Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski & Giveaway

23299562Title: The Summer After You and Me
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 1, 2015
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Netgalley
Edition: eARC


Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk-Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.
Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?
 **Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!**

The Summer After You and Me is about a girl named Lucy who lives on the Jersey Shore in a marvelous house. She gets to live there year-round, which is pretty awesome. She and her friends do their best to not fall for any of the summer tourists, like Connor who is Lucy's next door neighbor. Last summer, Connor and Lucy got really close and ended up falling for each other. They had a fling that nobody had known about, though they had to leave early that summer because of Superstorm Sandy. All Lucy had was a promise from Connor that he'd call her, but she never did. 

The Summer After You and Me is all about the aftermath of what happens the summer after the storm, when they come back. Now, Connor has a girlfriend (who Lucy doesn't really like) and Lucy has a boyfriend, Andrew. Andrew and Lucy have been really great friends their whole lives, so everyone says that they're the perfect match. The thing is, Lucy still isn't really over Connor and maybe, just maybe, he's not over her either.

I'm so glad that I got to read this book because the second I read the synopsis last year, it became one of my most anticipated 2015 reads. Let me just say that this book did not disappoint in any way possible. I loved how much all the characters' relationships grew throughout the book, such as Lucy and Andrew's, Lucy and Connor's, and Lucy and her twin brother, Liam's. Lucy went through so many ups and downs throughout the summer and at times I felt really bad for her, especially because of the way that some people treated her. 

I also felt horrible for her since she hadn't told anybody about her spring fling with Connor before the storm. Everybody things that Connor is a player, Lucy included, because he always has a different girl with him every time that she sees him. She keeps thinking that she was stupid to have fallen for him in the first place, though the whole time I thought that they definitely had a special connection.

I felt so much for the characters and felt like I was actually there with them, experiencing what Lucy was experiencing. The heartache, the love, the ups, the downs... all of it.

I found it really awesome that Lucy was a huge fan of aquatic life. I love it when a character loves something that has to do with the ocean, because anything having to do with water really interests me. The beginning of each chapter featured par of Lucy's junior thesis, "What's Love Got to Do with It? The Dating and Mating habits of North American Sea Life" which really cracked me up at parts and foreshadowed what was to come with each chapter, which was a really cool addition to this story. 

I really liked how a palm reader played a special part in this story as well, since Connor and Lucy went to see a palm reader one night. I also found it interesting how there was a theme of disasters laced throughout the novel. Not only was the storm a disaster, but Lucy trying to get over Connor was as well. This book is definitely a new favorite of mine and I'm going to recommend it to everyone who asks for a good contemporary read. 

Rating: 

Book Excerpt:

Connor opened the gorgeous double doors, each with half-moon stained-glass windows on the top, and motioned me inside. “After you.”
The house had that distinct yet hard-to-describe smell of a beach home that had been closed up for a while. I walked to the center of the high-ceilinged foyer and immediately pic­tured pine garland and twinkling white lights wrapped around the sweeping banister.
“Wow. I’d love to spend Christmas here,” I said and immedi­ately regretted being so sappy.
Connor smiled. “You could fit a twelve-foot tree in this hallway.”
I admit, over the years I’ve had my share of Connor-centric fantasies. However the image of him watching his children pad down the stairs on Christmas morning had never been one of them…until that very second. I liked thinking about Connor that way.
“Come on. You’ve got to see the master bedroom.”
The wholesome image of a Malloy family Christmas van­ished. Aha, I thought. That was the Connor I knew.
“Uh-uh,” I said. “The widow’s walk. I want to go there first.”
“Race you,” he said and took off running.
He beat me up the two flights and was waiting for me in the third-floor hallway toward the back of the house. Off the hallway was an art studio, with a drafting table and a bookcase. There was also a telescope standing near the window.
“Follow me.” He crossed the studio and unlocked the dead­bolt to the narrow door leading outside.
“You’ve already been up there?”
“First thing I did when I got here,” Connor said.
“Not the master bedroom?”
“Nah, that’s the first thing I wanted to do when you got here.”
I thought it was just more flirty banter, but Connor’s flushed cheeks looked as warm as my body felt. He stared at me for a beat too long and my throat constricted. I was suddenly aware that I’d left the house with slept-on hair and no mascara. The look on Connor’s face told me he hadn’t noticed. His eyes never left mine.
Finally he said, “Come on, Luce. I’ll follow you.” The space was tight when I passed in front of him, and the closeness of his body gave me the shivers. I opened the door and stepped outside onto a small patio. I walked toward the wrought-iron spiral staircase that lead to the widow’s walk on the roof and placed my hand on the railing. My knees felt shaky as I began the climb, but I never looked back.

Author Bio:


Jennifer Salvato Doktorski is the author of the YA novels, How My Summer Went Up in Flames (Simon Pulse 2013), Famous Last Words (Henry Holt and Co., 2013), which was a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, and the forthcoming The Summer After You and Me (Sourcebooks Fire, May 2015).

Her first paid writing gig was as an editorial assistant for the North Jersey Herald & News, where, in addition to developing a life-long passion for coffee and news, she wrote obituaries for eight months. She also worked as a speech writer, bank teller, ghostwriter, bookkeeper in a lampshade factory, pet shop clerk, and music zine editor.

She lives with her family in New Jersey and spends her summers “down the shore,” where she dreams of taking surfing lessons and observes sea life while keeping her toes in the sand.



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Music Recs: Bastille

Music Recommendations was created so that I can share some of my favorite artists and bands with all of you!

This week, I decided to recommend Bastille!bbc radio 1 big weekend will farquarson gif

I know that many people know about Bastille because of their hit single, Pompeii, but you should definitely check out the rest of their music! They all have a similar feel to Pompeii, so if you really enjoyed that song I highly recommend having a listen to their albums.

I absolutely love the voice of Dan Smith's voice (the lead singer). It's so soft yet I feel that anything he sings would be absolute perfection. Yet again, this is another alternative band rec!

One of my favorite songs by them is Things We Lost in the Fire. My favorite line from it would have to be "I love to read the words you used". It just has so much feeling in it, ya know?



My other favorite song of theirs is Bad Blood, because it has this killer beat. I was so confused by the music video when I first watched it, so I had to watch it probably about 20 times before I got the meaning, but it's still enjoyable to watch.


Are you a fan of Bastille?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

23411347Title: The Sin Eater's Daughter
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Source: Edelweiss
Edition: eARC

I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.
Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has its price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch.
Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girl she truly is.
Yet in a court as dangers and the queen's, some truths should not be told....
**Thank you to Scholastic for allowing me to read a copy of this in exchange for an honest review!**

When I first heard about The Sin Eater's Daughter, I didn't think that it had sounded like something I'd enjoy. Then I started seeing countless reviews about how amazing it was, and the more I heard, the more I wanted to read it. Let me just say that after I finished reading, I was absolutely in love with this book.


The reader follows a character named Twylla, who possesses this special power to drink poison and then kill others with just her touch. Everyone in Lormere fears her, because her touch is death. Some people can touch her though, like the Royal family, which includes the man she's betrothed to, Merek, who is the son of the king and queen. Twylla is considered the Daunen Embodied, which means that she is practically the daughter of the two gods which symbolize night and day (I absolutely loved that aspect about the book, but more on that later!). Every week, Twylla's job is to kill those that the Queen and King choose, mostly because they are traitors to the kingdom. Ever since she had to kill her best friend, she hasn't exactly been the same.



This book absolutely blew me away. It was a bit rough to get through in the very beginning because of all the descriptions, though all of it was definitely necessary in order to fully understand this marvelous world that Salisbury has created. My favorite character would definitely have to be Lief, because he was willing to go out of his way to help and understand Twylla when others wouldn't. Her own fiance would barely ever talk to her, even though they were meant to be wed one day.

I felt so bad for Twylla throughout the entire novel. She was literally uprooted from her home because she's the Daunen Embodied. She doesn't even really live her own life-she follows what she's been told her destiny is. She cares so much for her younger sister and since she's the daughter of the Gods she isn't even allowed to see her. I just can't even imagine what that must be like, to be so far away from family but somehow manage to be okay because you know it's your destiny. I'd be so heartbroken.

One of my favorite aspects about this book was the Gods aspect. The people of Lormere believe in two gods, one which symbolizes night and the other which symbolizes day; basically, the good and the bad. Twylla was considered the Daunen Embodied because her touch was lethal (bad) but she had an amazing singing voice (good). I also really loved the idea of a Sin Eater. Twylla's mother was a sin eater and Twylla was supposed to take her spot until she became the Daunen Embodied. A sin eater eats the sins of someone after they've died, so at the funeral she would show up and eat away the person's sins in order to get rid of them all. Different foods would symbolize different sins, which I found to be really interesting.

 The ending still has me freaking out and eagerly wanting the next book. It left me with so many questions, which a good first book in a series always does. It goes to show how much a kingdom really does lie and conceal the truth. I just need to know what happens!


Have you read this novel? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Waiting on Made You Up!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.
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Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be-sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appear to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.
Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She's pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She's not prepared for normal.
Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up. 

Made You Up will be released on May 19, 2015. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An Ember in the Ashes Book Blitz!


Today I have the honor of sharing the news of the An Ember in the Ashes release by Sabaa Tahir! There's even a letter from the author in this post, so keep reading! At the way end, there's a giveaway for a signed copy of the book and a pretty awesome sword letter opener!

A letter from Sabaa Tahir.


Dear Readers,

Today, my “baby” AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is finally out in the world! From inception to pub date, this journey took eight years. And what a journey it was: writing, rewriting, revising, editing, querying, submitting; Meeting other debuts, bloggers, booksellers and librarians, and hearing their thoughts on EMBER. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the radness.

And now, the book is here! I am so excited to see it in the hands of readers. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. To celebrate release day, I’m giving away two signed, first-edition hardcovers of the book. Details below!

All my best,

Sabaa

Title: AN EMBER IN THE ASHES
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Pub. Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 464
Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.
LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.
ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.
When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.


Check out the book trailer!

About Sabaa:
Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.








Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a signed hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. US Only.

3 winners will receive a hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and a Sword Letter Opener! US Only.

Ends on May 9th at Midnight EST!

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Life Unaware Book Blitz!


Life Unaware
Release Date: 04/28/15
Entangled Teen

Book Summary:
Regan Flay has been talking about you. 

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother's "plan" for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she's ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school. 

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah. 
The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend's hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan's going through, but whatnobody knows is that Regan isn't really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she's barely holding it together under her mom's pressure. But the consequences of Regan's fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched... 

Especially Regan Flay.


Buy Links:
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | B-A-M | IndieBound | Powells

5 Fun Facts with Cole Gibsen!


About the Author
Cole Gibsen first realized she different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines.

It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen. Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations.

Author Links:
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GIVEAWAY:
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Monday, April 27, 2015

Compulsion Audiobook Blitz!


Release Date: 10/28/14
Narrated by: Joell A. Jacob
Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins 
Simon Pulse/Tantor Audio
448 pages

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.
All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.
Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Buy Links:

Listen to an audiobook sample:

Praise for Compulsion:
"Skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure . . . An impressive start to the Heirs of Watson Island series." —Publishers Weekly
     
"Eight Beaufort is so swoon-worthy that it's ridiculous. Move over Four, Eight is here to stay!"  —RT Book Reviews, RT Editors Best Books of 2014

"Darkly romantic and steeped in Southern Gothic charm, you'll be compelled to get lost in the Heirs of Watson Island series." —JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"A fresh twist on the Southern Gothic -- haunting, atmospheric, and absorbing." —CLAUDIA GRAY, New York Timesbestselling author of A Thousand Pieces of You and the Evernight and Spellcaster series 
    
"A stunningly magical debut with a delicious slow burn to be savored. I want to live in this story world!" —WENDY HIGGINS, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sweet Evil trilogy


"Beautifully written, with vivid characters, a generations-old feud, and romance that leaps off the page, this Southern ghost story left me lingering over every word, and yet wanting to race to the compelling finish. Compulsion is not to be missed." —MEGAN SHEPHERD, author of The Madman's Daughter

Book Two:
PERSUASION (HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND, BOOK 2) 
Beautiful Creatures meets Gone With the Wind
As reporters chasing rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold descend on Watson Island, Barrie Watson discovers more is buried at Colesworth Place than treasure. A mysterious, magical man claims the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts and the Colesworth curse also lies beneath the mansion, and Barrie has no option but to help him find it. While she and Eight Beaufort struggle to make sense of the escalating danger and their growing feelings for each other, Barrie must decide not only whom to trust, but which gift is more reliable—Eights or her own. With the fate of the founding families at stake, she has to choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep her loved ones safe.

Pre-Order Links:
IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon |  Book Depository | Goodreads

About the Author
Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them.

She’s the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site devoted to encouraging literacy and all this YA Series.
From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Author Links:

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cold Burn of Magic Blog Tour, Dream Cast & Giveaway!



Title: Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: K-Teen
Release Date: April 28th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

There Be Monsters Here. . .
It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.
I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.
But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .

I've never read a book by Jennifer Estep before, so when I saw that this was part of a blog tour, I was absolutely stoked. I've heard of her Mythos Academy series (I mean, who hasn't, right?) and I thought it looked like something I'd really enjoy. That's why I absolutely jumped at the chance to read Cold Burn of Magic.

First of all, let's talk about the characters. The main protagonist, Lila, is such a badass. She's a tough fighter who will do what she needs to do in order to survive. I definitely respected her because of that. I also really loved Devon, who Lila accidentally saved from a kidnapping in the beginning of the book only to find herself brought into a feud between the families in her town. He's a Sinclair, which is one of the richer and well-known powerful Families in town. I definitely think he was my favorite character. 

Mo was a chill character too. He had known Lila's mother and they were good friends, and after her mother was killed, Lila begins working for Mo. She steals things for Mo to sell at his shop. It's how the both of them make their money. 

One of my favorite things about this book was the town. The town that Jennifer Estep created is filled with supernatural and mystical beings that you hear about in fairy tales. There's pixies and such, and just about everyone has a magical power of some sort. Lila, the main character, is blessed with a Sight power, so she can see into people and know what kind of person they are because her eyes are so heightened compared to the rest of her senses. The whole magic aspect of this book was just the coolest. Also, normal people were allowed to visit the town! Imagine that, visiting a town where supernatural creatures exist! Wouldn't that just be so awesome?!

At the end of this read, I was definitely satisfied. I was super worried that it was only a single book, but come to find out it's actually part of a series! I can't wait to continue on and find out what happens next. I highly suggest giving this one a read because it's worth your while!



  
Demi Lovato as Lila                    Samuel Larsen as Mo

    
Nat Wolff as Felix                           Brendon Urie as Devon






Follow the Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.



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Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
Her Elemental Assassin series follows the life and times of Gin “the Spider” Blanco, a barbecue restaurant owner who also happens to be an assassin with magical control over the elements of Ice and Stone.
The Mythos Academy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. She studies at Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors.
Her Bigtime paranormal romance books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.
Estep’s new Black Blade series is about 17-year-old thief Lila Merriweather, who has a Talent for sight, along with the ability to take magic others used against her to boost her own powers. She tries not to get involved with the Families who control much of the town, but ends up in the middle of a potential turf war.