ARC Review: Anyone But You by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes!

Title: Anyone But You (Twisted Lit #3)
Author(s): Kim Askew, Amy Helmes
Publication:January 18th 2014 by Merit Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

The Montes love Italian food. And they hate the Caputos, That's how it is. It's been that way for sixty years. Every time the Caputos start to get a reputation for great pizza (and who knows? It could be better than the Montes!) there's "an accident" and Cap's is knocked back on its knees. What nobody knows is that the family teenagers are sick of their parents acting like schoolyard bullies, when nobody even remembers why the fight started! Gigi Caputo and Roman Monte, the son and daughter, are secretly in love. Determined to put a stop to their parents' vicious feud, they risk their parents' livelihood and their own lives. In this nod to Romeo and Juliet, will love win? Or vendetta?




-- My Rating --
4/5 Oscars: Really liked it

-- My Thoughts --
My reviews of the Twisted Lit series!
     I read the first and second books in this series, which were based on The Tempest and Macbeth, so I was super excited to be able to read the third book by these amazing authors! They always make the Shakespearean plays much more fun!
     Caputos hate the Montes. Nobody really knows where this hate started but they know that it will continue, anyway. Gigi is a Caputo. Roman is a Monte. They should be doing anything but falling in love with each other. Will these two be able to stop a decades old feud between the families, for the sake of their love?
     I love Romeo and Juliet. I love their young, innocent love, and their insistence to stay in love even when they know that their families will never approve of each other. This element was present in this book, too, and i LOVED it. But what I really appreciated about this book, was the style of the retelling. Although most of the book is Gigi and Roman's story, it's also Nick Monte and Benny Caputo's story, the two ancestors who started this. It started from the very first and told us exactly why this all started and i KNOW that if this was told in another kind of way, it wouldn't have been so effective. These two authors definitely know how to present their back-stories and they did it perfectly.
     The characters in this story are colorful, three-dimensional and altogether lovely! I loved Gigi and her bravery. And Roman was the typical, swoon-worthy guy in YA. But what bothered me was the insta-romance. I know that it's a factor from the original Romeo and Juliet, but I wished there was more development to the romance. Not just an "Hello. I just met you. But I love you". I hate that, but because this book was so good, it didn't bother me as much as it should have done.

     I am definitely waiting for more from these authors. Kim and Amy have a witty, intriguing and daring writing style. And there take on the Shakespeare plays is one to behold! If you're a fan of a much more fun retelling of the tragic Romeo and Juliet, then this book is for you!

ARC Review: The Boy From the Woods by Jen Minkman

Title: The Boy From the Woods
Author: Jen Minkman
Publication:December 1st 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Provided by the kind author...
Goodreads

Julia fell down on her knees next to his lifeless body, her heart filling with dread as she noticed the left side of his face was covered in blood. He had fallen off the motorbike, hitting his temple on a sharp-edged rock. His head injury looked really, really bad.
“Michael?” she whispered softly, putting a trembling hand on his forehead. “Can you hear me?”

Julia has been in love with Michael for years. He’s the hottest guy in school, and she can’t believe her luck when they finally hit it off during Senior Prom. Her dream doesn’t last, though: after a few dates, he callously dumps her out of the blue. Summer vacation starts with Julia feeling heart-broken and miserable.
But then she rescues Michael in the woods when he has a motorcycle accident in a heavy thunderstorm. From that point onward, her life is turned upside down. Michael has changed completely after the blow to the head that nearly killed him... and he wants her back. But why is he so different? And will she be able to trust him this time around?

Can the boy who broke your heart ever win it back again..?


-- My Rating --
4/5 Oscars: Really liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     Jen Minkman is not an unfamiliar author to me. I have read two of her books in her series, The Island, before and they have been really good. Although short, they expressed a lot of individuality. This book was not short, by any means and it was much more beautiful than I expected it to be.
     Julia has been in love with Michael for as long as she can remember. But when they spend a fabulous night together and he never calls her back, she's devastated. Then Michael has an accident in the woods, and Julia is the one to find him. But is that the Michael she knew?
     The thing i LOVED the most about this book were the characters. They were unique individuals, with flaws and misgivings and talents and everything in between. I loved Julia, even though she was naive at first, she did grow on me and she developed into a beautiful and brave young lady. I loved her interactions with her family, and her family living without a father figure in their lives, it was a bit hard. I felt all her love and devotion to her mother and her little sister and that moved me.
     I also liked her interactions with her friends. They were a very close-knit group and i loved their freedom with each other. It reminded me of my friends and I, and how loyal we are to each other. The romance in this book is at its peak of glory. The two guys are like two gems, just waiting for someone to find them. Michael is a jerk, at first. But after the accident, it's like another side of him is unleashed, and although we find out the reason for that in the end, it was still beautiful watching him with Julia and you could truly feel his love for her. On the other side, there's Thorsten. He's cute, genuine, and her truly cares for Julie, too. Michael is the mysterious and dark personality and Thorsten is the open-hearted one. But you can never choose between any of them, even in the end.
     The ending is fabulous. It's truly amazing and I have to admit that it made me cry a bit, too. It was heart-breaking and i could have never imagined it ending that way, but it was still beautiful and hopeful, and it made me realize that even though it might not work out, love will always stay. Jen Minkman has moved herself to the list of my favorite authors and i am waiting, on edge  for her new books to come out, she is a great and talented author. And an amazing person to talk to!

ARC Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Title: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Publication: December 10th 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Provided by the kind author


It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

--

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.


-- My Rating --



5/5 Oscars: Really loved it

-- My Thoughts --

     I realized I'm not a fan of science fiction when I began quitting books without finishing them in the middle or even sooner. Bad book after bad book, I became sure that this genre is one that I'll never like. But, our talented, out-of-this-world authors, Kaufman and Spooner made this belief of mine turn to ash. And now, I am probably IN LOVE with science fiction.
     Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the galaxy. She has everything she wants, and what's better than a trip on board the Icarus, the newest and most luxurious spaceship. But when a typical day turns to hell, and she becomes stranded on a lone planet with an infuriating guy, all her future flies out the window. Tarver didn't expect his trip on the Icarus to be good, and it wasn't. Coming from a not-very-high-on-the-social-status family, he is used to being looked down upon. Especially by people like Lilac. He didn't even expect her to look at him, let alone be stranded with him on a planet. Will these two people who are as far from alike as humanly possible, ever survive?
     This book is more of a survival story. And most of the book is about Lilac and Tarver, with no one else around. So, the authors had a lot of opportunity to develop their two characters. And they did so perfectly. Lilac and Tarver are both amazing individuals with background stories and a believable past. But together, they make a perfect team. 
     The romance is at the peak of its glory. Lilac and Tarver start off hating each other, but secretly intrigued by each other, too. Their romance is slow and delicate and believable and it's the most beautifully developed romance I have ever seen in a science fiction novel. Another thing I loved was the world-building. Kaufman and Spooner made me fall in love with science fiction by their detailed descriptions and vivid imagery. I could see eveything about the developed world they created in my mind, like I had already been there. And that takes a lot of effort, I am sure.
     I am absolutely delighted that this book has a sequel in the future. Because I would have been so sad not to go back to Tarver and Lilac's tale. If you are or are NOT a fan of science fiction, believe me, this will appeal to you. It will appeal to anyone who loves a real, sweet romance in a futuristic world!

ARC Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter

Title: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Author: Aimee Carter
Publication: November 26th 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Dystopia
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...
Goodreads

YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE UP EVERYTHING. 

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.


-- My Rating --

5/5 Oscars: Loved it!

-- My Thoughts --

     I think I've found my favorite 2013 books this week. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry and Pawn by Aimee Carter. I can't believe I've been missing out on such an amazing author as Aimee Carter. It's such an honor to read her amazing new dystopian series, The Blackcoat Rebellion!
     Kitty wasn't living a normal life, and when she was ranked as a III, she knew all hope was gone for her. A stolen orange and an officer later, she finds that it's not true and she has the chance to be come a VII, have a chance at life as the ever famous, Lila Hart, and live with the powerful Hart family. But all that comes at a cost, and Kitty finds out that her life is not in her own control anymore. Is she more than a pawn in the game?
     First, the world building. I absolutely loved the world that Aimee Carter created, it reminded me a bit of the whole Hunger Games feel, but they are two WHOLE different series. The whole ranking system was a bit absurd but it gave a fantastic survival feel to the story and Aimee Carter definitely knew how to capture her surroundings in the most non-boring way possible.
     The characters are perfection. Kitty is a three-dimensional, witty, smart, and brave girl. She felt real and i connected with every single thing she felt. Even though she personifies Lila Hart, she is still another girl on the inside. Then, the guys get into the picture. i was SO TOTALLY okay with the kind-of love triangle. I think it was the best executed love triangle in the YA genre. Benji is Kitty's boyfriend from her life as a poor orphan, and he's secure, loyal, and all-together amazing. Then there's Knox, Lila Hart's fiance, and the one who knows that Kitty is a fake but still likes her. I liked the tension that pulled Kitty's heartstrings and her loyalties were tested a lot, but her true love was always obvious.
     I feel like the author has a LOT more in store for us. Because this book was so full of twists and turns, I expected a few, but some totally had me surprised! Then, the ending! OMG, the ending gave me CHILLS! This series has TONS of potential and I'm sure that with an author like Aimee Carter, and her straight-forward writing style, this series will sky-rocket to the top of the YA genre!

ARC Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry. PERFECTION!

Title: Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication: November 26th 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...
Goodreads


From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane 

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind. 

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look. 

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.


-- My Rating --


5/5 Oscars: LOVED it

-- My Thoughts --

Here are my reviews of Katie's books

     I am a huge fan Katie McGarry's. I fell in love with her characters in Pushing the Limits, then more in Crossing the Line, then even more in Dare You To. But I NEVER thought I would love fictional characters as much as I loved the ones in Crash Into You!
      Rachel is a good girl in a rich private school with an intense love of cars and 4 brothers to spare. When she decides to drag race for one night, she meets Isaiah, and they get themselves into a whole bunch of problems. Isaiah is not one to fall for love. In fact, he doesn't even believe it exists, after most of the women in his life broke his heart. But when he finds the blond, delicate angel in a Mustang GT trying to drag race, everything flies out the window.

A lock of her long golden bangs falls forward and highlights the sexy curve of her chin and her thick eye-lashes. I'll do anything to keep her talking as the sound of her voice creates a contact high. Rachel's this brilliant flame blazing in the darkness. I don't know what the hell is going on, but I've always been the kind of guy that likes fire.
     This is the kind of review that I find the hardest to write. Because no matter how much I gush and try to explain its perfection, I feel like i'm still not giving the book it's fair share! I met Noah and Echo in Pushing the Limits, and i thought they were the perfect broken couple. Then I met Beth and Ryan in Dare You To, and i thought they were the perfect couple. But right now, I think Isaiah and Rachel made EVERY couple in YA seem like amateurs next to them! I fell in love head over heels with both of them, and although it's been days since I've finished this, i can't get them out of my head.
     Okay, Rachel is a good girl with the innocent vibe. I LOVED her innocence and her courage. She hated being seen weak, but she never really understood that asking for help is the strongest she'll ever be. Isaiah is just amazing. He's a tough, tattooed guy, with earrings and a don't-mess-with-me attitude but he has a golden heart. I fell in love with him so damn much! These two make the perfect couple and Katie McGarry has crafted the most  believable love story, starring these two. I loved that she also contributed the foster care part, and how hard it is for kids to grow out of the foster care. It felt raw and believable.
      As always, our characters from the previous two books, appear in this one too. And this time,it was an amazing experience. Like, there are 6 people in the room. You're reading the POV of two of them, and you feel like you already know the other four. In this book, there are even more new characters. I fell in love with Abby, Isaiah's friend. She is such a cool, but broken girl and i am HOPING that she'll get her book! Then, I also loved Rachel's family. Her brothers care so much for her that it hurts, and although they were not perfect, I liked Ethan and West a lot. 

If someone told me the dad I never knew croaked, I could guarantee there wouldn't be any tears. If Rachel's an awful person then I must be related to Satan.
     This book is pure perfection. It's an amazing mix of love and family. Katie McGarry writes real, unique romances with characters that'll haunt you with their broken selves. This is my favorite series so far, in every genre possible. So, you can't imagine how happy I was that it wasn't OVER! We still have West's story coming from the author, probably next year, but i KNOW it's worth the wait. For you people, who have started this series, I know you LOVED it as much as I did, and for the ones who haven't started it yet, you are missing out on the most AMAZING and RADIANT gem in the whole YA genre! Go grab a copy NOW!
 ---
"I feel like a mouse with you," I whisper. "The one that's already been caught by the cat."
That's when he touches me. Isaiah runs his hand through my hair, and every cell in my body vibrates with the gentle pull. "Rachel."
"Yes." It's hard to breath.
"Kiss me."

Her breathing hitches as my lips come close to hers. I'm going to kiss her. "Tell me I'm who you want." So I know there are no mistakes.
Her nose slides against mine as she slowly nods. "I don't want anyone else."
God help us both for her allowing the devil permission.

Review: Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Between The Lives
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publication: May 1st 2013 by HarperCollins Australia
Genre: YA Paranormal, Contemporary Romance
Source: Owned
Goodreads

Above all else, though I try not to think about it, I know which life I prefer. And every night when I Cinderella myself from one life to the next a very small, but definite, piece of me dies. The hardest part is that nothing about my situation has ever changed. There is no loophole.

Until now, that is... 


For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted... But just what - and who - is she really risking?



-- My Rating --
5/5 Oscars: LOVED it!

-- My Thoughts --

    The blurb is what captivated me at first sight when I saw this book. Living two lives at once, literally, is an amazing concept. Although not entirely unique, Jessica Shrivington's approach  to the concept was new and I loved it fully.
     Sabine lives two lives. Every morning she wakes up in a different life, a different family, but the same body, the same face. She has to repeat every day twice, once in the first life, once in the second. Everything is the same until the day she breaks her arm in one life, and her arm is perfectly fine in the other. Now, Sabine is faced with a choice. To choose the best life or the best love?
     I thought, at first, that this concept would be unique but confusing and hard to follow. I was definitely wrong. It was entirely easy to keep track of the different lives, the different people, and the different personalities. Sabine is not the same in both worlds, she is the same on the inside, but on the outside, she keeps two different personalities. And I loved her in both. She is a strong girl who lived differently from everyone else but didn't know what to do about it. I appreciated her bravery and strength.
     The plot is fast-moving and the characters are all three-dimensional. The love interests in both lives are interesting  but I preferred one more than the other. Ethan was so captivating, real, and caring. He made me melt all over. Hurray for Jessica for creating such lovable but real characters. The emotions that Sabine experiences are so real, her strange life feels so real, that she had me crying a couple of times throughout the book. real crying. With red, puffy eyes and tons of tissue papers.
     I didn't expect the end. Not one bit. I was so happy at the moment, then started weeping uncontrollably, then laughed so happily. It was such a good feeling, and for Jessica Shrivington to accomplish such an unexpected ending, she has to have a real talent. I will definitely be reading every single book of hers from now on. And I'm pretty sure i will love them all, as much as I loved this one.

Review: First Kiss by Cindy M. Hogan

Title: First Kiss (Confessions of a 16-year-old Virgin Lips: Episode One)
Author: Cindy M. Hogan
Publication: July 3rd 2013 by O'neal Publishing
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher..

VL. Virgin Lips. You may not have heard of it, but where I live, it's a thing with a card, even if it is a figurative card. I was Brooklyn Hamlin, certified virgin lips, and I planned on clinging to that figurative card with all I had--while dating as many of the hottest guys at school as I could.
Maybe that's a bit strange. I mean, what teenage girl isn't interested in kissing? Locking lips definitely interested me, but the drama that came with it didn't. No kissing, no drama. Simple.
But on my sixteenth birthday, on my first real date even, the drama found me. His name was Luke Graham--cute, funny, and bad news for the whole female race.



-- My Rating --
3/5 Oscars: Liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I didn't put a lot of expectations for this book. I thought it would be a cute, short, and silly (in a good way!) high school romance, and it was exactly that. 
     Brooke has just turned sixteen. And she's a virgin lips. So, when she finally has the freedom to actually go out with guys, and go on dates, most of the guys in her school become interested in the new lips in town! But, you don't always get what you expect, and Brooke will find out the hard way.
     This book is really, really short. I think I finished it in half an hour. It's the kind of book you read when you want something simple, not too complicated and touchy-feely. Just a cute high school romance book about an insecure, inexperienced girl trying to fit in. I got that from this book. And although the whole idea of the virgin lips didn't appeal to me, because it was not at ALL realistic, I still liked Brooke as a character. She's such an innocent girl, some might say too innocent for her own good, and I agree. No one is that innocent, I just can't believe that.
     This book finished really fast. I was engrossed in it, and then suddenly, it's over! So, I cannot wait to read the second confessions of this sweet, sixteen-year-old, kind-of-still virgin lips high school girl!

Review: Losing Virginity by Ava Michaels


I have not posted the cover of the book, because it's not exactly suitable, but you can check it out on the Goodreads link I posted above.

Title: Losing Virginity
Author: Ava Michaels
Publication: September 19th 2013
Genre: NA Romance
Source: Provided by the kind author...

Olivia Spurgeon has been a good girl her entire life. Her friends have called her Spurgeon the Virgin since 9th grade. Why? Because everyone in her group of friends had already lost there virginity by then. Over the past four years it has been like a foreign object attached to her and even named it something simple. 

Virginity.

Now, she's a freshman in college and still hasn't done the deed. All three of her roommates do not have Virginity attached to them and they aren't scared to show it off. Olivia is jealous. She wants what they are having, feeling. One day she finally decides that she doesn't want Virginity attached to her anymore and begins the journey of losing it.

-- My Rating --
3/5 Oscars: Liked it

-- An Excerpt --
---
Victorian women had a complex system of sending courtship signals with their fans. If she was available, she would fan quicker, and if she was taken she would fan slower. If her fan rested on her left cheek, then she was not that into you. If it was on her right cheek then you were in. Whoever got rid of the fan thing? That sounded great to me! I've been borrowing my courtship rituals from Victorian England and sending the slightest, tiniest, most miniscule signals to guys that I was interested. I was assuming that boys could understand a complex system of unspoken language. It wasn’t me after all. It was them! 
I needed to be more obvious about my signals, it was as simple as that. 
In Finland, girls who were ready to marry would wear an empty sheath around their waists. When a guy wanted to date the girl, he would either make or buy a knife and put it in her sheath.
Tell me it doesn't get any more obvious than that. Maybe I should just walk up to the next boy I want wearing a sheath. Would he get it then? Somehow I doubted it.
If the woman wasn't interested in the man, she would give the knife back, but if she wanted to marry him she would keep it. Women in those cooler climates always carried knives around. 
I resolved that I was going to drop the fan and go for the knife. It's time I made a sheath.
---

-- My Thoughts --

     I was a bit cautious when the author approached me to read this book. This book was one hilarious journey!
     Olivia is tired of her V-card. It's always attached to her, and she NEEDS to get rid of it. She can't always be the only girl who still has her V-card. So, she decides to go to every degree to find some guy who is worth giving her virginity for. But what she finds on the way is definitely not what she expected.
     This book is hilarious. Yes, it does talk a LOT about sex and losing virginity and all that. But Olivia is one great character. She's not normal, definitely not. Her trying to get rid of her V-card is bordering on the verge of crazy. But she is a wonderful girl, and a snarky, humorous one at that. I laughed so much during this book, and not just any laughing, but the laugh-out-loud moments when everyone looks at you like you're crazy.
     The relationship between Olivia and Ryder is intense and cute, too. He is the kind of dream guy that every girl wants to have. The one that cares about you, wants you, listens to you, and would do anything to get you. Although I don't really think that these kind of guys exist in real life, it was refreshing and kind-of like a fairy tale to read about their romance.
     This book is not to be taken seriously. And that's a good thing, believe me. When you're depressed and the whole world seems like a bad place to be in at the moment, you just pick up this book and your mood will lift up immediately. The crazy coincidences  and the even crazier actions of the characters will leave you breathless with laughter and definitely in a good mood. And who doesn't want an escape from time to time?

-- About The Author --

I'm an LA girl who lives in San Francisco. I'm currently working a 9 to 5 joh but decided to write my own book in January 2013 instead of watching television. My new years resolution. I'm glad that I've finally ready to release it after 8 months of working on it! 

https://www.facebook.com/ava.michaels.54
https://twitter.com/AvaEMichaels

Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication: June 4th 2013 by Viking Juvenile
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Owned


Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.


-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars: Really liked it...

-- My Thoughts --

     I am a huge fan of Sarah Dessen. This is my fifth book of hers, if my memory serves me right. And all of them have been great. She has a way with words, that makes everything feel real. She believes that things don't always end in happy endings, but hopeful ones. And I love that.
     Emaline's life is as normal as it can be in a small town with a family job. With a sweet boyfriend, Luke. But when Emaline meets the city-oriented, big-dreamer Theo, everything changes. Then her father comes back to town. Will Emaline leave the security of the small town, Colby, or will she aim for her big dreams?
     There is something about Sarah Dessen's books. They are never about something specific, they alternate the main subject a lot of times. It's like the book is about nothing and everything at the same time. Which is very refreshing, since most of the contemporary books I read only focus on one specific subject.
     Her characters always feel real. They seem like your friends, your crushes, your neighbors  or your family. So, it's really easy to connect with them, immediately. What I also enjoy from Sarah Dessen's books is that she never gives a truly happy ending as you expect it. It is happy , to some point, but very hopeful, too. She doesn't tell you that everything is gonna turn out okay for the characters, no, she will tell you the truth straight on. And that's lovely.
     Well, Sarah's books never fail to entertain me. And it's evident that her writing style has developed tremendously through the years. And I will hopefully go back to her previous works and start reading them all.

ARC Review: The Waves by Jen Minkman

Title: The Waves (The Island #2)
Author: Jen Minkman
Publication: October 4th 2013 by Jen Minkman
Genre: YA Dystopia
Source: Provided by the kind author...
Goodreads

The first memory I have of my grandfather is of a moment that we share together.
I’m sitting on his knee looking out over the harbor. Grandpa is smoking a pipe. He points at the horizon. “Look, Walt. Our ships are out there. And one day, another even more beautiful ship will appear at the horizon. A mighty ship to take us all away. And Annabelle will be at the front deck with open arms, inviting us all to join her on board.”
“Why don’t we sail to her ourselves?” I want to know.
“Because she promised she would come,” granddad replies. “And in that promise we trust. It’s only the Unbelievers who think they can do everything themselves. They have no faith in the Goddess.”

Walt lives in Hope Harbor, an island community that has put its trust in salvation from across the sea. The townspeople wait patiently, build their ships to sail out and welcome the Goddess, and piously visit the temple every week. Horror stories to scare their children are told about the Unbelievers on the other side of Tresco. 
But not all is what it seems. Walt has questions that no one can answer, and when his best friend and cousin Yorrick is killed in an accident, he digs deeper to find out the truth about the origins of Hope Harbor’s society… and the secrets of the temple.

Return to the world of The Island and discover what Walt's life was like before and after he met Leia!


-- My Rating --
4/5 Oscars: really liked it

-- My Thoughts --

The Island #1 : My review

     I read Jen Minkman's first novella of this series a while ago, and it had me wanting to read her series whole. So, when she approached me to read this second novella, I was up for it immediately!
     Walt is a believer. He, just like everyone else in his side of the island, believe that one day they will be rescued by the Goddess Annabelle. And anyone on the other side of the Wall is an Unbeliever. And Walt never questioned his beliefs. Until his cousin's murder, the arrival of a mysterious man from the outside world, and his chance encounter with an Unbeliever girl, Leia.
     The first novella, The Island, was from Leia's point of view. I liked her, but she really was an ignorant character. Her part of the island were stupid, but Walt's part of the island weren't. But in this novella, both parts seemed stupid. I don't mean stupid in a bad way, no. But stupid in a close-minded kind-of-way. When you don't know anything better, you just end up behaving like how your ancestors taught you.
     This is a good book, that's for sure. And these two novellas give you an insight about the story but never really what's gonna happen. So, I am definitely waiting to read the first book in the series and i am pretty sure that it will be imaginative and an amazing dystopia. If you are a fan of survival and dystopia novels, then this is the one!

ARC Review: Waterfell by Amalie Howard

Title: Waterfell (Aquarathi #1)
Author: Amalie Howard
Publication: October 29th 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...
Goodreads

THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE QUEEN

Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age. 

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?



-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars: Really liked it


-- My Thoughts --

     I have heard of the author and I was familiar with her writing before, since I read her other book, Bloodspell, a while ago. Although I didn't like Bloodspell a lot, I fell in love with this one. And it was a truly delightful read!
     Nerissa has been hiding among humans for a long while. She has to. No one can know her true identity. That she's a princess of a kingdom under the sea. And on her seventeenth birthday, she has to fight the evil ruler who killed her father and take back her kingdom. She can't tell Jenna, her best friend. She can't tell Lo, the human guy that she DEFINITELY shouldn't fall for, but whom she is.
     I love books about creatures under the sea. Kingdoms under the sea. They always sound like fairy tales, things that little girls dream of in the night, and I LOVE that. Amalie Howard has a talent for writing in the paranormal genre. And although her previous book was about witches and vampires and werewolves, this one is about the Aquarathi, the huge creatures living in the Waterfell Kingdom. And Nerissa is their princess. 
     I have to admit that, at first, i didn't like Nerissa at all. She acts like she's above everyone else, and she commandes the guardians she lives with. She was hard to like , but after she met Lo, and turned into a cute teenager and a brave leader, all wrappe into one, I started admiring her. But my favorite character was Jenna, Nerissa's best friend. She is the true role model of how every best friend should be. I so wanted her to be real, only because I wanted a friend like her, once that I could tell my secrets to and not worry about anyone finding out. I adored her.
     This book is full of twists and turns. In the middle , it got a bit boring and slow-moving. But that was quickly replaced by fighting scenes and a lot of things were at stake towards the end. I didn't see the twists coming, and I liked that. Although this book is not the best out there, it was still intriguing enough to keep me turning the pages, and it made me want to read more about the Aquarathi people. So, if you're a fan of the paranormal, and would like a new twist to it, then this is the book for you!

ARC Review: Sidelined by Kendra C. Highley

Title: Sidelined
Author: Kendra C. Highley
Publication:October 1st 2013 by Entangled: Teen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher..
Goodreads

After being pushed to excel her entire life, high school basketball star Genna Pierce is finally where she wants to be. University scouts are taking notice, her team is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the hot boy she's daydreamed about since ninth grade, is showing somedefinite interest. When he asks her out and their relationship takes off, Genna believes things can't get better.

Then, it's over.

A freak accident ends her career before it's even begun. Her parents are fighting more than ever, her friends don't understand what she's going through, and she's not sure who she is without basketball. And while he tries to be there for her, Genna doesn't understand how Jake could ever want the broken version of the girl he fell for.

Her life in a tailspin, Genna turns to the only solace that eases her pain: Vicodin. 


-- My Rating --
4/5 Oscars: Really liked it

-- My thoughts --

     This was the first time I heard of the author but the concept looked really good. It was definitely the first time I read about such a flawed main character and liked it that much!
     Basketball was Imogen's whole life. She was happy, even though her mum wasn't always around. She had a great father, a great best friend, and the cute guy she has liked forever, Jake was interested in her.Up until a fatal injury later, her life is changed forever. No more basketball, her family is falling apart, and she doesn't wanna see anymore. She turns to the only rescue from the pain, Vicodin.
     Drug addiction is a sensitive and very important topic nowadays. So, I was really glad that the author approached this subject. Our main character, Genna is a girl who has centered her whole life around basketball. So when that's gone, her life feels empty. She was the most realistic character I have ever read. She had flaws, and she wasn't just the perfect girl like in every YA novel. No, she knew that her addiction was somehow wrong but she wanted a way away from the pain, and she got that from the Vicodin.
     The romance in this book is absolutely amazing! I LOVED Jake. Every girl wants a guy who will change for her. He is a total player, but for Genna, he changes into this absolutely wonderful gem of a guy! Even when she pushes him away and turns to the Vicodin, he still loves her and won't let her go. That was beautiful.
     The plot is a little slow-moving at times, which is why this book got a four star and not a five star from me. This book is realistic. It doesn't cover anything up for the sake of the reader, or hide truths in plain sight. No. It's straight-forward and it's amazingly crafted to represent the teenage years. It felt real in every aspect, and i LOVE that about contemporary books. This book is a book about redemption, and the power of love. It's one book that'll stay with you for a long, long time. 

Review: Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Title: Audrey, Wait!
Author: Robin Benway
Publication:April 10th 2008 by Razorbill
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Owned

California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can't hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.


-- My Rating --


4/5 Oscars: Really liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I chose to read this book just by chance. I didn't know what it was about, I haven't read the blurb. So, I dove totally blind into this one, and I cannot believe how much I liked it.
     Audrey dumps Evan. And then he writes her a song "Audrey, Wait!". And then, the song becomes a sensation. Now, everyone knows Audrey's name. The cameras follow her around. And nothing is staying private anymore. But alongside all that, there's the guy she knew forever, James, always there for her. But Audrey still has to choose between fame and her normal life.
     I always like books that have a little bit of the celebrity-life in them. And I really liked it that Robin Benway tried to explain the down side of being famous. And she nailed it. The whole concept of this book is well-developed. The plot is swift-moving, it is at times slow, but that's what you come to expect from contemporary books. And I didn't mind it.
     The main characters are three-dimensional. Audrey is a typical teenager. She makes her mistakes, she has flaws, but she is altogether a great girl. And she feels real. You could connect with her on so many different levels. Most of the focus of this book has been given to Audrey, and the other characters were not really well-developed. I didn't mind that, either. But I DID wish that they were a little more developed.
     The romance is at its very peak. It's sweet, slow, and real. of course, there are no overly steamy moments. and they are teenagers. They make mistakes, which is definitely normal. I liked the author's approach on the romance avenue. It didn't jump from "like" to "love" and I appreciated that.
     Overall, this book is a cute summer read. One that you can enjoy on the beach, or on your front porch on a sunny day. One that is not fully deep or supernatural, but is a picture of real life with a touch of fiction. And who doesn't like a twist to their normal lives?

ARC Review: Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

Title: Goodbye, Rebel Blue
Author: Shelley Coriell
Publication: October 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher..

Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she’s known) decides to complete the dead girl’s bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed—a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy—particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. Perfect for fans of Jay Asher’s blockbuster hit Thirteen Reasons Why, Coriell’s second novel features her sharp, engaging voice along with realistic drama and unforgettable characters.


-- My Rating --


4/5 Oscars: Really liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I wanted to read this book for a while now. I am a huge fan of bucket lists and their significance. I knew I would like this book, and I was right.
     Rebecca "Rebel" Blue is a rebel. She isn't afraid to be different and she does everything her way. But when a girl she knew just for one day, dies, and leaves Rebel her bucket-list, she decides to do everything on the girl's list. With the help of Nate, her family, and people she never knew existed, she finds out that life doesn't always have to be lived alone. And that the best things are done with people, not without them.
     Rebecca has just been out of a tragedy, and she is never used to actually settling down in one place, it's hard for her coping with her new life. So, she does everything to piss off her aunt and uncle. Her teachers. She is happy with living that kind of life until that bucket list that stumbles into her life. Now, Rebel wants to prove that she can also do good.
     I will give Shelley Coriell a 5-star on the characters. They were three-dimensional, with flaws, with misgiving, and that made them real. Rebel is the kind of girl you've always wanted to be, but never had the courage. She is head-strong, loyal, and insecure, but she doesn't know it. Her journey throughout this book will shine some light on the teenage anxieties that are common nowadays. Coriell definitely know how to craft teenage emotions, and since I'm around the same age as most of the characters, I could connect fully with them. And I know, that anyone, at any age, can do the same.
     The romance is sweet, slow-moving, and a typical contemporary romance. But I didn't mind that. I liked that there was no love-triangle, they're kinda getting old. I loved the romance, and there is nothing that I would want to change about it. The character development is mainly focused on Rebel. Although, most of the characters DO develop throughout the book, the most development is owned by Rebel. She changes from this loner into such a friendly, lovable young lady. It was evident in every page.
     On the other hand, there was ONE little thing that bothered me. The whole fate thing. Everyone around Rebel believed that it was fate for her to get her hands on the dead girl's bucket list. And when Rebel wanted to get rid of the list, it wouldn't be get rid of. And that little part, was a bit unbelievable for me. Rebel could just decide to keep the bucket list, not be FORCED by some greater force to keep it. But that's not a huge issue, and you can overlook it. This book is recommended to everyone with a little liking for contemporary and inspirational stories! I am definitely going to read more from the author!

ARC Review: Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb

Title: Witchstruck (The Tudor Witch #1)
Author: Victoria Lamb
Publication: July 5th 2012 by Corgi Childrens
Genre: YA Romance, Historical Fiction
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...
Goodreads

Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a student of the old magick by her Aunt Jane, casting the circle to see visions of the future and concocting spells from herbs and bones has always been as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the sentence for any woman branded a witch is hanging, or burning at the stake.

Sent to the ruined, isolated palace of Woodstock to serve the disgraced Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and half-sister of Queen Mary, Meg discovers her skills are of interest to the outcast princess, who is desperate to know if she will ever claim the throne. But Meg's existence becomes more dangerous every day, with the constant threat of exposure by the ruthless witchfinder Marcus Dent, and the arrival of a young Spanish priest, Alejandro de Castillo, to whom Meg is irresistibly drawn - despite their very different attitudes to her secret.

Thrilling and fast-paced, this is the first unputdownable story in a bewitching new series.


-- My Rating --

3/5 Oscars: liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I'm always up for books with magic in them, and this was no exception. Although, most of the books I've read in this genre, I have liked a lot, this was not the case with this book. I liked it, but I was a bit disappointed, too.
     Meg is a maid for the disgraced Lady Elizabeth, sister of Queen Mary of England. She's had a gift for magic, and she is used to practicing it with her Aunt Jane. But things get a bit awry when a Spanish priest and his young priest-in-training get sent to the castle where Lady Elizabeth is staying, to help her improve her Catholic faith. even though Elizabeth doesn't believe in Catholicism at all. And it's a bit confusing for Meg to have feelings for Alejandro, he's going to be a priest after all , and she's a witch! Chances of that working out are slim to none.
     The time setting for this novel is perfect for the suspense. It's a time when witchcraft is forbidden and the punishment is severe. Meg lives in a palace where all the attention is on the princess, Elizabeth. Everyone is watching to see where they go wrong. So, it takes a lot of courage for Meg to do what she does and for Elizabeth to keep it a secret. The first thing I LOVED about this book is its strong heroines. Elizabeth, Meg, her aunt Jane are all very, very brave women. They are counted as role models. Lady Elizabeth is a great portrait of a woman who has been injured by time and loneliness but she still stands her ground.
     I have to admit that Meg and her stupid decisions annoyed me to no end, sometimes. But she kind of grew on me, and I cared for her towards the end. The witchcraft aspect of this novel was present, but not in a large amount. I was disappointed about that. I wanted more acknowledgement of the craft and more details, but i only got limited preview. The romance is sweet, but unbelievable, too. I didn't know what Alijandro's intentions were, since it was very unlikely for him to fall for a witch, know that she's a witch, and not tell anyone.
     This book dragged a lot, specially in the middle. Since, nothing seemed to happen only in parts of the book, where we FINALLY got to see some action. I hope that the author has more suspense and action in store for us in the second book in the series. And probably, then, we finally get to see some development on the poor romance.