Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley

Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone. But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture. Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.

Flo's Review
What a page turner! I will admit, this one started off slow for me. My only Goodreads status update comes from page 57 where I wrote, "A stable "Ehh..." so far. Will keep reading." I guess it just took me awhile to connect with Aria and the story. I started to get more intrigued when two of the characters blamed Jade's disappearance on the other. Then it turned into a case of me wondering which one actually did it -- and that held my interest. I also enjoyed learning more about the history behind Aria's gift, and I wish that this had been discussed more. Aria had one particular ancestor that she was interested in; I would have loved to read more of her story. More about the original Sybil for sure, and more about the other Sybil's. 

But this book definitely took off running in the second half, so much so that I abandoned my plans of watching TV this afternoon to staying in this book. I figured out who was behind Jade's disappearance before Aria did, and then it became me wanting to see how she might catch him. The end of the story was kind of abrupt, in my opinion. I would have liked to see more about how Aria navigates her new relationships and (without being spoilery in this review) what becomes of her and her gift.

A huge thanks to Soho Teen for providing me with this Advanced Readers Copy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Forsaken & Awaken (Daughter of the Sea #1 & #2) by Kristen Day

This is going to be a sad post!

I have had a rough month and I have been behind in everything! I feel extremely sad about this! No joke ... I really do!

Here is why I'm sad ...

My dear, sweet, extremely talented friend (at least I call her a friend, because I stalk her so much) Kristen Day has re released her first two book of the Daughter of the Sea Series.

OMG! I love these books, and the new covers just make me burst with even more love!!!!


So, because I missed the 'actually' release days ... I am going to giveaway 3.... YES I SAID 3 sets of these!! (Amazon ONLY!)

It's simple ... just comment on the blog post with your name and email!! That's it!!!

I will pick a winner on Friday, March 28, 2014!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions . . . like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl. (from Goodreads)

Flo's Review
I finished this book about an hour ago, and I've been trying to think about how to describe my feelings towards it since then. I'm kind of like Astrid herself really -- in one scene she is trying to explain to her parents that it's not just "Yes I'm gay" or "No I'm not gay." It's not so clear, simple, black and white as that. I am not doing it justice in my description, but it was a really good scene. Anyway, that's how I feel about this book. I liked it...I guess. I didn't not like it. But I also can't say 100% truthfully that I enjoyed reading it. I got to .... oh, about 40% in and started to skim. I am still trying to figure this out, so listen to my jumbled thoughts are I try to get a handle on my thoughts here.

The style of this story was very quirky. I like quirky. It's cute. In doses. (In my opinion.) I think my problem here was that this story was SO quirky all the time that it didn't feel like a story. Each chapter felt separate from the others, like it was 20 something little featurettes about Astrid. I guess they didn't flow? It didn't read as a story to me, but as a series of scenes. Because I didn't feel the continuity of a story, I began to get bored. I guess I didn't feel like we were really getting to know the characters -- we were just seeing them being quirky in different situations. So, as I mentioned earlier, about 40% in I started skimming. I "read" the rest of the book that way, and I still feel like I read it, like I can say I've read this book. 

See? It's not that I didn't like the book. I liked it...I liked Astrid. The other characters? Meh. 

Perhaps because of it didn't feel like a story to me, I didn't really appreciate what I'm sure are some of the deeper meanings and commentary behind things like the passengers and Astrid's obsession with Socrates. I read this book because it is the FYA Book Club selection for March, so I am looking forward to the meeting -- maybe there I will gain some new insight and appreciation.

Has anyone else read this book? What did you think? Or anything else by A.S. King? Is it her writing style in general?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Twilight Saga: The Complete Film Archive by Robert Abele

Immerse yourself in the world of the spectacular The Twilight Saga film series. Written and designed in collaboration with the entire cast and crew who brought all four of Stephenie Meyer's celebrated novels to the silver screen, this official treasure trove delivers an enchanting experience, transporting readers to the vampire world by sharing filmmaking secrets, never-before-seen candid set photography and artwork, and exclusive stories from the stars.

Flo's Review
This book is AMAZEBALLS. Seriously. It's really cool! I was lucky enough to find it on clearance and was so happy that I did! It has tons of pictures. There are comments from cast members, directors, production. Best if all, it has very authentic looking replicas of set call lists (I think that's what they're called), premiere tickets, and signed posters! These items are placed in little envelopes throughout the book and I was always super excited to find a page with one so I could see what was inside. Very very cool! I hope they do this for all my movie series that I've come to love recently.

First Love by James Patterson

An extraordinary portrait of true love that will move anyone who has a first love story of their own. Axi Moore is a "good girl": She studies hard, stays out of the spotlight, and doesn't tell anyone how all she really wants is to run away from it all. The only person she can tell is her best friend, Robinson--who she also happens to be madly in love with. When Axi spontaneously invites Robinson to come with her on an impulsive cross-country road trip, she breaks the rules for the first time in her life. But the adventure quickly turns from carefree to out of control after the teens find themselves on the run from the police. And when Robinson suddenly collapses, Axi has to face the truth that this trip might be his last. A remarkably moving tale very personal to James Patterson's own past, FIRST LOVE is testament to the power of first love--and how it can change the rest of your life.

Flo's Review
James Patterson is one of my favorite authors because of the range and diversity of his books. As soon as I read the description for this one, I put it on hold at the library. I was looking forward to a sweet, quick, easy romance that I could read in a day or two. In that, it succeeded. I read this one in two settings. 

However, I didn't love it. It felt like the surface of a story the whole time -- we were skimming the top layer of the story but never delving deeply into the settings, the scenarios, or the characters. I kind of felt like it was trying to be a sweet, simple fun romance story, but then it dealt with a very heavy issue that can't be described as sweet, simple, or fun. I don't want to give anything away, but I feel like it may garner some comparisons to another recent YA novel that, that has become massively popular.

Part of my problem was the time line. Those who have read my reviews in the past know that I don't tend to enjoy stories that jump around in the timeline. This one did that -- letting the reader in on a major piece (if not, THE major piece) of the story only at the beginning of Part 2. The problem with the jumping around here was that the story was trying to show the growing romance between the two main characters. In order to do that, I feel that the reader needs to see them fall in love linearly. Does that make sense? You need to build on something, and these two did, but the reader didn't get to experience the building in any way that made sense because the timeline was not linear. It detracted from the point of the story -- the falling in love.

I also felt like things came together too easily for Axi and Robinson. I feel like sometimes writers start with the idea that they need their characters to be in a certain place at a certain time for particular story development. This is all fine, but they just need to remember that how the characters GET to that point needs to make sense, be logical, and be realistic. One happenstance event? Okay. Several? Ehhh...

Because I am a travel nerd as well as a book nerd, I really enjoyed following along with Axi and Robinson as they experienced new things in each city. I also, of course, really liked Robinson. What a beautiful boy.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

COVER AND TITLE REVEAL: Luna of Mine (Book 8 of Grey Wolves Series) by Quinn Loftis

You know I'm the biggest fan of the Grey Wolves Series and Quinn Loftis. 

When she announced this book...yep...I screamed and jumped up and down.

So, here is the Title and the Cover .... 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Jacque's Review: 

Panic is a contemporary stand-alone novel.  The main characters are all recent high school graduates preparing to compete in a series of dangerous challenges.  It is a tradition in their small town for the students to contribute to a pot throughout the school year.  The day after their graduation, they have the opportunity to enter a competition referred to as Panic for the chance to win over $60,000.  While each participant has their own reason for competing, they all consider it their one shot at a better life.  Participants are eliminated throughout the competition and the winner takes all.  There have been serious injuries and even deaths in the past, so joining Panic is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

I have read a number of comments made by readers who assumed Panic was going to be another Hunger Games based upon the synopsis.  Panic is NOTHING like the Hunger Games.  This is not about a futuristic society subjecting unwilling participants to a death match.  This is something that I could honestly see happening.  Eighteen-year-old kids smoking, drinking, partying, and participating in ridiculous challenges for a chance at winning a large sum of money.  With Panic, nobody has to get hurt.  Participants can drop out if they decide the stakes are getting too high. 

The story is told from both Heather and Dodge's POV.  They are both participants in Panic, but they were not friends prior to graduation.  They start working together during one of the challenges after Heather's friend, Nat, injures her ankle and needs assistance.  We learn a great deal about all three characters and why they decided to enter the challenge.  There is a lot of danger and even some developing romance.  Each character has a secret, but by working together they all hope to come out on top.

This was an exceptional story that grabbed and held my attention from the very beginning.  I gave it 5 stars  and would definitely recommend it to any YA fan. 

Flo's Review: 
I woke up this morning to a text from my friend who wanted to discuss this book. I laid in bed texting back and forth with her for about 30 minutes about it. I just love when a book gets me talking like that!

Anyway, I have always loved Lauren Oliver's standalones. I love the Delirium trilogy, of course, but my favorite book of hers is actually Before I Fall. There is just something refreshing about reading a story that starts and ends with one book. And this one was so unique! What an interesting concept. The things that these contestants had to do were CRAZY! And there was a twist in the story that I never saw coming! I saw a review where someone mentioned that she loved how Heather started playing Panic for the wrong reason, but then ended up staying in for a right one. I agree 100%. Also, Bishop? I love you! What an amazing friend and then some.

Like Jacque, I would also recommend this book to any YA fan because the challenges kept me at the edge of my seat, and wanting to see how the characters were doing both in the game and in their lives kept me turning the pages.