Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sundays in Bed With... Rush

 Welcome to my Sundays In Bed With... Meme! The meme that dares to ask, what book has been in your bed this morning?  Come share what book you've spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

This morning I'm reading:
 Rush by Eve Silver.
It's got a cool Starship Troopers/sci-fi vibe to it, but I'm not connecting with the main character yet.  Still early in the book though, and the plot is unique enough to keep me reading.

The dog behind the book is not mine, he belongs to my brother's family.  Just dog sitting.  Sarge is a white German shepherd, but he's HUGE.  Seriously, he's over 140 pounds, so he's big even for his breed.  Don't worry, guys, I'm NOT drinking the water in this house!  

What are you reading (or wish you had time to read) this morning? Are you reading the book you thought you'd be reading, or has today found you with a surprise? Link up below!

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Feature And Follow: Emo-tion

Feature & Follow is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

Today's Question:

Q: Tell us about the most emotional scene you’ve ever read in a book – and how did you react?

Wow, this is kind of tough one.  Books often rip my heart out on a regular basis. I'm going to expect a lot of Harry Potter in the answers, but with HP I was prepared for death,  although I wasn't expecting the one that happened in Book 6, which I totally convinced myself was faked...  

There are too many books and scenes to choose from!  But here's one I vividly remember: Warning Spoiler in the explanation: Die Softly by Christopher Pike.

It was the first time I'd read a book where the main character dies.  It totally took me by surprise.  The book was narrated from the mc's point of view!  Herb is so brilliant in the book, and I thought for sure the detective was going to get there in time... but that didn't happen.  It shocked me, and ripped my heart out.  The whole confrontation with the killer was tense, but I kept thinking somehow Herb would escape.  I realized then that main characters can die, that authors sometimes choose to kill off popular characters.

I'd also choose the first book in the Odd Thomas series, but I won't spoil that one.  Let's just say there's a scene at the end that made me cry so hard (you know, the great big hyperventilating kind of sobs) that I had to pull the car over because I was listening to the audio.  

What about you, what books have tore your heart out and stomped on them?
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Towering Review

by Alex Flinn
Genre: YA Fairytale Retelling
Format: ARC received from Around the World ARC Tours, in exchange for my honest review.  I do not get to keep the book.
Midnight Minute: Rachel is placed in a tower, told she is in danger from people who would harm her.  Will true love and super long hair save her?
Expected Publication: 05.14.13
From Goodreads:
At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!

Midnight Thoughts:
~ I love fairytale re-tellings, and I've enjoyed Beastly and Bewitching, but this book was seriously all over the place. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because I found most of the story quite compelling, but there was one element I could have done without.
~ Flinn plays fast and loose with the timing and setting of the book, but I'm okay with that.  Even though I figured out some of the twists and connections, this was still a fast read.  I wasn't bored, even when my belief was stretched beyond it's comfort zone. 
~ The chapters alternate from Rachel, to Wyatt, to Dani's diary.  Wyatt narrates most of it though, because really, Rachel's in the tower growing hair.  I think the decision to not focus on just the Rapunzel character was a good one.  I would have liked more of Dani's diary though, as she wasn't as fleshed out as Wyatt and Rachel. 
~ The woman raising Rachel, known to her only as Mama, rescued her and keeps her safe from the people who murdered Rachel's real mother.  Somehow Rachel accepts this and doesn't waterboard Mama for information like I might have been tempted to do.  Maybe my sense of curiosity is overdeveloped or Rachel was brought up to be far more trusting and faithful than I was.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Rachel is a better person than I will ever be.  
~ After Rachel encounters a young woman who attempts to yank some of her hair out, Mama moves her to the tower, and cuts her hair off.  
~ I have to give Flinn credit for imagination in her re-telling- the magic that is Rachel's hair is unique and definitely left me questioning what was going to happen. 
~ We are introduced to Wyatt, who is on his way to rural New York to live with a family friend.  He's going to be attending online school, and his past is a bit murky, but there are hints of tragedy. 
~ Wyatt stays with Celeste, who was mother to Dani, friend to Wyatt's mom.  At first Celeste seems like she's going to be some crazy Miss Havisham, still not over her daughter's disappearance, but she's actually really sweet. 
~ Wyatt finds Dani's diary from before she disappeared, and his narrative is interrupted by her entries.
~ There seems to be quite a bit missing persons in Slakkill, NY, which reminded me of the town the boys move to in The Lost Boys, only without the cool boardwalk and hot vampires.  There's a lot going on here, but there are no vampires.
~ According to Goodreads, this book is part of the Kendra series, but I assure you it isn't.  Nothing is mentioned on the author's site, and Kendra does not make an appearance. 
~ Wyatt is reading Wuthering Heights, and at least during that first night at Celeste's house, his story mirrors Lockwood's experience. 
~ Secrets can kill, which is something that both I and Wyatt can agree on.  Keeping secrets when maybe we shouldn't can also lead to a life of regret and sadness. 
~ Flinn has Wyatt visit a local store, because his grandfather taught him to patronize local stores.  This is so true, ya'll.  I love Amazon and everything, but I still try to buy books at local bookstores when I can.  And yes, I know it's possible to buy things other than books.  Sometimes I buy magnets that have book quotes on them.
~ At some point the book mentions something that sounds like psychotic lettuce, which is currently legal in Colorado and Washington.  Just kidding. 
~ Back to Rachel and her tower.  I love that she gets most of her knowledge of the outside world from books.  That's how I learned about pretty much everything when I was a kid.  Of course, my isolation was self-imposed, but still, it counts.
~ I would have really loved more of Dani and Zach's romance in the diary- I really felt that it could have been more fleshed out. 
~ Wyatt keeps hearing a woman singing in the woods, which is creepy.  
~ Rachel's hair is growing again, this time super fast! Also she discovers that she has power beyond the ability to star in a Garnier commercial. 
~ I did enjoy how connected everyone was, although again, I saw it coming.  
~ I did not see the connection to the reason behind Rachel's imprisonment, mostly because I felt that it was too weird.  Yes, even for me. 
~ Rachel is a lot stronger than most fairytale heroines, and does quite a bit of life-saving herself. 
~ Things I loved: Mrs. Greenwood being a big Trekkie, the legend of the singing ghost: a woman murdered my her faithless lover who can only be heard by those who have experienced heartbreak, and Wyatt. 
~ Thing I didn't love: Rhapsody.   
~ The ending was a bit cheesy, but I opened up a bottle of wine and quite enjoyed the two of them paired together, so I'm not complaining. 

Timeless Characters:
Rachel- our modern day Rapunzel.
Wyatt- our tormented hero. 
Dani- a disappeared daughter.
Celeste- Dani's mom and Wyatt's landlord.
Mama- Rachel's guardian, kind of locks her in a tower.
Josh- local friend that Wyatt makes.
Zach- Dani's mysterious secret lover.
Tyler- Wyatt's best friend from Long Island.
Nikki- Tyler's sister, Wyatt's former crush. 
Jerry- local who's daughter disappeared, is a little mental because of it. 
Henry- owner of the Red Fox. 
Carl- Henry's brother, friend of Zach. 
Suzie- Jerry's missing daughter.
Midnight Moment:
When we find out what happened to Wyatt's friend Tyler and his sister Nikki.  Gut-wrenching and unfortunately all too realistic.

Stop The Clock:

This wasn't my favorite Flinn book, but it was still a fast, fun read.  I would probably recommend Beastly or Bewitching before this one, but if you can handle your fairy tales re-imagined, then you could do worse than to spend an afternoon with this book. I just wish it hadn't had the one story line and had focused more on Wyatt's past trauma and Rachel's strength. 

Alex Flinn — Website |Alex Flinn

Towering gets a Midnight Book Rating of: 

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Elegy (Hereafter #3) Review

Elegy (Hereafter #3)
by Tara Hudson
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: ARC obtained through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for my honest review. I do not get to keep these books.
Midnight Minute: Amelia is Risen, but her time is running out.  Can she save the people she loves without condemning herself to hell?
Expected Publication: 06.04.13
From Goodreads:
A stalker ghost, misguided Seers, and spellbinding wraiths—Amelia Ashley has faced them all. Now her greatest hope is to spend the rest of her afterlife with her living boyfriend, Joshua. But the demonic forces return to give her an ultimatum: turn herself over to the darkness or watch them murder one living person per week until she does.

Amelia fears she might really be doomed, until the forces of light give her another option. She can join them in their quest to gather souls, with a catch: Once she joins them, she can never see Joshua again.

Faced with impossible choices, Amelia decides to take her afterlife into her own hands—and fight back.
Midnight Thoughts:
~ I really need there to be some awesome website available only to people who have read a book to be able to access that's like a Cliff Notes for earlier books in the series.  Because while I read and reviewed the first two books, my memory of the second book was pretty spotty.  Possibly because there were a lot of new characters introduced then, and this one opens up with several new ones.  Seriously, I need a cheat sheet!
~ It didn't take long to remember the special relationship between Amelia and Joshua, as their love is as sweet as it can get between a boy and the ghost he loves.
~ So, in this book, Ameila is Risen, which means she can be seen by all humans as long as she wishes.  She just can't touch them.  Which sucks for her love life, but also in her day to day interactions, because even non-touchy people touch more people than they probably think they do on a daily basis. 
~ The book immediately grabbed me when Amelia attends a sleepover with Jill and her friends.  They begin to play Truth or Dare and I'm like, meh.  But then someone throws down with a Bloody Mary dare and I lose my shiz.  Bloody Mary terrifies me like nothing else. I've already mentioned it before, but mirrors in the dark at night scare the crap out of me because of Bloody Mary.  
~ Kade, whom I only slightly remember from the last book, makes a special guest appearance in the mirror and he's no friendly after-life messenger.  In fact, the actual Bloody Mary probably would have been preferable in Amelia's opinion. 
~ Kade and the bridge ghosts give her an ultimatum: either Amelia goes to him, or a friend of hers will die every week.  Which sucks, but I'm thinking, how close of a friend are we talking about?  Because I have lots of Facebook 'friends' that I don't really know so...
~ Jillian is definitely one of my favorite characters in this book.  She's really grown and now that she's found love (not telling who  though!) it's really matured her and balanced out her bitchiness.  But not too much, because I like that she's not as goody goody as Amelia and Josh.
~ There are some Scooby Gang hijinks at the bridge as Amelia and friends try to bring it down. 
~ I think if I were the Mayhew clan, I'd have just moved to a really dry state like Arizona or Nevada...
~ Okay, I made a joke about how safe it was for Amelia and Joshua to date, especially since in the last book she kept dissipating every time they made out, but once again there's an obstacle preventing them from getting their groove on.  But does it count if you lose your virginity to a ghost?  Is it like in the show True Blood where Jessica regenerates her virginity all the time?  Am I the only that thinks about this stuff?
~ Jillian snores.  Just so you know. 
~ Eli makes a brief appearance, but not enough to satisfy me.  I liked him.
~ Serena is back and there is a scene between her and Amelia that creeped the hell out of me.  
~ Grandma Ruth is back, and she's more badass than ever.  Seems she's fully recovered from the last book. 
~ Despite all that Amelia is dealing with, she still gets some great human moments.  Most notably: Prom.  Of course, any prom with Amelia and Joshua runs the risk of being the worst prom since Carrie by Stephen King. ~ The ending is a page turner, with Hudson offering glimpses into hell that were truly frightening. 
~ I may have cried, but I think the ending was a good one for this series. 

Timeless Characters:
Amelia- our ghostly heroine is back, and more alive than ever!
Joshua- the human boy she loves.  He's kind of perfect.
Jillian- Joshua's sister, slightly reformed mean girl.
Scott- Joshua's bff who helps out.
Liz- Amelia's mom, still mourning her daughter.
Serena- Amelia's bestie back in her living days... you know, before demons possessed her and she killed Amelia.
Kaylen- Jillian's wealthy best friend.
Kade LaLaurie- baddie from book two, ghost baddie now. 
Eli- restless spirit from the first two books.
Grandma Ruth- despite her ghost prejudices, it's hard not to enjoy this woman.
Belial- Master Demon.  Seriously.  He had to go to demon school an extra two years to get that title. 
Melissa- Eli's dead girlfriend, she's a slightly close-lipped version of Casper. 
Drew, Hayley, Annabelle, and Felix- New Orleans crew from the last book.
O'Reilly- Joshua's cool friend.

Midnight Moment:
The promise Amelia elicits from Jillian.  That's all I'm gonna say.

Stop The Clock:
Obviously, I was happy with this book, and if you've read the series than I think you'll be happy with the outcome.  Hudson could have gone all crazy with it, but she stayed true to the characters and it's a better series for it.  There's just not enough ghost stories out there, so I'm glad to have read this one.  Looking forward to future novels by the author!

Tara Hudson— Website |Tara Hudson

  Elegy (Hereafter #3) gets a Midnight Book Rating of: 
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Recommended

It's Top Ten Tuesday once again, hosted by the amazing The Broke and the Bookish.  Here's today's topic:

March 26: Top Ten  Books I Recommend The Most

1. The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro.  Love to give this one to friends.

2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  Great book, and one of the few that I shared with my husband and brothers too. 

3. Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling.  I made a lot of people read these series, and like Ready Player One, it's a book I can recommend to just about all my friends and family.

4. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King.  I recommend this a lot to people who just assume that King writes horror.  The Eyes of the Dragon is a wonderful fairytale and it's one of my all time King favorites- it's also one of his shortest novels so it's less daunting to a lot reluctant readers.

5. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. This is still one of my favorite books that my book club has read.  The skill that Waters used in the plot is mind blowing.  At book club, we compared it to Dickens on crack.  Which is fairly accurate. 

6. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz.  Probably this should be number one on the list, even if this isn't in a particular order.  Odd's my boy!  I don't know if I've ever loved a character so immediately as I did with Odd Thomas.  Even Harry Potter had to grow on me a little.

7.  The Final Friends (now called Until the End) series by Christopher Pike.  I love Christopher Pike, obviously, but this series is very near and dear to my heart.  I know the characters so well that no doubt when I am old and senile I will refer to them as real people I once knew. 

8. Battle Royale by Koushon Takami.  I read this years ago after watching the movie, and it was one of the main reasons I was excited when Hunger Games first came out. It was also one of the first translated books that I actively sought out.

9. Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot.  Heather Wells is one of my favorite characters, so this is another book (the first in a series) that I'm always trying to get people to read.  

10. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I have big love for this book.  Big, magical, circus-y love for this book.  If you know me, chances are you already know this.  This book is just, sigh.  I have no words.  But it really feels like it's more than just words on a page (or words spoken aloud by the amazing Jim Dale).  I want to run away like Bailey and join this circus.  I have no idea what Erin Morgenstern will come up with next, but she has a pass from me for life.  It's rare for me to love an author based just on one book (Sarah Addison Allen also won me over immediately), but this may be my all time favorite book.  Ever. 
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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sundays in Bed With... Fragments

Sundays in Bed With... Parallel

 Welcome to my Sundays In Bed With... Meme! The meme that dares to ask, what book has been in your bed this morning?  Come share what book you've spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

This morning I'm reading:
Last night we had book club, which was one of our best book club discussions ever (Ready Player One, because I know you want to know what book we were talking about).  And then a few of us stayed over... with the intention of doing a mini-readathon, but of course we just ended up talking, since we were all tired and book club lasted until late into the night.  I don't know how much time I'll have to read today, but I'm hoping to make a dent in Fragments.  Sadly this is Court's last day visiting, so I may read while she's packing or trying to finish her psychology reading. 

 What are you reading (or wish you had time to read) this morning? Are you reading the book you thought you'd be reading, or has today found you with a surprise? Link up below!

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts Review

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts
by Robin Schneider
Genre: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC received from Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for my honest review.
Midnight Minute: Ezra is a golden boy who's tumbled from his lofty perch and must adjust to the new changes in his life. 
Expected Publication: 08.27.13
From Goodreads:
 Robyn Schneider's Severed Heads, Broken Hearts is a witty and heart-wrenching teen novel that will appeal to fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini and novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: In one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra's knee, his career as a jock, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for homecoming king, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra's ever met— achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

Together, Ezra and Cassidy discover flash mobs, buried treasure, secret movie screenings, and a poodle that might just be the reincarnation of Jay Gatsby. But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: If one's singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

With lyrical writing, nerdy humor, and realistic romance, Robyn Schneider's Severed Heads, Broken Hearts is a story about how difficult it is to play the part people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Midnight Thoughts:
~ Goodreads no longer has this down at Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, and the cover image is gone too... now the title is The Beginning of Everything... I think.  I'm very confused, because I think the Severed Heads title is one of the books best hooks.  Not sure what it's going to end up as- not sorry to see the cover go, although I did like the colors. 
~ The book definitely explains where the Severed Heads of the title comes from, and I have to say I kind of loved the opening. 
~ Ezra finds popularity in junior high, while his best friend kind of gets left behind... holding the severed head, so to speak. 
~ Ezra lives the life of a golden boy, until he walks in on his girlfriend and another guy at a party.  There was  a really dirty joke I had written down in my notes about this as it pertains to severed heads, but I have decided not to subject you to it. 
~ It took me a long while before I warmed up to Ezra, because even though he gets in the accident after the party and ruins his leg, he still seems to be living a charmed life.  But, like Cherry from the Outsiders so aptly observed, life is rough all over, Ponyboy. 
~ Because he can't hang with his tennis buddies, Ezra reconnects with his old bestie, Josh.  Which, if I were Josh, I would have made his work for, but Josh is much nicer than I am. 
~ Ezra is rocking a cane now. Which made me picture Patrick Swayze rocking a can in the tv mini-series about the Civil War called North and South. He played southern gentleman, Orry Maine, sigh. Canes can be sexy, is all I'm saying. 
~ Things this book taught me: The word "tartle". Not going to define it here for you, because I already assume that you're Googling the word right now. 
~ Okay, Ezra, you don't get to be all sad and mopey about not being popular if you're the one distancing yourself from your old friends. 
~ Ya'll, Charlotte is basically Quinn from the first season of Glee.  
~ Ezra joins the Debate Team, which is pretty cool, but I would have liked to see more of it.  I needed a scene where Ezra was actually debating.  At least tell me more of the topics. 
~ Cassidy shows up to a debate tournament dressed as a Gryffindor student, so like, a million housepoints to her!
~ I loved the kids playing the drinking game where they had to debate silly topics.  I would kick some major ass at this, since I excel at making up random B.S.  Seriously, ask any of my friends.
~ The book references geocaching, which is awesome.  My sister-in-law did this for awhile, and someday I will get into it. 
~ Silent raves sound awesome, and I definitely loved the scene. 
~ I love Bon Iver and Arcade Fire, but I'm 35.  Do high school boys really listen to them?
~ Toby suggests that Ezra build Cassidy a Tardis, thus becoming my favorite character. 
~ I thought this book would be a lot different, and while it's funny, it struggles with trying to be too cool at times.  
~ I saw the plot twist coming, but the ending did not meet my expectations- in a good way. 

Timeless Characters:
Ezra Faulkner- main character and former (or not so former) golden boy.
Toby- Ezra's best friend until a ill-timing roller coaster ride. 
Charlotte- used to date Ezra, obsesses about popularity. 
Jill, Evan, Jimmy- Ezra's circle of friends pre-accident. 
Cassidy Thorpe- new girl, shakes up Ezra's world. 
Emily- baby sister to big bro Toby. 
Luke, Sam, Austin and Phoebe- Ezra's new friends in the Debate team. 
Fail Whale- Toby's hand-me-down mini-van. 
Owen- Cassidy's older brother.

Midnight Moment:
My favorite part of the book was the Floating Movie Club- I so want to break into a high school late at night and do this!

Stop The Clock:
I really expected zombie poetry or something completely out there.  I still enjoyed it though, but come on, zombie poetry would have been awesome.

Robin Schneider— Website |Robin Schneider

Severed Heads, Broken Heats  gets a Midnight Book Rating of: 
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Parallel Review

by Lauren Miller
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Format: ARC received through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for my honest review.
Midnight Minute: Abby goes to bed one night as an actress in LA and wakes up the next morning as a Ivy League student due to parallel worlds colliding. 
Expected Publication: 05.14.13
From Goodreads:
Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.
Midnight Thoughts:
~ Abby knows exactly what she wants out of life, right down to the school she wants to attend and the newspaper she wants to write for until:
~ A seemingly innocent class change lands her in Hollywood making a major motion film.
~ Abby is not in love with being an actress, and realizes that it most people would kill to be in her place, and yes, she did annoy me with her self-pity.  Oh poor me, I'm making a movie with hot actors and getting paid good money, but since I want to be a journalist and have wealthy parents none of this matters to me. But I give her points for being aware that she's being ridiculous and ungrateful. 
~A point I would like to make, what is up with YA characters only going to big name schools?  Seriously, to any of my college bound readers- it's okay to get you basic courses finished at your local community college, then go ahead and sell your kidneys to pay for the big name school of your dreams.  Your future debt-free self with thank you. 
~ This book really makes you think about fate and destiny- how sleeping through your alarm clock, or arriving early to work can literally change your life. 
~ When Abby awakens on her 18th birthday she finds her life has changed completely. And literally. 
~ Suddenly Abby has a new, dual memory of what happened the day she had to choose between taking drama and astronomy at the beginning of senior year, and how that one small thing landed her in Yale. 
~ This is just a little side note- my friend Steph has  a feature where she does looks from books, and Abby's use of her pajama top as a dress would work great in it! 
~ I'm really not smart enough for the theory and science behind parallel worlds, but I understood enough, or was able to accept enough, to just go with it. 
~ Caitlin has dyslexia, which still affects her but doesn't stop her from being brilliant.  It's nice to see learning disabilities featured in a YA book, especially something that affects so many people. 
~ Abby has a trick where if she's trying not to cry, she starts coughing.  I'm going to give it a try!
~ Abby starts off kind of spoiled, but having to deal with waking up each day to big changes in her life forces Abby to grow up.
~ I think having a parallel you make decisions that change your whole life should be the equivalent of the Evil Twin. Let's make this trend happen!
~ Oh, please, parallel Kate, learn to love vegetables and exercise so I can wake up tomorrow with the body of Jennifer Garner during her Alias days.  
~ I love the date Michael takes Abby on to the church- from C.S. Lewis inscription to the invisible choir- it gave me goosebumps. 
~ At one point Abby says that we're only a decision or two away from losing valuable friendships and relationships. It bothers me, how true that is. 
~ Just to warn you, Lauren Miller throws in a few mind-effers that will just mess you up.  In a good way.  Or bad, depending on your point of view. 
~ This book stressed me the hell out, but that's why I liked it.  The ending was wonderful!  

Timeless Characters:
Abby Barnes- parallel Abby is messing up her life.
Caitlin- Abby's supermodel pretty genius bff.
Tyler- friend to Abby and Caitlin.
Illana- drama girl, dates Tyler.
Bret Woodward- hottie actor.
Kirby- actress on Abby and Bret's film.
Dr. Gustav P. Mann- ex-Yale prof, comes to Abby's high school to teach, published a controversial book on parallel lives.
Josh- Astronomy boy, parallel Abby meets him.
Marissa- Yale roommate.
Ben- Marissa's boyfriend.
Michael- cute upperclassman at Yale. 
Megan- on the Yale rowing team.
Fiona- Yale drama major. 

Midnight Moment:
I can't tell you what my midnight moment was because it'd be a major spoiler.  But you'll know the scene when you get to it, because you'll be shocked.

Stop The Clock:
You don't have to like science, or understand it, to enjoy this book.  It was a real page-turner!

Lauren Miller — Website |Lauren Miller Writes

Parallel gets a Midnight Book Rating of: 
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wild Awake Review

Wild Awake
by Hilary T. Smith
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: ARC received through Around the World ARC Tours, in exchange for my honest review.
Midnight Minute: With her parents gone for six weeks, Kiri is determined to spend her time practicing for her piano recital until a call about her dead sister changes the course of her life. 
Expected Publication: 05.28.13
From Goodreads:
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.
Midnight Thoughts:
~ When we meet Kiri she is in Lukas' basement, high from marijuana, and telling Lukas yes to doing Battle of the Bands, even though she is dedicated to intense prep for the International Young Pianists' Showcase.
~ Kiri says yes to Lukas because he's sexy and she's hoping to take their friendship to that next level. 
~ Kiri's parents are on a cruise for 6 weeks, and I am majorly jealous. 
~ Doug, sounding a bit crazy, calls Kiri's house, saying that he has some Sukey's stuff, and that it needs to be picked up now. 
~ It's perhaps a sign that all is not well with Kiri that she just hops on her bike and goes into the city to meet Doug, calling no one beforehand and not taking a cell phone... or a rape whistle.
~ Because of a mishap with her bike, Kiri ends up meeting Skunk, who is described as looking like Hagrid, and trustingly goes off with him to his place to get a part for her bike... which really should only end well in books about wizards, but somehow does not end up as a case on the ID channel. 
~ Speaking of the ID channel (for those of you unaware, the ID channel shows mostly true crime re-enactments and my favorite show- Deadly Women),  it turns out Sukey did not die in a car accident five years ago, which is what Kiri was told. 
~ It struck me as odd that Kiri was okay not knowing the specifics of a much-beloved sister's death, but that gradually made more sense as I got to know Kiri and her family. 
~ I find it so hypocritical that Lukas makes a comment about how wasn't Sukey a druggie whilst taking a hit from a bong.  (Hit off a bong?  I don't know, but perhaps I will have more knowledge after my Colorado trip... Kidding, mostly). 
~ In a way the beginning of this book reminded me of the movie The Invisible Circus, and I was kind of hoping that Kiri would track down Leon, Sukey's ex-boyfriend, because he sounded totally hot since he's half-Japanese, half-German. Sadly, he is not featured in the present. 
~ I did not realize this book would be about mental illness, but it is, and it's a better book because of that. 
~ Ever since Sukey's death, Kiri has been determined to play the role of Perfect Daughter and Perfect Friend, trying to satisfy everyone around her without really thinking of her own wants.
~ Kiri is totally hard core about her piano playing.   I was jealous... and exhausted just from reading about how hard she practices.  Thank God I'm completely talentless, it makes it easier to be lazy and not feel too guilty.
~ Lukas is hot, but he's a moron.  Kiri can do better. 
~ Kiri doesn't have a car, she rides a bicycle. Skunk works on bikes.  Everyone is biking all the time.  Kind of made me want a bike again.
~ Skunk collects radios, which is charming, including the one his father gave him before he committed suicide, which is sad. 
~ I love rainy days, but Kiri and Skunk's rainy day bordered on magical. 
~ Kiri begins to unravel, but it was slow and it took me awhile to realize that it was happening.  As she begins to slip, the book takes on a dream-like quality of a really interesting and quirky, but slightly confusing indie movie. 
~ I blazed through this book, feeling slightly manic myself. 

Timeless Characters:
Kiri Byrd- our heroine, who slowly unravels and has one of the cutest names ever.
Lukas- Kiri's best friend and bandmate, Kiri crushes on him.
Petra- Luka's awesome mom.  She is married to Lukas' dad, but he's unimportant.
Sukey- Kiri's dead older sister, talented artist. 
Doug- the man who calls Kiri about Sukey's stuff. 
Skunk- Hagrid-like good Samaritan, begins friendship with Kiri.
Denny- Kiri's douchey older brother.
Snoogie- Doug's cat.
Dr. Scaliteri- Kiri's piano teacher, very strict and kind of scary.
Kelsey- throws house parties.
Angela- friend of Kiri's. 
Billy- junkie kid Sukey tried to help.
Mr. and Mrs. Byrd- Kiri's parents, dad is a bit of a snobdouche.
Midnight Moment:
Easily this: Kiri stumbling upon a group of rag-tag bicyclists out for their midnight mass.

Stop The Clock:
This book surprised me.  I really thought it was going to be some murder mystery, but in the end it's a book about mental illness.  Smith does a great job in not disappointing me that Kiri wasn't going to be a Nancy Drew type (for those of you younger readers, substitute Veronica Mars for Nancy Drew).  Skunk's back story in particular was heart-breaking.

Hilary T. Smith — Website | Real Actual Hilary

Wild Awake gets a Midnight Book Rating of: 

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Furious Review

by Jill Wolfson
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: ARC received from Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for my honest review.
Midnight Minute: Wronged high school girls become modern day Furies!
Expected Publication: 04.16.13
From Goodreads:
Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend.

We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the tree-hugging activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one who never quite fit in. We hardly knew each other, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unjust world.

We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our ocean-side California town, until one day a mysterious, beautiful classmate named Ambrosia taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious.
Midnight Thoughts:
~ I love Greek mythology, but I've read more than my fair share of awful YA versions of Greek mythology re-tellings.  Recently Brodi Ashton renewed my faith in the genre, and Jill Wolfson continues the trend.  Call me butter, because I'm on a roll! 
~ I was really excited that Meg is a foster kid, because I don't think there's enough positive roles for foster kids... but this book continued the Awful Foster Parent(s) stereotype.  Not saying there aren't lots of awful foster parents out there, but it'd be nice to see some good ones.  Or even some boring ones. Of course, bad foster parents is one of the reasons Meg is so full of fury, so I'm going to have to be okay with that.
~ Meg has a crush on Brendon, in part because of his cute eye crinkles.  You know who does the best eye crinkles in the world?
This guy.
~ Somehow Meg finds the balls to ask Brendon out, and is humiliated for the effort.  But wait.  More humiliation is in store for our mc!
~ Meg is mixed race, and really- hallelujah!  Because it's nice to have someone who isn't Caucasian being featured. 
~ And then there's Meg's bff- Raymond, who despite filling in the role of gay bestie sidekick- is not a walking stereotype either!  And his mom is amazeballs!  Raymond is kind of the Voice of Reason, and I loved him. 
~ Okay, honestly, not all foster parents are cheap and cruel.  Remember Daddy Warbucks? He was a peach!  
~ Alix is a tough surfer girl, but she's got some depth.  Even Stephanie, who is a bit of a Eco-warrior stereotype- has an interesting background.  
~ For some reason I kept picturing Ambrosia as the mean popular girl from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  Probably because she was described as atypically pretty for such a popular girl, and that's one of my few frames of reference.  I possibly watch entirely too much tv and movies...
~ A billion extra points if you figure out what's up with  Ms. Pallas (I did- instantly!  BAM!).
~ The majority of the book is told from Meg's POV, but occasionally Ambrosia breaks in with a little entry into her The Book of Furious, and I really enjoyed her input.   
~ Even though I found Stephanie to be a bit of an Al Gore on Steroids and Red Bull, I really liked her hippy style.  Someday, when I am older, it'll be all long skirts with bells and coral necklaces.  Watch this space. 
~ I've always believed that hate is one of the easiest emotions to have, especially in teens.  Love, loyalty, indifference?  Now those are hard!  Of course hate is very hard to maintain, at least for me.  Unless it's against people who insist on riding their bikes incorrectly on busy roads and/or twisty, forested back roads.  I hate those mofos, always!
~ I really want to hear the music the Furies make... okay, maybe that's tempting fate, so nevermind!
~ Here's why I dig Meg:  When she's thinking of all the descriptive words she'd like attached to her name, she comes up with words like Poised, Self-Assured, Positive, Confident, etc.  Most teen girls would want words like Pretty, Popular, Skinny as a Model.  You go, Meg!
~ Words I'd like attached to my name: Filthy Rich, Maureen Johnson's Bestie, Inventor and Owner of the World's Largest Underground Library, and Awesome. 
~ Raymond becomes the Furies managers, but he is no Charlie to Angels, because Ambrosia is not about to let him run the show. 
~ What happens to someone who's whole life becomes about revenge?  Ask Emily Thorne or the Count of Monte Cristo.  
~ Nitwidiots- Raymond's word, but I'm stealing it. Because I am surrounded by nitwidiots... oh, wait, that's just my reflection. 
~ Giving into anger only makes you angrier... Which is why I probably shouldn't be following the Jodi Arias trial, I could turn into a Fury at any moment. 
~ Come on, Ambrosia, admit it, it's really not that hard to find really pissed off teenage girls, don't even act like it is. 
~ Ms. Pallas says that justice becomes revenge, which morphs into soul-rotting revenge.  Truth, or What She Said.  Revenge sounds great, in theory, but in real life you damage yourself by ruining other people.  Little revenges are okay though. 
~ I loved how Wolfson linked Ambrosia's past to the present day, but sincerely, Ambrosia could use a little therapy and some Xanax. 
~ Meg and Brendon were so adorable and awkward with one another, loved it!  
~ Guys, you need to read this book.  I really liked it and I haven't read any other YA books that have done justice to Furies like this one has done.  Bring it on, Jill Wolfson, I will read all your books!

Timeless Characters:
Ambrosia- narrates the prologue.  So not your average teenage girl.
Meg- our mc, is a "late-bloomer", which is a good enough reason to be furious with the world. 
Brendon- the crinkly eyed, surfing object of Meg's affection, also a member of the Plagues.
Raymond- Meg's best friend, he's young, super-smart and gay.  He is AWESOME.
Dawn and DeeDee- the unfortunately nicknamed Double D twins. 
Lottie Leach- Meg's current foster parent, lavishes what love she is capable of on He-Cat, her butt-ugly kitty.
Stephanie- dread-locked lover of mother earth, just don't litter or she'll go all Fury on you ass. 
Alix- tough as nails surfer girl who has a soft spot for her brother. 
Kai "Pox" Small- one of Brendon's friends and a member of The Plagues, a bunch of jerky surfer boys.  There is bad blood between him and Alix. 
Ms. Pallas- Meg's civics teacher with some hidden secrets.
The rest of the Plagues: Gnat and Bubonic. 
Simon- Alix's older brother and co-president of the Raymond is Awesome club (I'm the other co-president, just so we're clear). 

Midnight Moment:
The moment when Alix sees her dad, and the Furies go to work on him... much more intense than I was expecting! 

Stop The Clock:
I can definitely recommend this book, but most especially if you like Greek mythology or need something a little different.  I really loved that the book wasn't about hooking up with your soul mate in high school, but rather Meg really coming into her own.

Jill Wolfson — Website | Jill Wolfson

Furious gets a Midnight Book Rating of: 
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