Monthly Archives:: April 2013

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson (Book Review)

April 29, 2013 Book Review, Young Adult 8 ★★★★★

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson (Book Review)Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 1, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Christmas Present
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Top Twenty Reasons He’s A Slimy Jerk Bastard

"Jessa:
To help you get over your trainwreck of an EX, I’ve enclosed 20 envelopes. Each one has a reason why Sean is a jerk and not worth the dirt on your shoes. And each one has an instruction for you to do one un-Jessa-like thing a day. NO CHEATING!
Ciao! -- C"

When Jessa catches her boyfriend, Sean, making out with Natalie "The Boob Job" Stone three days before her drama club’s departure to Italy, she completely freaks.

Stuck with a front-row view of Sean and Natalie making out against the backdrop of a country that oozes romance, Jessa promises to follow all of the outrageous instructions in her best friend's care package and open her heart to new experiences. Enter cute Italian boy stage left.

Jessa had prepared to play the role of humiliated ex-girlfriend, but with Carissa directing her life from afar, it’s finally time to take a shot at being a star.

I was sold when I found out about Jessa’s coming-of-age journey through Italy! And that cover! I think I did what this cover girl is doing a lot while I was sightseeing across Europe. I just knew this was a book for me, and Kim Culbertson took me right back to Italy with this one! I loved it! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Poor Jessa. I loved her because she was normal. She was cheated on, and she griped and complained and mourned the loss of what she had with her boyfriend. And who wouldn’t? I’ve seen reviewers complain that Jessa whines to much, and I say to you: “Have you ever been cheated on?” I have. By an idiot. And you get mad and sad, and yes–you whine. And you flip flop. “I love him, I hate him, I want him to die, I wonder how he’s doing, I miss him, I’m better off without him, Let’s see if I can run into him somewhere while looking hot, I never want to see him again…” I know you know what I mean. Jessa was human, and seriously… I’ve had weepy friends whine more than Jessa did. I loved watching her get through all these emotions! I’m not sure I could handle a trip to Italy after a bad break-up. I admired her for not letting her boyfriend ruin the opportunity to see Italy. And I loved watching her discover herself. I think that when we feel strong emotions, we come out with a better understanding of who we are and how we want to be. Jessa learned a lot, and she matured SO much during this 10-day trip.

2. Carissa, Jessa’s best friend, is… unique. I can’t say I liked her because I did not get to know much about her at all. And honestly, I don’t think she’s a very good friend all things considered. She wrote up 20 envelopes for Jessa to open during her trip. Each envelope had something sucky about Sean in it, followed by something totally out-of-character that Jessa had to do. I liked that Carissa pushed Jessa a bit, but I also felt like some of her instructions were way too catty and immature. As Jessa got further along through the healing process and came to grips with her situation, I felt more and more like Carissa’s silly envelopes needed to be thrown in the river.

3. Tyler and Dylan Thomas (named after the poet) were Jessa’s two male compatriots throughout the trip. They helped her cope, talked some sense into her when she needed it, and sat with her when she just needed to listen to her show tunes on her iPod. I liked them a lot. Both are just nice, nice guys.

4. Oh, Italy, my love. You can tell the author actually WENT to Italy. I get so annoyed when authors write about a place, and you can just TELL that they have never set foot even close to it. I’ve been to many of the places in this book, and Kim wrote them right. It made me really miss Italy, and want to go back and visit the places I didn’t make it to!

5. Obviously, the romance is minimal, but there’s a little glimmer of possibility that was sweet. 

6. This book had so many pretty quotes! I’m going to paste a part of my favorite quote below. It’s actually a huge quote, but I don’t want to ruin things by posting it all. So here’s my favorite piece. I love it because traveling does do this to a person. Traveling fills holes, heals you in so many ways, and sends you home with a much better understanding of yourself.

I get to take Italy home with me, the Italy that showed me you and the Italy that showed me—me—the Italy that wrote me my very own instructions for a broken heart. And I get to leave the other heart in a hole. We are over. I know this. But we are not blank. We were a beautiful building made of stone, crumbled now and covered in vines. But not blank. Not forgotten. We are a history. We are beauty out of ruins.

Really, there’s not a ton I can say about this book. It’s about a teenage girl who gets hurt, and then has to go on a dream trip to Italy with the person who hurt her. It’s about healing, forgiveness, self-discovery, and growing up. There’s a lot of scenery, a lot of theater references, a lot of introspection, and a lot of emotions. The plot was predictable in places, and some might feel like this subject matter has been done and overdone, but I ended up really enjoying it! The ending made the book for me, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves traveling, coming of age stories, and light contemporary, summery reads!


Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris (Book Review)

April 25, 2013 Adult Fiction, Book Review 7 ★★★★

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris (Book Review)Bridge Of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
Published by Kensington Publishing on February 28, 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 431
Format: ARC
Source: From the author
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
A skilled violinist sacrifices her career aspirations and family's approval to secretly elope with her Japanese American boyfriend -- the night before Pearl Harbor is bombed. Torn between sides, she will make choices few people in history dared.

Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo. Her brother's best friend, Lane is the handsome, ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from their families, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. In the eyes of a fearful nation, Lane is no longer just an outsider, but an enemy.

When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. Behind barbed wire, tension simmers and the line between patriot and traitor blurs. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.

I was born in Japan, on an air force base. My mom has told me stories of the amazing people and the friends she had while we were there. A school of boys from Japan came to my junior high school in September of 2001, and I got to host one of them. He shadowed me for a week. It was an amazing experience, especially since they were here on the day of the September 11th terrorist attacks. They got to share in our tragedy, and I saw legitimate sorrow and concern for us in their eyes. I heard their condolences through their broken English. Japan is filled with amazing people, and I can’t imagine the prejudices they have dealt with, especially during the time period of this story. As always, my main points are bolded! :)

1. I really felt for Maddie and Lane throughout the entire book. Their relationship was kept a secret, they never showed any signs of affection in public, they had to elope last-minute because Lane’s father had already picked out his wife, and then the war and accompanying tragedies split them apart and made their lives so much harder than anyone deserves. Lane’s parents were against the marriage, and Maddie’s brother (TJ) demanded she get a divorce, even though Lane was his best friend. Actually, TJ was so mad about it that it helped fuel his decision to join the Army to fight against the Japanese, often picturing Lane in his mind as he shot the enemy. 

2. Before I read this book, I had not understood the magnitude of the racism and segregation the Japanese-Americans dealt with. I admire both Maddie and Lane for their strength, for following their hearts, for looking past the opinions of others, and for sticking with each other, no matter the hardships involved. They were both so young, yet they had a more realistic picture of how life should be than the majority of the people they came across.

3. I learned a lot from this book. I was not aware of the camps the Japanese-Americans had to stay in once Pearl Harbor was bombed. The entire west coast pushed them away, out of their homes and businesses, searched and ravaged their homes for signs of treason, and forced them into dirty camps like prisoners. This internment lasted the duration of World War II. You only had to be 1/16th Japanese to receive this kind of punishment. Children were ripped away from their families. Spouses were split up. The Japanese-Americans who were visiting/vacationing in Japan during the attack, were not allowed to return to the USA. In fact, they were forced into the Japanese Army and had to fight against their own friends and family back home. Brothers, on opposite sides of the war, were forced to fight one another. And it happened. In the author’s note at the end of the book, she mentions a brother shooting down an enemy plane, only to find out his brother was on it. My heart broke. Some of the Japanese-Americans were forced to enlist in the US Army and spy on the Japanese, translating documents and sneaking into the fields at night to eavesdrop on their plans of ambush or attack. The ones who were not forced to enlist marked the reluctant soldiers as traitors, and put their families on “death lists”. These are not the things we’retaught in school, or at least I wasn’t. I’m grateful to Kristina for educating me with her extremely well-researched facts–heartbreaking as they may be.

4. Kristina’s writing style is gorgeous. She intertwines subtle symbolic messages and melodies with a sweet Romeo and Juliet kind of romance, and a cold, unfeeling war. Her lovely, descriptive passages soften the blow of the poignant sequences of war and loss.

5. This is the kind of book that one experiences, rather than reads. I felt so many different emotions throughout. The romance was heartwarming, the ever-present glimmers of opposing hearts softening made me hopeful that love knows no bounds, the tortures and deaths were devastating. It was quite an emotional roller coaster that didn’t end until the final page.

6. This book is much heavier than I had expected, and I don’t usually venture into such deeply emotional reads. I’m glad I read it, though. It’s a versatile read, and has a little bit of everything: romance, action, suspense, loss, coming of age, history, symbolism, and growth. Did everything end up the way I wanted? No. But I respect the author for not tying everything up into a perfect bow. If she had, it would have been insulting to the survivors and their families, not to mention those that perished. She painted the war as it really was without sugarcoating it. I think it’s good to be reminded of what humans are capable of. 

Maddie and Lane, along with countless numbers of other inter-racial couples and friendships, crossed over the barrier, and formed relationships that helped unite the races. Years later (and a long time coming), in 1988 President Reagan officially apologized to the Japanese-Americans for their internment during WW2. Kristina ends her author’s note with a quote that I loved: “Indeed, history has much to teach us, if only we are willing to learn.” I think that is so true, and beautifully sums up the entire message of this book. I’d recommend this to pretty much anyone, but if you love historical fiction with a hint of romance, I bet you’ll like this. :)


April Showers Bring My Favorite Rainy Day Reads (Giveaway)

April 24, 2013 Giveaway 119

I don’t know about you, but my April has been filled with showers… and blizzards. And when the weather is like that, I want to curl up with a light, warm fuzzies kind of book and escape the yucky weather. I love reading books set at the beach, on vacation, or during the summer or springtime.

I’ve put together a collage of some of my favorite springtime books and beach reads to beat those rainy day blues! And don’t worry! I see sunshine in your future. :)

 

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (My Review)
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (My Review)
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland (My Review)
Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson
On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves (My Review)
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (My Review)
My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite (My Review)
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen (My Review)
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (My Review)
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

I’m hoping to brighten your day with a book of your choice ($12 USD or less) from Amazon (USA) or The Book Depository (Int). Because let’s face it: my rainy day reads might not be your cup of tea. So I’m not choosing for you. All you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below and cross your fingers! Please note, the Amazon prices for these titles are less than $12. I can’t guarantee that The Book Depository will have the same prices. Make sure you check before you select. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and I hope you win! 
Make sure you hop along to the other participating blogs for more chances to win!


Can I Have that Book Yesterday?

April 18, 2013 Discussion 8

You know how sometimes you’re lollygagging on the Internet, and all of a sudden come across a review, or an ad, or a fangirl tweet, or some peer pressure from a fellow book lover and you eyes light up and you think, “I NEED THAT BOOK NOW.” But of course, it’s midnight and the book stores are closed, and you have to work the next day so you can’t go shopping early, plus Amazon takes forever… and you’re not into the idea of buying it on your ereader because the cover is sparkly and would look awesome on your bookshelf, and why can’t you just HAVE IT NOW. Am I right? I can’t tell you how many times that this has happened to me, and in this day and age… with all the technology and cool things like instant mashed potatoes… well, you know what I mean. When I saw this hilarious video, I could not help myself. I started dreaming.


So tell me. What books out there have had you so terribly excited that there was no earthly way it could get to you fast enough? Have you ever gone to extraordinary measures to get your hands on a book?
I think the worst I’ve done is drag my mom to the midnight release of Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. Haha! The line was a couple hours long, and it was a school night! :P Oh, I did pay $30 for an out of print mass market paperback that I just HAD to have! Too bad I didn’t even end up liking the book, and only finished it because I spent so much on it!

My Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes

April 16, 2013 Top Ten Tuesday 13

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

I am so excited that this week is a freebie, because that means we get to choose anything we want! I decided to highlight some of my favorite quotes from my favorite books!

 

 








Have you read any of these books? Do any of these quotes speak to you like they do me? Leave me a link, and I’ll come stop by your TTT! I’m super excited to visit, and see what you chose for today!


Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) by Anna Banks (Book Review)

April 11, 2013 Book Review, Young Adult 11 ★★★★★

Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) by Anna Banks (Book Review)Of Triton by Anna Banks
Series: The Syrena Legacy #2
Also in this series: Of Poseidon, Of Neptune
Published by Feiwel and Friends on May 28, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 246
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
In this sequel to OF POSEIDON, Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess, and now struggles with an identity crisis: As a Half-Breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm below. Syrena law states that all Half- Breeds should be put to death.

As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance among the Syrena turns the two kingdoms—Poseidon and Triton—against one another. Which leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself—and her Gift—to save a people she’s never known?

Oh my. I was so excited when I found out about Of Triton, and was even more excited when I received an ARC in the mail! I loved Of Poseidon. LOVED IT!!! It was funny, had amazing characters, I loved the dual perspectives (which we get in Of Triton again), I loved Anna’s take on mermaid and Greek mythology, I loved the intense moments, I loved the writing style and the gorgeous underwater descriptions, and the ending killed me! I was catapulted off a cliff with that ending, and craved the sequel immediately. Of Triton was amazing. Everything I loved about Of Poseidon was there, and so much more. As always, my main points are bolded!

1. I still love the characters so much. Galen is so amazingly protective of those he loves, and I adore that about him. He is always there, and has the back of whoever needs him. Emma has grown in maturity and bravery. I really liked Emma’s mother, as well. She was still protective, but has learned that Emma is smart on her own. She turns into more of a friend than a mom in this book, and I liked her much more. And I loved the secondary characters: Grom, Poseidon King Antonis (who is so grandfatherly and sweet!), Rayna, and Toraf. I loved seeing familiar faces and meeting the new ones! 

2. Of Triton is full of just as many one-liners and ohmysweetgoodnesses as Of Poseidon, and I love that the humor is understated enough to make you laugh without being overbearing and roll-your-eyes cheesy. So much of Anna Banks’s sense of humor and personality shines through in her writing. 

3. This book is so action-packed! From the first page to the last, Anna holds nothing back. After a quick memory refresher, we’re off! I was whipping through this book. I see no signs of the sophomore slump with Of Triton. Not only do we get to follow up with our favorite friends, we get SO much more information! And the gift of Triton appears, which was SUPER exciting. And we get thrown with crazy twists and turns, plus some really sweet and tender family moments. Oh, and there’s a ton of stuff that needs to be worked out between the two syrena kingdoms. I really could not have asked for more.

4. Anna’s writing is gorgeous. I’m still enamored with her storytelling, her writing style, and her details. She gives us all the details!

5. We get more knowledge of the syrena. Their history, the inner workings, their laws and abilities, etc. And we learn more about some of the main characters. We get all the knowledge!

6. There’s a pretty good chance I loved this more than Of Poseidon. And if you’ve read my review, you’ll wonder how that’s even possible.

Ok, so after reading and re-reading my review, I think it kind of sucks. Haha. But I have no idea what to do to make it better! Basically, I loved Of Triton and wanted to write a short, sweet review that gave nothing away. At all. Because you don’t deserve any spoilers. Anna Banks is now officially on my auto-buy list. I’ve read everything of hers, and I have loved allllll of it! Of Poseidon lovers will not be disappointed at all by Of Triton, well except for the fact that it’s so short. Haha. I can’t wait for Anna to write a million more books!


Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (Book Review & Giveaway)

April 8, 2013 Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 29

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (Book Review & Giveaway)Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini
Published by Simon Pulse on October 30, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the author
Amazon Add to Goodreads
When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

I’m not usually a fan of afterlife-type novels, because I don’t usually like an author’s take on Heaven/Hell, Angels, God, and the afterlife in general. For this reason, I almost did not accept this book for review. Something about it, though, drew me right in and I decided to give it a chance. I am SO glad I did, because this book is a new favorite of mine! I really loved it, and it made me think about my life. I’m going to do my best to make sure this review is vague. You really need to discover the book as you read. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Elliot is a typical teenager, who is trying to learn from her mistakes and plan out her next life. She is struggling to find her way and her place. I loved that about her, because she was so easy to relate to. We all make mistakes, and we all have things in our lives that we wish had turned out, or been handled, differently. I love watching her remember what happened during the months before she passed away. I enjoyed watching her discover and piece together her former life, and the emotions and experiences she had.

2. Elliot has several amazing friends in the Obmil, or afterlife, that she has seen before between past lives. There are also a couple new ones that she has to figure out how and why they are important to her. One of them is a fatherly/grandfatherly figure named Freddie, who gives her advice. I really liked him and his fuzzy flannel shirts. Oliver will do anything to help her discover her plan for spiritual growth, and is a sweet brother type. Mel is a guide of sorts, and unconditionally loves Elliot. She is so sweet and loving. And then we have Trevor, the snarky grump whose t-shirt sayings change to reflect his mood. I loved those shirts. Haha. Some of them were really funny. He is a very dynamic, emotional, and confused character. I loved watching his transformation as he discovers his past right along with Elliot.

3. I loved Kimberly’s take on the afterlife. Basically, it’s a limbo period where people go after they have passed away so that they can learn from their past life or lives and reserve to do better in their next one. Each character goes through a lot of introspection and discovery, which I loved seeing. I firmly believe in always trying to improve yourself, so even though I don’t believe in reincarnation, I appreciated this message in the book.

4. Kimberly’s lyrical writing style is gorgeous, and so perfectly in sync with the subject matter of Touching the Surface. I just drank it all in, and could picture this otherworldly place in the afterlife in vivid detail.

5. The emotions in this book are just so real and pure. The people are flawed and working through their lives. Each is on a very personal journey. Aren’t we all? I really connected with these characters, and their situations. Their discoveries made me think about my own life, and how I am doing now. When I pass on, what will I look back on and wish I had handled differently? Will I wish I said something different to someone? Will I regret not experiencing certain things? I challenged myself to work harder and be better. I’m grateful to Kimberly for making me think all these things. 

Overall, Touching the Surface is a beautiful story that readers of all genres will be able to relate to and pull from. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you will connect with these characters. You will think about your own life, and you will most likely end up making some goals for yourself as you move forward. I was touched by so many of the passages, and related to the emotions that were discussed. I loved experiencing this book, and can’t wait for more books from Kimberly.

Giveaway: Kim is generously providing a personalized hardback of Touching the Surface for one of my US readers! Thanks so much, Kim!

Good luck, and I hope you win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Stacking the Shelves (#1)

April 7, 2013 Uncategorized 8

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, where we get to show off all the exciting books we’ve added to our shelves! It’s a fun way to express our excitement over books we might not be able to review for a while. :)

So, this is my very first time participating in Stacking the Shelves! It’s been a while since I’ve shared my acquired books. With the awesome deals online right now, I’m excited to show you all what I got!

For Review:


Of Triton by Anna Banks
The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne
Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (watch for my review and giveaway tomorrow!)
Unremembered by Jessica Brody (this was actually a gift from Macmillan for participating in the blog tour!)
Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block

Not pictured (because they are ebooks): 

True by Erin McCarthy
Tempest Revealed by Tracy Deebs
The Secret Ingredient by Stewart Lewis
Dare You To by Katie McGarry
Burning by Elana K. Arnold
The Deepest Night by Shana Abe
The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
The Fairest of them All by Carolyn Turgeon
Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton
Towering by Alex Flinn
Reboot by Amy Tintera
Golden by Jessi Kirby
Girl Vs. Earl by Phillippa Ashley

Purchased: 


Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Delirium Stories by Lauren Oliver
Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot
Forever Summer (Included Laguna Cove and Cruel Summer) by Alyson Noel

Not pictured (because they are ebooks): 

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
Confessions of a Call Center Gal by Lisa Lim

Won:


The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson

Thanks to Brittany at The Book Addict’s Guide for hosting the giveaway!

So, what have you gotten recently? Link me, and I’ll come visit!


Firefly (Cicada #2) by Belle Whittington (Mini Book Review)

April 3, 2013 Blog Tour, Book Review, Young Adult 2 ★★★½

Firefly (Cicada #2) by Belle Whittington (Mini Book Review)Firefly by Belle Whittington
Series: Cicada #2
Also in this series: Cicada, Monarch
Published by Self on February 2, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 510
Format: eBook
Source: From the author
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3.5 Stars
“The darkest days are ahead of us,” Andrew whispered as the drape of shadows slipped away, allowing Blair to awaken. And in her heart of hearts she knew it was true. The unmistakable signs were all around her, growing within her. She was becoming something more than human. All she could do was accept the inevitable.

“I’ve become a freak … an alien. I no longer belong to the human world,” Blair told her true love, and he held her close, determined never to give her up.

“I’d stay in this darkness forever as long as I could be with you. Wherever you are … that’s my home.” Everett meant every word. In fact, he’d willingly give up his own life to protect the girl he’d always loved.

But there was a storm brewing … a firestorm so strong and catastrophic that it could keep them apart forever.

That storm roared into town wearing a brown leather bomber jacket and riding a motorcycle.

Ash was like a secret in human clothing … a dangerous secret. Everything about him was mesmerizing – right down to the swirls of ink that flowed over the smooth muscles across his chest and around his arms. Being with him was like playing with fire.

Blair knew all about playing with fire.

She knew something else, too. A small quiet voice deep within whispered that she really would be separated from everyone and everything she’d known and loved.

Because some secrets run too deep.

Welcome to my stop along Belle Whittington’s Firefly blog tour, hosted by Books and Broomsticks! I’m pleased to be a part of the festivities, and add my review to the pile of reviews, guest posts, and interviews. If you’re new to the series, check out my review of Cicada, book #1.

I had been anticipating Firefly after really enjoying Cicada last year, so I was delighted when I was invited to join the tour! Firefly is an exciting new installment in the trilogy, and did answer some of the questions we were left with at the end of Cicada. I’m going to try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, but it’s going to be tricky because SO MUCH HAPPENED in this book!

Firefly picks up right where Cicada left off, and Belle gives the reader just enough information about Cicada to stir their memory, but not so much that it feels like we’re being told the same story all over again. Everett, Blair’s boyfriend, and Andrew, Blair’s brother, are not in this book as much as they were before, and I missed them! You might remember me gushing over both of them in my review of Cicada. They were off discovering themselves, though, and learning what was necessary to add their pieces to this crazy puzzle they are involved in. We did get to see them some, and they ended up being exactly where they needed to be at exactly the right time. And with their absence, we are introduced to a little telepathy and dream traveling, which was a really cool addition to their (and Blair’s) mysterious abilities. I still really adore Andrew. I wish I had him as my older brother!

The love triangle is introduced in this book, with Mr. swoony-Ash. I started out liking him, but as he got more possessive and stalkerish, I was definitely glad that Everett was still the amazingly loyal and sweet former nerd I loved in the first book. I had a lot of fun watching him morph into this new version of himself. Bug boy to bad boy, if you will. One aspect of the love story left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. This book seemed to be a lot more sappy and lovey-dovey than the last one. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love love stories. I eat love stories for dinner AND dessert. I just felt like this one was almost Disney princess sappy, though, with Blair pining away for her “true love” countless numbers of time. She could not handle having Everett gone, and she moped and complained a little too much for me. And when she did see him, she spent more time climbing into his lap than talking to him. It made Blair seem weak, and with the role she has in this book, you would expect her to be anything but.

I really enjoyed Blair’s transformation into something less than human. I also liked the history behind why all of this is happening to her. And I really liked watching her experience all these changes and new abilities. A lot of magic and mystery surrounds her, and it was fun discovering who she is right along with her. I loved her relationship with her mom and her grandparents. It’s refreshing to see such strong family bonds in young adult literature.

There’s a twist that we find out about partway through the book regarding Blair’s memory of the past, and I loved that twist. I swear, the creativity behind this trilogy is amazing. I love the unique take on aliens and other worlds. I also really like Belle’s writing style and attention to detail, even though there were several typos throughout the book. There are some gorgeous passages that I actually re-read, involving dreams, galaxies, and even descriptions of the changing seasons. You can tell Belle is very talented, and is extremely invested in her books. I’m really excited to see where the next book goes, as yet again, I’m left with a lot of questions!

Disclaimer: About a quarter of the way through the book, something happens that upset me a great deal, to the point where I almost DNF’d the book. It involves the mutilation of a beloved animal. As many of you know, I’m very against this theme in books. I wrote to Belle and her daughter, the tour host, and explained my feelings. I was informed that this is actually a common practice among alien hoaxes and crop circles. Once I learned this, I was still horrified, but it was easier on me knowing that this aspect of the story is based on true events, rather than a creative author. I appreciated the explanation, and thought I would mention it here in my review to help soften the blow on other sensitive readers. I’d like to thank Linda for explaining this to me.

 

 


Top Ten (Twelve) Characters I Would Crush On If I Were Also A Fictional Character

April 2, 2013 Top Ten Tuesday 35

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

Thanks for dropping by! While you’re here, be sure to enter to win my $50 Amazon gift card giveaway! The link is in my sidebar.

I really love this week’s topic! I totally get crushes on boys in books, even if I would be 6-10 years older than some of them in real life. But we won’t think about that! Honestly, boys are just better in books. Sadly, I have found this to be true. Thus, this is me:

This is also me:

Bahaha. Ok, anyway. We’re moving on to my list, because honestly things might get depressing if I post more ecards with women facepalming and pouting over this.

Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I kid you not, this man will end up on 80% of all the lists, and we all know why. I don’t even have to explain it to you. And if he wasn’t swoony enough before, we all saw Colin Firth in the BBC Pride and Prejudice, right?

Dash from Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
He’s a bookish, hipster nerd whose biggest wish in life is to own his own 22-volume Oxford English Dictionary. COME ON. Plus, he hangs out in The Strand and writes in Moleskine notebooks. And he’s not gay.

St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I love this boy. This is not a crush. It’s loooove. I can’t say one bad thing about him.

Lieutenant Treynor from Honor Bound by Brenda Novak
Ok, not many know this about me, but I have this secret love of pirates and men who run ships in historical romance novels. It’s a guilty pleasure. This guy is described as being nothing short of a Greek god. He came from a very difficult background and ran away to join the Royal Navy at a very young age. He climbed the ranks, and gained a ton of respect from the people he works with. He has an incredible sense of duty and he respects women, going to great lengths to protect them. He’s also very gentlemanly and well-spoken. Ship men are not usually like this in historical romance novels, and I developed the biggest crush on him.

Galen from Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Can I please have my very own Syrena prince? He’s the tall, dark, handsome, sweet, jealous-but-not-smothering type. And oh, he sure loves Emma!

Alex from Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Come on. This boy will make you believe that love is not a disease.

Wolf from Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Wolf is sexy and swoonworthy, and exactly the kind of bad boy this story needed. His sensitive nature and core instincts make him both a ticking time bomb and the most loyal companion you could ask for.

Sam from Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Because he’s been reincarnated so many times, he’s extremely smart, talented, and mature. He’s unbelievably caring and considerate. He adores Ana, and helps her figure out that she’s worth so much more than her birth mother has been telling her her whole life. And he’s musical. He made me melt a little.Cade from The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
He’s a sexy, slightly broken jack-of-all-trades with a smart, sensitive side and great abs. Oh man. Totally love this guy.

Bennett from Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Bennett is impulsive, a wanderer across continents and time. I’d love to have him poof me to some exotic island for our first date.

James from Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
What a likeable, happy, artistic, charismatic, and hilarious guy. I love his philosophy, which is basically this: you can be sad and you can mourn what you’ve lost, but the memories you created before that loss are yours forever. Never discount the happy times in life, just because they ended unhappily. I can learn so much from him!

Rowan from Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
He’s this reformed bad-boy with a travel bug who hops around from destination to destination teaching diving courses and backpacking to hole-in-the-wall hostels where everyone already knows him. He just sounds pretty darn amazing. He’s really mysterious and hardened, but a softy when his walls are torn down. And he’s bookish. Yes please!

Honorable mentions: Oliver from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, Perry from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Alex from Snowed Over by Angie Stanton, Vin from The Carny by Brooke Moss, Nick from Decked with Holly by Marni Bates, Nicoli from Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett… And yes people. I am editing this post to own up to my love of Edward Cullen. I was embarrassed, but you all gave me courage with your lists. I love him in the book. Not the movie. I think I need to quit!

So, who are your favorite fictional characters? Who are you crushing a little too hard on? Leave me links, and I’ll come swoon with you!