Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (10/10)


I read Anna and the French Kiss what seems like years ago and have visited it many times sense. I only just discovered I hadn't done a review yet, which is CRAAZYY! So, here it goes:

     Stephanie Perkins is a literary master that can rival the greats--Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Jane Austin, all of them! But, actually. Her writing makes me crinkle my toes and causes my cheeks to literally ache from smiling and shouting at the worn pages like my dad shouts at the TV on Superbowl Sunday. All Stephanie's writing, but especially in AATFK, is phenomenal in that it sucks the readers into its plot like a black hole--yes, I realize that black holes don't actually suck, but you get my flow. Stephanie Perkins is worth a blog rave the size of the entirety of the Harry Potter series. In AATFK, Anna is shipped off to boarding school in The City of Love (AKA, PARIS!) by her dad, who writes cheesy, unimpressive books that may or may not exploit the realities of illness. Anna has to move from Altlanta, from her little brother Seany who she shows an immense amount of motherly protection towards, her BFF Bridgett, and her crush, Toph, who works with her at her awesome gig at the movie theater. As one can imagine, it would be pretty tough to leave all that behind, even if school Paris does sound enticing in a way school doesn't anywhere else. But Anna is content with what she has, and especially with her senior year looking so bright, Paris is the absolute last place she wants to be. I don't know what I'd do if my dad told me he was shipping me off to a foreign city for a year. I don't think that would float my boat so much. Anna handles it perfectly, a balance of embracing her future and hanging on to her past. On the first night in her new digs, Anna is trying to muffle her cries in her pillow somewhat unsuccessfully when Meredith, her hall neighbor, helps her out big time with helpful advice and some hot cocoa. While the cocoa is probably far from instant, Anna's friendship with Meredith is just that. Meredith doesn't judge her because she is illiterate when it comes to French and she wears sneakers and she is homesick like nobody's business. Soon after she meets √Čtienne St. Clair, who is most definitely my all-time favorite boy in the whole universe of YA books. He's like that cappuccino you get that is the perfect blend of hot and cold, hard and soft.  √Čtienne is an American with an English accent who speaks fluent French. Did you get that? If you didn't all you need to know is that while he may be short, he is more delicious than any cappuccino. Most people call him St. Clair, which fits; he is the guy that is always smiling, the one that all the boys like and all the girls love. He runs into Anna--literally--on her first night, and from then on she can think of nothing but his soft hair...which sounds creepy, but is surprisingly romantic and adorable. He is dating Ellie, who used to be in the artsy/likable group with St. Clair, Meredith, and Josh and Rashmi, the annoying but cute in a mushy sort of way couple whose lives are composed of bickering and make-out sessions. After she graduated and moved on to bigger, badder things, it seemed like the only trace of her at the lunch table was the resentment in the air from her old besties and the occasional mention from St. Clair. This doesn't help Anna, who is falling head over heels for St. Clair, despite her feelings for Toph back home and the risk of losing him as a friend. She holds out, but when St. Clair's mom becomes ill, Anna is there for him in a way even Ellie isn't. She is there for him emotionally and mentally and most importantly as a true friend, and that's exactly what St. Clair needs. Stephanie Perkins does a fantastic job of introducing tragedy without turning her book into one of Anna's dad's crappy novels. The readers are not overloaded with corny crying scenes, but at the same time we aren't deprived of the raw emotion that St. Clair is experiencing. To make her writing even better, there are other problems in the plot, like Josh skipping school, Ellie, even Anna's mangled feelings about Toph, but not one takes away or distracts from the other, which is wonderful. The big turning point is Thanksgiving, when Anna and St. Clair are the only ones still at school. I won't give anything away, but let me say this--there is a bed involved. I love how Stephanie plays with us, never giving us enough to satisfy us, but allowing us just enough to keep us begging on our knees for more. √Čtienne and Anna have an uneven relationship--holding hands at the movies one day and then ignoring each other completely the next-- but that is what makes AATFK so darn enjoyable. It keeps you on your toes. This is a 100% must read and a 10/10.


     Anna can't wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?

$aver $aturday

$aver $aturday

Hola, Ciao, Sveiki, Konnichiwa, HEY! It's time for the saver segment I started, which helps you guys find great books that won't empty your wallets.

Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy ~ $0.99

The Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen ~ $2.99

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut ~ $2.99

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cover of Perfect Lies

I absolutely love this...

What I'm Reading: Invisibility by Andrea Cremer

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer

     Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.

Review: Relatively Famous by Jessica Park


Relatively Famous, by Jessica Park, is a great read that both middle grade readers and young adult readers will enjoy immensely. When we begin, Dani, a normal fifteen year old, is living with her mom and her mom's professional chef BF, Alan, in Little Springs, Michigan. Everything is going pretty well for her down to earth family of three, with Alan and her mom Leila's five year anniversary, and a summer of fun with her best friend  Sam. Despite a bit of rockiness in the facts that Alan doesn't propose to Leila and Sam's family is undergoing financial instability, Dani is content. But when she finds out through a mob of tabloids at school that her father is the famous/infamous action star, Mark Ocean--who is claiming that he doesn't have a daughter--her world in Little Springs is rocked like a hurricane hit. I was impressed at this point already, because Jessica managed to take a somewhat overdone theme and turn it into a surprisingly cute story. Dani travels to sunny old CA to stay with Mark for the summer, having no idea who leaked the story to the paparazzi and no idea what to expect with dad. At first, it's comical to read about all of the spray tans and hair extensions, but Dani is a nice character because she manages to stay grounded--mostly--while at the same time adapting to the lifestyle of her new Cali friends, even managing to ground her orange move star dad a bit while she's at it. The transformation is predominantly on the exterior for Dani, but it's really nice to see Dani's dad change so much on the inside. He learns to love in more ways than one, and he develops a fatherly connection with Dani that is special to read about. Any young adult or middle grade reader would appreciate the simplicity of Jessica's writing that has an underlying depth in the relationships that are obvious, like Dani and Mark's, and not so obvious, like Dani and Nathan, one of her new friend's seemingly nerdy brothers. It's not obvious because of the lifeguard hottie who has a thing, if you can call it that, with Dani, so don't worry--there is no lack of romance in Relatively Famous. The thing that I thought was really great about this read was the balance that it was home to--between grounded and flashy, Dani's old life and new, her back-home friends and her Cali friends, her love interests, and even between her mom's boyfriend and her shiny new dad. I give this book a 7/10, and I really recommend it, especially for younger readers.


Relatively Famous delivers Hollywood with heart... High school freshman Dani McKinley's world is rocked when she finds out that she is the daughter of B-list actor and notorious womanizer Mark Ocean. Mark is all too eager to get his acting career back on track, so he follows his agent's advice about cleaning up his image and invites his "new" daughter to spend the summer with him. Armed with credit cards, club memberships, and a new wardrobe, Dani spends the summer navigating the foreign culture of Hollywood. Her new friends school Dani in everything from attaching hair extensions to managing the paparazzi. She meets Jason, a gorgeous young personal trainer who is easy on the eyes and wildly flirtatious . . . But is this smug hottie the one for Dani? Or will she ignore her friends' eye rolling and go for Nate, the goofy but sweet surfer? Even tougher than all the new social pressures, is the challenge of trying to deal with her father. What Mark Ocean has in wealth, he sorely lacks in parenting skills. The fatherly interest Mark feigns has everything to do with charming the public and virtually nothing to do with connecting with his daughter. Dani desperately tries to teach her father that being a dad is not just about supplying her with Prada bags and trips to movie premieres, and the result of the clueless actor's attempts at fatherhood is both funny and heart-wrenching. Follow Dani and Mark while they struggle to figure out what it means to be father and daughter, and as they navigate their own complicated love lives. Humor, tears, heartache, and teen angst will leave you aching to see how their dilemmas are resolved.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Review: Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

To say I am a fan of Jamie McGuire's work is the understatement of the year. I have read Beautiful Disaster dozens of times, and the greatness of the book doesn't even come close to lessening after every time. I can't even tell you how excited I was to begin Walking Disaster, the companion novel told from the point of view of irresistible bad boy Travis Maddox, who may possibly be my favorite male character EVER. Walking Disaster did not disappoint--not even a  little bit. This was actually the first time I actually felt the male character was believable, and I don't know if Jamie McGuire was a drool-worthy player in another life, but the way she executes his character is ridiculously incredible. As you relive the love story of Abby (Pigeon) and Travis (Mad Dog) Maddox through the eyes of Travis, it isn't at all like you're just rereading Beautiful Disaster. While the sequence of events are much the same, Jamie allows us some insight into Travis' thoughts and life outside of Abby that we only guessed at before. But the thing is, as much as he tries, once Abby Abernathy steps into Travis' life, there really only is Abby. I love how he's not the player hat we thought throughout the beginning, and I love how Travis shows us another side of his brothers and family life, and I love how he respects Shep's wishes about America but not so much about Abby...the list goes on. I love everything about Walking Disaster. You will not want to put it down for even a second. At the end, there is even insight into their life years after college, and it is so perfect I can't even describe it. This is a must-read if there ever was one, and I give it an 8/10.


Finally, the highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster.

Can you love someone too much?

Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Author Interview with Lance Umenhofer

Ciao, Bellas!

I recently had the privilege to conduct a mini Q & A with Lance Umenhofer, author of the poetic fiction, And the Soft Wind Blows. I hope you'll check out his site and his book on Amazon, which released in April. Enjoy learning more about this cool author!

1. At what age did you discover your passion for writing?

I think it was seventh grade, when I read aloud a short story about George W. Bush and his cat, Dubya, who lived in a cabin in the woods.  I remember the whole class laughing, including the teacher, and I think that was the small spark that eventually ignited into a passion during my freshman year of high school, where I began writing song lyrics.  I soon found that I enjoyed writing lyrics to the songs more than the music, and one day I had the epiphany that: "Hey, these all are poems, why don't I just write poetry instead?"  And the rest is history...(as they say).

2. What book inspired you most as a child?

Well, I suppose that depends on your definition of a "child."  Nothing really comes to mind until I was fifteen, during the summer before my sophomore year of high school, when I read The Catcher in the RyeThe Great Gatsby, and Catch-22.  Reading these three books in one summer truly marked my first loves for reading.  I remember thinking: "Why haven't I been taught these books in school?" because throughout my schooling, I was forced to read a lot of Shakespeare and the Romantics (Nathaniel Hawthorne), and I was almost completely deterred from reading anything of any sort, but then I realized that were boatloads of literature out there that I could truly love and relate to (which weren't such a horror to read).

3. How long did it take you to complete And the Soft Wind Blows?

The first draft?  Three weeks.  Then six months of editing.  Ha!

4. What are you currently reading?

Well, nothing today, but last week I just finished up Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for the first time.  Even though this is the only novel I've ever read by him, he easily climbed up to the top of my influences' list.  Speaking of influences, next up is F. Scott Fitzgerald's Six Tales of the Jazz Age, and I couldn't be more excited.

5. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Creative, Funny, Happy.

6. If you had to describe your novel in three words, what would they be?

Poetic, Quirky, Real.

7. Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Dog!  I grew up with two wonderful, little puggies whom I miss dearly.

8. What is you all-time favorite book? Poem?

Jeez.  Way to put me on the spot.  My go-to answer for this (seemingly easy) question is Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!  In fact, for my birthday, one of my friends bought me a first edition of it!  It's one of my most treasured possessions, for sure.  As for favorite poem (again, not easy at all), my go-to is Ginsberg's "Howl."  There's something about those Beats that will always influence me, especially their motto: "First thought, best thought."

9. Did any events in your childhood come into play in your writing?

The easy answer: yes!  But then again, I've always believed that writing is 80% experience and 20% craft.  Therefore, every moment I've ever experienced "comes into play" in all of my writing.  There's nothing specific in my childhood that came to the forefront in And the Soft Wind Blows, but every character I write is a conglomeration of the many different people I've met throughout my life, even those I remember from childhood.

10. What is a question that you wish you would be asked more frequently than you are?

Well, instead of lashing out at me for writingwordslikethis, I wish that some reviewers (who will remain unnamed) would clarify the reasons why I do it, so let's clear the air here: I do it for two reasons, the first is that my novella is written in a style I call "Poetic Fiction," and by combining words like that, my intention is to slow readers down so that they don't pass right over them but instead really get a feel for the amount of poetry I spent so much time crafting, and the second reason is that each one are things the reader should pay attention to.  Without boring you to death, just know that they all serve their purposes and aren't meant to make you hate reading me.  Gosh!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Divergent Competition

Go to this site and vote for your state for a chance to have Veronica Roth come to a bookstore near you! TEXAS is in the lead now...keep it up! I want to meet this amazing author.

Hi, my name is....


So I was recently asked by someone if I had any recommendations for a specific type of girl--one who is shy, but doesn't want to be. Most of the books that I'm obsessed with are home to feisty, fiery, fierce heroines. So this question stumped me. Now that I've had some time to scroll through my kindle and GR, here are some inspiring reads about girls who struggle to shine in their minds, but in reality are just as bright as the Clary Fray's and the Katniss Everdeen's. Here are my top 5 picks! Click on the covers for their Amazon link.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Review: Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins (8.5/10)


After reading Sweet Evil, by Wendy Higgins, you thought it couldn't get any better, right? Wrong! Sweet Peril, if you can believe it, is deeper, more emotional, and even hotter than the previous installment. Haunted by demon whisperers who are a little suspicious of half guardian angel, half fallen angel Anna, our awesome main character has to work for her dad, something she never thought she'd do. In Sweet Evil, Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, is there with her to help Anna in these dark times of substance abuse, but Kaidan has separated himself from Anna for both of their safeties at the beginning of the book, and it is super painful for not only Anna, but the READERS!! We want our Kaidan! Wendy Higgins does an incredible job at allowing us to feel all the emotions that plague Anna's mind, such as the conflict over embracing her dark side and the obvious torture of being away from Kaidan. So much so do we step into the shoes of Anna that when her father sends her and some old friends on missions to recruit other Nephilim, it feels as if we are the ones travelling around the world with the balance of humanity on our own shoulders. Further, when Anna and Kaidan FINALLY reunite, I swear it is the sweetest, cutest, sexiest thing I have ever read all wrapped into a lustful bundle of Kaidan-ness. Wendy's style of writing is like velvet, and she plays with our minds in the most wonderful ways. She hints at things between Kaidan and Anna but doesn't fully divulge, and then she will completely divulge but hide other things, and it's incredible. I cannot stress this enough--go buy this book!


Embrace Your Destiny
Anna Whitt, daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, promised herself she'd never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She'd been naive to make such a claim. She'd been naive about a lot of things.
Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school's party girl. And all the while there's Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.
When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of the Duke of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: Is loving someone worth risking your life?

Find it on Amazon ~ Find it on Goodreads

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What I'm Reading: School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

Click on the picture to buy School Spirits on Amazon!

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!

Review: Of Triton by Anna Banks (9/10)


I feel like I could probably pass on writing a review of Of Poseidon's sequel, Of Triton by Anna Banks, because truth be told, everyone already knows that anything involving Galen and Emma is bound to be Ah-MA-zing--which of course, it was. Sequels are notorious for disappointing, especially when you have to live up to something as wondrously creative and incredible as the first installment in Anna Bank's young adult series. Of Triton, however, not only escaped the cliche of letting me down, but may have even surpassed its previous read. I loved, loved, loved this book, from the very beginning with insane amounts of bad-assity and action initiated by someone surprising (*cough* Nalia) and even more depth of Emma's character as she fights to understand what is truly right in her newly screwed up world, to the gentle romance that weaves its way in and out of the story. I'm obsessed with the relationships that take place as well, and even though Emma's mom/ Nalia/ Grom's mate/ heir to the throne dating Galen's older brother was bordering on creepy, it was interesting to read about lost love reuniting and the reactions of Emma and Galen. Emma has to face so much because of this, as she understands what she is and how she was made...not like that:/. This read balances romance, action, politics, and comedy perfectly, even throwing in a teaspoon of tragedy that I swear will make your head spin. The ending is one you will literally be so satisfied with while at the same time inwardly cursing Anna Banks for not giving you more. This is a must-read and a 9/10.


Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess, and now struggles with an identity crisis: As a Half-Breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm. Syrena law states all Half-Breeds should be put to death.

As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance in the Syrena world turns the two kingdoms—Poseidon and Triton—against one another. Which leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself—and her Gift—to save a people she’s never known?

$aver $aturday

Cursed by S.J. West--$3.99
Eyes of Ember by Rebecca Ethington--$2.99
Free Four by Veronica Roth-- $0.89

Review: Everblue by Brenda Pandos (6.5/10)

I am SO sorry that I have been gone for all this time! I had a concussion at the end of the year from lacrosse, so no computadora for me:( ....And THEN, everything just got crazy with make-up work, sports, and about anything else overwhelming that you don't want to deal with. I'll try to post like a bazillion and one reviews over the next couple of days to make up for my suckishness. To begin: here is a review about a little read I just recently finished--which just happens to be FREE ON AMAZON at the moment! (Therefore, no excuses not to move those fingers around the keyboard and download this book!)

      Everblue ((Mer Tales-Book One), by Brenda Pandos, was not one I was expecting to like. It wasn't so much that I have learned that mermaid books usually don't live up to my expectations and tend to fall towards cheesy--of course there are exceptions, *Cough*, Of Poseidon, *Cough*--and I definitely didn't judge this book by its cover, which is beautiful. In actuality, the beginning of the book just didn't do it for me. You understand, I read a lot of books, and I go through even more samples, trying to filter out the good from the great so that I can bring you all the great. So when I'm going through all of these samples, I cannot buy every single one and must decide based on the short quantity that I've read whether it is worth continuing. This particular read didn't excite me. I found it almost slow, and the main character, a redhead named Ashlyn (Ash for short), whiny and tedious. I like my alpha females to exhibit depth and spunk, two qualities lacking from Ash and he start of Everblue. However, I couldn't have been more wrong to discard this one as just nother boring mermaid book. New ideas and mer-concepts that I have never encountered in YA reads, such as "promising", which is basically the mermaid version of Twilight's "imprinting", and the thought of a world thriving with life hiding under the Earth's mantle. There were alluring sirens, Irish brutes with a soft side, and stinging barbs protruding from mer tails. Truly, this read is innovative among its fellow mer books, thriving with as many creative ideas as a true underwater landscape. I was wrong to put it down after a few chapters, because the story really heats up about a third of the way through, when there are some accidental and romantic and some not so accidental and far-from mushy promisings that occur between Ash, her neighbors and best friends Fin and Tatiana, and the mer prince, slimy Azor. The story heats up even more when aspects from human life, like a cute boy who has a thing for Ash, a best friend who is endearing and annoying all at once, and an accident that could rock Ash's swimming scholarship and plans for the future, come into play. This read is free right now, and it isn't especially long, so I do recommend it. It's hopeful and creative--a breath of fresh air after being trapped under dark waters. I give Everblue a 6.5 out of 10.


     She wanted her life to change ... he wanted his to stay the same.Seventeen-year-old Ashlyn Lanski is tired of her boring, single life. Swimming and spending time with Tatiana, her best friend, are her only sanctuary. The girls plan to leave their drab lakeside town far behind for college, and Ash hopes to finally ditch her longtime crush for Finley, Tatiana's twin brother. But when Tatiana and her family fail to return home after a family emergency, Ashlyn chooses to do something drastic to find them.Finley Helton and his family are good at blending in as they run their sailing charter business in Lake Tahoe. But together, they guard an ancient secret. When a not so routine meeting forces Finley, Tatiana and their mother to return to Natatoria and Fin's father on a dangerous mission, Fin can't stay caged up for long.Secrets lurk beneath the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe, and a simple lifesaving kiss could change their lives forever.