Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: Sway by Kat Spears

Author:  Kat Spears
Publisher:  St. Martins Griffin
Publication Date:  September 16, 2014

From Goodreads:
In Kat Spears’s hilarious and often poignant debut, high school senior Jesse Alderman, or "Sway," as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop. He also specializes in getting things people want---term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs. He has few close friends and he never EVERlets emotions get in the way. For Jesse, life is simply a series of business transactions.

But when Ken Foster, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all-around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things. While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget’s belligerent and self-pitying younger brother who has cerebral palsy. Suddenly, Jesse is visiting old folks at a nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him. Could the tin man really have a heart after all?

A Cyrano de Bergerac story with a modern twist, Sway is told from Jesse’s point of view with unapologetic truth and biting humor, his observations about the world around him untempered by empathy or compassion---until Bridget’s presence in his life forces him to confront his quiet devastation over a life-changing event a year earlier and maybe, just maybe, feel
something again.

Fresh, edgy, and unconventional, this novel tells the story of Jesse, a deeply unhappy, manipulative, and cynical high school senior who makes his money by giving people want they want.  That may be drugs, alcohol, a date, research papers for school, etc.  Jesse basically makes things happen.  He's brutally honest and unapologetic about it, which was refreshing, but at the same time, it made it hard to like him.  He just didn't care.  About anything.  Then Ken pays him $200 to get Bridget to date him, and Jesse starts getting to know Bridget and can't believe that such a genuinely nice and caring person exists (of course, it doesn't hurt that she's gorgeous).  Slowly Jesse starts to care again and starts helping people for different reasons than money.

Sway was really good.  I was expecting a romantic comedy, but instead it's rather dark.  

"I was a monster.  The kind of monster who punched a kid with cerebral palsy, who sold a sweet girl like Bridget to the highest bidder, who didn't have to care about how other people felt, because I didn't have any feelings of my own.  the kind of monster who doesn't survive to see the end of the fairy tale."

Some of Jesse's observations are humorous, but this book is not light and fluffy, that's for sure.  And there's a lot of drug and alcohol use, sex, and language, so just be prepared for that.  Jesse was so savvy and world-weary, I'm not sure how realistic his character is, but his inner monologue was different so I did appreciate it. Clever and original, this is an impressive debut.

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (64)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh

From NetGalley:
Time's Edge by Rysa Walker
The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Blog Tour Book Review: Crushed by Eliza Crewe

Crushed (Soul Eaters #2)
Author: Eliza Crewe
India Print- & E-Release Date: July 2014
Everywhere but India e-Release Date: September 22, 2014
Everywhere but India Print Release Date: November, 2014 (tentative)

*ARC received via NetGalley

Meda's back. This time, she has a friend.

The battle is over; the choice has been made. Meda Melange has officially hung up her monstrous mantle and planted her feet firmly on the holy and righteous path of a Crusader-in-training. Or, at least, she’s willing to give it a shot. It helps that the Crusaders are the only thing standing between her and the demon hordes who want her dead.

The problem is, the only people less convinced than Meda of her new-found role as Good Girl are the very Crusaders she’s trying to join. So when a devilishly handsome half-demon boy offers escape, how’s a girl supposed to say “no?”

After all, everyone knows a good girl’s greatest weakness is a bad boy.

I really enjoyed this book and here's why:

1.  Snarky and sarcastic Meda.  She's hilarious.  She's now living with the Crusaders and she's trying to be good, but at the same time, it's difficult to deny the fact that she's a monster.  And she LOVES killing people.  Well, bad people.  She limits herself and that's about the best she can do.  There are so many laugh out loud moments in this book because of Meda and her inner monologue.  What a unique main character, a half-demon girl who revels in blood.  It just works.

2.  Unpredictable plot.  Just when I thought I knew where the plot was going, I didn't.  At all.  I found myself surprised by different elements of this book, especially when it came to Armand, the half-demon guy.  Sick of insta-love?  Love triangles?  A girl who swoons over a  hot guy?  A bad boy who really isn't that bad?  You will find NONE of that in this book.  Instead, you have a bad boy who is truly bad. He's unapologetic about killing.  And you have the girl not trusting the guy, knowing that they stand on opposite sides of the upcoming battle.  A girl who puts friendship first.  I loved Meda and Jo's relationship, that's true friendship.

An amazing sequel, the book is filled with action, humor, and surprising twists and turns.  Definitely recommend!

Author Bio:

Eliza Crewe always thought she’d be a lawyer, and even went so far as to complete law school. But as they say, you are what you eat, and considering the number of books Eliza has devoured since childhood, it was inevitable she’d end up in the literary world. She abandoned the lawyer-plan to instead become a librarian and now a writer.

While she’s been filling notebooks with random scenes for years, Eliza didn’t seriously commit to writing an entire novel until the spring of 2011, when she and her husband bought a house. With that house came a half-hour commute, during which Eliza decided she needed something to think about other than her road-rage. Is it any surprise she wrote a book about a blood-thirsty, people-eating monster?

Eliza has lived in Illinois, Edinburgh, and Las Vegas, and now lives in North Carolina with her husband, her hens, her angry, talking, stuffed dwarf giraffe, and a sweet, mute, pantomiming bear. She likes to partially-complete craft projects, free-range her hens, and take long walks.

Posted by:  Pam

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Review: Loop by Karen Akins

Loop (Loop #1)
Author:  Karen Akins
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin, 336 pages
Expected Publication Date:  October 21, 2014
*ARC received form publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

Loop was AMAZING!!!  It had it all.  A ton of action and adventure, a strong, feisty heroine, mind-bendy time travel, romance, and humor.  I laughed out loud so many times, but at the same time the stakes in this book were high.  

The world-building was fascinating, with the Shifters (those who genetically could time travel) going to school to learn the ins and outs of time travel, and non-Shifters, who found out about Shifters about fifty years before and now there are all sorts of laws about time travel.  Shifters can't change the past (literally can't change the past), but they study history, go back in time to a crime scene, etc.  They have a chip in their head that controls where they go and they can be tracked and yanked back to the present at any time.  

The book starts with Bree on a school assignment where she goes back in time and meets Finn.  Oh...Finn.  I loved him and their relationship.  He's such a good guy.  Apparently Future Bree knows Finn and he's in love with her, but this Bree doesn't even know him.  And Finn quickly finds out that this Bree is not his Bree (yet), which leads to a lot of tension between the two of them.  Loved loved loved how this played out.  Their bickering and bantering was one of my favorite parts about this book.

Loop is a fun and compelling must read, one of the best time travel books I've read. Highly recommend.

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Author:  Amy Ewing
Publisher:  HarperTeen, 368 pages
Publication Date:  September 2, 2014

From Goodreads:
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

After reading mixed reviews, I decided to go ahead and read this book and I really liked it.  The world-building was fascinating, yet so creepy and scary.  In this world, the royalty cannot have babies so they enslave girls from the poorest section to act as surrogates (the girls that have special abilities).  Those girls are taken from their homes around the age of twelve and they live in a holding facility, leaning to control their abilities until they're auctioned off to the highest bidder when they're sixteen. And these girls are treated horribly.  Leashes, collars, etc.  And that's not the worst of it, but I won't say anything else.  

The romance.  I didn't love it, but I wouldn't call it insta-love like a lot of people have.  Violet and Ash don't exchange I love you's until they've known each other over a month at least.  I think the main reason the romance isn't swoon-worthy is because we don't really get to know Ash.  We're told he and Violet have these conversations and spend a lot of time talking, but we don't get to see it.  And then, to be honest, he's not the typical love interest.  Ash is a paid companion.  He's doing it for noble reasons, but at the same time, he's not the typical swoop in and save the girl love interest.  Instead, he's basically in the same boat as Violet.  It's actually a refreshing change for the guy to be a victim, but at the same time, I think that prevents readers from loving him.  You may feel bad for him, but he's probably not going to make anyone's book boyfriend list.

I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers, but I loved this particular cliffhanger ending because we learn something new about a certain character that will make the next book VERY interesting.  A solid start to this new series!

Posted by:  Pam

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Seven Deadly Sins Tag

                        I was tagged by Nicole and Ashley at The Quiet Concert.
What is your most inexpensive book? What is your most inexpensive book?
Other than free books from publishers, I've gotten a few free books from Amazon on my Kindle. And then there's always those daily deals where books are inexpensive. As far as expensive books, my law school books were really expensive. I also have quite a few leather bound books I bought from Easton Press over the years. Those are pretty expensive.

What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?
Hmmm…I don't know if I have an author that I would categorize that way.  The only one I can think of is Ann Aguirre.  I LOVED the Razorland series, but I didn't like her new novel, Mortal Danger.  

What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?  
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  I've read that book over and over.  Also Pride & Prejudice.  I usually try to read that one once a year.

What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?
Right now I'm putting off reading The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.  

What book do you talk about in order to sound like an intellectual reader?  
I don't really read anything that would make me sound intellectual.  I read for fun and I'm proud of it!  :)

What attributes do you find attractive in male or female characters?  
I love when a couple has great banter, like Iolanthe and Titus from The Burning Sky or like Caymen and Xander from The Distance Between Us.  Also, I'm rereading The Lynburn Legacy books right now in preparing for the release of Unmade, which comes out today (yay!) and I just love Kami Glass, the main character.  She's hilarious.  As far as guys, I do love the snarky bad boys, like Adrian from the Bloodlines series.  

What book would you most like to receive as a gift?
Pretty much any book that's on my TBR list (in hardback).

And I tag:
Rebecca @ The Library Canary
Jazmen @ This Girl Reads A Lot

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Author:  Scott Westerfeld
Publisher:  Simon Pulse, 608 pages
Expected Publication Date:  September 23, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via Edelweiss

From Goodreads:
Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

Although I loved Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series and I appreciated the story within a story, Afterworlds just didn't work for me.  I enjoyed parts of the Darcy story--learning about the world of YA publishing, the conversations about writing, whether the book should have a happy ending, etc.--but at the same time, I didn't like Darcy. At all.  I honestly didn't care what happened to her and part of me wanted her to fail.

And even though the paranormal story hooked me with that first chapter, it lost me after that.  Given the alternating chapters, I was pulled out of the story over and over again and, consequently, I never connected with the characters.  And even worse, I had to read about Darcy trying to decide what to do with the characters and the plot. Even though I know I'm reading fiction, I love reading because I become immersed and lost in the story.  However, the characters and the format of this book made it impossible for that to happen.  Not to mention the insta-love, the lack of character development for Yama, and the lack of world-building.  So many questions weren't answered, but I wonder if that was intentional.  A debut teenage author.  Was her novel supposed to be good?  It just wasn't, but perhaps that was the point? 

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (63)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Bought (Yes I bought way too many books this week):
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Sway by Kat Spears
Crown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil
Made for You by Melissa Marr
Blackbird by Anna Carey
Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Review: Trouble by Non Pratt

Author:  Non Pratt
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 416 pages
Publication Date:  June 10, 2014

From Goodreads:
When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend—and how they were like a first love.

This is a brutally honest and touching portrayal of teenage life.  Hannah and Aaron are fifteen year olds going through a tough time.  Told through dual points of view, which was well done (the thoughts, feelings, and dialogue were captured perfectly) we learn that Hannah is a sexually active teen and acts pretty blasé about it.  In fact, the whole group of teenagers in this book is seemingly very casual about sex and alcohol.  There's a gritty feel to this book because it portrays life as it really is. Aaron has just moved into town and there's obviously something horrible that happened in his past that he's struggling to recover from.  He's so reserved and unhappy, but such a good guy.  

Although the plot does revolve around Hannah's pregnancy, the book is also about so much more.  It's a coming of age story for Hannah and a story of grief and loss for Aaron.  It's about peer pressure, bullying, social media, underage drinking, and sex. It's about family.  But more than that, it's a story of friendship between Hannah and Aaron.  About being there for someone and accepting them no matter what.  I loved the way their relationship evolved and how they supported each other. Hannah and Aaron were amazingly nuanced and layered characters.  They were just so real.

In the end, Trouble is a heartwarming read that deals with serious issues in a realistic way.

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Two for One Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press, 240 pages
Publication Date: May 13, 2014

From Goodreads:
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Sheri's Review:
While I don't normally choose suspense novels, I really enjoyed this one because I didn't spend the whole book stressed out by a sense of foreboding.  In fact, there were times I relaxed into the story forgetting that something bad was lurking.  I loved the unconditional nature of the relationships between the cousins, I was fascinated by the fairy tale stories that prefaced many of the chapters, and I desperately wanted Cady to be okay.

I know a ton of people have already reviewed this one so I don't have much else to add except......I kept forgetting these kids were living in 2014.  Something about the way the book was written and what the families were like reminded me of the 1970s.  Then there would be a reference to an email or a cell phone and I would have to remind myself its a contemporary story.  I don't know if anyone else had the same feeling of disorientation but  I think it only added to the suspense of the story for me.

I really am sorry I can't say more but its hard to review this one without spoilers but I would DEFINITELY recommend this book even if you don't normally like suspense.  In fact, I would love some recommendations for more books like this one if you have any!

Pam's Review:
An unreliable narrator.
A messed up family.
Issues of class, discrimination, and greed.
A heartbreaking story.
Teenagers being really stupid.
A twisty story with an ending I didn't see coming.
So much suffering.
But possibly ending with hope?

Anyone know why they were called liars??

Really enjoyed this one, but very depressing.  I had to read a light and fluffy book right after.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

Chasing Power
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher:  Bloomsbury, 368 pages
Expected Publication Date:  October 14, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla's life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she's caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel's kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive... or survive.

I enjoyed this action packed book filled with magic and two teenagers who have paranormal abilities.  Loved the teleporting around the world in search of the three stones.  Loved the antagonistic relationship between Kayla and Daniel.  

However, I was a bit frustrated with the world-building.  The rest of the world is normal and then you have some people with magical abilities and then there's Kayla and Daniel who have these amazing powers and there's no explanation for why this is the case.  Until the very end.  So the whole time I was reading this book I was wondering about it.  I also couldn't understand why Kayla's dad killed her sister.  I mean, they're on the run from him.  Is he just a psycho?  Evil?  Was there something about her sister having an ability that gave him a motive to kill her?  Again, this is not explained or even questioned until the end.  Aside from those questions, the book was fun and it had an interesting plot filled with danger and mystery.

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (62)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Trouble by Non Pratt
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

From the Library:
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1)
Author:  Josephine Angelini
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends, 384 pages
Publication Date:  September 2, 2014

From Goodreads:
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

What I Liked:

1.  Parallel worlds and witches.  Loved the alternate world that Lily finds herself in, with witches ruling the world, providing everything to the people in the city, including electricity, medicine, clothes, and food.   Science is woefully behind because of witches (why create and build a microscope when witches can perform the same task?) and now Lillian (Lily's other self in this world), the Lady of Salem, has made science illegal. Loved the fact that mechanics take care of a witch's body like a piece of machinery.  Loved the willstones and how witches could give power to a person if that person allows a witch to claim them, but that same claiming can also make the person a puppet, with the witch able to control their body.  There are rebels who live outside the walls of the city and have to fend for themselves and survive without magic, fighting for their lives from the Wovens, weird hybrid creatures.  Such a fascinating, unique world, I could go on and on about it.

2.  Lily and Rowan.  Lily is a great heroine, used to being the sickly one in her world, but suddenly finding herself very powerful in this one.  She's a good person, but she's tempted by the power she has.  What lines will she cross?  I love Rowan, who was Lillian's mechanic until he was betrayed by her and who is now fighting with the rebels.  I love how their relationship grows and changes as they learn to trust each other, but at the same time, he did have an intimate relationship with Lillian, and that's just a bit weird, I have to say.

3.  Lillian.  Something happened to Lillian.  She disappeared for awhile and when she got back, she made science illegal and started hanging people left and right.  She then brings Lily over for some reason.  Is Lillian actually the villain she appears to be?  She does horrible horrible things, but there's obviously something going on. Love the fact that this villain is complex and nuanced.

4.  The ending.  I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers, and yes, this book has one.  But it's soooooo good…cannot wait until the next one!

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press, 390 pages
Publication Date: August 1, 2009

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Even though these books have been out for awhile, I only discovered them in the last few weeks.  I'll admit I love all things wolves.  I also love the shy emo boyfriend.  So when the shy emo boyfriend is a wolf it's hard for me not to like the book.  The basic storyline surrounding the wolves of Mercy Falls is actually very interesting and there are many  compelling secondary characters.  Sam's back-story is heart breaking and you can't help but want to see him happy. 

I didn't feel quite as strong a connection with Grace.  Part of the problem was her ridiculous parents and her relationship with them.  I was also frustrated by the relationship between the three friends and not understanding the sources of tension between them.  I definitely would have appreciated more opportunities to get to know Grace before Sam arrived on the scene.  I'm looking forward to learning more about Grace as the books progress.

If you haven't tried this series, I would definitely recommend book one which is a complete story on its own but it leaves you wanting to know more.

Posted By: Sheri

Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Review: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

A Little Something Different
Author:  Sandy Hall
Publisher:  Swoon Reads, 272 pages
Publication Date:  August 26, 2014

From Goodreads:
The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, somethingis happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....

Freaking.  Adorable.  

I really wasn't sure how I would like 14 different POVs, especially when the POVs do not include the two main characters, but I absolutely loved this book.  Somehow, it just worked.  I never got confused with who was who, the writing flowed and the dialogue was incredible.  

The author is a genius, making me fall in love with Lea and Gabe without getting into their heads.  How did she do that?  I thought for sure that I would feel emotionally disconnected with this story, but I didn't.  They were so cute.  The POVs from the bench and the squirrel were a little silly, but it did give me more insight into Lea and Gabe.   

I also loved the college setting and having one of the POVs being the creative writing professor who likes to play matchmaker.  

There's a fascinating interview with the author at the end of the book along with discussion questions.  The author wrote the first draft in six days…what?? 

What a fun fun book!  Highly recommend.

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (61)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

From NetGalley:
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
Suspicion by Alexandra Monir

What books did you add to your shelves this week?