Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Review: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Title: Unbreakable (Unraveling #2)
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Release date: April 23rd 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Pages: 481
Source: Publisher

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

I'm kind of completely blown away by this book. I had very high expectations for Unbreakable, and it topped them all! This was one of my most anticipated books of 2013, so I was beyond excited when I began reading it. And I couldn't put it down! I devoured the whole book within a day, because it's just. That. Amazing. Seriously, I can't stress enough how much I loved this book.

Unbreakable begins four months after the events of Unraveling. Oh, before I get into the story, I want to mention that it's a really good idea to read Undone, the novella, before reading Unbreakable. It's not exactly necessary to, but I'd recommend it. In Unbreakable, the whole world is trying to rebuild itself after the repercussions of Wave Function Collapse. Even though Janelle managed to stop it from happening, the impact it had on Earth was humongous. There are shelters everywhere, and Janelle and Cecily are doing everything they can to help. But no matter what, Janelle can't seem to get Ben out of her head. His smile, his eyes, his voice - everything. Imagine her surprise when Taylor Barclay shows up, needing her help! Janelle is whisked right into the middle of something she has no idea about, but she knows it's terribly important. And she needs to do whatever she can to save Ben.

Ever since I read Unraveling, Janelle has been one of my favourite YA heroines. She's such an awesome badass, and so incredibly tough. Janelle can withstand anything, and everyone feels that way. She's strong, kind-hearted, and very loyal to her friends and family. I loved her determination throughout this book, and her dedication to saving Ben and all the Unwillings. I admire her so much, and I can't believe this is the end of her story. I'm going to miss her so freaking much.

Ben only shows up halfway through the novel, and I was a little miffed about that. But it was okay, since the book was unputdownable even when he wasn't there! I fell hard for Ben in Unraveling, and I couldn't wait to see him in Unbreakable. Ben's different, though. A lot has changed in the four months since he last saw Janelle, and the horrors he's experienced have changed him forever. I felt so sorry for him after reading about what happened. Ben's made quite a lot of mistakes, and he's trying to do everything he can to rectify them. I still loved Ben in this book, because I believed that he could get past it all. His love for Janelle outshines everything else in his life, and that's what gives him - and me - hope.

I admit that the scene I was most looking forward to in this book was Ben and Janelle's reunion. But it was so different from what I expected. I honestly never saw that coming, and there's a wedge driven between the two of them. I think the song We Are Broken by Paramore relates perfectly to Ben and Janelle's relationship when they finally meet again. If you know the song, you'll know that they have a lot of obstacles to get through, and they don't know whether they can make it past everything. But I always had faith in them.

Okay so when I first read ARC reviews of Unbreakable, I was confused to see that everyone loved Barclay so much. I mean, he was kind of an egotistic asshole in Unraveling, and I just couldn't see how he could suddenly become everyone's favourite character in this book. I totally get it now, though! I freaking love Barclay! He shows a different side of him in this book - a softer side. And I love how supportive and caring he is of Janelle, and how he can always make her laugh no matter what. There was definitely something there between Barclay and Janelle, but Elizabeth Norris didn't let it go anywhere, because of Ben. But seriously, I have to say that the Barclay scenes were some of my favourites in the book!

Unbreakable is jam-packed with action. I'm not even exaggerating! Once Janelle leaves with Barclay, they're in a race against time. Much like in Unraveling, which I liked. There was a countdown before each chapter and everything! Elijah and Cecily join in, and the five of them together go all over the place and risk their lives to shut down the human trafficking ring. People are not who they seem, and there are so many surprises in this novel. I was left breathless in all the intense scenes! They were all so damn vivid. I absolutely love Elizabeth's writing, because it makes me feel like I'm right there in the book alongside Janelle. And it makes me fall in love with her characters.

I definitely teared up towards the end. I won't say why, but I have a feeling a lot of people will be sobbing by then. It was devastating, but at the same time, beautiful. And that's why I loved Unbreakable so much - the way you can feel two conflicting emotions simultaneously, and you actually enjoy the feeling. I cherished every second of reading this book, because it's the end of Janelle, Ben, and Barclay's story. Of course I wish there was another one, but it ended at note that gave me closure. I liked that - nothing like Requiem by Lauren Oliver, leaving us hanging! I hope Elizabeth decides to revisit this world in the future, because I'm dying to know how some of my favourite characters in YA literature are doing!

*Thank you so much to Sarah at HarperCollins International for sending me an ARC for review*

Rating: 5/5

Monday, 29 April 2013

Review: Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Apollyon (Covenant #4)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release date: April 9th 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: Young Adult Mythology
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 360

Fate isn’t something to mess with… and now, neither is Alex.

Alex has always feared two things: losing herself in the Awakening and being placed on the Elixir. But love has always been stronger than Fate, and Aiden St. Delphi is willing to make war on the gods—and Alex herself—to bring her back.

The gods have killed thousands and could destroy entire cities in their quest to stop Seth from taking Alex’s power and becoming the all-powerful God Killer. But breaking Alex’s connection to Seth isn’t the only problem. There are a few pesky little loopholes in the whole “an Apollyon can’t be killed” theory, and the only person who might know how to stop the destruction has been dead for centuries.

Finding their way past the barriers that guard the Underworld, searching for one soul among countless millions, and then somehow returning will be hard enough. Alex might be able to keep Seth from becoming the God Killer… or she might become the God Killer herself.

I’d give it all up for you.
Holy baby daimons everywhere, Apollyon totally blew my mind! It's probably the best Covenant book so far, and there's just so much in it - action, suspense, revelations, humour, and yeah, death. Almost every chapter left me reeling. There's so much that has changed in this one. It seems to me like Apollyon is the turning point - it leads up to the epic finale that will be Sentinel.

In the beginning, Alex is still connected to Seth, and we get to know what it's like inside her head. It was cool to know that the real Alex was still in there and fighting, especially when Aiden was around. Thankfully, Alex breaks the connection quite soon, and from then on, it's total chaos. Seth and Lucian are still waging war, and they've got quite a following of Sentinels. Meanwhile, Alex and Aiden have to travel to the Underworld in order to get some answers. There's danger at every corner, and Alex holds the world in the palms of her hands.

I loved how much Alex has grown throughout this series, but the most change by far is in Apollyon. She's actually mature in this book, thinking things through before making rash decisions. I feel as proud of her as Marcus and Aiden are. She's gained a lot of wisdom from everything she's seen, but she doesn't lose sight of who she is. Alex is still the same tough, snarky half-blood we met back in the first book, but she's older now, and has a lot more responsibility. I especially loved this little part in the book, where Jennifer Armentrout's hilarious lines add to Alex's overall awesomeness.

No matter how convoluted my life got, one thing remained consistent—my hair looked like a baby opossum had taken refuge in it, invited some friends over, and thrown a party.

But there's so much pain and sorrow in this book, too. I can't even imagine everything Alex has to go through, and I'm so glad she has Aiden by her side, to always support her.

I loved Aiden even more in Apollyon, if that's possible! He's completely open about his relationship with Alex, daring anyone to say something against them. He's not afraid to show how he feels, not when there are way more important things for everyone to be concerned about. Aiden is so incredibly supportive and protective of Alex, and he complements her so well. But I think my favourite scenes of Aiden are when he's fighting. He's just raw skill and strength, and I love seeing that in my head. Good gods he's hot when he fights.

I honestly wish we actually got to see Seth in this book, rather than just through Alex's head. But I'm happy with what we get, because it gave me hope. Yes, I still have hope for Seth! I always did. And I really, really want him to redeem himself in Sentinel. I know he has it in him to realize that what he's doing is wrong. I still feel so incredibly sorry for him - none of this is his fault. It's all Lucian's fault for manipulating him, pretending to love him because he knows that that is all Seth really wants - love and acceptance. Speaking of Lucian, thank goodness he wasn't in this book. I'd want to see his head smashed in the second he popped up.

I loved the Underworld scenes - they showed a lot about what the Underworld is like, and I also loved the Alex/Aiden scenes in there, of course! Plus, we get to meet an old friend in there. Yeah, I think you know who I'm talking about. I was so psyched about it! We also get to see a lot more of the gods in this book. Not only in the Underworld, but otherwise as well. That was really cool too, most of the time anyway. Because we do find out which god is behind all the destruction, the one who wants Seth to become the God Killer. And I did not see it coming! That's all I will say about it.

I didn't like that there was so much death in Apollyon, because I know that it will be nothing compared to that in Sentinel. I don't want characters I've grown to love to die! It's bad enough when the ones I don't feel much for are killed. But the humour in this book was balanced really well with all the pain, so it placated me. Deacon especially was key in this. I love him so much! He's so freaking adorable and hilarious. But we also see a serious side to him in Apollyon, where he shows how much he loves his brother, and how much he wants to help in this war. I'm honestly terrified of what could happen to him in Sentinel. And to Luke, Olivia, Marcus, and the rest of the gang that survived the destruction of Deity Island.

I think that what I'm most thankful for is that Apollyon doesn't have a humongous cliffhanger like Deity and Elixir did! Sure, it ends in a way that leaves us hanging and desperate for the next book, but it's not unbearable. Apollyon is so freaking fantastic, and there's so much building up to the conclusion. The entire world is at stake, and things aren't looking so good at the moment. I'm dying to get Sentinel in my hands, even though I'm scared out of my mind to know how it all ends!

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Release date: May 28th 2013
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

I don’t even know where to start. Pushing the Limits was my favourite 2012 contemporary, and I jumped up and down in my head when I found out Dare You To was on NetGalley and got accepted to read it! I read Dare You To back at the beginning of January (and also wrote this review then) and I’m still impatiently waiting for the next book. Dare You To was everything I wanted it to be, and I really loved reading from Beth’s point of view. Katie McGarry has done it again, and I’m sure Dare You To is definitely going to be up there in my favourite 2013 contemporaries at the end of the year!

Dare You To follows Beth Risk as she overcomes her personal obstacles and learns to trust. We get to alternate between Beth and Ryan’s points of view. Yeah, Ryan, and not Isaiah. When I first found out that Beth’s love interest was some new guy, I was devastated. I loved Isaiah in Pushing the Limits, and I really wanted him to end up with Beth. After reading Dare You To, I get why they didn’t end up together, but I still feel so sorry for Isaiah! In fact, a couple of my favourite quotes from Dare You To involve him and Beth –
With one touch, Isaiah could ground me. Keep me from floating away with his arms as my anchor. His steady beating heart the reminder he would never let go.
I’m still here in this house in the room with too many windows. I’m still exposed – raw – and living in hell. But I have Isaiah and he’s anchoring me. I slide down the wall until I can curl into a right ball on the floor. “I need you.”
“I’m here.” And we sit in silence.
You’d think Beth and Isaiah would end up together after reading these quotes, wouldn’t you? Well, prepare to be surprised! But even though I originally wanted them to be together, I think Beth and Ryan make a great couple too. They actually complement each other because of their differences. And in a way, they aren’t that different. You’ll find that out when you read the book! Yes, I said ‘when’ and not ‘if’. Because you’ve got to be crazy not to read this!

If you’ve read Pushing the Limits, you already know what a badass Beth is. In Dare You To, we find out just how much of a badass she is. And she really shocked me! She’s so blunt and fearless. She’s really tough, and no one wants to mess with her. It was weird seeing a vulnerable part of her come out during the course of this book, but it also made her seem more normal. Beth has had a terrible past – even worse than what Echo had in Pushing the Limits. Echo’s traumatic past was a one-time experience, but Beth’s was ongoing for the most part of her childhood. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like for her, having to take care of her constantly drunk mother as well as deal with her mother’s abusive boyfriends. And all of that when she was just a kid! It’s amazing, it really is. It shows how strong and resilient Beth is, and that she never gives up. It shaped her to be the tough girl she is in this book, but it also taught her not to trust anyone. But then Ryan comes along and turns her whole life inside out.

Ryan, I’ll admit, I didn’t like much at the beginning. Mostly because I was still stuck on Beth being with Isaiah. But I grew to really like him, because he really was a great character. He was funny, sarcastic, but also serious and very protective of Beth, even when he didn’t like her. Plus, we find out a lot about Ryan, things that made me like him even more. He has a secret talent that no one knows about, and that causes a rift between him and his dad. It causes him to make huge life-changing decisions, and I really admire him for the choices he makes in this book.

Isaiah is also quite prominent in this book, because he’s Beth’s best friend. He looks out for her, and my heart breaks when I think of all the things he’s done for her. There was one scene between Isaiah and Beth that made me tear up. I won’t say what it is, because I’m sure you’ll figure it out when you read it. Isaiah made some poor decisions, though, concerning Beth. I didn’t agree with them, and I realize that in the end they’re just not meant to be together. However, I’m so stoked to read Isaiah’s story in the next book, Crash Into You! I hope he’ll finally get his happy ending, too, because I desperately want that.

I was really excited to see Noah and Echo in Dare You To, as well! I wish they’d had bigger roles in it, but I was content to just see them there. Noah is still my favourite character in this series, and I loved him even more after reading Dare You To. We see how much he cares about Beth, and how much he wants her to have a good life, even if that means she’s not a part of his anymore. Echo was seen much less, but her quirky personality still shone through. It was funny to see how Beth still didn’t like Echo after everything that happened in Pushing the Limits, and no matter how much Echo wanted her to. She became a lot more tolerant of her later on in this book, though.

I was surprised to find that I really connected with Beth, even though I can’t possibly imagine everything she went through, and I definitely can’t empathize with her. I can sympathize, though, and I did so throughout the novel. I even started feeling what she felt! I felt her anger at her classmates in the new high school and with Allison, her uncle Scott’s wife. I felt her frustration at being forced to start over in a place with very different childhood memories. I felt her helplessness as she constantly watched her mother destroy her own life. I felt her happiness, her sorrow, her love – all of it. Beth Risk is truly one of the best YA protagonists I’ve ever read about.

This book is filled with awesome characters, all of them unique in their own way. I took an immediate liking to Lacy, Beth’s former best friend back when her life was normal and she wore ribbons in her hair (can you imagine Beth wearing ribbons? Yeah, I can’t, either!). Lacy is kind of a tomboy, and she doesn’t take crap from anyone. I honestly think the guys she hangs out with are scared of her, including her boyfriend, Chris! Lacy is the reason the others really gave Beth a chance, and I loved how incredibly loyal Lacy was to Beth even after so many years of silence and separation.

Scott is another character I loved. He’s Beth’s uncle, the one who got her out of jail and brought her to live with him and his wife in Groveton, where Beth used to live – where she had a normal life up until the third grade. Scott is only twelve years older than Beth, so most of her memories of him, well, don’t really apply anymore. Beth is surprised to find that her cool and boyish uncle has settled down and gotten married, and she’s even more surprised that he’s acting like a grown up. But she hasn’t forgiven him, and the tension between them is really thick for most of the novel. I really liked Scott because he truly cares for Beth and he’s remorseful about his actions in the past. He’s a good guy, and an amazing pro baseball player, too! Beth’s lucky to have an uncle like him, and she realized that by the end of the book.

The plot of Dare You To has so many twists and turns. It’s full of suspense and action, as well as some really sweet moments in between. There are also a lot of unexpected surprises. I guarantee some heartbreak and tears, though, but they’re worth it. Katie McGarry is now one of my favourite authors, and I will read anything written by her. Anything! The way she writes, the way her words get inside you and make you feel like you’re part of the story… it’s incredible!

Overall, Dare You To is mind-blowing, and it’s one of those books that just stays with you long after you’ve read it. It’s also one of those books that you can re-read over and over again and still feel all those emotions like you’re reading it for the first time. Katie McGarry, I want to thank you for writing the beautiful masterpiece that is the Pushing the Limits series! Dare You To took me on a whole new journey, and I loved every second of it.

*Thank you to Harlequin UK for providing me with an eGalley for review*

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Guest Post: Liz Coley (Pretty Girl-13)

Hey guys! I'm so honoured to welcome Liz Coley here at City of Books for a guest post as part of Books That Glow 2013! You must have heard of her thrilling debut novel, Pretty Girl-13. If not, you can read my review here, and my BTG 2013 co-host Rabiah's review here.

Things Known and Left Unknown
by Liz Coley

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. 
- E.L. Doctorow

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.
- Donald Rumsfeld

Richa asked: As Pretty Girl-13 is a mystery, when you first started writing, did you know clearly how it was going to end?

When I started writing Pretty Girl-13, I knew plenty about Angie, how and where she disappeared, how she lived for those three years, the names and personalities of her numerous alters, and their relationships to each other. I also knew that the story would involve the unfolding of secret after secret, including secrets the alters themselves didn’t know. I had a good sense of the major turning points as each of the three big secrets was revealed. The first is mentioned in every review and on the jacket cover--the fact that Angie has Dissociative Identity Disorder. The second major secret, which provides the foundation for what came later, is unfortunately mentioned in several reviews. The “final” secret that the third act of the story centers around has been mentioned only in the negative reviews, so don’t go there if you don’t like super spoilers. And after the end, when the book is closed, we realize there’s a final-final secret about her escape from captivity that Angie and her readers will never know for sure. That includes me. I certainly have my own opinion about it, but I think that lingering element of mystery suits the question about the role of memory in identity. Maybe after everything is said and done, there are still secrets you can’t even tell yourself.

While I could wrap my brain around the people and the turning points ahead of time, I didn’t always know how I was going to move from A to Z. This was the first novel I ever wrote out of order, in fact, as I concentrated on the parts I knew best and then developed the connections between them. At the end of National Novel Writing Month I had a fifty-thousand word draft with a soft landing. It didn’t deliver the punch that the rest of the novel had promised. My first readers weren’t shy about pointing this out!

To develop what became the published ending, I forced Angie to face what she was most afraid of (completely losing herself again) and asked the same of one of her alters (“all the girls are afraid of fire”). By putting these two ideas together, instead of a static conversation in a therapist’s office, the story delivered a cinematic climax where metaphor meets reality. Whether you think it’s over the top or the perfect culmination is entirely up to you.

Wow! I think your writing process sounds amazing and I love that fact that there are secrets about Angie that you haven't even told yourself! I absolutely loved the climax of Pretty Girl-13, and this book is honestly a must-read, guys. No doubt. Thank you so much to Liz Coley for taking the time to write this incredibly awesome guest post :)

About Liz Coley:

Liz Coley's short fiction has appeared in Cosmos magazine and speculative fiction anthologies. This is her first novel for teens. With a background in science, Liz follows her interest in understanding "the way we work" down many interesting roads. 

Liz lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, her teenaged daughter, a snoring dog, and a limping old cat. When she's not involved in writing-related activities, she can be found sewing, baking, shooting photos, playing tennis, and singing.

Find Liz on:

About Pretty Girl-13:

Title: Pretty Girl-13
Author: Liz Coley
Release date: March 19th 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Psychological Thriller

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn't know.

But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Review: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

Title: The S-Word
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Release date: May 7th 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Mystery
Source: Edelweiss
Format: eARC

First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.

But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie's looping scrawl.

Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she's caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie's own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.

Debut author Chelsea Pitcher daringly depicts the harsh reality of modern high schools, where one bad decision can ruin a reputation, and one cruel word can ruin a life. Angie’s quest for the truth behind Lizzie’s suicide is addictive and thrilling, and her razor-sharp wit and fierce sleuthing skills makes her impossible not to root for—even when it becomes clear that both avenging Lizzie and avoiding self-destruction might not be possible.

I was initially really looking forward to reading The S-Word, but I have to say that it was quite different from what I expected. I did enjoy the book once I got into it, but this book wasn't really for me. Though of course, I'm sure a lot of others would really like this one. I did enjoy quite a few aspects of this book, like the concept, the writing, and the themes and issues addressed in the book.

Angie's best friend Lizzie is dead, and all Angie wants to do is find out who caused it. Angie focuses on this because she feels guilty over Lizzie's death, but she wants to punish the people who made Lizzie commit such an unforgivable act. Angie talks to and manipulates whoever she can to get information, but she gets a lot of surprises along the way.

Angie was one of the reasons this book didn't live up to my expectations. I couldn't connect with her, couldn't really feel like she was a real person. Even though the whole book is from her perspective. She seemed very hot and cold, and kind of unstable. I had no idea what she would or could do next, and some of the things she admits to really shocked me. Angie is a good person, though, and I really like her intelligence and quick thinking. She uncovers a lot of the mystery by herself, and shows that she doesn't need anyone to rely on. Of course, she later realizes that she can't do it all on her own, and she gets help from the most unexpected person possible.

Jesse is a gay cross-dresser who also goes to Verity High, and he's mostly left alone. People think he's too different, and they either insult him or stay away from him. Jesse is one of the bright spots in this book. I loved his character! He's not afraid to be different, and he's got a pure heart. Also, he's hilarious. Jesse's really supportive of Angie, and he's very practical. He doesn't lose his cool often, and he's like a steady rock to lean on. He's actually one of the best and most refreshing characters I've read about in a long time.

The other characters in this book fell quite flat to me - Marvin, Shelby, Kennedy, and Drake. I definitely didn't like any of them, and we aren't meant to, anyway. But I didn't see much character development or background in them, and was disappointed about that. All the characters (apart from Jesse) really played a big part in me not liking this book much overall, because I like to see some depth to the characters I read about. I like imagining them as real people and visualizing their stories in my head. I couldn't do that with these characters, though.

I did like the concept of the diary pages in this book. We get to know a lot about what Lizzie was like through reading the pages of her diary. I honestly think I know Lizzie better than I do Angie, even though all I read was a few of her diary entries! But they were really insightful, and I could tell she'd poured her whole heart and soul out into that diary. I initially didn't like Lizzie when I read about what she did, but over the course of the novel, I felt a lot of sympathy for her, and I definitely began to admire her. I think it's fitting that the novel ends with one of her diary entries, because those are the best parts. I loved finding out more about Lizzie and what her thoughts and feelings were like.

I liked the unpredictability of this book. I really could not foresee any of the big reveals, and I was shocked and blown away by most of the secrets revealed! A few of them were obvious from the beginning, but I think they were meant to be that way. The mystery aspect of this book also intrigued me, because I've always found mysteries to be captivating. The S-Word started out quite slow for me, but it picked up about halfway, I think. I was mostly looking forward to reading Lizzie's diary entries and, well, any scene with Jesse in it!

Overall, I can't say I loved this, mostly because of the characters (except Jesse). I did like a few things about the book, but the pace was too slow for me, and it dragged quite a bit. The writing was good, though, and I would read another book from Chelsea Pitcher. But this one... I'm sorry, but just didn't float my boat, even with the awesomeness that is Jesse Martinez.

*Thank you to Gallery Books for providing me with an eGalley for review*

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Book Blast: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris + Giveaway

Okay so you guys have read Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris, right? If you haven't... Shame on you! Go read it NOW. Anyway, yesterday was the official release day of Unbreakable (Unraveling #2). And I'm so excited to share an awesome giveaway with you guys!

Title: Unbreakable (Unraveling #2)
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Release date: April 23rd 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

About the author:

Elizabeth Norris briefly taught high school English and history before trading the southern California beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's recent snowpocalyptic winter.

She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi, and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together.

Find Elizabeth on:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook


Showers of Books Giveaway Hop 2013

Today I'm really excited to be taking part in the Showers of Books Giveaway Hop! My year-end exams just ended last week and I hadn't blogged in that duration, so I really wanted to do this, as a sort of thank you for sticking with me!

For this hop, I'm going to give away a paperback Jennifer L. Armentrout/J. Lynn pre-order! The winner can pick from the books below.

Wait for You (Wait for You #1) paperback edition - J. Lynn
Frigid - J. Lynn
Unchained (Nephilim Rising #1) - J. Lynn
Sentinel (Covenant #5) - Jennifer L. Armentrout
Origin (Lux #4) - Jennifer L. Armentrout *cover not available yet*


If the winner doesn't want a JLA book (*GASP*), they can pick a book of choice (up to US $ 10) from The Book Depository :)


1. You must be 13 or older to enter.
2. You can enter as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. If you're not sure, 
check here.
3. Entries will be moderated and checked, so be honest!
4. One winner will win a book from the choices above or a book of choice from The Book Depository.
5. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email.
6. This giveaway runs from April 24th to April 30th 2013, and it is 

Enter the Rafflecopter below, and good luck!

Don't forget to hop on to the next blog!

Waiting on Wednesday #24: Earthbound

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Earthbound (Earthbound #1)
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Release date: July 30th 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. Tavia will soon discover that she’s an Earthbound—someone with the ability to create matter out of nothing—and that she alone holds the key to stopping the Reduciata, an evil society that manipulates global events for its own shadowy purposes. Tavia will ultimately have to make a choice: to come into her powers and save the world from the evil Reduciata or to choose free will and a love of her own.

There are a few reasons why I'm excited for this one -
1. The cover is absolutely gorgeous!
2. It's by Aprilynne Pike. I mean, seriously. I love everything written by her, and so I know I'll love this.
3. Someone who can create matter out of nothing? Tavia sounds totally awesome!

So yeah, I'm really really looking forward to Earthbound :)

Monday, 22 April 2013

Review: Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Title: Pretty Girl-13
Author: Liz Coley
Release date: March 19th 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Psychological Thriller
Format: ARC
Pages: 344
Source: Review copy from author

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn't know.

But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Wow, this book. It actually took me a little while to recover from it. Pretty Girl-13 is definitely not for the faint-hearted! I've honestly never read anything like this before, and I'm fascinated and disturbed at the same time. I know this book is going to plague my dreams tonight! This is an amazing debut from Liz Coley, and it's going to stay with me for quite a while.

The blurb of Pretty Girl-13 intrigued me immediately. Why couldn't Angie remember the three years of her life she spent in captivity? And of course I wanted to know everything about the alters. This book shocked me at every turn. It's dark, it's serious, and it's completely captivating. Angie has a lot to deal with when she returns home after three years with no memory of what happened to her. In fact, she still believes she's thirteen, and that not a day has gone by since that fateful night she went out of the camping tent at night. This book addresses issues that are way too much for most YA readers. This is definitely more of an upper YA book at the least.

Angie has something called dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder, which I'm more familiar with. She has alternate personalities residing within her, which explains why she can't remember anything from the past three years. Her 'alters' have been living through her, doing everything they can to protect Angie from the horrors they chose to face instead. When she returns, all Angie wants is to find out what happened. And she does try, very hard. I admired her resilience and her ability to cope with everything despite how messed up her life was.

Angie has quite a few alters, all very different from her. I quite liked Girl Scout - she was the easiest to get to know. And how could I not love the little one called Tattletale? Little Wife is the bitchy one, but she has her reasons. And Angel, the only male alter, definitely lives up to his name. He really is like an avenging angel. And all of Angie's alters together have saved her life countless times. I loved this concept, and I love the fact that Liz Coley is bold enough to address this kind of stuff in a YA novel, something I've never seen before. Pretty Girl-13 is definitely a very daring novel, and Liz has pulled it off really well.

I think Liz wrote the perfect ending to this book. A lot of people wouldn't agree with me, but I really liked it, as well as the fact that some things were kept secret even after the book ended. I would like to know what they are, of course, but I'm sure Liz had her reasons to leave those secrets untouched. In a way this just made the ending even more effective to me, so I applaud Liz for writing it the way she did.

I seriously couldn't take my eyes off the pages until I was done. It's addictive, I tell you! I was completely pulled into Angie's story, and I loved it. I loved the writing, the depth of the novel, and the originality. There were some things that were quite predictable, as well as a few things that didn't really add up, but on the whole I really enjoyed this book. It's so starkly different from anything I've read! I'm definitely looking forward to more from Liz Coley, because I see enormous potential here. Pretty Girl-13 is a must-read, especially if you love psychological thrillers!

*Thank you to Liz Coley for providing an ARC for review*


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Review: Blood Lust by Charity Santiago

Title: Blood Lust (Rapid City Wolves #1)
Author: Charity Santiago
Release date: April 12th 2013
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: New Adult Paranormal
Format: eBook (pdf)
Pages: 95
Source: Review copy from author

Eve came to Rapid City to escape her parents' messy divorce, but what she finds in South Dakota exceeds her wildest dreams- and nightmares. After Eve is attacked by a wolf outside her grandmother's house, she stumbles into a new and frightening existence as an alpha werewolf. 
Fated to lead the pack and obligated to choose a beta to lead beside her, Eve still cannot bring herself to forget Jericho, the mysterious vampire who saved her life. 
Will the wolves force Eve to choose between her destiny and her soulmate?

I've been looking forward to reading Blood Lust ever since I finished the Lady of Toryn trilogy by Charity Santiago. Luckily, I didn't have long to wait for this one! Blood Lust is an great start to an awesome new paranormal series. I love paranormal, so I knew I'd love this. The characters are unique, and the plot flows so well. Grab this one ASAP, you won't regret it!

Eve Samuels isn't having an amazing atmosphere at home on account of her parents' divorce, so she decides to move to her Grandma's house in Rapid City, and attend National American University there. Eve's got it all planned out, but she gets a few unexpected surprises. When  she gets bitten by a werewolf and finds out she's an alpha wolf, one in a hundred thousand, she has to figure out if she wants to lead the wolf pack or try to return to her old life... and the mysterious new guy she met - a guy who has a few secrets of his own.

Eve's an awesome protagonist, and I liked her immediately. She's responsible but at the same time really fun. I did feel like I could connect with her, and I definitely sympathized with her predicaments. Eve is really strong inside, and the fact that she didn't cave under the stress of her parents' divorce and their quick ability to move on with their lives really impressed me. She keeps her head on straight even in life-threatening situations, and I liked her quick thinking. Moreover, I absolutely loved her chemistry with Jericho!

Speaking of Jericho, aw man! He's one hot and enigmatic vampire. He reminds me of Drake from Charity's Lady of Toryn series, but I'm certain I like Jericho better! Not much is revealed about him in this book, so I'm hoping for more in the sequel. Jericho has a lot of secrets he's keeping from Eve, and when she finds out, their relationship faces a challenge. I liked how chivalrous Jericho is. Of course, he's hundreds of years old, so I guess old habits die hard. Jericho is really protective of Eve, and that made me like him all the more.

I also really liked Max, the beta of the werewolf pack and the town doctor. I think he and Eve would make a good team. But I do not want this to turn into a love triangle! Although of course Eve would end up with Jericho. They're soulmates, after all. Which brings me to that aspect - I loved the soulmate concept in this book! The only other series I've seen that in is Night World by L.J. Smith, and I don't know why more books don't include it. It's so intriguing!

Another thing I loved was the history and background that Charity added into this book. The world building is great, and I think Charity does that really well. I love knowing more about where the characters and legends come from. It makes the novel seem more real to me, in a way, and it helps me relate to the book. I'm hoping for more of that in the next book!

Blood Lust is definitely a vampire-werewolf centred novel, but it's not predictable at all. Charity kept me guessing at every turn, and I totally did not expect the cliffhanger at the end! I'm dying to read the sequel, Blood Oath, and I can't wait to find out more about these awesome characters, and what happens to them.

*Thank you to Charity Santiago for providing me with a copy for review*

Rating: 4/5