Aug 26, 2012

Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Title: Defiance 
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: 8.28.2012
Pages: 416
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Series: Yes (Defiance #1)
Source: eARC from publisher

Rating: A-

Summary (from Goodreads):
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

I think it’s safe to say that Defiance has been on everyone’s must-have list for the last few months. Call it an amazing cover or a wholly original idea, but whatever it is, Defiance seems to have that intrinsic it factor that gets people buzzing early on, especially surrounding a debut author. CJ Redwine storms onto the YA scene and takes us hostage with this book. Yeah, this one lives up to all the hype—it’s that good.

From the first few haunted moments when I was introduced to Rachel, I felt an immediate sympathy for her. She was so strong, but so very much a teenage girl in an impossible world. I felt a strong kinship to this girl and her plight. I loved rooting for her. Rachel, and Logan, are two of my favorite characters in the fiction realm. I couldn’t get enough of these two, both together and separate.

The book alternates chapters between their points of view, which only enhances the storyline. I’ve read several back-and-forth POV books. Some work, some muddle through, and some are flat out painful. This book excels. I usually find myself skimming on character’s chapters to get back to the other’s (my favorite’s) part, but there was no rush here. I loved Logan and Rachel equally and both had such vital roles, I was compelled to read them with equal voracity.

My only fault with the book was that it takes a decidedly dark turn. I’m still not sure how I felt about that, and I hesitate to expand on that because I don’t want to spoil it. Suffice to say, one character goes darkside and I wasn’t sure Redwine would be able to pull that character back in time. I still feel a bit uneasy about it.

Overall, this is a must read for YA fans. I don’t care if you grab it for the fantasy elements, the romance, or just out of curiosity. Redwine is a spectacular storyteller, and her world-building skills are flat out impressive, as is her ability to write and develop characters. This is one 2012 debut you won’t want to miss.

Aug 2, 2012

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 6.14.2012
Pages: 325
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Series: No
Source: Purchased ebook

Rating: A+

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?


Sometimes I feel like I read so much so fast, it all blurs together. I overlap characters and plots in my mind until they all make up one singular (albeit twisted) story. Thankfully My Life Next Door is that book that just completely stands apart from the rest. From the very first line, Huntley Fitzpatrick sucked me into her story and I was powerless to stop from falling in love with it.

There is just something so incredibly vexing about Samantha. I loved her character from the jump. She’s strong, but still has that insecure, teenage vulnerability that makes her so real. She’s misunderstood and perfectly imperfect.

Jase and the Garretts are everything you ever wanted your family to be. They’re messy, loud, loyal, loving, and understanding. I wanted to crawl into this world for no reason other than being a Garrett. I wish there was a webcam in their house to watch this family interact. They’re far from perfect, but they’re fun. Fitzpatrick’s true gift (aside from masterful storytelling) is her ability to create these wholly unique characters and bring them to life.

I am a sucker for a good romance this book has it in spades and then some. Not only is it swoon-worthy romantic, it’s also cute and angst-ridden. Samantha and Jase don’t magically get their happily ever after. I think that’s what I appreciated the most—the realistic way these two were written. Especially when they broached the idea of sex. I cannot than Fitzpatrick enough for making it all sweet and perfect. It was awkward and amusing to watch them flounder around a bit.

This is that book where I not only had the ebook, but then I hurried to get a finished copy and quickly passed it off into the hands of my friends. It’s that good. One of those books you can’t love in secret. My Life Next Door is the book I force into the hands of friends and family because I know they’ll adore it just as much as I have. So far I’ve given it to three friends and they have each devoured it in less than 48 hours.

Aug 1, 2012

Giveaway: Nevermore by James Patterson

I have a shiny new copy of Nevermore by James Patterson to give away (courtesy of the publisher, Little, Brown and Company). This is the much-anticipated final book in the Maximum Ride series.

The rules are quick and easy:

- Must be in the US
- Must be over 13

Contest will run from Aug 1, 2012 - Aug. 15, 2012

Comment below with your email address to enter. Winner will be chosen Aug. 16, 2012 and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.

Good luck!

Waiting on Wednesday (28)

"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....

by: Mindi Scott

Goodreads Synonpsis:

When a relationship trespasses the boundaries of trust, the consequences are complex in this nuanced page-turner from "a formidable talent" ("Booklist")

Sometimes hiding the truth requires more than a lie . . .

From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her from the annoying drama. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a stepdad and mom who would stop at nothing to keep her and her siblings happy and safe.

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted fa├žade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now, Coley and Reece are getting closer, and as Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.