Review: The Program (Program #1) by Suzanne Young

The Program (The Program, #1)The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young

Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Page Count: 408
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: Library

Synopsis From Goodreads:

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

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The Program is a really great book that I think has only a slight Dystopian aspect to it. To me, it has more of a contemporary feel to it, although the atmosphere is definitely dark and bleak and depressing. I'm still not sure that the suicide epidemic is entirely plausible, and I'm really curious how The Program came about. I am even more curious about the long term effects of The Program on society.

I liked both of the protagonists, Sloane and James, and I found them to be extremely likable. They were strong characters that were a bit rebellious, but not afraid to show their true feelings to each other. I enjoyed the relationship between Sloane and James. They are a super cute and believable couple who are completely in love and dedicated to each other. I liked that they knew each other and were friends for a long time before they became a couple. Since they were an established couple, it made it easier to root for them and want them to beat the odds and be happy together.

I found it compelling how The Program adversely affected the teens. They are basically forced to hide their true feelings and only appear happy. They must always keep their emotions in check so they don't attract the attention of The Program. Any sign of instability and they will be flagged and taken by The Program. So not only are the teens afraid of being infected and committing suicide, but they are actually committing suicide to avoid going into The Program. It's a double edged sword!

The Program itself is definitely twisted and wrong. For some reason, the adults bought into the idea of The Program and believed it to be the best course of action for their children. I find it hard to understand any parent putting such faith in the government to come in and take complete control over their children's lives, wipe out their memories, and send them back as shells of their former selves. It's as though the parents were brainwashed into thinking that the government knows best.

I very much enjoyed reading The Program. The plot is just different enough to be very entertaining. It's a real page turner that kept me constantly reading because I just had to try and find out what was going on. I loved all of the characters and I found them to be very interesting. I loved the suspense and not knowing what would happen next, and I thought it had the perfect amount of romance with a little bit of relationship angst thrown in. In the end I was left with more questions than answers, and I can't wait to read the next book to find out what happens to our protagonists.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Waiting On Wednesday (80) After Eden


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

My choice for this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

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Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: November 5th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Synopsis From Goodreads:

The day Eden met Ryan changed her world forever. Actually, not just her world. Ryan has time traveled from the future to save the world. In a few weeks, Eden’s best friend Connor will discover a new planet—one where human life is possible. The discovery will make him famous. It will also ruin the world as we know it. When Ryan asks Eden for help, she must choose between saving the world and saving her best friend’s greatest achievement. And a crush on Ryan complicates things more than she could have imagined. Because Connor is due to make the discovery after the girl he loves breaks his heart. That girl is Eden.

Grounded in a realistic teen world with fascinating sci-fi elements, After Eden is a heart-pounding love triangle that’s perfect for dystopian fans looking for something new to devour.

This sounds really awesome! Time travel! And I have to admit - I don't mind love triangles if they are done right. So, yeppers, I'm looking forward to reading this one.

What are you waiting on this week?
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Release Day: Unbreak Me by Lexi Ryan - Playlist and Giveaway


Published: May 27, 2013
Genre: New Adult Romance
Event Hosted by Xpresso Book Tours



Synopsis:

“If you’re broken, I’ll fix you…”

I’m only twenty-one and already damaged goods. A slut. A failure. A disappointment to my picture-perfect family as long as I can remember. I called off my wedding to William Bailey, the only man who thought I was worth fixing. A year later, he’s marrying my sister. Unless I ask him not to…

“If you shatter, I’ll find you…”

But now there’s Asher Logan, a broken man who sees the fractures in my façade and doesn’t want to fix me at all. Asher wants me to stop hiding, to stop pretending. Asher wants to break down my walls. But that means letting him see my ugly secrets and forgiving him for his.

With my past weighing down on me, do I want the man who holds me together or the man who gives me permission to break?

Unbreak Me Playlist
Ani DiFranco—32 Flavors
Nine Inch Nails—Perfect Drug
P!nk—Slut Like You
Cold Play—Fix You
The Fray—How to Save a Life
P!nk, featuring Nate Ruess—Just Give Me a Reason
Muse—Madness
Nine Inch Nails—Hurt
Ani DiFranco—Gratitude
Labrinth featuring Emeli Sandé—Beneath Your Beautiful
Rihanna featuring Mikki Ekko—Stay
Ani DiFranco—Amazing Grace
Josh Radin—When You Find Me


AUTHOR BIO
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Ryan writes romances with humor, heat, and heart. Her books are described as fun, flirty, and wickedly sexy. A lover of learning, Lexi has been in the classroom all her life and currently holds the title of assistant professor of English at her local community college. Lexi is a proud member of Romance Writers of America. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband and two children.


Giveaway!

Enter to win one (1) ebook copy of Unbreak Me by Lexi Ryan. Open internationally.


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Sunday Updates (31)


Inspired by features from The Sunday Post from Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Sunday Summary from Book Twirps.

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Received For Review:

Leap of Faith by Jamie Blair (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Burning by Elana K. Arnold (Courtesy of Random House Children's Books)
Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts (Courtesy of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group)
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (Courtesy of Disney Book Group)

I received 4 books for review in the past two weeks. I don't know which one I am more excited about! Leap of Faith has a 17 year old baby kidnapper. Burning has gypsies. Gypsies! How original is that? Tumble & Fall has an asteroid set to hit Earth in one week's time. Catastrophe! All Our Yesterdays features time travel. They all sound amazing! What should I read first?

Reviews Posted:

Golden by Jessi Kirby
How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
School Spirits (School Spirits #1) by Rachel Hawkins

Books Read:

School Spirits (School Spirits #1) by Rachel Hawkins
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

Currently Reading:

The Program (Program #1) by Suzanne Young

Plans For This Week:

Monday: Unbreak Me by Lexi Ryan Release Day and Giveaway
Waiting On Wednesday
Plan on reading next: Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman

Giveaways:

Jane Austen Giveaway Hop Win a copy of Persuasion!
Drowning in You (Finding Forever in Us #1) by Rebecca Berto
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Review: School Spirits (School Spirits #1) by Rachel Hawkins

School Spirits (School Spirits, #1)School Spirits (School Spirits #1) by Rachel Hawkins

Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Page Count: 304
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Source: eARC from publisher for review

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break.

Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush.

Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?

Rachel Hawkins' delightful spin-off brings the same wit and charm as the New York Times best-selling Hex Hall series. Get ready for more magic, mystery and romance!

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School Spirits is a super cute and fun book that I really enjoyed reading. I found it to be a quick and easy read that was very entertaining. While it's a bit lighter on the supernatural aspect than Hex Hall, it's full of humor and intrigue that kept it interesting until the end.

I loved Izzy when she was first introduced in the last Hex Hall book. I am so glad this story is about her, because I really didn't like her sister, Finley. (If Finley does make an appearance in this series, I hope she has a personality transplant first. Just sayin'.) Izzy is completely likable and has a cute naivety about her that I really enjoyed. She has a really big heart, but she is still fearless and kick-ass when she needs to be.

After Finley goes missing during a mission, Izzy's mother decides she and Izzy should move to a small town while she looks for clues about Finley's disappearance. To keep Izzy busy, she is given a mission by her mother - to find and banish a ghost that is haunting the local high school. This also gives Izzy the opportunity to try and be more like a normal teenager by going to high school, which is something she's never done before. Izzy is so adorable and completely clueless about the goings on in high school. She lucks into finding a trio of friends who run the school's Paranormal Management Society - or PMS for short. Soon after she arrives at the school, the ghostly incidents escalate and become dangerous, so it's a perfect time for PMS to jump into action! Izzy has her new friends unknowingly help out with her investigation.

The secondary cast of characters in School Spirits were fun and extremely likable, even though none of them possessed supernatural powers. Dex is certainly a cutie with a quirky fashion sense, a wonderful attitude, and a touch of vulnerability. He's an all around good guy and just perfect as Izzy's (potential?) love interest. Izzy becomes instant besties with Romy, the other girl in PMS. Romy was full of wit and sarcasm, and has a very fun personality. Anderson is an ex-jock who has a thing for ghost hunting, but is only in PMS to get close to Romy. I really enjoyed the friendships that Izzy develops with the PMS crew, and I really liked the witty banter and easy camaraderie when they were all together.

My review wouldn't be complete without mentioning Torin. How I love that man! He has so much personality and is so dashing and charismatic. I didn't think he had as much attitude and snark this time around, but he does bring a bit of humor and levity to the storyline. I'm still hoping that he'll get out of the mirror soon and become a 'real live boy'. (Yes, I just totally gave a nod to Pinocchio.) As much as I would love to see Torin and Izzy get together, it IS a little creepy that he is 400 years old, AND he's known Izzy all of her life and watched her grow up. A relationship between them may be a bit icky, but I am glad that they are at least friends.

I really loved reading School Spirits. It was cute and funny and a super fast read. The writing is terrific, and the plot progressed at a nice pace. Even though there isn't much in the way of action, I thought there was enough witty dialogue, supernatural elements, mystery, and romance to keep me reading and not want to put the book down. School Spirits is a wonderful start to a new series. This is a spin-off that can be read on it's own, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the Hex Hall series. I can only hope that I won't have to wait too long for the next book in this series!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Jane Austen Giveaway Hop


Announcing the Jane Austen Giveaway Hop
May 24-27, 2013
Hosted by vvb32 Reads

As you can probably tell from the title of my blog, Waiting For Wentworth, I am a huge fan of Persuasion by Jane Austen. Love it! Must read and swoon on a regular basis. The letter from Wentworth to Anne is the most amazingly romantic thing ever!

So (of course) I am giving away ONE paperback copy of Persuasion with the cover of your choice.

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Giveaway Rules:
  • The giveaway begins on May 24, 2013, and ends on May 27, 2013
  • Giveaway is International as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.
  • Must be 13 years of age or older to participate.
  • Fill out the Rafflecopter entry below.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be chosen.

Be sure to visit all of the blogs participating in this hop:



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Waiting On Wednesday (79) Hereafter (Shadowlands #2)


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

My choice for this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

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Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2013 by Disney-Hyperion

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Rory Miller thought her life was over when a serial killer set his sights on her and forced her into witness protection. But a fresh start on Juniper Landing Island was exactly what she and her family needed. For the first time in years she and her sister hang out at the beach, gossip about boys, and party together. She's also made friends with a local clique--including a magnetic and mysterious boy named Tristan.

But Rory's world is about to change again. Picturesque Juniper Landing isn't what it seems. The truth about the swirling fog that rolls in each morning, the bridge that leads to nowhere, and those beautiful locals who seem to watch Rory's every move is more terrifying than being hunted by Steven Nell. And all Rory ever wanted was the truth. Even if it means learning that she can never go home again. From the best-selling author of the Private and Privilege series comes the second novel in a heart-stopping trilogy about a girl who must pick up the pieces after the only life she's ever known ends.

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Shadowlands (Shadowlands #1)

Ever since I read Shadowlands (Shadowlands #1), I can't stop thinking about what will happen next on the island. I loved the mystery surrounding the locals, and I have so many unanswered questions! And on a totally shallow note, check out that gorgeous cover!

What are you waiting on this week?
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Review: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How My Summer Went Up in FlamesHow My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Page Count: 320
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: eARC from publisher for review

Synopsis From Goodreads:

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

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I'm a little bit in love with the cover, the synopsis sounds really awesome, and it's a summertime road trip book. Yes, How My Summer Went Up in Flames was a highly anticipated read for me, but sadly, it turned out to be less than what I expected. While I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would, it's still a great contemporary YA novel with really good writing. Definitely worth reading just for the secondary characters and the road trip aspect.

Rosie is served with a temporary restraining order after accidentally setting her ex-boyfriend's car on fire. After being served with the TRO, she again does something stupid and immature, and her parents get fed up with her antics. They decide to send her away with their neighbor, Matty, who is the cute neighbor boy. Even though he is younger than Rosie, he is mature and responsible, so her parents feel comfortable putting Matty in charge of Rosie. Matty and Rosie go on a road trip with Matty's friend, Spencer, driving Spencer's older brother, Logan, to college.

Rosie was very impulsive and did a lot of things that I didn't agree with. I tried to sympathize with her because I realize that she was heartbroke after breaking up with her first boyfriend. I liked her personality, so I thought I would give her a second chance. However, I was so frustrated by her behavior throughout the book that I ended up not really liking her at all. Rosie is so self-centered and focused only on what she wants that she ends up hurting those around her. She did gain a bit of awareness by the end, but it was too little, too late for my opinion of her to change. Another huge negative about Rosie - she wants all of the boys to like her. Not just the 3 boys on the road trip with her, but also a cute cowboy she meets along the way. This annoyed me and it made Rosie look so shallow and boy crazy because she supposedly still wanted her ex back.

Matty, Spencer, and Logan were wonderful and very entertaining. Even though they had some things in common, they each had unique personalities, and I ended up liking all 3 of them. I thought Logan was very charming. I loved Spencer's personality and how he was always able to say the right thing at the right time. Matty was super cute and such a nice guy, especially to Rosie (even when she didn't deserve it). For the most part, I enjoyed their interactions with Rosie, and I liked they tried to help Rosie realize that breaking up with her ex wasn't exactly a bad thing.

Overall I thought it was a great summertime story and a really good road trip book. The writing is terrific, and it has a very good pace. I thought the story was very entertaining, and it was quick and easy book to read. Even though I didn't like the protagonist, I liked the story enough to keep reading and find out what happened with Rosie's ex and the charges against her. The turnaround at the end was a little bit too easy, but I thought the way things ended up was fitting. I was prepared to really love this book, but in the end it was just okay. I am still looking forward to reading the author's next book, Famous Last Words, due out this summer.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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Debut Author Challenge
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Contemporary Reading Challenge
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Blog Tour: Drowning in You (Finding Forever in Us #1) by Rebecca Berto – Excerpt and Giveaway


Thank you for stopping by my Tour Stop for
Drowning in You by Rebecca Berto
presented by Xpresso Book Tours.
Find an excerpt below and
be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.



Drowning In You (Finding Forever in Us #1) by Rebecca Berto
Publication date: April 12th 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance


Synopsis:

Secretly crushing

Crushed by a tragedy


Charlee May’s been crushing on Dexter Hollingworth since she was fifteen. Five years later, a horrific skiing disaster at Mason’s Ski Lift Resort leaves her millionaire dad critically injured and her mom dead at the hands of Dexter operating the lifts. Charlee is suddenly the sole caretaker for her little brother while their world falls apart.

Dexter couldn’t be more different from Charlee. He’s tattooed, avoids exclusive relationships and his Dad has a fair share of illegal dealings. With Dexter’s reputation, almost everyone believes he planned the Mason’s skiing disaster.

And after all these years he’s still crushing on Charlee May, the girl who’s too good for him.

When this cruel twist of fate ties Charlee’s family and Dexter’s reputation together, Charlee and Dexter wonder if their feelings are reciprocated, while Dexter discovers his dad is trying to steal the May’s millionaire fortune.

But like an addiction, one look, one touch, one taste—they’re hooked no matter the consequences.

Purchase:

AUTHOR BIO:
Rebecca Berto is the author or the dark contemporary/literary novella, PRECISE and the upcoming new adult contemporary romance novel, DROWNING IN YOU. She is also a freelance editor.

She writes stories that are a bit sexy, and straddle the line between Literary and Tear Your Heart Out. She gets a thrill when her readers are emotional reading her stories, and gets even more of a kick when they tell her so. She’s strangely imaginative, spends too much time on her computer, and is certifiably crazy when she works on her fiction.

Rebecca Berto lives in Melbourne, Australia with her boyfriend and their doggy.

Author Links:


Excerpt:
Dexter

    Mom’s still working at the hospital so my only choice is to walk. Twenty seconds into my escape, the first raindrop splatters on my eyelid. I shake it off and tip my head to the sky. Bloated, gray clouds hog the space above. I can’t remember it being blue in so long. This Melbourne winter isn’t much better than when I was a kid in Chicago. But we don’t even get snow here. It’s just freezing.
    Freezing. The word escapes and I feel it. My bones are rattling. Looking down, I remember I put on my holey jeans and my black shirt with the rolled sleeves at my elbows. If I could do over my pitiful walk out of Dad’s and my argument, I would have grabbed my hoodie.
    And that’s when everything gets fucked up. I give myself a handshake, tap my cheeks. Nope, I’m hot still. Not cold at all. Which means…I don’t want it to be true but—
    I’m holding my fingers in front of my face. I stop at the corner of our street, a car vrooming past, another coming up, but I don’t hear them because it’s become quiet in my world. I feel my fingers trembling before I see them quiver and blur as my vision falters.
    This is karma, I bet. I’m having a hypo attack ‘cause I’m diabetic, by which I’m essentially…what’s the word… What am I…?
My mind is looping already. It’s bad, I know. I was so wrung up arguing with Dad I didn’t notice it, but now I do. Trembling when his face came near had nothing to do with being scared.
    I need sugar quick, like I do with every hypo. I pat my pockets down but I only feel my leg through the material, because, of course, I hate carrying my candy on me in case someone sees and asks what it is for.
    Fuck my diabetes. I’m my own worst enemy. My body can’t even sustain itself. My blood sugar level is dropping, and it’s making my steps wobbly.
    One of the cars approaching slows. Noises come from chatter inside. I refuse to look and give those shitheads the time of day since I know exactly what they’re looking for. But when I hear a snicker I start. I swear I know that voice. If I had to guess, I’d say it belongs to Robby. I haven’t seen him since before the Mason’s ski accident mess when he used to talk and hang with me in the group.
    Lucky I decide to turn after all because an egg, followed by another, tumbles in the air in a direct line for me. I duck and they sail just over my hairline.
    When another car slows, I’m ready to fucking lose it, even if it only backs up my new reputation as a killer. But my words are stumbling, smooshed, and not coming out of my mouth right thanks to my severely depleted blood-sugar level and the fact that my body’s in survival mode.
    Then out of the window pops Darcy May’s head. I know that kid. He’s Charlee’s little bro.
    Just my luck. That her mom was the only one to die at Mason’s. I’ve been wanting to kiss this girl since before I got my first tattoo, or my eyebrow ring. Before seeing her at the opposite end of the occasional party. All things considered, a rich, beautiful, kind-looking girl like Charlee would never bring home a guy like me. I’ve never spoken to her the way I want to. Why take the risk of getting rejected by the only girl I’ve ever really wanted? And even if she did want me, would she see me or me as the person as what I’ve done to her parents?
    I know Charlee’s read the papers; she couldn’t have missed it.
        Dexter Hollingworth was on shift as a lift operator when the overhead wires snapped on one of the lifts at Mason’s Ski Resort. No charges have been laid.
    Charlee’s Audi hatchback stops beside me. Darcy pops his head back in and chucks a thumb at me then turns to whisper something to Charlee.
    I take these rare moments when I still see her around to imagine her letting her blonde hair down and shaking it out across her face. About getting a hand into that hair and holding her to my chest with the other. I want to know what she smells like.
    It’s as close as I deserve to get.

Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in this tour!
You can find them all HERE

Giveaway:
Grand prize giveaway - 5 eBook copies (open internationally)

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Waiting On Wednesday (78) Wild Cards


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

My choice for this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

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Expected publication: October 1st 2013 by Walker Books for Young Readers

Synopsis From Goodreads:

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

Why do I want to read this? Seriously? It's Simone Elkeles! Duh. I really love the cover and the synopsis sounds awesome. And I think it will make an excellent birthday present for myself. I marked this book to read on Goodreads on March 6, 2012, so I have been waiting for this book/series for a LONG time!
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Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby

GoldenGolden by Jessi Kirby

Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Page Count: 288
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: eARC from publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

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Are you interested in reading a completely original and totally unforgettable contemporary YA novel? Then I suggest you get yourself a copy of Golden by Jessi Kirby and read it ASAP. It is seriously good!

Perpetual good girl Parker Frost is about to graduate high school without ever having taken a chance. When an opportunity to shake up her conservative world literally drops into her lap, Parker takes a chance and embarks on a voyage of self-discovery. Parker is assisting an English teacher with a project when she comes across a journal written by a dead girl, Julianna. Julianna and Shane were the town's 'Golden' couple who died in a tragic car accident 10 years before. The legend that they left behind is hard to overlook, as there are reminders all around town, and Parker herself is attempting to get a scholarship that is named in their honor. Parker becomes obsessed with reading Julianna's thoughts and secrets in the journal, and she soon finds herself wanting to know more about Julianna's life and death.

For as long as she can remember, Parker's mother has put extreme pressure on her to succeed. Parker has always followed the rules and obeyed her mother, and never felt the urge to break free and do her own thing. But after reading Julianna's journal, she begins questioning everything about her life and wondering if what SHE wants really matters. Parker becomes determined to make her own decisions and to choose her own path in life.

I loved the complex cast of characters. Parker was easy to like and I thought she was very relatable. I especially loved that Parker's best friend, Kat, was portrayed realistically. Trevor, Parker's longtime crush, was super cute and really sweet. There was no insta-love between Parker and Trevor since their potential romance had been building for many years. I liked that there was a bit of romance in this book, but I am glad that it took a back seat to the main plot. The characters ended up having tons of growth because of the risks they took throughout the story.

The writing was absolutely beautiful, and I loved the poignant ending. The pacing was perfect, which made Golden a quick and easy read, but the plot had enough depth to remain interesting until the very end. The entire story was really enjoyable, and I liked that it wasn't completely predictable. I thought this was an awesome coming of age story, mystery, and romance all rolled into one fantastic book.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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YA Contemporary Challenge
Stand Alone Reading Challenge
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Sunday Updates (30)


Inspired by features from The Sunday Post from Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Sunday Summary from Book Twirps.

These are the books I have received in the last few weeks. I am feeling overwhelmed with the amount of books that I want to read. TBR is getting out of control! WHY does there have to be SO many books to choose from? And WHY do so many of them sound really good? I just want to read them already! I need more hours in my day... seriously.

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Received For Review:

True by Erin McCarthy
(Thanks to Beyond Words Publishing, St. Martin's, Egmont USA, and Penguin Group for the review copies.)


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From The Library:

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Waiting On Wednesday (77) In The After


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

My choice for this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: June 25th 2013 by Harper Teen

Synopsis from Goodreads:

They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

Hooray for standalone novels! This one sounds a bit scary, so I may need lots of chocolate to get through it.

What are you waiting on this week?
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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Every Little Piece by Kate Ashton

I have a Book Blitz & Giveaway to share with you today! Every Little Piece by Kate Ashton is a contemporary YA novel.  This Blitz is hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Enjoy!


Every Little Piece by Kate Ashton
Publication date: May, 2013
Genre: Mature YA Contemporary


Synopsis:
Secrets never stay in the past.

The night before high school graduation changes everything. Lies are told. Mistakes are made. Secrets tucked away. Lives are changed in the span of a few hours.

A year later, Haley is still reeling, numb with the constant ache of guilt. She's in a place she never expected to be: lost without her friends and Seth. Until he enters her life again, dredging up everything she's trying to forget. Everything about that night.

Seth returns to his hometown determined to share his truth, his side of the story. He desperately needs to make things right with Haley, even if it means losing her forever. Because the truth will ruin any chance of her ever loving him again.

Except neither of them are prepared for the shock of what really happened the night before graduation.

Find Every Little Piece by Kate Ashton online:

Excerpt:

   He grabbed my fingers and held them loosely in his. “You ready for tonight?”
   “Sure.” I noticed that even though he was looking at me, he didn’t really see me. Not the way he was usually tuned in. “Are you?”
   “What?” Then he coughed. “Um, yeah, ready.”
   After years together, instinct told me something was wrong. I rubbed the light scruff on his cheeks and kissed him. I giggled. “You need to shave.”
   My touch seemed to pull him out of whatever funk he was in and he grabbed hold of me. “Really? I need to shave? Are you sure?” He rubbed his cheek against mine.
   I held back a giggling fit and squirmed away but he clamped down on my waist and tucked me into his arms.
   “Haley!” the girls yelled.
   “Seth!” the guys yelled.
   Just to spite them, I reached up and pulled Seth toward me. We engaged in a long, slow kiss. The heat spread throughout my body and sizzled in my stomach. I clung to him, to this moment. My hands slid up and my towel dropped. This time, I lightly traced his cheek. “I like your scruff.”
   He pulled away and for one intense moment his blue eyes pierced mine. No word was spoken, but he felt it too. He had to. I didn’t break our gaze, and he reached out and pulled his thumb across my lips. Then he leaned forward and kissed my cheek.
   Moments like those made me fantasize about spending the night with Seth. Him and me. Naked. What it would feel like to be next to him, skin on skin, touching, kissing. But then that made me think about our future and commitment. Ugh. I wondered if Seth had talked about the fall and his plans with Carter. Did he fear the changes coming after tomorrow? Hopefully, I’d find a chance to talk to him tonight. Poke around in his head to see if he saw me in his future. I wasn’t necessarily thinking forever, but at least into next year.

AUTHOR BIO:
Kate Ashton is the author of the contemporary YA, Every Little Piece. She writes about relationships and love, heartache and healing. And everything in between.

Author Links:

Giveaway:
Kate Ashton is graciously allowing me to host a giveaway for one (1) ebook copy of Every Little Piece (Mobi or ePub format only). Open internationally. Giveaway ends May 16, 2013. Prize will be sent out the week of May 27th by the author.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review: Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman

Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Page Count: 368
Published by: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Purchased

Synopsis From Goodreads:

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

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I put off reading Just One Day because I just knew that once I read Allyson's story, I would want to read Willem's story (which doesn't come out until October 15). But I couldn't stand looking at it sitting on my bookshelf unread, just tempting me with that amazing cover. I gave in and read it, and geez was I ever right about wanting to read Just One Year immediately. See, I know myself that well.

I had really high expectations for this book, and it did not disappoint. I thought it was pretty damn amazing. I loved the characters, the plot, and the settings. (Just One Day sort of reminded me of the movie Before Sunrise, and it's sequel, Before Sunset - although I don't know if the author actually intended the similarities. Also of note, the third movie, Before Midnight, is being released on May 24. Coincidence?)

I must admit that Allyson was not relatable to me for most of the story, and I never really felt any connection to her. That's not to say that I didn't like her, because I did. I just didn't always agree with her thinking, and I had a few wtf moments from her. I did like that she learned how to stand up for herself and was willing to go for what she wanted out of life. She had such huge growth as a character after her encounter with Willem. While looking for answers about Willem and their short time together, Allyson was able to discover things about herself that really changed her life's course.

As for Willem, I could understand the attraction that Allyson felt towards him because he was obviously handsome, but he also seemed to be quite mysterious. Because we only get Allyson's POV here, the reader is never sure if Willem is being 100% honest with his responses. While I thought that made Willem more intriguing, it also made him less trustworthy, so I found it difficult to really love him like I wanted to. I think there was more to him than he let on, and I can't wait to discover everything about him.

I have a terrible case of wanderlust, and this book brings it all front and center for me. I want so badly to explore Europe - all of it! It's one of those things I think may be possible when I get older (er, yes, I am 'old' now, but I'm talking about traveling in the next 10-20 years if I can afford it. My kids are 15 and 18, so I hope they won't be dependent on me by then. I'll keep my fingers crossed.) Just One Day really brought these locations to life for me and made me long to visit.

There are two sides to every story, and I cannot wait to read Just One Year and discover Willem's secrets. I am so hoping that Willem turns out to be worth the wait, and I hope certain aspects are not glossed over or easily pooh-poohed away. I want reasonable and in depth explanations for everything that occurred in Just One Day. I want have to know if the experience effected him as much as it did Allyson. And I really need for the author to make me fall in love with Willem - because I really, truly want to.

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
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YA Contemporary Challenge
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April Recap and May TBR

I didn't do too bad this month. I managed to read 7 books, Which (obviously) is good for me. So that leaves me 7 books behind on my Goodreads goal. Gah. Whatever. I'm okay with that. I think. For my Goodreads goal this year, I chose the same number of books as I did last year. My thinking was that I didn't want to set my goal too high and be disappointed if I couldn't attain it. I think it will all be fine in the end.

Books Read in April:
Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey Kade
Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman
Tex by S.E. Hinton
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
If You Stay (Beautifully Broken #1) by Courtney Cole

Total pages read: 1951

Reviews Posted in April:
Shadowlands (Shadowlands #1) by Kate Brian
Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman
The Rules (Project Paper Doll #1) by Stacey Kade
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce

May TBR:
I didn't get to some of my April TBR books. My library books didn't come in until today (thanks husband for picking them up!) so I will attempt to read The Program and This is What Happy Looks Like this month.

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
School Spirits (School Spirits #1) by Rachel Hawkins
Out Of This Place by Emma Cameron - An Aussie book, AND a novel in verse. Interesting.
Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman
Golden by Jessi Kirby

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