Mar 30, 2012

Trailer: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

There are not words for how much I am in love with Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky. Quite possibly my favorite debut this year. It's packed with action, romance, danger, mystery ... Everything a girl could crave in a book. When I saw this awesome trailer (maybe the best book trailer I've seen yet), I had to share!

Mar 22, 2012

Blog Tour & Review: Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Pure
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher:  Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: 4.3.12
Pages: 329
Genre: Mythology, Romance
Series: Yes (Covenant #2)
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: A

Summary (from Goodreads):
There is need. And then there is Fate...

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.

When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone

I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Jennifer Armentrout is one of the best YA writers out there. Her ability to write compelling characters, intense scenes, and completely and utterly draw a reader into the pages of a novel is nothing short of genius.

Armentrout wastes no time pulling you back into Alex’s saga. Alex is just one of those characters you have to root for. She’s strong, feisty, and sure but still has enough vulnerability to keep her from seeming like a full-blown Amazon. She’s a fighter and everything I loved about her in Half-Blood continued here. Sometimes I worry about the sophomore slump—some authors just seem to forget those key ideals and moments that made a reader fall in love with their hero/heroine in book 1, but that definitely doesn’t happen here.

And Aiden, oh Aiden. I just need one of him for myself. I absolutely love this star cross’d lovers angle. I’m a hardcore Alex/Aiden fan. Their scenes sizzle off the pages. I seriously had to check my fingers for burns after I turned a few pages. Not that I don’t enjoy Seth … he just needs to find his own girl, OK?

I love that this book delves deeper into the mythology and explains more about the Pures and Half-Bloods. It’s this vital back story information that pulls this series together, and makes me all the more excited about book #3, Deity.

This series is phenomenal, and Jennifer Armentrout is a gem of a writer. A glowing endorsement isn’t enough for this series. It deserves a fireworks display, spelling out “READ ME NOW!” in exploding lights and colors. Yeah, it’s that awesome.

GIVEAWAY:  To gain an entry in either/both of the tour giveaways for Pure, leave a comment here and and then go to StuckInBooks and/or A Cupcake and a Latte with a link to this review! Good luck!

Author Interview & Art Reveal with Sara Wilson Etienne

I recently got the chance to chat with Sara Wilson Etienne, author of Harbinger, and she was nice enough to answer some questions about her new novel, her inspirations, and offer some great advice.

1. Where did you get the idea for Harbinger?
When I came up with the story for Harbinger, I’d just graduated from College of the Atlantic in Maine. I moved out to California, but I was still haunted by the rocky coastline and these castlelike old buildings on my college campus. Harbinger started out as a longing for a place and a time I no longer had, but it became a new world where I wanted to live.

2. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I love revising. That part where the story structure is solid, but you’re still trying to add color and tone to the book. This is the part where I get to hunt around for the perfect word. Or tweak the dialogue so it means just a little bit more. Or shine a brighter spotlight on a character. It’s slow and meticulous and so very satisfying! 

3. What are your must-haves while writing?
Well, I like to get up and wander around a bit while I’m writing…so during the morning I’ll often get another cup of coffee or a snack while I’m problem-solving a scene. But the only thing I really need is my music.

I listen to the same music over and over while I’m working on something. While I was writing Harbinger, I listened to the Battlestar Galactica soundtracks... thundering taiko drums and epic crescendos... it really helped me see my world in front of me. Plus, Bear McCreary is a genius! With my new book, it’s the beautiful, bleak music of Sigur Ros.
4. What are you currently working on?
I’m currently writing a new book working with the same editor... the fantastic Stacey Barney at Putnam. My new book is completely different. Different characters, different story, and that’s exciting. And scary. I lived inside the world of Harbinger for so’s strange to step into a new story. But honestly, there is nothing more fun than to get lost inside a world that you’re creating!

5. What’s the last book you read?
I just read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was desperately heartbreaking, but also funny, and incredibly well written. It felt doubly emotional for me because it takes place in Indianapolis, where I went to high school. Shockingly, there aren’t a lot of books set in Indianapolis and the real-life landmarks from that time in my life made the story feel extra real.

6. What’s the last thing you ate/drank?
A monster cookie…chocolate chips, peanut butter, oats, etc…yeah, that’s what I call breakfast! Omnom!

7. Any advice for aspiring writers?
Butt-in-chair. Even when you start doubting yourself or your story. Even when you aren’t sure what the next chapter or sentence or word should be, stay on the page, butt in chair, and move forward. The only thing that makes someone a writer is the act of writing.

Though…balancing it with the opposite is vital too. Don’t forget to get out of your writing cave sometimes and live your life! Talk to other people who are doing what you’re doing…writers’ conferences, critique groups, coffee shops, twitter. Writing is a careful dance of internal and external. Above all, remember to enjoy it.

Here's some new art for Harbinger:

Be sure to follow Sara and stop by her website:

Follow Sara: @wilsonetienne
Walk the Path! Explore the whole gallery of HARBINGER-inspired artwork at

Here's a link to a full size image:

Review: Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

Title: Harbinger
Author: Sara Wilson Etienne
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR
Publication Date: 2.2.12
Pages: 309
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Series: No
Source: ARC from author

Rating: B+

Summary (from Goodreads):
Plagued by waking visions and nightmares, inexplicably drawn to the bones of dead animals, Faye thinks she's going crazy. Fast. Her parents beleive Holbrook Academy might just be the solution. Dr. Mordoch tells her it's the only answer. But Faye knows that something's not quite right about Dr. Mordoch and her creepy, prisonlike school for disturbed teenagers.

What's wrong with Holbrook goes beyond the Takers, sadistic guards who threaten the student body with Tasers and pepper spray; or Nurse, who doles out pills at bedtime and doses of solitary confinement when kids step out of line; or Rita, the strange girl who delivers ominous messages to Faye that never seem to make any sense. What's wrong with Holbrook begins and ends with Faye's red hands; she and her newfound friends--her Holbrook "family"--wake up every morning with their hands stained the terrible brown of dried blood. Faye has no idea what it means but fears she may be the cause.

Because despite the strangeness of Holbrook and the island on which it sits, Faye feels oddly connected to the place; she feels especially linked to the handsome Kel, who helps her unravel the mystery. There's just one problem: Faye's certain Kel's trying to kill her--and maybe the rest of the world, too.

It takes a lot for a book to spook me, which is why I don’t recommend reading this one at night when the rest of the house is asleep. Sara Wilson Etienne scared the crap out of me in Harbinger—and I loved every second of it.

Faye is a complex character. She hasn’t had an easy life—far from it. She questions everything and has lived under the assumption that she’s insane for years. She took a little while for me to adjust to, but by the middle of the novel, I genuine came to care for her, and the members of her “Family”—her fellow asylum inmates.

I am a horribly impatient reader by nature. I tend to like knowing exactly where a book is going, and I really had to let that control issue go here. I was often times just as confused as Faye was, and had to wait for things to be revealed to me as they were revealed to her. I sort of got irritated by that at first, then I quickly let that go and gave myself over to this novel.

This book is a page turner. Etienne gives just enough tantalizing details to keep you guessing and intrigued. I had to get to the end to find out what was happening. This book gets down right freaky in some places, but it’s totally worth the read. I can’t wait to see what she writes next because I will definitely be reading it.

Mar 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (5)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun!

This week is...
Top 10 Books Coming Out This Spring!
1. Gilt by Katherine Longshore: I'm a huge fan of the Tudor dynasty - wait. Maybe fan is the wrong word. I'm fascinated by it, and this tale from the side of Katherine Howard (wife #5) looks quite awesome.

2. Until I Die by Amy Plum: I've already read this book, and it blew my mind. I need a finished copy NOW.

3. The Selection by Kiera Cass: Another book I've read and adored and need a final copy of. I am obsessed with all things Selection right now. From the casting of the new show to joining the upcoming blog tour to promote the book, I am hooked. Get ready for this one to rock your world.

4. Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz: I adore Cara Lynn Shultz and literally jumped for joy when I saw she had a sequel to Spellbound. A sequel that is out this month!!!!

5. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa: I am not a fan of the Iron Fey series. *ducks* I'm just not a fan of faeries, but I AM a fan of Julie Kagawa, and I am crazy excited to see what she has up her sleeve for this series. I want to read it ASAP.

6. Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent: Could not love the Soul Screamers series more if I tried. The last book really upped the ante, and I already have this one pre-ordered.

7. The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze: I featured this book a few weeks back one the CoverCrazy meme. It just looks phenominal. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.

8. Wrecked by Anna Davies: This book just looks YUMMY. I could stare at the cover all day, but couple that with the fact that it seems like a sure winner and I'm so in.

9. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead: I think we all want this one. It's freaking Richelle Mead, K?

10. Black Dawn by Rachel Caine: I am such a fan of the Morganville Vampires series. I can't get enough Claire and Shane. 

Review: Slide by Jill Hathaway

Title: Slide
Author: Jill Hathaway
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: 3.27.2012
Pages: 256
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery
Series: No
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: A-

Summary (from Goodreads):
Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

It’s a shame there aren’t more books like this one. Jill Hathaway blew me away with the brilliant mixture of mystery, suspense, and romance. Once I started this book, I couldn’t stop. This is one of those books that you stay up until the early hours of the morning to finish because the tale gets so twisted and complex, you have no clue who the killer is. I love a mystery that can genuinely surprise me, and Slide delivered that in spades.

The novel is told through Vee’s point of view, which is imperative to the story. As a reader I was able to unravel the story with Vee, giving me just enough info to keep me guessing. My only issue with this book, though, is that I felt Vee tried a little to hard to be an individual. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt like she wore her individuality as a shield, and I sometimes struggled to connect with her.

Hathaway’s writing, however, is so vibrant and hypnotic, that any reservations I felt about Vee became inconsequential. This story is original and quick. I love the concept of “sliding” and that Hathaway took to time to explain it so I had no question about Vee’s ability and how it worked.

I love when the twist in the story is revealed and my jaw literally drops. This is that kind of book. You won’t see the end coming, and that made the ride all the sweeter. Hathaway is a truly gifted writer, and if you enjoy a thrilling murder mystery with a hint of romance? This is totally your book. Go grab it now!

Mar 19, 2012

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Spring Cleaning Hop, hosted by the ever-fantastic I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. Wanna know what you're trying to win?

That's right ... it's a mystery box of books! They will be a mixture of ARCs and finished copies.

I will have 2 winners - one box for Young Adult books and one for Adult books.

This is for the US Only, since I will be shipping it myself. You must be over 13 years old to get the YA package, and over 17 to get the adult one.

The only mandatory entry is to follow The Irish Banana Review via GFC.

You can get 3 bonus entries for replying to one of my reviews.

Trailer: Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

by: Sara Wilson Etienne

Plagued by waking visions and nightmares, inexplicably drawn to the bones of dead animals, Faye thinks she's going crazy. Fast. Her parents beleive Holbrook Academy might just be the solution. Dr. Mordoch tells her it's the only answer. But Faye knows that something's not quite right about Dr. Mordoch and her creepy, prisonlike school for disturbed teenagers.

What's wrong with Holbrook goes beyond the Takers, sadistic guards who threaten the student body with Tasers and pepper spray; or Nurse, who doles out pills at bedtime and doses of solitary confinement when kids step out of line; or Rita, the strange girl who delivers ominous messages to Faye that never seem to make any sense. What's wrong with Holbrook begins and ends with Faye's red hands; she and her newfound friends--her Holbrook "family"--wake up every morning with their hands stained the terrible brown of dried blood. Faye has no idea what it means but fears she may be the cause.

Because despite the strangeness of Holbrook and the island on which it sits, Faye feels oddly connected to the place; she feels especially linked to the handsome Kel, who helps her unravel the mystery. There's just one problem: Faye's certain Kel's trying to kill her--and maybe the rest of the world, too.

Book Blogger Confessions (6)

This is a shiny, new blogger meme co-hosted by Tiger from Tiger's All Consuming Books and Karen at For What It's Worth Reviews. It's time to open up and share (and vent) about our blogging experiences!

The question is:

March 19th: Everyone LOVES that book! Why don't I? How do you handle being the one reviewer who doesn't like a book that's taking the blogosphere by storm? Do you write a review? Pretend you didn't read the book?

Sigh. This actually happened to me last year. I found myself not enjoying a book that people had been going on and on and ON about for months. I even pre-ordered the book because I just knew I would love it. And I didn't.

I did write a review. I read the book, after all, so I wrote my review and pointed out several times that this book wasn't my cup of tea. I feel like my review probably didn't matter that much because for my one not-so-glowing review, there were literally 100 positive ones. I doubt my review mattered much, especially since I was a newbie blogger at the time with only a couple hundred followers, and not very many replies.

I think if I were in that situation now, I just would stop reading the book. I honestly have too many books I have committed to reviewing to spend my reading time knowing I will strongly dislike a book (and you usually know by the mid-way point). If I don't finish a book, I don't review it. That may seem like a cop-out, but I absolutely hate writing negative reviews. A book is a person's tears, sweat, sleepless nights, and dreams all rolled into one binding, and I feel like crap when I write a negative review. I would hate that my own negative experience reading a book would keep someone from discovering a book they adore.

Mar 13, 2012

Review: Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz

Title: Spellcaster
Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Publisher:  HarlequinTEEN
Publication Date: 3.27.2012
Pages: 304
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Yes (Spellbound #2)
Source: ARC from NetGalley

Rating: A

Summary (from Goodreads):
Finding your eternal soulmate - easy.

Stopping a true-love-hungry evil - not so much…

After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems.'s not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a sixteen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain-especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close....

But something dark and hungry is using Emma and Brendan's deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma's crash course in ├╝ber-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.

It’s no secret that I have been craving this book for months. Ever since I finished Spellbound I have been desperate for more of the world Cara Lynn Shultz created, and she did not disappoint me this time around.  This book is magical, romantic, suspenseful, and wholly amazing.

I fell in love with Emma and Brendan in book 1, but you know the absolute best part of Spellcaster? Not having to deal with that initial romantic should we-shouldn’t we pull that most books have. Starting off Emma and Brendan are fully submerged in their relationship and completely in love. I cannot get enough of this couple. Something about the way Shultz writes them just makes me all gushy and warm inside. I’m a girl who loves a good romance and this is a great one.

Romance aside, I felt like Shultz really added a new layer to the star cross’d lovers plot she created in book 1. This book had more tension, more risk, and more danger. I love reading about Emma’s powers and the scenes she had with Angelique.  Angelique is such a highlight in this series—she’s fun, snarky, and amusing. Her scenes with Brendan had me giggling aloud most of the time.

The only sore spot on this book for me was Kristin. I vacillate between total contempt for this character and total pity. I sort of wish her character had been redeemed or reformed or something. She almost seems like dead weight in the overall storyline.

I still maintain that the love of Brendan and Emma goes down as one of my top 10 book romances ever. I love them together, I love the way Shultz writes them … I honestly cannot stop gushing about this series. If you haven’t read it, consider this your formal invitation.

Mar 12, 2012

Cover Reveal and Excerpt!

I heard about this book a while back, and was immediately intrigued. It looks cute and fun and hot. Plus? It's set in Italy!

Here is the stunning cover for Rachel Harris' My Super Sweet 16th Century:

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

And because the people at Entangled Publishing are freaking amazing, here's a fun excerpt from the books. If this doesn't make you want your own copy now, I don't know what will:

Alessandra jerks back like I just suggested she prance around the square naked or something. “No! I believe I understand your meaning, and Lorenzo is certainly not my suitor. He is like a brother to me—the three of us grew up together.”
She resumes walking and I fall in step beside her, understanding there has to be more to the story. And as we near the end of the row, I finally ask, “If you’re not into the guy, then what’s the problem?”
At that same moment, a rich, deep chuckle hits my ears. My stomach involuntarily clenches and my gaze sharpens on the back of this mysterious Lorenzo.
Alessandra sighs. “That is the problem.” She places her hand on my arm and solemnly looks me in the eyes. “You must be careful. Lorenzo is beautiful, and it is not uncommon for a girl to walk away from meeting him with a piece of her heart left behind. But he is just eighteen, and not yet ready for marriage.”
I roll my eyes and laugh, then realize she’s serious. “Yeah, I assure you, there’s no danger on my end. I’m not exactly looking for marriage myself.” Because that would be crazy-town.
Alessandra wrinkles her nose as if she doesn’t believe me, but she removes her hand. We close the distance and Cipriano flashes me an open, honest to goodness, lighthearted smile.
“Lorenzo, this is the cousin I was telling you about.”
Slowly the guy turns and I fall head first into the richest chocolate-brown eyes I’ve ever seen. He blinks and long, luscious lashes feather across his bronzed cheeks. I can feel myself gawking, but I physically can’t drag my eyes away. Lorenzo doesn’t smirk or act all conceited, either. He simply stares back, his eyes casually skimming over me, causing my skin to warm and break out in a whole body tingle.
Time seems to stop, and the sounds of the market mute. Alessandra was right. This boy is beautiful.
And he’s looking at me.

Mar 7, 2012

Lunar Love Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Lunar Love Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Bookworm Lisa!

Here's what you can win at this stop:

Yes, that's right - an advance reader copy of HEMLOCK by Kathleen Peacock. I have read it, I adore it, and it is going to make a smashing addition to the paranormal and werewolf genres this May. But you have the chance to win it now ... 2 months before it gets released!


1. Must follow me on GFC publicly
2. Must be over the age of 13
3. Must have a valid US address
4. Winner has 48 hours to claim their prize after I email them, after that I will pick a new winner.


1. Leave a comment here with your name and email address


*All bonus entries get their own comment - if you lump all you entries into one comment, it will only be counted once**

1. Follow me on Twitter: @irish_banana
2. Tweet about this giveaway & leave a link
3. Friend me on Goodreads: Hannah


Waiting on Wednesday (25)

"Waiting On"  Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking  the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week I'm waiting on....
Team Human
by: Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan 
Goodreads Synonpsis:
When a vampire shows up at Mel’s high school, it’s up to Mel to keep her best friend from falling in love with him. Add a mysterious disappearance, a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and poignant.
Why I Want This:
A book where not everyone swoons for a vampire? Sign me up! Plus, early reviewers are saying this book is hysterical. While I love a good drama/angsty novel, I frequently need a snarky and funny book to counteract the dark. Sounds like this one is perfect for me!

Mar 6, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions (5)

This is a shiny, new blogger meme co-hosted by Tiger from Tiger's All Consuming Books and Karen at For What It's Worth Reviews. It's time to open up and share (and vent) about our blogging experiences!

The question is:

March 5th: Let's talk about the positive side of blogging! How has blogging influenced your real life in a positive way? (not related to books or reading) Have you learned to be organized or are you more social now for example?

I have met some very cool people thanks to blogging, and made friends I wouldn't have made without it. I've been able to connect with a lot of genuine, fantastic people that I absolutely adore and can't wait to meet in real life this summer at BEA.

Also, the books are fantastic and I do a happy dance everytime I open my mailbox and see a shipping envelope inside. I love that I am constantly being introduced to new books and books I might not have normally looked at, but because an author or publicist contacted me about reviewing it, I not only read it but loved it.

Yes, there are a lot of cons to book blogging (more than I ever imagined when I started), but the pros by far outweigh it.

Mar 1, 2012

Review: Where It Began by Anne Redisch Stampler

Title: Where It Began
Author: Anne Redisch Stampler
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 3.6.2012
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary
Series: No
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: B

Summary (from Goodreads):
Gabby lived under the radar until her makeover. Way under. But when she started her senior year as a blonder, better-dressed version of herself, she struck gold: Billy Nash believed she was a the flawless girl she was pretending to be. The next eight months with Billy were bliss...Until the night Gabby woke up on the ground next to the remains of his BMW without a single memory of how she got there.

And Billy's nowhere to be found.

All Gabby wants is to make everything perfect again. But getting her life back isn't difficult, it's impossible. Because nothing is the same, and Gabby's beginning to realize she's missed more than a few danger signs along the way.

It's time for Gabby to face the truth, even if it means everything changes.

Especially if it means everything changes.

I love books that begin with a heavy dose of mystery. Anne Redisch Stampler does a fantastic job of throwing the reader in the deep end of the pool, but not drowning them. I love how she begins Where It Began, and the way she builds up the plot throughout the story.

Reading Gabby waking up was a lot like being Gabby. You have no idea who this girl is, where she’s from, or what the heck landed her in the hospital. The more I read about Gabby, the more I just came to love her. I wanted to protect her, but I also wanted to shake her at times. There were a few moments I felt she was being deliberately oblivious. It irritated me to a certain degree, but there’s just this likeability to the character I couldn’t escape.

There were only two negatives to this book: The first is that the writing sometimes lagged in places. I found myself skimming pages to see when things would pick back up. The other was a bit more personal in that I hate to be kept waiting too long for the answers. This book starts off intentionally confusing and broken as Gabby struggles to piece things back together, but as a reader I tend to get bored if I don’t get a conclusion in a timely manner. I felt there were places where the plot could have been sped up a bit.

This is a good contemporary novel, and I’m not sorry I invested the time reading it. I’m curious to see what Stampler will write next. I love her style and the way she pieces words together. Some people have a gift I call “sentence art” meaning they can put words together to create a masterpiece, and I felt that with Stampler’s writing.

DIVERGENT: The Choosing Ceremony

As we get closer and closer to the on sale date of INSURGENT (5/1/2012!!!), the excitement just keeps building! We wouldn't want to leave you out in the cold like the factionless, so the team at HarperCollins has created something awesome to dull the pain of your temporarily Four-less existence. First, check out the attached Choosing Ceremony eCard. Then, spill some metaphorical blood playing this new game:

You can also take an awesome quiz and find out which faction you are:
I scored Dauntless: The Brave. Go me! What about you?