Monday, December 31, 2012

The Best Books I Read in 2012

This post is just a list of AH-MAZING novels that I read throughout the 2012 year. They are not necessarily  books that have been released in 2012, just the ones that I read this past year. This is not all of them, but the ones that I keep thinking about months after I've read them and have probably re-read already this year.

So basically, you need to pick up these novels and read ASAP because they are that good. Let's get started!







My Review of Opal - to come!

 























Are any of these novels part of your favorites of 2012? Do you have one that you can't live without? Let me know - I may want to read it as well! :)

Now let's see what 2013 will bring us!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron

Starting sophomore year for college in Maine, Taylor is excited to be rooming with Darah and Renee. But she has to room with a new person because one of their friends decided to room off campus.

So it was a huge surprise when she answered the door to Hunter, with tattoos, buzzed hair cut, and a guitar case. Who just so happened to be Taylor's new roommate. And by roommate, it actually means that he and Taylor will be sharing the same bedroom.

Taylor is not having it. She calls the housing residents only to find that they are closed on opening day (really?) and cannot find anyone that will fix this situation. Sure, her college is co-ed rooming  That doesn't mean that Taylor wants to be one of those housing units.

After drawing a name out of a jar to determine whether Taylor, Darah, or Renee will room with him, it just so happens he draws Taylor's name. She's stuck with him.

And then he propositions her enough to make her punch him in the face and kick him where it hurts. It's going to be a wonderful semester living with this bad boy attitude, guitar playing, and shockingly good cook.

But Hunter makes a bet with Taylor: prove to him that she sincerely hates him, or loves him, and he will move out that day. Sounds easy, right? Except that Taylor can't really hate him. Sure, she hates what she reminds her of, a dark time 8 years ago that she never wants to remember. But as for hating Hunter alone? She really doesn't.

Then Taylor finds out that she has a class with him: human sexuality, oh joy. She also gets a job at the library, only to find out that Hunter will be working there as well!

Looks like Taylor better get used to Hunter being around constantly, and always making ensuendo's to her that make Taylor blush every time she thinks about them.

Taylor has a good reason not to trust the male gender. Something horrendous happened to her 8 years ago and she has never been able to get over it. But somehow, Taylor gets the feeling that Hunter may be the one person to block all of her walls that she's built.

But the unthinkable happens - the man that terrifies her the most in the world may be coming back into her life. And Taylor cannot handle that.

Will Taylor be able to have a true friendship/relationship with Hunter? Can both Hunter and Taylor get past their tortured histories enough to let the other one in, or will they forever be doomed to stay in the dark memories of their past? Read My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
So, just a forewarning, this is a NEW AGE novel, which means that it's a little bit more mature and graphic than a YA novel but not too racy like an adult novel. Mainly, New Age (NA) novels are set in college and are about characters who are starting to grow up, but still do things that are immature.

Ahh!!!! I. Loved. This. Novel!! Loved, loved, loved it!

Okay, on to the review portion. So, I was hooked from the first chapter. And after Taylor punched Hunter, I fell in love with this novel. And I still had 200 + chapters to go!

Taylor is a girl who can take care of herself. After what happened to her when she was younger, she made sure she would be ready for anyone that threatens her at any given time. And Hunter made her feel feelings that she didn't want to feel, which made her feel uneasy and she wanted to express what she thought of that.

Hunter loved it.

Now, I know a few reasons why I fell in love with this novel. One, Taylor was known as the "Ice Queen" in high school because she stayed away from boys, completely ignored them, read a lot of books, and was very anti-social. I was like that in high school, only my name was a bit nastier.

Second, she starts working in a library. I worked in a library and still do today.

Third, she was very determined to stay away from Hunter. It was actually quite successful that I was on my seat waiting for the two of them to finally kiss!

The dark pasts for both Hunter and Taylor were very horrible. I can completely see two people today in real life acting the way Hunter and Taylor did because of what happened to them. And if you want to know what it is, you're going to have to read the book ;)

I loved this book. Maybe not as much as Beautiful Disaster, but it is a very close second.

I would definitely recommend this to any older young adult reader, since it is a New Age novel. But I will most certainly be telling everyone I know to read it right away, because I want everyone to experience this wonderful novel!

Also, I think I read somewhere that there is going to be a sequel?!? If so, I will most definitely be getting it! I wonder what Cameron will write about with the sequel. I don't care who/what it is about, I will have it in my collection.

So, what are you waiting for?!? Go get this book!! :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Perfect Game by J. Sterling

Cassie
For her junior year in college, Cassie Andrews transferred schools and is now rooming with her best friend Melissa. She's starting to take college classes in photography, which she loves to do and wants to get a career in after college.

During her first college party, she sees Jack Carter. Right away, she knows that Jack is a player and very cocky, a guy who knows that he looks like a God and thinks he deserves to be treated like one. It doesn't help that he is a phenomenal baseball player and will go into the big league very soon, if his agents are correct.

Cassie wants absolutely nothing to do with him. She avoids him, yells at him, walks away from him, and, when possible, ignores him.

But Jack is very persistent and dedicated to making the one girl on campus who despises him on sight talk to him, and also go out on a date with him.

There's only so much a girl can handle and Cassie can't deny that he is very good looking. So she finally does go out with him, and then becomes the first girl that Jack Carter has ever dated and called his girlfriend.

Jack
Ever since Jack's parents left him and his younger brother Dean, Jack has had trust issues. He only hooks up with a girl once and then he's done with them, leaving them no imagination that they will be the one to snatch up his heart.

But when Jack sees the disgust and hatred in Cassie's beautiful green eyes, all bets are off. He wants to know this new girl on campus and he is going to do everything in his power to get what he wants. And it's a lot of power since he is the star player on the baseball team.

And once he finally gets Cassie? It's a dream come true. She is the one for him and he will do anything and everything for her.

Sure, when he gets drafted to start on a Double A team, the distance is hard on both of them, but they always think about each other every minute.

But old habits die hard - can Jack change his ways for good? Will Cassie's heart get broken by the biggest player turned boyfriend on campus? Read The Perfect Game by J. Sterling to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
So, just a forewarning, this is a NEW AGE novel, which means that it's a little bit more mature and graphic than a YA novel but not too racy like an adult novel. Mainly, New Age (NA) novels are set in college and are about characters who are starting to grow up, but still do things that are immature.

Now, on to the review! I was very intrigued with this novel and just recently found it on Amazon - it was an impulsive purchase.

And I did like it. It just wasn't my all time favorite novel. Nor my all time favorite New Age novel.

Also, this book is written in alternating narrations between Cassie and Jack, so we got to see both of their viewpoints throughout the novel.

I really liked Cassie. She was fiesty and didn't take Jack's crap. Nor did she give in when Jack was persistent about going on a date with him. I didn't blame her - the most notorious player on campus wants to date her? Something else must be hidden within his persuasion.

But she laid down the rules and made sure Jack knew about them.

Now, Jack. Oh, Jack. He was very determined because he's always got everything he wants - well for the most part. And he was very sexy and very confident, which is good in a guy.

However, he became one of those guys that NEEDED to be with his girl. When Cassie didn't answer her phone or call him back right away, he got frantic with worry and freaked out.

He didn't do it all of the time, but it was enough to drive me crazy.

And the huge mistake that he made? Totally called it when he kept insisting that he was going to mess up. And I called everything that would happen throughout the mistake until it was done. So, I thought, it was very predictable.

That doesn't mean I didn't like this novel - I did! Just not as much as I could have liked it. I really did like the ending, though I'm not sure how realistic it would be with different people in the real world.

Overall, I gave it 3.5 stars. I'm interested to see if Sterling will write more NA novels in the future - I'll have to read them if she does.

I would recommend this to any older young adult, since there is graphic material that many parents wouldn't want their children to read. But anyone who likes sports, photography, and wants to find out about the "real college life", this would be something that you might enjoy!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

Before, when Eliza thought she was moving, she made a list of things that she was afraid of and wanted to conquer when she moved to the new place: new place, new Eliza.

But she never left so now she just keeps writing all of the fears that she has.

And, unfortunately, Eliza loses everything. Everything. And now she's misplaced her notebook. Come to find out that the leader of the 318's club, Tyler, at high school, a group of guys who do pranks every now and then, stole it.

Apparently, Eliza created hardships for her ex-boyfriend, Cooper, who is also part of the 318 group. She broke up with him when she found out that he only started dating her as a initiation rite to become a member of 318. So Eliza broke up with him and hasn't talked to him since.

It is also rumored that she destroyed any chances Cooper had to go into Brown College by writing half-truths about him on the internet.

Now, though, Eliza needs someone on the inside to figure out why they took her notebook, and why they are making her do certain fears that she wrote down throughout the years.

With her two best friends, Marissa and Clarice, Eliza is going from one rendezvous to the next trying to fulfill these tasks that Tyler is making her do to get her notebook back. And Cooper seems to be popping up everywhere, who seems to be trying to help, but Eliza thinks that it is part of the ruse.

Can Eliza get her notebook back? Will she be able to go through all of her fears until Tyler is done tormenting her? And why is Cooper still hanging around after he used her to get into 318? Read One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I really liked this novel!

I've had good things and bad things to say about Barnholdt's novels, depending on which novel I'm talking about. I started her works with amazing results then found that the rest of them were blah. But I really enjoyed this one so I'm happy that I was able to read it!

I thought Eliza was very juvenile character, and writing down a list of fears for anyone to snatch is never a good idea. But I really enjoyed the plot of this novel and the action that went along with each "dare" Eliza was given.

I also really liked Cooper. He is popular but is always wanting to help everyone who asks him.

Marissa and Clarice are dimwits - I can't think of any better word for them. They are scatterbrained and are leaving Eliza every other scene. Thankfully, Cooper was around to save the day for each dilemma.

Overall, I really liked this book! There were things that bugged me and I thought could be better, but I think it was a great story line and I really enjoyed the ending.

I would recommend this book to fans of Barnholdt's, along with Rachel Cohn and David Levithan since it has some of the same themes.

Now, I'm going to go see if I'm missing anymore of Barnholdt's novels and complete my collection of her works!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This is the third novel in the Raised by Wolves series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

My review of #1: Raised by Wolves.
My review of #2: Trial by Fire.

WARNING - This book will contain spoilers from the previous two novels in the series. Proceed with caution!

Bryn has had to make some tough decisions as alpha of her pack. The latest one was having to kill a wolf she took in her pack, only to have him challenge her. And once an alpha is challenged, there is no going back. They have to fight. To the death.

While Bryn won the fight, and killed Lucas, she lost another member of the pack: Maddy. She was in love with Lucas and could not look at Bryn afterward without feeling anger at her for killing the one she loved.

So Bryn let Maddy go and now she's living on her own in the No-Man's-Land.

Let's just say things were going pretty rough for Bryn.

Now she's training with Jed, another human like Bryn who has a psychic ability to go feral, or rabid but without shifting into a wolf. They lose control of what their body does and they fight to survive any threat that tries to kill them. And almost always they get out of the situation somewhat unscathed.

Things can't keep staying normal for Bryn, though. Shay, the alpha of the bordering territory has called for an alpha meeting. He reveals that there is a lone, rabid wolf roaming around killing animals and humans, brutally. Local police are starting to notice.

But the part that intrigues all of the male alphas is that the rabid wolf is FEMALE. Female wolves are very rare and every pack, besides Bryn's, wants their own so they can breed more children and make their pack larger.

Bryn needs to find this wolf before everyone else because she is the only one that won't force the female wolf to join her pack just to use her as a breeding tool. She will allow the wolf to be free, just letting her join her pack to steer clear of the other alphas.

But the mysterious killer wolf is not what Bryn's pack thinks. And Shay is not a wolf to underestimate. Because he usually has an ultimate goal that Bryn doesn't see coming. And everything is about to become 100 times worse before she can see any brightness in her future. Will Bryn be able to help this female wolf and figure out who is attacking innocent humans and animals? Read Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Wow. I was a little leery when down to the last 20 pages and it was still mid story, but Barnes did a wonderful job creating this ending to her series!

And I'm going to say it: it was bittersweet and heartbreaking. I was very teary eyed and couldn't believe all of the things Barnes did in the last 50 pages of this book. I was angry, I was sad, I was satisfied, but I was devastated.

All in all, I went on a rollercoaster ride and, even though I know I loved the ending, I'm still trying to get past all of the emotions that I went through.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you why I went through all of those emotions, because it would give away the ending and I'm so not a spoiler reviewer. Let's just say that some characters die and if you want to know who, you'll have to read the series to get attached to them just to lose them.

Ironically, I read many reviews saying that this was the best YA werewolf story ever written. I'm not sure if I would go that far, but I did really, really like this storyline. There was so much randomness and multiple topics thrown into this series that I felt satisfied with how Barnes pulled it off.

I would definitely recommend this novel to werewolf fans, and also supernatural fans since there's a little bit more going on than just werewolves. Also, if you've read the first two novels, you HAVE to read this story to find out what happens!

For those who want to read this series but only have the third novel, I would advise you to find the first two because it will make the story so much better and you would also understand a lot more by the third novel.

Great series, Barnes! I was made a believer by the very last page of this book that this series is a great story and beautifully written! Now, I'm going to hunt for more of Barnes's books and see if she will entrap me again with her story telling!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This is the second novel in the Raised by Wolves series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

My review of #1: Raised by Wolves.

Warning - This book will contain spoilers from the first novel. Proceed with caution after this sentence!

After saving a group of humans turned werewolves, Bryn has now found herself their alpha, even though she's only human and can't transform like everyone else.

But she set them all free from the Rabid and they decided that they wanted Bryn to be their leader. She's not just human; she has a power that no other werewolf has and they feel safe with her. Devon and Lake, her two best friends since childhood, have also joined her pack, being her guards and protecting her.

Things aren't necessarily going to work out right away though. In fact, because Bryn is human and a female, many of the other alphas don't like what she is doing. They can't do anything about it, though, because they are a democracy and go by rules, rather than judge on their feelings.

The one alpha that hates Bryn with a passion is Shay - who just happens to be Devon's older brother. He is ruling his own pack on the other border next to Bryn's and is definitely trying to get a reaction out of Bryn's pack.

When a werewolf shows up on her doorstep, beaten and bloodied and shifting from human to wolf, Bryn gets her first duty as alpha. Lucas is part of Shay's pack. But Shay tortures and abuses his wolves, so Bryn doesn't want to send Lucas back there.

However, she can't keep him since he is still Shay's wolf. So now she has to figure out a way to save Lucas without going against werewolf rules.

And to top it off, there is a coven in town - a group of humans who have extraordinary powers and are after Lucas. They hate werewolves and follow so such rules that Shay and Bryn have to follow from the werewolf council.

But things are not what they seem to be and Bryn has only a week to figure everything out before she could lose her entire pack. Can Bryn save everyone, including Lucas, or will she find herself without a pack right after she just got them? Read Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
A great sequel to the first novel in this series!

We jump right back into the story following what happened at the end of the first novel, and boy is there no rest for the weary! Bryn just got used to being a sophomore in high school and also being an alpha to a bunch of rowdy teenage or younger werewolves. She has a lot of things to balance.

I don't know what it is about these novels. There's just something different about them that leaves me satisfied but also a little bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong! I really enjoyed both of them and gave them both 4 stars out of 5.

Well, one, there isn't as much romance, which is unique in YA  literature and also a little refreshing.

And two, there is a lot of inner dialogue that Bryn shares with her packmates, so that might be throwing me off a little bit when reading.

And, third, there is just so much in this novel that is unique to any other novel I've read, so many aspects and plot lines that actually go together real well.

So yeah, I liked this novel. We got to see more of Bryn growing up, learning from mistakes, and having to make tough decisions before she's ready for them. But she does it thinking about her pack, thinking about others instead of herself.

I think others who are a werewolf fan will really enjoy this series and that they should pick these up now! There is only one more novel in the series, so I'm hoping that it will end well. And now I'm going to go and read it :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This is the first book in the Raised by Wolves series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare. Well, that's her full name, anyway. And Bryn only hears that when she's in serious trouble by her "guardian" Callum.

Who also happens to be a werewolf and alpha to his pack. But Bryn has been living among werewolves for 11 years, so she's pretty used to their oddities and short tempers. Though that doesn't mean Bryn is used to their run every full moon. And she basically just steers clear of them when tempers run through town.

Thankfully, Bryn grew up with Ali, another human like Bryn and treated her like her own daughter. So there was so normality in her life growing up. Well as normal as being raised by wolves can get.

When Bryn was 4, her mother and father were brutally attacked by a Rabid wolf, one that follows no rules and has no alpha. And this wolf was on a killing mission. Bryn was able to escape, though, when Callum rescued her just in time.

But Bryn still has nightmares about that wolf, and remembers that he called himself that "Big Bad Wolf", making Bryn very wary as to who she gets close to.

Plus, Bryn is unique even among humans. She is able to connect, or stay disconnected, to the wolves. She can feel their energy when they are emotional. And after years of training, she can run fast and fight against wolves. She's not as good as them, but she knows what to do in order to run away to survive.

Bryn finds out that Callum is keeping another stray wolf locked up in the basement. However, Chase is no ordinary werewolf. He was changed human, got bit by a werewolf, and was change. Biting a human usually results in killing them, so seeing Chase alive and well was startling.

Bryn wanted to get to know Chase. She feels a connection with him almost from the minute she saw him. Then she finds out that the wolf who bit him? Was the same wolf who has been haunting Bryn's dreams for 11 years: "Big Bad Wolf", or, as Chase calls him, "Prancer". And now Bryn has been betrayed by everyone she loves since they didn't tell her the truth all of these years.

Now, Bryn is on a mission to kill Prancer. He ruined her life and is still out hunting humans; he must be stopped. But Bryn is part of a pack - even though she is human. Can she stray away from the only family she has ever known to kill another being? And who will join her on this murder hunt? Read Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Another werewolf story! I seem to be on a streak lately :)

This was really different than other werewolf stories I've read in the past. Especially because it's Bryn's viewpoint we are reading, who is one of the few humans in this society, and she's not exactly like anyone else in the story.

I liked it. There were some parts where I felt it dragged a little bit and I started skimming, but overall it was a good story and I was anxious to find out what was going to happen at the end of the novel.

I'm also really glad that this is a trilogy and that all of the books are published. In fact, I have all three of them in my possesion so there is no waiting around to find out what happens with all of the characters.

The romance in here was very bland compared to most YA werewolf stories, I thought. Chase and Bryn have a connection. They can talk to one another through their thoughts and can sense each others emotions. And, if I didn't miss anything through my skimming, there was only ONE kissing scene. That is very low key compared to other novels!

So, yeah, it was a good book. I'm excited to see what happens in the second novel because of the way this one ended (no, not really a cliffhanger, but something major does happen to Bryn that changes everything for her).

I would recommend this to anyone that wants to read about werewolves and about redemption, because once Bryn found out about her parents killer, she was all about revenge.

And there are a lot of plot lines that I didn't talk about that happened in this novel, so you just might be surprised as to what else unfolds throughout this novel.

Now, I'm off to read the sequel! Come back tomorrow for that review, because I will have finished it by then :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stay With Me by Paul Griffin

Cece
Working in a restaurant is hard business, but her family has a great time doing it. Cece works with her mother, who's a server, and her brother, Anthony, who prepares the food. 

Things were going good. They weren't great, but it was what they were used to. 

But then Tony tells everyone that he signed up with the armed forces - army. He'll be leaving in a month. Cece thinks she's psychic and sees her brother dying overseas in the war. She doesn't want him to go. 

But he does go. Before he leaves, he tells his friend Mack to take care of Cece for him while he's gone. Cece just met Mack and doesn't want a stranger looking out for her, even when Mack is the most gorgeous guy she's seen. 

Mack
Growing up, Mack has had it rough. His mother bailed, his father is a drunk, Mack dropped out of high school because it was too hard for him, and Mack is not the kind of guy someone wants to mess with. He has learned to grow up expecting the worst. 

The only thing Mack likes is to train dogs - pit bulls preferably. Mack has the touch, he's a dog whisperer. He'll take any wild dog and will be able to train them to be house pets. 

When he is transferred to another restaurant after the first one closes, all Mack wants to do is make money and go home to work with the dogs. 

But then he meets Cece, the most beautiful girl he's ever seen. 

Even though Mack knows not to get involved with Cece, he does anyway. Things are bound to get screwed up because of Mack's personal life and nothing good ever sticks for him. 

Can Cece and Mack beat the odds and find a way to stay together? Or will circumstances tear them apart to the point where they will never be able to be a couple in the future? Read Stay With Me by Paul Griffin to find out happens with these two characters!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This was an okay book. There were good parts and bad parts to it, for me, and overall it was a decent novel. 

It took a while for me to get used to the writing of the novel. The dialogue and narration was a little different than most, making me have to slow my reading pace in order to really understand what was trying to be said. 

I felt like I, personally, didn't connect with either Mack or Cece at all throughout the novel. Maybe it's because I never experienced what they went through, but then again, I've waitressed before and still couldn't connect with that aspect of the novel. 

This was told through alternating viewpoints of Mack and Cece, giving the reader a chance to look into both of their heads and understand their side of the story. 

Yeah, usually I have more to stay about a book but this one left me feeling, "meh". I can't say that I loved it but I can't say that I hated it either. It was just a story that I read and will probably forget in a week or so. 

I did like the aspect with the dog training. And with pit bulls, none the less. 

There was a lot of information and subjects in this novel to keep track of, but it wasn't rushed or glimpsed over either. 

And now that I've completely confused every one of you who has read my reaction to this novel because of how contradictory I am, I think I'll just end this by suggesting who might enjoy reading this novel. :)

I read a reviewing saying that fans of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles might enjoy it, but I think that anyone who wants to read about a rough life trying to live day by day and falling in love for the first time might enjoy this novel as well. It's a standalone so what you read it what you get, leaving no doubt how this story ends. 

I'm sure others have read and enjoyed this novel more than I did, and if you have I would really like to hear what you thought about it! Feel free to leave a comment if you want!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young

This is the second book in the A Need So Beautiful series by Suzanne Young.

My review of #1: A Need So Beautiful.

Elise woke up in the middle of the desert, not knowing who she was. The memories came back to her, that she is 17, moved from Colorado to Arizona, is a pastor's daughter, and has an older sister Lucy.

But something is different than it was the day before. Now Elise gets this tingling feeling and has an urge to help people in need. She knows their history, she can see what is bothering them, and she knows the right solution to make everything better for these strangers.

She doesn't get these feelings all of the time, but she can help the people in close proximity who need her.

Since Elise is a pastor's daughter, she hasn't really dated that much. Not necessarily because of being a part of the church, but because no boy has really interested her that much to go out on a date with them.

But moving to Arizona seems to have changed that. Not only does she have one boy out for her attention, but she's strangely attracted to another newcomer to Arizona.

Now that she's working at the Mexican restaurant in town, Abe is around a lot since he also works there. And she is attracted to him, but whenever he gets close to him, something repulsive comes to the surface.

On the other hand, whenever Harlin is near, electricity shoots through Elise, making her want to touch and kiss Harlin even though she doesn't know a thing about it.

Not to add anything else to her problems, her sister is being elusive and secretive, something she has never done with Elise.

And the visions. Whenever Elise gives into the Need, a vision of another girl flashes through her mind. A girl who had the same hard choice that Elise is having. But it's more than that. It feels like Elise might have known her, might have been the person in these visions.

Shadows are starting to follow Elise, and they want her Need. Her light. Can Elise find out what is happening to her and save herself, plus the ones that she cares about? Will she be able to stop the Shadows from using up her life essence? Read A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This book was heartbreakingly beautiful. Even though we were never introduced to Elise in the first novel of this series, it didn't matter. The reader gets sucked into her story and feels what she feels.

There were some parts where I called it before it was revealed as to what was going to happen, but I didn't care because there was always a twist to it that I didn't foresee.

And I was so excited to see Harlin again! I really enjoyed his character in the first novel and was happy to read about him so more, even if he wasn't the main guy lead in this novel.

Elise is a strong willed character who thinks about others, not just herself. She wants to do good and will sacrifice just about anything to help. I'm not sure if it's because her father is a pastor or if it's because her mother died when she was young, but that is the kid of person Elise is.

I really, really liked this series. I'm not sure if it's complete - Young left it open for more to come, I think. Or it could be a concluded series because the ending had a "this could be wrapped up" feeling.

But either way, I think Suzanne Young did an amazing job with these two novels. She has some other novels published which I may have to read because I love her writing so much, and another series that is coming out soon!

I would definitely recommend this to other readers. I just love how different it is from other novels published and I think others would enjoy this hopeful, heartbreaking, selfless series that Young has created. And I think that others would feel the same way after reading the series.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

This is the first book in the A Need So Beautiful series by Suzanne Young.

When Charlotte was younger, she would get a Need once a year, where she will get this urge or sensation to go to a certain place, find a certain person, know that person's history, present, and future, and figure out what she needs to do to fix a problem that will happen.

Now that she is 16, she's getting the Need more than once a day. And it's definitely hurting her relationship with her boyfriend Harlin and her friendship with Sarah. Until she fulfills the Need, it will send sharp pains throughout her body, making it look like she kind of has asthma.

So she's been doing what the Need tells her to. But now, she has a gold patch on her shoulder where the pain usually starts. And it won't go away. Her skin has peeled away to leave only gold.

Desperate, she goes to the clinic where she works and has the doctor, Monroe, look at it because she doesn't know who else to go to.

Turns out, Monroe knows a lot more than he let on during the last 10 years! Charlotte is one of the Forgotten, a person who helps people in need and gives them hope in their life, rather than the shadows and darkness that will overtake them if Charlotte doesn't help them with their problems.

But the bad part is that Charlotte is starting to wear away. After she helps so many people, she will burst into a brilliant gold light and disappear. She is the Forgotten because everyone in her life will forget it, as if she didn't exist. Including her foster mother Mercy and her foster brother Alex, who she's known for years.

Then, Charlotte meets Onika, who used to be like Charlotte. Except she beat the Forgotten and was able to stay on Earth with her loved ones. Now Charlotte has a decision to make: fulfill her destiny and help strangers in need or fight against the Need and stay with Harlin, Mercy and Sarah. She needs to make a decision quickly, because time is running out.

What will Charlotte decide? Read A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Very uniquely done! I labeled this with Angels because I wasn't sure what else I could label it with, but it's not really angels. Charlotte just helps a lot of people regain the light and hope, which is an angelic thing to do, so I thought it would fit alright.

I really enjoyed this story. I haven't read anything like it and it kept me guessing.

I was also really intrigued that there wasn't a love triangle in this story! Finally! And Charlotte and Harlin have already been dating for about a year, so while they didn't have the first love attraction new relationships have, they definitely still had sparks for one another.

This was a bittersweet novel. Charlotte had two hard decisions to make, neither looking good for her but one she had to make in the end.

Charlotte was a great female lead. She wasn't whinny, she wasn't bad a$$, she was just a girl who wanted to be normal but found herself in a supernatural situation that she had to figure out, mostly by herself.

The ending was a surprise - I wasn't expecting it and that was nice for me since I've been able to guess what was going to happen in the last few YA novels I've read.

I definitely liked this book and I think others would really enjoy it as well. It has an angelic aspect to it, but it is like nothing I've ever read before, so I think others should read it to experience this new concept that Young created in her novel.

There is another novel following this, and I'm about to delve into it right now to see what else is going to happen in this series!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom

Prom. You either hate it or love it. Justina happens to hate it, while her best friend Ian wants to go to it. So when Ian asks Justina to go with him as friends, she says yes.

Though she has a plan in action. Sure, Justina and Ian were friends for awhile - best friends. But things have changed. She is starting to see him as a good person to have as a boyfriend. And it was all because of the green shirt he wore one day that worked well with his eye color.

So prom it is. But the plan is to dance to their song, and kiss him for the first time. It's all planned out in her head.

Except every bad thing that could happen does. She gets numerous (yes, more than one. More than three even) stains on her blue dress, finds out that dying her shoes to match her dress isn't the cool thing to do, has EVERYTHING she is wearing/carrying the same color blue, making her look like a blueberry, her zipper gets ripped off and her dress is falling off - and that's just the stuff that happened to her.

Then she gets ditched by Ian. One minute she was in the bathroom trying to salvage her dress and when she comes out, Ian left. Gone. Poof.

So then she decides to ditch him. Goes off to parties, to the In-and-Out restaurant, more parties, drives two lunatics to switch dogs from one house to another, and eventually ends up in a ditch.

Literally. In. A. Ditch.

What else could possibly go wrong? Except that things are not what they seem to Justina. There is always an answer to every random act. Read Ditched by Robin Mellom to find out what really happened!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Okay, this book was alright. I happened to see it on Goodreads and thought it sounded humorous so I got it from the library. It definitely wasn't my favorite book. I actually had to convince myself to finish it, because I wanted to know the ending.

At times I enjoyed this book. But for the most part, I just thought it was, "meh".

Justina had a rough night. Being ditched and taking it to heart is not something a former "Party Girl" wants to go through, because she might relapse and go back to her partying and kissing days.

And, because I know everyone wants to know, the dress on the cover? Right up there? ^^ That is EXACTLY what the dress in the book is about. Exactly. I don't think I would leave the house in something like that. I just couldn't.

So on the one hand, I think Justina was brave to go to prom in that dress. But on the other hand, she could have just told her mother no when she was buying the dress, not worrying about her feelings. Apparently Justina was a good daughter, though.

Anyway, this was a comical book that was a fast read. Just about the one night of prom and the morning after, when Justina is retelling the story to two strangers at a 7-Eleven gas station.

Anyone who wants to read about a prom gone wrong, pick this up. For those who hate prom, you can also read this to see the exact reason why not to go to prom. Others, prom haters or dislikers, I would advise you to stay away from this novel. You probably wouldn't enjoy the prom rituals Justina went through with Ian.

Friday, December 14, 2012

She's So Money by Cherry Cheva

Maya is an over responsible high schooler. She has impeccable grades because she wants to go to Stanford in the fall - anything to get out of Michigan. She also works every free time she has at her parents Thai restaurant as a waitress.

So when her parents were gone for five days, leaving Maya in charge of the restaurant, it was a great time to be a high school student and slack on a few things. But after angering paying customers and having those customers call the Health Inspection (and not doing some nightly chores to clean up) she found herself with a $10,000 fine that she had to pay in a little over a month.

$10,000 that she doesn't have.

Then she came up with a plan - ask the notorious rich boy Camden King, whom she was tutoring, if he wanted to pay her for doing his homework. That could pay off some of the fines, right? But she needed more money, and more time to do everyone's homework who was willing to pay.

So she asked some of her friends, and they asked some of their friends.

And now it looks like Camden and Maya have a little business going on. The cash is coming in, Maya has 4 times the homework to do, plus she is waitressing every minute the restaurant is open that she's not in school.

This can work. Or it would have, if she didn't get caught by her stalker and fellow tutoring guide Leonard. Now, because she won't go out with him, she has to pay HIM $5,000 around the same time as her Health Inspection fee is due.

It seems like Maya can't get a break.

Oh, and another thing? Now her and Camden are sneaking kisses left and right. She knows he is a pronouned sleaze bag who has been with every female known to man, but there is something about Camden that she is attracted to. Even though she probably shouldn't be.

Can Maya make both payments by the due date and can she do her operation without getting caught by the school, authorities, or, worse, her parents? Read She's So Money by Cherry Cheva to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
This book made me laugh so many times! I really enjoyed it!

Now, I may have connected with this book a little bit - no, not the cheating part, but the waitressing part :) I was able to think back on my waitressing days and I think Cheva did a great job depicting the responsibilities of a waitress job.

Maya was in over her head. I remember high school and while the homework wasn't extremely hard, I would not want to redo assignments over and over again all night long.

But her and Camden's operation was pretty slick, I must say. Maya is a genius so she came up with the smarter side of the scheme and Camden proved that he wasn't a dumb jock who lived off of his parents money. Well, not all of the time.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had many laughs, many tears, and a whole lot of lack of sleep and loopy moments. The scenes with Camden and Maya as a "couple" were cute, but not very steamy or romantic. I mean, she was doing homework whenever she had time off - not too many chances to become steamy romantic.

I think high school girls would like this novel. It does talk about cliques and society in high school, so they could relate to that. I hope no one would relate to the cheating aspect of this novel, but who knows! And maybe they will read how smart Maya is and want to do better in their schoolwork?

Anyway, it was a cute novel and I'm glad I read it. Makes me glad I'm not in high school anymore, that's for sure!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Shadow of the Moon by Rachel Hawthorne

This is the fourth book in the Dark Guardian series by Rachel Hawthorne.

My review of #1: Moonlight.
My review of #2: Full Moon.
My review of #3: Dark of the Moon.

Hayden is not like the rest of the shifters in her pack. She hasn't shifted yet, but will be coming up with the next full moon, so she can't communicate with her pack members with their thoughts.

She can however, feel any shifter's emotions. For some reason she is the only one that can feel their emotions and she can't find the off button to keep the emotions from affecting her.

So she has been going to school with Statics, or humans, because she doesn't feel their emotions and it's easier to be around people that way.

But now that she is getting ready for her first shift, she needs to be around her pack members. And she has to try and find a mate before the full moon arrives. But it's so hard to get anywhere near a Shifter, that finding a guy to do the transformation with seems impossible.

After a harvester arrived - a monster that kills any shifter during their transformation by stealing their essence and capturing their soul - he claims that Hayden will be the next shifter that he will take during the next full moon. And if she does find a mate, then he will die too because they will be connected during the shift.

So Hayden does the best thing and leaves the pack. She finds a small town and works at a coffee shop. It was going well for 3 weeks, but then Daniel walked through the door, another shifter who has hunted her down.

The weird thing it, Hayden can't read Daniel's emotions - and she always feels another shifter's emotions. When he said that he was there to take Hayden back to the pack before her transformation happened, they came at a stalemate. Hayden will go with him after the winter season was finished and the skiiers went back to school so she could still work at the coffee shop.

But that meant that Hayden and Daniel spent a lot of time together. Hayden kept trying to run away and Daniel kept catching her. Things got interesting, though, when Hayden couldn't stop thinking about Daniel, and it seemed like it was the same the other way around.

However, Hayden does go back to the world where she feels everyone's emotions. And they are extremely tense because of the harvester. Now Hayden has to worry about her feelings for Daniel, along with attempting to destroy the harvester while shifting for the first time without a mate. Because she will not allow anyone else to die with her if they should fail. Read Shadow of the Moon by Rachel Hawthorne to find out what happens!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I know I said I liked the third novel in the series in the previous review, but this fourth and final novel is by far my favorite! I loved it right from the beginning and I didn't want to put it down until I was done!

I loved Hayden. Imagine having to feel everyone's emotions plus your own and trying to butt out of everyone's lives. Not as easy as one might think - nor that entertaining when getting attacked by a feeling of fear or love at any given time.

I really liked the first scene with Hayden and Daniel. The way he wasn't given up trying to take Hayden back to the pack and the way he kept observing her, not taking his eyes off of her while she worked at the coffee shop was probably my favorite. Hayden could feel the intensity of his gaze and made sure the reader felt it too!

I admire Hayden's choice of running off and saving the pack from a battle with the harvester. With all of the tales she heard about the first transformation being horrible and gut-wrenching, she decided that she would still leave and do it on her own rather than risk other's lives.

I'm not sure why I liked this novel the best out of the four of them. Maybe it was because Hayden was different from any of the other lead female characters. She felt like a loner because no one wanted to get close to her and have her read their feelings.

But this was definitely my favorite and I kinda just want to buy this one out of the four. It's not like I need all four - they could all be standalones kind of because they have a different narrator for each novel, going through their own stories while also continuing the overall Shifter world.

So, anyone who wants to read another world of werewolves or shape shifters, I would recommend this to you! A good series, glad I read it, and I think others will too!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dark of the Moon by Rachel Hawthorne

This is the third book in the Dark Guardians series by Rachel Hawthorne.

My review of #1: Moonlight.
My review of #2: Full Moon.

Warning - This book has spoilers from book 2, Full Moon. Read further at your own risk!

The one thing Brittany has been preparing for is to shift on the full moon after her 17th birthday. But when the moon came and went, Brittany didn't shift - she's not a Dark Guardian.

All of the training and eating right could not have prepared her for this blow. After talking to her mother, she found out that her father was human, and apparently his genes are more dominate than a shifter's genes.

When she came back from her "first shift", everyone assumed that she shifted by herself, which is a big deal because it's said that female shifters can't survive it without a male. Brittany let everyone think that and wanted to try the next full moon - to see if it was just a glitch in the night, even though she had her doubts.

The night she was supposed to shift, so was her friend Lindsey. With her mate, Connor. Who Brittany has loved since the moment they met. But he was promised to Lindsey and Brittany wasn't able to tell Connor how she really felt.

But when Brittany came back, she found out that Connor wasn't Lindsey's mate. And now Connor is free to choose whomever he wants as a mate, if he finds her.

Brittany wants to tell him now, but with not being a shifter and Bio-Chrome and Mason out there trying to capture a werewolf, it isn't the right time.

Connor and Brittany start to get closer, though, making it really hard for Brittany to keep her secret from him and everyone else in the pack.

Then, Connor and Brittany get captured by Mason, who is bound and determine to get the right serum to change into a werewolf. Will both of them be able to escape again from Mason and destroy all of his research he's compiled about the shifters? What will Connor do when he finds out that Brittany really isn't a shifter, but just a human? Read Dark of the Moon by Rachel Hawthorne to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Brittany is by far my favorite character in this series. She is so tough and always has to prove herself to the community, because deep down she had a feeling that she might not be like the rest of the pack. She's althetic, in shape, serious, and determined. All qualities that I like in a female lead character!

And when she found out that she wasn't a shifter, she decided to figure out the reason why and fix it, rather than throw a fit and whine about it. She's a fighter!

I like that Connor and Brittany were able to get to know each other without another mate or interest in the way. From the first and second novels, the reader was able to figure out that Brittany had a serious crush on Connor but couldn't do anything because of Lindsey being his mate.

I wish that the novel would have ended the way I imagined when finding out that Brittany didn't shift during the first full moon, but this ending was alright as well.

I liked this novel better than the second because Brittany had a purpose and was bound to fix her problem, rather than just thinking about it and contemplating about it.

I'm excited to read the fourth and final novel because I don't know who the female character is, and it seems that she is a little different than the other shifters so far in this series!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Full Moon by Rachel Hawthorne

This is the second novel in the Dark Guardian series by Rachel Hawthorne.

My review of #1: Moonlight.

Growing up knowing she was a shifter, Lindsey knows what to expect the night of the full moon after her 17th birthday. And since she was 15, she's known who her mate is: Connor.

Every memory that Lindsey has from the past includes Connor. Family trips, school events, you name it. Connor and Lindsey's parents are close friends and they kept the two of them really close, expecting them to be together. So it was an easy decision when that's what Connor did - named Lindsey his mate.

But there's a bit of a problem...

Rafe came back from college with Connor and Lucas, and now Lindsey can't stop thinking about him. Every time she looks at Rafe, it feels like she is getting zapped by a lightning bolt.

So now Lindsey is having second and third and fourth guesses as to who she should be mated with. Rafe, the bad boy, outcast in the group who is silent but observant and makes Lindsey dream intensely, or Connor, her best friend, the boy she grew up with, has been with since she was 1 years old.

She can't pick. There are pros and cons to both boys and it's impossible to pick between the two of them.

When the full moon comes, though, Lindsey will have to choose. Because no female has survived their first shift without their mate there to help them through it.

And because Lindsey doesn't have enough to worry about, the group needs to be aware of Mason coming back for revenge after losing his werewolf during the summer. And he's brought a mean group of guys and Rottweilers to help him capture another werewolf for his experiments.

Who will Lindsey choose? Will she choose the right guy? And will the group be able to avoid Mason again? Read Full Moon by Rachel Hawthorne to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I really liked that this story was about Lindsey instead of Kayla like the first novel in the series. Gives the reader the chance to get to know the other characters while also following the story line with Mason and the science experiment for creating werewolf genes.

And while I did like having another character to read about, I found that Lindsey's story and personality didn't mesh well with me. She seemed too whiny and indecisive. I understand that she's known Connor longer and knows him more than Rafe. Fine. But don't complain that you can't pick one. It just drove me insane for the most part.

Maybe I was biased because when the reader was introduced to all three of the guys in the first novel, I was very intrigued with Rafe out of the three of them. And the connection he has with Lindsey made me pick him more so than Connor. But it might just be me :)

Overall, I enjoyed the novel. Not as much as the first, but that's just because of the constant battle in Lindsey's head.

I'm excited to read about Brittany in the third novel to see what the big she-alpha is going to do!

I would recommend this to anyone who likes stories about werewolves. Also, I don't think it's completely necessary to read the first one before this one. It's pretty self-explanatory and it's not about the same characters as the first novel.

However, it will be more effective, I think, if it's read in the right order.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

This is the first book in the Dark Guardian series by Rachel Hawthorne.

Ever since Kayla's biological parents were killed in the forest, Kayla has had nightmares about the forest, darkness, and wolves.

When her psychiatrist suggested that facing her fears and going back to the woods where her parents were killed, Kayla decided that it couldn't hurt. She's an outdoor person so being outside wouldn't bother her. Just the area itself to face what happened to her when she was five.

This is her second summer coming to work for the state park taking tourists into the forest and back. And the feelings she gets when Lucas is around her makes her uncomfortable but electric. And he's also technically her boss who hasn't shown any interest, romantically, toward Kayla.

So she's keeping her distance and sticking close with her friend, Lindsey, that she made last summer.

But when the group of hikers that Kayla works with are assigned to take a big science group out to the deepest parts of the forest for their observations, things get a little tense.

Kayla gets a feeling that someone, or something, is watching them from the shadows of the forest.

And the group of grad students with their science professor are a little odd as well. Especially when they start talking about werewolves being real and that they are in the forest to capture one to experiment on.

And for some reason, they think Lucas is a werewolf.

But he's not. Instead he is a shifter. And he has a secret that he tells Kayla. And now Kayla has to decide if she wants the life she's always had or to be with Lucas and the supernatural factors that come along with it. Read Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne to find out what Kayla decides to do!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I found this through Goodreads recommendations and I'm glad I read the synopsis! I thought it was a good book with a common, but unique, story line.

What Kayla went through as a child was horrible, but she was raised well through an adoptive family who loved her like their own and Kayla didn't want for anything growing up. Well, except to know what really happen to her biological parents.

So she was brave enough to go back to the place they were killed to try and figure out what happened. I don't know how many 17 year olds would be brave enough to do that!

The attraction and connection between Lucas and Kayla was odd. First he didn't talk to her and then, BAM, attraction and they can't get enough of each other. There were no stolen kisses and then awkward moments throughout the book - it all came at once, making the reader want more (or at least that's how I felt).

I felt like I flew through this novel, which might just be because Hawthorne's writing was really fast paced. I did think the tangents Kayla thought about were a bit much, but I can't be too picky.

Overall, I really enjoyed it and think that others who like supernatural stories and stories about werewolves/shifters will enjoy this novel. This is the first is a four novel series, all of which are out and all of which I have with me and will be reading them as fast as possible :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

Senior year. Should be the best year of high school. Yet Hannah can't even get out of her car in the school parking lot on the first day back from summer break.

Because she has a secret. A secret that will kill all of her friendships and relationships with her closest friends in that building.

It happened during the summer break before senior year started. Her best friend was off in Maine at a camping summer vacation and Hannah was heartbroken over her ex-boyfriend cheating on her.

Yes, Hannah made a new friend. Yes, Hannah got a job to keep her busy over Sebastian's betrayal the last day of junior year.

And yes, what Hannah did was inexcusable toward her best friend.

But Hannah can't changed what happened the night before. And she can't keep the guilt to herself any longer. Because her best friend deserves more than that. Ava deserves the truth, even though Hannah knows they will no longer be friends anymore.

As much as Hannah fought all summer, she couldn't deny her feelings toward another guy. A guy that was strictly forbidden from her to date. Because he was dating someone else. Someone Hannah knew.

Now it comes down to that first day of senior year. When everything blows up and hits the fan. And all Hannah wants is for this day to be over with. But will she make it to the second day? Read Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Hmm. On one hand, I really appreciate what Barnholdt did with this novel. She took a rough subject, one that many go through in their life, and put it in a novel for others to read and try to "understand" the wrong side of this cliche story line.

On the other hand, I really did not like Hannah. Not because of what she did, but because of the way she acted and spoke, and...I dunno. There was just something that I didn't like about her. Maybe it was her use of "like" and "totally" that made me cringe everytime I read it and imagined her saying over and over.

For the most part, I enjoyed this novel. I started and finished it in one day, so it's not a long book or hard to read. I wasn't sure of the alternating chapters going from "The First Day of Senior Year" to "Summer", telling Hannah's story back and forth from what happened during the summer to cause this rift to the actual day that everything blew up. It was different. It was interesting. I wonder what it would have been like if it went from the beginning to the end, but I didn't hate this format.

I think I spoiled myself with Barnholdt. I started reading her stuff with Two-Way Street and LOVED that novel. But everything that I've read after that has fallen short... I really want to love all of her novels, but find that they just don't live up to my expectations (except for maybe Aces Up).

I'm still going to read some more of her later works, because I want to be a true fan of Barnholdt, but we'll see if I love any other novels from her.

So this novel was alright. It's about betrayal, summer romance, friendships, and deceit  If any of that sounds interesting to you, I would say pick it up and see if you like it. It does have content that would be better suited for older teens and young adults.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Covet by Melissa Darnell

This is the second novel in The Clann series by Melissa Darnell.

My review of #1: Crave.

Note - There will be spoilers of the first novel. Just to forewarn you before you continue reading!

Savannah's life sucks. She's half vampire, half witch and is in love with a boy that she cannot be with - according to both The Clann council and the vampire council.

So when Tristan was taken by the vampires to perform a test with Savannah, she promised to break it off with him so it wouldn't cause an outright war between the witches and vampires.

But Tristan didn't like that idea and wanted to still see Savannah. She made it clear, though, that she wasn't going to continue seeing him and they separated on bad terms.

Right after that, Savannah's vampire side kicked in and now she can't eat human food and has a lot more abilities than she did before. And she has no one to talk to about it because her friends are human and she's not talking to Tristan anymore.

Because Savannah's grandmother died, all of the magic that had been helping Savannah with her vampire side faded away. Then Savannah had to go live with her father because the bloodlust that comes with being a vampire would be too strong to stay with her witch mother, whose blood is very tempting for vampires.

One bright side in Savannah's life, which there aren't many, was that when her grandmother died, Savannah got possession of her magic books/journals. Now Savannah is teaching herself how to control magic, but keeping it quite from The Clann because they don't want her to know anything about using magic against them.

Meanwhile, there are supposidly vampire attacks happening over the world, and one hits close to Tristan's family, causing a rift between The Clann members and Savannah and her father - the only vampires near them in Jacksonville, Texas.

Will both Tristan's clann and Savannah and her father figure out what is really happening with the attack on Clann members before an outright war come between the two species? And will Tristan and Savannah ever be able to figure a way to be together, or will they forever love each other but have to stay separate to save the other's life? Read Covet by Melissa Darnell to find out!

My Thoughts/Reflections
Wow. This was a great novel!

Now, I thoroughly hate it when the characters are not together and keep insisting that they are better apart to save the other's life. I always think that there can be another way around that and they should fight to be with each other.

But Savannah and Tristan? They really do have to be apart from each other, looking at a distance at the one person they truely love. And I actually didn't mind that, so good job Darnell for giving me an actual reason to like the characters being separated!

Also, I think I didn't mind because both Tristan and Savannah had a lot of things they needed to work through and that kept them busy, even though they were missing the other like crazy.

I was really happy that Savannah got to learn how to do magic. I think it's appropriate that if she is half witch she should do magic, no matter what The Clann thinks about it.

This is told through both Savannah and Tristan's point of view, which I really liked, especially when they were separated from each other.

And, also, I really didn't notice the length of this book! It's 470 pages and when I came to find final paragraph, I wanted more!

The only bad part about this novel is the ending! Why?! Why a cliffhanger?!? I hate them and now I have to wait until 2013 to find out what happens. Because, let me tell you, it was one heck of a cliffhanger and left me wanting a lot more!

Guess I'll have to be patient and wait for it...

I loved this book and think everyone should read it! I would start with the first novel, though, because it will help explain a lot in this novel. So, what are you waiting for? Go get 'em!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Three days after Honor is told her older brother, Finn, died during combat, she gets a letter in the mail from him, before he died.

She doesn't open the letter until the day of his funeral. And what she finds makes her grieve all over again. Finn gave her tickets to see Kyra Kelley, her all time favorite singer and Finn's too, though he wouldn't admit it after awhile. But he wanted Honor to go to her concert in California and tell Kyra about how awesome he was.

Honor was supposed to be leaving for college the day after Finn's funeral. Instead, she packs up his old Impala and starts driving to CA to do his final wish before he died.

The one thing Honor wasn't anticipating was Rusty, Finn's closest best friend, to arrive drunk and passed out in the car right when she was leaving. After Finn enlisted, Rusty didn't talk to Honor anymore and now he's drinking enough liquor to stink up her car.

Instead of kicking him out, she just starts driving. By the time Rusty wakes up, he's already in New Mexico - too late to head back to Texas.

So now Honor is stuck with Rusty on a road trip to do her brother's last wish, while still grieving the one person she loved the most. And let's just say that Rusty is not the best traveling buddy.

Though he does know what to do when the car goes off road during an unexpected thunderstorm. And he does have his mother's house to stop by and fix the poor car halfway to CA.

The trip brings back memories for both Rusty and Honor about Finn, making them laugh in memory. But it also reveals secrets that Honor didn't know about her older brother. Secrets that may destroy Honor completely... Read In Honor by Jessi Kirby to find out what those secrets are.

My Thoughts/Reflections
From the first page of this novel, I knew it was going to be a tear jerker. I actually had tears in my eyes by the second page. And I knew I would finish this in one sitting to read this heartbreaking story, filled with adventure, sorrow, and expectations.

And even though it was sad, I loved this book. There were a few areas that I was not sure about, like the pit stop to scuba dive with strangers, but for the most part I fell more in love with Honor, Rusty and Finn while also feeling a part of my heart break piece by piece.

I've never had anyone close to me die, so I can't imagine how excruciating it was for Honor to not only lose her parents at the age of 4, but then to lose her brother at the age of 18. She has been through so much hardship and then she is expected to go to college and "move on" just like that. So running off to CA for a week sounds like something she needed after this horrible news.

The road trip was good for both Rusty and Honor, who were grieving over Finn's death in different ways.

I really do adore this novel and I think other's could be influenced by this story that Kirby created. Sure, it has an uneven pace going from slow to fast then back to slow but the message of this novel could affect anyone reading it.

I know I will not forget this story any time soon and will recommend it to anyone wanting a story about loss, life, and the potential for a new love.

I'm going to be reading her debut novel soon, since it's at my library, and will be looking out for Kirby's upcoming novel that will be released in 2013!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

On the night of Lucy's last day of high school, she is determined to find Shadow - the graffiti artist who paints murals around town. She feels like she could really connect with Shadow and find a common love and appreciation for art.

Lucy has been working as a glassblower and has a wild imagination, so it's one reason why she loves Shadows works so much. Now, if only he would stop leaving his paintings long enough for her to come and see him in person...

Ed dropped out of school in year ten. He can't read and got caught "cheating", so he left school to work in a paint shop. He got a discount on the paint so he can use it for his own purposes.

But the owner of the paint shop died of a heart attack and his wife can't afford the shop. Now Ed is out of work and he was helping his mother pay the rent.

Then his friend, Leo, needs to steal supplies from the high school to pay off money that he borrowed from a very shady guy - a guy that will do serious harm if he doesn't get his money on time.

The one thing Ed, Leo, and Dylan don't plan on the night of the heist is to get invited to spend the night with Daisy, Lucy, and Jazz. Leo is into Jazz (and vice versa) and Daisy is already dating Dylan, though they fight constantly.

The only problem is Ed and Lucy. They went on a date before Ed dropped out of school. And the date ended with Lucy breaking Ed's nose because he touched her butt.

Not the best way to part ways.

But Lucy is determined to meet Shadow, and the trio of boys just happen to know who Shadow is and where all of his haunts and paintings are located.

So begins the adventure of finding Shadow, traveling in a pink van, running from thugs and the authorities, and overall just a weird night for the six of them. Read Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley to follow along on their adventure.

My Thoughts/Reflections
This was a very enjoyable book! I haven't read anything quite like it so it was entertaining and informational for me.

I really liked how both main characters had something unique they enjoyed doing. I would actually like to see more YA books about glassblowing - it sounds really interesting and something different. And graffiting - pretty much illegal, yet neither Lucy or Ed thought of it that way.

Their love for the art made them seem older than their actual age. They thought so far out of the box that one doesn't usually see in high school students. They knew exactly what they wanted to do as a career, which is also a rarity in high school students.

This was set in Australia which I enjoyed. I've never been there but just reading about the different locations and reading different sayings was great.

Out of Lucy and Ed, I think I liked Ed the most. He had a harder life, quitting school after sophomore year and helping his mom out with the rent. But he also did an illegal act by graffiting because he loved to do it.

This book was told by both Lucy and Ed's point of view, giving the reader a chance to find out more about the characters and what they were thinking.

Also, this book was written about one night. One. They travel all over town and find out more secrets in one night than they had in a year. It was written very well and I really liked it!

I would recommend this to any reader. I think they would like it, plus it's from Lucy and Ed's point of view so both guys and girls can read it and try to relate to one character.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Christmas time has always been Lily's favorite holiday. She gets into the holiday cheer and celebrates with her family.

Except this year, her parents are at Fiji for a belated honeymoon trip, her grandfather went to Florida to see his lady friend, and her brother, Langston, is so hooked on his boyfriend that he's not into the holiday cheer.

Happy Holidays to Lily.

Then her brother came up with an idea - create a notebook full of dares and hope that someone fun, smart, and male will take the dares to do throughout the holiday break. Lily had little hope that someone would play the daring game.

She was wrong.

Christmas is not a holiday that Dash particularly likes - and this year instead of spending it with one of his divorced parents, he's on his own while they celebrate in warmer areas than New York.

So when he saw the red notebook at the bookstore, he figured, "why not?" and filled in the missing pieces. But before giving it back to the designated bookseller, he made a dare of his own. And this is how Dash and Lily got their book of dares started.

Instead of dreading the holidays, Dash and Lily are now conversing to one another by daring each other do to random things - not illegal, well, not always, but just random events to get to know another another.

But will Dash live up to lily's expectations? Or will they forever be adequateness through the notebook, never to meet in person? All I have to say is, they are in for an interesting ride! Read Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan to join them on their adventure.

My Thoughts/Reflections
What a great story Levithan and Cohn created - again! And I love how both characters are book lovers - that's always a plus in my book!

Lily is a silly character. She has random acts and does really weird things, but if she wasn't weird than this book would not have been as entertaining with the certain dares she gives to Dash.

And Dash is so serious and grown up, knowing words at the age of 16 that I don't even know in my mid 20's! It was nice to see him loosen up and have fun during these dares.

By the way, if you're wondering, there are no bad, dirty dares in here. Just fun, simple dares that made the characters think and be creative.

There were a few times where I actually did laugh out loud, and couldn't stop thinking about the amusing scenes even after I read past them. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was very unique and entertaining, but also a story about trusting a stranger and getting to know a possible friend.

I think this would be suited for any readers. It alternates chapters by Lily and Dash's point of view, so we are able to see what they are thinking when they are making the new dares and when they create the other persons dares. And we also get to see a glimpse in their real life away from the dare book.

A great book. I am now converted to Levithan and Cohn's writing and will be making it a goal to read more of their works!

P.S. - if you actually look at my labels, which some may not, I only put "murder/mystery" there because there is a little bit of mystery as to what the dares would be and who the other person is. There is no murder in this novel. Just to clarify :)