Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: The Talk-Funny Girl by Roland Merullo

Title: The Talk-Funny Girl
Author: Roland Merullo
Publisher: Crown
Release date: July 5th 2011
Pages: 320
Genre: adult contemporary
Source: publisher
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In one of the poorest parts of rural New Hampshire, teenage girls have been disappearing, snatched from back country roads, never to be seen alive again. For seventeen-year-old Marjorie Richards, the fear raised by these abductions is the backdrop to what she lives with her own home, every day. Marjorie has been raised by parents so intentionally isolated from normal society that they have developed their own dialect, a kind of mountain hybrid of English that displays both their ignorance of and disdain for the wider world. Marjorie is tormented by her classmates, who call her “The Talk-funny girl,” but as the nearby factory town sinks deeper into economic ruin and as her parents fall more completely under the influence of a sadistic cult leader, her options for escape dwindle. But then, thanks to a loving aunt, Marjorie is hired by a man, himself a victim of abuse, who is building what he calls “a cathedral,” right in the center of town.
Day by day, Marjorie’s skills as a stoneworker increase, and so too does her intolerance for the bitter rules of her family life. Gradually, through exposure to the world beyond her parents’ wood cabin thanks to the kindness of her aunt and her boss, and an almost superhuman determination, she discovers what is loveable within herself. This newfound confidence and self-esteem ultimately allows her to break free from the bleak life she has known, to find love, to start a family, and to try to heal her old, deep wounds without passing that pain on to her husband and children.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Talk-Funny Girl is not the kind of book I'd normally enjoy. It's an adult novel; it was pitched to me as having YA crossover appeal, but it's still definitely an adult novel. And the description sounds kind of strange, to be honest, too out there for me to pick up the book at a bookstore. So to say I went in with low expectations would be an understatement. But The Talk-Funny Girl really took me by surprise - I ended up loving it!

The novel was a little hard to get into for me, I guess just because it's so different from the stuff I usually read. Even though it's about a seventeen-year-old, the writing style definitely makes this an adult novel, not YA. It's very long-winded, descriptive, and detail-focused, which bored me a little, in the beginning. But it's really just because I'm not used to that much description - once I got used to the more adult writing, I really enjoyed the author's style.

The plot is really weird, but amazing, in a way. The Talk-Funny Girl is not an easy book to read; there are some terrible, terrible things happening here. On some level, I didn't want to know what was happening, didn't want to know people could be so terrible. But I couldn't stop reading; the plot is fascinating, in a sick, sadistic kind of way. I'm not even sure why, since it's not like there's lots of suspense - there's a mystery aspect, but the solution to that becomes obvious pretty early on; the plot is generally pretty predictable; and we know everything will turn out all right, since the story is told by future-Marjorie. But the story still had some kind of energy that made it impossible to put the book down.

I'm not sure what I can say about the characters; I can't judge them like I normally do because everything in this book is too weird and terrible. Marjorie isn't exactly someone I can relate to, but I definitely felt for her. The parents and Pastor Schlect are... I don't even know what to say. I loved Marjorie's relationship with Aunt Elaine, of course, but I would have liked to have some more background to Elaine's motivations; I know this sounds terrible, but I didn't quite see why she's so invested in Marjorie's life, since she's not close with her stepsister. I don't know how realistic it is that she stuck around, living close to them, all this time, given the circumstances. But I don't even want to think about that, because thinking about what might have happened without Elaine's influence in Marjorie's life would just be too terrible. Then there's Marjorie's relationship with Sands, her boss. I had some issues with that storyline, but that's not the author's fault - for some reason, I just imagine him as a 50-year-old man instead of the 24-year-old, which makes the later developments in that storyline kind of, umm, problematic. But if I hadn't gotten that strange idea - I don't even know why I imagined him as that old, I just did - that storyline and relationship would have been great too.

I know The Talk-Funny Girl doesn't look like much, judging by the cover and the description. But if you're looking for something that's more mature in style but still relates to YA themes, I encourage you to give this book a try. It's disturbing and powerful, in the best way possible.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bookish Anticipation #22

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.

The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna
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Release date: July 11th 2013
Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties. She also has an eccentric physicist father who sometimes vanishes for days and sees things other people don’t see. But when he disappears for good and Sophie’s mom moves them from Brooklyn, New York, to Havencrest, Illinois, for a fresh start, things take a turn for the weird. Sophie starts seeing things, like marching band pandas, just like her dad.
Guided by Walt, her shaman panda, and her new (human) friend named Finny, Sophie is determined to find her father and figure out her visions, once and for all. So she travels back to where it began—New York City and NYU’s physics department. As she discovers more about her dad’s research on M-theory and her father himself, Sophie opens her eyes to the world’s infinite possibilities—and her heart to love.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
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Release date: July 2nd 2013

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Five Summers by Una LaMarche
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Release date: May 16th 2013
Four best friends, five summers of camp memories...
The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring...
The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth...
The summer we were eleven: Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle...
The summer we were twelve: Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar...
Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable... and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart. Three years after the fateful last night of camp, the four of us are coming back to camp for reunion weekend—and for a second chance.

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
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Release date: May 14th 2013
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.
Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.
But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.

Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg
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Release date: May 7th 2013
Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she’s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place.
Then Olive meets Nick. He’s dark, handsome, mysterious... and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind romance—until Nick makes a troubling confession.
Heartbroken, Olive pieces together what really happened the night of her accident and arrives at a startling revelation. Only by facing the truth can she uncover the mystery behind the song and the power of what it means to love someone.

 45 Pounds (More or Less) by KA Barson
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Release date: July 11th 2013
Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:
She is 16. And a size 17. Her perfect mother is a size 6. Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid. So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.
Welcome to the world of informercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.
And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

FML by Shaun David Hutchinson
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Release date: June 23rd 2013
Tonight’s the night: Simon’s big chance to finally get with Cassie. Cassie, who he’s loved for ages. Cassie, who is newly boyfriend-free. Cassie, who just happens to be throwing the biggest party of the year. Simon’s plan is simple: he’ll go to the party, she’ll fall in love with him, they’ll make out like crazy, and the night will be a complete success.
But things don’t ever go as planned.
In two alternating plotlines, Simon goes after the girl of his dreams and stumbles toward his destiny. It’s one night, one party, and a thousand ways for things to go wrong . . . but a million ways for them to go right.

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
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Release date: June 4th 2013
Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.
Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.
Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?
Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

How Not to Find a Boyfriend by Allyson Valentine
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Release date: June 13th 2013
Sophomore Nora Fulbright is the most talented and popular new cheerleader on the Riverbend High cheer squad. Never mind that she used to be queen of the nerds—a chess prodigy who answered every question first, aced every test and repelled friends at every turn—because this year, Nora is determined to fully transition from social pupa to full blown butterfly, even if it means dumbing down her entire schedule. But when funny, sweet and very cute Adam moves to town and steals Nora’s heart with his untra-smarts and illegally cute dimple, Nora has a problem. How can she prove to him that she’s not a complete airhead? Nora devises a seemingly simple plan to barter her way into Adam’s classes that involves her classmates, friends—and her older brother Phil’s award-winning AP history paper. But soon, Nora can barely keep track of her trades, and struggles to stay in control of her image.
In the end, the only thing that can save Nora is a chess tournament—that she has to compete in wearing her cheerleading uniform. Can she prove to everyone that she can be both a butterfly and a nerd?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Title: Past Perfect
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: October 4th 2011
Pages: 306
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Won from Carmen Rodrigues - thanks!
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A summer job is exactly the distraction that Chelsea needs in order to finally get over Ezra, the boy who dumped her and broke her heart to pieces just a few weeks before. So when Chelsea's best friend, Fiona, signs them up for roles at Essex Historical Colonial Village, Chelsea doesn't protest too hard, even though it means spending the summer surrounded by drama geeks and history nerds. Chelsea will do anything to forget Ezra.
But when Chelsea and Fiona show up for their new jobs, they find out Ezra's working there too. Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. ...or will this turn out to be exactly the summer that Chelsea needed, after all?
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I'd heard that Past Perfect was an adorable and hilarious read from so many people, but I still wasn't sure whether I'd like it - humor is hard to get right in books, it's a hit-or-miss kind of thing for me. Luckily, though, the humor in this novel was just the way I like it, and so was everything else in Past Perfect - I loved it!

Chelsea was the best part of Past Perfect, for me. Yes, she can be melodramatic and kind of self-obsessed, but I felt for her; she's real, in an endearing way. Chelsea's humor is effortlessly entertaining, snarky, sarcastic, and funny in a very clever way. I just loved her so much!

I loved most of the secondary characters, too. Fiona is an awesome best friend to Chelsea, and I loved her personality; she's superficial in a funny, self-deprecating and endearing way. Also awesome are Chelsea's parents - these are the kinds of parents I want to see more often in YA! Chelsea's dad is simply the most kickass dad in history (get it? I know, I'm so funny).

The only characters I didn't love as much were the love interests, Ezra and Dan; their personalities are underdeveloped, in comparison to the rest of the cast. But I honestly didn't mind that much - the description makes it seem like Past Perfect focuses a lot on romance, but to me, it wasn't really about these boys; it's about Chelsea and her character growth, family and friendship, and I really liked how much it focused on these themes, even if it means our love interests are kind of one-dimensional. And even if I didn't love the love interests as characters, I really like how Leila Sales developed these relationships; they felt innocent and sweet, but still very realistic.

Asides from the characters, the unique setting is what makes Past Perfect so special - all the history stuff is awesome! I'm not exactly into history, but the way it's presented in the novel, with Chelsea's hilarious commentary, I loved it. And the war stuff is awesome too - weird and kind of ridiculous, but in a totally awesome way.

Past Perfect is such a cute book; both entertaining and insightful, with kickass characters and an effortlessly hilarious writing style. I'm looking forward to reading more from Leila Sales soon!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My New Treasures #16

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.

Meant to Be by Lauren E. Morrill (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Speechless by Hannah Harrington (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Flawed by Kate Avelynn (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
The Lying Game by Sara Shepard (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Title: Why We Broke Up
Author: Daniel Handler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: December 27th 2011
Pages: 354
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
Source: Bought
I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.
Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I had high hopes for this novel. The concept sounded great, and outwardly, the book is gorgeous - arguably the most elegant, fancy-looking book on my bookshelf. But sadly, the actual content of the novel fell short.

The main reason I didn't enjoy this novel is the narrator Min. Min is the whiniest, most annoying character I've read about in a long, long time. I wanted to shake her and scream at her to get over herself because she made such a big deal out of everything. I just couldn't take the melodrama.

Maybe it wasn't even Min as a character but more the nature of Min's and Ed's relationship. If their relationship had been really long and meaningful, maybe I could've gotten why Min is still so upset and whiny about the whole thing. But their relationship lasted just over a month, and it was obvious from the start that they would never work out. The real reason they broke up is withheld till the end, but I for one thought it was obvious from the start, and this reason made the whole book kind of pointless - it's not like Min needs to explain to Ed why they broke up, under the circumstances. And even before the break-up, their relationship was just so.. ugh. It's the typical jock-guy/artsy-girl storyline, and these stereotypes are really all there is to these characters. I didn't see any real connection between Min and Ed, they were just kind of together, and that was that. And that made all the descriptions of the mistakes Ed made as reasons why they broke up seem kind of ridiculous.

Another thing that bugged me were the constant movie references. Generally, I like when characters have quirks like that, and Min's obsession with old movies could have been fun. But it was just too much. So many times, Min would compare her situation to some old movie that I'd never heard of and go on about it for ages, and I just couldn't get myself to care.

All of that being said, I did like the concept of the novel. I like how each chapter is dedicated to one item in the box, liked seeing how random items like that can make up a relationship. I especially liked that we have illustrations of all these items at the beginning of each chapter - I just love when books have illustrations!

I still think that, if the author had written about an actual meaningful relationship, this concept could have worked out great. But this relationship felt very immature and meaningless, making the whole thing feel pointless and kind of ridiculous, and the main character's whiny attitude didn't help. That's why, to me, the novel dragged on; I just couldn't get myself to care about the characters or their relationship. But I guess at least I'll have an outwardly pretty book to keep on my bookshelf now.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Boys of Summer Excerpt & Giveaway

Today is my stop of the book blitz for The Boys of Summer by CJ Duggan! This book blitz is organized by Giselle from Xpresso Reads.

Here's what The Boys of Summer is all about:

The Boys of Summer by CJ Duggan
(Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
It seemed only natural to nickname them the ‘Onslow Boys’. Every time they swaggered in the front door of the Onslow Hotel after a hard week’s work, their laughter was loud and genuine as they settled onto their bar stools. I peeked through the restaurant partition, a flimsy divider between my world and theirs. I couldn’t help but smile whenever I saw them, saw him ... Toby Morrison.
Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins.
To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets. How did she let her friends talk her into working?
After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer of working expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos. All with the one boy she has never been able to forget.

CJ has offered an excerpt from her book for me to share with you today:

Moon rays filtered through the windshield, giving the cabin an otherworldly glow.

Toby’s perfect teeth were illuminated when he smiled. “You know, you are the worst winner!” He shook his head. “Ever since you won the bet, you’ve been apologising. Just go with it, enjoy it, because I assure you, next time …” - he leaned closer - “… you will not be the winner.” He pulled back, smug.

I curved a brow. “Next time?”

He nodded. “I fully intend to redeem myself.”

“Want a chance to rebuild your shattered ego, do you? I bet you’re itching to fix my bike so you can be rid of me once and for all.” I shouldered him gently, teasing him as I would Adam. And then I realised what I had done; I had treated him like my friends. He looked down at his shoulder, then up at me. His eyes shadowed with untold meanings that I couldn’t read.

“What if I didn’t want to fix your bike?” he said in all seriousness.

“Why, is my company so stimulating that you can’t bear the thought of being without me?” I teased nervously.

I was aiming for light and airy, but something must have gone wrong with my delivery because Toby’s face went blank. He looked out into the lights of Onslow, ran his tongue over his bottom lip and sighed.

And CJ also offered an ebook copy of the novel for me to give away! This giveaway is international, and open until February 18th at midnight. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below - good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 08, 2013

Safe Haven Book & Movie Gift Card Giveaway

To celebrate the Safe Haven movie, I have a giveaway for you guys! Big Honcho Media was so generous to offer a prize pack for me to give away - here's what you can win:

$25 Visa Gift Card for a day at the movies
A movie tie-in edition of the book

This is what Safe Haven is all about:
An affirming and suspenseful story about a young woman’s struggle to love again, Safe Haven is based on the novel from Nicholas Sparks, the best-selling author behind the hit films The Notebook and Dear John. When a mysterious young woman arrives in a small North Carolina town, her reluctance to join the tight knit community raises questions about her past. Slowly, she begins putting down roots, and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex, a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love in this deeply moving romantic thriller.
Starring Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough, David Lyons & Cobie Smulders.
And here's a clip of Nicholas Sparks and the cast talking about the film:

I love Nicholas Sparks, and I loved Safe Haven, so I'm really excited for this movie release! If you haven't read the book, or if you have but want the movie tie-in edition and some money for a day at the movies, you should definitely enter!

Giveaway rules:
- Must be 13 or older to enter.
- Open to US only.
- Open for one week; giveaway ends February 15th at midnight. The winner will be contacted by e-mail. He/she has 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.
- I am not responsible for items lost or damaged in the mail.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 04, 2013

Review: Burning Blue by Paul Griffin

Title: Burning Blue
Author: Paul Griffin
Publisher: Dial
Release date: October 25th 2012
Pages: 288
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Won from Goodreads
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When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that—he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He's a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he's in—and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I just can't make up my mind about this one. There were things I loved and things I hated about Burning Blue, and I still can't decide how I feel about the novel.

Our narrator Jay definitely falls into the love category. He's geeky and adorable and just the sweetest, most sincere guy. I felt for him throughout the novel. Our other main character, though, I didn't love as much - I just didn't get to know Nicole as much as I'd hoped. In between Jay's chapters, we have some of Nicole's diary entries, but they're always cryptic and don't really let us know what's really going on. I get that they create suspense, but this way, we didn't really get to see beneath the surface with Nicole, and I wish we'd gotten to know her a little better.

There's two main storylines in Burning Blue, the budding friendship-or-maybe-more between Nicole and Jay, and the mystery. The relationship between Jay and Nicole is really well done - the focus is more on how they support each other and slowly get to know each other, and it's only hinted at how their friendship might turn into more. I really liked it that way; it gave the story a sweet, innocent feel.

The mystery, though, I'm not sure about. It's definitely suspenseful; it kept me guessing, and I was very surprised at the outcome. But, it was also confusing - the suspects changed so quickly, and I just couldn't keep track. I found it really hard to keep track of who's who, so I wasn't always sure what was going on. And I know that's not necessarily the book's fault - maybe I'm just too stupid - but it took a lot from my enjoyment of the novel.

Asides from the confusion, there was just something about the novel that didn't sit right with me. I'm not sure what it was, but there was just something off about the writing. The writing is clumsy in parts, and there were times when I just got bored with the writing and couldn't stay focused on the story.

I'm sorry this review is so unsubstantial and all over the place - that's just what my thoughts are like after finishing Burning Blue; there were things I loved and things that didn't work for me. Still, I think Burning Blue would be worth a shot for lots of readers; it's a nice combination of character study and psychological thriller, and most of what didn't work for me is very subjective and could work for other readers.

Friday, February 01, 2013

New Releases February 2013

New releases:

The Ruining by Anna Collomore
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Release date: February 7th 2013
Annie Phillips is thrilled to leave her past behind and begin a shiny new life on Belvedere Island, as a nanny for the picture-perfect Cohen family. In no time at all, she falls in love with the Cohens, especially with Libby, the beautiful young matriarch of the family. Life is better than she ever imagined. She even finds romance with the boy next door.
All too soon cracks appear in Annie's seemingly perfect world. She's blamed for mistakes she doesn't remember making. Her bedroom door comes unhinged, and she feels like she's always being watched. Libby, who once felt like a big sister, is suddenly cold and unforgiving. As she struggles to keep up with the demands of her new life, Annie's fear gives way to frightening hallucinations. Is she tumbling into madness, or is something sinister at play?

Pivot Point by Kaesie West
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Release date: February 12th 2013
Addison Coleman's life is one big "What if?" As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It's the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie's parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with–her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the "Norms," or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it's not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school–but she never wanted to be a quarterback's girlfriend. When Addie's father is asked to consult on a murder in the compound, she's unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she's willing to live through...and who she can't live without.

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
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Release date: February 12th 2013

Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much.
L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love.
But then the Reece Malcolm list gets a surprising new entry. Now that Devan is so close to having it all, can she handle the possibility of losing everything?

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
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Release date: February 21st 2013

A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.
Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.
Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?

Star Crossed by Jennifer Echols
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Release date: February 26th 2013
Wendy Mann loves her job rescuing celebrities from public relations scrapes. She grew up with nothing, and now she’s drawn to glitz, glamour, and a lighthearted lifestyle. She speaks her mind, so she’s just the tough cookie to tell stars the truth about how other people see them, even when they don’t want to hear it. But after six years at the top of her game, Wendy crosses the line. A star she was sent to save rebels against her and nearly gets her fired. To salvage her job, she must rehabilitate the career of a singing starlet with a penchant for posting inappropriate photos of herself and arguing online with her famous ex. Problem is, the ex is represented by Wendy’s arch nemesis from college, the hot and haughty Daniel Blackstone. And both stars are scheduled for a collision course on national television, broadcast live from Las Vegas. Daniel’s uneasy when he hears Wendy Mann from his firm’s most hated competitor has been brought in to revive the career of his client’s ex-girlfriend. Daniel must win at any cost. And if he has to seduce Wendy to smooth the way to their partnership, he’s willing to sacrifice himself for the cause. But Daniel doesn’t count on the scorching heat between them—and when they get to Vegas, all bets are off. 

Me, Him, Them, and It by Caela Carter
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Release date: February 26th 2013

When Evelyn decided to piss off her parents with a bad reputation, she wasn't planning to ruin her valedictorian status. She also wasn't planning to fall for Todd-the guy she was just using for sex. And she definitely wasn't planning on getting pregnant. When Todd turns his back on her, Evelyn's not sure where to go. Can a distant mother, a cheating father, an angry best friend, and a (thankfully) loving aunt with adopted daughters of her own help Evelyn make the heart-wrenching decisions that follow?

New in paperback:

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
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Release date: February 1st 2013
Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.

Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz
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Release date: February 7th 2013

Colin Fischer cannot stand to be touched. He does not like the color blue. He needs index cards to recognize facial expressions. But Colin is Wayne Connelly's best--and only--hope of proving his innocence after Wayne is accused of blowing up a birthday cake in the school cafeteria. Colin and Wayne quickly set off on a journey to prove Wayne's innocence, but neither realizes just how far their investigation will take them or that it will force Colin to consider the greatest mystery of all: what other people are thinking and feeling.
Colin Fischer is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. He's a boy with Asperger's syndrome who sees clues in the unlikeliest of places, and whom readers will root for right up until the case is solved . . . and beyond.

Wherever You Go by Heather Davis
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Release date: February 12th 2013
Seventeen-year-old Holly Mullen has felt lost and lonely ever since her boyfriend, Rob, died in a tragic accident. The fact that she has to spend most of her free time caring for her little sister and Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather doesn’t help. But Holly has no idea that as she goes about her days, Rob’s ghost is watching over her. He isn’t happy when he sees his best friend, Jason, reach out to help Holly with her grandfather—but as a ghost, he can do nothing to stop it. Is his best friend really falling for his girlfriend? As Holly wonders whether to open her heart to Jason, the past comes back to haunt her. Her grandfather claims to be communicating with the ghost of Rob. Could the messages he has for Holly be real? And if so, how can the loved ones Rob left behind help his tortured soul make it to the other side? Told from the perspectives of Holly, Jason, and Rob, Wherever You Go is is a poignant story about making peace with the past, opening your heart to love, and finding the courage to move forward into the light.

Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
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Release date: February 19th 2013
Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed looking like a cautionary ad for drunk driving and lacking a single memory of the accident that landed her there. What she can remember, in frank and sardonic detail, is the year leading up to the accident.
As she takes us through her transformation from invisible girl to on-trend Girl Who Dates Billy Nash (aka Most Desirable Boy Ever), she is left wondering: Why is Billy suddenly distancing himself from her? What do her classmates know that Gabby herself does not? Who exactly was in the car that night? And why is Gabby left alone to take the fall?
Putting the pieces together will take every ounce of Gabby's strength. As she peels back the layers of her life, she begins to realize that her climb up the status ladder has been as intoxicating as it has been morally complex...and that nothing about her life is what she has imagined it to be.

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han
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Release date: February 28th 2013
The start of a brand-new young adult trilogy about three very different girls who overcome their differences and band together to seek revenge on those who have wronged them, uncovering a supernatural secret about what brought them together and why in the process. Each book will rotate back and forth between the perspectives of all three characters.

What February releases are you most excited about? 
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