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...


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...

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

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. 


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!

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...

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!