Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Releases to Read in 2013

I read loads of awesome 2012 releases this year, but there's still so many I didn't get around to. Here are the twelve 2012 releases I'm most looking forward to reading next year!

1. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Nina LaCour's debut, Hold Still, is one of my favorite books, period. And everyone else loved The Disenchantments. And the cover is gorgeous. So yeah, I really, really need to read this one.

2. The List by Siobhan Vivian

I've heard mixed things about this one, but the whole concept just sounds like such a great idea! And Siobhan Vivian is awesome.

3. Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Breaking Beautiful sounds dark and just perfect for me, and I've heard great things about it.

4. In Honor by Jessi Kirby

I loved Jessi Kirby's Moonglass, and In Honor sounds even more amazing. And everyone else has already read and loved this one, so I'm sure I will, too, when I finally read it.

5. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

I've heard mixed things about Second Chance Summer, but I still can't wait to read it. Morgan Matson really impressed me with Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, and Second Chance Summer sounds right up my alley, too.

6. A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

I loved Kody Keplinger's debut, The DUFF, but have somehow not yet managed to read either Shut Out or A Midsummer's Nightmare. I really need to read those two in 2013.

7. The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando

I'm not sure what it is about The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life, but I just have a feeling it'll be awesome. It doesn't sound like a book that'll be deep and meaningful and stay with me forever, but it just sounds fun. Scavenger hunts are so much fun, and I love books set at the very end of high school.

8. Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Why oh why have I not read this one!? Saving June is one of my favorite books, so I'm sure I'll love Speechless, too, once I get to it.

9. Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt

I know a lot of people have gotten annoyed by tearjerker-y cancer-kids books, but I still love them. I'm weird - I just love when a book can make me cry!

10. The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez

I loved Jessica Martinez's Virtuosity, and The Space Between Us sounds right up my alley. I love sister stories, and this one sounds perfect for me!

11. Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

I read Please Ignore Vera Dietz as my first AS King book this year, and it's obvious that I need more AS King in my life. Ask the Passengers sounds so good, and the cover is gorgeous!

12. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Meant to Be just sounds so, so cute, and I haven't read a good romance in way too long!

Have you read any of the 2012 releases I missed? Which ones of these do I need to read right this second?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Favorite Reads of 2012

I read SO many awesome books this year! I've read 140 books, and am hoping to read two more before the end of the year. That means I didn't quite reach my goal of 150 books, but considering how little time I've had to read lately, I think that's pretty good. Still, I'm going to need to get better at balancing classes, social life, and bookish stuff next year!

Anyways, here are my favorites of the books I read this year, in the order that I read them. I couldn't narrow it down to a top ten, so I'm doing a Top 12 of 2012!

1. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

I read this one right at the beginning of the year, but I still think about it all the time. It's so beautiful and sad and heartbreaking but hopeful and just perfect. I wish more people had read this one - it reminded me a lot of Sweethearts by Sara Zarr, so if you liked that one, you should definitely give How to Say Goodbye in Robot a try!

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Another one I read at the beginning of the year - right when it came out. And like the rest of the world, I loved it beyond words. John Green is one of my favorite authors, and this is by far my favorite of his books. It was everything you could a want a book to be. Just thinking about it makes me want to re-read the book immediately.

3. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Wanderlove amazed me in how much a book can make you want to do things, to live. The beautiful descriptions of the places they go and the experiences they have made me want to drop everything and do something like this, too. Add to that the great story, and you have one awesome read!

4. See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles

This book made me bawl. And bawl. And bawl some more. Really, I can't remember any other book making me cry as much as See You at Harry's did. And I know not everyone thinks that's a good thing, but I love when a novel can affect me like that.

5. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

I am such an idiot for waiting so long to read this book - now I finally know why everyone is so in love with AS King! Please Ignore Vera Dietz is so subtle and simply amazing.

6. Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

Gone, Gone, Gone is a book I connected with on a really personal level. I don't even know how to explain it, it just helped me a lot; it felt like Hannah Moskowitz had somehow gotten into the ugly parts of my mind and turned them into a book, just for me, to make me feel less alone.

7. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Moonglass is the embodiment of what I like in books. Really, if someone asked what kind of books I like, I should just give them this one, because it fits everything I like in books so perfectly.

8. Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Oh, Something Like Normal. This was my most anticipated 2012 release, and it didn't disappoint. Trish Doller's writing is incredible, and this book automatically made her one of my new favorite authors. 

9. Personal Effects by EM Kokie

I wish more people had read this one. It's dark and real and beautiful, and I loved it.

10. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Along with the rest of the blogosphere, I fell in love with this novel. I'm not even sure what makes it so great, there's just that special quality about Huntley Fitzpatrick's writing that made me want to keep reading this book forever and ever.

11. Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone is really different from the books I normally read. The style is a lot more sophisticated than I'm used to; the sense of atmosphere is stunning and the writing is breathtakingly beautiful. I loved it.

12. Live Through This by Mindi Scott

I just finished Live Through This a few days ago, and I'm still in awe. It's so honest and real and heartbreaking but sweet and beautiful at the same time.

What were your favorite reads in 2012?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review: If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

Title: If I Lie
Author: Corrine Jackson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: August 28th 2012
Pages: 276
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
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Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.
Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reading is awesome. Really, that's all I want to say, because that's just how I feel, after finishing If I Lie. That seems to be all I want to say after each good book I finish lately, since it sadly doesn't happen as often anymore because college is evil. Anyways, If I Lie made me feel all the things; it reminded me what's so great about reading books that make you think and feel. It was one of most anticipated 2012 debuts, and it didn't disappoint!

Carey is a great MC. She's realistic and flawed; she can be snarky and sarcastic, which is really entertaining to read about, but she also has a very vulnerable side, and I really connected with her in that way. I loved the secondary characters, too - Quinn's parents are very flawed but add a lot to the story, George is made of awesome, Blake is really sweet, and even the mean girls have a backstory that makes them realistic. The only character I didn't love was Carey - I never felt like we really got to know him enough to understand how Quinn could sacrifice so much for him.

To be honest, the whole Carey storyline was not my favorite part of the novel. His secret is predictable and kind of disappointing. It wasn't that bad, though, since we find out what it is only about 20 pages into the book - if we hadn't found out till the end, and then gotten such a predictable secret, I would've been really annoyed, but like this, I didn't mind too much. I still think, though, that Quinn made a little too big a deal out of it; I totally get why she didn't tell the whole town, but I feel like she could have told someone, at least her dad - I just can't see someone sacrificing their relationship with their dad could like that, when she could have fixed it by just telling him the truth, without really betraying Carey, since I can't imagine the dad telling the whole town about it or anything like that.

But, really, that didn't take all that much from my enjoyment of the novel. The description focuses a lot on this one storyline, but there's so much more going on. There's the family storyline, which I loved - I really liked seeing how Quinn's past tied in with what's going on now. There's Quinn's relationship with George and the rest of the people at the hospital, another set-up I loved. And there's the bullying and Quinn's relationship with Blake. Corrine Jackson really impressed me with the way she tied together all the different storylines, the different layers of Quinn's life.

Corrine Jackson's writing is amazing; I can't explain why, but it just grabbed me, pulled me along and made me finish the book in a day. But at the same time as it made me want to read on as fast as possible, there were also a few lines that made me stop and marvel at their beauty - and that, to me, is the perfect combination.

One thing I didn't love was how pro-military the message of the novel is, how much war heroes are idolized; it was just a little too patriotic to America for me. I'm not saying that's wrong or anything like that, and I don't want to get into this too much because I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of people, but some of it just didn't sit right with me.

Despite the few smaller issues I had with the novel, If I Lie is one I really enjoyed reading. Emotional, gripping, and thought-provoking, it delicately blurs the lines between right and wrong. Quinn's story is one I know I'll be thinking about for a while!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Bookish Anticipation #20

Bookish Anticipation is a feature I do every once in a while to spotlight future releases I'm excited for. It was inspired by Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday. You can check out more of my Bookish Anticipation posts here.

All I Need by Susane Colasanti
(Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)

Release date: May 21st 2013
Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did—and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?

My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi
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Release date: April 1st 2013

Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it’s all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.
And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family? Now, every moment is a precious gift. She never thought being positive could be so negative. But now, everything’s different…because now she’s living with HIV.

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
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Release date: July 23rd 2013

When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he's her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.
But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can't stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic... and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a ton about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she's obsessed.
Bea tells herself she's got it all under control, but this isn't a choice, it's a compulsion. The truth is, she's breaking down... and she might end up breaking her own heart.

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
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Release date: April 2nd 2013
Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.
When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt
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Release date: July 9th 2013
The road to heartbreak takes a lot of turns.
Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.
Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.
Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind.
Neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

Golden by Jessi Kirby
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Release date: May 14th 2013
Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost may be a distant relative of Robert Frost, but she has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a mystery in her lap—one that might be the key to uncovering the truth behind a town tragedy, she decides to take a chance.

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
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Release date: May 21st 2013
Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath — with candles and a contract and everything — to never have anything to do with one.
Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle. No one wants to end up with a toaster on wheels, so they hire a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?
Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away — no way would she fall for them. But old warnings fade fast, because Emilio turns out to be the first guy in forever she likes. Really likes. Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…
But what if her sisters were wrong?
Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

OCD, The Dude & Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn
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Release date: March 21st 2013
With frizzy orange hair, a plus-sized body, sarcastic demeanor, and "unique learning profile," Danielle Levine doesn't fit in even at her alternative high school. While navigating her doomed social life, she writes scathing, self-aware, and sometimes downright raunchy essays for English class. As a result of her unfiltered writing style, she is forced to see the school psychologist and enroll in a "social skills" class. But when she meets Daniel, another social misfit who is obsessed with the cult classic film The Big Lebowski, Danielle's resolve to keep everyone at arm's length starts to crumble.
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
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Release date: May 28th 2013
Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:
1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:
1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Title: Such a Rush
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: MTV Books
Release date: July 10th 2012
Pages: 336
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
Source: Bought

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High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.
But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business--until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers--and the consequences could be deadly.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Everyone else seems to turn into a fangirling mess every time someone mentions Jennifer Echols, but I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with her books. I loved Going Too Far, but the other Echols books I've read just did not work for me. Still, I've continued to read her books in the hopes that some day, I would love one as much as I loved Going Too Far. And with Such a Rush, it finally happened - it's replaced Going Too Far as my favorite Jennifer Echols book!

I've noticed that the characters in Jennifer Echols's books always have a somewhat unusual interest, and in Such a Rush, it's flying. These unusual interests don't always work for me, but in this case, it totally did. The concept of a girl pilot is just so awesomely kickass. To say I don't know much about flying and piloting would be an understatement, so I was a little worried I wouldn't get that part. But Jennifer Echols made it so relatable! I totally understood flying and what it meant to Leah. I love how that whole idea contributed to the novel!

Even asides from the flying thing, Leah is an all-around kickass character. She's not the usual MC you read about. I don't even know how to describe her; she doesn't fit any of the YA character stereotypes. I'll just say that I loved her, even though we're really different. I liked reading about her family situation, too - such a unique set-up for contemporary YA! I really enjoyed seeing Leah try to get out of that situation and take care of herself.

And then there's the romance. Oh, the romance. It is SO GOOD. There's really nothing else to say; the romance in Such a Rush just made me ridiculously happy. The description makes it sound like your typical good-boy/bad-boy love triangle, but that's not the case at all, for one because I'm not sure I'd even call this a love triangle. Grayson blackmails Leah into dating Alec but won't tell her why. Usually, storylines like that are disappointing for me; the secret often turns out to be some tiny thing, making the whole story unrealistic and melodramatic. But that's not the case in Such a Rush - Grayson's reasons really do make sense! And the romance is so good! Jennifer Echols is the master of sexual tension and realistic, mature relationships, and Leah and Grayson are no exception. I loved these two together.

My only complaint is the ending. I know it's the kind of ending lots of people love, but I just... don't. I just found it a little too sweet to be realistic.

But, really, I didn't even care; Such a Rush wasn't about the little things for me. It was just about the feeling of loving to read! I haven't been reading that much lately, but Such a Rush made it so easy to get lost in the story; it made me want to scream and shout my love for bookish things. Such a Rush is my new favorite Jennifer Echols book, and one of the best books I've read in a while!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Title: Tokyo Heist
Author: Diana Renn
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release date: June 14th 2012
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary YA; mystery
Source: Bought
Purchase from Amazon | Add to Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Violet loves reading manga and wearing scarves made from kimono fabric, so she’s thrilled that her father’s new painting commission means a summer trip to Japan. But what starts as an exotic vacation quickly turns into a dangerous treasure hunt.
Her father’s client, the wealthy Yamada family, is the victim of a high-profile art robbery. Someone has stolen van Gogh sketches from the Yamadas’ Seattle mansion, and is holding them hostage until the Yamadas can produce the corresponding van Gogh painting. The problem is that nobody knows where this painting is hidden, and until they find it, all of their lives are in danger. Violet’s search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery deepens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust.
But she knows one thing: she has to find the painting and the criminals—before it’s too late.
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book - the concept sounds cute and fun. But there were just too many things that bugged me, so Tokyo Heist ended up being pretty hard for me to get through.

When I first read the description, I thought I'd love all the stuff about Japanese culture because it's such a unique backdrop for a YA novel. And I did like finding out stuff about Japan. A friend of mine is kind of obsessed with all things Japanese, and it was fun seeing things she'd told me about in this novel. But after a while, it got too much. I lost track of all the Japanese terms, and it just got annoying. The same thing goes for everything related to art and manga - it was interesting in the beginning, but I got bored by it towards the end.

I know not every book has to be character-driven, but characters are what make books worthwhile for me, and I was not a fan of the ones in Tokyo Heist. Violet is a flat main character - she's the typical quiet girl we've read about a million times, the only thing making her stand out being the manga. It also bugged me how immature Violet is - she's sixteen, but she acts younger, and her immaturity and naivete had me rolling my eyes quite a few times. The rest of the characters don't have real personalities, either, they're just kind of... there.

I was expecting a fun, fast-paced mystery, but that's not what I got from Tokyo Heist. The mystery somehow managed to be both predictable and confusing - it was predictable because the villain was obvious from the start, and confusing because there were so many minor details that I found hard to keep track of, although the latter might have been because I read the book so slowly. Either way, the story dragged on, and the mystery bored me.

Then there's the romance. To be honest, I thought that whole storyline was unnecessary. It's the predictable girl-liking-her-best-friend story we've all already read countless times. Don't get me wrong - I love romances like that, when they're done well. But there was nothing unique or entertaining about this one. I don't think the book needed romance at all; it felt kind of forced on the story.

What frustrated me most, though, was the plausibility of it all - as in, there is none. None of this is believable; everything is just too convenient for Violet, for everything to work out and make her the star who solved it all. The details don't add up, and when things aren't realistic, it bugs me. A lot.

I know my review sounds really negative, but it's not all terrible. If you just read through it quickly, I guess it could've been kind of fun. But seeing as it took me weeks to get through because I've just had no time to read, it dragged on, and I didn't end up enjoying it. I also feel like Tokyo Heist is geared more towards the younger set of YA readers because of the immaturity of the main character. It could be a cute read for younger YAs, but it wasn't for me.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My New Treasures #15

My New Treasures is a weekly feature here at Paperback Treasures to showcase all the books I received over the previous week. I do not take credit for this idea.


Live Through This by Mindi Scott (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Winter Town by Stephen Emond (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Judging Books by Their Covers #6: Grass & Trees

Judging Books by Their Covers is a feature I do every once in a while to showcase some book covers. Each post, I choose one category and some book covers that fit into that category, and talk about whether or not I like those covers. You can read some earlier posts in this feature here.

The links will take you to the Goodreads pages.

Today's category is: Grass & Trees!

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
Paper Covers Rock by Jennifer Hubbard

Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
When It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder
Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler
If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young

Going Underground by Susan Vaught
Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman
Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Meant to Be by Lauren Morril
Girl Meets Boy by Kelly Milner Halls

Wow, there are a lot of books to this theme - I wasn't expecting that many! I'm not sure about these covers. I like the ones that have something to do with the story, like Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker, Going Underground, and Jumping Off Swings, and some of these have an awesome atmosphere, like The Little Woods and All Unquiet Things. And some of these are just plain beautiful, like Meant to Be and Nothing Like You. But I think it's gotten a bit much - some of these are kind of boring and don't really say anything about the story.

What do you think of this cover theme?

If you have any other cover themes you'd like me to feature, let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Review: Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia

Title: Fingerprints of You
Author: Kristen-Paige Madonia
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: August 7th 2012
Pages: 272
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
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Lemon grew up with Stella, a single mom who wasn’t exactly maternal. Stella always had a drink in her hand and a new boyfriend every few months, and when things got out of hand, she would whisk Lemon off to a new town for a fresh beginning. Now, just as they are moving yet again, Lemon discovers that she is pregnant from a reckless encounter—with a guy Stella had been flirting with.
On the verge of revisiting her mother’s mistakes, Lemon struggles to cope with the idea of herself as a young unmarried mother, as well as the fact that she’s never met her own father. Determined to have at least one big adventure before she has the baby, Lemon sets off on a cross-country road trip, intending not only to meet her father, but to figure out who she wants to be.
Lyrical and moving prose from an original voice whose writing Judy Blume calls “luminous” deftly depicts the nuanced conflicts of early motherhood and the search for identity.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

From the first time I saw Fingerprints of You, I knew I'd love it, and I'll admit it was mainly because of the cover - this book is gorgeous! I am totally in love with the whole design; it's subtle but powerful and just so beautiful. And that's how I feel about the actual novel, too.

Lemon is not your average main character, and not just because of her unusual (and awesome!) name. She makes every possible bad decision, but there's an honesty about her voice that makes this a compelling instead of frustrating quality to her character. It does seem at times like she's made it her goal to screw up her life in every possible way, but she's still a character I could relate to easily, and I kind of grew to love her. Lemon's character growth is tremendous but still realistic, and I loved being with her on her journey.

What made Lemon such a great character is the writing. I know this is such a cliched and overdone thing to say, but Kristen-Paige Madonia really does have a way with words. Her style is vivid and captivating; the kind of writing that makes it impossible to put a book down. Every word in Fingerprints of You is simply beautiful.

I think what I love most about this book, though, is the setting. Once they get to San Francisco, everything feels... alive. Fingerprints of You's atmosphere conveys a pulsing energy that made me feel like I was right there with Lemon. All the different secondary characters are fully developed, and I love how it feels like they're all somehow part of this distinct energy.

There is something that bugged me about this book, though, and I think it has to do with how much showing and how very little telling the author uses. In general, lots of showing is a good thing, but I wanted to know more about Lemon's direct thoughts and decisions. The biggest example would be the pregnancy. I wanted to know how Lemon felt when she found out, whether she ever considered anything but keeping the baby. But we don't get to know about her thoughts; we just get to see the consequences, i.e. wanting to find her father. I do see how this method is helpful in some cases, and it does fit the style, but I personally prefer to be closer to what the main character is thinking in the situations we're reading about.

But other than that, Fingerprints of You is a book I loved. Subtle but vivid and beautifully written, it has an energy that captivated me until I'd turned the last page. I can't wait to read more from this debut author!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

New Releases December 2012

New releases:

The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook
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Release date: December 4th 2012

Sadie can’t wait to get away from her backwards small town, her delusional mom, her jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised…even though leaving those things behind also means leaving Brendan. Sadie wants a better life, and she has been working steadily toward it, one con at a time.
But when Sadie’s mother wipes out Sadie’s savings, her escape plan is suddenly gone. She needs to come up with a lot of cash—and fast—or she’ll be stuck in this town forever.
With Brendan’s help, she devises a plan—the ultimate con—to get the money. But the more lies Sadie spins, the more she starts falling for her own hoax…and perhaps for the wrong boy. Sadie wanted to change her life, but she wasn't prepared to have it flipped upside down by her own deception. With her future at stake and her heart on the line, suddenly it seems like she has a lot more than just money to lose...

Never Let You Go by Emma Carlson Berne
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Release date: December 4th 2012

Megan never meant to hurt her best friend, Anna. She made a mistake, and she’s spent all year trying to regain Anna’s trust. So when Anna invites her to spend the summer on her uncle’s farm, Megan is excited…and relieved. The past is finally behind them.
On the farm, Anna quickly falls for Jordan, a rugged summer-hand. Megan and Jordan have their own spark, but Megan’s betrayed Anna once before and she’s not about to do it again.
Still, the more time that Megan and Jordan spend together, the harder it is to deny their chemistry. But Anna doesn’t like to be ignored—and she doesn’t forgive and forget. What started out as the perfect summer is about to take a very dark turn...

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
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Release date: December 11th 2012

From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost...head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he's 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?

Flawed by Kate Avelynn
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Release date: December 11th 2012

Sarah O’Brien is only alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago—James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely. Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give.
Sam Donavon has been James’s best friend—and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on—for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realize James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact...

All the Broken Pieces by Cindi Madsen
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Release date: December 11th 2012
Liv comes out of a coma with no memory of her past and two distinct, warring voices inside her head. Nothing, not even her reflection, seems familiar. As she stumbles through her junior year, the voices get louder, insisting she please the popular group while simultaneously despising them. But when Liv starts hanging around with Spencer, whose own mysterious past also has him on the fringe, life feels complete for the first time in, well, as long as she can remember. 
Liv knows the details of the car accident that put her in the coma, but as the voices invade her dreams, and her dreams start feeling like memories, she and Spencer seek out answers. Yet the deeper they dig, the less things make sense. Can Liv rebuild the pieces of her broken past, when it means questioning not just who she is, but what she is? 

New in paperback:

Cracked by K. M. Walton
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Release date: December 4th 2012
Victor hates his life. He has no friends, gets beaten up at school, and his parents are always criticizing him. Tired of feeling miserable, Victor takes a bottle of his mother's sleeping pills—only to wake up in the hospital.
Bull is angry, and takes all of his rage out on Victor. That makes him feel better, at least a little. But it doesn't stop Bull's grandfather from getting drunk and hitting him. So Bull tries to defend himself with a loaded gun.
When Victor and Bull end up as roommates in the same psych ward, there's no way to escape each other or their problems. Which means things are going to get worse—much worse—before they get better….

Ruthless (Pretty Little Liars #10) by Sarah Shepard
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Release date: December 4th 2012

For years scandal has rocked Rosewood, Pennsylvania—and high school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer have always been at the center of the drama. They’ve lost friends, been targeted by a ruthless stalker named A, and narrowly escaped death. And it’s not over yet.
Aria’s love life is on the fritz. Emily’s exploring her wild side. Hanna’s kissing the enemy. And someone from Spencer’s past—someone she never thought she’d see again—is back to haunt her.
But none of that compares to what happened last spring break. It’s their darkest secret yet and guess who found out? Now A is determined to make them pay for their crime, and the only thing scarier than A is the fear that maybe, just maybe, they deserve what’s coming to them.

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
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Release date: December 4th 2012

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances... a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life...and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last...

Wintertown by Steve Edmond
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Release date: December 5th 2011
Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her... even if it means pissing her off.

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
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Release date: December 18th 2012

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever. 
But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business--until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers--and the consequences could be deadly. 

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
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Release date: December 26th 2012

It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about.
His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere.
Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.
But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.

What December releases are you most looking forward to? 
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