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Jennifer Brown – Torn Away

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Summary: Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this.

When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she’s sent to live with relatives she hardly knows-family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy?

My rating: 4 out of 5 Continue reading

Bookjigs bookmarks winners!

The winners are:

Maureen Dee

Madeline Constance

Mary Wagner

Quite interesting how all the winners’ name starts with M…I swear to god it was random.

Winners’ emails have been sent to Russ, and he will be getting in touch with you for your bookmarks! Congratulations!

Again, thank you so much again to Russ and the people at Franklin Mill for this very generous giveaway =)

Rachael Allen – Seventeen First Kisses

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Summary: No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

My rating: 1 out of 5 Continue reading

Bookjigs Bookmarks Giveaway!

Are you one of those *gasp* freakish people who still read PAPER books? *dies* If so, you might be interested in these cute wittle bookmarks.

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Now, isn’t that just adorable?bookjigs_bookmark_A366_Wisdom_Chalk

 

Wisdom, huh? I could use one of those. Bookmarks, I mean.

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The kind people at Franklin-Mill have graciously given us some bookmarks to give away.

To enter, please go over to their website, http://www.franklin-mill.com/, and select 2 of your favorite bookmarks. Please leave a comment in the Rafflecopter link below with your two favorites. 1 entry per person. The winners (3) will win both their choices, provided and mailed by the company.

Don’t worry, I will not be using your emails for anything but emailing the winners. No devious purposes here *whistles*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Mark Lawrence – Prince of Fools (The Red Queen’s War #1)

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Summary: The Red Queen is old but the kings of the Broken Empire dread her like no other. For all her reign, she has fought the long war, contested in secret, against the powers that stand behind nations, for higher stakes than land or gold. Her greatest weapon is The Silent Sister—unseen by most and unspoken of by all.

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong.

After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.

My rating: 4 out of 5 Continue reading

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Jessica Martinez – Kiss Kill Vanish

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Summary: Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

My rating: 2 out of 5 Continue reading

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Kiki Sullivan – The Dolls

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Summary: Eveny Cheval just moved back to Louisiana after spending her childhood in New York with her aunt Bea. Eveny hasn’t seen her hometown since her mother’s suicide fourteen years ago, and her memories couldn’t have prepared her for what she encounters. Because pristine, perfectly manicured Carrefour has a dark side full of intrigue, betrayal, and lies—and Eveny quickly finds herself at the center of it all.

Enter Peregrine Marceau, Chloe St. Pierre, and their group of rich, sexy friends known as the Dolls. From sipping champagne at lunch to hooking up with the hottest boys, Peregrine and Chloe have everything—including an explanation for what’s going on in Carrefour. And Eveny doesn’t trust them one bit.

But after murder strikes and Eveny discovers that everything she believes about herself, her family, and her life is a lie, she must turn to the Dolls for answers. Something’s wrong in paradise, and it’s up to Eveny, Chloe, and Peregrine to save Carrefour and make it right.

My rating: 1 out of 5 Continue reading

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Sean Olin – Wicked Games

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Summary: To all the locals in the small beach town of Dream Point, Carter and Lilah seem like the perfect It Couple-but their relationship is about to brutally unravel before everyone’s eyes.

Carter has always been a good guy, and while Lilah has a troubled past, she’s been a loyal girlfriend for the last four years. When smart, sexy Jules enters the picture at a senior-year bash, Carter succumbs to temptation. And when Lilah catches wind of his betrayal, she decides that Jules needs to pay.

By the end of the summer, the line between right and wrong will be blurred beyond recognition. Blood will be shed. Nothing in Dream Point will ever be the same

My rating: 4 out of 5 Continue reading

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Lauren Sabel – Vivian Divine Is Dead

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Summary: When a death threat arrives with teen celebrity Vivian Divine’s fan mail, Vivian has no choice but to go on the run to Mexico. She soon discovers, though, that her Oscar-nominated performance killing villains on-screen did nothing to prepare her for escaping a madman in real life. Some people say he’s a hero, others tremble in his presence, but one thing is clear: he won’t stop until Vivian is in his grasp. Why didn’t she pay more attention during those judo lessons for her role in Zombie Killer?

Vivian finds an ally in the mysterious and charming Nick. He is everything Hollywood boys are not-genuine, kind, and determined to see Vivian for who she really is. But even he seems like he can’t be trusted-what could he be hiding?

Beat up, hungry, and more confused than ever about who she’s running from, Vivian is living in a real-life blockbuster horror flick. But there’s no option to yell “cut” like there is on set….

My rating: 1 out of 5 Continue reading

Natalie Parker – Beware the Wild

“When the swamp took my brother, it sent someone—something else to take his place. I don’t know what Lenora May is, but she’s not my sister.”

This book is a dark American fairy tale.

In Celtic mythology, we often hear about the changeling in connection with the fae, fairies, whatever you call them. The fae are capricious creatures. They will take what they please, and in some instances, they will take whomever they please. Children, newborn infants, specifically, are particularly vulnerable. The beautiful child will disappear, abducted by the fae, leaving an ugly, wizened, “wrong,” fae child in its place.

This book has that similar premise, with a twist. Instead of Ireland or the UK, we have the swamps of the deep South in the US. The “child” being abducted is a young man, about to go to college. What’s different is that all memories of the abducted are erased.

The writing is great. The main character is a sympathetic one. There is no insta-love. The atmosphere of the Deep South is well-written, and there is a sense of eeriness and frustration that is pervasive throughout the book. This is one of the better YA paranormal books I have read.

The Summary:

“The swamp ate my brother.”

Sterling Saucier is about to finish her sophomore year of high school when the unthinkable happens: her brother Phineas, in a fit of anger, in an unthinking moment – steps into the swamps behind Sticks, Louisiana. Everyone in town knows not to go into the swamp. It’s dangerous. Once you go in, you never leave.

Even the plants know better: stay the fuck out. The swamp stays away from the people. The people stay away from the swamp. It is a tenuous peace.

For some reason, the swamp stays firmly on the other side. A few brave plants may reach across the line, but by and large, the swamp keeps as much distance from us as we do of it.

Phineas has been gone for hours, and Sterling is frantic. She is panicking, feeling like she will never see her brother again, when out of the swamp steps a girl. Not Phin. A strange girl whom Sterling has never seen before.

Her hand extends slowly and she hesitates before finding the fence. Dark hair hangs in her face, wild with curls and lovely in a way mine will never be. She climbs with something less than grace, fumbles with her dress, and nearly falls to the ground in my yard.

Everyone tells Sterling that this is her sister.

“I want to know who she is, why she’s here, and why you’re all acting like you know her. I watched her climb over the swamp fence, for crying out loud!”
“Now you’re worrying me,” Mama says. “Are you telling me you don’t recognize your own sister?”

The trouble is Sterling knows otherwise. She somehow has memories of this stranger.

I can’t remember someone who doesn’t exist. I can’t remember that her favorite color is purple but thinks Chevelles look best in red. I don’t even know her name.
Except I do.
Lenora May. May to her friends. Lenora to teachers and Aunt Mina. But Lenora May to me. Always Lenora May.

But Sterling knows: this is not her sister. Phin is her brother, and he has disappeared. Nobody remembers her but him.

Well, not nobody. Someone knows what she’s going through. Somebody believes her. Somebody who has lost someone of his own.

“Nathan Payola,” he says. He waits for me to react, but there’s nothing for me to react to. Angrily, he adds, “He was my best friend.”

That somebody is Heath. Heath is a boy at her school. He is not unfamiliar to her, in fact, they had a short, brief, flirtation.

Heath wasn’t a talker, but when he did talk, the words we shared were sweet and supplemented with notes of the flirting variety.

Only that flirtation abruptly stopped…and now she knows why. Heath was struggling with the same thing she was, the loss of a friend, and the knowledge that nobody believes him.

And now they’re in the same boat, and as cute as Heath is, as much of a brief history they’ve had together, there are more important things at hand right now, like how to get her brother back.

At any other time, I’d be stuck on him admitting he ditched me. But now, all I can think of is Phin.

A situation doomed to end in frustration now shows a small ray of hope, because they’re in this together.

We can’t fight something we don’t understand. But I remember what Heath said about hope. I’m not going to let the swamp have that, too.

And they’re going to cling on to every last vestige of that hope they can. Hope is all they have.

The Setting:

There are a hundred ways to die all cloaked in the twist of pale trees—gators fast enough to catch a grown man, mosquitoes teeming with disease, stinging plants, hungry black bears, and nasty cottonmouths all filled with spite and patience.

Tell people that swamps are a dangerous place, and they’ll give you a “No shit, Sherlock,” stare. But they don’t know about the swamps behind Sticks, Louisiana.

But what’s in ours is worse.
Ours is a creature all its own. We don’t stare into its depths and we don’t ever go inside.

I love a creepy, small Southern town atmosphere, and this book absolutely delivers. It is filled with local legends, lore, creepiness on its own.

This is a dead-end small town in which anyone with aspirations for a better life needs to get the fuck out. There is no future here.

Most of the good folk of Sticks consider it’d be faster to throw your money in a fire if you’re that keen on wasting it, but then, most of the good folk of Sticks think the periodic table has something to do with birth control.

Much of the population can be described by urban citizens as “white trash.” The point is to get out. Leave it all behind.

The swamp itself is a terrifying thing, filled with creatures like the one that wears Phin’s skin.

“I’m hungry,” he says, a sound that seems to crawl from his throat. It’s devoid of the warmth Phin’s voice should have, all mud and gravel. He reaches with webbed hands, each finger tipped with a sharp, black claw.
Not my brother, I think, a trick.

There is a tale of horror that lies behind the mystery that held my attention as it unfolded. This is truly a beautifully descriptive, atmospheric book.

The Characters:

he was gone.
And it’s my fault.
If I was afraid to live in a town without Phineas, I’m plain terrified of living in a world without him.

I absolutely loved Sterling. Trigger warning: the main character has an eating disorder, brought on by the stress of her beloved brother leaving. I thought the portrayal of said eating disorder was well done, because there is an emphasis in this book that eating disorders are not about being thin. It is a mental disorder, exacerbated by stress, by any number of things. Sterling’s mitigating factor just happened to be her brother.

The first time she asked me about this, I’d tried and failed to explain that it wasn’t about wanting to be thin; I couldn’t think of food when the threat of losing Phin to college was so near.

So many people in Sterling’s life give her a hard time about her anorexia, and it is impossible for her to explain to them: it is not about being thin. I think this aspect of her character was adequately done.

I like the fact that Sterling is a devoted sister. She truly loves her brother. She constantly thinks about him. She always seeks to get him back. She will go to any lengths, overcome her own fears of the swamp in order to attempt to rescue him.

The swamp continues to beckon.
I can do this.
“Phineas Harlan Saucier,” I say to whatever might be listening. “I’m coming for my brother.”

Her beauty is never mentioned. Not everyone falls in love with her. Sterling is a realistic character with real flaws, real hurts, and is wholly sympathetic because of them.

Characters who should be the enemy have depths. They have life. They are filled with spirit.

“You’ve been so safe all your life. So safe you might as well be dead. Phin did that, he kept you from living, but I won’t. I promise you, I only want to live as fiercely as I can.”

They have stories. They are not mindless monsters, creatures to be feared. They are people. An unknown and nonexistent sister, not a monster, a person who may turn out to be someone who could be admired.

Lenora May doesn’t care that she’s in the dirt or that she’ll have to wash her dress three times to get rid of the stubborn smells that follow you home from the track, and not caring makes her both vulnerable and beautiful.

The Romance:

I feel small and secure in his arms with my hip balanced against his thigh. This is different from the kiss. That felt chaotic and delirious and like something beginning. This is the opposite. Together we are solid and smart and somehow not new at all.

Now this is how I like my romance. Sterling and Heath have a small romantic past, but they are above all else, friends and allies. She understands him. He understands her. They have a shared past, and a shared present. He is the only one who understands her pain, having gone through it himself.

Heath is a bad boy, but not one as you’d expect. He developed that reputation after having gone through the frustration of losing a friend. Heath is a good kid who started acting out of frustration and anger and pain. He is never, ever an asshole.

Hell, he’s actually quite a gentleman.

“Sterling Saucier,” he says.
His eyes narrow in a smile. Sunlight shines through them, illuminating too many rings of brown and brass to count. He bends closer.
“May I kiss you?” he asks.

Overall: an excellent book.

All quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof subject to change in the final edition.

Brutally honest book reviews

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