Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Kiss of Deception

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

It seems lately I've been on a contemporary kick and to get us in a new gear I'm heading toward the favored fantasies and the old charm of historical fiction.  I bring to you, The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson!  Everything, and when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING intreagues me about this novel!  I cannot wait to get lost in Pearson's world and words and find myself eagerly thumbing through these pages.  Can it be July yet? 

Summary Courtesy of Goodreads:

In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assasin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

Everything we love, right?  Love...Sacrafice...Princesses...Betrothals...YES!  I CANNOT WAIT!  Come on calendar, speed it up!  There are good books awaiting me!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Who can resist a good coming of age story with mystery, intrigue and adventure?  That is exactly what is delivered in Salvage by Alexandra Duncan! 

We meet Ava, an intelligent, if not sheltered, teen girl of the space ship Parastrata.  This is a world where men rule and women and girls serve.  They cannot read, think  or lead and with this headstrong girl it's amazing she lasts as long as she does until she is caught doing something so unthinkable that she is sentanced to death.  Gathering her strengh she sets out on her own adventure and heads to Earth where the real journey begins.

Summary Courtesy of Goodreads:

Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood

This epic adventure will thrill you and keep you turning page after page in anticipation.  Duncan does an amazing job building the worlds and characters around Ava.  This story, although not set to be a series, easily has that feel at the end where the story could go on and eager readers are left with a "ohhh.  What?" feeling!

I hope to see more from Alexandra Duncan in the future!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rebel Belle

Okay, nerd alert coming! This is a warning but really, who DOESN'T love a nerd on nerd story? Admin it, there's a little overachiever in all of us! It's okay, My name is Josie and I'm a nerdy-overachiever! Done...okay now onto the review! Get ready for a kick-ass exhilarating ride as Rachel Hawkins takes us into the world of homecoming queens, southern belles, cotillion practice and ninja training with her fantastic novel, Rebel Belle!

Summary Courtesy of Goodreads:

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

Okay so really, what first drew me to this novel was the cover! I mean come on! Check this cover out! It has everything...seriously! It's girly and pink and who doesn't love their pearls? And then it's sort of bad ass with the dagger! Yeah! LOVE IT! ...sorry just realized that paragraph has waaaaay too many exclamation marks...ooops!

I absolutely LOVED Harper's character...she really reminded me a lot of myself when I was her age. She's bookish, has her core group of girls, is a clear overachiever, is competitive, and has a sense of fashion. What more could one girl as for? Maybe some thrilling mystery and new life mission that will turn her life upside-down and shake it up in ways she never thought possible? Right! Check! That's exactly what happens when during homecoming her life is forever changed and now she needs to defend and protect her arch rival...okay well her secretly nerdy-hot nemesis who has made it his job to humiliate her in his new articles. Ugh of course it would be him!

The pace of this novel is fast-paced and the dialog is quick-witted and all teenage banter-y! The battle of the brains is on with school reporter and snarky David Stark and equally intelligent and proper Harper Price.

Can these two come together and join forces before it's too late? Will Harper be up to the challenge to give up her nearly-perfect and charmed life for a life of protecting David Stark with her life? What an excellent read! Who doesn't love a kick-ass girly girl? I know I do!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: The Fine Act of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending #1)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I feel like lately I have been running a mile and minute and just realized that it has been FOR-E-VER since I've posted a WoW! There really are SO SO SO many that I am eagerly awaiting especially since EPIC READS just posted their #ArcParty! EEEeee!! To be completely honest though, I've been on a bit of a contemporary/romantic binge lately and CANNOT wait for Rachel Harris' The Fine Act of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending #1)!!!! This book instantly caught my fancy because, whoa, will you take a look at that cover?! LOVE IT! Really, it just gets better beyond the cover because check out this synopsis courtesy of the every-so-lovely Goodreads:

According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you're friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

Right?! I mean wow! Love the premise! It already promises this lovely coming-of-age story and we all know I have a MAJOR soft spot for the BFF love story. I absolutely ADORE Rachel Harris and her mad skills with tugging at my heart strings and making me feel so light and fluffy and swoony! So yes, definitely add The Fine Art of Pretending to your TBR list and wait with me...waiting...waiting...come on September!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cruel Beauty

Do you love retellings?  I do...and I really enjoyed Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.  A well done twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast Fairly tale.  So much felt like folk-lore that it was really amazing to see things unfold in such a unique way.  

Summary Courtesy of Goodreads:
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

We of course get to meet our strong-willed and yet desperately defeated heroine who overcomes herself in this tale.  We also meet Ignifex (beast) who despite his terribleness really turns out to have a side that is also heart-wrenchingly good.  

I really could not put this book down.  It's not that this story hasnt been told before, but the writing is so wonderfully written that you dont want to awake from this dream.  Do yourself a favor and add this one to your TBR pile if you have not already had the pleasure! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Epic Fail

As soon as I picked up Claire LaZebnik's Epic Fail I was really hoping I would not have to write a review that took into account the namesake...and behold, I won't!  This modern retelling on beloved classic Pride and Prejudice (which I tend to be a bit wary toward since so many try to retell Austen's works without much success but I digress...) was a fun and flirty read filled with a coming of age story where we learn to look beyond a person's exterior, their family, their lifestyle and take the time to really look and see who a person truly is.  Fast paced, lovable characters with sarcastic and witty banter, LaZebnik has created a perfect summer read with Epic Fail! 

Summary Courtesy of Goodreads:
At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:
- As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school--not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.- As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn't exactly on everyone's must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list. 
When Elise's beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince's best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.
Let me start off by saying, do not expect some groundbreaking work of literature here that will span time...instead, take this for what it is...a fun, exciting, fast paced read that will capture your attention and heart.

The characters that LaZebnik creates are wildly entertaining esp Elise who I absolutely fell in love with.  She is amazingly witty and funny with a bit of sharp tongued sarcasm that puts popular and entitled Derek in his place and makes him question the way he acts around others.  As Derek's character is developed I really couldn't help but fall for him!  Like all things worth having, sometimes they don't come easy at first.  I also really enjoyed the relationship between the Benton family in general.  The jealous younger sister and the closely bonded older sisters and their relationship with their totally embarrassing but caring parents. 

I think one of my favorite aspects of a retelling is trying to match up the original to the updated story. Being that Austen is one of my personal favorites, I really enjoyed seeing how LaZebnik was going to bring in this part or that.  LaZebnik surprised and delighted me by putting in some obvious P&P plot points and yet making it her own!  

Overall, this is a successful retelling and def not one to be missed by lovers of Austen! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Winner's Curse

Okay all, I don't say this lightly, but seriously, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski is NOT TO BE MISSED!  This is by far, one of my favorite YA books of the season!  Beautifully written and incredibly engaging, Rutkoski will absolutely captivate and hold you until the very last page.

Summary Courtesy of Goodreads:
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.  
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.  
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
What was so great about this novel?  Can I say EVERYTHING? Seriously, from the GORGEOUS cover art to the storyline, the characters and the building romance...EVERYTHING!  

I always find it hardest to write reviews for books that I completely fall in love with and this proves to be no easier but here goes....

Let's start with the storyline and plot...amazing.  Really, Rutkoski really outdoes her self and provides us lucky readers with a pacing and storyline that does not disappoint.  This one will hook into you and keep you up until midnight (or 2am in my case)...and even after you finish you will be so excited you want to go back and start it all over again just so you don't have to have it all come to an end.    The world building is fantastic!  The Winner's Curse is so beautifully written that you can hear the water lapping and taste the salty air.  Throughout most of the novel it is not hard to feel like you're actually there.

The characters are delightful and full of depth and texture.  They really don't even feel like characters but rather friends that you grow to know inside and out.  From our lovely main characters to even those you despise, absolute care is taken with each.  The chemistry between Kestrel and Arin is complex and continually builds and is powerfully vivid and intense....and did I mention complex?  Seriously, these two are so complicated but it's almost refreshing because really, what relationship doesn't come with confused entangled intricacies? 

I cannot say enough good things about this novel but take my word for it!  You will not be disappointed!  The Winner's Curse is a fast paced, engaging novel that has a multitude of complexities including twists and turns, jealousies, duels, betrayal and honor all wrapped in one!  Do not miss out on one of the best novels of 2014!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Death Sworn

Okay, so we all know (or maybe you don’t know) that I have a soft spot for Assassins and Magic and boy, let me tell you, Death Sworn (Death Sworn #1) by Leah Cypress has both!  This stunning new series will capture your breath and heart and have you sitting on the edge of your seat until the very end with unexpected twist and turns.  And did I mention assassins and magic?! J
Let’s start off with this GORGEOUS cover!  Darkness surrounds the majestic regal structure that looks as if it’s been in ruin for quite some time.  I LOVE the colors and the light contrasted with the dark.  Absolutely stunning.  This is the perfect opener to the world building that is to follow within these pages.  In a world far removed from ours and away from anything you might imagine, Cypress builds the most fantastic, mysterious and dark world you can imaging.  This world is filled with betrayals, secrets and plots. 
Summary courtesy of Goodreads:
 When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances. 
But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
Death Sworn also boasts some great characters (main and secondary).  Our main characters, Ileni and Sorin are wonderfully written and so full of internal conflict and depth.  Ileni is in an desperate situation and fearing death around every corner, but she is at least at peace with her circumstance.  Sorin, a great young assassin with great promise is just waiting for a chance to fulfill his duty while Ileni who has had her chance and now has to succumb to duty constantly are pulled toward each other in a completely hopeless way.  Oh the SWOON!  And in the background is a mysterious unknown love, Tellis, who I think I am in love with already despite his lack of presence in this novel.  The secondary characters all play their parts as well and each adds a depth and dimension to the cast that really keeps you engaged until the end.   

Of course twists galore in this story that keeps you guessing until the very end. 

There is still so much I want to know from Ileni's past and the kingdom's history that I hope will be revealed in book two! 

What a great read to a hopefully fantastic series! Bravo!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Big Fat Disaster Book Blast

As many of you may know, I've always had a soft spot for a good "coming of age" story and Big Fat Disaster by Fehlbaum promises nothing short.   So without further ado, may we present...

Big Fat Disaster
By Beth Fehlbaum
Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It’s her life: Dad’s a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a poor relative’s trailer, where her mom’s contempt swells right along with Colby’s supersized jeans. Then, a cruel video of Colby half-dressed, made by her cousin Ryan, finds its way onto the internet. Colby plans her own death. A tragic family accident intervenes, and Colby’s role in it seems to paint her as a hero, but she’s only a fraud. Finally, threatened with exposure, Colby must face facts about her selfish mother and her own shame. Harrowing and hopeful, proof that the truth that saves us can come with a fierce and terrible price, Big Fat Disaster is that rare thing, a story that is authentically new.
Pre-Order this Novel From These Fine Retailers: 

1 Winner will get a Signed Hardcover of BIG FAT DISASTER as well as a surprise pack of other Merit Books titles. 
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About The Author
In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is an experienced English teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading. She is currently a Library Science student at Sam Houston State University.
Beth is the author of Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014); Courage in Patience (Kunati Books, 2008); and Hope in Patience(WestSide Books, 2010). Hope in Patience was named a 2011 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Truth in Patience, which rounds outThe Patience Trilogy, is as yet unpublished. The Patience Trilogy has been revised and is available for acquisition!
Beth has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups. She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope”.
Beth is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope.
Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas.
You can find Beth online at http:www.bethfehlbaumbooks.comon Facebook, and on

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Things I have learned from YA Dystopian Novels...

So we've all been there...all fallen in love with the Dystopian Young Adult genre and what can we say really beyond the fact that everything we really need to know about life we have, in fact, learned from the YA books we have read.

For example:

1. Yes, the future looks bleak...if not nearly impossible.  Likely there will be a third world war or a horrid epidemic that will change the nation if not the world forever.  We will all live in little communes and be starving or on rations.  The economic divide will be HUUUUUUUGE.  There will be the small class of uber rich and the rest of us will live in poverty.  We might also lose the ability to pro-create.  Awesome. Ooo and let's not forget that there will likely be a sect of unnaturals (aka zombies, werewolves, vampires, etc).

2. To overcome evil, we will need to venture to hell and back.  Like every epic journey, in order to find our way out of this destitute state of being we will need to start our adventure.  We will, of course, be the underdog in this scenario.  That is understood.  We probably will have some hidden talent or trait that we will uncover mid-way through our journey that will most likely prove to be what propels us to victory.  And of course, this brings us to #3...

3. There is someone for everyone.  Yes, even you!  We, in fact, will probably meet our True Love on said journey.  Yes, yes...YA has almost guaranteed us that after realizing that we live in a horrible place and then starting our journey to overcome evil we will come across our love interest...or two.  Likely, they will fight over us and be polar opposites (i.e. good boy and the BAD boy...or maybe just two in numbers) that will be vying for our affection.  Some classic examples: Jem and Will (Clockwork Series), Peeta and Gale (Hunger Games), Edward and Jacob (Twilight), etc.

4. The bad guy is never dead...NEVER.  Seriously.  You might think he's dead.  You might think you killed him, but he'll re-emerge (possibly stronger than before).  Always expect him around every corner and seriously, consider the buddy system!  Two is always better than one.  This really should teach us never to burn bridges.  These things always come back to haunt you (the person themselves, their children, their children's get the picture).

5.  Until you die, this story is ongoing!  Never stop adventuring!  Your story is ongoing and you are ever-changing and ever-growing.  Always think outside that box and look to positivity.  We are the by-product of great YA novels and will accomplish greatness...just keep exploring!