Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

By: Amy Plum
Published By: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Series: Revenants (#2)
Pages: 357
Genre: Paranormal
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA Midwinter
Buy the Book: Amazon

Disclaimer: Until I Die is the second book in the Revenant trilogy and the following summary may contain spoilers. To read my review of the first book, Die for Me, click here.

Goodreads Summary: Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

Amy Plum's first novel, Die for Me, swept me away to the streets of Paris for beautiful romance, and Until I Die did exactly the same thing. After anticipating this book for a year, it was wonderful to be back in the City of Love with Kate, Vincent, and the other revenants.

Kate and Vincent have already faced obstacles to being together, but it seems that the trials aren't over. As a revenant, Vincent has the urge to die to save others, but Kate cannot bear the thought of watching him die repeatedly. Because of this, both Kate and Vincent are searching for ways that they can be together without Vincent denying his nature or Kate reliving her nightmares. Yet even while they are on this quest, they still face threats from numa. Suddenly it seems that the revenants may be in more trouble than they ever imagined. With guidance from two new revenants, Kate must work quickly if she will have any hope of helping the revenants she now calls family.

My favorite things from Die for Me were the romance and the setting, and I loved both of these in this book as well. Everything about Paris was once again incredibly vivid, bringing the city to life, and Vincent was as swoon-worthy as before. I also loved all of the art, cinema, and history references sprinkled throughout the book. Aside from the culture, however, there was a fast pace with constant action, not to mention the characters we already know and love. Jules and Ambrose were just as funny and good-hearted as always, and we learn more about John Baptiste and Gaspard. In addition, there are two new revenants introduced here, Violette and Arthur. Violette became a good friend to Kate, and it was nice to see Kate have someone other than her sister to confide in. Until I Die has even more mystery and intrigue than the previous book, and it made for a very compelling story - during the last 100 pages especially it was impossible to put the book down.

As for Vincent and Kate's relationship, I appreciated that it wasn't all sunshine and roses. Even though there was no love triangle introduced (thank goodness!), they still had troubles and issues to work through. And after everything that happened in this book - especially the ending - I cannot wait to see what happens in the final installment of the trilogy.

Once again Amy Plum has crafted a dazzling tale complete with everything you could want in a paranormal romance book. I will be impatiently awaiting the third book, If I Should Die!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

NEVER EIGHTEEN by Megan Bostic

I had the dream again. The one where I’m running. I don’t know what from or where to, but I’m scared, terrified really.

Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. But in the short time he has left there’s one thing he can do: He can try to help the people he loves live—even though he never will.

It’s probably hopeless.

But he has to try.

You can read my review here.


I'm very excited to have Class of 2k12 author Megan Bostic here today! She was kind enough to tell us about one of her favorite places. Please take a moment to learn more about this wonderful author.

In Austin's journey, he revisits some places that are special to him and hold some great memories. What are some of these places for you? Are there other places would you like to visit?

One of the places I’d like to go would be Lake Chelan. My parents had a time share condominium there, and up until a couple years ago, I’d gone every year since I was about eleven years old. Going in the summer was especially fun because it was hot and the lake is glacier fed, so it felt good to jump in after sitting under the sun for a while.

I have many amazing memories from Lake Chelan. When I was a teenager, I’d take friends, and we’d sit in the sun, take walks, play putt-putt golf, and try to meet boys.

There are so many fun things to do there. Once I had kids of my own, we’d go and do all the things I’d done when I was younger, minus meeting boys. We’d also go bike riding, play games, and go out into the lake in canoes, paddleboats, or kayaks.

It is one of my favorite places.

There are other places I’d like to visit. I’d love to see New Orleans. I’ve never been to the New England area, so I’d love to travel there some day. It’s actually been a dream of mine since high school to go on a cross-country road trip. Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to do it.


I am very excited to offer one copy (ARC) of NEVER EIGHTEEN for a giveaway!

This contest is open to US residents only. Please see my Contest Policy for more information.

This contest will close on Thursday, June 7 at 12:00 AM CST.

"Waiting on" Wednesday

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's selection is:

By: Natasha Friend
Published By: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: June 28, 2012
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: What if you lost the thing that made you who you are?

Lexi has always been stunning. Her butter-colored hair and perfect features have helped her attract friends, a boyfriend, and the attention of a modeling scout. But everything changes the night Lexi's face goes through a windshield. Now she's not sure what's worse: the scars she'll have to live with forever, or what she saw going on between her best friend and her boyfriend right before the accident. With the help of her trombone-playing, defiantly uncool older sister and a guy at school recovering from his own recent trauma, Lexi learns she's much more than just a pretty face.

Why it's wanted:

This sounds like it could be a very powerful coming-of-age story. I am curious to see how the experience changes Lexi and what lessons she learns.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (42)

I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"From somewhere above, I heard a horrible shriek. I felt the volcra's claws loosen their grip, felt the thud as I fell forward and my head connected with the deck, and then I felt nothing at all."

p. 34 (ARC) from SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

By: Aimee Carter
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Series: Goddess Test (#1)
Pages: 293
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA
Buy the Book: Amazon



It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she suceeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.


I've had The Goddess Test for a while, but I only recently read it. I'm so glad I did! I really like mythology, and this book brings Greek myths to life in an inventive new way.

For years, Kate's life has revolved around caring for her mother, who is dying of cancer. It's always been the two of them against the world, and Kate is dreading the time when her mother passes away. Her mother's last request is to move back to Eden, the town where she grew up, and so Kate bids goodbye to New York City and goes to Michigan with her mother. In the process of trying to make new friends, however, she meets Henry instead. After he does her an impossible favor, he tells her that in exchange she will need to come with him on the autumnal equinox to the Underworld. It seems that Henry - or Hades - has plans for Kate, plans that include making her his future queen. But for her to become queen, Kate will have to pass seven tests. Seven tests that have killed eleven other girls... Can Kate leave the world behind and to join Henry, even if it means saving her mother. And more importantly, if she does...can she pass?

At first glance, it might seem like The Goddess Test is a simple retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth, but it is really so much more than that. Though the myth is incorporated, it is only a basis for the story, not the story in itself, and Kate is not the long-lost reincarnation of Persephone. Instead, this is a story about love, sacrifice, and courage. I loved that Kate didn't simply accept Henry's story about being Hades. She was not ready to run off with him to the Underworld just because of his good looks. She questioned him, wanted proof, and even throughout their time together she continued to challenge him and push him. Kate was a strong character who would do anything to protect those she loved she loved, including risking her life to save her mother. In addition, I really appreciated that even though there was attraction between Henry and Kate, there was no insta-love. They did talk, though admittedly Henry was rather quiet sometimes, and over time they built their relationship. Because of this, and because of Henry himself, I found myself being drawn to him just as Kate was.

That being said, I wanted to know Henry better than I did. Eventually his secrecy ceased being intriguing and began to be frustrating. There were lulls in the plot at times and the tests were not quite what I was expecting. However, there were just enough twists in this novel (though some were fairly easy to guess) to continue to keep me interested. And even though the ending tied up many things, I am curious to see what will happen in the next book of this trilogy.

The Goddess Test brings a fresh twist to classic mythology, drawing you in and keeping you turning the pages. I will look forward to Goddess Interrupted!

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. Each week we will share the books we have just finished reading, are currently reading, and are planning to read.

Just Finished Reading:
All These Lives by Sarah Wylie
Until I Die by Amy Plum
This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Currently Reading:
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Planning To Read:
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
In Honor by Jessi Kirby

What are you reading this week?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

By: Morgan Matson
Published By: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Series: None
Pages: 480
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: TLA
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Taylor’s family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it’s stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is suddenly around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

I haven't read Morgan Matson's first book, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, but after reading Second Chance Summer I know that I need to move that book up on my to-read list. Second Chance Summer is, in a word, beautiful.

For the past several years, Taylor has spent her summers away from home, and she thought this one would be no exception. But when her dad gets the news that he has stage four pancreatic cancer, his one request is that the family spend their last summer together at their lakehouse in the Pocono Mountains. Reluctantly Taylor and her siblings make the trip along with her parents, but Taylor dreads this summer even more than her siblings. While Gelsey will only miss ballet classes and Warren can study anywhere, Taylor has a lot of history at the lake, history that she would rather not relive. However, the past always has a way of catching up with you, especially in a small town. Taylor has to confront her old friends, which also means confronting her own faults. At the same time, she realizes she is only now beginning to know her father, and their time is running out. Soon Taylor learns that if you're lucky enough to have a second chance, you have to make the most of every moment...

Reading books in which the outcome is easily surmised can sometimes be hard, disappointing, or even boring. Second Chance Summer was none of those things. In fact, this book, with its unassuming yet somehow still profound writing, suspended time, and while I was reading it, I forgot about everything else. I loved the setting of Lake Phoenix - it was the perfect atmosphere for this story (and also made me want to go to the mountains). Along with the setting, the characters truly came to life. I felt like I knew them all, from Gelsey's passion for dance to Warren's penchant for reciting facts to Taylor's dad's puns. Taylor herself was quite real and relatable - even though she was not always able to express her emotions, I was always able to feel them. Through flashbacks scattered in the novel we learn what happened between Taylor, her former best friend Lucy, and her first boyfriend Henry. Even though these three were young at the time, the story speaks to the power and depth of childhood friendships and first loves.

So many emotions and relationships were portrayed in this novel. We saw joy and sorrow, tears and laughter, aspects of parent-child and sibling relationships, friends, and even romance. Because of that, this book is the total package. In addition, Taylor's emotional journey gives a great message of courage and strength. I loved who she became by the end of the novel. This story really tugged on my heartstrings and had me tearing up in a few places. The story might have been hard to read sometimes, but it is one of the best books I have read so far this year.

I said this earlier and I will say it again: Second Chance Summer is beautiful and a book that I know will stay with me a long time. I am eager to see what Morgan Matson writes next!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

By: Bethany Griffin
Published By: Greenwillow
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Series: Masque of the Red Death (#1)
Pages: 320
Genre: Steampunk
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA Midwinter
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

What do you get when you cross the 1300s, the 1920s, Paris, New Orleans, and inspiration from Poe? A retelling of Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, a spellbinding story presented with a gorgeous cover.

Araby lives a fairly comfortable life - at least compared to others in the city. Her friend April, the niece of the city's rule Prince Prospero, has decided that Araby should accompany her on all sorts of excursions to the Debauchery Club in her steam carriage, privileges which others can only dream of. Araby looks forward to these only for the relief that they bring from her misery. But at the club, she finds more than she bargains for. There is Will, who works at the club and who Araby finds herself thinking about, and there is Elliott, who seems to be harboring secrets behind his smooth appearance. Soon Araby finds herself facing challenges she never imagined and forced to make seemingly impossible decisions. But will she be able to keep her promises, her friends, and most importantly...her life?

The writing in Masque of the Red Death truly takes you to another time and place. Even if it is hard to visualize a specific city, the world presented is bleak and chilling, one in which corpses litter the street and the rich tower above the poor - literally - in an effort to breathe clean air. And yet the nightlife of debauchery is just as vivid, full of glittery, fanciful designs, making the contrast between fantasy and reality that much more striking. This setting lends itself to intrigue and secrets, and indeed there is an air of mystery that pervades this novel. Both Will and Elliott are especially enigmatic, and though pieces of their character are revealed as the story progresses - and they both have qualities that make me really care for them - there are still unanswered questions. Is Elliott truly Machiavellian? And is there more to Prince Prospero than simply being an evil overlord? I am looking forward to learning these answers as the story progresses.

Despite the allure of Will and Elliott, I found the heroine Araby difficult to connect to. In a way she seemed completely distant from the world, and while I could sympathize, this also made her seem aloof, especially in the beginning. Gradually, however, Araby became more human as we learned about her loss of her brother and the sacrifice she made for him. By the end of the book she has grown into a stronger character, one who understands more about the harsh realities of life and the necessity of making the most of the time you have.

Masque of the Red Death may be based on Poe's work, but the writing and characters make this story new and captivating in its own right. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next installment!

"Waiting on" Wednesday

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's selection is:

By: Kimberly Sabatini
Published By: Simon Pulse
Release Date: Oct. 30, 2012
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Life altering mistakes are meant to alter lives...

When Elliot dies for the third time, she knows this is her last shot. There are no fourth-timers in this afterlife, so one more chance is all she has to get things right. But before she can move on to her next life, Elliot will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed… and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the mistakes of her past, Elliot must earn the forgiveness of her best friend and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves...even if it means losing them both forever.

Why it's wanted:

In addition to the gorgeous cover, this sounds as though it could be a very powerful and moving story. I'm curious to see what Elliot learns.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cover Reveal: Audition & Subtraction by Amy Fellner Dominy

I'm so excited to be one of the blogs participating in this cover reveal! Last year author Amy Fellner Dominy published her debut novel, OyMG, and in September her second novel will be available! I love books about the arts, and this one seems super-cute. And now, without further ado, I present AUDITION & SUBTRACTION by Amy Fellner Dominy!

For as long as Tatum can remember it’s been:

Tatum + Lori = Best friends

They do everything together, including a yearly clarinet/flute duet for District Honor Band auditions. But when a new boy transfers to their middle school and their band, the equation suddenly changes to:

Lori + Michael – Tatum = One happy couple

With her best friend slipping away and her parents recently separated, Tatum’s life has turned upside down. Plus her good friend Aaron thinks that they are secretly boyfriend and girlfriend, all because of one little lie Tatum told. Accepting change isn’t easy for Tatum, but just how much is she willing to give up to hold on to her friendship with Lori and life as she knows it? For Tatum, the best way to move forward may require a whole new formula...

Mr. Wayne pointed to where we stood. “Tatum also plays clarinet, and Lori is our principal flute.” We both sort of nodded, and Michael smiled, his sunglasses reflecting back my face for a second before moving to Lori. His smile widened, and she shuffled from one foot to the other. I was still half behind her, and I tapped her with my shoulder.

Loser, right? my shoulder nudge said.

She didn’t nudge back.

There is more! Amy Fellner Dominy is hosting a giveaway for an ARC of AUDITION & SUBTRACTION. You can enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Teaser Tuesday (41)

I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"The floor of this pool would have pulled Jena to the bottom, sucking all the air from her lungs. She would have drowned.

I have to be tie girl with nine lives, because I
did just drown, and now, I'm back."

p. 44 (ARC) from ALL THESE LIVES by Sarah Wylie

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. Each week we will share the books we have just finished reading, are currently reading, and are planning to read.

Just Finished Reading:
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Currently Reading:
All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

Planning To Read:
Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis
Until I Die by Amy Plum

What are you reading this week?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

By: Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Published By: Walker Children's
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Series: None
Pages: 354
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA Midwinter
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

I was drawn to this book for the cover, especially the phrase on it: "Does time heal all wounds?" After reading the synopsis, I knew that this would be an emotional book, but I didn't realize just how many aspects of life this book would touch.

Since the night of the car accident involving her and her boyfriend, Allie has mostly stayed in her room, hardly talking to her parents or her twin Andrew, merely tolerating her friend Blake's presence when he comes to deliver her homework for the day. But when a new detective is brought to town to continue the investigation and learn what really caused Trip's (Allie's boyfriend) death, Allie realizes that she will have to go on with life as best as she can. Slowly Allie starts to rebuild her life, dealing with the sympathy from her fellow students and trying to maintain the pretense that she is alright, but she still cannot escape her memories. She knows that Trip was abusive, but she doesn't know what exactly happened the night he died. As her memories gradually return, she begins to question not only her friends but also herself. And through the course of her journey, she finds that things are not always black and white...

Breaking Beautiful does have an element of mystery and suspense, but what really makes this book are the characters. Although it was difficult to connect with Allie at first because she was so numb, as the story progressed, her thoughts and feelings became much more clear. I appreciated seeing the flashbacks of the night of the accident, as well as other times with Trip, as she came to remember them; these scenes really added to the story. I loved her relationship with Andrew; they were friends and tried to protect and care for each other rather than being simply bickering siblings. I also enjoyed Blake's character - who could help but fall for the tortured artist who clearly cared so much for Allie? He evoked almost as much sympathy as Allie, in his own way. Finally, I really liked Caitlyn's character and what she stood for. Throughout the book, Allie, Blake, Andrew, and Caitlyn could all be seen as victims in their own different ways, reminding us that everyone has their own burdens to bear and has to find their own ways to overcome them.

This book may have dealt with heavy, serious topics, but there were moments of startling normalcy and lightheartedness scattered throughout the story that relieved the tension and allowed me to really connect with the characters. After finishing the book, I have to admit that I am conflicted about one detail of the ending. Even though I understand why things happened the way they did, I wonder what the consequences might have been of that decision.

Breaking Beautiful is certainly a worthwhile read, full of meaning and important messages. I will look forward to reading more from Jennifer Shaw Wolf!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Love in Bloom Giveaway Hop

Welcome to this stop of the Love in Bloom Giveaway Hop, hosted by
I am a reader, not a writer and myself.

With April showers bringing May flowers and all that, everything seems to be in bloom in springtime, and love is no exception. What better time than to read a sweet romance novel?


In order to include international followers, this giveaway will be for a YA romance book of the winner's choice (up to $15) from Book Depository.

The contest is open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your country. Must be 13 to enter. Please see my Contest Policy for more information.

Must be a GFC follower to enter.

This contest will close on Thursday, May 24 at midnight CST.

Make sure to visit the all of the blogs on the hop!

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