Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (85)

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!

"'If your heart's wish is not fulfilled, the heat of your passion will instead burn as a cold fire.' Bosque tilted his head, regarding Alistair with amusement as a father would a naive child. 'That is what happens when love turns to hate.'"

p. 72 from RISE by Andrea Cremer

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

Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

By: Mary Lindsey
Published By: Philomel
Release Date: June 27, 2013
Series: None
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Author
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever.

With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make a wager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial — and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.

Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling poem Annabel Lee, Mary Lindsey creates a frighteningly beautiful gothic novel that glorifies the power of true love.

I wanted to read Ashes on the Waves from the first time that I heard Mary Lindsey talk about it. I love Poe and I love retellings, so a retelling of Poe's poem Annabel Lee with Celtic mythology added in sounded like the recipe for a great book. And it was.

Liam has lived a hard life on the island of Dochas. Crippled from birth, he is shunned by the other inhabitants and haunted by the wails of Bean Sidhes. The only happiness he knew was when he played with the heiress Annabel Leighton as a child. But at seventeen, he had resigned himself to only seeing Anna in magazines. But one day Anna returns to the island, exiled there by her family. With Anna back on the island, Liam is once again happy. But there are forces threatening to tear them apart, both human and otherworldly. Will their love survive all of the trials that they are forced to endure? And more importantly, will they?

If you have read Mary Lindsey's first book, Shattered Souls, you may think you know what to expect in Ashes on the Waves. But Mary has truly outdone herself with this book. From the very first page I was transported to the mystical island where the love story of Liam and Anna unfolded. There were Poe quotes at the beginning of each chapter that set the stage and told the story in their own way, and out of them grew a wonderfully tragic narrative. The writing is both lyrical and vivid, and everything about the island came to life in a story that I didn't want to put down. Even though Anna and Liam seem like an unlikely pair at first, you can't help but be swept away by the depth of their love. The story is told from Liam's perspective, and his devotion to Anna as well as the hard life he's lived and the way he overcomes it make him completely swoon-worthy.

In addition to the sadness that pervades this book, there is also magic and mythology. I liked the portions for Muireann's perspective, and I loved how the real and fantastical worlds blended. The magic world housed a lot of secrets, and I enjoyed uncovering them along with Liam and Anna. Despite everything that happens, there is always an undertone of hope, reinforcing the idea that love never dies. I hated turning the final page, because even though I knew that the story was over, I still wanted more.

Ashes on the Waves is a beautiful, haunting novel. It is definitely a not-to-be-missed read!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Opening Lines (26)

Opening Lines is a new feature here on Portrait of a Book that showcases the first lines of recent and/or upcoming releases. If you're looking for your next read, let these first lines help you decide!

By: Jennifer Castle
Published By: Harper Teen
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.

The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.

Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.

But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.

Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Life is a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what's personal and what's public aren't always clear.

"Sometimes, I hit pause at a random moment when I'm on film and stare at my eyes, and try to figure out why they chose me."

By: Joanna Philbin
Published By: Poppy
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

There are two sides to every summer.

When seventeen-year-old Rory McShane steps off the bus in East Hampton, it's as if she's entered another universe, one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing pressed khakis and driving expensive cars. She's signed on to be a summer errand girl for the Rules -- a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion. Upon arrival, she's warned by other staff members to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done.

Stifled by her friends and her family's country club scene, seventeen-year-old Isabel Rule, the youngest of the family, embarks on a breathless romance with a guy whom her parents would never approve of. It's the summer for taking chances, and Isabel is bringing Rory along for the ride. But will Rory's own summer romance jeopardize her friendship with Isabel? And, after long-hidden family secrets surface, will the Rules' picture-perfect world ever be the same?

"She really should have just told someone."

By: Kate Karyus Quinn
Published By: Harper Teen
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn's haunting debut.

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese's fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

"The field didn't end so much as trail off, beaten back by the rusted-out trailer and circle of junked vehicles surrounding it."

By: Terri Brown
Published By: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?

"The hair on the back of my neck prickles even before I spot him rounding the corner ahead."

Do any of these opening lines grab your attention? What are your favorite first lines that you've read lately?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagaway

By: Julie Kagawa
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Series: Blood of Eden (#2)
Pages: 434
Genre: Dystopian
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Netgalley
Buy the Book: Amazon

Note: This book is the second book in a series, following The Immortal Rules. The summary and review may contain spoilers for the first book.

Goodreads Summary: Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

The Immortal Rules was one of the books that takes vampires from appealing, lust-inducing creatures back to bloodthirsty creatures. But some have more humanity than others, and it was learning about the characters that made The Immortal Rules so engaging. Once again Julia Kagawa has created a story where pages seem to fly by and surprises wait just around the corner.

It's hard to say much about this book without giving anything away, and part of its appeal was its ability to keep me surprised. For most of the book I thought I knew what would happen, but Julie Kagawa managed to thwart many of my expectations. The story really expanded in this book, connecting characters in different ways. As the plot spins out with slow momentum at times, we get to know the characters in new, deeper ways. Kanin had intrigued me in the first book, and I was very glad to see him again in this book. I love mysterious characters, and Kanin fits the role perfectly. Throughout the book, it was interesting to see how vampires could find moments of humanity and humans acted evil at times. There is no shortage of tension and danger in this book, and we learn a lot about the characters seeing how they handle everything.

Allison had a different set of struggles in this book than in the last one. With her Hunger mostly under control, she could focus on a different problem - what kind of vampire would she be? And what would she do about her feelings with Zeke? Allie tries to do what she thinks is right, but it isn't always easy. As she tries to discern the right course, she learns more of the history and secrets that were only hinted at in the first book, and it was interesting to put all of the pieces together. Though there are new characters, there are also many that return - often in unexpected ways - and the stage is perfectly set for Allie to finish the journey that she started.

The Eternity Cure is a great sequel to The Immortal Rules, though the ending may be a form of cruel and unusual punishment. I can't wait for the final book in the trilogy to see how everything is resolved!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"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: Amy Christine Parker
Published By: Random House Childrends
Release Date: Aug. 27, 2013
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Do the gates keep the unchosen out or the chosen in?

In Mandrodage Meadows, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban community have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives. Lyla Hamilton and her parents are original members of the flock. They moved here following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:

Pioneer is her leader.

Will is her Intended.

The end of the world is near.

Like Noah before him, Pioneer has been told of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must arm themselves to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the compound's underground fortress--the Silo.

Lyla loves her family and friends, but given the choice, she prefers painting to target practice. And lately she'd rather think about a certain boy outside the compound than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But with the end of days drawing near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.

Why it's wanted:

Most dystopian/apocalyptic covers don't scream "Read me!" but this one does. Talk about creepy and intriguing! And I think it will be interesting to see how the story plays out in this isolated community.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (84) and Release Day: Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller

By: Kimberly Ann Miller
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Published By: Spencer Hill Press

Goodreads Summary: A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life--her father's death years ago, her mother's medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her--seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she's gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they're a happy couple... a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying "Happy Anniversary"... and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship's doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she's warned that these "alternate realities" could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question—how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

Today is the release day for TRIANGLES! Book releases are always exciting, but this book has something most don't - you can enter to win a cruise! Go here for more information.

And if the synopsis wasn't enough to make you read this book, here's a teaser:

"The Bermuda Triangle should top your list of things to worry about on this vacation.”

I laughed. “Hardly. I’m not exactly worried about swirling down some massive toilet bowl in the middle of the ocean.”

She pulled her fingers through her long black hair. “You joke, but planes and boats go missing, and people think aliens abduct them or they get sucked into a time warp or the military is doing experiments. I’ve even heard theories about alternate realities, black holes, giant gas bubbles...” She took a deep breath and sighed. “The Bermuda Triangle has been sucking people in for hundreds of years. You might be next.”

Excited for the book? Find it on Amazon and find the author, Kimberly Ann Miller, on her website or on Twitter. Happy release day to TRIANGLES!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pre-Order Promo and Chapter Reveal: Frigid by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)

By: J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)
Release Date: July 30
Published By: Spencer Hill Contemporary

Goodreads Summary: For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn't anything new. They'd been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the 'man' in man-whore. He's never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn't want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she's perfect and she's everything. But the feelings he has for her, he's always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they're stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor'easter, there's nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

Today is an exciting day with four huge surprises! Jennifer L. Armentrout's FRIGID is set to release as an e-book at the end of July. FRIGID has already been given the honor of being named a Romantic Times Top Pick. This is definitely one book where the wait seems too long. And now, here are the four surprises:

  1. Due to all the excitement surrounding FRIGID, Spencer Hill Contemporary is running a special e-book pre-order promotion. If the e-book pre-order goal is met, then FRIGID will be released two weeks early. You know you want to read the book early, so go - pre-order it!

    Barnes & Noble | Amazon

  2. Need something to hold you over until FRIGID releases? Starting right now, you can read the first three chapters of FRIGID for free! Just read below!


  3. Can’t get enough of the hot FRIGID cover? Want to see some behind the scenes photos that are sure to make you swoon? You’re in luck! Below you can watch a slideshow of all the behind the scenes photos from the photo shoot! Go on and watch it. We’ll wait, because there is still one more great surprise!

  4. And last but not least, if you live near Philadelphia, PA, you're in for a very special treat - Jennifer will be in Philly in November signing not only FRIGID but also the last book in her immensely popular COVENANT series, SENTINEL! But that's not all. Adam, the super hot cover model from FRIGID will be there as well! So, you'll get to meet both Jennifer and Adam! Plus there will be other great prizes that you seriously won't want to miss out on (dinner with the author and model, perhaps?)! Stay tuned for more details to come!

If you aren't excited for FRIGID yet, go watch the slideshow and read the chapters again! And then, go pre-order!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Opening Lines (25)

Opening Lines is a new feature here on Portrait of a Book that showcases the first lines of recent and/or upcoming releases. If you're looking for your next read, let these first lines help you decide!

By: Katie McGarry
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

"I'm not interested in second place."

By: Hilary T. Smith
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.

"It's the first day of summer, and I know three things: One, I am happy. Two, I am stoned. Three, if Lukas Malcywyk's T-shirt was any redder I would lean over and bite it like an apple."

By: Lois Ruby
Published By: Point
Release Date: June 1, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

Infused with history and mystery, this tale of ghosts, love, and murder takes place in present-day Gettysburg, where the Civil War still looms large.

Lori Chase doesn't know what to think about ghosts. She may have seen a few in the past, but those were just childish imaginings...right? Only now that she is living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, spirits seem to be on everyone's mind. The town is obsessed with its bloody Civil War history, and the old inn that Lori's parents run is supposedly haunted by the souls of dead soldiers.

Then Lori meets one such soldier--the devastatingly handsome Nathaniel Pierce. Nathaniel's soul cannot rest, and he desperately needs Lori's help. Because Nathaniel was not killed in the famous battle. He was murdered. Lori begins to investigate the age-old mystery, stumbling upon shocking clues and secrets.

At the same time, she can't help falling for Nathaniel, just as he is falling for her....

"'I cannot believe we're moving into that creaky old bed-and-breakfast,' I mutter for about the hundredth time."

By: Susanne Winnacker
Published By: Razorbill
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late?

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

"The straightjacket corseted my body so tightly my arms tingled and my fingers turned numb."

Do any of these opening lines grab your attention? What are your favorite first lines that you've read lately?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"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: Sarah J. Maas
Published By: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: Aug. 27, 2013
Preorder the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

Why it's wanted:

I loved Throne of Glass, and I can't wait to be back in the world and see more of these characters!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Teaser Tuesday (83)

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!

"Long, dark fingers are enclosing me. Velvet-gloved hands, soft and perfumed, are wrapping around my throat, and Lena is whispering from somewhere far away - What did you do? - and then, mercifully, the fingers release, the hands drop from around my throat, and I am falling, falling, into a deep and dreamless sleep."

p. 57 (ARC) from REQUIEM by Lauren Oliver

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

Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

By: Tammara Webber
Published By: Berkley Trade
Release Date: Nov. 6, 2012
Series: None
Pages: 310
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reading Level: New Adult
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night - but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

After there was so much buzz about Easy last year, I decided that I had to get a copy for myself. It took me too long to read it, but I'm so glad I finally picked it up. Easy is more than just a romance, or a book dealing with a serious issue. Both of these things together combined into a book that I fell in love with.

Jacqueline thought she knew what course her life was going to take. She followed her boyfriend to college and would have been happy to be with him forever. But shortly into her sophomore year, she finds herself dumped, outside of her formal social circle, and struggling to keep up her grades in her economics class. One night she leaves a Halloween party early and alone, never expecting what one of her ex's frat brothers tried to do, but a savior materializes seemingly out of nowhere. Jacqueline doesn't think she'll see the savior again, but as it turns out, he's in her economics class. At her roommate's advice, Jacqueline begins playing a game of cat-and-mouse with Lucas. But she's also been emailing Landon, the tutor for her economics class. She has a connection with both, but Lucas is definitely rebound material. Only there's something he's hiding, something Jacqueline thinks she needs to know. What will Jacqueline be willing to risk for the chance of love?

In some ways, Easy in several stories combined into one. Jacqueline deals with her heartache after being dumped, she deals with the aftereffects of the attempted rape, and Lucas comes to terms with his own past. I loved how these three different things ended up overlapping and it became a book in which the romance was something both characters needed, not just wanted. And all of the characters really made this book. I especially enjoyed how many different types of people this story brought together. Jacqueline isn't perfect, but she is relatable, and over the course of the book she grows into someone strong who follows what she wants in life. Both Lucas and Landon are capable of stealing your heart. I loved reading Jacqueline's emails with Landon, but Lucas was always intriguing and, as the one who saved Jacqueline in the beginning, was definitely easy to fall for. Jacqueline's roommate Erin was just the kind of friend she needed, and the kind you would want to have. Even one of Erin's sorority sisters had me cheering for her at one point.

This book definitely has its sexytimes, but for the most part, they're fueled by a genuine connection, which made everything better. Easy also deals with the tough subject of rape. I think it was handled well - there are aftereffects even from the attempt, and that event does help shape Jacqueline in the book rather than it being brushed off. With everything that happens in this book, it is nothing short of intense. Even though I wanted to enjoy the book, in some ways I couldn't read it fast enough. I just wanted to know that all of the characters would end up being okay, but then I didn't want to let them go when I was done.

When I started Easy, I expected an enjoyable romance, but this book is so much more, and so much better, than that. I can't wait to read more from Tammara Webber!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Opening Lines (24)

Opening Lines is a new feature here on Portrait of a Book that showcases the first lines of recent and/or upcoming releases. If you're looking for your next read, let these first lines help you decide!

By: Jennifer Brown
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

Ashleigh's boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her while he's away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh's friends suggest she text him a picture of herself -- sans swimsuit -- to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits "send."

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone -- until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he's the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh's photo -- and didn't look.

Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn't always tell the whole story.

"The community service I'd been court ordered to complete was held in one of the downstairs classrooms at the Chesterton Public Schools central office."

By: Natalie Whipple
Published By: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

"I nearly died the second I was born."

By: Bennett Madison
Published By: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

When Sam's dad whisks him and his brother off to a remote beach town for the summer, he's all for it-- at first. Sam soon realizes, though, that this place is anything but ordinary. Time seems to slow down around here, and everywhere he looks, there are beautiful blond girls. Girls who seem inexplicably drawn to him.

Then Sam meets DeeDee, one of the Girls, and she's different from the others. Just as he starts to fall for her, she pulls away, leaving him more confused than ever. He knows that if he's going to get her back, he'll have to uncover the secret of this beach and the girls who live here.

"The summer following the winter that my mother took off into something called Women's Land for what I could only guess would be all eternity, my father decided that there was no choice but for him to quit his despised job and take me and my brother to the beach for at least the entire summer and possibly longer."

By: Sarah Ockler
Published By: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon

When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

"The law of probability dictates that with three older sisters, a girl shall inherit at least one pair of cute shorts that actually fit."

Do any of these opening lines grab your attention? What are your favorite first lines that you've read lately?

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