Monday, April 30, 2012

May Read Alongs

There are A LOT of great books coming out this month, so we had some very difficult decisions to make when selecting this month's read along.  As a result...we are having another Double Feature.  Both of these books are part of a trilogy and all 4 of us have been anxiously awaiting their release.  Insurgent is the 2nd book in the Divergent trilogy and Shine is the 3rd and final book in the Shade Series. 

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature. (Goodreads Overview)

 Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.

As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart. (Goodreads Overview)

RT Book Lovers Convention 2012

April 14, 2012 is a day that 3 of us Book Nerds will never forget.  Jacque and I both drove and Flo flew to Chicago to attend Teen Day at the RT Convention.  All of our favorite authors were there: Amy Plum, Josephine Angelini, Jeri Smith-Ready, Stephanie Perkins, and Veronica Roth, plus many more.

We all arrived on Friday.  Some of us early, some later, but all of us were ecstatic about the possibility of  meeting these fantastic authors!  We had been tweeting them like crazy letting them know that there was a "Book Nerd Takeover"

On Saturday we woke up, ate some breakfast, and stood in line to enter the convention.

Look at all of these people waiting to get in!!

Once inside we calmly walked to 'YA Alley".  Ok, maybe we kind of jogged to it.  The first person we saw was our dear friend Josephine Angelini.  She is just as kind in person as on Twitter and Facebook.

Josephine signing Dreamless bookmarks for us

Even though there were no Dreamless books *sad face* we did receive some awesome Dreamless bookmarks and a very funny picture.

Josephine, Flo, Jacque, and Mary

It was after this that we rushed (literally rushed) to Amy Plum's table.  The reason for the rushing was because she had Until I Die advanced copies.  You know how much we love Vincent and Kate!

Amy Plum signing our Until I Die Books
We have to say that we all were so excited that Amy knew who we were.  She was so pleasant and kind to us and always has been.

Flo, Mary, Amy Plum, and Jacque

Next...We were off to see Veronica Roth, the author of Divergent and the highly anticipated Insurgent.
Veronica Roth signing our copies of Divergent
Flo, Mary, Veronica Roth, and Jacque

Our trip to YA Alley would not have been complete without visiting Stephanie Perkins, the author of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door

Stephanie Perkins signing our books

Flo, Stephanie Perkins, and Jacque

We had a BLAST mingling with all of our favorite authors at the Teen Party

Jacque, Amy Plum, Josie Angelini, and Flo
Josie said she would send us an ARC of her 3rd book in the
Starcrossed Series and Amy was our witness :)
Jacque, Jeri Smith-Ready and Flo
We were super excited to meet the creator of the best
fictional band in history/the author of the Shade Series

Flo and Jennifer Lynn Barnes, the author of the Raised by Wolves Series

Jacque, Stacy Kade, and Mary. Stacy is the author of
The Ghost and the Goth Series
After theTeen Party the Co-Hosts of Haymitch Happy Hour and their self proclaimed #1 Fan decided to do some "research" for the show.

We had a wonderful time in Chicago meeting all of these and several other AMAZING authors.  It was such a great experience that we BookNerds are planning on attending next year's RT Convention.  Hopefully Teri will be able to join us in Kansas City, so that ALL of the BookNerds will be able to share in the fun!!
Here is a picture of everything we collected throughout the day.  Some of this we plan on sharing with our
followers, so pay close attention to our upcoming giveaways.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined. (Goodreads Summary)
Me and author Kiera Cass at the RT Convention
I have been lusting after this book for awhile. I heard about it several months ago when I found out that it's going to be a TV show on the CW. Since then, I'd been really wanting to read it. I even joined a Goodreads group looking specifically for this ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). So I was super excited when, while at the RT Conference in Chicago a few weekends ago, I was talking to Kimberly Derting and she introduced me to the author, Kiera Cass, who was sitting right next to her. "YOU are The Selection?!?!" I exclaimed excitedly. Like she IS her book. Lol. Then I hopped on over and immediately launched into my tale of trying to get ahold of the ARC. She didn't have any at her table and I was sad about that, but she signed some pretty, pretty bookmarks for me*. Then later that night I gasped when I saw that fellow BookNerd Jacque had scored a copy! I offered to trade her basically any book I had for it, and seeing my enthusiam, she agreed.

First: Cover Love! This is in all the reviews for a reason -- it really is a gorgeous cover! Look at it:

Ohhh.... Ahhh....

I read this book literally in one day. I had to leave my house when I was about 2/3 of the way through, and all I kept thinking about when I was gone was coming back home so I could finish. I saw this described as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor, and that is pretty accurate. America's descriptions of her prettying up in the palace reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games' Katniss' experiences upon arrival in the Capitol. I really enjoyed America. She was very real -- she was stubborn, she put her foot in her mouth a lot, she made mistakes. She loved her family, she worked hard to right any mistakes she made, and she was honest. She was very real, and I liked that a lot. In the end, it was the fact that she was so real and so honest that determined how she did in the Selection. 

I was happy that the interaction between the girls was not all cattiness -- I was afraid it might be, and I am afraid they might try to present it like that on the TV show. But really, I enjoyed the Selected conversations about wanting to be friends with each other and not just see each other as competitors. This was a storyline where you knew what was going to happen while the protagonist did not. But that worked in this case -- I wanted to keep reading because I knew what was going to happen and I was excited and eager to see it happen.

....but it didn't end up quite going down like I thought. And now I have to wait however long for Book #2!!! *flails* Let's hope I can score an ARC of that one.


P.S. Team Maxon!!!

*The signed want? Let me know in the comments and I will choose a random lucky commentor to send it to.

Paraglide by Peter Anthony Kelley

Good Reads Description:

For siblings Jim and Erica Winters, a summer vacation to London promises adventure and a bit of freedom from their overprotective mother. But once they arrive, they end up with more excitement than they bargained for. Their mother is kidnapped and her captors demand the one thing they can’t produce – their long-absent father.

Unable to trust the authorities, Jim and Erica set off in pursuit of their father, racing across Europe and fending off mysterious assailants. As the trail of clues dries up, help arrives in the form of a raven-haired beauty. Is she the answer to their prayers or a romantic distraction? 

With the kidnapper’s deadline looming, the truth about their father’s shadowy past is revealed. In a last ditch effort to save their mother, Jim and Erica must climb high into the Swiss Alps where a perilous choice confronts them. Can they trust their father who has repeatedly betrayed them?

Mary's Review:

I was surprised on by how much I really enjoyed this book.  The Good Reads description really does not do it justice.

Jim and Erica are amazing characters as they go through the story in search for their father, so they can find their mother.  They have some help on the way but the majority of it is on their own.  They are not even sure who they can and cannot trust.  There are so great twist and turns in this book and it really is a page turner.

I have to say that Peter Anthony Kelley is a great writer who is very descriptive in his writing.  Going through Europe with the characters I really felt that I was there because of the detail in the book.  I rooted for Jim and Erica all through the book, in hopes that they reunite with their family.

I do not want to go into much depth of the story because I would hate to spoil it.  However, I can say is a great read (and fast) and I would recommend to others to read it.

Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie

Good Reads description:

Life sucks for orphans Callum Tate and Harper Bailey.

Kicked out of their foster homes because they suffer the 'eighteen disease' with nothing but a hundred dollar check from the government and a pat on the back, they're forced to rely on a system that failed them miserably.

So they sit. They sit inside Social Services, waiting for their social workers to call their names and offer them the miracle they know will never come but they sit anyway because they have nowhere else to go, no other options on their very literal and figurative empty plates.

But as they sit, they notice the other. Although captivated, they each come to the conclusion that life is complicated enough without throwing in a boiling tension that can't ever be acted upon because they're both too busy thinking about where their next meal will come from but when their names are called and both are placed on a year long waiting list for permanent housing, suddenly relying on each other seems like a very viable plan B.

And, oh, how lovely Plan B's can be.

Well, except for the psycho from Harper's past that haunts her and, oh, yeah, there's the little issue that neither of them knows they're in love with the other.

Needless to say, Callum & Harper's life just got a bit more complicated.

“One day, you and I are gonna’ wake up and be alright. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but one day. One day. I promise you.” - Callum Tate

Mary's Review:

Again I need to thank Twitter friends for the recommendation.

This book gets going right off the first page.  I was sucked into the world right off.  Callum and Harper were made for each other.  They lived such a rough life and I felt so sorry for them.

Fisher Amelie really makes you feel their struggles, pains, love, and happiness. On top of that, (this comes with a warning), you NEED TISSUES FOR THIS BOOK! I meant it!  It is true that I am a crier when it comes to book, but this is one that needs LOTS of tissues.

Fisher Amelie writes with such passion for her characters that you can feel every emotion and trust me, you can feel it.

This is a quick read because you will not be able to put it down.  I would recommend to everyone to read.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Star-crossed Series by Rachel Higginson

Book 1: Reckless Magic
Good Reads Description:

16 year old Eden Matthews has been in and out of private schools for the last two years. Kingsley is her last chance to finish high school and she is determined to simply do that. But when she meets Kiran Kendrick and her world opens to something she thought only existed in fairy tales, she's unsure what her future will hold. Suddenly she is captivated by a boy who seems to be the source of all of her problems and struggling to rescue her best friend from a foreign prison. When attempts are made on Kiran's life, Eden alone must save him. Thrust into a world that is more make-believe than reality, Eden has to find her own destiny without losing those she loves most. Reckless is an intricate story of mystery, adventure, magic and love. Eden Matthews is an unlikely heroine set on a path to save the world and her loved ones before its too late.

Book 2: Hopeless Magic
Amazon Description

After returning home from Romania, and successfully saving her best friend Lilly, Eden Matthews must now come to terms with her future as an Immortal. She is in love with the Crowned Prince, but he is betrothed to someone else. Her family desperately wants her to join their rebellion, but that would mean fighting against her one, true love, Kiran Kendrick. She must fight off assassins that want her dead, an Immortal rite of passage that takes her to India and a deadly disease that no one has thus far survived. Danger seems to lurk around every corner as Eden struggles to keep her true identity a secret and protect those that she loves. Eden must find a way to be with Kiran, or turn her back on him forever and fight to save her people. Hopeless Magic is the second installment of the Star-Crossed series.

 Book 3: Fearless Magic
Good Reads Description:

Eden Matthew's world is in shambles. Her grandfather viciously murdered, her twin brother held without magic, and her best friends imprisoned, all at the hands of the one man that was supposed to love her for eternity. She has been betrayed, and now she is being hunted by a king that wants her dead. Eden must pick up the pieces of her life and stand alone against the tyranny that threatens to destroy her world. Alone she must find a way to rebuild the Resistance, locate her missing parents, save her loved ones and take down the monarchy. Everything is against her, including forbidden feelings of a love that she thought was buried. She has declared war and now stands on the precipice of defeat. Losing is not an option however, and Eden must find a way to overcome her emotions, fight through her pain and restore the magic to her kingdom. Fearless Magic is the third installment of The Star-Crossed Series.

In the final installment of the Star-Crossed Series, we find Eden Matthews a prisoner in the very household she set out to destroy. She is without magic and engaged to the same boy who betrayed her and everyone she loves. With her wedding looming on the horizon, conditions for her people continue to worsen and her goal of offering her kingdom freedom seems further away than ever. Her brother is free however, and building a Rebellion that hopes to rescue her. Eden's parents are working with the Resistance and inside the Citadel Eden finds more allies than she thought possible. However, there is more at stake for Eden than just an unwanted marriage. Her heart is on the line too, as she fights the pressures of palace life, the prejudice ingrained in her people and a seemingly unbeatable king. Endless Magic is the fourth and final installment of the Star-Crossed Series.

Mary's Review

Okay here is a little bit of a back story about these books.  I got the first book free on Amazon and it was just sitting on my Kindle.  Somehow, I just kept over looking it (not sure why).  Then a wonderful Twitter friend @JennNun told me to push it to the top of my "to-read" list.   Of course, I listen and OH BOY I AM SO THANKFUL! I finished all 4 books in a matter of 3 days! I could not even put them down. I even yelled at my Kindle through certain parts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

700/400/100 Divergent Giveaway

Bet you are wondering what 700/400/100 is?  The Book Nerds recently went to RT Book Lovers Convention and were able to get a signed copy of Divergent from Veronica Roth.  Now that is the prize BUT THE SURPRISE TO THAT IS:

If we reach 700 followers on Twitter, 400 followers on the site and 100 likes on Facebook we  will ADD A SPECIAL SURPRISE TO THE GIVEAWAY WINNER!! The "catch" is if we do not make those goals then the winner will only get the signed copy of Divergent. Be sure to tell everyone about the giveaway and good luck!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Passion by Lauren Kate

Luce would die for Daniel.

And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . .

Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last.

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history.  

Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever.

Sweeping across centuries, PASSION is the third novel in the unforgettably epic FALLEN series. (Goodreads Overview)

Jacque's Review:
After finishing Torment, I had high hopes for Passion.  I thought the series may finally make it to 4 stars from the 3 stars I have given the first two books, but this was not the case.  I was still at a solid 3 stars for the third installment in this series.  I still really enjoyed the characters and the story line, but it just didn't grab and hold my attention like so many other books I have read lately.  

Passion consists primarily of Luce and Daniel traveling through their past lives trying to find a way to break their curse.  At first, I thought it was interesting to see their former lives.  Luce's love for Daniel continued to grow with each encounter and she learns more about the fallen angels, the war they are battling, and how the curse ultimately came to be.  After a while, however, it started to get a bit monotonous.  I felt like the book was dragging and we were never going to get out of the cycle we had started.  Perhaps if Daniel and Luce could have made the journey together, I would have enjoyed it more. They were apart the majority of the book and we just didn't get the interaction and relationship development I was hoping for. 

I will admit, the ending of Passion was very exciting.  Lauren has set up an explosive ending to the series and I am anxious to see how everything will unfold.  Rapture is scheduled to be released June 12, 2012.  I honestly hope that Luce and Daniel will FINALLY get the happily ever after they  have been searching for all along.  They have suffered for what seems like eternity.  They deserve to finally find some happiness, but I am sure Lauren Kate will not let them find it easily.

INTERVIEW: Jamie McGuire

I was introduced to Jamie McGuire's book Beautiful Disaster from a friend on Twitter.  I was instantly pulled into this amazing story and as soon as I was done I contacted Jaime for an interview.  If you go to her site she has a list of her latest projects, other books that she has worked on, and FAQs.

I would like to thank Jamie for taking time out of her busy day to allow us to interview her.

1.      I saw that on your blog’s FAQs that you are going to be doing a spinoff of Travis’ POV and Travis’ brother, why the spinoff instead of just doing a sequel?

I started Beautiful Disaster while in the middle of the Providence series, so I wrote BD with the specific intent for it to be a stand alone novel. I am not interested in doing another series at this time, because there are so many other books I would like to write, and with a series comes a certain obligation to fans to release books within a reasonable time frame. However, I have some of the best readers in the world, and BD has enjoyed a strong reception.
After saying no to a sequel for four months, a fan suggested I write BD from Travis’ POV, and I thought that sounded like something I could really get behind and have fun with. Writing books for the Maddox brothers would also be something fresh for me to sink my writing chops into, so I agreed to that, as well. However, between Travis’ POV and Trent’s book, I will write at least one different book, possibly two that I’ve kept on hold to finish the Providence series and Travis’ POV. 

2.     Did you base Abby and Travis off of someone in your life or did they just come to you as you wrote?

Abby is many facets of many different people. Travis was inspired by a man I went to college with, who I also happened to have a ginormous crush on. Of course Travis is one part fiction, as well, but some of my favorite parts about him come from that college-day crush.

3.    What do you enjoy most about writing?

There are so many things, but I suppose what I like the most is using my imagination to conjure a world and characters that others grow to love, too. 

4.      Do you prefer to write books along the lines of your Providence series or Beautiful disaster?

Hmmm...that’s a tough one. I really enjoyed writing BD because it was purely fiction. It wasn’t set in a specific, real life place so I could build that world without research or fear of getting nailed for authenticity. Travis and Abby’s surroundings and experiences were based solely off of my own. I liked breaking the rules in BD and letting the characters go as far as I could take them. I like the darkness of it.

5.    On our site you talk about writing in a journal is that something that you still do and if so does that help keep you thinking straight with all of your ideas for book?

I don’t do it nearly as often as I used to. I just don’t have the time. When I was in school, I wrote every night. As an adult, I changed from paper journals to my computer and I usually wrote when I was going through something difficult. Now if I have a quiet moment, I journal the lives of my characters and call it a book. I’ve even tried to keep up with my pregnancy journal and just haven’t. I must find time to write and market my books, answer mail, keep up with my website, Facebook, family, and friends, along with the responsibilities and paperwork of what is essentially a small business. Journaling for myself has taken a far back seat to the rest of my life, and I believe it’s a fair trade. :)

Again, the Book Nerds would like to thank Jamie for taking time to be interviewed.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Torn by Ashley S. Morgan

Good Reads Description:

Isadora Rivers feels trapped. Her small town high school is suffocating her. Another day of wannabe gangsters, dumb jocks, and Barbie clones, and she'll just lose it. Her keen emotional sensitivity is to blame. She sees through all of the poser behavior to the pain and insecurity simmering just below the surface, and it's overwhelming. She feels like she's literally drowning in other people's emotions.

This same sensitivity, however, makes her a great actress. Suffocating or not, her high school is one of the top arts schools in the country. Acting is not only her passion, but it also looks like her way out. If she can just score the lead role in the school play, she might get herself noticed by a Hollywood agent. But she's got a strong reckless streak, and it keeps getting her in trouble and jeopardizing her chances.

Riding her bike at top speed, she swerves in front of a car and nearly gets hit. The driver, Tristan Blake, turns out to be the mysterious new boy at school. He's rebellious, broody, and wise beyond his years. He's also devastatingly gorgeous. From the moment their eyes meet, Isadora is irresistibly drawn to him. But as soon as he enters her life, things go horribly wrong. She begins having disturbing visions full of unimaginable glamour and unbearable darkness. He knows things about her he shouldn't. And he's somehow so familiar. As he at turns pulls her close, and then pushes her away, Isadora feels like her heart is being twisted and torn.

She soon discovers that her whole future is in jeopardy, and her only hope is to stay away from Tristan. But how can she turn away from the only boy she has ever loved? As a harrowing event looms closer, one that threatens to rip apart her psyche, Isadora must reach deep inside herself and find the strength to change her own destiny. But is she strong enough to do it?

Mary's Review:

Okay, some parts of the plot were confusing but overall the book is very good.

Isadora is almost hit but Tristan when she is riding her bike.  For some reason she is instantly drawn t0 him.  Now, the plot becomes confusing; however, Ashley does explain (towards the end). There are twist and turns, which I am not going to go into because I think it is better for you to read them.  (Because I think that if I explain it might be more confusing).  I do like the story line but the Cover of the book is VERY strange! It does not fit the book. The Good Reads description really says it all.  

I do like Ashley's writing and I would recommend the book with the disclaimer to "keep reading - it gets better".

Thank you Ashley for the book to reviews.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Going Under by Georgia Cates

Good Reads Description:

Jessie Boone is a self proclaimed bad boy and doesn’t march to the beat of anyone’s drum, but his own. Growing up in less than desirable circumstances has made him no stranger to the hard knock life and his determination to leave it behind is fierce. When he finds himself transferred to East Franklin High School, he sees his opportunity to use his athletic ability to snag a college football scholarship, but Forbes Henderson, the player Jessie means to replace isn’t giving up his spot willingly. In fact, Forbes is willing to go to extreme measures to retain his place as first string quarterback. When Forbes’ malicious plan to injure his replacement fails, Jessie is furious and determined to show him he messed with the wrong person; not only is he going to take the position of first string quarterback, he’s going to take his girl, too.

Claire Deveraux is perfection at it’s best. She is beautiful, intelligent and unaware she just became Jessie Boone’s conquest as revenge against her boyfriend, Forbes Henderson. Like her flawless performance as the perfect daughter and student, Claire’s production of being the perfect girlfriend has everyone fooled, except Jessie Boone, and she fears this tattooed bad boy will see her secret desire to explore his crude threats and promises to rock her perfect world. If she decides to give in to one uninhibited moment with Jessie, will she learn too late that it was all an act of vengeance or will Jessie learn the taste of first love is sweeter than that of revenge?

Mary's Review:

Again, @LuvMyHootie loaned me another amazing book.  No werewolves, vampires, or any other supernatural being.  It was just a boy from the wrong side of the tracks that falls for a girl from the other side of the tracks.

I loved it! Georgia Cates is an amazing author who makes you root for Jessie and Claire.  It is not just one of those tragic love stories either.  Do not get me wrong, there are parts in this book that I definitely teared up for Jessie but at the same time I just held on to hope until the end.

I enjoyed every twist and turn that Georgia Cates put me through for this book.  I enjoyed the struggles of Jessie's and Claire's relationship and could not wait until I turned the page to read more.

I would suggest that if you want to read a really good love story, this is the book for you!

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Good Reads Description:

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend America, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the charming college co-ed. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’ apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

Mary's Review:

Once again I need to thank my Twitter buddy @LuvMyHootie because she loaned me this book.  I was up until 3 am reading this book.  It was great!

Let me explain, you all know that I love my supernatural guys and couples, but sometimes a girl needs "regular" characters and Jamie McGuire delivered!  I fell head over heels for Travis and Abby!  It was so nice to read a book that I could actually relate to because it could happen (somewhat).  Jamie McGuire did keep me guessing about some parts and I kept rooting for Travis and Abby to get together the whole time.  

Once Abby's past came back to her, I could understand why she wanted to keep it a secret.  Then you had Travis who was so protective of Abby that he would not let her out of his sight.  But when you put it altogether they were perfect.  On top of Travis and Abby, I loved America and Shepley.  They really tied the story all together! Even though there were no supernatural beings in this story, Jamie McGuire knows how to tell a great story and keep you wanting more. 

If you check out Jamie McGuire site you can see that there will soon be a Travis point of view book and I cannot wait for that one.

On the Line by Jackie Nastri Bardenwerper

"Sixteen-year-old Piper Wesley has always been better at hooking fish than guys. But with her best friend Benny by her side, she’s never minded. And besides, her fishing skills have made her a celebrity in her hometown of Islamorada, an island paradise in the Florida Keys. So when a slump in tourism threatens to sink her family’s fishing charter business, Piper recruits Benny to help her win a major fishing tournament and the $25,000 grand prize. It seems like a perfect plan. Put her skills to use, win some money and help her parents weather the storm. Except that now Benny cares more about hanging out with his girlfriend Marina than helping Piper. And he keeps disappearing, usually after something suspicious happens on the island. Add in Logan, a Michigan transplant with a growing interest in something other than Piper’s fishing, and it looks like practicing for the tournament will be anything but easy. Leaving Piper to wonder how she'll win. And who will be there when it’s over." (From the author's website.)

Jackie approached the BookNerds about reviewing her book, and when I saw that it takes place in my home state of Florida, I couldn't say no. But I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. This was a really great read! I tore through it, reading it in a few hours over a couple of plane rides. I couldn't put it down. I had to see what Benny and Marina were up to. I had to see if Piper would let herself be swept off her feet by Logan. And of course -- the Scramble. Jackie must be quite the fisher woman because all her descriptions were pretty in depth. At times I glossed often the lengthy explanations, but overall it was neat to learn about something different, and I really like the idea of a book focusing on a girl who likes to fish. Outside of the norm, but it totally works for Piper. I think some might say the twist at the end was easy to see coming, but I totally did not! It's not very often that I am so pleasantly surprised by how good a book is, but this one did it for me. If you are looking for unique and engrossing read, I would definitely check it out!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

INTERVIEW: Jessica Sorensen

I contacted Jessica Sorensen when I began reading the forth installment of The Fallen Star series.  I thoroughly enjoyed this series and I would recommend others to read them also.

As usual, I asked 5 questions because I know how busy authors are.  I would like to THANK Jessica for taking time to answer my questions.

Have you always wanted to be an author?  When did you know this was your passion?

I’ve always loved to write. I can remember being eight-years-old and having a huge obsession with writing stories. The obsession grew the older I got. However, it wasn’t until I started writing my first novel, The Fallen Star, that writing became my passion. It’s when I realized I really REALLY loved to write and that I wanted to be an author more than anything.

With the popularity of vampires / werewolves how did you come up with this unique storyline of the “fallen star”?

The idea for The Fallen Star came from a dream I had about a girl who couldn’t experience emotions. I remember waking up and thinking that it would be an interesting concept to write about. But the idea for the actual fallen star aspect came after a lot of thinking and many revisions.  In fact, the very first draft of The Fallen Star was quite different from what it is now.

Even though the majority of the series is from Gemma’s point of view, how much fun (or challenge) was it writing from Alex’s point of view?

Writing from Alex’s point of view was both fun and a challenge. I was so used to writing from Gemma’s point of view that at first the switch kind of threw me off. But I’m really glad I did it because it gave me the chance to show the readers what was going on in Alex’s head.

Gemma and Alex have really grown up a lot through the series.  What was the best part about these characters from Book 1 to Book 4?

The best part about Gemma is how much she changed. She starts out as a lonely girl with no understanding about emotions and friendship.  Throughout the books, she grows confident and begins to understand her emotions a little better.  She grows into a person that steps up to save everyone she loves, even though it’s hard.
Then there’s Alex. In the beginning of the series, he’s about as confused as Gemma is, but he doesn’t realize it. He’s mean to Gemma, but deep down he really loves her. And that’s my favorite part about him.  He starts off as being kind of a jerk to Gemma, but in the end, his love for her is so strong that he’ll do anything to save her. 

On your website you told us that you are writing a new series called The Fallen Soul, can you tell us more about this series and why you decided to do a spin off?

While I was writing The Promise, I found myself getting sad. It wasn’t until I was finished, and in tears, that I realized how sad I was to see the characters go. So after some brainstorming, I came up with the Fallen Soul Series idea, which will have the same characters as the Fallen Star Series, but a different storyline.

And here’s a little description of it:
My name is Gemma Lucas and my life is going good. Alex and I eliminated the star, along with Stephan and the Death Walkers. Finally I can relax and focus on freeing my father from the Room of Forbidden.
At least that’s what I thought. But things are never this easy.
Just when I’ve put the past behind me, Lost Souls cross over into the Real World and start stealing souls for the Queen of the Afterlife.
Then Alex disappears without a trace. As I desperately search for him, I discover secrets I wish I could forget—secrets Alex has been keeping for me. And I’m not sure what to do. Or who I can trust.

The Promise (Fallen Star #4) by Jessica Sorensen

Good Reads Description:

My name is Gemma Lucas and my life’s a mess. Alex is gone, my dad’s trapped in his own mind, and my mom’s working for the dark side. Not to mention Nicholas refuses to quit haunting me. 

The world has also entered apocalyptic mode. Everyday more vampires, witches, and fey run the streets. Innocent people are dying. The Mark of Malefiscus is showing up everywhere. And I’m the only one who can stop it.

The only problem is I have to die in order to do so. And I have to let Alex die. Something I’m not sure I can do.

Mary's Review:

Every since the very first time I read Book 1, Fallen Star, I have wanted more and more of Gemma and Alex.  This final installment was no different.  Jessica Sorensen definitely delivered with this.  I could not stop reading until the very end.  I hoped the ending was not going to be  so sad since it was foretold that Gemma and Alex would have to die to save the world.

I will not spoil it but I can tell you this:  this is an outstanding series.  It is so different from some of the other supernatural series that I have read.  Alex, Gemma, and every other character is unique and you truly fall in love with them!  

I will be waiting until the next projects of Jessica's

Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler

My Loss poster, signed by Jackie!
We were lucky enough to be a part of the Loss blog tour last month. I finished reading the book shortly after, and finally -- here's my review!

Loss is a little different from the previous two books, Hunger and Rage, in Jackie's Riders of the Apocalyse series. Now that we are three books in, the faithful readers know the pattern. If Loss had followed suit, it would have involved a teenager who was living with a disease. Death would come and invite him to be Pestilence, the Rider of the Apocalyse, and then he would go out into the night learning how to use his powers for good.

But Loss didn't follow suit, and I applaud Jackie for that. The main character, Billy Ballard, was not suffering from a disease. He was being horribly bullied. And he was taking care of his grandfather who was suffering from Alzheimer's. There is already a Pestilence, Rider of the Apocalyse -- but instead of doing his job, Pestilence has gotten it into his head that if he doesn't ride then the Apocalypse won't happen. So he puts his physical self into a coma and hides in a memory. It's a good plan -- because he hasn't given up his title, Death can't actually get to him. That's where Billy comes into play. I won't go into the details why here, but suffice it to say that Death needs Billy to go get Pestilence and convince him to ride.

One thing I really liked about this book was all the talk about balance. I am sure it is mentioned in the other books, but it was really emphasized in this one. So, all of our teen Riders are not just going about wreaking havoc to usher in the Apocalypse-- they are helping to keep the world balanced so it can survive.

This book was a little hard to get into at times -- I felt the section where Billy went into the White got a little long-winded and repetitive. But, as always, Jackie's characters delivered some great one-liners and I really enjoyed the final showdown between Billy and the White Rider. And Breath -- Death's story -- is coming next. The final Rider of the Apocalypse. Oh, I cannot wait for Breath!

My review of the Riders of the Apocalypse series:
Loss Blog Tour post

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever is Book 2 of the Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano.  Book Nerds reviewed Wither, which is Book 1 of the series shortly after its release.  We even declared whether we were team Gabriel or Linden, so you know we were anxious to get our hands on this sequel.

Good Reads Description:

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever

Mary's Review:

O.M.G! That is what I can say about Fever! I was so excited to see it on my Kindle that I could not contain myself at all.  If you do not remember I am Team Linden.  We actually did not see much of Linden in the book, but when we did it was GOOD! This book really took a lot of twist and turns for Rhine and Gabriel.  I really admire Rhine's courage but at the same time I thought she was very weak. She actually had to rely on other people this time.  I still do not like Vaughn and his vicious ways.  I really enjoyed the few new characters that we meet along the way.  I do not like the way Lauren DeStefano always leaves us hanging onto the end of the book.  Then again that might be part of her charm!!

I hope that I do not have to wait forever for the third book, but I am sure that I am going to have to.