Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Try Not to Breathe

Try Not to BreatheTry Not to Breathe
Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publisher: Viking
Release Date:  January 19, 2012
Pages: 272

Learning to live is more than just choosing not to die, as sixteen-year-old Ryan discovers in the year following his suicide attempt. Despite his mother's anxious hovering and the rumors at school, he's trying to forget the darkness from which he has escaped. But id doesn't help that he's still hiding guilty secrets, or that he longs for a girl who may not return his feelings. Then he befriends Nicki, who is using psychics to seek contact with her dead father. This unlikely friendship thaws Ryan to the point where he can face the worst in himself. He and Nicki confide in one another the things they never thought they'd tell anyone-but their confessions are trickier than they seem, and the fallout test the bounds of friendship and forgiveness.

I was so excited to read Try Not to Breathe. It sounded heartbreaking yet so good. Try Not to Breathe was different than I expected, but it was still good.

Try Not to Breathe wasn't as hard to read as I thought it would be. Considering the subject matter, it was surprisingly not hard to get through. It was still heartbreaking in its own way, but it wasn't super intense. I appreciated this a lot, because the subject of suicide can be a very difficult topic to tackle. 

I was expecting this book to be more romantic than it was. Not that this is a bad thing. It is more of a story about healing. Not just for the main character, Ryan, but for others such as Nicki herself, and Ryan's friends Val and Jake. 

I grew to like Jake. His own story and past wasn't very intense, but I still felt for him. And I think he really grew during this book. Nicki wasn't my favorite part of the book. She seemed immature at times, which put me off a bit. But I grew to feel for her and like her. I kind of wish we could have seen more of Val's and Jake's story, especially Jake. I would have liked to see a little more of Jake's healing process. 

Overall, Try Not to Breathe was a very heartbreaking novel. I loved seeing everyone's healing process. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In My Mailbox (84)

We have Kristi at The Story Siren to thank for hosting IMM every week. 

Library:


The Wood Queen by Karen Mahoney
Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard

What did you get this week?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Charming Covers [26]

Charming Covers is a feature here at Book Fanatics where I show covers that have recently been revealed/that I've recently found.
Taken By Storm (Raised by Wolves #3)
Taken by Storm 
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
May 22, 2012

3rd book in the Raised by Wolves series

This is one of my favorite werewolves series. There is no description yet, but I can't wait to see what's in store in this installment!
I like this cover. I don't like it as much as the first, but more than the second. Beautiful!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Unnaturalists

The Unnaturalists
The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent
August 14th 2012

In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger. 

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals. 

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world.

I love the premise to this. It looks so unique and interesting!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (8): Books I Wish I Owned/ Need to Buy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more information or to participate, visit here.
This week is a freebie. I decided that I want to compile a list of books that I have read, loved, and yet do not own. I do not buy a lot of books, I mostly borrow them from others or the library or receive them for review.  Sometimes I run into a book that I absolutely loved and yet do not own, but still want to.

  1. Anna and the French Kiss- I have actually checked this out from the library a couple of times to reread. 
  2. Lola and the Boy Next Door- On the same vein, this one is also amazing and I need to add it to my collection, too.
  3. If I Die by Rachel Vincent- This is my favorite series. I own all of them except for this last one, which of course is my favorite. I think this needs to be the next one that I buy. 
  4. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta- This is one of my favorite books. I read it a long time ago and need to get it not only to have, but to read again and again. 
  5. The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti- Everything I said about Jellicoe Road also applies to this one. One of my favorite books!
  6. The first two Vampire Academy novels- I have every book in the series except for the first two. I need to get them to complete my collection.
  7. The first two in the Luxe series-Ditto.
  8. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand- I loved this one. I recently received Hallowed, and now I got to get this one. I promised myself I would get it when it comes out in paperback, but, alas, I did not. 
  9. Where She Went by Gale Forman- This one was so beautiful; I loved it. I liked If I Stay, but this one was amazing. 
  10. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson- Another favorite that I need to get!
Looking at my list, I realize that I have a lot of favorites that I don't own. There are probably more of my favorite books that I don't own than that I do own, which is really sad. I need to get on that. 
(I also realize that most of my favorites are contemporary. I've never noticed that before.)

Are there any books that you don't have but need to buy?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: Forbidden

ForbiddenForbidden
Syrie and Ryan James
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Pages: 411

She Should not exist.
He should not love her.
Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she's desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there's no way she's going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she's been having or the creepy warnings that she's in danger.
Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn't factored Claire into his plans...
Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire's unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?
I am a huge angel fan and Forbidden seemed right up my ally. I wanted to love Forbidden. I really did.  But I just did not get into it like I would have liked. It was an entertaining and enjoyable story, but I had a few problems with it. 

The main problem that I had with this book were the characters. While watching Claire with her friends was fun at times, most of the time she was very immature. One thing that I really do not like in my heroines is immaturity. And Alec. I wanted so much to be romanced by him. And while he had his moments, he was just not my favorite part of the book. 

Another thing that I didn't like was Alec and Claire's relationship. While it wasn't insta-love, the two were very inf actuated with each other, becoming way to dependent of the other. 

There were parts of Forbidden that I did like. I loved the idea and the story and the world. It was very interesting and I loved learning about this world of angels. And while the books was a little slow at times, it was very enjoyable.

Overall, while Forbidden isn't my favorite angel book, there was still an enjoyable quality to it. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In My Mailbox (83)

We have Kristi at The Story Siren to thank for hosting IMM every week. 

For Review:
Life is but a Dream by Brian James
(From NetGalley)

Bought:
The Nature of Jade
The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
(Such an amazing book. Glad I finally got a copy.)

Library:
(As always, I got a ton from here.)
Wildefire by Karsten Knight
The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Personal Demons and Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers
Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

I don't know about you, but I better get reading. I've got a lot of good books to get through!
What did you get this week?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Virtuosity

Virtuosity

Virtuosity 
Jessica Martinez
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 294

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better?
Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started out as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not felling anything on the stage and even more sick of always doing what she's told, doing what's expected.
Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall...


I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. I thought it would just be a quick read (which it was) but it was so much more.

I really felt like I could relate to the subject matter as playing an instrument myself. Although I play the cello instead of violin and I'm nowhere near as talented as Carmen is. But I do think that those who don't have a musical background can also enjoy this book.

Carmen was my favorite part of this book. I loved watching her grow throughout the book. She learned how to decide for herself what she wants and what she does. She was a little weak in the beginning, which was a tad bothersome, but she grew and became a stronger person, which I liked that about her.

Virtuosity is a fantastic debut--one that I wasn't expecting to like so much. Even with its short length, there is an addictive quality to it and wonderful character.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Something Like Normal

WoW is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Something Like Normal
Something Like Normal
Trish Doller
June 19, 2012

A powerful debut novel about a young Marine's return home from Afghanistan and the new life and love he finds while fending off the ghosts of war. 

When Travis Stephenson returns home from Afghanistan, his parents are on the brink of divorce, his brother has stolen his girlfriend and his car, and nightmares of his best friend getting killed keep him completely spooked. But when he runs into Harper Gray, a girl who despises him for trashing her reputation with a middle school lie, life actually starts looking up. As Travis and Harper see more of each other, he starts falling for her and a way through the family meltdown, the post-traumatic stress, and the possibility of an interesting future begins to emerge. 

His sense of humor, sense of his own strength, and incredible sense of honor make Travis an irresistible and eminently lovable hero in this fantastic and timely debut novel.

This looks so heartbreaking yet so good! This one may be a bit hard to read for me, but I bet it will be worth it! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: Hallowed

Hallowed (Unearthly, #2)Hallowed
Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Release Date: January 17, 2012
Pages: 416

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose--the task she was put on earth to accomplish--is not as straightforward as she though. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. and, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

I loved Unearthly. I was a little concerned that Hallowed wouldn't live up to it's predessor. I am glad to say that Hallowed was every bit as good as Unearthly.

While I am a huge fan of angels and their concept, I haven't encountered many angel books that I've absolutely loved. After reading this book, I've decided it's the only series in which I love. I don't know if it's the creative concept or the characters or the combination of both.

I have to say, Clara is pretty kick-butt. And yet I love how compassionate she is. And I do feel that she has grown over the series, and even this book. 

While I don't typically like love triangles, I fell that the one in this series is very well done. I believe each boy has gotten an equal chance in these two books. And while Tucker still holds my heart (just barely more than Christian) I know that he isn't as good for Clara as Christian is. In the end, I am team Clara; whoever she chooses is good enough for me. 

Some major bombs are dropped in this installment. While I could see some things coming, there were quite a few surprises, too.

I was not disappointed with this installment of a fabulous series. I am mad, though, because I have to wait so long for the next one!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In My Mailbox (82)

We have Kristi at The Story Siren to thank for hosting IMM every week. 

For Review:

Jersey Angel Beth Anne Bauman
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale
(All from NetGalley)

Library:
The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

What did you get this week?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: January 2, 2012
Pages: 236

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting are. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Headley's in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love fins you when you're least expecting it. 
What a cute and endearing story! This was a quick read, yet filled with laughs and maybe even a tear or two.

I grew to really like Hadley. Even though this books is based over such a short period of time, I found that she still grew a ton. I also found her really funny. And Oliver. I had a hard time figuring Oliver out. At first when he told Hadley that he was going to a wedding, too, I knew he was not telling her something. I had a terrible feeling he himself was getting married. But the more I got to know him and when I found out what really happened, my heart broke for him, making me love him even more. 

I loved Hadley and Olliver's relationship. It developed at a good pace. Hadley and Oliver were hilarious together. They also helped each other grow, making the other better. Together they made a dynamic duo.

So much happened over this 24-hour period. It was packed with so much I'll say one thing: this book was never boring or had any unnecessary material.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was a great contemporary. Fun, charming, witty and emotional, this was a great story of love at first sight and so much more. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Unbreak My Heart

Unbreak My Heart
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker
May 22, 2012

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. 

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. 

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart? 

Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.

From what I've read of Melissa Walker, I've really liked. And this seems like such a cute book, and one right up my ally. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What I Miss

Over the past few weeks while I was off of school, I've had a lot of reading time. Which is great; I got a lot of reading done and caught up on what I needed to. I would tend to read a book all at once. Not necessarily in one sitting, I would take breaks, but I would still be able to finish a book pretty much at once. I was able to get more reading done this way, sometimes even reading more than one book a day. 
But, I realized I miss something that didn't happen when doing this. I miss missing a book. 
You know when you are reading a book, and you have to stop reading to do something else. If the book is really good, all you want to do is get back to that book. You just want to read more. It wasn't until this started happening again that I realized I missed it. 
So, I know this is a short post but I just wanted to share this with you all.
Do you like reading a book all at once, or do you like missing a book?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Winter Town

Winter TownWinter Town 
Stephen Edmond
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: December 5, 2011
Pages: 336

Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her...even if it means pissing her off.




I ended up enjoying Winter Town more than I thought I would. I found it full of wit; very funny and cute.

I really grew to like Evan. He was smart and funny. Dorky, but in a cute way. Even I was a bit put off by his obsession with Lucy, I still found his loyalty to her and finder her old self again charming. And I loved how he was with his family, or more specifically, his Gran. Very cute. In the beginning, Evan was trying to please everyone, especially his father. But in the end of the book, I felt that he had grown into himself.

I wasn't a huge fan of Lucy. She just didn't seem like a good fit for sweet Evan. But as I learned more about her, I was able to understand her more. 

I loved the illustrations. I thought they were charming and added to the story. I would love to see more of this, when appropriate, in YA books. 

Even though it's not my favorite, I liked the charm and wit of Winter Town. A very cute, fun read.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

In My Mailbox (81)

We have Kristi at The Story Siren to thank for hosting IMM every week. 

So, this is a few weeks worth of books. This probably isn't all that I've gotten in the past couple weeks, but it's what I can remember and dig up. 

For Review:

Winter's Kiss by Jennifer Echols and Catherine Hapka

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James

And Winter's Kiss is signed!

Gifted: 

Crossed by Ally Condie
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

From Michelle Zink:

Library:

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
Deadly Little Voices by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep

What did you get this week?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Under the Never Sky

Under the Never SkyUnder the Never Sky
Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Pages: 400

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction. 
As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions. 
They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY
.
As I finished Under the Never Sky, I had mixed feelings about it. In the end, I really enjoyed it. I liked the characters and there was this addicting quality in which I found that I couldn't put the down.

Initially I wasn't sure what this was about. Or more accurately, what it was. Dystopian? High Fantasy? I just didn't know. As it turns out, it was a mix of both, among other things. I liked the concept of this, although the world was the main problem I had with this book. In the beginning, it jumped right into the story, not explaining much. I was very confused, and there really was no remedy to this. I was confused as the book went on, though I was able to get over this for the most part.

On the other hand, I really liked the characters. Perry and Aria--I enjoyed so much getting to know them. Aria, who was very curious and venerable, yet was able to find her strength with the help of Perry. And Perry--so loyal and sweet. I enjoyed getting to know his layers.

I also liked how their relationship developed. They were always kind to each other, curious of the other. Their loved developed at a good pace.

Under the Never Sky is a novel of intrigue. This is the perfect example of the fact that characters matter. I was a little put of by the world (or more of the way the world was presented), the novel was redeemed by the characters. I can't wait to see more of Aria and Perry.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Don't Breathe a Word

Don't Breathe a WordDon't Breathe a Word
Holly Cupala
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Pages: 299

Joy Delamere is suffocating... From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out. Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far. Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late. Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.


There are very few books that I've encountered that can pack a punch like this one. Don't Breathe a Word was an intense story that has the power to impact a person. 

I was a huge fan of Holly's debut novel Tell Me a Secret, but I think I like her sophomore novel even better. I love Holly's lyrical way of storytelling and the way she can impact me so much. 

I was a bit weary of Joy at first. She seemed weak in her decisions. But as I got to know her and see her grow, I really started to like and understand her. I also grew very attached to the other characters: Creed, May and Santos. They all had their secrets and stories. When discovering their stories and personalities, I was more interested in them. Even though May and Santos made some bad decisions I still felt for them. And Creed. Oh Creed. He was so strong yet so vulnerable. He was another character that grew so much through the book. And I liked him even more the more I learned about him. 

This book tackles a tough subject that has not been covered much before. Seeing all the teens on the street, both Creed's group and others, was heartbreaking. But it's definitely a subject that needs to be covered. 

Don't Breathe a Word was such a powerful and impactful novel. Holly Cupala is not one to miss.