Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Waiting on Wednesday is a featured post hosted by Breaking the Spine that discusses upcoming releases that bloggers are excited about. 


This week's book I am looking forward to in 2016 is:



Author: Leigh Bardugo
Expected Release Date: September 27th, 2016
Publisher: Orion Children's Books

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (10)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

Ten of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads
1. Joyride by Anna Banks
2. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
3. Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2) by Stephanie Perkins
4. Velvet by Temple West
5. Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo
6. Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins
7. Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
8. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
9. Confess by Colleen Hoover
 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Review: Untamed


A post-Ensnared collection of three stories—available in both print and e-versions.

Alyssa Gardner went down the rabbit hole and took control of her destiny. She survived the battle for Wonderland and the battle for her heart. In this collection of three novellas, join Alyssa and her family as they look back at their memories of Wonderland.

In Six Impossible Things, Alyssa recalls the most precious moments of her life after Ensnared, and the role magic plays in preserving the happiness of those she loves. Alyssa’s mother reminisces about her own time in Wonderland and rescuing the man who would become her husband in The Boy in the Web. And Morpheus delves into Jeb’s memories of the events of Splintered in The Moth in the Mirror, available in print for the first time.

This collection expands upon Ensnared's epilogue, and includes some deleted scenes to provide a “director’s cut” glimpse into the past and futures of our favorite Splintered characters.



Rating: 4 Stars

Book Title: Untamed (Splintered #3.5)

Author: A. G. Howard

Release Date: December 15th 2015

Pages: 288

Publisher: Amulet Books




            For anyone who hasn’t read my “About” page for my blog, part of the inspiration for the name “Rabbit Hole Reviews” came from my love for Alice in Wonderland.  So it should come as no surprise that I typically love any type of Wonderland retelling, and A.G. Howard’s Splintered series is no exception. Unlike many others who purchased the short stories written post Ensnared right after they finished the series, I held off for the print version. Untamed is a collection of these three stories: Six Impossible Things, The Boy in the Web, and The Moth in the Mirror, and I couldn’t be more excited to head back down the rabbit hole into Howard’s exquisite depiction of the Wonderland we’ve all come to know and love.

            Favorite Bits:
o   Alyssa’s Parents: One thing we didn’t get to see much of was the interaction Alyssa had with her parents in the first three books.  Her dad, whom she lives with while her mom is in the hospital, made frequent appearances, but I felt like his relationship with Alyssa wasn’t touched upon that much because she spent most of her time with Jeb or Morpheus.  I think that’s why I loved the story The Boy in the Web so much because we got to see just how Alyssa’s parents met and what Wonderland was like prior to Alyssa’s time spent there. I thought it was neat (and also a tad creepy) to see the Morpheus Allison knew compared to the Morpheus we meet in the Splintered series.  Before he meets Alyssa he’s definitely a little different (although his mannerisms haven’t seemed to change a bit and he’s sassy as ever) and his motives aren’t the same either. Not to mention he hasn’t aged a day (#Wonderlandperks).  Ok now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I was more excited about getting extra Morpheus time than I was about Alyssa’s parents! (#teamMorpheus)
o   Meeting baby Alyssas: I don’t doubt that many of you are already irritated because you think I just said a spoiler, but honestly! What did you expect at the end of the series!? Everyone knew Alyssa would grow old and have kids somewhere along the line! The REAL question is: whose kids does she have?:) Don’t worry, I won’t spoil that for you!
o   More Morpheus: It goes without saying but I am obviously a huge Morpheus fan (he was my favorite character in the series) so naturally my favorite short story in Untamed was Six Impossible Things because we get to see Alyssa’s time in Wonderland after her human life on earth is over. Don’t worry! The story is broken up with flashbacks to her time with Jeb and it was quite adorable!
o   The Ending: There’s really not a single thing I can say without spoiling it for all of you, but let’s just put it this way: I was so happy I was crying. Thank you Howard for turning me into a sniveling (but very ecstatic) mess by the end of Untamed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

Waiting on Wednesday is a featured post hosted by Breaking the Spine that discusses upcoming releases that bloggers are excited about. 


This week's book I am looking forward to in 2016 is:


Author: Kasie West
Expected Release Date: July 26th, 2016
Publisher: Point
Pages: 304

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (9)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish


Top Ten Books I REALLY Love But Haven't Talked About Enough/In A While
1. My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
-This collection of short stories by some of YA's biggest authors is one of my favorite books! I have the UK copy too (which you should totally Google if you haven't seen it yet) and love it.
2. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (this whole series actually)
3. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
-I'm cheating with this one since I mention it all the time but it's my favorite book (ever) so how could I not? :)
4. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
5. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
-Lara Jean is my spirit animal 
6. Splintered by A. G. Howard
7. The Hollow by Jessica Verday
8. Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto
9. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
10. Stolen by Lucy Christopher
-Probably my 2nd most-read book. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: The Elfstones of Shannara

In the far future, unbeknown to humankind, an apocalyptic war is brewing. Fearsome, vengeful Demons rage at the boundaries of the world, held at bay by a spell called the Forbidding. But now that barrier is dying. Evil is beginning to break through. And only the Chosen can banish the Demons back to their realm.

Wil Ohmsford is a healer, not a fighter; a man of duty, not great deeds. But this epic battle seeks him out, for he holds the Elfstones: mysterious protective talismans passed down by his grandfather. Wil is recruited to act as guardian to the Elf girl Amberle, who must venture far to deliver a seed that will help the Forbidding to grow again. The fate of civilization rests upon her shoulders—and the completion of her mission rests upon Wil’s. Now, as the forces of darkness descend, Wil and Amberle embark on a perilous journey, placing their faith in each other to survive the bloodthirsty terrors that await.



Rating: 4 Stars

Book Title: The Elfstones of Shannara

Author: Terry Brooks

Release Date: (first published July 12th 1982) Cover shown published December 1st 2015

Pages: 564

Publisher: Del Rey

 


            If not for the release of the show on MTV, it’s doubtful I would have picked up The Elfstones of Shannara (The Shannara Trilogy book 2) or even heard of it.  I’d heard of Terry Brooks prior, but this series never crossed my radar or Goodreads feed before.  And how sad, because this series is great and any fantasy readers would love it!

            I was definitely one of those people who started by watching the show on MTV, ended up liking it, and shortly after picked up the book itself.  Despite not reading the first in the series, First King of Shannara, I was able to begin reading Elfstones no problem.  Despite it being the second in the series and some of the characters are from the first book, this one could operate as a stand-alone.  The only downfall I found with starting mid series is that there were a few references to book one that were vague and only mentioned in passing, but I would have liked to hear more about.  Amberle especially, since her character is VASTLY different from that in the show and I wanted to know more about the protagonist the show was based on.

            The world building was decent, but not as good as I’d hoped.  The imagery was fantastic though and I really enjoyed Brooks’s writing.  Not only is he very descriptive in his writing but also he’s great at letting the reader see into the mind of numerous characters and their thought processes and not just those of the main characters.  By far one of my favorite characters to read about was the Druid, Allanon, who always seemed to know more than he let on to everyone else. 
           
            I think fans of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Series will really enjoy The Shannara Chronicles, as well as George R. R. Martin fans. Set in a world of species that adapted after the fall of mankind, The Elfstones of Shannara is full of all sorts of races: elves, gnomes, rovers, druids, demons, and even dwarves.  Most of the focus was on the elves, but I would have loved to see more about a few of the other races (but perhaps they’re discussed more in the rest of the series).  I thought the druid’s role in the show was explained in great depth, but Allanon was more mysterious in the book and at times, confusing.  I didn’t understand his power initially and I wanted to learn more about his inability to age.  I will say at the end though, it does get discussed a bit, but I’d be interested to see if he reappears in later books.

            Overall, I really enjoyed The Elfstones of Shannara. Since it is so different from the show itself (or I suppose, the show is quite different from the book it is adapted from), I still found myself surprised and intrigued by the storyline and characters in it.  While the plot is mostly the same, some of the main characters’ roles are EXTREMELY different in their depiction in the MTV show.  That was probably one of my favorite reasons for reading the book itself.  I couldn’t believe what a difference it made in understanding the original characters as they were written.

            AND THE ENDING. Holy guacamole, there is not much I can say without giving it away but for those of you who have seen the show, it is the same as the end of season one.  I was REALLY hoping that it was a trick at first, but after reaching the last page my hopes were shattered.  Despite my complete freak-out and initial annoyance at how things were resolved, I have come to terms with how it ended.  Not only that, but I really respect Brooks for the decision he made and how the story led up to the main event at the end.  I’m really tempted to pick up the next book in this series to see which characters return!

            In other exciting news, I get to interview Mr. Brooks himself in a few weeks on the radio! I can’t wait to ask him more about this world he’s created and see how he came up with the ending that he did! I can’t wait to tell you all about it!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: Ice Like Fire



Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.


Rating: 4 Stars

Book Title: Ice Like Fire

Author: Sara Raasch

Release Date: October 13th, 2015

Pages: 479

Publisher: Balzer + Bray



 
            In the acknowledgements portion of Ice Like Fire Sara Raasch writes, “Sequels are hard. I swear they suffer from some bookish form of middle-child syndrome…”
            It’s like she hit the nail right on the head.
            So many series are completely ruined for me when I hit book 2. I don’t know what it is (call it the middle child syndrome like Raasch, call it whatever you like) but it’s inevitable I read book 1, fall in love with said series, then get to book 2 and it’s game over for me.  More times than not I’ll read the third book in hope of a turn around (which often happens) but if I ever decide to reread the series I’ll completely skip past book 2.
            As I started to read Ice Like Fire, I was worried this was another repeat of said incident.  I was irritated that Meira was leaving the Kingdom of Winter behind to go on a trip with Theron and some of their soldiers because it meant leaving Mather behind. As if the poor bloke didn’t get left behind enough in book 1! I was probably being selfish though because Mather is one of my favorite characters in the series and I was rooting for him and Meira to end up together all along (despite my love for Theron and his bookish tendencies). I knew time away from Mather meant more time with Theron and I wasn’t ready to deal with that just yet.
            Their trip was actually really fascinating though, because the reader finally gets to see the surrounding kingdoms they’ve referenced so often in the series.  Rather than through heresy though, Meira finally gets to see each kingdom for herself.   I think the trip wasn’t just an means to an end (can’t spoil it, but if you read the blurb you likely already know part of it) in order for Meira to save her kingdom.  I think it was also an eye-opener for her.  In Snow Like Ashes all we hear about is the problems Winter was facing and in Ice Like Fire, the reader, along with Meira, finds out more of the kingdoms are dealing with problems as well. 

Favorite Bits:
o   The Thaw: A group of Winterians trained by Mather as soldiers to fight and defend themselves, this group reminded me of Dumbledore’s Army.  I think Harry Potter fans will love Ice Like Fire for this aspect alone, because the Thaw is exactly like the DA, friends who are training in secret (in the absence of Meira Noam has stepped in and banned any Winterians from training with weapons) and preparing themselves.  With Meira gone, it reminded me of Harry’s absence to find the horcruxes and the Thaw practicing for battle was just like the DA practicing defense spells in the Room of Requirement. 
o   New Friendships: Not only have Nessa and Meira grown closer, but travelling to the Kingdom of Summer also resulted in an unlikely friendship for Meira, one I couldn’t help but compare to a friendship from another favorite series of mine, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (I’ll let you guess who so as not to spoil the surprise:) )
           
            So while Ice Like Fire ended up avoiding the middle-child syndrome, so to speak, it still wasn’t as good as Snow Like Ashes.  I enjoyed book 2 of the series and the ending was quite traumatic and hard to stop reading once I got to it, but I’m still crossing my fingers that the next book in this series by Raasch is just as rewarding to read as Snow Like Ashes was for me.  Anyone else experience the middle-child syndrome in a favorite book series? If so, which ones?
           

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

Waiting on Wednesday is a featured post hosted by Breaking the Spine that discusses upcoming releases that bloggers are excited about. 


This week's book I am looking forward to in 2016 is:


Author: Renee Ahdieh
Expected Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 432

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."
I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (8)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish


Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR
1. Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi
2. Dorothy Must Die Series by Danielle Page
-Page is coming to BookCon this year and I can't wait to meet her! I really want to read this series before I do though, so I can get the books signed when I go!
3. The Darkest Minds Series by Alexandra Bracken
-Even though I just met Bracken for the first time in Illinois for her tour of her newest book, Passenger, I didn't get a chance to read this series before I went! She is coming to BookCon as well as Page and I have heard nothing but great things about this series so I want to finish it before I go!
4. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
5. Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
6. A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) by George R. R. Martin
7. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
-I recently finished Fangirl so naturally Carry On is top on my list these days to read!
8. The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan
9. Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso
- I have a copy but haven't gotten around to reading it yet! I need to!
10. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman


Monday, March 14, 2016

Review: Juniper Berry

 
Juniper's parents have not been themselves lately. In fact, they have been cold, disinterested and cruel. And lonely Juniper Berry, and her equally beset friend, Giles, are determined to figure out why.

On a cold and rainy night Juniper follows her parents as they sneak out of the house and enter the woods. What she discovers is an underworld filled with contradictions: one that is terrifying and enticing, lorded over by a creature both sinister and seductive, who can sell you all the world's secrets in a simple red balloon. For the first time, Juniper and Giles have a choice to make. And it will be up to them to confront their own fears in order to save the ones who couldn't.

M.P. Kozlowsky's debut novel is a modern-day fairy tale of terror, temptation, and ways in which it is our choices that make us who we are.


Rating: 4 Stars

Book Title: Juniper Berry

Author: M.P. Kozlowsky

Release Date: April 26th, 2011

Pages: 227

Publisher: Walden Pond Press

 

 

 

            Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky is an adorable MG book and I couldn’t agree more with the blurb on the back of the book by ALA Booklist which states that this book “Recalls the work of Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, and Hans Christian Andersen.”  As someone who grew up reading Gaiman and the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket I found myself diving right into Kozlowsky’s writing. 
            What I loved about this book was that Kozlowsky doesn’t dumb down his writing because of the audience he was writing for. That is not to say that teens in this reading level will struggle when they pick up Juniper Berry, but it will require them to do some work and look up words from time to time.  As a big advocate of improving vocabularies and growing my knowledge base, I think this is a great way to teach children and not just give them a good story to read.  Well done Kozlowsky.
            Juniper is adorable and I loved reading from her POV.  She comes from a house of well-to-do parents who work in the film and producing industry, writing scripts and acting in screenplays.  As they get more involved in their work though, Juniper realizes how distracted they seem and their inability to show any interest in her worries Juniper.  The parents she used to know and love are gone and she can’t figure out why something has changed.  Despite their dedication to their work they’ve never neglected to remind her to stay in their yard or put on her coat before she goes outside. Yet lately, her parents don’t seem to realize she’s even there and when she tries to talk to them they become mean, telling her to leave them alone.
            I loved the underlying message in this book about aspirations, greed, and temptations in life.  “There will always be temptation, wherever we go in life, with whatever we do.  There will always be an easier way out. But there’s nothing to gain from that. We have to overcome such urges; we have to be stronger.”  Both Jupiter and her friend Giles’s parents learn this the hard way when they seek better lives by going to Skeksyl, who gives them a balloon that will help them find what they seek.  For Jupiter’s parents this means the fame they’ve always wanted and the beauty Jupiter’s mom has lost as she’s gotten older.  Jupiter has to help them find a way out of the mess they’ve gotten themselves into, as they quickly learn Skeksyl has ulterior motives that aren’t so pretty.  Skeksyl proves deceitful and what Jupiter’s parents thought they were exchanging for these balloons comes at a greater cost than they realize. If you’re looking for a great book that not only challenges your middle grade reader, but also teaches them along the way, I think Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky is a great pick for them!



 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (6)


 

Waiting on Wednesday is a featured post hosted by Breaking the Spine that discusses upcoming releases that bloggers are excited about. 


This week's book I am looking forward to in 2016 is:





 
Author: Maggie Stiefvater 
Expected Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Pages: 400 
Publisher: Scholastic Press

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. 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.

In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Kirkus Reviews declared: "Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close."



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (7)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Characters Everyone Loves, But I Just Don't Get
-This week I had a harder time than usual coming up with 10 for my list, but because of the topic I only had 5.  

1. Ronan Lynch (The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater) 
-It's not that I DISLIKE Ronan, but he's not one of my favorites from the series. 
2. Chaol (Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas)
-As much as I adored Chaol going into the series I'm still team Rowan.
3. Mal (The Grisha Series by Leigh Bardugo)
-I'm likely a masochist for saying it, but I loved the Darkling and despite everything he did to Alina I couldn't help but ship the two of them in the series.  Hence my dislike for Mal.
4. Kaz (Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo)
-Sorry but my sympathies don't lie with him ESPECIALLY after reading the ending.
5. Peta (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)
-Like Ronan, it's not that I disliked Peta but I was secretly rooting for Gale all along.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Review: Uses for Boys


Anna remembers a time before boys, when she was little and everything made sense. When she and her mom were a family, just the two of them against the world. But now her mom is gone most of the time, chasing the next marriage, bringing home the next stepfather. Anna is left on her own—until she discovers that she can make boys her family. From Desmond to Joey, Todd to Sam, Anna learns that if you give boys what they want, you can get what you need. But the price is high—the other kids make fun of her; the girls call her a slut. Anna's new friend, Toy, seems to have found a way around the loneliness, but Toy has her own secrets that even Anna can't know.

Then comes Sam. When Anna actually meets a boy who is more than just useful, whose family eats dinner together, laughs, and tells stories, the truth about love becomes clear. And she finally learns how it feels to have something to lose—and something to offer. Real, shocking, uplifting, and stunningly lyrical,  Uses for Boys  is a story of breaking down and growing up.


Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Title: Uses for Boys

Author: Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Release Date: January 15th, 2013

Pages: 240

Publisher: St Martin's Press

 

 

 
            I was a little skeptical about reading this book because of the title alone. I kept picturing Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt as the book equivalence of the movie Friends with Benefits.  Although there are some pretty graphic scenes in this book as far as content is concerned, each scene was important to the overall message of this book.
            Uses for Boys is one of those books I can certainly see school counselors using to their benefit.  I think its message about boys, sex, and growing up is life changing and something that many teenagers out there can benefit from. Anna, the main character, has always taken care of herself.  Raised by a mom who spends more time at her boyfriends houses (which changes on an almost monthly basis) than at her own with her daughter, Anna is responsible for getting herself to school, making meals, and entertaining herself.  Not only is this lonely for Anna, but she has no one else to look up to or teach her things.  From a young age Anna learns that boys are expendable and easily replaceable.  After all, doesn’t her mom have a new one all the time?
            What really broke my heart was watching Anna get her hopes up when her mother did decide to marry a few of her boyfriends along the way.  Each time they would move into a nice house, Anna would have siblings for once, and she would have a real family, the kind kids at school all have.  Unfortunately it really doesn’t work out like this.  Most of the guys Anna’s mom marries are losers and only want her for one thing.  Anna’s new stepsiblings that she was so excited about keep to themselves and want nothing to do with her.  Then there’s her mother, who hasn’t changed a bit since her marriage.  Instead of being at home with her family, she leaves the house with her new husband or spends most of her time at work.  Watching Anna go through this was so hard though, because she is just a child craving love and acceptance. 
            All that free time Anna has after school tends to get her in trouble though.  She starts to learn about sex from the boys she meets along the way and eventually drops out of school.  This book was reminiscent of some statistics I learned about years ago, which basically argued that kids whose parents got pregnant as teens, are more likely to get pregnant as a teen themselves.  It’s so sad because it’s this vicious cycle that kids like Anna get themselves into.  Sex awareness is low in these types of households sometimes and especially in Anna’s case.  What infuriated me the most was the lack of concern Anna’s mom showed to her daughter.  Even when she gets pregnant, Anna’s mom basically tells her she isn’t surprised.  Yet, Anna’s mom never did anything to prevent this or teach her daughter about sex safety.
            Along the way Anna learns a lot about the types of people in her life, who to trust, and what she actually wants.  Despite making some arguably poor decisions at a young age, I think Anna is incredibly smart and strong and can’t really be blamed for the hand she was dealt in life.  What really made the story for me was the ending.  I thought it was a great close to Anna’s story and it left me with some hope for her future and for kids out there who are going through something similar to what Anna deals with in Uses for Boys.  I only hope that this book falls into the hands of the right teens so that they can benefit from this book like I think they might.  Although this book isn’t something I would typically pick up and it took me a while to get through, I do think this book carries a strong message.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Life in the Lucky Zone Cover Reveal

SR-Cover-Reveal-BannerNEW
 
Welcome to the cover reveal for
Life in the Lucky Zone (The Zone, #2) by Patricia B. Tighe
presented by Swoon Romance!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
 
Life in the Lucky Zone
Seventeen-year-old Lindsey Taylor has been living a charmed life—always the lead in school plays, possessor of a healthy entourage and a hot boyfriend. But halfway through her junior year, the unthinkable happens. Her boyfriend dumps her. She screws up her audition for the spring play. And to top it all off, her theater teacher wants her to run lines with Trey Berger, a gamer guy who irritates her practically every time he opens his mouth. Lindsey needs to find some better luck and quick.
Trey Berger can barely tolerate Lindsey Taylor. It’s bad enough that their best friends are dating and he has to see Lindsey at group hangouts. Now they have to rehearse together. Berger would rather do just about anything else, even chill with his grandmother, whose dementia has forced her to move in with his family. But as the semester continues, Berger discovers there’s more to Lindsey than the drama queen persona she puts on for everyone else’s benefit. And the person behind the mask might be someone he cares about. A lot. So what exactly is he going to do about it? And while Lindsey desperately tries to change her luck and heal from the breakup, she slowly realizes Berger has become her best friend. This video-game-playing boy makes her laugh. And holds her when she cries. Could he possibly become something more?
add to goodreads
Life in the Lucky Zone (The Zone #2) by Patricia B. Tighe Publication Date: April 5, 2016 Publisher: Swoon Romance
Available for Pre-Order: Amazon
 
About-the-Author2
Patricia B. Tighe
The mother of two grown sons, Patricia B. Tighe lives in El Paso, Texas, with her husband and two dogs. Her love of the written word caused her to get a journalism degree from Texas A&M University in 1980 and an MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2008. When not writing or reading, she can be found walking the dogs or yelling at the TV during an NFL game. She's also a fan of British TV shows. Downton Abbey, anyone?
 
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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is a featured post hosted by Breaking the Spine that discusses upcoming releases that bloggers are excited about. 


This week's book I am looking forward to in 2016 is:
Lucky for me that I don't have much longer to wait for this one! Cassandra Clare is by far one of my favorite authors and I've read everything by her! In fact, one whole shelf of my bookshelves at home is dedicated to all of her writing!


 
Author: Cassandra Clare
Expected Release Date: March 8th, 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 720

Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Spotlight: Love Me, Love Me Not Excerpt and Giveaway



Love Me, Love Me Not
by Alyxandra Harvey

Publication Date:  February 22, 2016
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Dating isn’t easy when you’re in the middle of a blood feud.
Anastasia Vila’s family can turn into swans, but just once she’d like them to turn into responsible adults.
After hundreds of years, they still cling to the blood feud with the Renard family. No one remembers how it started in the first place—but foxes and swans just don’t get along.
Vilas can only transform into their swan shape after they have fallen in love for the first time, but between balancing schoolwork, family obligations, and the escalating blood feud, Ana’s got no time for love. The only thing keeping her sane is her best friend, Pierce Kent.
But when Pierce kisses Ana, everything changes.
Is what Pierce feels for her real, or a byproduct of her magic? Can she risk everything for her best friend? And when the family feud spirals out of control, Ana must stop the fight before it takes away everything she loves.
Including, maybe...Pierce.
This Entangled Teen Crave book contains language, violence, and lots of kissing. Warning: it might induce strong feelings of undeniable attraction for your best friend.


Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links:
Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Entangled Page






 
Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream. Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with her husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books.
Connect with the author:  Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads
 
Excerpt


“Edward wants a double shot latte.”
                  “You don’t work here,” I reminded Ana. And we didn’t serve at the tables regardless.
                  “He doesn’t know that.” She made a weird sound, a cross between a stifled scream and a laugh. She peered up at me through her hair. “I had to get out of there before he asked if I was having some kind of fit. I could barely talk. One more second and I might have actually drooled.”
                  I shook my head. “He’s not even that cute.” Both Ana and Mei Lin stared at me. Even Liv looked at me disbelievingly. I shrugged. “What? I know cute.”
                  “He’s hot,” Mei Lin said, almost apologetically. “And I don’t even like guys.”
                  “Why couldn’t I just like you?” Ana asked me. We’d been asking each other that since I discovered the part about true love and the gift of the swan wings. The cousins only got their feather cloak when they fell in love. And sisterly love or friend-love didn’t count, which I thought was totally unfair. We’d even kissed once, but we were twelve and had no idea what we were doing. Not a swan feather in sight, so true love was out of the picture. At least on her side.
                  “It would be so much easier,” she continued. “You’re awesome. And you draw pictures in my latte.” She lifted her cup like it was both fine art and proof of my awesomeness.
                  “Plus, I’m cuter than Edward,” I added.
                  “Well, more deluded anyway.”
                  “You don’t even know him,” I reminded her. “You have like, what, one class together?”
                  “And you only ever croak at him,” Mei Lin added helpfully. “It’s not love.”
                  Ana shot her a baleful glare full of sharp and poisonous things. “Blasphemer.”
                  “It’s not.” She shrugged. “It’s lust.”
                  I pretended, very, very intensely, that I’d gone deaf. I heated more milk and poured it into the double espresso. I didn’t make any designs in the foam.
                  “Love takes time,” Ana pointed out. “Maybe this is just the first step.”
                  “And what’s the next step?” I asked, feeling the same dread in the pit of my stomach that I felt whenever she got that look on her face.
                  “He’s heading out to a field party right now,” Ana said.
                  We both stared at her. She hated field parties.
                  “Call an exorcist,” I muttered. “She’s possessed.”


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