Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waiting on: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen never should have met. She’s the socialite daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, and he’s a decorated soldier fighting back rebellions on newly terraformed planets. But when the vast luxury spaceliner they’re both traveling on crashes, they find themselves thrown together as the two sole survivors on an alien planet. 
As they survive harsh conditions and dwindling supplies—not to mention each other—the two begin to uncover a mystery surrounding the abandoned planet that neither of them could have guessed. 
The first in a trilogy, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a series of timeless, standalone love stories that span galaxies—and are linked by their shared worlds and one mysterious enemy.

Firstly: standalone love stories. Secondly: MEAGAN SPOONER. Thirdly: outer space. I have been obsessed with the idea of YA out-in-the-middle-of-the-universe novels ever since reading Beth Revis' Across the Universe series, and this one sounds phenomenal. ALIEN PLANET, you guys. Plus, I've read Meagan Spooner's book, Skylark, and after the beautiful writing I experience there, I cannot wait to read more from this talented author.
These Broken Stars will be published in 2013 by Disney-Hyperion.
This is not the final cover.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Blogger Woes (3)

I am a huge fan of First World Problems. I'll be the first person to scroll through their Twitter and laugh out loud to myself, thinking "yes. I DO THAT. In ALL of life." And honestly, guys? I do it in blogging, too. A LOT. I get all uppity about the most ridiculous things. Thus, Book Blogger Woes was born. Every so often, I'll be sharing a different blogger pain pertaining to all of the sulking... but in a comical way.

(Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels these things. You just have to. I can't be the only one.)

Carla Edition

I am an awkward person in real life. I stare a lot. I say inappropriate things and my lack of filter means I just say whatever comes into my head. I DO NOT know how to act around authors. Honestly, it's like an illness. I queued to see Charlaine Harris and didn't know what to say to her so decided shouting FANGBANGER at her was OK. I met John Green and ended up telling him to fuck off (in a joking way of course but WHO DOES THAT.) And then there is this story.....

When I was in NYC I want to this swanky rooftop shindig at the Scholastic HQ in Soho to celebrate the This is Teen event. Libba Bray, Meg Cabot AND Maggie Stiefvater were in attendance  and when I say in attendance, I mean just wandering around chatting to everyone. And I knew I would be weird, but this was different! I was going to be just fine if I followed these 3 easy steps.

Step 1 - try really hard to BE COOL. don't freak out, take deep breaths and remember they are just a person like you. The only difference is they have a book published. They're just like YOU. BE COOL.

Step 2 - completely ignore step one and FREAK THE FLIP OUT. Start to hyperventilate and flap your arms around. Can't catch your breath and almost start crying because THE EXCITEMENT IS TOO MUCH. Make a fool out of yourself because you can't actually speak you just jab your name badge over and over as the author in question wonders why you aren't in a straight jacket. (in this case, Maggie Stiefvater)

Step 3 - catch your breath and revel in the moment. YOU JUST MET AN AUTHOR YOU LOVE. You were totally cool. THE COOLEST.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Published: January 3, 2012
Feiwel and Friends, hardcover, 387 pages
Source: Tara
GoodReads Summary: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. 

Sweet baby Jesus, it's about time I come across a book that ravages my brain, sweeps me away to the altar, and carries me over the threshold of HECK EFFING YES. Firstly, I want to thank Marissa Meyer for one of the few five star books I've read in 2012. Things were looking grim, but I have faith that the remainder of 2012 will be awesome.

Cinder is my GIRL. She is the most hardcore cyborg I've ever read about, despite this is my first cyborg novel. She has personality and attitude and a backbone of steel. I'm talking figurative and literal (well, metal.) And she has been dealt a rough hand (which is also metal.) Enough with the puns. My heart ached for this girl. Marissa Meer can write a heck of a heroine, as well as a villain. And villains are plentiful. Not only her evil wench of a step-mother and step-sister, but also a horrible, unavoidable virus that ends lives quicker than you can say bibbity-bobbity-boo. Did I mention the queen of the entire MOON has it out for her, too? I could not help but want to make everything okay for Cinder. Not that she needs anyone's help.

The moments between Cinder and Prince Kai (SIGH!) were so, so heartfelt. And hilarious. And sweet. All of it. But this is not just a mushy book about love. There's also a deadly plague that not only breaks my heart with the victims it claims, but also, as a medical professional, freaks me out and makes me want to wash my hands a lot. And I already wash my hands a lot. And perhaps wear airborne contact isolation gear on the daily.

I can't even explain to you the cliffhanger. Luckily, Scarlet comes out very shortly and I was lucky enough to be able to borrow an advanced copy from an amazing blogger. But you know what that means? EVEN LONGER excruciating wait for book three. Expect my review of Scarlet in the next couple weeks.

And Marissa Meyer? I could hug you. If I ever meet you, I WILL.

Other Bloggers' Thoughts

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In My Mailbox (62) / Stacking the Shelves (4)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga 

These bookish memes allow us to share with other bloggers the awesome books we got, and of course be jealous of everyone who got super awesome books, too!



The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain by Cath Crowley - So Cath is like one of my favourite authors EVER and I know from many goodreads/blog stalkings of Maggie from Young Adult Anonymous that I do NOT want to miss this beauty.
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak - It's Markus Zusak. MARKUS ZUSAK. excited doesn't even begin to cover it.
The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick - this looks sooooooo interesting and Nomes from Ink Crush says this is amazing and thats a recommendation and a half. 
Guitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry - same as above; I spend so much time trawling her bookshelves on goodreads because the lady has got some refined taste in books.


Oh hey, you didn't miss a post this week, did you?

Monday, October 22: Jen reviews The Waiting Sky by Laura Zielin and is a bit sad theres not as much tornado chasing as she thought BECAUSE THIS GIRL LOVES CUMULONIMBUS CLOUDS and so does Carla.
Wednesday, October 24: Jen posts about Book Blogger Woes (best idea EVER) a new First World Problems-esque feature tailored specifically to book bloggers.
Thursday, October 25: Jen reviews Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Fraus and talks about how much she enjoys the relationship fixing business trend a la Failure to Launch and My Best Friends Girl
Friday, October 26: Carla reviews The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta and waxes poetic about how much she loves Marchetta and professes her love for Jimmy. JIMMY WE LOVE YOU.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Carla's Thoughts - The Piper's Son By Melina Marchetta

Published by 8 March 2011, Candlewick press

Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blow to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.

But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up with his grieving father again. And remembers how he walked away from Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle's death.

In a year when everything's broken. Tom realises that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.

Confession – writing this was terrifying. I love this book in an intense unexplainable way that makes me nervous.  It makes me selfish, clutching my thoughts to my chest, unwilling to share them because they are mine and you can’t have them. This book is my secret and it’s time I came clean.

There is a reason why Marchetta is my favourite author and it extends beyond her skills as a writer. It is her ability to read people; to strip back the layers and lay them bare. She doesn’t box them into tropes or smother them in stereotypes, she writes people as they are; real. So that is what they become. Her ability to write every facet of the human condition breathes so much life into her characters that they cease to be words on a page. Nothing is idealised, every emotion is raw and unflinchingly real.

Tom’s relationship with his father was this all-encompassing thing that transcended beyond the words on the page. That confusing heart breaking realisation that this person you admire is just that; a person. They will hurt you in ways you never thought possible and it will cut deep, until the you recognise that even the adults amongst us make mistakes. Their relationship is painful and beautiful all at once, because it’s gone from being this wonderful thing full of trust and communication to complete silence. And it’s the breakdown of their relationship, how it hit rock bottom then carried on going for good measure that permeates Tom in ways he doesn't really understand. Those Finch-Mackees will get you good.

And not forgetting his life outside of his family, which is as much of an emotional driving force for the story as the inner workings of the Finch-Mackee clan. And that comes in the form of his relationship with his school friends aka the four horsewomen, Francesca, Justine, Siobhan and Tara, and not forgetting one Will Trombal. (IT IS GOOD TO BE BACK GUYS, OH HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU). He needs them to talk him down and welcome him back into the fold, because these are not fleeting friendships, these are friendships built on solid foundations that won’t ever fail. They are nuanced and vivid and it’s like stumbling across a secret that you knew but forgot. Their interactions are alive and will slay you with their humor. They are in a word, mesmorising. I could quite happily sit in the corner of the Union and just watch them and never get bored.

Georgie, she snuck up on me and held fast and tight. Her character was woven through with grief and guilt so cloying that it sometimes hurt my heart to read. She’s the lighthouse in the storm guiding you home but she too is broken and unwilling to forgive, even if forgiving means finding the way back to her. She overwhelmed me this woman, because she shows that even adults sometimes don’t get it right and sometimes all you can do is try to hold things together the best that you can.

The essence of this story is love – the love between family that more often than not gets taken for granted. The love between friends that stays strong regardless of the passing of time or distance. And it’s about the pain that love can inflict upon a person; grief, disappointment, misunderstandings.  All the different ways you can inadvertently hurt those who mean the most. There is nothing harder than watching grief tear a family to shreds and having to look at the mess that was once something amazing. And Marchetta gets that and she doesn’t try to romanticise the spite and the hate that comes with loss, she never ones tries to make it anything less than what it is; it’s ugly and brutal and it can diminish a person.

There are some moments in life that make you stop and marvel – they’re few and far between and if you’re not paying enough attention, they might just pass you by. This book is a marvel and even if I could recite it off by heart, I would never, not ever, be able to do this book justice. This is my secret. And now it is yours. 

(p.s Jimmy, I love you. Let's have tea and talk fantasy fiction. I know you're not a pothead.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: Over You by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

Published: August 21, 2012
HarperTeen, hardcover, 302 pages
Source: publisher
GoodReads Summary: After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all. 
Brilliant at bringing humor to the trials and tribulations of the lovestruck, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have crafted a tale that will resonate with any girl who has ever been in love or had her heart broken. It brims with smart observations, features a pitch-perfect teen voice, and will attract fans of Jenny Han, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Barnholdt. Readers are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp spin on breaking up, making up, and getting even. 
I'm seeing a trend with these whole "Relationship Fixing Business" storylines. Hitch? Failure to Launch? My Best Friend's Girl? And you know what? I like it. I like it A LOT. Over You is centered around homegirl Max, who has been burned. Burned BAD. She has had enough of that, though, and has decided to formulate her own business helping poor unfortunate dumped girls get over their sorry excuse for an ex-boyfriend and move on to bigger and better things.

First off, Over You REEKS of girl power. Who needs dudes, anyway? Max is so devoted to her clients and I loved it. I felt a lack of connection with Max, though, for reasons I cannot put my finger on. She was almost too emotionally unavailable for someone who had gone through her own horrendous breakup. I needed a little more empathy from my protagonist. Breakups are hard and if I wanna wallow for a good 96 hours eating unhealthy amounts of pizza rolls and moping around in sweatpants with way too many holes in them, I'm gonna do just that. You can't just shove a girl out the door and expect her to be a-okay in 15 minutes. LOOK AT THOSE DARK CIRCLES. At least go get some new concealer. You need it.

ANYWAY. Over You boasted some seriously adorable banter between Max and love interest Ben. These two had a sweet connection and I was getting so into them, BUT WAIT? Now Max is off gallivanting with the hated ex? The one who sparked the idea for the business? Uh, Max? We need to talk about priorities and morals and sticking to your guns. Weaknesses, sure, I get it. But don't be all hypocritical about it.

Over You was a very fast, very enjoyable read. Seriously, you'll zoom through this in a couple hours flat. Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus are witty as heck, but the strange point-of-view changes really threw me for a loop at times. There would be absolutely no warning in the transition from Max to Ben's POV and I'm seriously thankful this was written in third person, or else I'd have been lost with no hope of returning.

If you loved Sarah Jessica Parker in Failure to Launch, you will adore Max Scott and Co in Over You! I know I'll definitely be checking out more of Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus' work in The Nanny Diaries.

Other Bloggers' Thoughts

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book Blogger Woes (2)

I am a huge fan of First World Problems. I'll be the first person to scroll through their Twitter and laugh out loud to myself, thinking "yes. I DO THAT. In ALL of life." And honestly, guys? I do it in blogging, too. A LOT. I get all uppity about the most ridiculous things. Thus, Book Blogger Woes was born. Every so often, I'll be sharing a different blogger pain pertaining to all of the sulking... but in a comical way.

(Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels these things. You just have to. I can't be the only one.)

It's 3am and all of a sudden, you have a stroke of genius. You have an IDEA. The best idea ever. You cannot even believe how intelligent and witty that this idea is and you're SO afraid to lose it. So you dash off to your computer and you start smashing the hell out of your keyboard with the outpouring of brilliance. This blog post is incredible. You swear, you're going to win an award for this. Book Blog of the Year. For this ONE POST. Maybe you should even get your own YouTube channel. People will probably demand it after they see this review/discussion post/vlog. You'd better brush up on your make-up if your comedic routine is going to rival Jenna Marbles. You schedule it for 6am and you CANNOT EVEN SLEEP because you're so excited for people to read it. 

Two comments.
1. "Great post, lol. Here's a link to my blog."
2. Spam.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin

Published: August 2, 2012
Putnam Juvenile, hardcover, 224 pages
Source: purchased
GoodReads Summary: One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend. Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture. 

 I've always been absolutely fascinated by tornadoes. By "fascinated", I partially mean "terrified." Ask my parents. I used to hide in their closet when it so much as rained. At 27, I've mostly outgrown that fear. And I live 300 miles from my parents, so I'm sure they're thankful that I don't hide in their closet anymore. I hide in my own closet.

Anyway, I've always watched shows like The Weather Channel and Storm Chasers and, of course, I LOVED Twister. Even though Bill Paxton's acting leaves one cringing a little. And I loved The Night of the Twisters--that includes the movie with a prepubescent Devon Sawa.

So when I heard about a YA book centered around storm chasing, I couldn't help but buy The Waiting Sky. I was all set for a fictitious storm chase, when I skidded to a bit of a halt. The storm chasing was more of an "added bonus," rather than the center of the plot. I can't lie: I was disappointed. I wanted DETAIL. I wanted grit. I wanted heart-pounding action and near-death experiences. I wanted lives flashing before eyes. I really didn't get much of that. It was more like a baby tornado pulls up aside your car and throws pebbles at you, to which you and your storm chaser friends laugh and smile knowingly, saying, "look how big and strong the baby twister is!" I wanted the likeness of Helen Hunt's EF-5 experience in words, damnit.

Jane's story revolved around her alcoholic mother and her own coming-of-age. Which, I'm cool with that, but how often do you see tornadoes in YA books? NOT OFTEN. I think my expectations of this book were a little high. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this. The romance was very sweet and Lara Zielin has a knack for wonderfully quirky dialogue. There were some awfully sweet moments packed into this pint-sized book between rival storm chaser intern, Max, and our hard-headed narrator, Jane. The characters were alive and well-written in The Waiting Sky, and Jane's struggle between wanting to better herself and wanting to keep her mother from drinking herself dead was believable.

If I had gone into this thinking The Waiting Sky was an issue book with a hint of death-defying vortex action, I'd have been more satisfied. Still, a solid, fast read with a reasonable amount of excitement, but more focused on family issues than anything else.

Other Bloggers' Thoughts

Saturday, October 20, 2012

In My Mailbox (61) / Stacking the Shelves (3)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga 

These bookish memes allow us to share with other bloggers the awesome books we got, and of course be jealous of everyone who got super awesome books, too! I got some pretty good ones this week! 

And AHEM. We're giving away a preorder of Tahereh Mafi's Unravel Me. To the WHOLE WORLD. Well, to one person in the whole world. ENTER HERE. You have FOUR DAYS left.

This is going up a little late in the day because I'M TIRED. It's been my first week of work following an awesome ten day vacation where I actually slept at night instead of took care of patients. I'm back on nights now and goodness gracious, it's an adjustment. But I've only got one more night of work before a nice little four day weekend. The perks of nursing, I guess.

This week I was good and didn't buy anything, but YAY for NetGalley books. And free eBooks. I like free crap.

For Review
Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt
Read it. Unsettled by it. Enjoyed it.

Free Kindle eBook
Dark House by Karina Halle
I've heard awesome things about this series and HEY. It was free for Kindle. Jump on that.

Oh hey, you didn't miss a post this week, did you?

Monday, October 15: Carla reviewed Through to You and showed some love to male points-of-view, but wasn't totally enchanted by this kind-of-but-not-really ghost love story.
Tuesday, October 16: Jen kicked off a new First World Problems-esque feature tailored specifically to book bloggers. Read about Book Blogger Woes!
Wednesday, October 17: Jen is waiting on Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook. YOU GUYS, a boy and a girl need saving from the general complexities of life and have only each other. ONLY EACH OTHER.
Thursday, October 18: Carla reviews a delicious Aussie title, Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar. And might I add, she reviews the ever-loving shiz out of it. 
Friday, October 19: Jen reviews Fathomless by Jackson Pearce. No need to read the first two titles in the Fairytale Retellings series. This dark and twisty mermaid (no fins, though) story is all you need.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Jen's Thoughts: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Published: September 4, 2012
Little Brown Books, hardcover, 304 pages
Source: publisher
GoodReads Summary:Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo. Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality. When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul. 

 A Little Mermaid retelling? Seriously. I've been looking forward to this book for like sixteen years now. Okay, so MAYBE it's been three, since I first heard of Sisters Red. Whatever. All I knew was: Ariel and Flounder were coming to me in my 20s and I wanted Fathomless to be a PART OF MY WORLD. That's right. With the hair flip and everything.

 I was expecting a big old love story in the same vein of Prince Eric and Ariel. Insta-love, I could deal with. Because that's the kind of stuff Disney movies are made of, no? But it was more of a battle between good and evil in a person.

 So we have Celia, loner triplet (WHAT? Oxymoron, I know.) who has secret powers. We have Lo, who is an Ocean Girl (no fins, though! Hello, misleading cover). And we have Jude, sensitive, lyrical, guitar-playing boy. Hot damn. We have three components to make ourselves a bit of a love triangle, don't we? Usually with a love triangle, it's assumed that the love story will be the prominent component of the novel. Such is not so with Fathomless. Jackson Pearce pulls this off, however, with an intricately woven plot.

Celia, Lo, and Jude are thrown together in the face of a serious struggle of love vs. mortality, selfishness vs. selflessness. Guys, I love a good moral challenge and this one has some hardcore devil vs. angel on the shoulder moments. Now, I'm not sure if I needed to read Jackson Pearce's previous fairy tale retellings (Sisters Red, Sweetly) in order to get the full effect of Fathomless. I haven't read those. However, I'm happy to tell you guys that this is absolutely a book that can be enjoyed without having experienced the prequels in this series. YAY. However, I do think that the story line would've been slightly more "full-circle" if I had.

There could've been a little more lovin' in this book, sure. And I'd have loved to know more about Lo's history, but Fathomless was a GOOD read. Much more serious than I expected, but I could not put it down. If you've looking for a little more "dark" to your mermaid tales (think Monstrous Beauty) then Fathomless is a book you need in your life, STAT.

Thoughts from Other Bloggers

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Carla's Thoughts - Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar

Published by Penguin Australia, 26 April 2012

Imagine there is someone you like so much that just thinking about them leaves you desperate and reckless. You crave them in a way that's not rational, not right, and you're becoming somebody you don't recognise, and certainly don't respect, but you don't even care. And this person you like is unattainable. Except for one thing... He lives downstairs.

Abbie has three obsessions. Art. The ocean. And Kane.

But since Kane's been back, he's changed. There's a darkness shadowing him that only Abbie can see. And it wants her in its world.

I could quite happily drown in Kirsty Eagar’s words. Let them slide down my throat and seep into my lungs. I would let them steal my breath and claim my oxygen for their own. And you know why? Because that’s how this book made me feel; like I couldn’t quite catch my breath, couldn’t gulp enough oxygen into my lungs because I was overflowing, spilling over, gushing with love for the power with which she wields her words.

Night Beach is one of the most evocatively beautiful novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s disarming in its ability to delve into the unknown; those deep dark corners of your mind, the sinister consciousness you’re not quite aware of and the shadowy veil between the known and the unknown. It’s chilling and haunting and quite often alarmingly scary in such a quiet way. Dark and encompassing but ambiguously so; it invokes a fear that feels irrational because all you have is am impression of a thing, just an idea and that is all it takes for the roots of uncertainty to take hold.

(I’m being really vague aren’t I? intriguing is it not?)

This is a tour de force of a third novel; Eagar has made her voice so distinct that she can blur the lines between genres and not once lose the distinct quality of her writing. Her prose is powerful and lyrical and laced through with her intuitive talent of knowing just the right words to say to turn something ordinary into the extraordinary. Her lush descriptions are at the heart of this novel; her interpretation of art and all that stimulates the creative process to the undercurrents of threat, everything was startlingly beautiful yet jarring at the same time.

The relationship between Abbie and Kane is both disturbing and then not. This is not a crush, this is an obsession. It’s that feeling you get when you want something so badly you can barely breathe because you are crushed, smothered by your want. It’s the perverse knowledge that even if you have them it will never be enough; you want to be consumed by them. It is so psychologically intense that it is thrilling and frightening all at the same time. And you will dislike them but resisting is futile; you will love them and they will consume you with so much intensity it will make your head spin.

The power of suggestion you guys. Are you missing something? Or is everything as it seems to be?

Turn everything you think you know about this book right on its head. Not everything can be explained or described; there are shadows and shades that not even the brightest minds can shine light into. Your mind can play tricks on you and so will this book. But will lull you and soothe you and whisper secrets to you that you can never quite hear. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Bonnie and Clyde meets IF I STAY in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts. 
They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run. 
Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger.... 
When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough. 
Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love...and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.

Broken boy, broken girl. Nobody to lean on but one another. They both need saving. THEY NEED TO SAVE EACH OTHER. My heart, it SINGS when reading this synopsis. This book is reeking of desperation and angst and the good old "heart in a vice" pain that so many love stories are made of. Plus, with the exception of Nina LaCour, I've read and loved books by all the authors listed. I need this book!

Nobody But Us will be published January 13, 2013.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Book Blogger Woes (1)

I am a huge fan of First World Problems. I'll be the first person to scroll through their Twitter and laugh out loud to myself, thinking "yes. I DO THAT. In ALL of life." And honestly, guys? I do it in blogging, too. A LOT. I get all uppity about the most ridiculous things. Thus, Book Blogger Woes was born. Every so often, I'll be sharing a different blogger pain pertaining to all of the sulking... but in a comical way.

(Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels these things. You just have to. I can't be the only one.)

OMGOMGOMG! (omgomgomgomg!)

So you're sitting there on your couch, reading an awesome book. All of a sudden, you hear the rumble of an engine that SURELY isn't a car or a minivan. No, no. It's a TRUCK. And not just any truck. OMG A FLASH OF BROWN JUST SPED PAST THE WINDOW. It could be that book you pre-ordered coming early or a surprise from another blogger or AN EPIC BOX OF REVIEW BOOKS from whichever publisher. YOU CANNOT CONTAIN YOURSELF. It's rounding the cul-de-sac and you are rushing to your door jumping up and down on the inside and the outside and you're preparing yourself to welcome that delivery man and you're already singing scales to warm up for your own rendition of Journey's "Open Arms" and the color brown has never been so beautiful and... WAIT A SECOND. There must be a mistake. He's slowing down waaaaay too prematurely.

BAM. Neighbor. You can piss off, UPS. Piss right off.

Don't you just hate it when that happens? 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Carla's Thoughts: Through to You by Emily Hainsworth

Published October 2nd 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.

I love me some male POV, mix that with a book that is contemp/sci-fi and I am SO on board with that bizness. Cam’s voice is probably the best thing about this book – he’s just the right amount of moody and distant; enough to make me care but not too much that I want to punch him in the face. And shit has he been dealt a crappy card, I mean, has his dad up and left but his lawyer mom is never around and his girlfriend is six feet under. If that was me I would be catatonic. For real.

The writing is snappy and fast paced at times but it slows into a nice rhythm you can relax into – I found myself reading this in one day without it feeling like much effort; the chapters flow seamlessly into one another and aren't bogged down with clunky pointless descriptions of the parallel universe. We don’t really need to know about this new place that’s so similar to the real world. This new world is whatever we think it is, kind of like a metaphor for what-ifs and maybes.

I won’t say that I was completely bowled over; the whole Viv thing was quite annoying and I think her relationship with Cam needed more fleshing out because although we know that he loved her, we don’t ever really get to see this, we just have to believe.  At some points I actually wanted to stop reading out of frustration because cam was acting like an idiot, but then I had to remind myself that he was an angsty teenage boy and he has to make mistakes to learn from them.

Through to You is all about learning from your mistakes and moving on. It’s about finding out who you really are and carving your own place in the world without having to be defined by anyone but yourself. It’s about choices. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

In My Mailbox (60) / Stacking the Shelves (2)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga

These bookish memes allow us to share with other bloggers the awesome books we got, and of course be jealous of everyone who got super awesome books, too! I got some pretty good ones this week!

And AHEM. We're giving away a preorder of Tahereh Mafi's Unravel Me. To the WHOLE WORLD. Well, to one person in the whole world. ENTER HERE

For Review 
The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver (unsolicited)
I love, love, loved Before I Fall and Delirium! I haven't read any MG by Oliver, but I do have Liesl & Po on my shelf. Now I can add The Spindlers to that list. When I read the summary, I got as far as "talking rats," and knew I WAS SOLD.
- Epic Force by Alexi Raymond (accepted pitch)
A book about wrestling? YOU BET. I'm about halfway through this book and it is hot, hot, hot. And to think, The Rock was the only thing I thought was appealing about wrestling. This very well may change my mind. Be on the lookout, because I'll be giving away a few copies of this e-book for your reading pleasure in the very near future.
 thanks harperteen and alexi!

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
I LOVE YOU, CARLA! She seriously geeked the F out over this book (read her review here!) and was sweet enough to surprise me with my own copy because she is the mothereffing cat's pajamas.

Once Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare
Both Anna and April read and loved this series. I have books two and three and needed the first in the series. HUZZAH.
- Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Just in time for Halloween. My pants are prepared to be scared.
- Crossed by Ally Condie
STILL haven't read Matched, but Anna loved both of them, so that's good enough for me. I really can't get enough dystopian, guys.

Leave a link to your IMM/StS so we can drop by and admire all your pretties.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Retro Friday: The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie @ Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be a favourite, an under the radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print etc.

Published 2005 by Point

Rebecca, a young nurse stationed in Vietnam during the war, must come to grips with her wartime experiences once she returns home to the United States.

First up – a great big massive THANK YOU to the ever thoughtful and amazing Angie, who gifted me this here book a couple of months ago, all because she thought I would love it and OH MY GOODNESS DO I FOREVER LOVE THIS BOOK.

I have developed an itch for war stories and unlike baloo from the Jungle Book; I can’t just scratch it away. It’s there under my skin refusing to be ignored, which I find really strange because for years and years I hated them with the fiery passion of a billion burning suns. And then The Book Thief happened. Followed by Something Like Normal and the show stopping Code Name Verity. Now , The Road Home has sealed their fate; I am unconditionally in love with war books.

Rebecca is the last person you would expect to enlist in the army, but after the boy she loves is killed in the war, she voluntarily signs up to be part of the war effort and gets shipped off to Vietnam to be a lieutenant nurse. Naturally, the war is a lot worse than she could ever have imagined and ends up with her being shot down from a helicopter she wasn't even supposed to be on and running for her life through the jungle on a broken leg of all things. Split into The War and The World we get to see Rebecca navigate her life both before and after the war and how to deal with the friends she lost and the friends she made. Mainly one Michael Jennings, the arrogant hot letter-writing-genius private she met in the jungle.

Basically this book shows all other books that bitches GET SHIT DONE because hot damn does White come out swinging.

I’m trying to adequately explain just how much this book made me feel things I NEVER expected a book would make me feel.  This book is brutal and is unflinchingly realistic; from the drug and alcohol abuse of the doctors and nurses working in the hospital just to stay awake and alert. The never ending fear is apparent in every single line of prose; the descriptions so harrowing-ly painful that it sometimes took my breath away. You feel like you are right there in this strange place with piles of bodies surrounding you and the stench of death lingering in the air. To be able to do that with only words is phenomenal.

One of the hardest things for me was watching these strong characters hit rock bottom and then just when you think it has to get better for them, someone throws them a shovel and they have to dig themselves deeper and deeper into despair. But for all that this book is painful, it’s pretty damn hopeful.

I fell head over heels in love with Rebecca. She is a survivor in every sense of the word and to see her just going through the motions as she struggles to deal with what comes before and after was heart breaking. Her relationship with Michael is all encompassing; you can tell that he takes up her thoughts when she actually lets herself think. The constant back and forth letters between the two were perfect; the right combination of hilarious comments and unspoken words they won’t let themselves say.

Special mention for Major Doyle. I LOVE YOU. Maybe I can drop by for a drink and a smoke?

The Road Home is one of those books that even though its emotionally fraught and made me almost throw up from crying so much, it’s just comforting in a weird but wonderful way. I want to hide it under my pillow to keep it safe. I want to shove it into the hands of everyone I know. It’s a journey this book and one that I’m so happy to have been taken a long for. A favourite.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jen's Thoughts (+ Giveaway!): Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Published: February 5, 2013
HarperCollins, hardcover, 467 pages
GoodReads Summary: tick, tick, tick, tick, tick it's almost time for war. Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance. She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible. In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life. 

Tahereh Mafi, what am I going to do with you? I mean, seriously. How am I supposed to read any other book this year? How will any of them even compare? I liked Shatter Me. But Unravel Me? I lived this book. Nope, that's not a typo. I didn't mean "loved," I meant LIVED. I don't mean just "oh, good book. Next, please?" I'm talking "I forgot to breathe for 470 pages. What is oxygen?" If this was my copy of the book, I'd rip out all the pages and plaster my bedroom walls with them. I want to take them everywhere with me. I want to climb inside these pages and hide out there for a century or two. I want to pour all the words into a wine glass and get gut-twistingly drunk on them. The continuation of Juliette's story is devastatingly beautiful and I ache, ACHE to know what happens now.

And how am I supposed to hate Warner when you keep making me LOVE him? Yeah, yeah. "Warner is a douche and blah blah blah." LIES. Any hatred you harbor from Shatter Me? Toss it to the curb. TOSS IT. Especially if you've already read Destroy Me (a novella from Warner's POV.) I've never read about such a deceivingly good character. He is the titleholder of "Jen's Favorite YA Love Interests of ALL TIME, EVER." This is a pretty difficult list to crack, but Warner shot right to the top with Unravel Me.

Juliette got on my nerves a little, it's true. But it's like Tahereh KNOWS when she needs to be put in her place, unlike many others who make the main character all Mary Sue-esque and irritating and, still, it brings all the boys to the yard. Nope. Because Mafi has a secret weapon called Kenji Kishimoto who stomps all over that teen angst and knocks our girl J down a few notches. I didn't even have time to grunt to myself or sigh exasperatedly when Juliette went on a woe rampage. Kenji was all over that, like he's my own personal sanity advocate. I love him so. And I'm glad that we got to see much more of his amazing personality in Unravel Me.

Granted, her angst is has merit. A huge bomb is dropped. HUGE. And it doesn't do anything to tear down the obstacles keeping Juliette and Adam from some good lovin'. Yes, I'm totally Team Warner, but even I felt enveloped in the sad. It was overwhelming. WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NOW? I HAVE TO KNOW.

The action? Nonstop.
The romance? Inferno.
The conflict? Gut-punching.
The angst? Mega-emo.
The writing? Creme brulee.

 If everyone read Tahereh Mafi's books, there would be no hostility or sadness in the world. There'd only be glossy-eyed, happy, book-stoned people everywhere. Help save the world by reading all of her books. You can start by entering my giveaway for a pre-order of Unravel Me below.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Makeshift Bookmark is on Facebook!

thanks to lovely lisa for our fb button!

Sure, sure. I'm a little bit late in reporting this (other than tweeting it a couple times.)

Just letting you know we've expanded our presence on the interwebs to include Facebook. It'd be super fantastic if you could head over there and give us a bit of love and perhaps spread the word?

Jen and Carla do Facebook.


Waiting on: The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

A teen girl starts hearing the same voices that drove her sister to commit suicide in this creepy, suspenseful novel.Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on. As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not...
I confess, lovely readers, I am a chicken. Straight up, unabashedly chickensh*t. But here's my dilemma: I also love unreliable narrators. Most of whom are psychologically unhinged which is the BIGGEST KIND OF SCARY to me. Since I'm masochistic, I need to read this book. Plus, Halloween is coming up and I'm in the mood to be spooked. Too bad this book doesn't come out until March 5, 2013. Halloween will just have to come early next year.

And yes, I do start humming Call Me Maybe every time I look at the title. The name "Carly" is forever tainted to me.

(So comment, maybe?)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Carla's Thoughts: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Published 1 October 2012 by Sourcebooks

After her family's scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.

It is a truth universally known that hot guys who play sports achieve a higher level of hotness....and hot guys that coach sport? FIRE IN MY PANTS (see Coach Taylor as an example of this). I said BURNNNNN it’s HOT in here, we've got to make his clothes disappear! Ahem. So when I first heard about Stealing Parker I was like ‘MIRANDA WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE YOU DELICIOUS DELIGHTFUL PERSON’.  Because hot coaches are my jam….but this book was SO MUCH more than just a hot coach.

My girl Parker likes to make out with all the boys. I mean, who can blame her?  They all play sports and are unfairly (unfairly because WHY AREN'T YOU REAL CORNDOG WHY) attractive. Plus, making out is one of my favourite things to do.  But kissing boys because your mom is gay and you’re afraid people will think YOU are too? WHAT EVEN. I am all for some tonsil tennis but you should like the dude before you start exchanging saliva. 

I love you Parker but this whole ‘I’m going to kiss all the boys because I don’t want people to think I like girls’ is STUPID, because you are smart and clever and have got ALL THE THINGS going for you and acting like someone you are not is NEVER a good idea.  Also? Those people at your church are jerks. They’ll get what’s a-coming to them. Hopefully some kick ass divine intervention. (tell you a secret? I used to go to Sunday school TOO. I KNOW RIGHT?). 

Brian. HOLY SMOKES. Damn is the coach one hottie.  And y’all I really would jump this kids bones (I’m older than him SO THIS IT TOTALLY OKAY) (wait, what?). The ‘thing’ with him and Parker is a sealed deal…you see it coming from a mile off and some of the scenes are like wafting-your-face-to-cool-down-looking-around-to-make-sure-no-one-can-see-you-blushing-hot. But they all have that little niggle where you’re like EWWWWWW dude she’s a minor and you’re in a position of authority and DON’T BE SO GROSS YOU OLD GUY YOU.

Kenneally goes to town with the issues in this book…..religion, drugs, sex and sexuality and she does it with her standard aplomb. Her writing is self-assured and confident and whilst she covers all these issues the book never stepped into ‘issue territory’ where you feel like you’re being preached at to Do The Right Thing.  The interactions between the characters are funny and all the secondary characters are as nuanced as the main cast; they’re not just page filler, they have a purpose and they fulfill it.I especially loved the little journal notes at the start of each chapter – they gave me the emotional connection to Parker that I needed to fight her corner

Packed full of poignant moments and zing worthy dialogue, Stealing Parker is a cracking second novel from a writer who is hitting it out of the park and claiming a home run of her own.