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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review: Rome by Jay Crownover

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Rome by Jay CrownoverRome by Jay Crownover
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: Marked Men, Book 3
Published by William Morrow on 07 January 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, New Adult, War & Military
Reading Challenges: 2014 - Read 12 Edelweiss Books, 2014 Personal Challenge
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Denver, Colorado

First Line(s): Its my favorite thing ever to have all the people I love in one place at the same time.

Even though I was a little disappointed in Jet, I couldn’t wait to dive into Rome by Jay Crownover. We first meet Rome in Rule as he is Rule’s older brother and until the big secret in that book comes out he is the most steady and stable of all the characters in this series. Rome is an ex-marine and part of how he lost his way is the after effects of events in Afghanistan that left him injured and those under his command dead. He is lost, suffering from PTSD, and trying to deal with family secrets and so is a bit volatile and just makes your heart ache for him. His family know how he was before and believe that if they just let things slide that he’ll find his way again. Cora and Brite however continually call him on his crap with mixed results.

Cora is also a character we first meet at the start of the series and if the guys in the previous books could be called Bad Boys then she is the equivalent of the Bad Girl. She’s opinionated and tattooed and refuses to take crap from anyone. She’s almost a little too sharp around the edges at times but once you learn her backstory you can understand where she is coming from and how she is the way she is. And as such you can understand her better though I may not always agree with how she deals with it all. Although, with what Rome is dealing with he needs someone who isn’t afraid to be blunt and abrasive which is something that Cora can do well.

As with Rule and Jet, I read Rome in just a few hours. Once I started I couldn’t put it down and I needed to know what would happen next with not just with the central characters but with the secondary ones as well. One thing that I’ve enjoyed with the Marked men series is how Jay Crownover keeps all of her characters around with each successive story. They don’t just disappear or are barely mentioned but all have an integral part in the story to play. Although Nash does have a bigger part in this one than the others and a big part of that is probably because his story is the one that follows this.

I liked Rome, a lot. I liked his and Cora’s chemistry and I loved their story. I liked how life threw them both a curveball and how they managed to deal with it. This one was fast paced and filled with lots of heart-achy feel good feels. If you are thinking of trying New Adult then you should really check out the Marked Men series. Great writing, good stories, and odd names aside, lots of good romancy emotions.

irishdarkblue

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: The Treatment by Suzanne Young

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: The Treatment by Suzanne YoungThe Treatment by Suzanne Young
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: The Program, Book 2
Published by Simon Pulse on 29 April 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, People & Places, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2013 Dystopia Challenge, 2013 eBook Challenge, 2013 Personal Challenge
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Travels To: Salt Lake City, Utah // Portland, Oregon // Unknown USA

First Line(s): Over the last four years, suicide has reached epidemic proportions, killing one in three teens.

 

The Treatment by Suzanne Young is the long awaited followup to The Program which I listened to on audio and just loved it. I was debating on if I wanted to listen to The Treatment or read it when I received an egalley back in October and knew I wouldn’t be able to wait in order to see what happened. The Treatment picks up not long after the events in The Program ends with Sloane and James on the run from the Programs Goon Squad. Things are dicey for our beloved duo and that makes for some edge of your seat moments. Its not long before they hook up with the small rag-tag band of rebels including new character Dallas and Realm. I had mixed feelings on Dallas and move from disliking her, to liking her, to feeling sorry for her, and back again. My feelings for Realm never wavered.

In fact, I grew to dislike him more than ever. He was worse in every way in this book filled with lies and manipulations. He acted so horrible towards Dallas and would play both Sloane and James in an attempt to drive a wedge between them. If I could have smacked Realm out of the book I totally would have. Its rare that I dislike a character so intensely but I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities in this one and my feelings for him did end up effecting my enjoyment of the book. Its hard to fall in love with a story when there is a character that just makes you so grumbly.

The actual story moved along at a fast pace although I found it a little more choppy than the first book. It was filled with weird little jumps and some awkward transitions which would also take me out of the story. But as with the first book, The Treatment, is filled with issues that will make a reader think. Its also scary in its realism as I could see a world like this existing if real world events played out in a particular way. Dystopias are always more scary there there is a potential for them to come true. I always love a book that can make you think and this one definitely has that. And its message isn’t so overpowering that it weighs down the story instead it only adds to it.

As with The Program, I was in love with Sloane and James and I fell even more in love with them in this book. Even with all that Realm tried to do they still managed to find a way to remain true to each other. Though there were many ups and downs for our duo I did like where they ended up even as it wounded my heart a little.

The ending of The Treatment seemed a little rushed and hard to believe but overall I enjoyed this one. I liked what Young did with this characters and I enjoyed knowing that this was a duology so that events weren’t overly drawn out. I even liked that even though Sloane and James’s story is complete there is potential to have a spin off book or novella with some of the other characters in the story. I think that The Treatment and its first book are well worth the read and can’t recommend them enough.

irishdarkblue
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters of 2014 (so far)

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday2 Comments

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is a bit of a free for all and I decided to chose my favorite characters of 2014. At least so far. As I’ve read 55 books so far in 2014 this should be easy-peasy to do. =) (Links will take you to my review or Goodreads)

 

On the Fence

1. Charlie Reynolds and Braeden from On the Fence by Kasie West

 

open road summer

2. Reagan O’Neill and Matt Finch from Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

 

Since You've Been Gone

3. Emily and Frank from Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

 

ScarletUS.indd

4. Scarlet and Will from Scarlet by AC Gaughen

 

Way of Kings

5. Kaladin and Dalinar from The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

 

rome

6. Rome and Cora from Rome by Jay Crownover

 

Nash

7. Nash and Saint from Nash by Jay Crownover

 

Chapel Wars

8. Holly and Dax from The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

 

What I Thought Was True

9. Gwen and Cass from What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

 

 

10. Jaime and Alec from The Bride by Julie Garwood

 

irishdarkblue
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Jet by Jay Crownover

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Jet by Jay CrownoverJet by Jay Crownover
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: Marked Men, Book 2
Published by William Morrow on 28 May 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Music, New Adult
Reading Challenges: 2014 - Read 12 Edelweiss Books, 2014 Personal Challenge
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Denver, Colorado // Louisville, Kentucky

First Line(s): It was totally against everything I was supposed to be doing in my new life – to ask a really cute boy in a band to take me home.

Jet by Jay Crownover is the second book in her Marked Men series that started off with bad boy Rule. Jet is a long time friend of Rule and through him he meets Ayden who was Shaw’s roommate and who now lives with Jet and Cora. The story picks up about a year after the events in Rule and the disastrous night when Ayden and Jet almost hooked up but didn’t. Since then there has been a strained friendship between the two as the attraction is still there but neither are brave enough to act on it. I didn’t like Jet as much as Rule and a good part of that had to do with Ayden. She was just so selfish and judgmental and just annoyed me with the majority of her actions.

Nothing Jet did was good enough for Adyen and she wasn’t content in her own skin. She lived a life of secrets and lies and when things started to come out she panicked, lied some more, and  just made a has of everything. She breaks hearts without a care and then later on says that they are to blame when it was all Ayden’s drama and perceived drama. I just wanted to smack her upside the head more often than not and I really didn’t understand why those around her put up with all her bullshit. Ayden is not a girl to be content in life and only seemed to be happy when she was telling those around her what they needed to do to improve their lives.

I also didn’t get Ayden’s behavior around her older brother. The things she did for him and how she was always trying to save him. It just didn’t make sense since she was his younger sister. If she was older than I could have understood this protectiveness more but as she wasn’t I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. I also didn’t get how her mother was so useless and yet would then blame Ayden for her brother getting in trouble or how Ayden didn’t save him. Why was it all on Ayden’s shoulder when she was the baby in the family? And why did she put up with it when she really didn’t seem to care about those around her.

The saving grace of Jet was Jet himself who was a tortured sole and your heart just breaks when you learn his back story. He had a tough life growing up and its easy to see why his is the way he is. All you want is for him to be happy and you just hate how Ayden treats him throughout most of the book. I found it hard to believe in their HEA because of what a royal pain in the a$$ Ayden could be. Not just to Jet but also to her BFF Shaw and to her roommate and friend Cora. I always found it hard to understand why they would want to be around Ayden as she wasn’t all that fun to be around.

I did like the writing of this book and I read it just as quickly as Rule. The pacing and plotting were good. Even with the crazy side story line of Asa’s mob-like ties. I think that storyline kind of overpowered things a bit especially when you add in Jet’s side story as well. Overall I liked Jet but I didn’t love it and it probably won’t be a story that I revisit. Preferring instead to just revisit these characters (mostly Ayden) as secondary ones in other books.

irishdarkblue

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Audio Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Audio Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini TaylorDreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Book 3
Published by Hachette Audio on 08 April 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Angels, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Monsters, Mythology, Paranormal, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Suspense, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2014 Listen to 12 Audiobooks, 2014 Personal Challenge
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Length: 18 hours 11 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Washington, DC // Unnamed, Morocco //Rome, Italy // Eretz

First Line(s): Nerve thrum and screaming blood, wild and churning and chasing and devouring and terrible and terrible and terrible –

I was so excited to receive and audio review copy of Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor as it was one of my most anticipated titles of 2014. And the start of this one lived up to my every expectation that I had. Although it wasn’t long before my enjoyment started to wain and my disappointment grew as the story progressed. First there were all the new characters that were added, which isn’t always a bad thing but they had no real backstory and it took too long to get them to a meaningful point in Karou’s story that they just dragged the story down. I didn’t care about them and hated the time that they took away from Karou and Akiva.

With the addition of new characters there was also a lot of POV changes. Crazy random and no real spacer between them that there were moments where I had to rewind the audio because I though one character was the focus when somehow we’d transitioned into another. It added a small layer of confusion that I could have done without. There was also a lack of indicator to let me know that I had reached the end of a disc so there were many instances in which I listened to the early tracks again before I realized I needed a new disc. And yet there was music to indicate the end of a part in the story so I was a bit miffed that there was nothing at the end of a disc. I hated repeating part of the story as it jumbled up events a bit and it also took my focus off of driving. Which isn’t a good thing when you are dealing with traffic.

But what really bothered me was the story. Nothing happened in this book, all 18 hours and 600 and some odd pages of it. Ok, so saying that nothing happened is a bit much but there was lots of unnecessary filler contained withing the pages of Dreams of Gods & Monsters and a lot of things were repeated over and over and over again. Yes, Laini Taylor writes some beautiful prose but it was more compact and focused in the previous books and I missed that here. In this case her prose was used as smoke and mirrors to distract and deflect from the fact that the story was very slow moving and there there was a lot of build up that ended up going no where. Dreams of Gods & Monsters is filled with the promise of action and apocalyptic things but there is more angst than apocalypse. That and the climatic end scene was more of a whimper than a bang and I may have hurt my eyes from rolling them too much.

There was so much that happened because of crazy unrealistic coincidence. If Karou needed something the means were magically at her fingertips and this was without wishes. Everything just fell into place with a nice tidy bow and there were no real consequences that one would expect from two races that were at war. In all honesty, I half expected certain souls that were lost to somehow be found again in the end as everyone sang kumbaya around a fire. I wanted more action in this story and I wanted to care about how things would turn out instead of hoping and wishing that the end of the audio would come faster than I could listen to it.

In many ways it seemed as though Dreams of Gods & Monsters lost focus and it didn’t so much revolve around Karou as it did act as a set up for the stories of other characters to be told. For me, Dreams of Gods & Monsters seemed to act as a backdoor pilot for something else to come. There were lots of open threads at the end of this book that I won’t be surprised if a spin off series is announced. Of the three books in this series I think that Days of Blood & Starlight will remain my favorite. If there is a spin off I am not sure if I will read it, or listen, it will take a very compelling synopsis to get me to overcome the disappointment that I had with this one.

irishdarkblue

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Review + Contest: Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Blog Tour, Contest, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review + Contest: Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr

Review + Contest: Imaginary Lines by Allison ParrImaginary Lines by Allison Parr
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: New York Leopards, Book 3
Published by Carina Press on 14 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, New Adult, Sports & Athletics
Reading Challenges: 2014 - Read 12 New Adult Books, 2014 Personal Challenge
Pages: 237
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Los Angles, California // Burlingame, California // New York, New York // Lake George, New York

First Line(s): I splashed cold water on my face before bracing myself on the sink’s edge

 

Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr is the third book in her New York Leopards series and follows Abe who we first met in Rush Me and saw briefly at the start of Running Back. I’ve always been a fan of the friends to lovers story line and Imaginary Lines had that and yet it didn’t. Tamar and Abe were childhood friends and though she had feelings for him, Abe never reciprocated. Partly because he was young and partly because it was what his family and hers would have loved to happen. Then one day, Tamar confesses her feelings to Abe and because he’s young he makes a hash of it and as a result the two part ways and don’t speak for years. Its an even that haunts and effects them both in different ways.

Years later, Tamar and Abe’s paths cross again when she moves to New York to being a new job as a sports reporter and Abe just happens to be on one of the biggest sports team in the city. Sparks fly and the rest is romance story history. As with most romance novels there are no real surprises to be found in Imaginary Lines but its more about the journey and this is a journey that I enjoyed taking. I liked Tamar and Abe and more than that I liked the secondary characters that Tamar surrounded herself with. There were times I rolled my eyes and sighed a bit but overall this was an enjoyable story.

My main issues with Imaginary Lines comes from the ending as it just seemed too quick, too rushed and the proposal horribly unromantic. I just wanted more from these two characters who had gone through so much and come so far that it was a bit of a let down. But of the three books in the New York Leopards series Imaginary Lines is my favorite so far. I just felt that Tamar and Abe had so much chemistry and they were genuine characters. There was nothing forced about them and I was glad that they had found their HEA. Imaginary Lines isn’t a perfect book but its a fun way to spend a few hours. I like the world that Allison Parr has created and I look forward to seeing what she might write next.

irishdarkblue

 

 

Imaginary Lines Synopsis:

Tamar Rosenfeld has been in love with New York Leopards linebacker Abraham Krasner since they were twelve years old. She’d always considered it destiny that they’d end up together…until Abe was drafted and she professed her feelings in a moment of blind excitement. The sting of his rejection was like nothing she’d ever felt before, and it’s nothing she’ll ever forget.

Older and wiser, Tamar has landed a dream job as a reporter for one of New York’s premier athletic websites. Determined to stop being the safe, boring girl she’s felt like for most of her life, Tamar makes a list of all the things she wants to do and see in her new city, and Getting Over Abraham is priority number one.

But destiny has finally chosen to interfere. Just as Tamar’s decided to move on, Abe’s realized she’s the only woman for him. When he confides the truth, Tamar has to decide if she can put her crush behind her, or take a chance on the very man who’s been holding her back all these years.


Allison Parr Bio:

Allison Parr is the author of Rush Me, Running Back, and Imaginary Lines. She grew up in small town New England, where she developed an incurable case of wanderlust. After graduating with degrees in archaeology and creative writing, she spent the next several years living in San Francisco, Paris, Boston, and New York. When she’s not traveling or writing, she’s making a mean chocolate cake or bad historical jokes. She’s also amassing enough books to rival the library in Beauty and the Beast.

To learn more about Allison’s books and travels, visit her at www.allisonparr.com

 

Links:

Amazon // Barnes and Noble

Blog // Twitter // Facebook // Author Goodreads // Imaginary Lines Goodreads 

 

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review: Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Liv, Forever by Amy TalkingtonLiv, Forever by Amy Talkington
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Published by Soho Teen on 11 March 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Love & Romance, Mystery, Paranormal, Social Issues, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2014 - Read 12 Debut Authors, 2014 Personal Challenge
Pages: 280
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, New Hampshire (2015)

First Line(s): Chances of a girl like me ending up at Wickham Hall were next to nothing.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I picked up Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington other than it was a murder mystery set at a boarding school. I do enjoy mysteries and boarding schools so I thought that I would give it a shot. Liv, Forever was a quick read and I read it in just a couple of sittings but it was also a little formulaic. Only in this case when the most popular boy in school is drawn to the outcast girl she isn’t just shunned and tormented further instead she is killed.

Liv, Forever is a bit cliched with its insta-love set up between Liv and Malcolm and I much preferred her interactions with her BFF Gabe over those very few with Malcolm. A part of me wishes that the romance was with her and Gabe as I often felt that there was a bit more chemistry between them.Even though Gabe was a little too eager to help Liv at all costs no matter the consequences to himself. There was a little bit too much world revolving around Liv in this book which made things a bit cliched. And there were lots of cliches in this book and while they are things that normally bug the bejeesus out of me in this case they didn’t bother me as much and I don’t know why.

There was just something about Liv, Forever that sucked me into it and made it so I couldn’t stop reading. Perhaps if I’d taken more time on it I may have obsessed over its imperfections more but as it was I was able to just get lost in the story. The mystery was a bit predictable but I liked the language of this story. I liked how it was written and how Talkington chose to unfold her mystery. I also liked the little side stories about the other ghosts on Wickham Hall’s campus who remained trapped within its boundaries as Liv was.

Liv, Forever is paranormal light, even though Liv is a ghost for a portion of the novel. Partly because she never really feels like a ghost as the whole story is told from her POV. She’s a bit of a surface character and yet you do cheer her on and hope that somehow things will all work out for the best. Which is hard because once you are dead, you are dead so there is no real happily ever after to be had in this story. Despite that though there is hope to Liv’s journey and things don’t end on a sad note. While I did have issues with Liv, Forever I do think that it was a solid debut novel and will be looking forward to reading Amy Talkington’s next book.

irishdarkblue

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: Rule by Jay Crownover

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review4 Comments

Review: Rule by Jay CrownoverRule by Jay Crownover
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Series: Marked Men, Book 1
Published by William Morrow on 22 October 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, New Adult
Reading Challenges: 2014 - Read 12 Edelweiss Books, 2014 Personal Challenge
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Denver, Colorado // Brookside, Colorado

First Line(s): At first I thought the pounding in my head was my brain trying to fight its way out of my skull after the ten or so shots of Crown Royal I had downed last night, but then I realized the noise was someone storming around in my apartment. She was here, and with dread I remembered that it was Sunday.

Rule by Jay Crownover is the start of a new adult series called Marked Men and takes place in Denver, Colorado. Its also a book that was on my kindle and partially forgotten until another blogger friend began talking about it on twitter and instagram. I was intrigued and in need of a new distraction at the time and quickly fell into the crack that was this series. The first book is Rule and Shaw’s story and is filled with lots of emotional turmoil. Rule had a twin who died a few years prior to the start of the book and Shaw was Remy’s BFF and alleged girlfriend. She was close to the family as her home life wasn’t the best and after Remy’s death has taken it upon herself to keep Rule in the family. But its hard as they are all sorts of screwed up.

The story is fast paced and raw and I loved that even though Rule was your stereotypical bad boy (tattooed, man whore, et cetra) he was also more than the cliche. Just as Shaw was more that the good girl who would redeem the bad boy with her love. Shaw was every bit as broken as Rule just in different ways and when they got over their issues they were able to heal themselves and each other. There were some parts of the story that I could have done without, like the crazy ex-boyfriend, and it was far from perfect but at the time I read it Rule was a great escape novel. It kept me up past my bedtime and I feel in love with all of the characters. I was filled with a need to know more and so was really glad I was able to bounce to several books before I ran out of material.

I also could have done without the cryptic foreshadowing of events and random pointless details that seemed to appear at odd moments in the text. These things would take me out of the story for a few moments  but the characters are what kept pulling me back it. Rule was a heart-achy book for me and I hated when the Rule and Shaw placed barriers between them. Even though I know its sometimes easier to push someone away then to do with some harsh truths. Rule was a good story and a great addition to the New Adult genre as it takes the cliche of it and turns it around to makes it all its own. If you are looking for a new series to read then I highly recommend the Marked Men books.

irishdarkblue

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spotlight / Excerpt: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout

Posted by Irish in Excerpt, Spotlight0 Comments

Hello internet! I am excited that Jennifer L. Armentrout’s DON’T LOOK BACK releases today!! DON’T LOOK BACK is a young adult suspense being published by Disney Hyperion!

don't look back

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

EXCERPT:

I didn’t recognize the name on the street sign. Nothing about the rural road looked familiar or friendly. Tall, imposing trees and overgrown weeds choked the front of the dilapidated home.

Windows were boarded up. There was a gaping hole where the front door had been. I shivered, wanting to be far away from here…wherever here was.

Walking felt harder than it should be, and I stumbled off the chilly asphalt, wincing as sharp gravel dug into my feet.

My bare feet?

I stopped and looked down. Chipped pink nail polish peeked through the dirt…and blood.

Mud caked the legs of my pants, leaving the hems stiff. It made sense, seeing as how I wasn’t wearing any shoes, but the blood…I didn’t understand why there was blood staining the knees of my jeans.

My vision clouded and dulled, as if a gray film had been dropped over my eyes. As I stared at the weathered asphalt under my feet, large and smooth rocks replaced the tiny stones.

Something dark and oily seeped over the rocks, slipping through the cracks.

Sucking in a sharp gasp, I blinked and the image was gone.

Hands trembling, I raised them. They were also covered with dirt and scratches. My nails were broken, bloodied. A silver ring wrapped, encased in soil, around my thumb. Air froze in my chest as my gaze crawled over my arms. The sleeves of my sweater were torn, revealing pale flesh covered in bruises and gashes. My legs started to shake as I swayed forward. I tried to remember how this had happened, but my head was empty—a black void where nothing existed.

A car drove by, coasting to a stop a few feet in front of me. Somewhere in the trenches of my subconscious, I recognized the flashing red and blue lights as a source of safety. Elegantly scrawled along the black-and-gray side of the cruiser were the words ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT.

Adams County? A flash of familiarity came and went.

The driver’s door opened, and a deputy stepped out. He said something into the radio on his shoulder before he looked at me.

“Miss?” He started around the cruiser, taking tentative steps. He looked young for a deputy. Barely out of high school and able to carry a gun seemed wrong somehow. Was I in high school? I didn’t know. “We’ve received some calls into dispatch concerning you,” he said gently. “Are you okay?”

I tried to respond, but only a hoarse squeak came out. Clearing my throat, I winced as the motion scratched and pulled. “I…I don’t know.”

“Okay.” The deputy held up his hands as he approached me, as if I were a skittish deer about to bolt. “My name is Deputy Rhode. I’m here to help you. Do you know what you’re doing out here?”

“No.” Knots formed in my belly. I didn’t even know where here was.

His smile strained. “What’s your name?”

My name? Everyone knew their name, but as I stared at the deputy, I couldn’t answer his question. The knots started twisting more. “I don’t…I don’t know what my name is.”

He blinked, and the smile was completely gone. “You don’t remember anything?”

I tried again, concentrating on the empty space between my ears. That was how it felt.

And I knew that wasn’t good. My eyes started to tear up.

“Miss, it’s okay. We’ll get you taken care of.” He reached out, lightly taking hold of my arm. “We’ll get this sorted.”

Deputy Rhode led me around the back of his cruiser. I didn’t want to sit behind the Plexiglas, because I knew that wasn’t good. Only bad people sat behind the glass in police cruisers. I wanted to object, but before I could say anything, he settled me into the seat and wrapped a coarse blanket around my shoulders.

Before he locked me in the bad part of the car, he knelt and smiled reassuringly.

“Everything’s going to be okay.”

But I knew he was lying, trying to make me feel better. It didn’t work. How could everything be okay when I didn’t know my own name?

ABOUT DON’T LOOK BACK:

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all—popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her—even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory—someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

“This engrossing thriller packs a heady atmospheric punch with plenty of theatrical scares,” Kirkus Reviews

“Armentrout has written another winner. From the first page to the last, she builds both terror and confusion to the point where readers will be hooked and on the edge of their seat. This standalone contains all of Armentrout’s usual trademarks– a strong and determined heroine, witty comments and hot guys–but she adds in an extra layer by ratcheting up the suspense to the highest degree and follows it up with an ending no one will see coming.” RT BOOK REVIEWS 4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK

 

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Author PhotoAbout Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

 

Links:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Jennifer L. Armentrout Goodreads

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley FitzpatrickWhat I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Published by Dial on 15 April 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2014 - Read 12 Young Adult Books, 2014 Personal Challenge
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonAudibleBarnes & NobleThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Stony Bay, Connecticut // Seashell Island, Connecticut

First Line(s): Nothing like a carful of boys to completely change my mood.

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick is her follow up to My Life Next Door and while its not a direct sequel it can be classified as a companion as its set in the same area. Of the two books I did enjoy What I Thought Was True more but it wasn’t without its flaws. I do enjoy Fitzpatrick’s writing style and think that, for the most part, she weaves a good story. And I liked how this one didn’t have some random crazy event that happened as occurred in My Life Next Door. What I Thought Was True was more a character driven novel though it stuck mostly to the surface of things when it came to the big issues.

I enjoyed Gwen and Cassidy’s story and liked how Fitzpatrick wove their past and their present together. Things happened a few months ago that tore them apart before they were ever together and Gwen held on to that anger ever since. Though, as an outsider looking in, she did bring some of those events down onto herself with how she behaved with the boys in her life. Gwen wants nothing more then to leave Seashell Island and Stony Bay High and she puts this buffer around herself that no one can penetrate. Rather than try and have a meaningful relationship she tends to sleep around instead and then when there is some backlash of this she just shrugs and says that’s just how island girls are treated. Not to say that Gwen is promiscuous because she isn’t she just makes some poor choices when it comes to guys and that makes it hard for her to see when there is a good one standing in front of her.

This doesn’t absolve Cass in his role in the events of the past either because he really could have tried harder to explain his side of things. But he didn’t and he let Gwen believe the worst which wasn’t good for either of them.  As with many YA books a little bit of communication could have gone so far and yet because of their silence we got a book so its a real Catch-22 sort of situation. Surrounding Gwen and Cass are a fun group of side characters that I wish we’d had more time with. There was Gwen’s parents who where involved and crazed and dealing with real world things and I liked how that bled down to Gwen and her cousin Nico. So often parents think they shield and protect their kids from things but they know when something is up. I liked how they were present and flawed and that deep down they both had so much love for Gwen, Nico, and Emory.

Ah, Emory, Gwen’s younger brother was just filled with adorableness and not crazy annoying as most younger siblings are written in books. He was sweet and fun and I loved the scenes he was in. Just as I loved the scenes with Gwen and Nico. Though I didn’t really care much for Gwen’s BFF Vivian. For me, she was a very on the surface character and wasn’t around very much. When she was she was often hanging all over Nico, kissing him, and dragging him off to be alone. When she does something very surprising at the end it just seems so out of character for her and her speech to Gwen on how she judged her ugh…I just wanted to slap the girl. It was nice that she wasn’t a false BFF but she wasn’t a very good friend either. Nico was a better friend to Gwen than Vivian could ever dream.

What I Thought Was True was a quick story and I don’t think I wasted my time in reading it but its not one that I will ever rush to re-read. Its flawed and the characters sometimes bug me and it doesn’t give me those heart-achy feels that I like so much in a contemporary read. Its believable to a point but there are things that I don’t think would ever happen in real life. And many words were wasted in useless descriptions that could have been better used fleshing out some characters or situations. There were just so many various threads that were just sort of left dangling. The story was good but not great but a good way to spend a few hours at the beach with. While I didn’t love it I will be intereted to read any other stories that Fitzpatrick sets on Seashell Island and will most likely read her sequel to My Life Next Door (The Boy Most Likely To2015). Fitzpatrick has a nice prose to her storytelling and sometimes you just need that quick and easy read.

irishdarkblue

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