Review: Bright Star by Nickie Anderson

Name of book: Bright Star
Author: Nickie Anderson
Publication: November 9th 2012
Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Provided by the kind author...

It's bad enough that Sadira Pascal's father doesn't make it home to celebrate her fifteenth birthday. He might be a busy hovership engineer pulling overtime on a new design, but he's always been home for the important things. It's worse when she discovers her father decided to ride on the maiden voyage of his newest ship, the CAS Bright Star, without even telling her. But things really fall apart during Sadira's field trip with her class to observe the hovership launch. Instead of a successful flight, she watches the Bright Star fall out of the sky. 

The Central government confirms her father's death, leaving Sadira to pick up the pieces of her former life. While she struggles with her loss, Private Baruj Haddad tries to convince her that her father and the rest of the Bright Star crew are still alive. At first, Sadira doesn't believe there's any hope. But then she stumbles across a message that makes her think maybe, just maybe, her father is still alive. As she digs deeper into the Bright Star's crash, Sadira uncovers secrets about her father's work, secrets that put her and everyone she loves in danger.

-- My Rating --

3.5/5 Oscars: Liked it

-- My Thoughts --

     I dived into this book not knowing what it was about, it has been a while since I have read any dystopian books, ever since The Hunger Games. So, this book was a pleasant surprise.
     Sadira should have gotten used to her father's constant engineering work by now. But when he doesn't come home on the eve of her fifteenth birthday, it's a too much. What's more? He is on the crew of the spaceship he designed but while in the air, the ship crashes and the authorities tell her that her father is dead. But Sadira knows it's not true, and that the truth is not always better than the lie.
We sped through the center of town, dodging the morning hovercab traffic, racing past the bakery, past the church, and farther still past the antique store. The city opened up into a wide, sandy field, dotted here and there with scruffy trees.

     Nickie Anderson definitely took the dystopian to a new level.  I loved the world she created, the earpieces everyone put on and the deserted world outside the Wall. It was believable, at times creepy, but a wonderful experience, altogether  Her characters are normal and typical. Nothing too exceptional or deep. Sadira is the typical fifteen-year-old so it was easy to relate to her. But her braveness and courage are out of this world. The secondary characters are superb, and the pacing is perfect. Though it dragged a bit at the beginning, it picked up toward the middle.
     So why didn't I give this book five stars? Well, because it is a typical YA dystopian read. The author did bring some new stuff to the field but nothing too fancy or far-fetched. I wanted something new, and I didn't get it. But I am still glad that I read this, and I cannot wait for all the potential of the greatness of the second book :D!

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Review: Sound by Shelley Workinger

Name of book: Sound (Solid #3)
Author: Shelley Workinger
Publication: November 1st 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Provided by the kind author...

Clio Kaid's had one crazy summer.

After learning she was one of a hundred teens who were genetically modified before birth, she and the others departed for "camp" at a classified military site.

Besides discovering her own special ability, uncovering a conspiracy, and capturing a killer, she's also forged new friendships, found love, and managed to lose them both.

With no answers and the end of summer closing in, Clio's terrified of going home more lost than when she arrived.

Will she finally find everything she's been looking for?

Find out in this exciting conclusion to the Solid trilogy.

-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars: Really Liked It

-- My Thoughts --

     This is one of the series that I was really excited about. The first book was OK with typical characters, but the second book topped my expectations and came off much better. So I was expecting a lot from book three, and I think that I got what I bargained for.
Might contain minor spoilers if you have not read Solid and Settling (my reviews here)...
     Clio managed to lose all her friends and her love during the course of one year in the camp. But now, things almost start looking up, and her abilities are improving. But that does not mean that there is no trouble. Between the camp and home, the old Jack and the new one, her old friends and her new friends, her confused feelings, Clio has to choose.
     Shelley Workinger has a very simple, easy-to-follow writing style, but she has given a very unique voice to Clio and i would recognize it anywhere. Clio is an amazing character, and it's very easy to relate to her and her feelings. I felt that I didn't like the new Jack as much as the old Jack, but their love is so pure and wonderful that I didn't really mind. And the way they discovered more of their abilities was intriguing, though I would have loved it if there was more about it. I didn't like the lack of the paranormal in this book.
     Recommended to everyone who enjoys a YA romance with a twist of paranormal. I am sad that this series is over but I am definitely waiting to read more from Ms. Shelley!

Review: Red Madrassa (Algardis #1) by Terah Edun

Name of book: Red Madrassa (Algardis #1)
Author: Terah Edun
Publication: November 8th 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Provided by the kind author...

A magical accident threw them together. But when Fate holds all the cards, it can be impossible to tell the difference between pure chance and Destiny... 

The Madrassa, a magical school for mage practitioners, is the stuff of legend. With selective entrance exams and quotas for only the most advanced of mage children, it's almost impossible to attend. 

When Allorna, a guardian trainee for the royal family, ends up on the doorstep of the citadel on the eve of the final day of a recruitment ceremony, she decides it must be fate.

She was sure she knew the path her life would take before she enrolled. But sometimes life has a way of throwing in magical curveballs and strange friends, just to see if you’ll trip up. 

Oh, and one of those friends is a mage accused of murder, another is a slightly psychotic dragon, the third a healer facing an existential crisis, and the last is a female storm-caller with more hidden secrets than a thief lord.

Do they all belong at the new school they call home?

This book is suitable for ages 12 and over. It is free of nudity, sexuality and only light cursing. The book is inclusive of LBGT and racial diversity.

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     Fantasy is definitely my favorite genre. The imaginative places, the wonderful, out-of-the-world characters always peak my interest. And this book was no exception. By the way, the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS!
     A guardian, a dragon, a healer, a storm-caller, and a mage. Allorna, Vedaris, Sidimo, Sitara, and Maride are very different, but strange circumstances pull them all together into the enchanting, notorious Red Madrassa. With its different schools, and exotic assignments, these five become good friends. But the past is not so far behind, and it does not intend to leave them unharmed.
     First of all, I loved the concept of this book. The five characters are insanely different, all of them are unique in their own way, and they are very easy to relate to. Though, my favorite was Sitara, her quick wit and her ideas were believable, she would make a great best friend. Maride is also a very like-able characters, though his situations and ideas are far from normal. The plot is mainly about how the characters deal with going into such an exclusive school and their daily lessons. The lack of much action was fine by me.
     I appreciated the research the author has done on this book. The schools in the Madrassa were well thought-out. What I loved the most was the fact that the place was magical, other-worldly and Allorna even speaks some "Arabic", which I understood and appreciated. Loved the risks the author took with this book, and it was definitely worth my time. Red Madrassa is full of intrigue and interesting characters! Cannot wait to read book 2!

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Name of book: City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication: March 27th 2007 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: E-book Won

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . 

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars : Really Liked It...

-- My Thoughts --

     How come I didn't read this sooner? Why didn't someone drag me into a bookstore and made me buy this? Why? I am so devastated that I didn't read this before. But I am perfectly satisfied with this.
"It tends to make humans a little crazy. One minute you're munching a faerie plum, the next minute you're running naked down Madison Avenue with antlers on your head. Not," he added hastily, "that this has ever happened to me."
     Clary is just a normal 15-year-old girl. Well, until the day she sees a murder. A murder committed by three teenagers who have strange tattoos on their body, in the Pandemonium Club. And Clary doesn't even try to warn the police, when there is no body, how will you convince people that there was a murder? From that day, Clary's journey starts. A journey toward discovering the truth about herself, her abilities, and her family. 
Their eyes were vacant as they hurled themselves at the wolves, and the wolves met them head-on, claws tearing, teeth gouging and rending.
     I won't give more away, IF you have not already read The Mortal Instruments. Which I am pretty sure you have. The story starts with a bang A murder. Then a kidnapping. It's all action, magic, secrets, and runes. This book will not bore you. I started flipping pages frantically (digital pages, of course).
     This book is pure creativeness. And I think Cassandra Clare knew exactly where to write this book. The setting is perfect. The pace if flawless. The characters are love-able and multi-layered. But I have to say that between Jace and Simon, the two love interests, I will definitley choose Simon. Loyal, adorable, and in a band! I can't wait to read the second book.
Their lives burned as brightly as candle flames-and were as easy to snuff out.

Review: One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

Name of book: One Breath Away
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publication: June 26th 2012 by Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Contemporary Thriller
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

In her most emotionally charged novel to date, New York Timesbestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores the unspoken events that shape a community, the ties between parents and their children and how the fragile normalcy of our everyday life is so easily shattered. In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.

-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars : Really liked it.

-- My Thoughts --

     I have not read anything by the author, but from the blogging world, I know that her books are popular. And I consider her as one of the authors that I will always be on the look out for.
     Holly, Augie, Will, Meg, and Mrs.Oliver's lives change drastically when a gunman enters the school, one cold day. Mrs. Oliver will do anything to keep her little students safe and sound from the gunman. Meg will go to extreme measures to do her duty and find out who the gunman in the local school is. Will will do anything to save his two grandchildren locked up in the school. Augie is afraid of the gunman, but she will do anything to save her brother from the fate of death. And Holly can't help but fear for the lives of her two children who are facing one crazed gunman miles away from her.
     School shootings are becoming horribly common these days. Whether it's a bullied student or a crazed father or a reckless teacher. Heather Gudenkauf realistically describes how one event can change the lives of her five main characters. Heather's writing is simple, serene, and believable. She made five different voices for her five characters so well, that even if the chapter didn't start with their names, I would have definitely known which one was telling the story. Their voices were THAT unique.
     This book reminded me of Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes (a huge statement!). But, while Jodi Picoult explores the aftermath of such an incident, Heather Gudenkauf focuses on the instincts kicking in while IN the situation. They are both very different, but beautifully unique authors. Definitely reading more from Heather! This was an imaginative plot-driven story, and I will definitely recommend it to anyone willing to read!

Review: The Great Succession Crisis by Laurel A. Rockefeller

Name of book: The Great Succession Crisis (Peers of Beinan Trilogy #1)
Author: Laurel A. Rockefeller
Publication: August 3rd 2012
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Provided by the kind author

Great Succession Crisis is a science-grounded work of fiction set in another galaxy. Drawing upon Earth history and anthropology, planet Beinan is a complete world with its own units of time and distances,cultures, religions, and constitutional monarchy.

Great succession Crisis is the story of a young princess, Anlei, daughter of Beinan’s sovereign Queen Isabelle who faces a personal and political crisis when the Great Council of Beinan refuses to overturn an ancient law rooted in the clan warfare of their distant past. This law states that no woman may pass the crown to her daughter, only to a son.

After the Great Council refuses the royal petition to change the law, Anlei finds herself a political pawn in a chess game of competing noble houses with nothing less than her virtue, her life, and the future of planet Beinan at stake in a political thriller that will have you guessing right through the final chapter.

-- My Rating --

3.5/5 Oscars

-- My Thoughts --

     I am having a very hard time to express my feelings for this book. Since they are so confusing, I appreciated some parts, but didn't know the point of some other parts. So bear with me (as long as you can...)
     I am not doing a summery of this, since all the plot is about one little twist, and if I, voluntary or involuntary, write that twist down, it will ruin the whole experience of reading the book. I appreciate the uniqueness of this book. It is pretty obvious, that one of the things Laurel Rockefeller is very good at, is the world-building. The world is not the Earth we know, it has many similarities but many differences, too. Loved the fact that the author took careful note of every little detail in the book, even the way the years are measured, the way length and weight are measured, the religions on the planet, and many other aspects. This part of the book was perfect.
     What I had a little problem with is the characters. Okay, so Anlei, our main character is not much of a smart-ass. She is just a typical princess, but her humbleness and kindness blew the love interest away. Corann is definitely the all-too-typical, still-swoon-worthy male lead whose love confessions will leave you gaping. Unfortunately  the other characters were not developed very much and i felt like they were lacking "character" or "charisma".
     The pace was a little rushed sometimes, but otherwise, it fit the story. The ending wrapped things up well, but left some room for future material, too. This book was not what I expected. On some bases, it was good and on some other bases, not so good. But I don't regret reading this, and I might give the second book in the series a try.

Review: The Sword of Armageddon by Temple Mathews

Name of book: The Sword of Armageddon (The New Kid Series #3)
Author: Temple Mathews
Publication: TeenLibris (first published November 6th 2012)
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Things have never been darker for 16-year-old Will Hunter. The girl he loves has been taken from him, he's been betrayed by his newfound half-sister, and he has only hours to find a cure to the poison coursing through his veins. He's in no shape to stop the Dark Lord from finding and using the Sword of Armageddon-but if he can't, he's not the only one who will die. 

The third book in the New Kid series takes Will and friends from a demon-infested island in the Puget Sound to the top of the Seattle Space Needle, where Will's struggle against the Dark Lord ends in a confrontation that will determine the fate of all mankind.

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

    WOW! The first and the second book in this series blew me away, and this one was no different. I absolutely love the way Temple Mathews writes his characters. They breath out of the page, like they are standing next to me, whispering the words into my ears. They are as realistic as they can be.
Better read the New Kid (my review) and the Rising (my review) first.
     Will and Natalie have been through so much, isn't it finally the time to relax and settle down? Oh, no. The Dark Lord has a much, much more evil plan, including ending the human race as we know it. And while fighting seems like the only way to survive, will their unconditional love help Natalie and Will survive the inevitable  Even if it means facing their darkest fears? In the final installment, they both have to answer the question: What is the price of love? And are they willing to pay it?
     Abso-freaking-lutely loved this book! This series is definitely my favorite one ever, right next to Lauren Kate's Fallen series (that's a HUGE statement, people). I was so joyful that I get to see what happens to Nat and Will, but when the book finished, I got all clingy and started begging the author to continue the series. I CANNOT bear to part with such amazing cast of characters, from the ever-protective Will to the lovely sisters, Nat and Em, to the weird, adorable Rudy.
     Temple Mathews definitely knows how to capture readers. From the first page, I was sucked right in. This book is a exotic, unique page-turner! The plot is flawless and it will never bore you. The villains are villainous and venomous. The setting and the pace fit perfectly. You WILL NOT find any excuses to delay reading this, it's begging to be read, so do it, now. Or you are passing a great opportunity to be enchanted!

Review: Furthermore: An Anthology

Name of book: Furthermore (An Anthology)
Author(s): Amber Garr, David Estes, Karen Amanda Hooper, Leigh Michael, Rebekah Campbell, Stephanie Judice
Publication: December 11th 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal and Dystopia
Source: Provided by the kind authors...

A first date, a lottery, treachery and deceit. Sometimes fate has other plans. Sometimes there’s more to tell.

In Furthermore: An Anthology, eighteen original stories take you on a journey through worlds here and beyond. From the depths of the earth to the embrace of the sea, your favorite series continue. Prequels, alternative views, and new scenes give readers a chance to experience more than originally told. 

Including stories from Rebekah Campbell, Amber Garr, David Estes, Leigh Michael, Karen Amanda Hooper, Stephanie Judice, and Mayandree Michael. And most importantly, in honor of those who lost the battle and those who continue to fight, all proceeds from this anthology will be donated to cancer research and support.

SURPRISE VISITOR -Emily has never been a fan of surprises but Eric has something up his sleeve to change her mind. (The Darkness Through The Light Series)

GETTING TO KNOW THE HEAVIES - The two Sullivan bodyguards are still human beings underneath it all. And everyone has a weakness. (The Darkness Through The Light Series)

PEOPLE CHANGE - When Eric asks his dad a question about his mother, it’s time to go back to where it all began and then went so badly wrong. (The Darkness Through The Light Series)

COLD FEET - Kain witnesses Eviana’s deceit on their wedding day and is forced to deal with the consequences of her behavior. (The Syrenka Series)

RIFT - Daniel encourages the group to make a detour to the Grand Canyon, as the distance between the friends begins to rival the great ravine. (The Syrenka Series)

DISCOVERY - Leila’s first encounter with her psychic mentor is nothing short of memorable. (The Leila Marx Novels)

HUMAN RESOURCES – Blake finds a new job while Mac finds a friend who reminds him of home. (The Leila Marx Novels)

THE RUNAWAY- TAWNI’S STORY - After learning of her parents’ treachery, Tawni leaves home seeking to make amends for their transgressions. (The Dwellers Saga)

THE LIFE LOTTERY- A STORY FROM YEAR ZERO - With the survival of the human race on the brink, there’s only one way to decide who will be saved in the underground caves: The Lottery. (The Dwellers Saga)

FATE: Experience Annabelle’s struggle to fulfill the ABA Prophecy in a new light through the parting words of Adrian, Aurelia, Blake, and Lady Katherine. (Annabelle’s Story)

THE SOUND OF LOVE - Glimpse into one of Nathaniel’s previous lives and see how his soul mate reacts when tragedy strikes. (The Kindrily Series)

MUIRNE’S MELODY--To escape her master’s vile desires, Muirne flees into the snow-swept night, finding a green-eyed stranger and a mystical destiny. (Saga of the Setti Series)

JEREMY’S HEART: Calm, cool, and complete scoundrel, Jeremy realizes the loss he’s suffered means nothing compared to true love. (Saga of the Setti Series)

FALL FROM GRACE: Warped by centuries of darkness, the creature Sveigja plots to capture Clara as his queen. (Saga of the Setti Series)

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     This is the first time I read an anthology. I have found them intriguing, just never came across them as much as novels. But from now on, I will always be on the look out. These six authors provided me with samples of their different flavored cakes, and I am definitely ordering the whole collection!
     I cannot review all the stories together. What stuck with me the most was David Estes' The Life Lottery and Stephanie Judice's Jeremy's Heart. So, I will rate them and review them independently:
Surprise Visitor by Rebekah Campbell: Four Stars. This one was cute and romantic, loved the clumsiness of the main character and her sweet boyfriend. Cute and fluffy.
Getting To Know The Heavies by Rebekah Campbell: Three Stars. Didn't really get what the two bodyguards do. Except that they do some dirty work for their employer. Loved the interactions between them, though.
People Change by Rebekah Campbell: Three and Half Stars. This was a sad, but a very realistic story of love. And it teaches a great lesson, people do change, you cannot expect them to stay the same over time.
The Runaway (Tawni's Story) by David Estes: Four Stars. Loved the writing style of the author. This definitely had me intrigued to read The Moon Dwellers, which I have a digital review copy of. Tawni is an interesting character in a horrible dystopian world. Loved her strength and courage.
The Life Lottery (A Story from Year Zero) by David Estes: Five Stars. My favorite read of the whole anthology. It's such a cruel, cruel world and David Estes' writing is plain and real. I just loved this, and the end was damn spectacular.
Cold Feet by Amber Garr: Three Stars. I loved Kain. Sweet and caring. But Evianna and what she does to him, not so much. This does nothing to explain the series, so I didn't see the point of it, except feeling Kain's pain.
Rift by Amber Garr: Three and Half Stars. This one was rushed a little, but I appreciated the group of characters. Eviana is more like-able, but I still cannot help but think about what she did in Cold Feet. Kain is adorable as ever. I think that I will start this series sometime.
Discovery by Amber Garr: Four Stars. The main character, Leila is a very resourceful but lovely young woman. Loved Amber's writing style in this story the most. Supernatural abilities, and supernatural murders? I AM IN!
Human Resources by Amber Garr: Three Stars. Didn't really understand the effectiveness of this story. But Mac is funny, and the way he used his abilities to entertain was fun to read about.
The Sound of Love by Karen Amanda Hooper: Four Stars. The title of this story firs perfectly, and the two characters are so believable and lovely. Nathaniel and Mary are so funny and they are like, soul mates. I cannot wait to read the book.
Muirne's Melody by Stephanie Judice: Four Stars. I loved being able to read Muirne's story, definitely needed some background clear-up on that. But I loved it, and loved Muirne's character.
Jeremy's Heart by Stephanie Judice: Five Stars. Ahhh "swoon" Jeremy. I am in love with the dark, sarcastic, metal-lover guy. He is pure awesome and I loved reading from his POV. This story was so cute and Stephanie Judice nailed her secondary characters.
Fall From Grace by Stephanie Judice: Four Stars. I liked this, definitely needed some clearing up on Sveigja's motivations. And he was an interesting character to read about.
Fate by Leigh Michael: Four Stars. This story is told in four different POVs. And I loved all four of them. Specially Blake and Lady Katherine. This story definitely intrigued me to read this series, and I might do that soon. Love mermaids and water spirits!
     So, now you know a little on every story, and you know that this anthology is absolutely amazing! I cannot wait to read more by the authors, all of them. You go pick this up!

Blog Tour: Normalish by Margaret Lesh!

Name of book: Normalish
Author: Margaret Lesh
Publication: October 5th 2012 by Musa Publishing Euterpe Young Adult 
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind author / tour organizer

Fifteen-year-old Stacy questions the strange world of high school, love, her role in a harsh universe, and life, in Normalish.

People tell you high school's so great and wonderful, but they're lying. It's mostly horrible and full of disappointment. It sucks. Your best friend abandons you. The jerk you're in love with pretends to be into you, and then the big dump. The boy you've really clicked with as a friend decides to go all crushy over you, so you break his heart just like yours was -- smashed into little pieces. Your sister goes mental, and you get involved with a guy who’s even crazier than she is (who you know is a very bad idea, but you do it anyway). Math only adds another stink of failure to the whole thing.

High school blows. Just ask freshman Stacy. She’d want you to know.

Where to Purchase Normalish:

 Margaret's Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
California girl Margaret Lesh lives with her husband Steve and son Andrew in a quiet suburb near Los Angeles. Co-creator of, she writes middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about baked goods, especially donuts, far too often. She believes tacos are magic.

-- My Rating --

4/5 Cupcakes: Really Liked It.

 -- My Thoughts --

     I absolutely love contemporary novels. Specially YA ones. Since they are exactly fit for my age-group and I can feel so much with the characters. I dove in expecting a light, sort of cliche read. Who knew this book would make me CRY? This book was one heck of a contemporary read! 
     Stacy is at her freshman year in high school, and as she finds out, high school is not all it's cracked up to be. Her best friend has left her, her guy friend is acting a little too weird. Her sister is getting strange everyday. She absolutely hates math. And she does not have a boyfriend. (If you have read so far, you think this is the most typical, all too familiar contemporary read, but it's not)
Maybe I should ask someone I don’t know (because sometimes the truth is easier to take from a stranger).

      We dive into the story as Stacy tries to deal with her chaotic high school life. I have never felt so connected to a contemporary character before. She absolutely reminded me of myself, the challenges I face, the dreams I have, and the choices I make. It was like watching my life unfold in front of me. And it was beautiful to watch. Margaret Lesh has a fabulous writing style, she DID NOT write Stacy. She BECAME Stacy. Like, one and the same person. That was fully unexpected.
“Normal” is all about perception.
     There were some twists and turns in this book that are not in every contemporary read. How Stacy deals with her sister's little strangeness was believable, and the challenges she faces when she find out the truth, were also believable and realistic. There was some part in the book that had ME crying my eyes out! Stacy's depression, her lack of will to live, to do anything, hit a sensitive chord in my heart.
But that’s just the way it is when you’re a fool in love. Or maybe just a fool.

      I loved the emotions I experienced through this novel. I loved the realness of this. Loved the uniqueness and beliefs expressed through this. Normalish is definitely not a normal read! It's extraordinary, abnormal, in the best way possible!

-- Giveaway --

Release-Day Review: Exposure by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Name of book: Exposure (Twisted Lit #2)
Author(s): Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Publication: January 18th 2013 by Merit Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Double, double, toil and trouble. Sometimes, the quest for high school royalty can be deadly! In this emotionally-charged twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a self-conscious shutterbug named Skye Kingston navigates a treacherous school year in Alaska fraught with unspoken secrets and tragic twists of fate. Along the way she encounters three strangely prophetic BFFs; one social-climbing, sociopathic cheerleader; and a heart-stopping hottie named Craig McKenzie: the man who would be Prom King. Can Skye save the boy she loves — and herself — before they get caught in the crosshairs?

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     I absolutely loved Kim and Amy's first co-authored book, Tempestuous (see my review here) This is it's companion novel, and it's based of Shakespeare's Macbeth, my favorite play of all time. Right from the start, I knew this would be darker than the first book, and much more developed. I was right.
     Skye is off into college, but the rumors follow her exotic beauty and her strange ways. But Skye has a dark past, and she is begins to tell her story. High school is a dark, scary place, but is full of new expectations, new experiences, and new feelings. And jealousy is a dangerous thing, especially between friends. Curious, huh? Go read the book. I am not giving away anything more.
     Wow. I didn't expect anything that happened in this book. This is a very dark read, but also a very light one. I don't know how to explain. The emotions you experience through this novel are raw and real, which I loved. The characters are wonderful, all multi-layered and three-dimensional. Kim and Amy know how to give a different voice to every single one of their characters. I started comparing Skye to Miranda, the other heroine in Kim and Amy's Tempestuous. But they were so different, like polar opposites, but lovely and relate-able still.
     This novel was enjoyable, and so different form its first companion novel. I anxiously waiting for more from these two talented authors and their unique characters. This book is unique, intriguing, and completely captivating!

Review: Luminaire by Ciye Cho

Name of book: Luminaire (Florence Waverley #2)
Author: Ciye Cho
Publication: December 1st 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Provided by the kind author...

Being the only human in a world of merfolk... isn't easy. Florence Waverley chose to stay in Niemela, but things have gone awry. Secrets have risen and the prince she cares about has pulled away. All the while, dark dreams warn her of a tragedy that only she can stop. But in order to save the merman she loves, Florence will have to enter the Life Path tournament: a brutal test of fear and madness.

The tournament is a rite of passage--a maze where young mermaids and mermen battle to find their purpose. It is also a place where Florence will face grave danger: mermaids with evil magic, tunnels filled with sea fire, and guardians who wish to use her as a pawn in their secret plans. But will Florence be strong enough to survive the tournament... or will she perish inside it?

Everything hangs in the balance: her life, her world, and her love.

-- My Rating --

5/5 You NEED to read this...

-- My Thoughts --

     Wow. I read the first book, Florence (find my review here) a few months ago. And I fell in love with Ciye Cho's amazing world building and character development. This book was even better.
     Florence is settling down in Neimelia, but without a life path, she feels useless. She cannot be a mermaid, and Rolan is slipping more and more away. So, when the tournament starts, she decides to join, too. But is choosing a life path that easy? Will she get out of the tournament alive? Will she figure out the conspiracy that is threatening to destroy everything she believes in? Find out more when you read Luminaire. Unique. Action-packed. And spell-binding. You will never get bored with this.
     I absolutely loved this book. First, Ciye Cho is one of the most amazing world-builders I have ever seen. His imagination is so vivid, I felt like I was there. Beneath the dark, scary waters, with Florence. His descriptions will never bore you, since he has a way of turning everything ordinary into extraordinary. Ciye Cho is a pro. I loved all the new characters he added into this round. Specially the wickedly lovely mermaids with their long, deadly braids. Second, his characters. They are so easy to relate to, to fall in love with. All of them are multi-layered with believable motivations and back-stories.
     I could go on and on about the amazing-ness of this book. I loved it as much as the fins in the waters. But you have to read it for yourself to find out. This is one of the best fantasy series out there! It's screaming "TURN ME INTO A MOVIE!".

Review: Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Name of book: Tempestuous (Twisted Lit #1)
Author(s): Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Publication: December 18th 2012 by Merit Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     I am a great fan of Shakespeare's plays. I loved Hamlet and Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet was epic. But I haven't read The Tempest, so I'm not sure about the similarities  but this book was one twisted piece of literature (in a good way)!
     Miranda was always the "it" girl, the "go-to" girl, the most popular girl at her high school. Until, she decided to open up a little win-win website, but soon, everything spirals out of control, and she falls down her popularity mount, unfairly. They say "The taller you climb, the harder you'll fall" (something along these lines)...
     Everyone at her high school hates her, and her father is devastated. Now, Miranda is working at a corn-dog stand in the local mall, to pay up for everything she earned in her little plan. But one night, as a huge blizzard hits, she is locked inside with a bunch of other teenagers. But Miranda is set on one thing: get revenge in the truest way!
     I loved this novel. Who would have thought that I could fall in love with such a light, almost-cliche sort of read. But, surprising myself, I adored this. And since I need to organize my thoughts, I will write this review in points:
1- Kim and Amy's writing is exotic. It is light. It is believable (for a teenager). Their writings blended together in perfect harmony that I couldn't tell the difference, at all.
Her boundless enthusiasm and my healthy sarcasm went together about as well as a helium balloon and a bucket of rusty nails...
2- Most of their characters were layered. Miranda is very unlikable at first. But I absolutely loved her once I got into the story. She tends to help everyone, and she is sarcastic. Ariel, Miranda's co-worker is such a sweet, sweet girl! I adored her. She reminds me of, well... me. And rarely books make me feel like that. A couple of the characters fell flat for me, but I didn't mind.
3- The Romance. A slow-building, love-hate relationship between Miranda and Caleb. An A+ for the authors on the romance. I loved noticing the growing attraction between them and how they pushed each other away at first. But even if there were not enough one-on-one moments, I felt their chemistry. 
A simple guitar slung over a guy's torso can transform even the most feral-looking guy into someone, well, kind of hot...
4- The mystery. Yes, there is a mystery. Something occurs in the mall and someone is responsible. This part was a little predictable, I found out who it was a couple of chapters before Miranda did. But THAT did not stop me from enjoying how the characters treated the discovery. When contemporary authors add a mysterious feel to the story, I always end up disappointed. But this was not the case here. The mystery part added to the story, and it led to a great character development.
Sarcastic. Funny. Spellbinding. A promising debut from two one-in-a-million authors! I cannot wait to read more from them! Go, grab a copy, NOW!

Review: Secrets and Lies by Ella Monroe

Name of book: Secrets and Lies (Capital Girls #2)
Author: Ella Monroe
Publication: November 13th 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher..

Jealousy, rivalry, and dark secrets threaten to tear the girls apart in this sizzling follow-up to Capital Girls

It’s the start of senior year, and Excelsior Prep is on Code 3 lockdown. Secret Service agents swarm the halls searching for the First Son’s girlfriend, Jackie Whitman. Outside a SWAT team hunts for the man who’s been threatening the First Family for weeks. Only this time he’s singled out Jackie, leaving a menacing message on the school’s voicemail. Jackie's safe for now, but for the Capital Girls—three privileged kids who live in a political fishbowl in the nation’s capital—every day is filled with tension and thrills. Though, even for them, a raid on the school by AK-47-toting marksmen is a standout.
And a stalker isn't Jackie's only problem.  Still shattered by the shocking news that Andrew cheated on her with Taylor the night Taylor died, Jackie's whole world has fallen apart.  Not only did the love of her life betray her, so did her best friend and idol.  What made Taylor do it? Who was she really?  On top of it all, Whiteny Remick is plotting to take Taylor's place, and Jackie will do anything to stop her.

  1. -- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     I am very sorry that I haven't read the first book in the series; I didn't even know that this was a series! But when I started reading this one, I didn't feel confused. Just a few times. But this was a great read, throughout.
    Jackie, Laura-Beth, and Lettie are the Capital Girls. They are fun, they are beautiful, but their lives are far from perfect. Jackie can't escape the rumors surrounding her, and her boyfriend, Andrew, and their off-and-on relationships. But Jackie has a very good reason to avoid him. Lettie misses her brother, he was her anchor, and now, there is nothing left in the US and her family might go home. Laura-Beth is delighted that her relationship with Sol is getting more serious, but he is keeping secrets from her. And he is not the only one. Because these three girls are multi-layered with secrets. Secrets which threaten to ruin their friendship.
     What will happen to the three glamorous girls in the ever so-glamorous D.C.? Will Jackie end her relationship? Will Lettie leave the US? Will Laura-Beth find out Sol's dirty little secret? Will they find out each other’s darkly-kept secrets? Secrets and Lies, is a darkly-realistic tale of what it's like when secrets are the cake and lies are the icing.
     I liked this novel a lot. I find out that I like these contemporary novels about celebrity lives. I liked Ella Monroe's writing. Her pacing is flawless. Her main characters are superb. Well, I didn't like them at first, because they seem like the typical mean girls and queen bees, but as the story progresses, I felt for them and they grew on me. But I have to say that some of the secondary characters were very little developed, they were one dimensional, but I didn't mind that. Because the spotlight was on the "main" characters.
     If you want an enjoyable, light contemporary read, that deals with the ups and downs of being famous and popular, and then this one is for you! It's light, realistic, and exhilarating! But I HIGHLY recommend that you read the first book first.