Easter Giveaway!

We're happy to offer two winners one of the first two books from Megan Crewe's Fallen World series:

by Megan Crewe

by Megan Crewe

Giveaway Rules:
This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only.
Anyone can enter, followers or non-followers.
Once the winners are chosen, they will be contacted via email.  Winners have 72 hours to reply and claim their prize.  If they don't respond within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How much is too much to pay for an ebook?

Since receiving my Kindle Paperwhite (and smart cover) from my mother-in-law for Christmas, I've been buying a lot of ebooks.  I am totally obsessed with my Kindle and find it hard to pick up hard copies to read nowadays---even when it's a book I really want to read.  My husband also received a Kindle from his mom and loves his as well.  We both agree that the Kindle Paperwhite is a great improvement over our 1G Nooks.  Now that I've been reading on a back-lit screen, I have no idea how I made it so many years having to read under a lamp (gasp!).   

Which brings me to my question for you: how much are you willing to pay for an ebook?  Anything over $10 feels like too much for me.  If it's a book I'm dying to read, such as the lastest Sookie Stackhouse novel, I'll pay $13 or $14, but I paid $17 for Janet Evanovich's latest and felt totally gypped when I finished the book two hours later and knew I'd never read it again.  My husband is a big fan of Ken Follett and wants to read the second novel in the Fall of Giants trilogy, but it's $19.99, which he thinks is ridiculous.  

What are your thoughts?  How much is too much for an ebook?

Weekly Wrap-Up 3.24.13

Kaitlyn had her second birthday party yesterday, so I had a slow reading weekBut I did enjoy the one book I read:

Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells  This book was full of adventure and had a very unique premise.  Once I got into the story, I really enjoyed it.  I liked Emilie as a main character and enjoyed her adventure.  I would definitely read Martha Wells again.  Rating 3.5/5 stars

How was your week?

Don't Forget About Our Giveaway!

If you haven't entered our giveaway for the Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop, there's still time!  Anyone in the US or Canada can enter to win a copy of Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Nobody or Every Other Day.  

Book Review: Fathom (The Chronicles of Crescent Moon Bay #1) by Merrie Destefano

Everything is changing . . .

Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean in the driveway. Then somebody spikes her drink at the party and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater.

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister and mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.

Release Date: October 30, 2012
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from author

Fathom was such a good read!  I started Fathom book having no expectations (something which I enjoy doing) and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  The book starts with Kira seeing what she thinks is the ghost of her mother.  I almost stopped reading right then---because you know I don't do ghosts in any way, shape, or form---but after emailing the author to verify that there were no ghosts in this story, I was able to continue reading.  And I'm really glad I did because I would have hated to miss out on this great read.  

I loved Fathom's focus on Celtic legends.  It gave the story some weight and depth.  Parts of the book were almost haunting, they were so emotionally written.  I loved that Kira deals with her emotions by writing---what a positive outlet for negative emotions.  I also enjoyed that the reader is in the dark right along with Kira as to what's going on with her and her family.

There was a great surprise at the end of Fathom, which left me so impatient to read the next book in the series.  I loved the unique paranormal aspect, but most of all, I loved Destefano's writing style.  Her characters' emotions just jumped off the page, they were so vividly written.  There were several interwoven story lines, which I really enjoyed.  I hope that book two is written from Kira's perspective, but I would enjoy reading from another character's perspective as well: Destefano made me care about all of the characters, not just my favorite ones.  

I recommend Fathom to fans of contemporary and paranormal YA.  I look forward to book two in this new series!

Weekly Wrap-Up 3.17.13

Books I Read This Week:

Endlessly (Paranormalcy #3) by Kiersten White.  I enjoyed the ending to the Paranormalcy series.  This is a unique, light-hearted series that was a lot of fun.  I love Evie's spunk and her character growth.  Recommended!  Rating 4/5 stars.

I Just Want to Pee Alone, Anthology.  One of my favorite bloggers, Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat, is who we have to thank for this funny book.  It contains 37 essays about motherhood (the parts no one talks about) from popular bloggers.  It felt like each blogger made their essay a 'best of' from their own work.  I loved it! Like Jen's first book, Spending the Holidays With People I Want to Punch in the Throat, I Just Want to Pee Alone is a fast, fun read.  I laughed many times and found great solace in knowing that what happens at my house happens at a lot of other houses too.  I would much rather read a funny book than a 'motherhood is all sunshine and rainbows' book and I Just Want to Pee Alone really fit the bill!  I can't wait to see what Jen comes up with next.  Recommended!  

How was your week?

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop

We're happy to be participating in another giveaway hop!  

We will have two winners and our prizes are...

Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (hardback)

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (paperback)

Giveaway Rules:
This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only.
Anyone can enter, followers or non-followers.
Once the winner is chosen, they will be contacted via email.  Winners have 72 hours to reply and claim their prize.  If they don't respond within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Book Review: Good For You (Between the Lines #3) by Tammara Webber

Reid Alexander's life is an open book. His Hollywood celebrity means that everything he does plays out in the public eye. Every relationship, every error in judgment is analyzed by strangers. His latest mistake totaled his car, destroyed a house and landed him in the hospital. Now his PR team is working overtime to salvage his image. One thing is clear—this is one predicament he won’t escape without paying for it.

Dori Cantrell is a genuine humanitarian—the outward opposite of everything Reid is about. When his DUI plea bargain lands him under her community service supervision, she proves unimpressed with his status and indifferent to his proximity, and he soon wants nothing more than to knock her off of her pedestal and prove she's human.

Counting the days until his month of service is over, Dori struggles to ignore his wicked magnetic pull while shocking him with her ability to see past his celebrity and challenging him to see his own wasted potential. But Dori has secrets of her own, safely locked away until one night turns her entire world upside down. Suddenly their only hope for connection and redemption hinges on one choice: whether or not to have faith in each other.

Release Date: December 15, 2011
Age Group: Mature YA
Source: Purchased

Wow!  What a fantastic end to a great series!  I never would have expected to say this, but this book was my favorite of the Between the Lines series.  I have not been a Reid fan at all, in fact I outright hated the guy for the first two books.  I thought he was a shallow, self-centered man-whore and I rejoiced when he didn't get what he wanted (Emma).  I bought Good For You because I'd already read the first two books in the series and I just had to know how the series ended.  I really was hoping for more of Emma and Graham's happily-ever-after, and this longing was enough to justify the $2.99 purchase price for me.

But, Good for You is about Reid and Dori.  And just those two.  In fact, Emma and Graham are mentioned just once, in passing (which just left me to create my own HEA for them).  The alternating first person narrative is solely in Reid and Dori's voices.  And I was happy for that, once I got to know Dori.  Keeping the book just about Dori and Reid made this novel more intimate and more emotional for me.

There were a lot of issues brought up in the first two novels that I wanted to know more about: mainly Reid's home life.  His mother is an alcoholic and his father is a workaholic and I thought that those issues, as well as Reid's dysfunctional relationship with his parents, should be explored.  I got my wish in Good For You.  Webber really delves deep into Reid's psyche and his past, to show the reader the events that shaped Reid into the person he is today.  Knowing these things led me to a grudging respect for Reid.

I just loved Dori.  At first glance, she appears to be your typical 'good girl.'  She's a preacher's daughter, volunteers for Habit for Humanity and goes on mission trips with her church.  She plans to go to Berkeley to study social work because she wants to change the world.  But there's a lot more to Dori than meets the eye.  Like Reid, she has had huge things in her past that have changed her irrevocably.  She carries the guilt of her past with her, and has used it to armor herself against the world. 

I loved that Dori and Reid are friends before becoming romantically involved.  Actually, they don't even like each other much at first, but as they get to know each other, they become friends.  I loved the slow progression of their relationship.  But my favorite thing about this book was Reid's character growth.  Heck, all the characters grew in this novel, even Reid's parents.  Each and every issue was addressed but not fully resolved in an unrealistic way.  The book ends with a working, real-world solution to the major conflicts presented.

I really loved this series.  I have now read all of Tammara Webber's work, and she will be an auto-buy author for me.  If you like contemporary YA, I would highly recommend the Between the Lines series.  You won't be disappointed!

Book Review: Where You Are (Between the Lines #2) by Tammara Webber

Graham Douglas doesn’t do romantic relationships, but he was knocked for a loop when he met Emma Pierce on the set of his last film. As they grew closer, he did everything in his power to keep from falling for a girl being pursued by superstar Reid Alexander. Now home in New York, his life is once again under control, until Emma appears and shows him how not over her he is.

Emma Pierce is forsaking an up-and-coming Hollywood career to embark on a life she’s only dreamed of—the life of a regular girl. After spending months burying her feelings for the two night-and-day guys who vied for her heart while filming her last movie, a twist of fate puts her in a coffee shop in the middle of Manhattan with the one she still misses.

Brooke Cameron was a fresh-faced Texas girl when she arrived in LA. Now she’s a beach sitcom star turned conceited heiress on the big screen. Having just survived three months on location with her ex—Hollywood’s reigning golden boy—she’s older and wiser and has set her sights on her close friend Graham. The only thing standing in her way is the girl he can’t forget.

Reid Alexander can sum up his life in one word: boring. Between film projects, there’s little going on outside of interviews, photo shoots, and the premiere of the film he finished last fall. The next-to-last thing he expects is to get a second chance with Emma, the girl who rejected him. The last thing he expects is for his still-bitter-ex to be the one to offer it to him on a platter.

Release Date: October 1, 2011
Age Group: Mature YA
Source: Purchased

I started Where You Are immediately after finishing book one in the series, Between the Lines.  I love it when I am able to read series novels one right after another!  Between the Lines was mostly about Emma and Reid's romantic relationship and Emma and Graham's friendship.  Now, the tables have turned.  Emma and Graham are together, well, as together as they can be while living on opposite sides of the continent and having to keep their relationship a secret from the press.  Emma and Reid are thrown together again during the publicity tour for their movie, School Pride.  Reid decides to use this time as an opportunity to get Emma back. 

Reid is not content to let Emma and Graham be happy together. Emma is the one who got away, and he wants her back.  If not for a relationship, at least for a one-night stand---because that's the extent of his relationship ability.  Have I mentioned that I really hate that guy?  Brooke, Graham's good friend and Reid's ex-girlfriend, has decided that she wants Graham for herself.  She hatches a devious, back-stabbing plan to break Emma and Graham up, and asks Reid for help.  They conspire together throughout the entire book to break Emma and Graham up.  The lengths they go to are unbelievable.  Brooke's favorite rationalization is "the ends justify the means," and she tells herself it's all worth it to be with Graham. 

Where You Are features alternating first-person narrative, with Emma, Graham, Reid, and Brooke as the narrators.  I liked getting to know Brooke better, as I had always assumed there was a deep layer of hurt and inadequacy underneath her polished, witchy veneer.  Although I hated her actions, and hoped for her plan to fail, I did like getting to see her vulnerable side.  I absolutely hated Reid until the very end of the book, when he shows he has a tiny bit of morals and does the right thing for once in his life.

Overall, I enjoyed Where You Are, although it was my least favorite book in the series.  There was simply too much plotting, and too much back-stabbing to make it a favorite read of mine.  I did love the ending, though, and the way Webber wrapped things up.  It's  must read for the series, but not a book I'd ever read again.

Weekly Wrap-Up 3.10.13

So, my Netflix streaming binge continues.  I finished The Vampire Diaries season three, and am now watching the latest season of Parks and Recreation---LOVE that show!  But, between my new-found TV addiction, I managed to finally finish The Eternity Cure and start and finish two other books:

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa.  Liked it---Review to come.

The Elephant of Surprise (Russell Middlebrook #4) by Brent Hartinger.  So good!  Review to come.

Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton.  A great surprise---I'm loving this series!  Rating 4/5 stars.

How was your week?

Book Review: Between the Lines (Between the Lines #1) by Tammara Webber

When Hollywood It Boy, Reid Alexander, arrives on location to shoot his next movie, his goals are the same as always—film another blockbuster hit and enjoy his celebrity status to the fullest while doing so. His costar is a virtual unknown with whom he had blazing hot chemistry during her auditions. The universe is lining up nicely to grant whatever he wants, as usual, until he’s confronted with unexpected obstacles on location like a bitter ex-girlfriend and a rival for the first girl to spark his genuine interest in years.

Emma Pierce just got her big break after more than a decade of filming commercials for grape juice, department stores and tampons, and more recently, bit parts in made-for-TV movies. Nailing the lead role in a wide-release film sent her agent, father and stepmother into raptures, and should have done the same for her. The Problem? Emma is experiencing a building desire to be normal, and starring in a silly, modernized adaptation of one of her favorite novels—opposite the very hot Reid Alexander—isn’t going to advance that aspiration.

Graham Douglas doesn’t fear playing the part of a nerdy dimwit; when it comes to choosing film roles, if it pays, he’ll do it. Besides, his friend Brooke Cameron snatched up the role of the bitchy hot girl and could use his help as a buffer, because her ex is the star. Graham has no problem keeping a handle on the situation, until he finds himself attracted to Reid’s costar, Emma, the girl Reid is pursuing full-throttle with his standard arsenal of charm, good looks and arrogance.

Release Date: April 29, 2011
Age Group: Mature YA
Source: Purchased

Having read and loved Tammara Webber's latest novel, Easy, I jumped at the chance to read some of her other work.  Between the Lines was a steal for Nook at only $2.99, and I bought this book with no hesitation at all.

I liked Between the Lines right from the start.  It felt kind of voyeuristic, getting a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes when celebrities get together to make a movie.  (By the way, are there really teens on the sets of movies with absolutely no parental or adult supervision?!)  Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels, and when I learned that the movie the book is centered on is a modern-day adaptation, I was really hooked.

I liked Emma right from the start.  She was so level-headed, smart, and balanced.  I really felt for her, having lost her mother at a young age, and in a traumatic way.  Emma's best friend is Emily (who is a 'regular' high school student, not in show business) and they call each other "Em."  That was so cute!  I loved their friendship, and felt like their relationship showed a deeper side to Emma.

Like Easy, this book is told in alternating first-person point of view, with the narrators being Emma, Reid, and Graham.  That is my favorite kind of narrative, since it allows the reader to get to know so many characters.

I did have a few problems with Between the Lines.  The story started to feel repetitious towards the end.  I absolutely hated Reid's catting around, although I understand it is indicative of a typical celebrity lifestyle, it was so callous and cheap.  It started to grate on me after a while.  There were times when I just wanted to punch Reid's lights out!

This is a 'mature YA' novel, which meant that there were more adult themes of sex, drinking, and foul language.  Again, I do think it was an accurate representation of celebrity life, but I wanted to include that warning.  This book would not be appropriate for most YA readers.

I was really happy with the conclusion of Between the Lines.  It is a series novel, but there was no major cliffhanger, just some events that left me hungry for the next book.  There was a huge surprise at the end, which I loved, and it served to add some depth to a major character.

Overall, I really enjoyed Between the Lines.  It was one of those books that I felt good about buying.  I immediately bought book two, Where You Are, and dove right in.  I simply had to have more of Emma, Graham, and Reid!

Dear blogger...

I readily admit that I have a lot of pet peeves.  It comes with the territory when you have a Type A personality.  But, one of my biggest pet peeves (at least in the blogging world) is when I receive an email requesting a review where the requester has not bothered to address me by name.  

As soon as I see "Dear Blogger," or worse, no salutation at all, my hackles raise and my ire is provoked.  It takes a lot---think, a book I'm dying to read---to get me to respond to these types of emails.  Sometimes I get so mad that I delete them without any response.  

What are your blogging pet peeves?

Book Review: Unremembered (Unremembered #1) by Jessica Brody

The only thing worse than forgetting her past... is remembering it.

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author, Jessica Brody comes a mesmerizing and suspenseful new series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

Release Date: March 5, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

I've read Jessica Brody before (read my review of My Life Undecided here and my review of 52 Reasons to Hate My Father here), and started Unremembered expecting a good, fun read, but I had no idea she could write like this!  Unremembered was just outstanding.  I loved every single second of this book, from the first to the last line.  Sometimes, I just know when I start a book that it's going to be a winner and that's how Unremembered was for me.  

I don't know if Unremembered is classified as sci-fi, contemporary YA, or suspense, but for me it was the perfect combination of all three.  I'm not usually a sci-fi fan but this book was 'soft' enough on the science part to keep me interested.  Sometimes I get lost in the scientific explanations and they are just too heavy for me.  Seraphina is not your normal human being, and she goes on a path to self-discovery right along with the reader.  I like it when I don't know any more than the characters do, and I made discoveries right along with them.

I loved Unremembered's mystery elementIt was really intriguing and added a lot of depth to the story.  I especially liked Maxxer's character and the fact that there was a time-travel aspect to the story.  Brody had so many different things going on that the book could have gotten too complicated, but she wove each element together to make the perfect story.  

One of my favorite things about Jessica Brody's writing is her excellent characterization.  In the contemporary YA I've read of hers in the past, her characters are all so well-developed, even when they at first appear to be quite one-dimensional.  And Unremembered was no exception.  From Seraphina and Zen to the minor characters, all of the characters were well-developed and each added something important to the story.  There were no superfluous characters, and each interaction served a role in the story, whether it be character growth, plot development, or a furthering of the love story.  And speaking of love stories, I fell in love with Zen as Seraphina started to remember him.  He was the perfect love interest and I liked everything about him.  

I was expecting a cliff-hanger ending and was happy that there was some resolution to the story.  I'm definitely looking forward to book two, but I'm happy with how Unremembered ended.  I really can't wait to see where Brody takes this series!  Highly recommended.

Weekly Wrap-Up 3.3.13

Confession time: I did not finish any book this week.  I started and stopped reading two books and then got disillusioned with reading (temporarily) and compulsively watched The Vampire Diaries on my iPad.  I stopped following the show after I had Kaitlyn---I had no time to sit at the computer and watch a TV episode and got really behind.

I just subscribed to NetFlix streaming and ended up watching a season's worth of episodes!  I was completely obsessed with all things Damon this week.  Is it just me or is he getting better looking as the show progresses?  I'm halfway into season three right now and my one concern is what will I do while I wait for season four to be released?!

How was your week?

Book Review: Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

Survive. At any cost.

10 concentration camps.

10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.

It's something no one could imagine surviving.

But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.

As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner -- his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087.

He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later.

Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will -- and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?

Based on an astonishing true story.

Release Date: March 1, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley

What a haunting and compelling read!  Prisoner B-3087 brought me to tears many times, but it was not until the end that I really let loose, after I knew Yanek's ultimate fate.  I love that this book is based on a true story.  The horrors Yanek faces are so terrible that they are almost unbelievable.  It would be easy to tell myself that Gratz was embellishing---but, knowing that the book is based on a true story makes the story so much more real.

When I told my husband about the book I'd sped through in an afternoon, because I literally could not put it down, he asked me why I'd read something so sad.  "You have enough problems of your own, enough sad things in your life.  Why in the world would you read a book like that," he said.  I replied with the following (I'd had some time to prepare my response because I knew he could tell I'd been crying):
The Holocaust happened.  It happened to thousands and thousands of people.  It was not that long ago, when you really think about it.  I don't want to forget that.  I read books like this to remember.  I read books like this to honor the ones who did not survive, and to honor those who did.  I read books like this to hold space in my heart for others whose struggles just to survive I cannot even fathom.
If you're wondering if Prisoner B-3087 is worth your time, it is.  It made me cry, but also felt like a testament to the strength of the human spirit.  I highly recommend it.