Book Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O'Brian

Summary: 
From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.
 
The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success:  every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

Release Date: September 16, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli

Review:
I love Caragh O'Brian's writing--her Birthmarked trilogy is one I'll never forget, so I was thrilled to receive an ARC of The Vault of Dreamers.  This book is very unique: combining a reality show with a boarding school for creative students.  I loved the premise, and the fact that the stakes are high for Forge School students.  The students are taped for 12 hours a day---the other 12 hours, they are required to sleep (and are even forced to take sleeping pills to keep them in bed from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am).  The show is broadcast around the country, and the students are ranked according to their popularity with the viewers.  If they are ranked highly, they make money from their banner ads, which run on their personal feeds.  Viewers choose which students to watch, and the more popular students seem to get everything: ad money, which they receive upon graduation, respect from staff and other students, and more job opportunities after graduation.

I like how O'Brian's books just start right in the middle of things, assuming the reader already knows what's going on.  It makes figuring the premise out a bit of a challenge, and definitely keeps the story interesting right from the beginning.  From page one, we know that Rosie is a rule-breaker.  She fakes taking her mandatory sleeping pill, to stay awake and see what goes on at night at The Forge School.  What she discovers is unsettling to say the least.  I have to say that I was sufficiently creeped out from the first time I read about the students' sleep shells.  I pictured them as a kind of see-through coffin.  The fact that there's so much emphasis on sleep at The Forge School was the first red flag that something sinister was going on at night.  And the plot only got more intense from there.

I liked Rosie from the start.  She's a classic underdog, with a home life that she is embarrassed of (her family is poor and her stepfather is abusive) and much to lose if she is kicked out of The Forge School.  Rosie's first obstacle to overcome is to survive Fifty Cuts.  Fifty Cuts describes the process of eliminating the lowest ranked 50 students at the school, and reducing the sophomore class from 100 students to 50.  Rosie is ranked well below the cut-off of 50, and knows she'll be sent home.  She doesn't have much to look forward to at home, no real career options, and therefore has a "nothing to lose" attitude.  Rosie is inventive, and decides to film the other low-ranked students to get to know them just a bit before they are sent home later that day.  A series of events unexpectedly bumps her up in rank, and she becomes quite popular in the span of one day's time. 

I like that O'Brian can describe one day in such great detail, as she does with the day of Fifty Cuts, yet keep from boring the reader.  I usually don't like it when too many pages in a book are devoted to just one day in time.  But, it completely worked for The Vault of Dreamers because so much happened on the day of Fifty Cuts.  The book ends up spanning several months in time, with the pacing being just right for the story.  As with the Birthmarked books, O'Brian's imagery was outstanding, as well as her characterization.  I love it when an author can make me care so much about their characters, even ones I don't particularly like. 

The Vault of Dreamers ends on a very surprising note.  I have to say that I was basically shocked at the ending.  To say it's a cliffhanger ending is putting it mildly...needless to say, I'm on pins and needles waiting for book two!

The Vault of Dreamers is futuristic, inventive, and thrilling.  I loved it and highly recommend it!



Excerpt: Day 21 (The 100, #2) by Cass Morgan

Kass Morgan's sequel to The 100 releases today, and we are honored to share an excerpt from Day 21.  This book was so exciting, and just as good as The 100.  Look for my reviews of both books later this week!

Chapter 1 - Wells
by Kass Morgan
Author of The 100 and its sequel Day 21
 
No one wanted to stand near the grave. Although four of their own were already buried in the makeshift cemetery, the rest of the hundred were still disturbed by the idea of lowering a body into the ground.
 
No one wanted to stand with their backs to the trees either. Since the attack, a creaking branch had become enough to make the anxious survivors jump. And so, the nearly one hundred people who'd gathered to say good-bye to Asher stood in a tightly packed semicircle, their eyes darting between the corpse on the ground and the shadows in the forest.
 
The comforting crackle of the fire was conspicuously absent. They'd run out of firewood last night, and no one had been willing to venture out for more. Wells would've gone himself, but he'd been busy digging the grave. No one had volunteered for that job either, except for a tall, quiet Arcadian boy named Eric.
 
"Are we sure he's really dead?" Molly whispered, edging back from the deep hole, as if worried it might swallow her up as well. She was only thirteen but looked younger. At least, she'd used to. Wells remembered helping her after the crash, when tears and ash had streaked her round cheeks. Now the girl's face was thin, almost gaunt, and there was a cut on her forehead that didn't look like it'd been properly cleaned.
 
Wells's eyes flashed involuntarily to Asher's neck, to the ragged wound where the arrow had pierced his throat. It'd been two days since Asher died, two days since the mysterious figures materialized on the ridge, upending everything the Colonists had ever been told, everything they thought they knew.
They had been sent to Earth as living test subjects, the first people to set foot on the planet in three hundred years. But they were mistaken.
 
Some people had never left.
 
It had all happened so quickly. Wells hadn't realized anything was wrong until Asher fell to the ground, gagging as he swiped desperately at the arrow lodged in his throat. That's when Wells spun around -- and saw them. Silhouetted against the setting sun, the strangers looked more like demons than humans. Wells had blinked, half expecting the figures to vanish. There was no way they were real.
 
But hallucinations didn't shoot arrows.
 
After his calls for help went unheeded, Wells had carried Asher to the infirmary tent, where they stored the medical supplies they'd salvaged from the fire. But it was no use. By the time Wells began frantically digging for bandages, Asher was already gone.
 
How could there be people on Earth? It was impossible. No one had survived the Cataclysm. That was incontrovertible, as deeply ingrained in Wells's mind as the fact that water froze at 0 degrees Celsius, or that planets revolved around the sun. And yet, he'd seen them with his own eyes. People who certainly hadn't come down on the dropship from the Colony. Earthborns.
 
"He's dead," Wells said to Molly as he rose wearily to his feet before realizing that most of the group was staring at him. A few weeks ago, their expressions would've been full of distrust, if not outright contempt. No one believed that the Chancellor's son had actually been Confined. It'd been all too easy for Graham to convince them that Wells had been sent to spy for his father. But now, they were looking at him expectantly.
 
In the chaos after the fire, Wells had organized teams to sort through the remaining supplies and start building permanent structures. His interest in Earth architecture, once a source of annoyance to his pragmatic father, had enabled Wells to design the three wooden cabins that now stood in the center of the clearing.
 
Wells glanced up at the darkening sky. He'd give anything to have the Chancellor see the cabins eventually. Not to prove a point -- after seeing his father shot on the launch deck, Wells's resentment had drained faster than the color from the Chancellor's cheeks. Now he only wished his father would someday get to call Earth home. The rest of the Colony was supposed to join them once conditions on Earth were deemed safe, but twenty-one days had passed without so much as a glimmer from the sky.
As Wells lowered his eyes back to the ground, his thoughts returned to the task at hand: saying farewell to the boy they were about to send to a much darker resting place.
 
A girl next to him shivered. "Can we move this along?" she said. "I don't want to stand out here all night."
 
"Watch your tone," another girl named Kendall snapped, her delicate lips drawn into a frown. At first, Wells had assumed she was a fellow Phoenician, but he'd eventually realized that her haughty stare and clipped cadence were just an impression of the girls Wells had grown up with. It was a fairly common practice among young Waldenites and Arcadians, although he'd never met anyone who did it quite as well as Kendall.
 
Wells turned his head from side to side, searching for Graham, the only other Phoenician aside from Wells and Clarke. He didn't generally like letting Graham take control of the group, but the other boy had been friends with Asher and was better equipped than Wells to speak at his funeral. However, his was one of the few faces missing from the crowd -- aside from Clarke's. She'd set off right after the fire with Bellamy to search for his sister, leaving nothing but the memory of the five toxic words she'd hurled at Wells before she left: You destroy everything you touch.
 
© 2014 by Alloy Entertainment

Author Bio

Kass Morgan, 
New York Times bestselling author of The 100 and its sequel Day 21, received a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master's from Oxford University. She currently works as an editor and lives in Brooklyn, New York. 
For more information please visit http://alloyentertainment.com/ and follow the author on Twitter.    
 

 

Book Review: Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman

Summary:
In Being Audrey Hepburn, Clarissa Explains It All-creator, Mitchell Kriegman, tells the story of a 19-year-old girl from Jersey who finds herself thrust into the world of socialites after being seen in Audrey Hepburn’s dress from the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.Lisbeth comes from a broken home in the land of tube tops, heavy eyeliner, frosted lip-gloss, juiceheads, hoop earrings and “the shore.” She has a circle of friends who have dedicated their teenage lives to relieve the world of all its alcohol one drink at a time.

Obsessed with everything Audrey Hepburn, Lisbeth is transformed when she secretly tries on Audrey’s iconic Givenchy. She becomes who she wants to be by pretending to be somebody she’s not and living among the young and privileged Manhattan elite. Soon she’s faced with choices that she would never imagine making – between who she’s become and who she once was.

In the tradition of The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, this is a coming of age story that all begins with that little black dress…
 
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli
 
Review:
Being Audrey Hepburn was such a fun, girly read!  I loved everything about this whimsical, imaginative book.  I kept finding myself wishing that I was Lisbeth: her rise to fame was inspiring and the clothes...oh the clothes...I wanted to wear them too (And look as good as Lisbeth did in them!).
 
Lisbeth is obsessed with Audrey Hepburn.  She watches all of Hepburn's movies over and over, with Breakfast at Tiffany's being her favorite.  Lisbeth's friend, Jess, works at the Met.  Jess secretly lets Lisbeth try on the black Givenchy dress Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Jess fixes Lisbeth's hair and makeup to give her the whole "Audrey look."  Well, to avoid discovery, Lisbeth has to rush downstairs, in the middle of a gala for New York's rich and famous young adults, and is mistaken for someone rich and famous.  She meets a pop star in the bathroom, who wants to be friends, and soon finds herself enmeshed in a totally different world. 
 
I thought that I knew where Being Audrey Hepburn was going.  I was so surprised at the depth and intensity of this book.  Kriegman kept the plot layered and very interesting.  If you're not into fashion, this would still be a fun book to read.  I loved that Lisbeth becomes a blogger (it's so fun, as a blogger, to read books about bloggers) and that she was mysterious and unpredictable.  The conflict resolution came as a total surprise, and I found myself quite pleased with how the story wrapped up. 
 
What made Being Audrey Hepburn so fun to read was that it was a glimpse into the world of Manhattan's elite.  Lisbeth's rise to fame was like a Cinderella story: the whole time she was enjoying herself, I kept waiting for her to be discovered for who she truly was.  There was so much creativity with the fashion, and diversity in the characters.  I liked that the minor characters were so well-developed, and that Being Audrey Hepburn wasn't just about Lisbeth.
 
If you like contemporary YA, fashion, or blogging, I would highly recommend Being Audrey Hepburn!


 

Book to Movie News and Giveaway: This is Where I Leave You

Today we are happy to spotlight the movie adaptation of Jonathan Tropper's This Is Where I Leave YouThis Is Where I Leave You debuts in theathers September 19, 2014.  Keep reading for more information about this movie, and for a chance to win a prize pack from Warner Bros.!
 
About the Film:
When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.
 











Genre: Dramatic Comedy
Rated: R
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard and Jane Fonda
Directed By: Shawn Levy
Screenplay By: Screenplay by Jonathan Tropper, Based on the novel "This Is Where I Leave You" by Jonathan Tropper
Produced By: Paula Weinstein, Shawn Levy, Jeffrey Levine; Executive Producers Mary McLaglen, Jonathan Tropper

Join the Book Club!
It’s always fun to read the book before the movie, right? Join Warner Bros. Pictures’ #TIWILY book discussion on the film’s Facebook page each Wednesday, and take part in the conversation for a chance to win signed movie posters and a trip to the premiere in Hollywood!
 



Visit all TIWILY websites - #TIWILY
·         Visit the official website
·         Like This is Where I Leave You on Facebook
·         Follow @wbpictures on Twitter
·         Follow on Google+ and Instagram

 
 


This Is Where I Leave You Giveaway
One lucky I'd So Rather Be Reading reader will receive a prize pack sponsored by Warner Bros., including a $25 Visa Gift Card to see the movie in theaters, and a hard copy of  This is Where I Leave You (featuring the movie tie-in cover).
 
Giveaway Rules:
This giveaway is open to US residents only.
Anyone over the age of 13 can enter to win.
The winner will be notified via email and has 72 hours to reply back and claim their prize.  If there is no reply within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen.  
Thank you for entering, and good luck!  

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5dfba6e132/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway



Book Review: The Vampires of Manhattan (Vampires of Manhattan #1) by Melissa De La Cruz

Summary:
The Vampires of Manhattan is "hipster horror"--the memorable characters from her Blue Bloods series are older and cooler than before, trying to build "Millennial" lives in the bustle of Manhattan while battling forces of evil and, of course, each other.

Hero of this sexy, paranormal action tale is Oliver Hazard-Perry, former human conduit, and Manhattan's only human-turned-vampire, now the head of the Blue Bloods Coven.
 
Summary Spoiler Alert (Highlight the text if you want to read this section, which in my opinion, spoils the book):
When his all-too-human lover is found murdered on the eve of the coven's annual Four Hundred Ball--a celebration meant to usher in a new era in vampire society, and to mark the re-unification of the Coven after decades of unrest and decay--Oliver is devastated.
Now, not only is he trying to create a new world order for the immortal elite, he's the prime suspect and is stalked by the newly installed head of the vampire secret police. Because according to the new rules, vampires who take human life can now be executed. Burned.

How can an immortal sentenced to die fight back? He has to find the killer--and the answers lie deep in vampire lore.
 
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Age Group: NA
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli
 
Review:
I've been a long-time fan of the Blue Bloods series and I love the concept of The New Blue Bloods Coven.  The Vampires of Manhattan features my favorite characters from the Blue Bloods series, ten years after the last book, The Gates of Paradise.  Many things have changed, yet some remain the same. 

It was so great "catching up" with mostly everyone, especially Mimi, Kingsley, and Oliver.  Mimi, especially, had grown and changed so much.  I really enjoyed her parts of the story, as well as Deming Chan's role.  I always liked Deming and especially like that she will play a more prominent role in this series.  She's a complex character and I look forward to her journey.

I have always loved the opulent, luxurious world of the Blue Bloods, and the fact that their entire existence is kept secret from humans just makes them all the more alluring.  I liked that this series is more adult than the Blue Bloods series, which is fitting since the characters are older now.

Some of the things that were glossed over in the Blue Bloods series are really fleshed out in The Vampires of Manhattan.  I have always wanted to know more about the Venators and enjoyed their inclusion in this book.  Ara and Deming were two of my favorite characters, and I look forward to getting to know them even better in later books.

This book had a great, fast pace, which kept me reading long past the time I said I'd stop.  I'm not a huge fan of a third-person narrative, yet de la Cruz uses it to perfection in her books, eliminating the need for superfluous dialogue and keeping the story moving quickly.

The Vampires of Manhattan is a great start to a promising new series.  I can't wait to read book two!


 

Book Review: People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann

Summary:
A debut collection of witty, biting essays laced with a surprising warmth, from Jen Mann, the writer behind the popular blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat.
 
People I want to punch in the throat:
• anyone who feels the need to bling her washer and dryer
• humble braggers
• people who treat their pets like children
 
Jen Mann doesn’t have a filter, which sometimes gets her in trouble with her neighbors, her fellow PTA moms, and that one woman who tried to sell her sex toys at a home shopping party. Known for her hilariously acerbic observations on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Mann now brings her sharp wit to bear on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood in this laugh-out-loud collection of essays. From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do? Or better yet, buy her book.

 
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Age Group: Adult
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli
 
Review:
I've been a long-time follower of Jen's blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, and have been really looking forward to reading her latest book.  I've also read Jen's other book, Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat (read my review here), and her anthologies:  I Just Want to Pee Alone (read my review here), and I Just Want to Be Alone.  

People I Want to Punch in the Throat had some of Jen's popular posts from her blog included---really, when an author is a blogger first that is expected and not at all a surprise or even a negative factor, in my opinion---but also had tons of new material.  I loved every chapter, and found myself laughing out loud so many times while reading this book!  I liked that I got to know Jen a little better, and I absolutely loved reading about how she and The Hubs met.  Their courtship was the stuff of legend and it made me like her even more.

Jen is so funny and sarcastic, which makes her writing so much fun to read.  I love how she unabashedly says what I'm secretly thinking about people.  She has chutzpah, spunk, and style.  Every time I read one of her posts or one of her books, I am left wanting more.  More laughs, more rants, more observations on the characters in the world of mothers. 

It's ironic to me how I have encountered so many of the same types of moms that Jen writes about.  It's this element of witty characterization that makes her writing stand out for me.  Jen excels at figuring people out, and telling us about them in the most hilarious of ways.  I think what I admire most about Jen, besides her writing and her sass, is her ability to stand by her own beliefs even when they aren't popular or in line with what everyone else is doing.  She's strong, and she'll pass that strength on to her children, hopefully with a dose of her humor as well.

I highly recommend People I Want to Punch in the Throat and can't wait to read Jen's next release!


Children's Book Review: Clifford Visits the Zoo by Norman Bridwell

Summary:
Join Clifford and Emily Elizabeth on a fantastic afternoon at the zoo! As the friends explore the zoo, they learn opposites along the way. The koalas are sleepy; Clifford is energetic. The seals are wet; Clifford is dry. Butterflies are light; Clifford is heavy. A hippo is dirty; Clifford is clean. Young readers will delight in seeing all different kinds of animals and learning opposites in the process. There is even some light nonfiction at the back of the book about each animal Clifford encounters at the zoo. Includes a plush Clifford on the front cover!
 
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Age Group: Children
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli & Kaitlyn
 
Review:
I was so excited to receive Clifford Visits the Zoo in the mail from Scholastic.  I read the Clifford books as a child and couldn't wait to share this book with Kaitlyn.  Kaitlyn is almost 3 1/2 and she's watched Clifford on PBS Kids but we haven't read any Clifford books yet. 

Right away, Clifford Visits the Zoo was a hit with Kaitlyn.  The cover is a regular hardback cover, except for Clifford himself, who is plush.  She loved that---even though she's past the age of liking touch-and-feel books.  She kept saying, "Clifford is so soft!"

Clifford Visits the Zoo is a picture book, but the pages are sturdier than most picture books, which I appreciate, because torn pages make me twitchy.  I have been known to replace a book if Kaitlyn tears a page (I just can't help myself). 

Now, on to the story.  Emily Elizabeth and Clifford are visiting the zoo.  The story takes the pair to the different zoo exhibits, where Clifford is compared with each animal.  Hence, Clifford Visits the Zoo teaches about opposites.  I especially liked that the opposite words were in bright red.  For example, "Next we see koalas.  They are sleeping.  Clifford is wide awake."  The emphasis on the opposites was fun for Kaitlyn and made the book more interesting for me to read as well.  The illustrations are classically simple yet appealing.  Kaitlyn loved how big Clifford is in comparison to the other animals.

Kaitlyn's favorite part of Clifford Visits the Zoo was the section at the back of the book, which listed all the animals from the zoo, and a short nonfiction paragraph about each one.  The nonfiction section was just right: not too long, with short sentences that were easy for Kaitlyn to understand.  She had some questions about this section, so I knew she was still paying attention and that the animal facts were making an impression on her.

In closing, Clifford Visits the Zoo was a huge hit at my house.  It's a fun read about one of Clifford's adventures, that subtly teaches about opposites and zoo animals as well.  It became a fast favorite of Kaitlyn's, and I plan on adding more Clifford books to our library.  These books are classic picture books, and I'm so glad to share this part of my childhood with my daughter.
 
 
 

Cover Reveal: Temper for You (For You #3) by Genna Rulon

Today we are so happy to host the cover reveal and summary for Genna Rulon's latest release: Temper For You (For You #3).  This new adult contemporary romance series is one of my all-time favorites!  Read my reviews of Only for You here and Pieces For You here.
 
Temper For You
For You Series, book #3
By Genna Rulon
 
"Life is messy. Love is messier." -Catch and Release

Meg Adeio has led a life of isolation—not by choice, by necessity—until one act of heroism forces her out of seclusion. Despite a past shrouded in mystery, Meg is “adopted” by an eclectic group of friends that become the family she never had. Life was good for the first time in…ever.

Or it was until Westly Black reappeared on her doorstep. She knew he was the last man any woman should give her time to—only good for one thing—yet a temptation no woman could deny. Wes might make her life messy, but Meg’s eyes were wide open and she had it under control.  At least she thought she did.

When past and present collide, loyalties are tested, forcing Meg to sacrifice her future to protect those she loves.

Temper For You is a gripping story of regret, deception, and redemption – filled with raw emotion, sarcastic wit, intrigue, and love’s propensity to forgive.

• Though Temper For You is a final book of the For You Series, it can be read as a stand-alone
• This story is appropriate for readers 18+
 
Temper For You on Goodreads
   
Social Media
Facebook:     facebook.com/genna.rulon.author  
Amazon:       amazon.com/Genna-Rulon/e/B00FOUJXPY  
Goodreads:   goodreads.com/gennarulon
Twitter:        twitter.com/gennarulon
Pintrest:       pintrest.com/gennarulon
Tumblr:        gennarulon.tumblr.com 
 
 

Book Review: Changers Book One: Drew by T. Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper

Summary:
Changers Book One: Drew opens on the eve of Ethan Miller's freshman year of high school in a brand-new town. He's finally sporting a haircut he doesn’t hate, has grown two inches since middle school, and can't wait to try out for the soccer team. At last, everything is looking up in life.

Until the next morning. When Ethan awakens as a girl.

Ethan is a Changer, a little-known, ancient race of humans who live out each of their four years of high school as a different person. After graduation, Changers choose which version of themselves they will be forever--and no, they cannot go back to who they were before the changes began.

Ethan must now live as Drew Bohner--a petite blonde with an unfortunate last name--and navigate the treacherous waters of freshman year while also following the rules: Never tell anyone what you are. Never disobey the Changers Council. And never, ever fall in love with another Changer. Oh, and Drew also has to battle a creepy underground syndicate called “Abiders” (as well as the sadistic school queen bee, Chloe). And she can't even confide in her best friend Audrey, who can never know the real her, without risking both of their lives.

Fans of the books of John Green, the Joss Whedonverse--and empathy between humans--will find much to love in this first of a four-part series that tracks the journey of an average suburban boy who becomes an incredible young woman . . . who becomes a reluctant hero . . . who becomes the person she was meant to be.

Because, while changing the world can kinda suck, it sure beats never knowing who you really are.
 
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed By: Rockell
 
Review:
The book Changers gives a new meaning to teens learning about themselves. I was laughing through the whole book and begging for more. It was hard to put down once I started.

When Ethan changes into Drew he's freaking out because he's learning what it's like to be a girl! (Ladies know it's hard work). To make it worse his new last name is Bohner and Drew is smokin' hot!
 
Changers really pinpoints the trials teens go through. A few examples are friendship,  fitting in, and finding your true self.
 
The book ends with a cliffhanger and I'm dying to know who Ethan will transform into-- and if he'll be able to still have the connections he's made in his last change with the people he got close to.
 
It was cool that every changer had the power to see someone's future through kissing. (I won't spoil the story). All I'm saying is that this is a must read for every teen. I was altogether pleased with the book and cannot wait to read the rest of the series.
 
 
 

Book Review: Shatter (True Believers #4) by Erin McCarthy

Summary:
From the USA Today bestselling author of True, Sweet, and Believe comes a tantalizing New Adult novel about finding love in the most unexpected ways…

Kylie Warner prides herself on being optimistic, but after finding her best friend in bed with her boyfriend and flunking chemistry, her upbeat attitude has taken a dive. Even an impromptu hook-up with her sexy new chemistry tutor only brightens her mood slightly. After all, it’s not like she’ll ever see the tattooed scholar again…

While he’s a whiz at complex equations, Jonathon Kadisch has trouble when it comes to figuring out women. So when Kylie tells him that she’s pregnant after their night of passion, he’s at a complete loss. He’s prepared to be a good father—unlike his own deadbeat dad—but he’s less prepared to fall for the genuine and alluring blonde bearing his child.

With emotions running high, Kylie wonders if Jonathon’s devotion is out of growing love or looming obligation. And when heartbreak threatens to tear them apart, Jonathon will have to fight for the only girl who’s ever made him feel whole…

Release Date: September 1, 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli
 
Review:
I've really enjoyed Erin McCarthy's True Believers series, and Shatter was my favorite book of the series to date.  This series gets better with each consecutive book.  Read my reviews of True, Sweet, and Believe by clicking on the titles.
 
I liked Kylie from the very start of the book---actually, I already knew her, sort of, from previous books in the series.  Kylie has been betrayed by her boyfriend Nathan and one of her best friends, Robin.  Kylie has a lot of anger, hurt, and mistrust to overcome in Shatter.  I didn't know if she was going to be able to rise above her circumstances, and her plight kept me so invested in the story.  I also liked Jonathon right from the start too.  He was a study in contrasts and I loved that he was smart and very different from Kylie's usual type.
 
The main conflict in Shatter is that Kylie gets pregnant after she and Jonathon's first night together (don't worry, I didn't spoil it, this is in the summary).  Kylie's behavior after learning she's pregnant, and Jonathon's as well, was what made me really fall in love with these characters.  McCarthy throws a few kinks into the plot, to keep things interesting and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat.  As with its predecessors, this book was full of emotion, and I found myself tearing up a few times.
 
The one thing that kept me from giving Shatter five stars was that the epilogue had a very unrealistic element.  I won't say more, so that I don't spoil the ending, but let me just say that what's mentioned in the epilogue was so improbable as to be unbelievable.  This has unfortunately been a theme with the True Believers series: each book has had either a rushed ending, a rushed beginning, or something that makes the book feel too fantastical.  

Despite this one complaint, Shatter really was a great read.  I loved the chemistry between Kylie and Jonathon, the character growth, and the fact that the characters were so honest with each other.  I love it when NA authors write authentic characters who don't play a bunch of games with each other, and that, along with the sizzling chemistry and the realistic characters, is what keeps me coming back to Erin McCarthy's books.