don’t tell each other everything: Graham doesn’t know the secret hidden in Ellie’s family tree, and Ellie is unaware of Graham’s life in the spotlight.

When Graham seizes an opportunity to spend time in Ellie’s tiny hometown of Henley, Main, he takes their relationship from online to in person. But can two people from such different worlds be together despite the odds stacked against them?

Spanning one fateful summer, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel proves that life – like love – is full of unexpected connections and happy mistakes.

First Sentence:
It was not all that different from the circus, and it came to town in much the same way.”

Jennifer E. Smith is very talented at crafting adorable love stories. This is What Happy Looks Like is endearing in the way of feel-good movies. While it might be cheesy, it still makes you love it.

Graham accidently sends an email to the wrong address and it ends up in Ellie’s inbox. For about four months they have email conversations about everything except the important details of their lives. Graham is completely drawn to this girl, so he arranges to have his next movie shot in her small city in Maine. From here their relationship goes through a lot of ups and downs.

While this whole “famous boy falls in love with small town girl” plot has been done many times before, the email aspect is what drew me to this version. Almost the first 20 pages are their emails back and forth and it is too cute. Both are so witty and intelligent, and perfect for each other. Scattered throughout the book are more emails which are made sweeter since they are both in the same place.

Smith really enjoys writing love stories that are highly improbably. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was equally unrealistic, but that’s part of the charm. It’s very fun to read books about romance that starts so perfectly and ends up perfectly. Smith still mixes in real life issues like family and friend problems, but she mainly shows how two people who are good for each other can overcome these issues together.

I will definitely read Jennifer E. Smith’s future books because she is a fantastic writer and story-crafter.

Content Warning: Nothing I can think of.

4 Pigs

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (3)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share one or two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

This woman was severely dressed, with a face that might have been pretty if all the lines resulted from smiling rather than frowning. As it was, she looked like a stoat with gastric problems.”

- pg. 56, Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review: Out of the Easy

Title: Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Series: --
Published: 2013 by Philomel Books
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Library

It's 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

First Sentence:
My mother’s a prostitute.”

I absolutely adored Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray (not to be confused with the other fifty shades novel) and my review of it is here. So it was no surprise that I also love her newest book.
Out of the Easy is beautiful, heartbreaking, and inspiring.

This story is about the complex problems that arise in your life as you get older. Friends, self, family, and future plans are all connected whether or not you want them to be. Josie Moraine desperately wants to escape New Orleans. Known to everyone as the daughter of a prostitute and as someone who helps out at a brothel, Josie can’t become who she wants to be in this town that has created an identity for her. When Josie gets a chance at going to college in Boston, she jumps to action and makes it her big goal. However, life gets complicated as a murder investigation starts to involve her more and more.

I…I felt like I was Josie. I felt imprisoned by New Orleans and confused about friendships and overwhelmed with everything that had to be done. I was brought completely into the story and it felt so real. I desperately wanted the best for Josie because she tried so very hard to do the right thing and help everyone, and yet somehow she always got the short end of the stick.

Ruta Sepetys is a brilliant writer and superb story-crafter. As my mother pointed out as she read this book, “You know it’s a good book when you read a sentence and stop to admire it.”

I cannot wait for the next masterpiece by Ruta Sepetys!

Content Warnings: Since this story deals with prostitutes, there are many aspects that could be alarming for young readers. But anything that could be railed against is just reality. Just as with her last book, it’s sad and scary, but it’s not that way for fun.

5 Pigs

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Series: --
Published: 2012 by Dutton Books
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Gift :)

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.




First Sentence:

Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”

This book is incredible.

It’s really hard to describe how incredible it is, so you’ll just have to trust me and read it.

This is the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster who has terminal cancer but is currently on a special treatment which is extending her life. She is in love with a book called An Imperial Affliction, which she reads over and over again. Her only social environment is a Cancer Kid Support Club, where she has one sort-of-friend, Isaac. One meeting, Isaac brings his friend Augustus Waters, who had cancer a year ago.

John Green’s writing is beautiful. So many sentences/paragraphs were written so well, I just stopped for a moment to admire them. It is written so intelligently! Hazel and Augustus speak in a way I wish I was smart enough to. They have highly intelligent conversation and engage in witty banter. I loved it.

I still feel so much emotion for this story, and I read it about two months ago. I can’t go too much into plot, or it will ruin the story (I knew next to nothing going in). But the story is inspiring and beautiful. It’s definitely not the typical “cancer book.” It didn’t just play with my emotions to make me say it’s a good book. It was genuinely well-written and emotional. I feel like my entire view on grief and pain is altered. And that’s a good feeling to know that a book changed my thinking.

I haven’t read anything else by John Green, but I definitely will now. I look forward to more intellectually stimulating and beautifully emotional stories.

Content Warning: Teenage sex, kissing, some language.

5 Pigs

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (3)–School Spirits

School Spirits
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: School Spirits #1
Publish Date: May 14, 2013

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.
Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.
Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt? 

So this looks so good! I loved the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins, and so I was thrilled to find out she was having a spin-off book (maybe a series?). It focuses on Izzy, who is a minor character in the Hex Hall trilogy, but whom I found compelling even in her limited scenes. Thankfully, I do not have long to wait, as it comes out in about a month!

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Monday, April 15, 2013

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? This is a weekly event to list the books completed last week, the books currently being reading, and the books to be finish this week. It is hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books.

Books Finished Last Week:
I finished The Diviners by Libba Bray a few days ago.
Last night I finished Requiem by Lauren Oliver (Review is forthcoming).

Currently Reading:
The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater
Matched – Allie Condie
Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Books I Hope To Start Reading This Week:
I hope to actually get into The Raven Boys and read more of Mansfield Park.


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Review: The Diviners

Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Series: The Diviners #1
Published: 2012 by Little, Brown Books
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Library

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfield girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her Uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened. . .

First Sentence:
In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, every lamp blazes.”

Oh. My. Gosh.

Guys, this book is incredible. Now, the last Libba Bray book I read was Beauty Queens, which I didn’t like at all (My review). So I was really hoping that with this one, she could revert the genius that created The Gemma Doyle Trilogy. And she did.

In this gigantic, amazing book (over 500 pages), we read the stories of multiple characters. Evie has been “banished” to New York City to live with her uncle, and she couldn’t be happier. She’s reunited with her best friend, Mabel. They meet a girl named Theta who is a glamorous chorus girl. Mabel has a crush on Jericho, Uncle Will’s assistant, who is trying to hide his biggest secret. There is also a young man named Sam, who is trying to find something very important. Memphis is another young man who wants to write poetry, but has to support his brother. All these young people are trying to navigate the glitter and glam of the twenties lifestyle. The narrative mostly focuses on Evie and her discovery of the full power of her supernatural talent.

Evie and her uncle Will try to help the police figure out who is murdering people and leaving them in strange positions with occult symbols on the bodies. As she helps him with the research, she realizes that her gift could be the best tool for finding the elusive killer.

This book was like a horror movie. But obviously better. Every time someone got killed, you saw it happen and it was the creepiest thing ever. Seriously. And the ending…holy crap. It was a complete rush. I love it! The entire concept behind it, with all the occult mutterings and strange symbols added a whole other level of creepiness to the mystery.

All the background information that was put into this book is mind-blowing. Libba Bray created so many amazing details, I almost forgot that a good bit of them were fictional. I haven’t read many books which take place in the Twenties, but let me just say that Libba COMMITED to the time period. The slang and the culture in general were perfect. The slang was so twenties that sometimes I wasn’t really sure what they were saying (But I loved it).  And all of these “Diviners” are shaping up to be really interesting in the next books.

Speaking of future books, I can’t wait to see what happens in this series. All of the characters have so much to tell each other and so much to figure out. I need to learn more about the young man introduced at the end. As for all the romantic relationships…..I definitely hope some different things happen in the second one.

Libba Bray has come back with a wonderful beginning to a promising series! The Diviners will be incredible, and I cannot wait until the others come out.

Content Warning:
Some language and kissing. General creepiness. Typical Libba Bray attempts to step on toes. :)

5 Pigs

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (2)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share one of two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Currently Reading
My Teaser:

He takes a single step backward and just that, that little movement, makes the bear tense up in a crouch, baring its teeth, which glisten bone white in the moonlight.

- pg. 26, Requiem by Lauren Oliver


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