Guest Post: Author Sherry Soule, Why I LOVE New Adult Literature

“Why I LOVE New Adult Literature”
Guest post by author, Sherry Soule

Hi everybody, I’m author, Sherry—waving from the SF Bay Area, where it can get pretty foggy even during the warmer months. And I can’t believe that summer is finally here.
Thanks for letting me visit today, it’s an honor to be a guest here and meet other fellow booklovers.

Since I was a young girl, I recognized that books were a way to travel to other places and have amazing adventures. Even though I am older than the average twenty-something reader, I’ve always loved reading New Adult literature. (Although before the last year or so, it did not have its own unique genre.)

“NEW ADULT” or crossover YA fiction, basically features a protagonist between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. NA characters are often depicted as experiencing such things as, college, first serious relationship, living on their own for the first time, internships, first real job, etc.

Does that mean that these books have loads of sex or profanity because they are targeted for an older readership?

I wouldn’t think so, although the subject matter might be considered more adult than some young adult titles. My books are all pretty much rated: PG-13, so all ages can enjoy my storytelling.

I love reading NA Lit because I think that most novels in this genre are fast-paced and thrilling, and the stories are written in a style that is engrossing, with story-driven or character-driven plotlines that include life after high school, which is a very scary time for most people whether you’re in college or starting your first steady job.

And like many of you, I’ve read hundreds of NA books and I can actually say that I enjoyed almost all of them. Some I genuinely loved and these books became like good friends that I didn’t want to part with, so they adorn my bookshelves and wait patiently to be reread again one day. Other novels were simply read and then disregarded with a contented smile.

Of course, I realize that we all have diverse tastes in literature. Most of you will have varied genres that you love to read, and probably some of my favorite books are simply your forgotten reads. That’s what makes the world of reading as a whole, so damn wonderful. Each one of us will enjoy different types of characters, plots, and of course, a writer’s voice, the way only they can tell a story.

Personally, I like to read and write darker, edgier New Adult novels. As you can probably tell if you’d read my books, I tend to write conflicted, tormented heroines, too. I love the anguish of a protagonist trying to come to terms with some dark secret or horrific event in her past, and usually, she ends up facing this fear, vulnerability, or threat, with a resilient hottie by her side.

My heroines are typically intelligent, snarky, and full of fight. Like my girl, Skylar Blackwell in IMMORTAL ECLIPSE. You gotta admire Skylar’s spunk and determination. Anyhoo, thank you so for letting me chat about my love of New Adult literature. I hope you enjoyed this post. Now go feed your mind and read a book! Preferably mine. :-D

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Author Bio

Sherry Soule is the author of the popular young adult series, Spellbound. She mostly writes urban fantasy, which includes elements of mystery, romance, fantasy, and suspense for teens and adults. She considers her writing to be PG-13. Sherry lives with her family and one very spoiled black cat in California’s San Francisco Bay Area.

Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:

Official Blog:
Twitter @WriterSherry:
Read an excerpt:

Book Review: Heartless (Parasol Protectorate #4) by Gail Carriger

Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

Release Date: July 1, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Orbit
Source: Purchased

This was my favorite Parasol Protectorate book to date!  I loved the plot, the characters' interactions with each other (a highlight was Ivy's induction into The Parasol Protectorate) and the action.

This installation moved at a faster pace than the other books in the series, and had a more involved plot.  For me, Blameless (book three) was the low point of the series.  It was transitional and lacking.  I vowed I would try book four, but if it was not outstanding, I was going to be finished with the series.

I'm happy to say that Heartless was so good that I had absolutely no qualms about buying the final book, Timeless.  (Although I am still highly perturbed that my library had the first two books but none of the others, and I have had to purchase the last three books, thus making for ownership of an incomplete series, which is a huge pet peeve of mine).

My two favorite things about this series are the writing style and the humor.  Each book makes me laugh out loud, and there is also plenty of sarcastic satire as well.  I love the way Carriger writes.  The attention to detail in her prose makes this series stand out for me.  I most especially love the vocabulary...a specific example escapes me at the moment, but these books are witty and I love that.  Sometimes I have to use the "Look Up Word" feature on my Nook and I love a book that makes me do that.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the Parasol Protectorate series.  These books are light-hearted, smart, and just a lot of fun!

Book Review: It's Not the End of the World by Judy Blume

When her parents divorce, a sixth grader struggles to understand that sometimes people are unable to live together.

Release Date: 1972
Age Group: YA
Source: Library

I loved Judy Blume growing up, and when I saw It's Not the End of the World on my library's e-book list, I thought, "why not?" and decided to read it.  I did not realize that this book is more of a middle-grade novel, but it was still good enough for me to finish it.
Karen is 12, and a middle child.  Her older brother Jeff is her mother's favorite child, and her younger sister Amy is her father's favorite.  Karen quickly learns that in matters of divorce, it's better to be no one's favorite.

Karen cycles through wanting her parents to get back together, and trying to get them back together, to finally understanding that it's better for them to live apart.  

It's Not the End of the World was a sweetly written story about divorce and how it affects everyone in a family.  I think it would be a great book for parents who are divorcing to read with their children.  I enjoyed the book, even though it was too young for me and not my usual style.  It was a very short read: I finished it in less than an hour.  Judy Blume is one of those authors that doesn't write duds, and It's Not the End of the World is no exception.  



Book Review: Asylum by Jenny Miller

June Foster’s summer is limping along. Her life on a 1950′s farm in eastern Washington is boring–full of milking cows, picking apricots and tending to the chicken coops. Her only friends are her record player and her books. But when gorgeous, turquoise-eyed Frank falls into her world, her life becomes anything but ordinary.

June falls for Frank hard and fast–he’s beautiful, impossibly strong, and capable of things ordinary humans are not. But she’s wary about his father Jonas, a creepy man with an agenda. She should be. Suddenly June is deathly ill, falling in and out of consciousness. When she recovers, June and Frank discover Jonas’s deadly plans for her–and June takes revenge.

Convicted of murder, declared insane and sentenced to life at Washington Pines Sanitarium, June is stuck. Jonas’s plans are reaching her beyond the grave, and she suspects that there’s a lot more going on in the sanitarium than group therapy and electric shocks. Something evil has followed her here, or maybe it was waiting for her all along. If Frank doesn’t break her out soon, she’ll lose her mind–and her life.

Release Date: March 25, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from author

What a great surprise!  I've had Asylum on my Kindle for a while now and I'm so glad I finally read it.  I loved this book---it was unique, had a fast-paced plot, and had tons of mystery and suspense that kept me guessing.

Asylum was a very intense read.  The subject matter is heavy enough on its own: a young girl convicted of murder, sentenced to life imprisonment in an insane asylum.  And all of this happens in the 1950's, when psychiatric care was much more rudimentary than it is now.  I used to work in a hospital and had to regularly work with patients in a locked psychiatric unit.  I know first-hand what those places are like, and to think of June, a mere teenager, being stuck in there for the rest of her life broke my heart for her.  

Each chapter alternates between present and past tense.  I love that kind of storytelling: I think it keeps the book very interesting.  Asylum is a fairly long book with a very detailed plot.  I loved that--too often the plots in YA novels are very simple and that can get boring.  There was nothing boring about Asylum, that's for sure.  Miller kept me guessing for the entire story and I could not wait to find out what would happen at the end.

I did not know this when I started Asylum but there is a magical realism aspect to the story.  I haven't read much from that genre but I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.  It was unique and well-developed.

There were so many things I loved about Asylum, but I had one complaint: I finished the book with a lot of unanswered questions.  I like it when series novels leave some things open, but there were too many issues left open in my opinion. I would have liked more closure.

The open ending doesn't keep me from recommend Asylum, however.  I thought it was a great read and I look forward to reading more from Jenny Miller.


Book Review: Fox Forever (The Jenna Fox Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson

Locke Jenkins has some catching up to do. After spending 260 years as a disembodied mind in a little black box, he has a perfect new body. But before he can move on with his unexpected new life, he’ll have to return the Favor he accepted from the shadowy resistance group known as the Network.

Locke must infiltrate the home of a government official by gaining the trust of his daughter, seventeen-year-old Raine, and he soon finds himself pulled deep into the world of the resistance—and into Raine’s life.

Mary E. Pearson brings the story she began in The Adoration of Jenna Fox and continued in The Fox Inheritance to a breathtaking conclusion as Locke discovers that being truly human requires much more than flesh and blood.

Release Date: March 19, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

After immersing myself in the Jenna Fox Chronicles, and reading what was one of my favorite series of all time, all I can say is "wow".  I loved this series!  I never expected to like it as much as I did, considering that there is a sci-fi element to the story, but I fell in love with the story and the characters and I'm sad to leave them behind.  

I've never read anything quite like this series before.  The premise is so unique, and the thought that Locke and Kara's minds were trapped inside computers is hauntingly realistic and terrifying.  It made me interested in the story from the very beginning and I just had to know what was going to happen once Locke and Kara got their bodies back.  Book one, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, is told from Jenna's perspective, and books two and three are told from Locke's perspective.  I didn't think I could like Locke's voice more than Jenna's, but I did.  He was a very likable character, so steady and loyal.  I loved watching him grow throughout the series.

Fox Forever is the perfect ending to an awesome series.  I love that the books span a long time period, which gives them a lot of depth and intensity.  The ending was bittersweet, and Pearson managed to really surprise me with the epilogue.  I love a good epilogue, and this one was perfect.  So sweet and I loved getting a last glimpse of my favorite characters.  

I highly recommend this series to fans of dystopia, sci-fi and YA.  It's excellent, and I can't wait to see what Mary Pearson comes up with next!  


Book Review: This Girl (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover

There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will’s.

Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling Slammed series has brought countless readers to their knees with a whirlwind of love, passion, and heartache.

Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure in their union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he begins to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met.

In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from his point of view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series.

Release Date: April 30, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley

I loved this book!  I did not read the first book in the Slammed series, Slammed, but I did read Point of Retreat (read my review here).  I always meant to go back and read book one, but never took the time to do it.  But, reading This Girl more than made up for me missing out on Slammed.  Hoover alternates from present-tense (Will and Layken are married and on a short honeymoon) to flashbacks from chapter to chapter.  The flashbacks start with Layken and Will's first meeting and span their entire relationship.  I love flashbacks, when they are done well, and Hoover executed the concept perfectly. 

The difference between This Girl and Slammed is that the flashbacks are told from Will's point of view.  In fact, the entire book is from Will's perspective.  I enjoyed Will's voice and getting to know him better.  I liked him a lot in Point of Retreat, but by the time I finished This Girl I had fallen for him.  He's just about perfect, and I loved the intensity of his love for Layken, as well as his brother and their friends.

Hoover excells at writing emotion: the feelings just jumped off the page as I read this book.  I teared up several times, just overcome with the feelings Layken and Will were experiencing.  

I love titled chapters, and the inclusion of quotes or poetry at the beginning of chapters.  Hoover took that concept one step further by having her characters express their feelings through poetry.  I loved that some of their declarations happened at poetry slams, and reading the poems Layken and Will wrote for each other was a fun part of the story.  This Girl has a lot of poetry included throughout the book and I really enjoyed that.  It made for a more intense, emotional read.

Having read all of Colleen Hoover's work (with the exception of Slammed), I can say that her writing keeps getting better and better.  I would highly recommend this series to all fans of contemporary fiction! 


Book Review: Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

An inspirational, sidesplittingly funny exploration of the power of living with love, forgiveness, and honesty.

Carry On, Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton shares new stories and the best-loved material from She recounts her mistakes and triumphs with candor and humor, and gives language to our universal (yet often secret) experiences. She believes that by shedding our armor, we can stop hiding, competing, striving for the mirage of perfection, and making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman trying to love herself and others, readers find a wise and witty friend who will inspire them to forgive their own imperfections, make the most of their gifts, and commit to small acts of love that will change the world.

Release Date: April 2, 2013
Age Group: Adult Non-Fiction
Source: Purchased

I've been reading (and loving) Glennon's blog, Momastery, for over a year now.  I was thrilled when she announced her book deal and have been waiting for Carry On, Warrior for what feels like forever.  

I'm not usually a lover of non-fiction but this book was outstanding.  It made me cry several times, and as Chris Tomlin would say, "it made my heart want to sing."  I love Glennon's blog, but this book was even better and really spoke to my heart.  Some of the essays in the book have been previously published on her website, but much of the book is new material.  And for new(ish) followers of the site, like me, it was nice to be able to read Glennon's story in order, instead of piecing it together through the blog.  

Glennon describes herself as a hope-spreader and truth-teller.  She lives an open and honest life, and that honesty is what speaks to me.  I see so much of myself in her and feel like she knows how I feel, even though she doesn't know me.  She describes this as the divine inside of her speaking to and recognizing the divine in me.  And I think she's exactly right.  Reading this book was like hearing a bell toll: all of it rang true for me.  

I'm so glad I bought a hard copy of Carry On, Warrior.  I want to be able to easily flip back to my favorite parts and highlight certain quotes and go back and read this book again just to savor it.  I feel like Carry On, Warrior is more of a book for women, especially mothers, but I think that it would appeal to just about anyone.  Highly, highly recommended!   

Weekly Wrap-Up 6.16.13

We're still having a hard time with Kaitlyn's broken leg (read more about it here), but I did get some reading in this week---yay!

I read:

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Asylum by Jenny Miller
A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin
Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elisa Janine Hoole
The Truth About Letting Go by Leigh Talbert Moore
Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick

And check out this cool graphic author Jason Sandberg made for me, as a thank-you for reading a reviewing his book, Candy and the Cankersaur:

 How was your week?

Book Review: The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey Kade

1. Never trust anyone.
2. Remember they are always searching.
3. Don’t get involved.
4. Keep your head down.
5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…

Release Date: April 23, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

Having read The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade, I already knew that I loved her writing.  What I didn't know was how much I would love The Rules.  I closed the cover to The Rules thinking, this book has everything it needed to have plus more.  I thought to myself that some authors just "have it," meaning their talent seems to come naturally and easily.  There are just some books that stand out and this was one of them.

I loved so much about this book. The plot was unique and very well-executed.  I loved the fact that while Ariane is paranormal, she's a different kind of paranormal.  I don't read too much about extraterrestrials and I really enjoyed the change of pace.  Speaking of pace, Kade's pacing in The Rules was perfect.  Things moved along fast enough to keep me flipping the pages excitedly, but not so fast that the plot felt rushed.  The world-building was interspersed with the story, which I love because there are no slow patches to the book.  I loved Ariane's history and thought that Kade did a very thorough job with Ariane's back-story. 

One of my favorite styles of writing is when authors use an alternating POV.  I love getting to really know both main characters, and alternating POVs really get the reader inside the characters' heads.  I love that!  I found the characters to be quite complex, more so than in other YA reads, and I really enjoyed that.  It kept the book from feeling too young---because much of the story was set in high school, with typical high school drama.  That "high school feeling" was the only thing I didn't love about The Rules.  It is a necessary evil of YA, but I prefer it when the focus is not so much on school.  

The ending was a nice surprise, and I really can't wait to read book two.  Kade has done an outstanding job with book one in the Project Paper Doll series!

Elena Chose Her Vamp, Now Bring on The Originals!

There are no secrets here, when my kids go to bed the headphones come out. I steal my daughters purple skull candy headphones and plop down in front of my computer to begin my mini marathon of whatever TV series has my interest. Last week I got all caught up on The Vampire Diaries.

Let it be known there are some spoilers in this post.

The season 4 finale was EPIC! I thought it was inevitable that Elena would end up back with Stephan *gross* BUT she made the right decision and chose Damon!!!
And yes I make believe these are real people... moving on. 

Whatever you do dear writers PLEASE just leave that love story alone and choose another tragedy to focus on. I've decided to place a mental block in my mind and tell myself that the show was a wrap and now I'm on to The Originals.

Now, you know as soon as season 5 premiere's I will remove that mental block and be on pins and needles to see where the story goes. Listen, I have a {cold, icy} heart and I do hope that they eventually find Stephan at the bottom of the lake and that there will be an unattainable and interesting love between Jeremy and his dead witch. But seriously, we have seen Elena swing back and forth between these two vamps for 4 seasons... SHE HAS CHOSEN... BAM, done.

What I am interested in is sweet 'ol Caroline and Klaus. I want her to trade teams and end up in New Orleans. Could you imagine the drama of that! The control-freak vampire, who happens to be Klaus' love, comes to town. And then add her finding out that he has impregnated a hybrid (Hayley). >>>Drama Central<<< It would be so much more interesting than the story of her little puppy love in Mystic falls with Tyler. 

I also want to see poor Matt get a chance. That poor guy has got the raw end of the deal every single time. I would hope Rebekah takes care of the pitiful warm blood.

I have no idea where either of these shows are headed but I tell you this I WANT MORE. I just hope The Vampire Diaries doesn't take a turn to crapsville. I don't doubt that The Originals will be a hit its first season. 

Maybe they will do a two-hour special where the two shows merge! Ah, a girl can hope!

#TVD #TheOriginals
*image source:

Book Review: The Obvious Game by Rita Arens

“Everyone trusted me back then. Good old, dependable Diana. Which is why most people didn’t notice at first.”

"Your shirt is yellow."
"Your eyes are blue."
"You have to stop running away from your problems."
"You're too skinny."

Fifteen-year-old Diana Keller accidentally begins teaching The Obvious Game to new kid Jesse on his sixteenth birthday. As their relationship deepens, Diana avoids Jesse's past with her own secrets -- which she'll protect at any cost.

Release Date: February 7, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from author

I love the premise of The Obvious Game.  The game itself---pointing out obvious things as a game---was an interesting concept to me, and the reason why I accepted The Obvious Game for review.  I had no idea that this book would affect me the way it did.  I absolutely loved it!  I was expecting your typical YA contemporary fiction, maybe with some high-school drama, so I was unprepared to read such an emotional, well-written story.

Diana grew up overweight and has the resultant body- and self-image issues after years of being teased about her size.  She begins dieting without really making a conscious decision to do so.  Diana's mother has cancer, and Diana can't handle the stress her mother's illness is placing on everyone in the family, not to mention the fear of losing her mother.  

Diana meets Jesse, the new kid in town, and they have an instant connection.  She starts running the bleachers while Jesse is in wrestling practice, and quickly begins losing a tremendous amount of weight.  Diana's eating habits coincide well with Jesse's, as he struggles to keep his weight down for wrestling, to stay in the lower weight class.  They both avoid eating, or when they do eat, eat very low-calorie foods.  Diana's weight loss spirals out of control, and she feels like she is hiding it well, but she's not.   

I loved that The Obvious Game was set in the 1990's as it really took me back to my own teenage years.  It was easy to picture myself as Diana, even though I've never been in her situation.  I loved the conflict resolution Arens employed.  It was realistic and very believable.  I admired that Arens used therapy to heal Diana instead of the change happening magically.  

But my favorite part of The Obvious Game was the ending.  It was just perfect!  I won't say any more about it, so I don't spoil it for you, but the character growth and change was so satisfying.  I loved The Obvious Game and would most definitely read Rita Arens again!


Guest Post: Elizabeth Norris

Today we're happy to welcome Elizabeth Norris, author of Unraveling and this year’s Unbreakable, to I'd So Rather Be Reading.  Elizabeth is here to share 5 of her top TV picks for summer.
  • The Wire. I watched all five seasons on DVD a few summers ago. It's amazingly well written with complex characters. It's all around fantastic.
  • Buffy. Each season just got better and better. (The fifth season was my favorite!)
  • Battlestar Galactica. This show cemented my love for science fiction. It's amazing.
  • Friday Night Lights. The characters. This is so much more than a football show, but it will make you love football at the same time.
  • New Girl. This is number one on my list for binge-watching this summer. I've only caught a few episodes, but I can't wait to see more.
Stay tuned to more of Liz’s top TV picks! Also check out I am a Reader, Not a Writer (May 31st), Reading After Midnight (June 4th), Tynga’s Reviews (June 5th), Two Chicks on Books (June 7th), Midnight Book Girl (June 12th) and Good Books and Good Wine (June 14th) for excerpts and Liz’s top picks for books and movies this summer. 

Book Review: Candy and the Cankersaur by Jason Sandberg

This is the sweet and funny tale of a young girl named Candy and her Cankersaurus Rex! Candy receives a dinosaur as a gift and is determined
to train him to be a good pet. This playful homage to Syd Hoff will make all dinosaur-crazy boys and girls happy! Enjoy!

Release Date: 
Age Group: Children's
Source: Review copy from author

This was such a sweet book!  I read it quickly (as it is a children's picture book) and when I finished, thought, "what's not to love?".  Candy and the Cankersaur has great illustrations, a good storyline, and there is a perfect moral to the story.  The author recommends it for the following age groups: as a bedtime story for ages 3-6, and as a read-alone picture book, ages 6-9.

My review copy was a PDF, so I sat Kaitlyn (my 2-year old) in my lap to read the story to her.  There were too many words for her to understand everything, so I shortened some of the story while reading it aloud, but she loved the illustrations and the story kept her interest (which is saying a lot, as she is usually resistant to new books at first).  

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new picture book.  Something about it made me feel nostalgic, maybe it's the illustrations, but I really enjoyed it and would definitely read Jason Sandberg again.



Book Giveaway!

Have you heard the buzz about Susanne Winnacker's new Variants series?  The first book in the series, Impostor, just came out and it is an outstanding read!

We're happy to give away one hardcover copy of Impostors.  Thank  you to Media Masters Publicity for sponsoring this great giveaway!

Fill out the form below to enter.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Book Review: Impostor (Variants #1) by Susanne Winnacker

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

Release Date: May 28, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

I started this book late one night and was initially turned off by the somewhat gory depiction of the murder victims.  I almost stopped reading, but I'm so glad I didn't because I ended up falling completely in love with Impostor!  

Impostor is one of those books that jumps right into the action.  Sometimes that can leave me feeling confused, but Winnacker handled the world building perfectly and I loved being right in the thick of the story from the beginning.  

I loved the concept of the Variants.  Their abilities were neat to read about, and I especially liked that the Variants are a part of the FBI and go on covert missions.  I really felt for Tessa, being shunned by her family and not having anyone at home to love her and miss her.  The lack of familial relationships leaves Tessa gun-shy when it comes to romantic relationships, and she is secretly in love with another Variant but too scared to admit it to him.

There were so many things to love about Impostor.  The premise was unique, the action was intense, and the plot continually kept me surprised and guessing at who the killer really was.  I loved that Winnacker built so many surprises into the plot.  It made Impostor so hard for me to put down.

I was quite pleased with the ending, which provided a good amount of closure while still keeping things open for a sequel.  I highly recommend Impostor and can't wait for the next book in the series!


You Would Cry Too If It Happened To You!

Kelli and I are moms. 

We have a lot of similarities in personality and lifestyle and a lot of differences. 

  • For instance, Kelli has a very calm and reassuring voice with a pleasant tone. Me on the other hand, well I am LOUD and to the point. 
  • Kelli's house is calm... my house is not. 
  • Kelli's daughter Kaitlyn loves to read (big surprise) and ride in her wagon. My kids wake up and literally eat their breakfast with helmets on and then race to whatever adventure has been cooked up for the day (I blame their father). 

So, when Kelli called to tell me that she had been at the ER with Kaitlyn, my initial thought was virus, breathing difficulty, bump on the head but NOT a broken leg! 
How did this happen? 
Was Kaitlyn attempting the ramps found under my carport or jumping off a swing 15 feet in the air or attempting a back-flip into the pool? Nope, she was simply getting ready for bed and tripped over one of her little people princesses.......... What a FLUKE!  

Clearly, I am the deserving mother of such an injury (and believe me, we've had our share of ER visits in my long 7 years of motherhood), but usually there is a tale to tell. 
But alas, I felt it important to fill-in on the blog and let you know that Kelli is living a wonderful, rested life short-term nightmare. Lucky for all of us, she has about 50 reviews scheduled and waiting to pop-up and you would have never known she was gone... but like I said I'm loud :) So here's to Kelli and her sanity. We wish Kaitlyn and YOU a speedy recovery & may the odds be ever in your favor retail therapy!

Book Review: Death's Last Run: A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel by Robin Spano

A young snowboarder turns up dead on the Blackcomb Glacier. The local police are calling it suicide, but the victim’s mother, a U.S. senator, is not convinced. At the senator’s request, the FBI sends in undercover agent Clare Vengel to infiltrate the world of ski bums and snow bunnies and find out what happened to Sacha. Clare soon discovers that not only was the victim involved in an LSD smuggling ring, but also the uncooperative top cop in town is in cahoots with the smugglers. With her cover dangerously close to being blown Clare must solve the case before she finds herself in the deep freeze permanently.

Release Date: May 1, 2013
Age Group: Adult
Source: NetGalley

I really enjoyed the first Clare Vengel book: Dead Politician Society, so I was excited to read more about Clare in Deaths' Last Run.  I missed book two in the series, Death Plays Poker, but thankfully I was not lost due to Clare's reflections on the events that occurred in book two.  

Clare is as different from me as she could be: she flies by the seat of her pants, gets into dangerous situations, even relishes the danger, and really takes life as it comes.  She's easygoing, but very smart and dedicated to her work as an undercover officer.  I love it when characters are unlike me: it allows me to live vicariously through them, pretending I could be as easygoing as Clare (I'm so not).  

Clare has matured both in her work and in her personal life.  She is not afraid to speak up for herself, and I liked seeing her be so open and honest with Noah, her sort-of boyfriend.  I loved the setting of Death's Last Run.  I read the book, pretending I was there with Clare, snow boarding and staying in a mountain town.  It was a stark contrast to hot and humid Texas!  

What makes Spano's books special for me is the writing.  I love her third-person narrative with each chapter from a different character's point of view.  I love Spano's plots, which always have nice surprises, and her characterization.  No one is ever entirely who they seem to be in these mysteries, which makes them fun to read.  

While I did not agree with many of Clare's choices in Death's Last Run, I did respect her as a character and enjoyed her story.  I really liked this book and would recommend it to fans of mysteries and fans of adult fiction.


The Sea of Tranquility

Have you heard the news?  Katja Millay's The Sea of Tranquility is now available for sale!  It was released yesterday.  

I absolutely loved this book and hold it as a standard for contemporary YA.  I have yet to find another novel to measure up to it!  Read my review here.

I would recommend this book to anyone, especially fans of contemporary fiction.  I can't wait to read more from Katja Millay!

Book Review: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

Release Date:  June 7, 2013
Age Group:  Mature YA
Source: NetGalley

Having read and loved Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits (read my review here) I was thrilled at the chance to read Dare You To.  First of all, I was shocked to see that McGarry was turning Pushing the Limits into a series---shocked and thrilled!  I admit that I was expecting a book just as good as Pushing the Limits, so my expectations were set unnaturally high.

While I did love Dare You To, it just did not have the same intensity for me that Pushing the Limits did.  I know it's unfair to compare books in a series, but I couldn't help but compare the two, especially with book one being so outstanding.  What bothered me about Dare You To was that the characters felt predictable.  The characters themselves (dependable, good-guy jock and mysterious bad-girl loner) were slightly trite and their actions at times predictable.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just that PTL broke through all the tried and true character molds, so I was expecting Dare You To to do the same.

What I loved about Dare You To was the slow build to the love story and the ending.  I could not predict how McGarry would resolve the conflict in a realistic way, and I loved the way she wrapped things up.  There were no "love conquers all" endings here and I appreciate the realism.  Beth and Ryan slowly start to fall for each other, and I really liked that.  I'm not a fan of reading about love at first sight, instead I prefer to fall in love with the characters as the story progresses, and Dare You To delivered in that aspect.  

I would recommend this book, especially to fans of contemporary YA.  I'm loving the mature YA genre, and really looking forward to Isiah's story.