ARC Review: Countdown by Michelle Rowen

Title: Countdown
Author: Michelle Rowen
Publication: September 24th 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Dystopia
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped. 

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game. 

Kira Jordan survived her family's murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis. 

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it. 

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira's psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan's secrets prove evermore deadly, Kira's only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can't escape. 


-- My Rating --
4/5 Oscars :  Really liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     Well, I was in a love-hate relationship with the dystopia genre ever since I started reading it. I was madly in love with the creativity in it sometimes but sometimes, it was boring to me. I am greatly thankful that this book fell into the madly-in-love criteria.
     A didn't have an easy life. But everything turns worse when she finds herself trapped in a cruel TV show game, the Countdown, with none other than an arrogant boy she never knew existed. Rogan has many secrets up his sleeve and he's not ready to share them yet. Meanwhile, this strange, brave girl seems to be getting under his skin. But this is a survival game, and it's only for the fittest.
     I loved the whole TV show idea. To be thrust into a survival game that thousands of subscribers were watching seemed like a cruel but intriguing idea. And the whole Countdown theme in the whole book was wonderful to witness. I liked how the chapters were divided into the many different levels that Rogan and A crossed. 
     What I liked the most was the romance. It was sweet and it was slow-moving, my favorite kind of romance of all! The romance was not exaggerated but it was an important element, nonetheless. This book is an action-packed, romantic, dystopian thriller. There is not a moment that you will get bored. There is not a moment without some serious action. This book took a LOT of research and preparation, that's for sure.
     The ending was perfect for me. It closed up the loose ends pretty nicely but also left room for many other subjects to be explored. The author's writing style is typical, not at all unique, but no one seems to mind that. It's the story that matters. And she definitely knows how to deliver her story perfectly. This book will grip you and won't let go, not even after the very last page! You'll keep thinking about this for weeks to come, that's for sure!

ARC Review: Silent Echo by Elisa Freilich

Title: Silent Echo (A Siren's Tale #1)
Author: Elisa Freilich
Publication: September 10th 2013 by Diversion Books
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Haunted by silence, a mute teenage girl is mysteriously given back her voice ... and it is divine.

Rendered mute at birth, Portia Griffin has been silent for 16 years. Music is her constant companion, along with Felix, her deaf best friend who couldn’t care less whether or not she can speak. If only he were as nonchalant about her newfound interest in the musically gifted Max Hunter.

But Portia’s silence is about to be broken with the abrupt discovery of her voice, unparalleled in its purity and the power it affords to control those around her. Able to persuade, seduce and destroy using only her voice, Portia embarks on a search for answers about who she really is, and what she is destined to become.

Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, SILENT ECHO: A Siren's Tale is an epic story filled with fantasy, romance and original music.

-- My Rating --

3/5 Oscars: Liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I have always been intrigued by mythology. Specially Greek mythology. This was the main reason I wanted to read this one. And although it was very good on the mythology part and I liked it, but it could have been better.
     Portia Griffin has not uttered a single word for sixteen years. She is mute but she loves music. And her life is as normal as it could be with her loving best friend, Felix, by her side. But when new student, Max Hunter enters her world, everything turns upside down. She can suddenly speak. But not just that, she can influence people in a way no one else can. And everything Portia knew about her life changes. For better or for worse.
     The main thing that bothered me in this book were the characters, mainly Portia. I couldn't connect with her, she didn't sound or act like a normal teenager. And Max was the same. But i like to admit that Felix is the character I loved the most. He added his own element to the story. His loyalty and his love is what kept thing book so intriguing and what almost made me cry a couple of times. He truly is different from the other guys i have read about in YA novels and the author definitely managed creating a three dimensional and REAL character. He is a gem.
     I LOVE Greek mythology. it has so many twists and turns in it. And you can take it to many different levels. I loved the story of the sirens and how the author contributed them into her story. She definitely nailed it on the background part. When Portia's voice comes back, different songs turn out in the book. I didn't really like this part. Some of the songs were just weird and the rhyming in them was even more weird. But I truly think that it requires a great talent for the author to write such wonderful poems.
     This book ended on a sort-of cliffhanger, it's been a while since I have read a book with a cliffhanger ending, so it totally didn't bother me. I am glad to see that there is a lot of potential for this series, and I HOPE that the author will continue with exploring the mythology-inspired background she has put for her series.

ARC Review: The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

Title: The Infinite Moment Of Us
Author: Lauren Myracle
Publication: August 27th 2013 by Amulet Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher

For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now... not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?

Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.

And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them...

Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers

-- My Rating --
3/5 Oscars: Liked it

-- My Thoughts--

     Well, the cover of this book is awesome. And as I always prove  I am a hopeless romantic. These are the reasons why I read this book. And although I really liked it a lot, it was not my favorite contemporary romance yet.
     Wren is tired of following her parent's every rule. She's always been a good girl and as obedient as she can be. But as her senior year nears it end, she decides she's had enough. So, one shocking decision later, she finds herself getting closer and closer to the guy she likes, Charlie. Charlie has always loved Wren, but he knew that she would never fall in love with him. Not with the guy he thinks he is. But love can happen against the odds, but will it be forever?
     The first thing I liked was the whole relationship between Wren and her parents. I have always been a straight-A student, too, and I could connect with the pressure that Wren feels, since i am currently entering my senior year. I knew how hard it was to balance your own needs WHILE making your parents happy and proud. So, I loved her bravery and her character. She stands out from most typical YA heroines, because she is brave and she decides to take a chance at something she has never done before.
     The characters, except Wren and Charlie, were not really well developed. Which I've come to find is very evident in YA Contemporary reads. The authors usually mainly concern themselves with their main characters, that they don't give the other characters their own space and background and development. So, the romance was sweet and it felt real. Lauren Myracle is definitely not shy with tackling the issues of sex while keeping her books in the YA genre. Her view on the subject was definitely refreshing. But I recommend that if you don't like your YA books having intimate moments, then don't continue with this book.
     The romance did bother me at times. Okay, so they were all happy together but suddenly Wren always found something wrong with what she was doing or how Charlie treated her. Sometimes, there fights were over such silly things that I couldn't help but roll my eyes. I wished they would grow up. I liked the ending a lot, and it gave very good closure to the story. I am definitely going to be on the lookout for the author, she has some great potential!

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publication: April 2nd 2013 by Poppy
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Owned

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

-- My Rating --
3/5 Oscars: liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I was in need of some cute, romantic summer read when I stumbled upon this one. And well it was great in some aspects, it was completely lacking in others.
     Ella O'Neil is a typical girl in a small town. Up until she gets an anonymous e-mail by accident. She and the mysterious stranger become friends over time. But what will happen when she confronts the real person she has been talking to? Will it be as easy as the e-mails they have been exchanging?
     I am always a great fan of books about celebrity lives. It makes me think that they are not that different from us, not at all. And this book was just like that. Getting to know Graham was really nice and the spotlight on his life from the paparazzi felt real and his problems felt real, too. Elle is an insecure girl without a male figure in her life. I understood her insecurities and connected with her.
     The romance is slow-moving, but then speeds them. And it's really great. Jennifer E. Smith knows exactly how to express how teenagers feel. There were a couple of aspects that irked me. Sometimes, the plot was too slow. I got bored and i had to go out of my way to read another more interesting book then get back to this one when I was in mood. I like to be in mood for a book ALL the time, so I guess that's why this bothered me that much.
     The things Graham did were a little bit too unbelievable. Actually, I dare say, most of this book was unbelievable in real life. This book is like a fairy tale. Every girl's dream. Every girl dreams of a movie star falling in love with her and spending his life with her. So, the concept was not entirely unique and it was unbelievable. More fantasy than contemporary.
     This is more of a light, sweet contemporary read that would be great to read on a vacation or on the beach. It's lovely and cute, a definitely amazing summer read!

Review: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Title: The Silver Linings Playbook
Author: Matthew Quick
Publication: October 16th 2012 by Sarah Crichton Books
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Owned


Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him -- the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat's now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he's being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he's being hunted by Kenny G!

In this enchanting novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat's mind, showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: "Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut."

-- My Rating --

5/5 Oscars: Loved it

-- My Thoughts --

      The Silver Linings Playbook. Such a unique, intense, thought-provoking read. Since the movie came out, I had wanted to read this. BEFORE watching the movie. Now  that I know how BEAUTIFUL this book really is, I am scared of my expectations of the movie!
     Pat Peoples has been in a mental facility for quite a long time. But of course, he doesn't know that. So, when he goes out, and everything has changed. His favorite team, the Eagles, are losing. His wife, Nikki, has left him. Though, he has no idea why. His father won't talk to him. And then, there is Tiffany, the broken, mysterious girl.
     Pat Peoples is one of the most complex characters ever written. His strange string of emotions are so believable. All his good deeds, his flaws, come together to construct an amazing three-dimensional character that you cannot help but fall for. I LOVED Pat so damn much. And I was wishing, hoping, praying that everything would work out for him. Tiffany, is an equally strange and complex character and I LOVED her, too.
     This is the true definition of a thought provoking read.It made me think about the true value of life and I cannot say how great this book is. This is a book about family, love, and moving on.That love can be found in the strangest of places, and that it's always in front of you but you just don't see it. This book is what the reviewers call "A Life-Changing Book".

Review: Forget Me Not by Carolee Dean

Title: Forget Me Not
Author: Carolee Dean
Publication: October 2nd 2012 by Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Verse
Source: Owned

From the author of Take Me There, a fast-paced novel in verse about a girl caught between life and death—and the boy who will do anything to save her.
Ally is devastated when a scandalous photo of her is texted around school. With her reputation in shambles and her life essentially over, she hides out in a back hallway, trying to figure out where everything went wrong. 
Elijah has spent time in that hallway;too. He landed there after taking a whole bottle of sleeping pills. Now he can see ghosts, and he knows what Ally has yet to suspect—that she’s already half dead, and one choice away from never coming back. Elijah has loved Ally for years and would do anything to save her from the in-between place. But if she’s going to live, Ally must face her inner demons and find the will to save herself. Told in interwoven verse narratives, this crushingly honest and poetic exploration of pain and redemption will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins.

-- My Rating --

3/5 Oscars: liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I have never read a YA novel in verse. I have not really read any novel in verse. And I have read no poetry collection in English, whatsoever. So, when I found out that this was a verse novel, I was pleasantly surprised.
     You cannot really expect me to give a summery of this one. But Carolee Dean has included every single aspect in a teenagers life. Nothing was missing from the novel in that aspect. I love poetry. I love writing it. But most of my poems are rhymes. So, the free verses in this novel were definitely new and enchanting to me. You know a book is special when you finish it in one setting, without any breaks.
     Some of the chapters in this book are almost like screenplays, which were even more unique. Elijah and Ali are two very unique characters. I never thought I could actually feel so much for characters who I have only known through verse. I was so surprised. 
     This novel evolved a new love in me. A love for verse novels. Novels that I will be looking out for from now on. Every single YA verse is one to be loved. You definitely have to take some time to read these enchanting feelings and captivating memories in Carolee Dean's verses.