Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry


Pushing the Limits



Genre
YA Contemporary Romance

Publication Date
July 24th, 2012

Publisher
Harlequin Teen

Available At
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Formats 
Hardcover
Ebook







So wrong for each other...and yet so right.


No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.  Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


Review
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars!


Two characters striving to re-find a normal that doesn't exist anymore which forces them to find a new normal. 






I'm a huge fan of split perspectives, and Katie McGarry did not disappoint in that aspect. There was a vast difference between Noah's voice and Echo's voice that was hugely appreciated by this reader. Echo is more refined where Noah is more gruff, it was perfect. Also, since I'm a details person, I loved the little tells that McGarry threw into the mix, it was a successful way to connect the reader in a broader way. 


"Luke use to give me butterflies. Noah spawned mutant pterodactyls"
                                                                                              - Echo


Noah drinks, smokes pot, has sex, skips school and curses. You can label him the quentessential 'bad boy', but to me he was just a troubled teenager that was letting his past shape his present. I like, no love, when authors put in the not so pretty aspects of high school, or life in general. I don't know about you, but I was surrounded by Noah-type and Echo-type people throughout high school, may have been a little of both. As much as some parents don't want to admit it, this stuff really happens in high school, so why should authors not write about it? I was more than grateful that Katie McGarry put real-life instances into Pushing The Limits.


"Depth perception and beer obviously weren't related"
                                                                     - Echo


Another great thing? The character growth wasn't dependent on the romance. Echo and Noah grew together just as much as they grew separetely, which is pretty realistic, because some things you just have to learn or do on your own. They also gained insight from their friends which helped their individual or couple growth. All in all, there wasn't a single aspect of Pushing The Limits I didn't like. I found it realistic, with awesome characters and many deeper meanings buried within the story. 






If you love YA Contemporary Romance then make sure to read Pushing The Limits. If you are looking to dive into the YA Contemporary genre, there is no better place to start than Pushing The Limits. If you've read this book. . . I want your thoughts :)


PS, Katie McGarry is writing her next book about a supporting character in Pushing The Limits. Can. Not. Wait!


*Received my copy of the book from NetGalley*







Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: One Moment by Kristina McBride


One Moment




Genre
YA Contemporary

Publication Date
June 26th, 2012

Publisher
Egmont USA

Available At

Formats
Hardcover
Ebook






This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.


Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?


As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?


The latest novel from the author of The Tension of OppositesOne Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.


Review
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


One word. Intense. One Moment had me in a constant anticipation mode, but not the eager anticipation, the nervous anticipation. I was stuck with a perpetual free-falling feeling. You know the one, jittery nerves, rapid heartbeat, stomach jammed up into your throat while you wait for it to drop out from beneath you. Like I said, intense. You want to know what happened, you want to know the secrets that were being kept, but you just know that they will be devastating, especially because Joey is so damn likable. 


Thick in mystery, Kristina McBride leads us on an adventure that will throw suspicions all over the place. I loved that we got information as Maggie got information, it allowed me to connect to her and feel with her. The writing also added to Maggie's character because it was almost desperate, depressed, and a little bit hopeless until that little flicker of light reveals itself to help lead Maggie out of the dark. To say I was captivated is an understatement. I was eager to finish, but also reluctant because I fell in love with so many of the characters. There is no way possible for you to read this and NOT feel the powerful emotions behind this story. They were sometimes suffocating, but only because Kristina McBride successfully portrays each emotion and character to the T. She has amazing talent that has made me a fan for life.


If you want real characters, an intense plot and completely entrancing writing then check out One Moment. Just make sure you have tissues near-by and are prepared to read until the end because this book was simply unputdownable.




*Received my copy of this book from NetGalley*

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Tyler Falls by Lori Clark


Tyler Falls


Genre
YA Contemporary

Publication Date
May 26th, 2012

Publisher
Self-Published

Available At

Format
Ebook








By the time seventeen-year-old Tyler Falls meets Emma, his "Thirty-Days-Left-to-Live" plan is already in place -- and falling in love isn't part of that plan.


Tyler has suffered from manic depression for as long as he can remember. Through medication and therapy, he manages to keep his life together. But when his parents are murdered, he decides he's had enough of living as a broken person with a broken life. So, in thirty days, he plans to stick the barrel of his Ruger SP101 into his mouth and pull the trigger.


Emma Perez's brother, Ethan Giovanni, sits in a mental institution for the murder of Dr. and Mrs. Falls. Deemed mentally incompetent and unfit to stand trial, Ethan has one weekly visitor -- Emma. She doesn't deny his guilt, he's her brother and she loves him spite of the fact he's paranoid schizophrenic.


They say when you cross paths with someone more than once, it's fate -- you're destined to meet. Tyler doesn't know Emma is Ethan's sister, and Emma doesn't know Tyler's story either. When Tyler learns who Emma's brother is, the world he's rebuilt around her begins to crumble all over again and it leaves both of them wondering why fate has such a cruel sense of humor.


Review
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars


Tyler Falls is a really sweet romance, but for a story about a 17 year-old guy with plans to commit suicide and that unknowingly falls in love with the sister of the guy that changed his life forever, it shouldn't have been sweet. It should have been a gut-wrenching love story that rips the emotions from you as you read.


The struggles of the characters just didn't come across as plausible, they were too light for the depth that was trying to surface. There should have been many layers to peel back as we read, but I found the story too simple and straight forward to successfully pull me in. Especially with Tyler's tormented past and "Thirty-Days-Left-To-Live" plan. There should have been a monumental struggle with Tyler and how his plan was changing, but there wasn't. He just simply accepted the change in his life and the change of his feelings without any difficulties. The story revolved around a romance when I think it should have been more focused on two individuals that found the power to heal with each other. Which can be classified as the same thing, but it's not.


The story alternated with chapters from Tyler's perspective and Emma's perspective and while in most cases I revel in being able to get inside each characters minds, I was a little put off by the redundancy. Each scene that involved both Emma and Tyler were told from both perspectives with scenes of the same dialogue. There were some added scenes that took place prior or after, but sometimes the wording was different from the scene in the others perspective. 


My favorite aspect was the relationship between Tyler and his Uncle Kyle. That was the one thing that was the most natural and the most endearing. I also greatly appreciated that the characters were portrayed in a more natural light. Meaning: they cursed, drank a little and so on. Tyler Falls is a book that needed that 'uncleanliness' to show the roughness of the characters.


I did enjoy reading Tyler Falls, I just wish that the story wasn't so light considering the heavy-hitting premise. I can say, though, that I'm very intrigued to see what other stories Lori Clark will produce.


*Received to review via the author through Making Connections YA Edition*

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Review: Morning Star by Desiree Finkbeiner

Many thanks to the author for allowing me the opportunity to read and review her book

Morning Star (Ethos, #1)



Genre
Paranormal Romance
Series
Ethos (Book 1)

Publication Date
March 28th, 2012

Publisher
Hydra Publications

Available At

Format
Ebook







When a mysterious stranger interrupts Brianna’s mundane routine, her eyes are opened to the dark underbelly of reality… immortal rogues, ancient conspiracies, prophetic revelations, savage tribes, mammoth dragonflies… 


She’s thrust into a race for her life when Kalen, a warrior from Ethos, discovers that she is harboring a secret… a secret that he’d give his life to protect. 


There’s just one little problem… they are tempted by a forbidden romance, which threatens to compromise a divinely appointed mission. They are faced with a choice… love eternal, or the end of the world…


Review
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Desiree Finkbeiner created a fabulous world that came to life through bright, vivid imagery. I instantly became lost in the enchanting world of Ethos and can't wait to go back.


The main characters, Bree and Kalen, were definitely likable, perhaps even lovable at some points. I wasn't completely swept away by either of them. One problem that I had was that there was a huge emotional struggle between Kalen and Bree that should have lead up to an intense emotional scene, but I found that scene to be lacking in the intensity that should have been present. I felt that they gave in too easily for such an important struggle. It also seemed that Bree's diction, for the most part, was more old-fashioned than it should have been for a 21 year-old woman living in the 21st century. Bree would comment on Kalen's diction (a lot) but I found that hers matched Kalen's more than it should have (which wasn't a huge problem if she didn't keep ragging on Kalen). But, they were each great characters and although I wasn't completely swept away by them, I could still feel the emotions that Finkbeiner was trying to portray. I must say though, that my favorite character was Athena. Once you read Morning Star, you'll see why. 


I loved the concept that Desiree Finkbeiner introduces to us in Morning Star. She took a popular genre and crafted it to make something that came across as new and refreshing. I was riveted to my seat as each new aspect was produced and I was constantly anxious to see how everything would play out. There were expected twists, but also a lot that weren't expected. Finkbeiner definitely has a knack of keeping up the suspense without drawing it out in unimaginable lengths. I'm ready to dive back into Ethos and begin from where we were left!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: The Shapeshifter's Secret by Heather Ostler

The Shapeshifter's Secret
Genre
YA Paranormal Romance

Publication Date
June 12th, 2012

Publisher
Cedar Fort
~Sweetwater~

Available At

Formats
Hardcover
Ebook
                                             





Julia is finally discovering what–not who–she is.


Like any sixteen-year-old, Julia's used to dealing with problems. From her overprotective father to her absent mother to a teacher who definitely has it in for her. But everything changes when Julia's reactions become oddly vicious and angry---more animal than human. This action-packed adventure has it all: humor, romance, and a plot that will keep you guessing to the very last page.


Review
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


There was plenty of mystery within The Shapeshifter's Secret that fueled my intrigue and kept me interested, but I was just not wholeheartedly invested in the characters.


For one, I felt that the romance aspect was greatly lacking. I felt that the characters both fell in love too simply and this may be due to the fact that they weren't together very often. Plus, the whole time I was reading, I kept getting this feeling that this is only a prelude to the real romance which will take place in future books. I may be completely off base with that assumption, we all know what happens when you assume, right? 


I was not a huge fan of Julia, but she did have great moments. She was completely unrelatable to me and I'm usually a reviewer that can relate to a lot of characters. The big thing that bothered me was Julia's obsession of the evil entity. I just didn't find it natural or normal as she kept trying to find a connection. I'm hoping that this was a process to show Julia's growth and to strengthen her resolve in the books to come. I don't blame her for being curious, but it was just too much for me. 


However, the wheels in my head were in constant motion as little clues were strewn every so often, revealed at perfect moments to keep my interest piqued. The world that Heather Ostler created was beyond fascinating and even though I didn't love the characters, I loved the world and plot enough to be curious about the next book. 


*Received my copy from NetGalley*

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)Series
Lies Beneath
(Book 1)

Genre
YA Fantasy Romance

Publication Date
June 12th, 2012

Publisher
Random House Children's Books
~Delacorte BFYR~

Available At
Amazon
Barnes & Nobles

Formats
Hardcover
Ebook





Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.


Review
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars!


There are so many great things that Anne Greenwood Brown did with Lies Beneath that kept it refreshing and original. I was instantly blown away and eager to read every word as the story unfolded. 


First, male point-of-view, do I need to say anything more? Probably not, but I will. I am so damn, unbelievably happy that male pov's are on the up rise. Oh, but that's not all. Usually we get saddled with the humans side of the story while the 'paranormal' person is cast in a dark, mysterious light (not a bad thing, I might add). Well, meet Calder. He's dark and a little mysterious and most importantly, he's a merman. And the story is told through his voice, which was absolute perfection. Also, this is the non-romanticized version of merpeople and I absolutely loved it. Brown casts them in a completely different light that portrays them in a much different way. It was fascinatingly eerie. 


I loved the fact that Calder questions the nature vs. nurture thing. Am I a product of nature or nurture? It's such a profound question for him and it simply added to his depth, forming more of a connection. Lily was fabulous. Slow to trust, fights her attraction towards Calder and is just plain human(in a good way, fleshed out). I felt like I knew her. 


I don't often need pretty words to transport me into a story, but Brown has a natural knack for writing that the prose was beautiful in itself. Descriptive. Vivid. Brilliantly flowing from sentence to sentence. I was mesmerized.


I'm recommending Lies Beneath to everyone. It was such an adventure that I was reluctant to say good-bye, but at least I (or we) can be mollified that there will be more to come.









Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers, #1)


Series
Nightwatchers 
(Book 1)

Genre
YA Paranormal Romance

Publication Date
May 29th, 2012

Publisher
Harlequin Teen

Available At

Formats
Paperback
Ebook



I don't do dangerous.  Smart, ├╝ber-careful, ordinary Samantha-that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me...something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing-and I don't know if I can get it back. 


Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me....


Review
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


There are some awesome characters in Dark Kiss. Kraven and Bishop will be fast favorites as readers flock to their desired 'team'. One's a demon and the other is an angel, but don't let that define them. There are layers upon layers of Bishop and Kraven that Dark Kiss only allows a glimpse of. The surrounding characters were also well done. Between Zach, Roth, Connor, Stephen, Carly, and Natalie; they all have genuine characteristics that will endear them, make them suspicious, or a little of both. As for Samantha, was she my favorite female protagonist? No, but she is absolutely likable and had moments that made her shine. For the most part, I really enjoyed her voice. I have a feeling that Samantha is going to keep growing stronger as a character.


I completely loved the plot. I love when an author is fully capable of crafting a story that has twists and mystery that you didn't see coming, but should have. Sometimes the unanswered questions can be left unanswered for too long, but in Dark Kiss it was a more natural flow that captured and kept my interest. The romance was tingle inducing when it had the possibility of ending up in the 'insta-love' category. The struggles were tangible and helped make the romance glide in a more realistic way portraying the connection between them. 


I labeled Dark Kiss as 'potential love-triangle' (meaning: possible love-triangle in the next installment) and you know how those drive me crazy, unfortunately not in a good way. There are a few that are well done and actually add the wanted tension instead of making me want to pull my hair out, so. . . I'm kind of interested to see how Michelle Rowan will play this out.


Wicked Kiss is the next in the series, and I'm curious to see what will happen.



*Received my copy of this title from NetGalley*