Category Archives: Ebook challenge

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: We’re Done by Judy Irwin

We’re Done

by Judy Irwin

Middle Grade Fiction

Book Description

What if it turns out that YOU’RE the bully – and you didn’t know it?

Up until now, life has been good for 13-year-old Luke. He’s good at sports, attractive, and he’s a big wheel at Heyworth Academy, his private school. He likes to tease, and poke fun at the other kids, but that’s just because he likes having fun. But things start to fall apart, six weeks into eighth grade, when Luke commits an act of ‘goofing around’ that ends up costing him his best friend and his beloved private school.

After he’s expelled, Luke transfers to his local school, Carlyle. Now, he’s on the outside looking in. His looks, and background (not to mention his Heyworth hoodie), make him stand out, and the tough guys zero in on him right away.

The upside-down world that Luke finds himself in at Carlyle gives him a whole new way of looking at things. Can he recover from losing his school, and his best friend, and find new friends and a way to fit in at Carlyle?

MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

We’re Done by Judy Irwin

Luke is a 13 year old who attends a prestigious private school. He’s a great athlete, loved by the girls, and hangs out with his best friend Jon. The problem is, he’s kind of a jerk. He says mean things to other kids all the time, but one day he goes too far and gets kicked out of school.

Luke then transfers to a public school, and he quickly learns that while he may think the things he says are funny, other people rarely do. He must learn to think before he speaks, and think about how his words hurt others.

Right from the very beginning of this book I didn’t like Luke very much. He was very cocky and rude. I knew he would have a lot to learn if he wanted to change himself. He was outraged at the fact that he had to change schools, but that’s exactly what he needed. By making him a fish out of water, he was forced to confront others and really take a look at what he was doing.

The only problem I had was that I felt that Luke’s family could have done better by him. I believe the author was trying to make it so that Luke’s problems were a result of him acting out because of the absence of parental guidance in his life. But after him getting kicked out of school, he isn’t even punished!! Ultimately Luke worked out his problems on his own, so I guess that worked out OK.

I think this makes a great read for middle graders who need to take a look at how they treat others.

View all my reviews

An Excerpt from We’re Done

Luke looked at his mother. “So it’s not — ” He turned to look at Mr. Kennedy. “OK, now I get it.” He pushed his hair behind his ears. “I was just trying to be funny,” he said. “How can that be wrong? I mean, I’m sorry that Jill was upset. If you want, I’ll apologize — ”

“Luke, please let me continue,” said Mr. Kennedy. “As you know, we introduced a new anti-bullying policy two years ago. We decided that, because we wanted Heyworth to be a safe, nurturing place for all students, that we’d have a zero-tolerance approach when it came to bullying.”

“I know,” said Luke. “You’d have to be a moron NOT to know about it. We hear about it all the time — zero tolerance, three strikes and you’re out, yada yada, yada. I know all that. But having fun isn’t the same thing as bullying — at least, not the last time I looked. I mean, we’re kids. We’re going to goof around. So I’m not sure what you’re saying.”

“Luke, this is what I’m saying,” said Mr. Kennedy. “This is your third strike. I’m very sorry to do this, but I am asking you to leave Heyworth.”

Luke’s mom raised her handkerchief to her mouth, and she let out a muffled sob. “Luke, you see this is serious,” she said.

“This is nuts,” said Luke. “I’m not going to leave Heyworth. This is my school. Mr. Kennedy, you can’t do this. I’m on the swim team. I’m captain of the soccer team. And you know my parents are really involved in this school. Mom, don’t you agree? This is not possible.”

About the Author

Judy Irwin writes books about kids dealing with everyday stuff, like parents and divorce, friendships and bullies, and figuring out how to handle different situations and circumstances. So far, she’s written two books: We’re Done, and What Did You Say? We’re Done is about 13-year-old Luke and how he figures out what went wrong when he’s kicked out of school for a bullying incident. In What Did You Say?, 12-year-old Tash tries to figure out what life will be like following her parents’ divorce. In this book, which takes place at a trailer park up north, Tash first meets Luke, Jon and Polly.

Judy lives in Toronto, Canada, with a dog, a cat, and two hamsters, plus her husband and two children, ages 10 and 13. She studied English Literature at the University of Toronto. She always wanted to be a writer. She wrote her first book in fourth grade – it was about a boy called Japan, who lived in Japan. In addition to writing books, Judy is a freelance business writer.

www.judyirwin.com

www.amazon.com/author/judyirwin

Judy will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Goddess Fish Partner

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Virgins by Caryl Rivers

Virgins

by Caryl Rivers

Book Description

For the seniors at Immaculate Heart High, hormones jousted with the quest for the State of Grace, and the hormones usually won.  The Map of Forbidden Sexual Delights extended its boundaries nightly in the back seats of tail-finned cars. But the girls of Virgins also wanted more. Who could they grow up to be in a world where women were supposed to be seen, but not heard?  They were rebels with a cause, before their time.

But growing up anytime is hard—finding, and losing first loves, discovering who you will be as a grownup. It’s a universal experience, one that readers of all ages can relate to.

MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Virgins by Caryl Rivers

Peggy is a senior at an all girls Catholic high school. Her boyfriend Sean is also her next door neighbor, and goes to the boys Catholic high school. Although both are virgins (and Sean’s on the road to priesthood), it’s getting more and more difficult to stay that way.

As the year passes, Peggy and her friends realize that they are actually growing up, and must come to terms with that.

This book was set in the late 1950’s (I think, no specific year was mentioned so I gathered the context clues) but I think for the most part it’s aged nicely, and its’ messages are still relevant today.

Peggy is a pretty cool girl, a bit radical for her time. She’s against McCarthyism, and wants to go to New York and become a journalist. She’s prone to daydreaming, and her imagination is pretty hilarious. She and her friends are determined to make their mark on the school before they leave it.

I watched Peggy grow a great deal through the course of the book, which was pretty nice. At the beginning she is somewhat immature, but by the end she is determined.

The kids do some stunts that are pretty hilarious, and I found myself laughing out loud several times. Peggy also has a quick, sharp wit, and she often steps up with sarcastic one-liners.

The title is misleading to me. This novel is not at all about kids losing their virginity, but about the process of becoming an adult. Yes, sex ties into that, but watching your friends make stupid decisions and having to leave them is one of the things growing up is all about.

The ending of this book was heartbreakingly bittersweet, but also full of promise. I just know in my soul that Peggy went on to do great things. 🙂

View all my reviews

 

About the Author

Caryl Rivers has been called “one of the brightest voices in contemporary fiction.” Her novel Virgins was an international critical success, published in the US, UK, Sweden, Germany and Japan. It was on many best seller lists and in paperback (Pocket Books) sold more than a million copies. Her novels deal with American women trying to find a foothold in a rapidly changing world. She was included in the book Feminists Who Changed America from the University of Illinois Press.

She is a nationally known author, journalist, media critic and professor of Journalism at Boston University. In 2007 she was awarded the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for distinguished journalism. She is the author of four novels and nine works of non-fiction, all critically acclaimed. Her books have been selections of the Book of the Month Club, Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Troll Book club. The Chicago Tribune says of her,  “Few other writers are as funny as she, and none funnier. Yet she is capable of wrenching your heart and soul.”  There are film offers in place for the new edition of Virgins.

Her articles have appeared in the New York Times magazine, Daily Beast, Huffington post, Salon, The NationSaturday ReviewMs.Mother JonesDissentMcCallsGlamour,RedbookRolling StoneLadies Home Journal and many others. She writes frequent commentary for the Washington PostLos Angeles TimesBoston GlobeChicago Tribuneand Womensenews. Of her book Selling Anxiety: How the News Media Scare Women, Gloria Steinem says it “will save the sanity of media watchers enraged or bewildered by the distance between image and reality.”

She has co-authored four books with Dr. Rosalind Barnett, senior scientist at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis—the latest (2011) being The Truth About Girls and Boys: Confronting Toxic Stereotypes About Our Children. Articles based on the book won a Casey medal for distinguished journalism about children and families and a special citation from the National Education Writers association.

Website

PURCHASE VIRGINS

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Shallow by Georgia Cates

Shallow

by Georgia Cates

Going Under Series, Book Two

Book Description

Payton Archer’s best friend, Claire, strives to be perfect in every way. Payton doesn’t and this is her story.

Nick Hawke likes his car fast and his girls even faster. He blows through females quicker than his muscle car races down the “The Strip” in Collinsville and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Determined to avoid the devastation he has watched his father endure in the aftermath of his mother leaving, he believes there is no room in his life or his heart for a relationship lasting more than one night. He seeks happiness in things that won’t let him down…fast cars, adrenaline and one night stands. To his absolute dismay, all of that changes when he unexpectedly runs into an old friend and is introduced to Payton Archer, the first girl he ever wanted for more than one night. There’s only one catch…she is completely immune to him and his smooth talking ways.

Payton Archer is looking for what Claire has with Jessie, but she has given up on finding it…at least until she leaves for college in the Fall because she is certain that is where she will find the perfect guy to fit into her perfect world. She plans on Summer being nothing but three uneventful months of fun, but it turns out to be anything but ordinary when Payton is introduced to Nick Hawke, one of Jessie’s old Collinsville friends. She is shocked by her immediate and intense attraction for “Hawke” because nothing about him is what Payton is looking for. Sure, he’s hot and sexy but he comes from Collinsville and that is definitely not on her list of prerequisites. Everything about him makes Payton’s heart speed because he is exciting and dangerous, but his fast car and the dangerous chances he takes aren’t what scares Payton the most…it’s the way Nick Hawke makes her feel every time he looks at her. Can Payton find that moment of total fearlessness and make the decision to leave the safe, shallow end of love to risk going under completely?

MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Shallow by Georgia Cates

Payton Archer is a take no prisoners, lay it all out there kind of girl. Nick Hawke is a player and has had more than his fair share of female attention. Yet when the two meet, sparks fly and from then on, neither can get the other out of their mind.

Nick is an adrenalin junkie, and Payton is by no means backing down from the challenges he presents to her. But she also doesn’t want to be just another notch on his bedpost. Add to that the pressure from her parents to stay away from him, and his mother issues, and it’s a volatile combination. Payton and Nick must decide if they want to stay away, or explode with each other.

This book wasn’t exactly a sequel to Going Under, it was more of a spin-off. The Payton in question is Claire’s best friend from Going Under, whom I loved for her wit and quick, sarcastic insults. She definitely comes back with more in Shallow.

When they first meet, Nick is taken aback by Payton’s attitude and simply her difference from every other conquest he’s ever had. He makes a bet with her, and if she loses, she must go on a date with him. From there, the relationship moves pretty quickly, though I never felt that insta-love vibe.

I adore Payton so much. She is NEVER afraid to speak her mind, no matter to whom. There were several quotes from her that had me literally laughing out loud. But she’s also quick tempered, and it doesn’t take much for Nick’s past to anger her.

The sexual energy between Nick and Payton was HOT, HOT, HOT! They are sexual opposites–Payton is a virgin, while Nick is the farthest thing from one. Despite that, I was really touched with how Nick went against his own personality to take his time with her.

I didn’t feel like the drama in this book was on the same level as Going Under. Also, I thought the end moved pretty fast. I was a little annoyed by how little it took for Payton to believe and forgive Nick in the end.

This book drew me in right from the beginning and never let go. This is the fourth book I’ve read from Georgia Cates, and I am definitely a huge fan!!

View all my reviews

About the Author

I am a wife, mother of two daughters and a labor and delivery nurse. I have recently added Paranormal Romance Writer to my list of things to keep be busy, but I am ecstatic to release my debut novel, Blood of Anteros, the first book in The Vampire Agápe Series.  I am also the author of Going Under and Shallow.

Like others that enjoy a great story of paranormal romance, I am easily bored by the tale of an obtainable, ordinary romance and was inspired to create The Vampire Agápe Series. When I am not tied up with my family or delivering babies, I am working feverishly on the third book in The Vampire Agápe Series.

Twitter: @GeorgiaCates

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Three Lost Kids & the Death of the Sugar Fairy by Kimberly Kinrade

The Three Lost Kids and the Death of the Sugar Fairy

by Kimberly Kinrade

The Three Lost Kids Series, Book Four

Book Description

Halloween is here and Lexie, Bella and Maddie couldn’t be happier. But why does everything feel so different? Fewer houses are decorated and fewer kids are out trick-or-treating. Still, that’s not going to stop the three girls from eating as much candy as they can before their parents can stop them, even if that means fighting each other for it.

When they finally discover a haunted house worthy of their favorite holiday, they forget their parents’ warnings and go in alone, only to discover that the house really is haunted, and not only that, but they’ve been transported to a whole different world!

A dying Sugar Fairy in one of the abandoned rooms send them on a quest to find her Sugar Baby and the magic Sugar Flower in order to save her and Halloween. If they fail, Halloween will be gone forever, and they’ll never return to their family.

But with Sugar Bug attacks, the Cavity Caves where they must face their deepest fears, and giant gummy bears armed with candy cane swords, the girls aren’t sure they’ll make it.

Their only chance is to work together, using each of their strengths to help each other. Can they stop fighting over candy long enough? Or will they be trapped in the dying Sugar Land forever?

MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

The Three Lost Kids and The Death of the Sugar by Kimberly Kinrade

This was a very cute tale of 3 sisters named Maddie, Bella, and Lexie. They are out trick or treating and discover that no one is really participating in Halloween this year. When the sisters come upon a creepy house and go inside, they find out why. Can the sisters save the Sugar Fairy and Halloween?

I thought this was a great little tale to get young readers into the spirit of Halloween. Not only is it entertaining and full of adventure, it also teaches the lesson that too much candy is not good for your tummy! I also loved that it came with a built-in legend of the Sugar Fairy that I may just use with my own son someday!

The only slight thing that bothered me was that I thought the girls speech and thoughts were more advanced than I would think them to be for girls of their ages. The story was very enjoyable and I’ll be sharing it with my son as well!

View all my reviews

About the Author

Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes fantasy and paranormal stories for children, YA and adults and still believes in magic worlds. Check out her YA paranormal novels Forbidden Mind and Forbidden Fire and her illustrated children’s fantasy chapter books Lexie World, and Bella World, all on Amazon.

She lives with her three little girls who think they’re ninja princesses with super powers, her two dogs who think they’re humans and her husband, also known as the sexy Russian Prince, who is the love of her life and writing partner.

 http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4687115.Kimberly_Kinrade

http://KimberlyKinrade.com

@KimberlyKinrade
@IPIAcademy

PURCHASE THE BOOKS HERE!

Please keep your eyes open for the next tour in November for  The Three Lost Kids & The Christmas Curse. 
When Nov. 26th
What Review Blitz
 
Blurb:  Christmas everyday sounds like the best thing ever to Bella and her sisters. But when a special Wishing Stone grants her heart’s desire, The Three Lost Kids discover the curse hidden in the wish.

Now they have to stop Christmas no matter what–even if that means ending up on Santa’s Naughty List.

Will the girls learn the true meaning of Christmas and find a way to break the curse? Or will they be stuck in their self-created Jingle Bells Nightmare forever?

***

Look for the original Three Lost Kids Trilogy–Lexie World, Bella World and Maddie World–if you like enchanted Dragons, Fairies, and more adventures through magical worlds with great life lessons for kids!

www.ThreeLostKids.com

launching November 26th through Evolved Publishing
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16061077-the-three-lost-kids-the-christmas-curse

There is a huge tour wide giveaway with these awesome prizes:

  • $25 Amazon GC plus signed copy of all four books (Lexie’s World, Belle’s World, Maddie’s World, Sugar Fairy} bookmarks and surprise swag include one of the posters and bookmark {USA/Canada Only}
  • 2 signed copies of Sugar Fairy with swag {USA/Canada Only}
  • 3 Poster of The Sugar Fairy cover and bookmarks

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

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BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Going Under by Georgia Cates

Going Under

by Georgia Cates

Going Under Series, Book One

Book Description

Jessie Boone is a self proclaimed bad boy and doesn’t march to the beat of anyone’s drum, but his own. Growing up in less than desirable circumstances has made him no stranger to the hard knock life and his determination to leave it behind is fierce. When he finds himself transferred to East Franklin High School, he sees his opportunity to use his athletic ability to snag a college football scholarship, but Forbes Henderson, the player Jessie means to replace isn’t giving up his spot willingly. In fact, Forbes is willing to go to extreme measures to retain his place as first string quarterback. When Forbes’ malicious plan to injure his replacement fails, Jessie is furious and determined to show him he messed with the wrong person; not only is he going to take the position of first string quarterback, he’s going to take his girl, too.

Claire Deveraux is perfection at it’s best. She is beautiful, intelligent and unaware she just became Jessie Boone’s conquest as revenge against her boyfriend, Forbes Henderson. Like her flawless performance as the perfect daughter and student, Claire’s production of being the perfect girlfriend has everyone fooled, except Jessie Boone, and she fears this tattooed bad boy will see her secret desire to explore his crude threats and promises to rock her perfect world. If she decides to give in to one uninhibited moment with Jessie, will she learn too late that it was all an act of vengeance or will Jessie learn the taste of first love is sweeter than that of revenge?

MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

 

Going Under by Georgia Cates

Jessie Boone is just starting in a new school full of rich kids after dire circumstances forced him to move in with his drug dealing grandma. Claire is the quintessential beautiful cheerleader dating the quarterback. But when Jessie and Claire come together, sparks fly.

But if they want to be together, they have more than their fair share of hurdles to get over. Claire needs to ditch her controlling, two timing boyfriend, and Jessie has to figure out a way to keep Claire from learning the sad truth about his life. Unfortunately for both of them, the truth always has a way of coming out.

As I was reading this, I definitely noticed it had a lot in common with Pushing the Limits, but this book was published first (interesting.). However, I felt this story was better told.

The story is told from both Jessie and Claire’s alternating points of view, which I loved. With a book that is so centered in a relationship, I believe it’s important to get to see each person’s true feelings.

Jessie put on a tough front, which of course was necessary for him to just make it through his everyday life. But I loved that he was sensitive even from the beginning. I know that sounds like a YA stereotype, but he was different. It’s something I can’t explain, you just need to read the book to understand.

Claire was OK on her own, but overall I enjoyed Jessie’s chapters more. Claire’s best friend Payton was actually more entertaining for me.

The chemistry between Claire and Jessie was sizzling and palpable, but the book actually keeps their physical contact pretty clean. I love that they didn’t jump into bed together quickly. I believe this is important in YA books, and lets teen readers know that a relationship doesn’t necessarily need sex for it to be hot.

As the book got to its’ ending chapters I felt my emotions being wrenched. The story definitely got to me, and I loved the way it ended, even though it was a little bit too perfect.

I believe this is a book that everyone will love, and the author has a gift for making readers feel what the characters are feeling.

View all my reviews

 

About the Author

I am a wife, mother of two daughters and a labor and delivery nurse. I have recently added Paranormal Romance Writer to my list of things to keep be busy, but I am ecstatic to release my debut novel, Blood of Anteros, the first book in The Vampire Agápe Series.  I am also the author of Going Under and Shallow.

Like others that enjoy a great story of paranormal romance, I am easily bored by the tale of an obtainable, ordinary romance and was inspired to create The Vampire Agápe Series. When I am not tied up with my family or delivering babies, I am working feverishly on the third book in The Vampire Agápe Series.

Twitter: @GeorgiaCates
The author is offering a tourwide giveaway.  Prizes:
 US Only: (2) Signed print copies of GOING UNDER
(2) GOING UNDER T-Shirts
International: (5) eBook copies of GOING UNDER and SHALLOW

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis

My Boyfriend Merlin

by Priya Ardis

My Merlin Series, Book One

Book Description

He was a little older than he was letting on. By a few eons…

In this modern Arthurian, 17 year-old Boston high schooler Arriane, aka Ryan, DuLac just found out the guy she’s been crushing on, hot biker Matt, is a little older than he was letting on. In fact, he is really Merlin—the Merlin, King Arthur’s Merlin, the greatest wizard who ever lived. Frozen in a cave for over fifteen hundred years, he’s woken for a purpose. But Ryan’s not impressed. Tired of being a relationship loser, she’d rather kick his legendary behind.

Sure, the world has been crazy ever since the sword and the stone fell out of the sky like a meteor. But despite gruesome gargoyles, a deadly new world of magic, and the guy driving her crazy, Ryan knows that family is everything. Will Merlin sacrifice hers to save the world? Will she be able to stop him?

MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis

Ryan DuLac is a high school student with some problems: she and her boyfriend Matt have just called it quits, and since her mother’s death, she’s been living with a close friend of the family. But everything in her life is about to get way more complicated.

When Ryan loses her best friend in a freaky dragon attack, she learns that there’s more to the world than meets the eye. Magic is real–and Matt is not really Matt. Ryan quickly gets on the track to becoming an unlikely hero.

This book was a really cool spin on Arthurian legend..not quite a retelling, but all the components we know and love are there: Merlin, Excalibur, the Lady of the Lake. Along with a few unique chracters I really loved.

I really liked Ryan from the start of the book, and as it progressed she got even cooler for me. Though she was thrown some pretty unbelievable roadblocks, she stood strong and didn’t rely on anyone to help her. She worked out her own problems and was not falling all over herself around the guys. And…I’m always a sucker for a girl who punches a guy in the face 🙂

Matt is Ryan’s ex, and he actually turns out to be Merlin, the legendary wizard. Although he has broken Ryan’s heart, there is a reason behind it. He was a truly nice guy but very focused on his work. Vane is Matt’s brother, also a wizard. He’s more of a loose cannon and the brothers have some issues between them. Although Vane and Ryan clash, they can’t stay away from each other and things get pretty heated. So yes, this book does have somewhat of a love triangle, which I usually hate. But the chemistry between Ryan and the two brothers was really sizzling, and I like it when I actually have no idea who the heroine will pick. The triangle kind of reminded me of Damon-Elena-Stefan from The Vampire Diaries (one of my fave shows).

I loved the romance aspect of the book, but the action was definitely not lacking. Fast-paced scenes start very soon in the book, and they are interspersed nicely throughout the novel. This made it a very compelling read, and I never got bored.

The author did a very nice job with weaving the traditional Arthurian elements with completely original supernatural ones, and I really enjoyed reading this novel. I am definitely excited for the next!

View all my reviews

 

About the Author

Priya Ardis loves books of all kinds—but especially the gooey ones that make your nose leak and let your latte go cold. She started her first book at sixteen, writing in notebooks on long train rides during a hot summer vacation in India. Her favorite Arthurian piece is the poem The Lady of Shalott by Lord Alfred Tennyson. A hopeless romantic, she’s a longtime member of the Romance Writer’s of America. When not living in her characters’ world, she might be found at the local coffee shop—her nose buried in a book.
You can win paperback or ebook copies of the first two books in the series!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

REVIEW: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Breathe

by Sarah Crossan

Breathe Series, Book One

Book Description

Inhale. Exhale. 
Breathe. 
Breathe. 
Breathe . . .
The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

Alina
has been stealing for a long time. She’s a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she’s never been caught before. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. If she’s careful.

Quinn
should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn’t every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

Bea
wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

MY THOUGHTS: 2 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

*Below is a review that will most probably make people mad at me…*

Quinn, Alina, and Bea are teenagers in a dystopian future where the atmosphere has been depleted of oxygen, making it impossible for anyone to breathe. As a result, The small population of survivors from The Switch now lives in a structure called The Pod, where air is pumped in and pretty much every aspect of life is controlled by an oppressive government (any of this sounding familiar yet?).

Quinn is the oldest son in a prominent family, and happens to be best friends with Bea, a brilliant but poor girl who has high aspirations. Alina is a member of a resistance group that plans to bring Breathe (the government) down. When Quinn meets Alina, he immediately becomes interested in her, and soon all three of the kids’ lives are intertwined, for better or worse.

Breathe was one of the most anticipated releases of Fall 2012. I was one of those bloggers who heard about it ages ago and immediately put it on my TBR list. But unfortunately, the book description that roped me into wanting to read this book was just about the only compelling thing about it.

I was so excited to start reading this book, but once I started, the many shortcomings I found made me not want to finish it. First off, maybe it’s just me having dystopian overload, but I feel like I have read this story. So. Many. Times. Pure by Julianna Baggott comes to mind, countless others. It’s kinda like the author went down a dystopian novel checklist:
-Oppressive Government: CHECK
-World changing event THAT IS NEVER TRULY EXPLAINED: CHECK
-Resistance group with a crazy leader: CHECK

Then there was a YA checklist:
-Love triangle: CHECK
-Non-existent/non-caring parents: CHECK
-Whiny girl, idiot boy, kickass (but not quite) heroine: CHECK

So many things about this book didn’t make sense to me. Just for example: the kids find a drifter, an older lady named Maude. She explains that before The Switch, she was training in the medical field. That would take a person with fairly high intelligence, correct? Well, in this book she talks as if she just stepped out of 1870’s Appalachia. “I weren’t no threat.” and such. Maybe I picked things apart, but hey, I’m a reviewer so things like this catch my attention.

Characterization was severely lacking in this novel, and I’d be hard pressed to say I found redeeming qualities in any of the characters. Quinn made me want to punch him several times, Alina just wasn’t the smartest, and Bea had no backbone. The sort-of-but-not-quite love triangle was very annoying.

There are several other things I had issues with, but honestly, I am tired of talking about this book and I’m ready to get it out of my mind. I only finished it because I started it…and I kind of wish I hadn’t.

View all my reviews

REVIEW: Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

Storm

by Brigid Kemmerer

Elemental Series, Book One

Book Description

Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys all the ones she doesn’t want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming.

MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

It’s not exactly the best timing when Becca Chandler saves Chris Merrick from getting a beating in an alley behind the school. But she does, and soon enough she’s in the thick of Chris and his three older brothers, Michael, Nick, and Gabriel. Which is not great–since people at her school are already believing a vicious rumor her ex boyfriend spread about her.

Then Becca learns that Chris and his brother aren’t exactly normal. All four of them have an affinity with an element: air, fire, water, earth. And some of the people in town think it would be safer if the Merricks were dead. Becca struggles to help the Merricks–and herself–stay alive.

I’d seen so many great reviews of this book that I knew I had to read it, and I’m glad I did. I did have a couple of issues with it though.

*****SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW!*****

So, our lead girl, Becca. I’m a bit conflicted on her. At the very beginning of the book, she is taking a self defense class. And throughout, she has her tough girl moments. But unfortunately, she’s never tough where it counts. Her best friend Quinn comes off needy and bitchy at times, but Becca just kinda takes it. And then there’s the attempted rape issue.

See, Becca’s ex boyfriend Drew started spreading the rumor that she’d slept with half the school…because he tried to rape her and he was scared she’d turn him in. And she just…went with it. God, I had a lot of trouble reconciling this with myself. Becca would rather be labeled the school slut than turn in Drew and his friends for what they did to her??? THEN, they try to do it again later in the book! I don’t love what happened when it comes to the whole way Becca responded to the rape issue.

Anyway. It was cool to see characters use the elements who weren’t witches! The Merrick brothers definitely all have their own distinct personalities, but in the end they all care for one another and don’t let anything come between them.

This book has some inklings of a love triangle, and honestly, I’m not sure in which direction it’s gonna go. Both boys interested in Becca have lied to her, and yet she is drawn to them. I guess we’ll see in the next book.

I kind of had a feeling about what Becca really was, and I was right. But I still really liked this story. I look forward to learning more about the Merrick brothers.

 

 

REVIEW: The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova

The Vicious Deep

by Zoraida Cordova

The Vicious Deep Series, Book One

Book Description

For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave.
He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth.
His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he’s heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he’s suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods.
Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea…and now it wants him back.

MY THOUGHTS: 3.75 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova

Tristan Hart is a high school lifeguard who isn’t worried about too much besides girls and his swim team. But out of the blue he is overtaken by a huge wave on the beach, and he experiences very–unusual dreams.

But when he wakes up, his mother lets him know he was not dreaming. Tristan is in fact half merman. And not just any merman, an heir to the royal throne. But there are those who would not be happy to see Tristan come to power. Not only that, he must figure out how to keep his two worlds from colliding. His life is getting more complicated by the minute.

I haven’t had much luck with what I call “merpeople” novels. Lies Beneath was horrible for me, and others I’ve read have just kind of been meh. Vicious Deep has some promise, but unfortunately doesn’t completely deliver.

First off, we have Tristan. He is a grade-A jerk. He is a player who can’t ever remember girls’ names correctly, and rather rude and chauvinistic at that. Yet in spite of all this, he is somewhat in love with his best friend, Layla. She knows his history but still manages to have feelings for him too.

The world of the merfolk (or merkin as they are called here) is very intriguing and I enjoyed being immersed in it. I was also partial to the two merfolk who came to help Tristan, Kurt and Thalia. They were charming in an awkward way 🙂

The biggest problem I had with this novel was the pacing. It. Was. SOOOOOOO. Slow! It took a long time for anything of substance to happen, and I almost gave up on reading it a couple of times. Once it got the end end, it finally started rolling along better.

By the time I got to the end, I was glad I had read it, but there were several unanswered questions. I wish I could have learned more in this book…but it is of course, the first in a series.

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REVIEW: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

What’s Left of Me

by Kat Zhang

The Hybrid Chronicles, Book One

Book Description

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

SEE THE BOOK TRAILER HERE

MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Eva and Addie are two souls who share one body–though Eva lost the ability to control that body long ago. They are called a “hybrid”–which are outcasts in society and hunted down and sent to government facilities. People are only supposed to have one soul, after all…but Eva and Addie’s body never settled.

They try to hide the fact that they are hybrid, but soon enough they are found out and shipped off to an institution where they meet several other kids like themselves. But something sinister is happening there…and Addie and Eva want out.

I had high hopes going into this book, and it was somewhat different than I expected. It was unique, but at the same time I came away from it feeling I had read this tale before.

The novel is told through the first person perspective of Eva, who is the “submissive” soul in the body she shares with Addie. (I’m not even sure what to call them, really…sisters doesn’t seem quite right? Maybe Soul Sisters. Heh.) Because Addie is the one who puts on the public face and controls the body, Eva is essentially trapped. She can think and speak to Addie in their mind, but that’s about all she’s able to do.

Since Eva was the one narrating, I didn’t get to know Addie at all. They are the same body, but two entirely different people. Characterization in general was weak in this novel. I don’t understand how Addie became the “dominant” soul, when she seems so meek and introverted compared to Eva. I wish this novel would have been told in rotating chapters from each girl…I would have enjoyed knowing Addie’s true feelings about everything that was going on.

Once the story unfolded inside the Nornand facility, then it got kind of predictable. Definitely been there before.

The part that was most confusing to me–how did the issue of a body sharing two souls even happen? Obviously the book is set in our world, at some point in the future…but some event must have occurred to make such a weird thing come about? This topic was not even broached and it’s something I would have liked to see.

I’m glad I read the book, but I wish it would have been a bit more explosive and less predictable.

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