Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Down London Road by Samantha Young
Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control....
It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.
But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.
Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
So the skinny:
I found the leads in this one just as annoying as the pair in the first book. Except maybe they were more somehow. ODS’s lady lead, was standoffish and get out of my face, lady lead here is insecure but doesn’t show it, doing one thing then another that had others pegging her as so-and-so. The male lead in this one’s no different from the rest, as it’s his initial assessment of her that sets things up. So the sexy times in this was scorching. And mindless fun ensued. Except there’s a bit more drama in this one, drama that’s based on initial impressions, terrible first encounters and then sexy times. Dude, the sexy times!
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Monday, May 20, 2013
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…
Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.
Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.
But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Holy sexy wow.
The one thing I hated was how some characters kept dropping random stuff immaterial to the romance I mean Ph D this and Ph D that blablabla. And while I did enjoy this, didn’t love it mind you. Because while there were one or two WIN moments, over all this is just your typical romance of woman damaged, dead set on not getting hurt again and a guy equally determined to wear her down.
I enjoyed the two of them together especially her and her no nonsense and not too prissy ways and then him and his being…. hot? (heh.) But see, the girl could be too held back sometimes, and the guy could be too alpha as well… then again, I set on this because I needed some fluff. It has fulfilled that and then some because yes, Holy. Sexy. Wow.
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Sunday, May 19, 2013
All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.
Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.
And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Confuzzled. On the one hand the gritty feel in this drew me in. How they’ve only got each other (or at least, how she thought they only had each other). Then there’s how oddly lyrical things went… because of said darkness, it’s moody and descriptive, but at times too much. Points of this, had me questioning the images conjured, was it them tripping in a bad way? (Good) Or was this trying too hard to be atmospheric and whimsical/ fantastical? (Not good.)
That split set aside, this was filled with things I love about YA, (the gritty kind): music, first loves, deep connections between leads; connections that at once set them apart from all else, making them strong and weak simultaneously. It’s that last that’s remarkable. Their pairing is not an unexpected one, there’s a history there. And perhaps it is that they’re such opposites that made them make even more sense together. Them, perfectly matched up in how different they were: one, life of the party one, the other all doom and gloom and real thinking; one, easy living and damn tomorrow, the other watching on the side lines. Maybe it’s because of those difference that they made sense.
And then things got darker. Except I was never quite sure if I was reading what I was (even having to refer to the blurb just to make sure it was going where I thought it was). It’s when I wished Pretty Songs had stuck to the path it started on: of sisters and connections that damage those party to it. Maybe it sort of did, Jack’s entry certainly magnified their differences. How easy things fit in Aurora’s world view versus how impossible things looked from the other girl’s so that all sorts of emotions came out: hard ones especially like indifference of one, jealousy of another and even insecurities of both. There’s a neediness between them that had me surprised… both so strong separately, but they’re weakness was each other and all that’s made clear with the boy (OK, not boy) in the picture.
It’s when the mystical magical underworld thing that came out of nowhere for me… and I’m still wishing that it was just somebody somewhere in the book tripping in a bad way, but darn it! I’m still not sure about what I feel for this one. Half of it was good 'till it went elsewhere. And I know! I know the blurb made it plain as day, but with the way things began here, people! What a waste.
(Urgh… I. Am. Undecided.)
2? 3? 3.5?????
Thank you Net Galley!
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Saturday, May 18, 2013
How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!
Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.
To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There are so many romantic entanglements in the making in this one, and in the mean time, I wanted to shake some sense into her! But her being on the trip to begin with was that, wasn’t it? It’s her family shaking her up. Distance, they said... but it’s more like them wanting her to open her eyes to what’s what. I liked the possibilities that that opened up.
It’s not the absent father or mother types in this one because they’re a hundred percent involved… and yet still: here we have a girl who acts, or more apt, reacts all the time. Rose is passionate and impulsive; it all these things that made her tense situation a crazier one. Thus, the road trip. And I love road trip books, too. Except I was left wanting a bit more of her learning about herself and less about her learning about these boys she’d found herself on the road with… which is precisely what happens!
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed each moment of her ‘my boying’ them all. Because in the process of learning more about them, she saw that there’s more to her world than her ex. And things could get fun and sweet and then frustrating, but gosh! I wish it was less about her and the guy she was with.. (or not with) and more about something bigger. My complaints on romantic possibilities notwithstanding, Matty is a sweety, Spencer more so… but Logan? He’s the tough mysterious type… who’s sort of-kind of mean, but pulled the girl in because of the same.
Over all this was just an OK read. I just wanted some more out of it.
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Friday, May 17, 2013
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.
Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.
When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.
But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.
A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
This was sweet, sad then real.
Early parts have her feeling like safe in her little nook. Happy, is what she was. While it’s not necessarily ripped out form under her, it sort of disappears. More importantly she’s at first oblivious then in denial then later clueless as to why. All they while, she’s trying to be understanding over their loss but having the most difficult time at it as she’s unable to separate their loss from hers… because that’s the way things have always been: no her, no them, but an us. ‘Till it isn’t anymore.
So, she’s caught adrift, and you’re sad for her, but wanting her to open her eyes because boundaries? This girl saw none. And it’s in failing to see these that the lead read young for a girl turning eighteen, young, a bit desperate, and unaware of boundaries. And it’s failing to see these walls that much of her heartache springs.
Discoveries of all sorts
Friend gone, mother not there, father not really there either and all the while she’s caught in this in between time of kid but not kid. Feeling disappointment but being old enough to know that time’s up and the boat’s sailed… that it’s not her turn anymore because while she’s not ‘old’ old, then he’s older now. And you kind of hear her heart break, you know?
All made even more complicated with discoveries of a version of a mother so different from the one she’d become familiar with (and even dislike). There’s this disappointment between them, from her for her mother especially. So that her being caught in the middle of kid and not kid anymore? It’s most strongly felt between them because it felt like the kid was doing the mothering and if not, it felt like it was the kid wanting to not get stuck and wanting (needing to) move on, what she thought was the grown up thing to do. It felt simply felt sad, especially when considering the predicament she’d find herself in later.
Then there were other sorts of discoveries of just how strong she could be in finding her own way, seeing things for what they were… finally owning up to wrongs done, but before the last: feeling all these things that others were capable of letting her feel:
A lot of these were sad ones, but some a sweet respite, particularly between her and a certain other. The connection made between them was familiar but not; because it’s builds on. And if at first, there was that odd and doesn’t feel right feeling going on in me, it’s a feeling that didn’t persist. Mainly because I found it truthful her learning more of that side her. There was truthfulness to how young they both read. The reluctant attraction, heart beating then suddenly racing and then throw in just a bit of that conflicted “I can’t/ we can’t” and well, see, I finished this in three hours. If that’s not sign enough of a good read, well, I have no idea what is.
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Thursday, May 16, 2013
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.
Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Objectively speaking, this girl is not one to love. She’s selfish, and way too into what others think of her. The double life and what not she’s living had me thinking she didn’t think too much of everyone else around her. I think she thought every one as shallow as she was.
But that aside, The Summer I felt young and fluffy and funny. I enjoyed her eventually, her enthusiasm especially, hidden as it was had me hoping there’s more to the girl than worrying about what so and so had to say. Plus the best friend type, Dan the Man, you are indeed the man! I like how he’s aware and unafraid to get in her face about everything she was doing wrong. I like the friction his presence added because it pushed her and Logan as well to step out a little more. And Logan, cute kid him.
Overall, this was a cute read. And though I still don’t ‘love’ love Maddie, she entertained me. Plus there’s a face off between a magical dark faerie and a princes elf. What’s not to love, eh? This was cute, but better: this was quick, too.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Icons by Margaret Stohl
Your heart beats only with their permission.
Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.
Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.
She's different. She survived. Why?
When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.
Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.
Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.
My rating: 2.5-3 of 5 stars
It’s the last quarter of ICONS that is its saving grace. But dear lord! Getting to that bit was difficult. Now, let me lay things out as simply as I can: There’s Dol and there’s Ro. We don’t quite know who they are or what they are to each other, but neither is it clear to them (to Dol especially), but it’s implied that somehow, somewhere they’re something different, something special. In between, we’ve got these super secret texts between so-and-so, revealing what kind of world they live in. And it’s not a pretty one. It’s post Day, and they live in a world controlled by the Lords through an Embassy and a people of Sympas. But it all begged the question: who were these kids to them?
We find this out slowly because in the mean time, we slog through passage after passage of her being him and him being her and ‘all of them being so-and-so’… and me slowly but surely losing
Yet another inexplicable thing: the ease by which connections were made,( and I’m not just talking instant love here). Convenient. It all felt convenient how he’s there and she could do this, and she just knew, so why the hell not? Then due to some disaster, they’re caught but due to some other convenience there’s another ‘presto’ moment.
In between the I am sorrow and he is rage and I am him and he is me things going on, I will say that Stohl’s built a pretty interesting world of Icon Children and Icons, Sympas and the Grass, Sympas and Remnants, and embassies in Silent Cities… except instead of ICONS feeling like a new different YA with an alien vibe? All it felt like was same old same old, just another post apoc/ dystopian. I’ve read way too much of the same of people under control, wanting out from under it, just needing someone to light a fire under them to get things going. And it did get going… eventually, like maybe three quarters in. But it is because of said quarter that I’m still picking up the next one.
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