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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen

Breaking Nova (Nova #1)
Jessica Sorensen
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: September 3, 2013

Nova Reed used to have dreams-of becoming a famous drummer, of marrying her true love. But all of that was taken away in an instant. Now she's getting by as best she can, though sometimes that means doing things the old Nova would never do. Things that are slowly eating away at her spirit. Every day blends into the next . . . until she meets Quinton Carter. His intense, honey brown eyes instantly draw her in, and he looks just about as broken as she feels inside.

Quinton once got a second chance at life-but he doesn't want it. The tattoos on his chest are a constant reminder of what he's done, what he's lost. He's sworn to never allow happiness into his life . . . but then beautiful, sweet Nova makes him smile. He knows he's too damaged to get close to her, yet she's the only one who can make him feel alive again. Quinton will have to decide: does he deserve to start over? Or should he pay for his past forever?

(This review may contain slight spoilers, but nothing major)

I have been read a lot of Sorensen's novels lately. I haven't read her Fallen Star series but I love all of her contemporary new adult novels. When I found out that another of her books was available, I got it right away and started reading.

Breaking Nova is a lot different than Sorensen's other novels, or anything I'm used to reading for that matter. It's really dark and really intense. This is not a novel filled with angsty characters that are redeemed by love, like I initially thought. Like I said, it is a lot darker and more intense than I expected. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; I just wasn't expecting it and it's out of my comfort zone.

The two main characters in this novel are completely, utterly lost. They've both been through separate tragedies and are struggling to survive. Because of their situation, I found it was hard to connect with these characters. I could sympathize with them, sure, but it was hard to understand a few of their decisions.

This story is mostly about Nova. Throughout the novel, she has to lose herself more and more. Breaking Nova is the story of how Nova is able to find herself again after a tragedy. Even though I questioned Nova's decisions, I was so proud of her by the end of the novel.

Breaking Nova is not a romance--at least not in the sense I was thinking when I first picked it up. I honestly (and I never say this) did not think that the two main characters were good for each other. Quinton was not able to redeem himself like Nova. However, there is going to be a sequel so I'm not completely go against their relationship--hopefully things will get better for these two in the next book.

With an emphasis on drugs and suicide, Breaking Nova took me out of my comfort zone. These characters are deeply scarred, and for them, things have to get worse before they can get better. This dark novel is not one I'm likely going to reread, but I am anxiously waiting for the sequel.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

Right of Way
Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 9, 2013

Can a road trip repair a romance gone wrong? Find out in this standalone companion to Lauren Barnholdt’s Two-way Street.
Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.
Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.
Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

I will read pretty much read anything by  Lauren Barnholdt. When I found out she was not only writing another novel but it was a companion to Two-Way Street I was very excited.

I'm just going to start this reviewing by saying what I didn't like about this book. I had a similar problem with Right of Way as I did with Lauren's last book, Sometimes it Happens. I hope it's not becoming a thing with her. Anyway, throughout the novel we know that Peyton and Jace were together before, but something happened and now, at a wedding, there is tension between them. It is slowly revealed what happened. When what happened between them was finally revealed I just thought, "that's it? That's what all this drama is about?" The same thing happened in Sometimes it Happens; there was this build up and I was let down when it was finally revealed. 

Other than that aspect I enjoyed the novel. I couldn't stop reading it. Plus, it's a road trip novel! If you don't know by now novels about road trips are my favorite! I also appreciated the ending. It wasn't exactly wrapped up in a pretty bow; there was the unknown but I still knew the characters were going to be okay.

I also liked Peyton and Jace, even though they were both really frustrating at times. Jace overreacted to something incredibly stupid (back to the whole drama thing). And Peyton could be just as frustrating at times. But overall I was rooting for them. 

Overall, not my favorite Lauren Barnholdt novel. I still enjoyed it along with Lauren's writing and I'm looking forward to her next book. 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review: The Originals by Cat Patrick

The Originals
Cat Patrick
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2013

A riveting new story from Cat Patrick, author of Forgotten and Revived.
17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life...
Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.

I am a huge fan of Cat Patrick. I'll read anything by her and I was very excited to read The Originals. However, I didn't enjoy it as much as Patrick's other novels. It was still an interesting and unique, but it fell short in certain areas.

One of my favorite aspects of Patrick's novels is the originality. She always has a unique story to tell and The Originals was no different. It's a clone story, but with a twist. The world sees the three "sisters" as one person. Even though these three are clones, they all have different personalities and it was interesting to get to know each of them. 

One thing that I didn't like about this book was the love aspect. I really liked Sean, don't get me wrong, but can you say insta-love? I know this really bothers a lot of people, but it's something that I can normally get past if it isn't too much. But in The Originals, Lizzie trusts Sean with her secrets way too quickly and Sean accepts everything way to quickly. 

This is a fast-paced book and a fast read. However, the ending was too abrupt. Not only was it abrupt, but everything wrapped up too easily. I would have really liked to see this book expanded.

Honestly, a lot of the problems in this novel (the romance, the ending) could be fixed if it was expanded and developed more. I'm not saying it needs to be a series, but this is a unique concept and it could easily be a five-hundred page novel rather than a three-hundred. I am still a Cat patrick fan and will continue to read her novels. 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1)
Lenore Appelhans
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 15, 2013

In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.
Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost-family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.
Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian-a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life-comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.
Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

Level 2 had a very interesting and unique concept. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started it, but unfortunately while I enjoyed reading it the story just didn't grab me like I wanted it to. 

This book switches between two different time periods: flashbacks to Felicia's life and her afterlife. The flashbacks feature a very contemporary vibe while Felicia's time in the afterlife (which is described as futuristic in the synopsis) is borderline sci-fi. I really liked the flack backs and learning about Felicia while she was living. However, I had a hard time getting into the Level 2 world. I think this is a personal issue; I am not a sic-fi fan and I had a hard time imagining this world. 

Level 2, being so short, is a fast read. It is overall fast-paced novel, although the flashbacks slowed it down a little. I didn't mind that at all but I can see how it could bother others. It did take me a long time to get into this book. Not sure why. But I did get more into the second half. 

It took me a while to like Felicia. At first it bothered me that she seemed to go along with everything. But then I realized she wasn't as naive as I initially thought because she questioned everything. However, she still isn't my favorite main characters. 

Overall, I did enjoy Level 2, but not as much as I would have liked. It just isn't a book that will stick with me. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen #1)
Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books For Children
Release Date: May 22, 2006

When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D.J. can't help admitting, maybe he's right. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn't so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won't even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

Dairy Queen is a book that I've been wanting to read for a few years now but just never picked up. But after seeing a few recent reviews for it, I finally decided to pick it up. I'm so glad I finally did read this novel because it is such a fun book. 

I'll start by saying that this book is so funny. D.J.'s sarcastic attitude combined with Murdock's witty writing creates quite a humorous experience. And although there are no real pressing and hard issues featured in this novel, it isn't all fluff. This is the story of how a girl in an emotionally struggling family makes her own path. 

D.J. is a somewhat self-concious girl who has never really done anything besides what is expected from her family. Dairy Queen is mostly the story of D.J. discovering who she wants to be and what she wants to do. Now, she still has a lot of growing to do, as I expect she does in the following novels. And D.J. is snarky and (as mentioned before) sarcastic, which makes her a great main character. 

Overall, I really enjoyed Dairy Queen. It was everything I expected with a few extra surprises thrown in. I loved the characters (not just D.J. but other such as Brian and Curtis), and I loved the story. There were some things that I wish had a bigger spot in the novel or that were developed a little more, but I expect that to be fixed in the coming novels, which I can't wait to read. 


Sunday, July 28, 2013

End of Summer Read-a-thon

 Lisa at Turning Pages and Audris at YA Bookmark are hosting the End of Summer Read-a-thon!
I've missed the past couple of readathons that have taken place recently so I was excited to learn about this one. It couldn't have come at a better time because I am trying to read as many books as I can before I head off to college!  

Here is more about the readathon:

What is The End of Summer Read-A-Thon?
The End of Summer Read-A-Thon is hosted by me (Lisa) from Turning Pages and Audris from YA Bookmark; running from August 9th through August 12th. The End of Summer Read-A-Thon is a long weekend filled with books, challenges, giveaways and other special posts.

What do you do?
All you have to do is gather up a big stack of books, either summer themed, or books you planned on finally reading this summer, and start reading and don’t stop until Monday August 12th!! I plan on reading books that have been sitting on my shelf for months now, unread. Also tons of giveaways, challenges, and special posts are planned out on both Turning Pages and YA Bookmark, so it’s easy to be able to join in on the fun!

How to take part?
All you have to do is fill out the form below, with all the information required, and you’ll be in! The information to take part in giveaways and challenges will be listed in each post.

What can you get?
Besides finally finishing those unread TBR books, each day Audris and I will host giveaways on our blogs! That means eight giveaways in four days!! Yes eight! Besides that, each day will hold a new challenge on both Turning Pages and YA Bookmark, completing each challenge will add another entry in our final HUGE giveaway! So yes, actually nine giveaways in four days! The more challenges you complete, the greater your chance is to win our final giveaway!

To sign up visit here

I'm not going to make a list of what I'm going to read because I'm notorious for not sticking to what I say I'm going to read. But, there are quite a few books on my shelf that I've had for quite some time. I'm going give you a taste of just some of the books that I may get to:
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
The Mediator: Haunted by Meg Cabot
Sirens by Janet Fox
Gilt by Katherine Longshore
Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Storm Born by Richelle Mead
And there's a lot more. 


Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility 
Katja Millay
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: November 13, 2012

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.
Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.
Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.
Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.
The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

I'm going to start this review by saying that those who are wary of the cover or description should or are turned off by new adult still look into this book. The Sea of Tranquility is more than just a romance, it's a story of healing.

Both of the characters in this novel have dark pasts that they are trying to recover from. Although Josh has his problems, too, The Sea of Tranquility mostly focuses on Nastya and her healing from losing everything that defined her. Both of these characters are unique and frustrating at times. I loved Josh's unique view of life and reading about his hobby of building.. And Nastya--she has an exterior that everyone so no one will want to get know her. She has experienced something terrible and needs to learn how to live with the after. 

Even though a romance is not the first word I would use to describe this novel, I do have to address the relationship between Nastya and Josh. Their relationship is very slow-building, which I appreciated. This is more of a story of how these two characters learned to let others in than how they fell in love. Both Nastya and Josh learned to let the other in, which led to letting other people in as well. More than anything, Nasty and Josh found a family--both with each other and with others. 

The Sea of Tranquility is a beautifully-written and well-paced novel that tells the story of two characters and how they learned to live again.