Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Name of book: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Publication:  November 13th 2012 by Atria Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the publisher...

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

-- My Rating --

4.5 Oscars / 5

-- My Thoughts --

    When a book gets a lot of attention from the blogging world, I always end up disappointed. Maybe because I put a lot of expectations into it. And although, I tried not to do that, I think I put a lot into this book, too. But happily, it met my expectations.
     Nastya is a mysterious girl with a hidden past. She lives in a bad, bad world. But when she meets Josh Bennet, everything changes. Josh has always been on the outside. No one wants to be near someone who seems more like a magnet for death. But when Nastya comes around and refuses to go away, he lets down his walls. But the more he gets to know her, the more mysterious she becomes. Will they get their happily ever after or will Nastya's past tear them apart?
     Such a captivating plot. I love these dark, raw contemporary reads with so much reality that you wanna tear the pages out. This book was like that. Needless to say, it was a character-driven story. I definitely could NOT connect with Nasty, but I still felt for her. And I loved her for still being there, after all that had happened to her. She is persistent, which I have in common and talks a lot, which I have in common, too. (Yes, I am talkative, moving on...). Josh, oh my sweet, Josh. He gave me goose bumps all around. I just wanted to cuddle him and be there for him and save him from all that has happened to him over the years. Kodos for Katja Millay! One of the few authors that make a book feel like a real story, with characters jumping off the pages. Along with Nicholas Sparks...
     With all the glowing reviews and raving bloggers and best-selling charts, I don't have to say more. I would recommend this book to everyone who loves some dark, realistic tale! And Katja Millay! I will be on the look out for you!
It's a little bit devastating being surrounded by people who can do what you can't anymore. People who create. People whose souls no longer live in their bodies because they've leached so much of themselves into their work. Josh. Clay. My mother. I want to steal from them to let myself live. - Nastya
“Just so you know,” I inform him, “one day, I’m going to get tired of sharing your affection with that coffee table and I’m going to make you choose.” “Just so you know,” he mimics me, “I would chop that table up and use it for firewood before I would ever choose anything over you.”

Blog tour: The Breakaway and Pieces Review

I am so happy to participate in the blog tour for Pieces and its previous sequel, The Breakaway. Hereby today, I will review both books in the series! Enjoy...

Name of book: The Breakaway (The Breakaway #1)
Author: Michelle Davidson Argyle
Publication: May 1st 2012 by Rhemalda Publishing
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the tour organizer/author

When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she's missing. Escape isn't high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she's part of a family-even if it is a family of criminals. But she's still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she's falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn't sure she wants to take it.

-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars Really Liked it...

-- My Thoughts --

     The second book in the series, Pieces, was released a few weeks ago. So and so, I was very happy that I had the chance to review the first AND the second book in the series.The first book was pretty good, it went past my expectations.
     Naomi, wakes up and realizes she has been kidnapped. She only remembers pieces of that night. The night she was kidnapped. Her family is broken. Her parents are distant. Naomi might even be a little pleased that she has been taken away. She thinks that her parents don't love her, and will give up searching for her in a couple of weeks. She is wrong.
     As she finds outs, her family of kidnappers are really nice. They feed her, they help her, they even let her watch TV. She feels like one of the family, but Naomi still wants to run. She decides that the best way to do this is make one of the kidnappers fall in love with her. And who is better than Jesse? Caring, hot, and to-the-point. But while she tries to make him fall in love, will she fall into her own hole? Will she ever get away from the kidnappers? And why did they kidnap her in the first place? Find out more when you read  this breathtaking novel, The Breakaway...
     I liked this novel a lot. Michelle, has a really great writing style, although the book was  written in third person, I was able to connect with Naomi and her mother, as the chapters  alternate between them. I liked the love interest, too. Jesse is definitely a swoon-worthy guy. This novel has a lot  of potential. But a few things irked me. I didn't like Naomi's way of thinking. I thought it was irrational, but I haven't been through what she had, so I can't really be a judge.
     I liked the secondary characters, nonetheless. They were a wonderful addition to the story. I can't wait to see what Michelle Davidson Argyle, would bring to the field after this amazing novel. Keeping my fingers crossed for Pieces, the second book.

Name of book: Pieces (The Breakaway #2)
Author: Michelle Davidson Argyle

Publication: February 14th 2013 by Rhemalda Publishing
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the tour organizer/author

Two years after watching her kidnappers go to prison, Naomi Jensen is still in love with one of them. Jesse will be released in a few years, and Naomi knows college is the perfect distraction while she waits. But when her new friend Finn makes her question what is right and what is wrong, she begins to wonder if Jesse is the one for her … until she discovers he's out on parole. Naomi must sort through her confusion to figure out where love and freedom truly lie—in Finn, who has no connections to her past, or Jesse, who has just asked her to run away with him.

Pieces is a companion to The Breakaway and can be read independently, if desired.

-- My Rating --

4/ 5 Oscars: Really liked it...

-- My Thoughts --

      I find that duologies are very little in the book world, it seems like authors cannot push all their thoughts into two books and work it out. It always seems to need more. But in this duology, the author perfectly captured her readers and gave them the most satisfying ending.
     It's been two years since Naomi ran away from her kidnappers, but she had never been the same. She still misses Jesse, her love, who is in prison but she seems to move on. And when she meets the kind, sweet Finn, her world brightens once more. Well, up until Jesse comes out of prison on parole. Then everything turns upside down...
     I wondered what road Michelle D.A. would take in the second book, since there was a lot of potential. And  I feel like she walked down the right road. Even though it's written in third person, we connect with Naomi on an intimate basis. I still feel like Naomi's decisions are ones that are done without thinking, and I would never do what she did. I don't connect with her well, but Jesse and Finn really add to the story. In the first book, when there was only Jesse, I wanted a love triangle (like, wow. I ASKED for a love triangle), so I could love the guy on the other side. Thank you, Michelle for bringing Finn in. My heart was always with Finn, he is the cutest, sweetest guy every girl could ask for. I adored him. 
     The book dragged a little in the middle, but then it sped up and everything was fine. The ending was superb, Michelle D.A. nailed that one! And she is definitely on the list of authors I will always look out for. Recommended to every contemporary reader out there who wants a little bit of thrill mixed in!

-- About The Author and The Books --

Where to purchase The Breakaway:

Michelle's Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.

YA Paranormal Giveaway Hop!

I am so happy to be particapating in this giveaway today!
Since, I love my followers so much, hereby one of my lovely and loyal followers can win two e-books of their choice from the four books below:
Remember, it can be in epub or kindle format.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Barbie Girl by Heidi Acosta

I am SO EXCITED to be a part of this tour! I absolutely ADORED this book! Enjoy....

Name of book: Barbie Girl (Baby Doll #1)
Author: Heidi Acosta
Publication: first published November 1st 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind author/tour organizer

The only thing that 17 year old Barbie Starr wants to do is graduate high school so she and her little brother, Everett, can get out of Alabama. She doesn’t care about the rumors that are spread around about her like wild fire. Rumors are nothing new to her. Sure, maybe she could change her reputation, but why bother. She is leaving Alabama as soon as she can. That is, if she can pass algebra and graduate.

The only thing Dylan Knight would like to do is go through high school unnoticed; he has had enough of the drama that is high school. He took the whole of last summer to bulk-up: finally he is not being called names or being shoved into lockers. He wants to remain on the outside of the circle of constant rumors that surround the so-called popular kids who get all the attention. He would not, however, mind if his long time crush Katie took notice of him. 

But it is Barbie who notices Dylan and she offers him a deal he can’t pass up: if he helps her pass algebra, she’ll help him get the girl of his dreams. Dylan agrees, but, as it turns out, nothing is simple when it comes to Barbie. Somehow, she can’t help but draw attention to herself — and to him. Soon Dylan finds himself tossed into the whirlwind of rumors that seem to follow Barbie everywhere. Can he save his reputation and still get the girl of his dreams? Or will Barbie be the one to break through his carefully-built facade?

-- My Rating --

5/5 Oscars: LOVED IT!

-- My Thoughts --

     WOW. It is such a strange but lovely feeling when the book you read tops all your expectations, surpasses them and leaves you breathless. This book had me bawling my eyes out, or laughing loudly, or smiling a genuine smile.
     Barbie Starr is not your typical teenage girl. She has been knows as a bitch, a slut, and many other things, but beneath her miniskirts and show-off shirts, there is a girl who wants to run away from her mother and save her little brother. A girl who just doesn't have the time to do anything but pass through the days until graduation. Her life is a black and white film. But when her teacher assigns her a tutor, the hot nobody, Dylan Knight, everything turns to shades of grey.

Bathed in a bright white light making her look otherworldly; stood Barbie Starr in all her glory.

     I thought this book would turn into these cheesy, fluffy contemporary reads, but no. This book was way too deep and too raw to be considered like that. Barbie is the girl every guy dreams of, but she is the magnet of trouble. And Dylan is in love with another girl, Katie. It's clear from the beginning that it is not going to work out. The characters Heidi Acosta created are all multi-layered, deep, with believable motivations and heartbreaking revelations. The secondary characters are just as good.

she is a loose wire, an unsolvable problem.

     The twists and the little turns in this book will leave you on the edge of your seat. Loved the emotions I experienced through this book, I even cried a little towards the end. Recommended to all romance fans and fans of raw contemporary YA. I cannot wait to see what Heidi has in stock for us in the second installment of the series!

He is sweet, funny, and a little uptight at times. I laugh to myself, “He is different,” I elect. She sighs, “You just be careful, boys like him are only good for one thing. A broken heart.”

-- About The Author and The Book --

Where to purchase Barbie Girl:

Heidi's Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
 Heidi Acosta was born on Long Island, New York. Moving around a lot when she was younger, she has lived in New York, Arizona, New York (again), Washington, Georgia, and Florida, in that order. Each place offered her something special, but she will always consider New York her home.

Heidi started writing as soon as she could spell. When she was three, Heidi’s mother gave her a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods; thus beginning her lifelong love affair with literature.

Writing soon also became a form of therapy for Heidi, when she realized that no matter what was happening in her life, she could find emotional escape while writing. Some of her earliest stories featured her as a princess who explored new worlds with her horse Buttercup. If it sounds romantic, it wasn’t, there was no prince charming in those fairy lands (boys where yucky).

Heidi now resides in Florida with her husband, very active daughter, one hyper Chihuahua, two sweet cats, and one very fat moody cat.

ARC Review: Riptide by Lindsay Scheibe

Name of book: Riptide
Author: Lindsay Scheibe
Publication: May 8th 2013 by Flux
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Grace has one summer to prove she’s good enough

For Grace Parker, surfing is all about the ride and the moment. Everything else disappears. She can forget that her best friend, Ford Watson, has a crush on her that she can’t reciprocate. She can forget how badly she wants to get a surf scholarship to UC San Diego. She can forget the pressure of her parents’ impossibly high expectations.

When Ford enters Grace into a surf competition—the only way she can impress the UCSD surfing scouts—she has one summer to train and prepare. Will she gain everything she’s ever wanted or lose the only things that ever mattered?

-- My Rating --

3.5 / 5 Oscars: Liked it...

-- My Thoughts --

     I love light contemporary reads with cute, unforgettable characters. But contemporary reads are also a 
great risk. Since, one little slip by the author and it may be too much and turn the book 180 degrees. This 
book was not my favorite but it had its nice moments.

     Grace is an ambitious surfer with over-achieving parents who want her to attend the Ivy Leagues. But Grace has other  plans, including getting accepted at a surfing college and getting her best friend, Ford to notice her in a new way. But the universe seems to be against any of her wishes working out.
Quotes are buoys in the ocean. I hang onto them fo sanity, for life, for hope. Quotes keep me going. Sometimes having someone else's words encourage me. They give shape to my feelings 
                                       - Grace
     I loved that this book concentrated on many different subjects all at once. Racial differences. Immigrants getting deported. Abuse. Pursuing dreams. And teenage angst. What is remarkable is that the author succeeded in blending all these subjects into one book and never confusing the reader. The two main characters, Grace and Ford,  have very distinctive voices,  and I liked them.  But never really felt what they FELT. The secondary characters were more like cardboard cut-outs for me and I didn't connect very well.
     The character development is evident in this book and I liked witnessing it. The plot is quick and not action-packed, but it's thrilling. Although this book had its own ups and downs, with perfect moments, and moments that made me say "Ugh" and "Meh", it still was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it.

Review: The Truth about Breaking Up, Making Up, and Moving on by Chad Eastham

Name of book: The Truth About Breaking Up, Making Up, and Moving On
Author: Chad Eastham
Publication:  January 8th 2013 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Genre: Non-fiction, Self-improvement
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Relationships are like road trips.

Sometimes they're an exciting adventure. But sometimes they're like a traffic jam going nowhere. Or even worse, they're a wrong turn that's taken you hundreds of miles off your course.

With much-needed humor and honest advice, bestselling author and speaker Chad Eastham helps you think through tough but necessary relationship issues such as:

- Why some people find happiness, while others find heartache

- Why pain hurts so much

- When to break up

- When to make up

Chad's conversational tone, facts, and advice encourage young people to rethink life's conversations, even the difficult stuff like heartbreak. There is nothing in life that is too big, too painful, or too difficult that God cannot make better and use to teach us about love. Nothing.

-- My Rating --

3/5 Oscars: Liked it...

-- My Thoughts --

     Relationships are a huge part of teenage lives. The way teens deal with relationships can make or break them for the rest of their lives. So, Chad Eastham has written an epic guide into the utterly-confusing, emotionally-charged mind of the teenage boy/girl and he has nailed it.
      I am not a good fan of self-improvement books, and while, I might not consider this book under that topic, it was a really good one. The way the author divided the book into parts, and parts into chapters was a very easy way to follow and I was never lost. I am a teenager, and I will still be for another couple of years. So, i know that Chad really KNOWS what happens in a teenager's mind, as I could relate to everything he explained. One thing that I loved was the letters Chad posted of teenagers who had problems, they were so easy to relate to. It could have been no different if my name was written at the end of each letter.
     Also loved Chad's amazing quotes and cute, smart-ass connections. He connects two absolutely random things together and threads them into such a meaningful thing. I love a book that I can benefit from and this book did just that. I won't be the same after reading this and I know that my actions, ideas, choices, and reactions will be much better in relationships than before. So thank you, Chad! For showing me such a great guide into my own mind!

ARC Review: Peregrine Harker & The Black Death by Luke Hollands

Name of book: Peregrine Harker and The Black Death (#1)
Author: Luke Hollands
Publication: June 3rd 2013 by Sparkling Books Ltd
Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Thriller
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...


Peregrine Harker is about to learn you're never too young to die.

London 1908: A secret society stalks the murky streets, a deadly assassin lurks in the shadows and a series of unexplained deaths are linked by a mystery symbol…

When boy-detective Peregrine Harker stumbles across a gruesome murder he sparks a chain of events that drag him on a rip-roaring journey through a world of spluttering gas lamps, thick fog, deadly secrets and dastardly villains.

Every step of Peregrine’s white-knuckle adventure brings him closer to the vile heart of a terrifying mystery – the true story behind the Brotherhood of the Black Death.

-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars: Really liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I didn't know what to expect while reading this book. I didn't know whether to classify it as middle grade or YA. But no matter what genre it is in, I definitely fell in love with its uniqueness and action-packed plot!
     Peregrine Harker is a journalist boy with a wide imagination and a strong backbone in the never-aging London. He would do everything to get a good scoop for the newspaper. And when his boss tells him to investigate the reasons for the current rise of tea prices, he is swept in into a network of lies, deceive, The Black Death, and empty coffins. One that he might not get out of alive.
     Well, if you weren't intrigued by the summary, you have no damn taste! I was pretty hooked up with the summary and The Black Death! And this book did not disappoint. I loved it that Luke Hollands gave Peregrine such a unique voice. It was unlike anything I have read before. Peregrine Harker is like the old friend you had, the one that you will always adore and recognize even after years of not seeing them. The secondary characters are just as intriguing.
     The mystery and the thrill woven into this book were a perfect dose. When I found out the culprit, I wanted to smack myself for not finding it out sooner! The plot is action-driven, you will never get bored. And the descriptions of the beautiful, vast London are so wonderful, I could imagine being there, right at that moment!
     This book might not make it to my all time favorites list, but this is one book that you will 
throughout-ly enjoy. One that you will pass around to all your friends to read. And one that will 
leave you satisfied with the ending but still anxious to read about Peregrine's next adventure!

ARC Review: Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes

Name of book: Dark Tide
Author: Elizabeth Haynes
Publication: March 12th 2013 by Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Thriller
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

The author of the acclaimed debut thriller Into the Darkest Corner returns with a taut, gripping murder mystery featuring a compelling heroine who unwittingly finds herself caught in an underworld of murder, corruption, and betrayal.

The first time Genevieve saw it, she knew it was the one: Revenge of the Tide, "an odd sort of a name for a boat." Genevieve had finally escaped the stressful demands of her London sales job and achieved her dream--to leave the city behind and start a new life aboard a houseboat in Kent. She left the boat's name as it was. Revenge had character after all, and living in a marina made her feel a bit safer, a little less lonely; almost as if the boat looked after her, hid her away from view.

But her dreams are shattered the night of her boat-warming party when a body washes up, and to Genevieve's horror, she recognizes the victim as a close friend from nights dancing on-stage at a private members' club, the Barclay. She isn't about to tell the police, though; next to no one knew what Genevieve did every Friday and Saturday night to save money for her escape, and she sees no reason to reveal her past. The death can't have anything to do with her. Or so she thinks.

Soon the lull of the waves against Revenge feels anything but soothing, as Genevieve begins to receive mysterious calls and can't reach the one person who links the present danger with her history at the club. And then there is the parcel on her boat she's meant to be safekeeping for an old flame, which seems to be putting her in jeopardy. As Genevieve begins to fear for her safety, she recalls the moment when it had all started to go horribly wrong: the night she recognized her day-time boss in the crowd of customers at the Barclay. . . .

With Dark Tide, Elizabeth Haynes builds on the promise of her outstanding debut Into the Darkest Corner. Told in dual narratives that interweave past and present, this dark, sexy, exquisitely chilling thriller proves her "initial success was no accident" (Sunday Express).

-- My Rating --

3/5 Oscars

-- My Thoughts --

     I dove blindly into this book. I had not idea what it was about, or who the author was, nothing. Well, I liked some parts, some other parts were just not my cup of tea.
     Genevieve escaped her London life and moved to an isolated boat in a little town for many reasons. One of them being associated with a mysterious package in her boat. But the past is never too far behind, and when one night, she invites her old friends to a party on her boat, everything starts to unravel...
     The plot is the one thing I adored about this book. The complicity and the irony of it is never lost. Yes, it is predictable and yes, it may tackle a subject that not many people like, but it never failed to impress me how different the kind of life was that Genevieve had lived in the past. There wasn't a lot of romance in the first half of the book, but it really picked up towards the end.
     There were somethings that kept me from giving this book five stars (Oscars). First, the character, Genevieve. Her decision-making skills irritated me. She could have done so much better and saved herself all the ache and the problem. Second, the pacing, I admit it, I passed a couple of paragraphs just to get to the ending fast. But the thing that redeemed the bad side, was the complexity and the uniqueness of the plot.

Review: The Moon Dwellers by David Estes

Name of book: The Moon Dwellers (The Dwellers #1)
Author: David Estes
Publication: June 30th 2012
Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Provided by the kind author...

In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms. 

After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents' crimes of treason.

Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.

At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.

When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.

In their world, someone must die.

-- My Rating --
3.5 Oscars: Liked it

-- My Thoughts --

    Wow. I read the anthology, Furthermore (my review here) and there were two contributions from David Estes and they were both my favorites. I was SO happy that after I finished the book, I had the Moon Dwellers right on my digital shelf, waiting to be reviewed. So, I dived right in, and I am so glad I did.
     Adele has been taken away to the Pen, the prison for the teenagers, and 
she has a life sentence. Her parents are gone, her sister is in an orphanage and there is no hope left. Until the day she catches Tristan's eyes and meets her two new friends, Tawni and Cole. With them, everything changes. Tristan is the son of the president, but he is not like his father and he cannot help but be captivated by Adele's bravery and strength,
     The first thing that I loved about this book was the plot. The dystopian 
genre has been raiding the book world for years now, but David  Estes brought something new to the field. Although I would have appreciated it if he added a bit more detail to his descriptions, they were perfect, really, but I 
still wanted to know more about this cruel, dark world.
     Another thing I praise David Estes for, is his characters. They are 
superbly-crafted with believable motives. Adele and Tristan have claimed the spotlight. Though, I have to admit that I didn't like Tristan that much. He is the typical "book" guy, for now. There was a lot of character development in both Adele and Tristan and I loved watching (reading about, actually) them grow up.
     David Estes has started one captivating series and I am looking forward to reuniting with Adele in The Star Dwellers!