Saturday, May 31, 2014

New Segment: Random Thoughts {RT}

I read somewhere that you should blog once a day to maintain and gain Followers. I don't know if this is true, but I do know that I don't share enough personal stuff with you guys, leaving you with only reviews and memes - and that's no way to keep a Followership happy! So while I don't know if I'm going to be able to post every day, I've concocted a new segment called "Random Thoughts" that I will be posting as often as possible. It'll showcase all sorts of random thoughts I have, offering you a peek into my life - my likes, dislikes, obsessions, etc. They won't be very long, because the longer the post, the more likely you'll never see it (I never seem to finish long-winded posts), but I'll try to have pictures (and maybe a gif or two ;), and I think (read: hope) you'll find them interesting.

Look for this pic to signify a Segment post, along with 
{RT} before the post title.

So check back for the inaugural Random Thoughts post tomorrow! And see what's been rattling around in my head...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Currently...Summer-izing

It's been quite a while, but I have so much to share that I decided to bring back my "Currently..." segment, in which I let you know what I'm currently up to on a number of highly important topics.

I AM CURRENTLY...

READING:
Relax, I'm a NinjaTake Back the SkiesGraduation Day (The Testing, #3)

Novels:
Currently reading: Relax, I'm a Ninja by Natalie Whipple. There are very few authors I would purchase a self-published book full price to read, and Natalie is top of the list. I'm halfway through and it's classic Natalie, which means it pains me to put it down and do life things instead of reading it.
Just finished: Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon. A quick adventure with some seriously disturbing elements and a definite British twang. Review to come.
Reading next: Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau. I actually started this...and then stopped two chapters in when the siren call of Ninja just got too strong to resist any longer. I'll be finished with Ninja in no time at all though, so I'll dive right back in soon!


Otomen, Vol. 18Millennium Snow, Vol. 3Kamisama Kiss, Vol. 15

Manga:
Just finished: Otomen Vol. 18 by Aya Kanno, which is the final book in the series. This was a really cute story about gender roles, and the end was fraught with many aww moments.
Reading Next: Hoping to snag Millennium Snow Vol. 3 by Bisco Hatori and Kamisama Kiss Vol.15 by Julietta Suzuki tomorrow at the bookstore! Kamisama is one of my favorite series, and I've been waiting for more in the Millennium series for several years now - can't wait to see where Bisco takes the story!


WATCHING:


TV: MasterChef is back! I love a good cooking show (as long as there isn't too much swearing ;). Without cable I'm at the mercy of whatever "regular" television offers, but luckily there are always a few good options. And despite the "Seriously?!" moment at the end of the last season, I'm going to watch Under the Dome again. No telling how many episodes I'll give it, but I am a little curious to see where they take it.

DVD: Most of my regular shows have ended for the season (or been cancelled - I'll miss you, The Neighbors *sobs*), but that means all the cable shows I've missed out on are releasing on DVD! And right now there are a slew of Acorn titles, so that means Murdoch Mysteries Season 6, Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries Season 2 (*flails*), and a newly discovered Mr. & Mrs. Murder, which is so good. A "terrific lighthearted crime show" indeed, and the couple is so kooky it is so much fun - highly recommend! The last season of Warehouse 13 also just released, so I'm re-watching Seasons 1-4 before tackling the series end. I am seriously loving so much Claudia in my life right now. <3


WRITING:

I've been telling everyone this summer is for writing, but so far I've been so busy with catching up on life and blogging after my college class that I haven't had much writing time. But when I do...

Project P: Up for Second Draft edits. I actually think I can make something of this novel after all - and sell it.

Project VIN: If I can just push through the tour scene I'm currently bogged down in (they get me every time), I think I can get a First Draft of this New Adult Dystopian down pretty quick. Staying focused and not being distracted by the three other projects that seem equally worth my time is my biggest problem. Currently considering this for my July Camp Nano project, which is definitely going to happen at this point.


BLOGGING:

The summer is heating up not only weather-wise but on this blog as well! Beginning in June, expect this blog to really start hopping!

Blog Tours: I'm signed up for quite a few blog tours via tour websites, publishers, and authors, so be on the watch for some great interviews, excerpts, and giveaways!

Interviews: Speaking of interviews, I'm planning one or two special author interview segments of my own. I only have one author confirmed right now so no details yet, but soon!

And in an effort to offer you, my wonderful Followers, more than just reviews and WoW posts, I'm also adding some new segments to the roster:

Random Thoughts: I'll be sharing fleeting thoughts about anything and everything starting June 1st! As random thoughts are, these shall be sprinkled throughout the week, left for your enjoyment on empty days. Find out more about this new segment tomorrow!

Signature Saturdays: To replace Stacking the Shelves (explanation to come), Saturdays I'll be offering pics of a signed book in my possession along with the story of how I came to acquire it.

The Sunday Post: I've done these before, but they shall return as a regular Sunday feature.

Teaser Tuesdays: I rarely do Top Ten Tuesdays (they take so much time for me to put together), so I'm returning to Teaser Tuesdays instead. Prepare to be teased. ;)


LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, 
AND EVERYTHING ELSE:

Class: My Introduction to Writing Fiction community college class is over! And I'm very happy for it. While it was a very good experience for me to take the class, and I'm very glad I did, I don't think I'll be taking any more. I got great feedback from the group, and now it's time to buckle down and actually focus on my own writing instead of that of the collective. Oh, and for those who followed my grade stress on Twitter, I got a 100% A+. At least that's what the tiny Post-It Note the teacher put in my folder says. Yeah, I still don't believe it either.

Bookshelf: Epic Librarian and a few publishers have been very good to me and I am WAY over capacity shelf-wise. Don't be surprised if you read of my demise under a book draft in the near future. I'm happy to report that I did away with the two huge bags of books taking up precious floor space, though! I've discovered a local teacher who is willing to take books off my hands, bless her - it pays to make friends at book signings in more ways than one. But I still kept plenty of newer titles, so be on the lookout for giveaways soon!


That's it for now! Watch for an explanatory post tomorrow about the Random Thoughts segment, and then the summer fun begins Sunday! :)


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Stephanie Perkins)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)
Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna & the French Kiss #3)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Summary:

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.


Why I'm Looking Forward To ItWhile I didn't love Lola and the Boy Next Door (*hides under desk from the everyone but me who loved it*), Anna and the French Kiss is one of my "Can't Live Without" titles (*pets signed paperback*), so I'm definitely excited for this last in the series!



So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Graduation Day (Joelle Charbonneau)


It's been quite a while, but I'm once more participating in Teaser Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, where you open your current read to a random page and pick two teaser sentences!

I'm currently reading Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau (Goodreads), the third and final book in The Testing series. I've really enjoyed this series (you can find my reviews of Books 1 & 2 here and here) and can't wait to see how it all ends!


Graduation Day (The Testing, #3)

"Blood pounds in my ears as I run. 
Away from whoever is now running behind me."




So what are you reading this week?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Review: Open Road Summer (Emery Lord)

Open Road Summer
Title: Open Road Summer
Series: standalone
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Told: First Person (Reagan), Present Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (some language, sensuality, minor abuse)
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

*          *          *

Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Bloomsbury!

Three Words: Realistic. Flirty. Solid.

Series: This is a standalone.

Cover: While I really love the theme and colors of the cover, the lighthearted rural concept does not fit this story at all. And I waited the entire book for that bicycle to come into play (and it totally could've at the end!), but other than the mere mention of one somewhere in the middle it never does.

Writing: Solid; very well plotted and paced. The dialogue was playful and snarky, which I always enjoy.

Setting: We travel the US on a tour bus seeing the sights, although we spend most of the time in hotel rooms, entertainment venues, and the tour buses themselves. It was really interesting and fun seeing how a music star lives on a bus tour. Considering Emery created it all from research and not experience (I asked her about it at the First Loves Tour), I think she did an amazing job and it seemed very realistic.

Story: To escape the end of a bad relationship and the person she's become, Reagan follows her best friend Dee (Lilah Montgomery, teen country music star to her fans) on a summer tour to mentally work through her past mistakes and try to discover a better her. At first, Reagan's whole life revolved around Dee's, so much so that I wondered if it wasn't actually Dee's story instead of Reagan's. But then Matt Finch came along. Slowly the story pulled away from Dee and focused on Reagan - her struggle to be better and her attraction to Matt - with Dee's story only occasionally pushing its way back to the front. While I actually enjoyed Dee's story more than Reagan's, they were two very different stories and both were interesting and fun, even if they dealt with some heavier issues. The end didn't come to much of a conclusion, but romances, like life, never really have bow-tie endings, so the realism gave the realistic story a nice finish.

Characters: Reagan was a "bad girl" who'd learned her lesson and was striving to be better. She truly wanted to change, and went out of her way to make it happen. Reagan worked so hard to be strong, and I admired her for that. I've heard some people call her "mean," but I never felt she was - just gutsy and seriously insecure, especially when it came to Matt. As for Matt, while he could be a bit adorable at times, overall I wasn't particularly impressed with him. Even if it was supposed to be a front I didn't like how cocky he acted, especially with Reagan, and loved how she didn't like it either and called him on it. The fleeting moments he was being real, truly real, were the only times I was okay with him. Dee was a sweetheart and while a bit of a wreck for most of the book had an amazing and admirable strength as well. Her occasional hysterics sometimes seemed a little much, but she felt things with her whole being, and I always love that in a character.

Friendship: Reagan and Dee's friendship warrants a special mention. As a girl who's never had a best friend, I was jealous of how close they were, even at their friendship's darkest moment. If you love stories with fierce female friendships, look no further than this book.

Romantic Relationships: There are two relationships - one for both Reagan and Dee - and to me they felt very realistic as the complicated and emotional rollercoasters they were. I guess I liked both? The realism was certainly refreshing - romance is usually messy, and these relationships were definitely up there in the mess department. They had their really sweet moments though, and I enjoyed following them.

Conclusion: While I wasn't blown away like everyone else I know, I felt it was a solid read and did enjoy it, especially the friendship aspect. If you like realistic contemporary romances with strong friendship themes and a pinch of celebrity and travel, then I definitely recommend this book, especially as a summer read.

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Friday Reads Review (5/23/14)




Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Take Back the Skies
Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon (ARC)
An uncomplicated, light sci-fi/fantasy adventure. So far definitely younger YA.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Hungry
Hungry by H.A. Swain (ARC)
Well, this was a crazy ride of a read. While the world was amazing, the story was forced and the characters were juvenile and way too naive. Don't even get me started about the romance, or BASIL. XP And Part 4 SERIOUSLY creeped me out. *shudders* I also wasn't very happy with the ending. Explanatory review to come. Would recommend for fans of Eve by Anna Carey.


>> READING NEXT <<
Graduation Day (The Testing, #3)
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau (ARC)
It's been waiting impatiently for a while but its time has finally come! Really excited to finish this series!


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Invisible (Dawn Metcalf)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Invisible  (The Twixt #2)
Title: Invisible (The Twixt #2)
Author: Dawn Metcalf
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Summary:

Some things lie beneath the surface.

Joy Malone wants it all: power, freedom and the boyfriend who loves her. Yet when an unstoppable assassin is hired to kill her, Joy learns that being the girl with the Sight comes with a price that might be too high to pay. Love will be tested, lives will be threatened, and everyone Joy knows and cares about will be affected by her decision to stand by Ink or to leave the Twixt forever.

Her choice is balanced on a scalpel's edge and the consequences will be more shattering than anyone can know.


Why I'm Looking Forward To ItI've been waiting on this book since I finished The Twixt #1 (Indelible) last May (see my review here), but I now try to restrain myself with WoW posts until the cover art is revealed. Finally, the time has come! This series is so fantastical and unique, I can't wait to dive back in!



So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

{Nerd Blast} The Art of Lainey (Paula Stokes) + Giveaway!


Welcome to the Official Nerd Blast for 
The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes!

The Art of Lainey

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with, if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where she graduated from Washington University and the Goldfarb School of Nursing. When she’s not writing, she’s kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. Paula loves interacting with readers! Find her online at www.authorpaulastokes.com or on Twitter as @pstokesbooks.



GIVEAWAY

Giveaway is open Internationally. | Must be 13+ to Enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: The Boy on the Porch (Sharon Creech)

The Boy on the Porch
Title: The Boy on the Porch
Series: standalone
Author: Sharon Creech
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Genre: Juvenile (?) Contemporary
Rating: Clean
Told: Third Person (Couple), Past Tense
Format Read: ARC (EpicLibrarian)
Find It On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

When John and Marta found the boy on the porch, they were curious, naturally, as to why he was there-and they didn't expect him to stay, not at first, but he did stay, day after day, until it seemed as if he belonged, running and smiling and laughing his silent laugh, tapping and patting on every surface as he made his music, and painting-with water, with paint, with mud-those swirly swirls and swings and trees.

One day a young couple wakes to find a boy asleep on their porch. Unable to speak, the boy cannot explain his history. What kind of person would leave their child with strangers? All they know is that they have been chosen to care for this boy. And as their connection to him grows, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family, and John and Marta and the boy begin to see the world in brand-new ways. Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech delivers a poignant story of finding family when you least expect it.


*          *          *

Three Words: Quick. Odd. Heartwarming.

Writing: Minimalistic. The story is mainly dialogue-driven with very little description and movement. It made for an odd read, but I never got lost or felt that too much was left out, and I read the book cover to cover in a matter of hours.

Setting: Given the minimalist style of writing, not only do we not find out where this story takes place, but we don't even know when. It could've easily been in the present, but also the 90s, or possibly even the 80s. There are no electronics mentioned that would date it. All we are given is that it is a very rural area with lots of small towns (some abandoned), and the couple lives very simply on a small farm.

Story: A heartwarming story about a couple that takes in an artistic but "mute" boy who was left on their porch and come to love him. It moves very quickly with extremely short chapters and even shorter scenes. I really had no idea what was happening for the first half of the book, but it was so thin I just kept going, and I'm really glad I did. While not what I expected, the end was perfect - very anticlimactic, but that was good for a heartwarming story such as this. I guess I've been reading too much Young Adult, where a "happy" ending must be won out of great suffering.

Characters: The focus couple, Marta and John, were a quiet, down-to-earth couple who discovered they had a lot of love to give. I don't recall that they were ever described past their names, but we come to know their hearts intimately, and that was all that mattered. (I'm the type who doesn't really care if the main characters are described or not if it's not important to the story.) Jacob was an odd but amazing boy with a lot of talent, and you really can't help but fall in love with him right along with Marta and John. The rest of the cast had small parts but were actually described, which made for an odd switch, but gave them presence for the little screen time they were given.

Foster Care Element: This might be considered a pretty big spoiler (apologies - skip this paragraph if you don't want any), but I just have to bring up the foster care aspect of the story. Because of their time with Jacob, the couple decides to become foster parents and temporarily house - and love - many children. Because of this, I believe The Boy on the Porch would be the perfect story for considering foster parents to read. It shows that, while fostering isn't easy and has its bumps, if the foster parents have patience and love they can do wonders for parentless children.

Conclusion: I will admit: the end made me cry. An odd but sweet read that I'm not sure young children will really get but teens and adults might find a calm afternoon read.

Recommend For: Teens/Adults who love quick and heartwarming stories; considering foster parents.

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Friday Reads Review (5/16/14)




Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Hungry
Hungry by H.A. Swain (ARC)
Highly original and interesting! The main character Thalia reads a little young and some things are a little over the top, but otherwise I'm really enjoying it.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Open Road Summer
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (ARC)
A solid read. Fun. Flirty. Different kind of ending. Review to come.


>> READING NEXT <<
Take Back the Skies
Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon (ARC)
I've heard both good and bad things about this pretty. Time to see what I make of it!


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WoW: Hexed (Michelle Krys)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Hexed (Hexed, #1)
Title: Hexed
Author: Michelle Krys
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte
Summary:

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.




Why I'm Looking Forward To ItThis sounds like Natalie Whipple meets Rachel Hawkins, and if I'm right that should equal a fun and thrilling read! Gimme!


So what book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

RELAX, I'M A NINJA is Available!

Several weeks before the official release date, Relax, I'm a Ninja is available to the masses! Natalie Whipple is one of my favorite authors (if she writes it, I will read it), and I've been super-excited for this self-pub ever since I found out about it in September! If you haven't heard about this awesome ninja story, check out the cover and summary below, and then add it to Goodreads and order yourself a copy with the links!


A Clan of ninjas in San Francisco may sound improbable—but as the son of a ninja master, Tosh Ito knows what lurks in the shadows of his city. Or at least he thought he did. 

When a killer with a poisoned blade starts cutting down teens, Tosh enlists Amy Sato—newest ninja recruit and his best friend’s crush—and sets out to uncover the killer's identity. What they find is ninjutsu more evil than they could have ever imagined. 

As Amy and Tosh grow closer, they discover their connection unleashes a legendary power that could stop the murders. Problem is, that power may be exactly what the killer is looking for, and wielding it could cost them both their souls.


Want a copy? (Of course you do!) 
Just click the link to your favorite online retailer!


iBooks     Smashwords     Inktera


And be sure to check out Natalie's blog post about the release here for more info and insight into her influences for the story!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Searching for Sky (Jillian Cantor)

Searching for Sky
Title: Searching for Sky
Series: standalone
Author: Jillian Cantor
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Told: First Person (Sky), Present Tense
Rating: Teen (a few words of language, kissing, thematic elements)
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
Find It On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

Summary:

Sky and River have always lived on Island, the only world they’ve ever known. Until the day River spots a boat. Across Ocean, in a place called California, Sky is separated from River and forced to live with a grandmother she’s just met. Here the rules for survival are different. People rely on strange things like cars and cell phones. They keep secrets from one another. And without River, nothing makes sense. Sky yearns for her old life where she was strong and capable, not lost and confused. She must find River so they can return to Island, but the truth behind how they ended up there in the first place will come as the biggest shock of all.

*          *          *

Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Bloomsbury!

Three Words: Powerful. Emotional. Amazing.

Writing: Uncomplicated and emotional. Sky's voice drew me right in, had me feeling what she felt - her love my love, her ache my ache. There was a lot of capitalization in the beginning (Island, Ocean, Bathroom Tree) which I really liked, everything called just what it was. And when Sky eventually learned this wasn't how "normal" people considered things and began dropping them, it chronicled her evolution of becoming a more "normal" person.

The reader is left to interpret the meaning and relevance of a lot of things on their own through information supplied via quick flashbacks and passing comments, which was a great way to go about giving us what we needed to know - especially when Sky didn't understand the relevance of most of it herself. This book is an excellent example of "show, don't tell," and except for the very last scene (I needed to be told, darn it!) I really enjoyed the approach.

Setting: We begin on Island - plain, simple, small. There's not much to it and we get the feel of that, of the monotonous but peaceful routine that Sky and River follow each day to survive. Jillian does a beautiful job of giving us a true feel of their quiet life, so when we make the shift to the "real world" we feel bombarded right along with Sky, everything loud, busy, moving too fast. Sky's view of and reactions to the real world through her "Island filter" were fascinating and occasionally quite comical, and I really enjoyed the unique description.

Story: This story is a "what if" scenario that really makes you think about what "normal" really is, and how much stock we put in it. The book's official summary (above) describes the simple but emotionally charged story well. Sky was wrenched from the peaceful life she loved and forced into the chaotic life she was supposed to have lived, and her struggle to understand and adapt among strangers without losing her true self was fascinating and engrossing. The "truth behind how they ended up there [on Island] in the first place" was handled extremely well, kept to the background and fed to us, as it was to Sky, in snippets, leaving the reader to put the pieces together on their own to see the whole picture and come to their own conclusions. The last four chapters had me reading through a veil of tears, and while I'm still a bit frustrated with the ending (and still debating with myself what exactly it means), it was a powerful and emotional and amazing story that never let me go until the very last word and still has me thinking about it long after it's over.

Characters: Sky's innocent and Island-filtered view of the world was refreshing and fun. She made me look at everything in a new light, and consider words in whole new contexts (I get "re-tired" a lot, too ;). Her emotions were simple, direct, raw, and blatantly honest, which made them easy to relate to and felt so much deeper because she felt things with her whole being. Despite her fear she was strong and persevered, adapting as much as she had to in the face of her uncontrollable situation but still fighting for what she really wanted. Even though I have nothing in common with her, I felt for her and with her, and she is now one of my all-time favorite characters.

River was a sweetie and although I occasionally mistrusted him I couldn't help wanting to take him in and look after him. The world mistreated him for something that wasn't his fault, and I despised the world for it. Just thinking about it still makes me seethe. And the fact that I can totally see the world reacting that way if the situation presented itself in real life just makes my anger worse. Let's move on. I despised the grandmother right from the start, even more than I despised the world. I know she meant well, but she went about everything the wrong way, and brought practically nothing but heartbreak and hatred into Sky's life. I was okay with the way Sky handled her feelings for the woman in the end, but if it had been me ... yeah, let's just move on.

Romantic Relationship: The small bit of a romance we get doesn't come until nearly the end of the book, and there isn't much of it. What little there is, however, is deep and slow grown and rather beautiful.

Series: This is a standalone, although the ending was left open to interpretation (which was a little frustrating for a bow-tie gal like me). Jillian says she wants to write a sequel someday, which I'm on the fence about - Sky's story is so amazing I want more, but even with the open ending it's a great standalone (and we need more standalones right now!). If they decide to do a sequel, though, I'm sold.

Conclusion: I rarely read Contemporary (it's just not my genre), but Sky drew me in with her raw emotion and unique view of the world and I loved every word. Searching for Sky is an amazing and powerful book that I highly recommend to anyone and everyone, no matter your usual reading tastes.


Scribble Rating
5 of 5 Scribbles

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Friday Reads Review (5/9/14)




Welcome to The Friday Reads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own Friday Reads Review on your blog, and then leave the link in the Comments below!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Open Road Summer
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (ARC)
I was expecting two girls who go on a road trip. By themselves. But with a boy. So yeah, not what I was expecting at all. But I read the summary again and, yeah, I most definitely read it wrong, so definitely my bad. Not that I'm disappointed in any way, though - quite enjoying it.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Searching for Sky
Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor (ARC)
This Contemporary seriously blew me away. Loved Sky's unique and emotional voice so much. 5 Stars. Review to come.


>> READING NEXT <<
Hungry
Hungry by H.A. Swain (ARC)
I've been looking forward to this one for months now! Such a unique premise. Fingers crossed it blows my mind like I think it will! And although the Contemporaries have been good, I'm definitely ready to get back to my Dystopians.


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Firebug (Lish McBride)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Firebug
Title: Firebug
Author: Lish McBride
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR)
Summary (from Goodreads):

Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren’t caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She’s one of their main hitmen . . . and she doesn’t like it one bit. Not least because her boss, Venus, killed Ava’s mother. 

When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can’t say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in. Preferably keeping the murder to a minimum.


Why I'm Looking Forward To ItWith its powers + mafia scenario, this sounds like a must-read for fans of Holly Black's Curseworkers trilogy and Natalie Whipple's Transparent duology. Since I'm a huge fan of both, this is a definite must-read for me!


So what book are you waiting on?

Monday, May 5, 2014

YA Review: The Chapel Wars (Lindsey Leavitt)

The Chapel Wars
Title: The Chapel Wars
Series: standalone
Author: Lindsey Leavitt
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: Teen (grief, kissing, innuendo, possible minor language)
Told: First Person Singular (Holly), Past Tense
Format Read: ARC (from publisher)
Find It On: Goodreads

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?

And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is she running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money--fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax.

Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to save.


*          *          *

Writing: Playful. Holly was a fun voice, especially with her unique numerical outlook on life.

Setting: Ah, Vegas. I've been a few times and love how flashy and over-the-top it all is. Lindsey did a great job with the description and showed us a lot of awesome "historical" and out of the way places. It was also fun seeing both sides of the exciting and eccentric city with Holly singing its praises and Dax moaning its faults.

Story: With the colorful cover, playful title, and feisty summary, I went into this book expecting a Romeo & Juliet romance that revolved around Holly's struggle to save her beloved wedding chapel. But instead, to my disappointment, I found the story revolved around Holly's grief - grief over her grandfather's death, her parents' confusing divorce, her siblings' hostility and distance, and the fact that she had to hide her romance from practically everyone. I expected colorful, playful and feisty, and instead I got depression, desperation and many shades of grey. And the end...it wasn't what I was expecting, and certainly not what I was hoping for, but it was okay, I guess. I just felt that Holly allowed herself to be influenced by everyone else in her life and didn't forgive herself and allow herself to be what she wanted to be. So what if everyone thinks what you want is weird and that it's not healthy for a young person to have it that together? If that's who you are, go with it.

Characters: Holly's inconsistency was my biggest problem with this book. All of her personality traits never felt like they added up, and some even seemed to contradict each other. She berated her best guy friend for considering baby names after dating his girlfriend 15 months, and then after only one date and two kisses with her own boyfriend admitted she'd already "named our first three children." I liked her perseverance and loved her number obsession, but otherwise she was pretty all over the place for me. I guess some might argue that humans are inherently rather inconsistent and it makes her more "realistic" or something, but I don't know. As for Dax, Holly revered him as some kind of god among men in the looks department, but the descriptions made him sound really...unbalanced. His personality was a bit all over the place as well, and even at the end I didn't know quite what to make of him. Holly's guy friends were kind of bad for her, in my opinion, but maybe that was just me. I really liked that she found Camille (or, really, that Camille found her) because she desperately needed a girl friend - I only wish Camille had been given a bigger role. Holly's parents were self-absorbed and their lack of communication with their children made me kind of mad. Brother James was a delinquent but a sweetheart, and Sister Lenore...don't get me started. All in all, quite the dysfunctional cast.

Romantic Relationship: I didn't buy the Holly/Dax romance (also known as a ridiculous case of insta"like"). I didn't see that they had anything in common other than grief and hormones. Take away the kissing, and I just don't see how they'll last.

Conclusion: With its grief-focused story, this book wasn't the fun, over-the-top Vegas fling I'd hoped for. Still, despite its inconsistent main character, it was an okay read and had its fun moments, and what we did get of Vegas was really cool. If you like your Contemporary Romances to be a little heavier on the "Contemporary," then this could be a book for you.