Month: June 2015

Of Neptune by Anna Banks | Book Review

Posted June 10, 2015 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Of Neptune by Anna Banks | Book ReviewOf Neptune by Anna Banks
Series: The Syrena Legacy #3
Also in this series: Of Poseidon, Of Triton
Published by Feiwel and Friends on May 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 330
Format: Hardcover
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2.5 Stars
Emma, who is half human and half Syrena, and her Syrena love, Galen, need time together. Alone. Away from the kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton. Emma’s grandfather, the Poseidon king, suggests the two visit a small town called Neptune.

Neptune is home to both Syrena and Half-Breeds alike. But Emma and Galen didn’t sign up to be peacemakers between the ocean-living Syrena and the land-dwelling, freshwater counterparts. They didn’t bargain for meeting a charming Half-Breed named Reed, who can barely disguise his feelings for Emma. And they especially didn’t expect to find themselves in the middle of a power struggle that threatens not only their love, but their ocean kingdoms.

In this stunning conclusion to her bestselling Syrena Legacy, Anna Banks thrills fans with more action and romance than ever.

I really, REALLY loved the first two books in The Syrena Legacy, Of Poseidon and Of Triton. I was excited for this third book because I loved the characters. At the same time, I felt like there wasn’t really a need for a third book. Of Triton wrapped up everything for me, and I felt like there really was nothing left I needed from the series. For this reason, I was also worried I would not love Of Neptune. Sadly, I was right. I almost didn’t even finish it and that broke my heart.

I don’t know if I’m tired of Emma or what, but her little wacky idiosyncrasies really bugged me this time around. I feel like in areas of her life, she has grown and changed and matured. In other areas, though, she’s stayed the same silly little teenager she was before she discovered herself and her family and her destiny. Things I found funny in book one, like Emma’s “ohmysweetgoodness” and “fan-freaking-tastic” and sarcastic quips were not funny this time. I wanted her to grow up a little and show me that she has changed over the years. I didn’t even like her in this book. She’s selfish (SO SELFISH) and inconsiderate and petty. She acted too young to be in a relationship. They both did, really.

I didn’t love Galen this time, and that surprised me. Hs uses of marine words inserted into human phrases is not endearing anymore. He calls Emma “Angel Fish” and that really started to bug me! He has also gotten way too broody. I loved the romance in the first book, but things really fizzled in book 2 and even more in book 3. I’m not sure why, after everything we’ve been through with Emma and Galen, a brand new love triangle was necessary in this final book. Emma goes to a town of Half-Breeds called Neptune and meets Reed, who is immediately infatuated with her. He is immediately in love with her. He immediately wants to break Galen and her up. It feels so forced and awkward. And Emma actually considers this and I’m like, “WHAT!?” How can this even happen after it is decided that Galen and Emma are destined for one another. I don’t even believe their love story anymore if she is so easily swayed to leave him for someone else. And REED? He’s a very weak, rather useless addition to the story.

To be honest, the entire Half-Breed town fell a little short of my interest level.I did not enjoy this new storyline that had nothing to do with the other two books. I wanted the magical underwater romance that I got with the first book, and there is none of that. Galen and Emma don’t even get much time with one another. There’s a lot of pouting, brooding, jumping to conclusions, and immaturity and it just bothered me that it was coming from two people who hold a lot of responsibility and who I have invested so much time into. I missed Rayna, Nalia, Toraf, and Grom. They made small cameo appearances, and I did not get their fun personalities. They were the ones I was so excited to see again! I don’t care about these new Half-Breeds and their hidden agendas. I wanted my Syrena family back!

I will admit that I loved the epilogue. If this epilogue had been placed at the end of Of Triton, I would have been a happy girl. If you enjoyed Of Poseidon and Of Triton and are looking for a little something more, definitely read the epilogue because it is very sweet and wraps things up nicely. Of Neptune is not necessary, though, and it pains me to say that more than you might expect.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

Posted June 8, 2015 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 25 Comments


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

How can I possibly pick only 10!? I am so excited for so many books! But honestly, when am I not? Perhaps this will be easier than if you asked me in January to narrow things down to 10 for the year instead of 10 over 6 months. So whatever. I’m rambling. Here are the beauties I can’t wait for!



Winter by Marissa Meyer
This really needs no explanation, does it? I’m so excited to read the conclusion of The Lunar Chronicles, but also super sad to see it end. But I LOVE this series, so I think it’s more sweet than bitter!

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
More Grisha!! I can’t wait!

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
I really loved A Thousand Pieces of You, and can’t wait to see where the next book goes.

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
It’s no secret that I loved The Kiss of Deception. It blew my mind. It was amazing. I’ve got a galley of THoB, and I have no idea why I have not read it yet! But you can bet I’ll be starting it soon!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I’m all about planet invasions and plagues and conspiracies! This sounds great! And I loved Amie’s These Broken Stars, obviously.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Again, do I need to explain? I will read anything this woman writes. SUPER excited for this one!

Some Kind of Wonderful by Sarah Morgan
I really love Sarah’s romantic contemporaries, and can’t wait for more! I’m getting more into adult fiction than ever before, so I’m having fun sneaking them in around my YA picks.

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins
“They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time.” GIVE IT TO ME.

My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards
Another mystery!!!! I have been all over YA thrillers/mysteries right now, so bring it on, Natalie.

Red Girl, Blue Boy by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
I adore Bloomsbury’s If Only… series, and this one sounds so cute! Her mom and his dad are running for President. Should be fun!


Are you excited for any of these titles? Which ones did I miss? Let me know! And link me to your TTT so I can check out what you’re waiting on!

The Debut Dish: Cordelia Jensen, Stephanie Oakes (+ Giveaway), Jen White, and Gina Ciocca (+ Giveaway)

Posted June 7, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway / 5 Comments

The Debut Dish, a Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen
June 2, 2015 from Philomel Books
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

A heartrending, bold novel in verse about family, identity, and forgiveness

Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he’s kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family’s fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time. Told in raw, exposed free verse, Skyscraping reminds us that there is no one way to be a family.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Uncovering parents’ secrets unhinges girl.

Why should readers pick up your book?
Skyscraping deals with a girl who feels betrayed and hurt by her parents but, ultimately, has to forgive before it is too late. Mira’s own identity undergoes significant change and she ultimately comes to understand–through a grieving process–that there isn’t just one way to be a family. Anyone who has undergone this sort of coming of age experience could relate to Mira’s story. It is also written in free verse with an emphasis on celestial imagery, which will appeal to verse novel readers. It takes place in 1993-94 in New York City so will appeal to readers who are interested in this time and place.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Seeing hard work become an actual real live book.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A purple amethyst.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
June 9, 2015 from Dial/Penguin
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

With a harrowing poetic voice, this contemporary page-turner is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Julie Berry’s All The Truth That’s in Me, and the works of Ellen Hopkins.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Handless girl fights back.

Why should readers pick up your book?
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a story of survival, friendship, and tough girls. I hope readers will be drawn in by Minnow’s story and all that she goes though, but also by the humor and hope she manages to find even in the darkest situations. I also hope it will appeal to fans of unusual fairy tale retellings (it’s a modern-day retelling of “The Handless Maiden”).

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
There are so many things that it’s really hard to pin down just one, but interacting with readers who’ve already read the book has probably been the coolest part of this experience so far. Readers, bloggers, reviewers—you are the best.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Anything and everything, but my old reliable is red licorice.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I don’t know if this is odd, but I have a Katniss Barbie on my desk. She’s a little cleaner and more resembling a supermodel than book Katniss, but I love her anyway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White
June 9, 2015 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

After their mother’s recent death, twelve-year-old Liberty and her eight-year-old sister, Billie, are sent to live with their father, who they haven’t seen since they were very young. Things are great at first; the girls are so excited to get to know their father – a traveling photographer who rides around in an RV. But soon, the pressure becomes too much for him, and he abandons them at the Jiffy Company Gas Station.

Instead of moping around and being scared, Liberty takes matters into her own hands. On their journey to get home, they encounter a shady, bald-headed gas station attendant, a full-body tattooed trucker, free Continental breakfast, a kid obsessed with Star Wars, a woman who lives with rats, and a host of other situations.

When all seems lost, they get some help from an unlikely source, and end up learning that sometimes you have to get a little bit lost to be found.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Abandoned sisters cross country trip.

Why should readers pick up your book?
If you like a cross country, sisters, journey filled with animal facts, crazy characters, and runaway action that tugs at your heart strings (and quite possibly will make you laugh and cry) then you’ll love the middle grade novel, SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Do you remember the first time you learned to ride a bike? Or got your drivers license? Remember that feeling of adventure pulsing through your veins? It’s like that. As a debut, every element of the the writing/publishing/promoting process is new and exciting. And I get to meet crazy talented, artistic folk, which is an obvious highlight. I love every bit of it.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Milk Duds. Their name is unfortunate, but maybe that’s why I love them.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A baby. Well, my two-year-old daughter sitting on my desk, coloring on printer paper. She’s pretty cute, too.

Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca
June 9, 2015 from Simon Pulse
Add to Goodreads | Author Website

Kelsey and David became best friends the summer before freshman year and were inseparable ever after. Until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke, and everything around her crumbled—including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decided to move away, she couldn’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. Except, David wasn’t ready to let her go…

Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town and he shakes up everything. Soon old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never truly let him go. And maybe she never wants to.

Told in alternating sections, LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE is a charming and romantic debut about loving, leaving, and letting go.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Sweet, sexy story of second chances! (“Of” doesn’t count as a word, right?)

Why should readers pick up your book?
It’s a fun, fast-paced read with plenty of angst. It captures the intensity and the drama of two teenagers figuring out who they are while also figuring out what they mean to each other. And if nothing else, the kissing scenes will give you feels.

What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
The best part of being a debut author is having my lifelong dream come true with a story I love and am proud of. That and meeting so many other people who are just as passionate about books as I am. For a long time, I thought I was largely alone in my nerdiness.

What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Raisinets or Goobers! I’m all about chocolate-covered.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Definitely a box of gummy boobs. They’re for a friend. Long story!

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The Devil You Know by Trish Doller | Mini Book Review

Posted June 5, 2015 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 5 Comments

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller | Mini Book ReviewThe Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on June 2, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4.5 Stars
Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

I gobble up mysteries and thrillers like the best of ’em, so I was all over The Devil You Know as soon as it arrived on my doorstep! Road trip + mystery + suspense + a little romantical intrigue and I was sold. And honestly, I loved it! I read it in one day because I was so creeped out that I worried I would not be able to sleep if I did not read the resolution and the wind-down of the story. The Devil You Know was exhilarating and refreshing and reminded me why I love reading so much.

Cadie, in an almost rebellion against her typical life and her typical self, daringly sets out on a road trip with two total strangers, doing many stupid and reckless things along the way. How could she NOT expect to end up in a boat load of trouble, unsure about who to trust? I mean… oh the scary. I kept wanting to tell her to stop! Go home! But the thing is, teens do this. Teen Jana NEVER would have, but I know teens who have done things like this, so I believed everything even though I was so flabbergasted that it was happening. I can only describe it as watching a train speed towards the end of the track with nobody in control. You know something is going to happen and you can’t do anything about it. This is the kind of thriller I love! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

This is my first book by Trish Doller, and I can’t wait to get my hands on more of hers. I loved her writing style in this story, and her ability to completely transport you to the scene at hand. No matter what was going on in the story I was on pins and needles. There is this underlying feeling of discomfort that envelopes you from beginning to end, which is why I honestly could not stop until things were over. The characters are not the most important part of the story, and that shows. And it’s fine. Trish really focuses on feelings and settings and events more than the people involved, which actually made me feel even more nervous. The boys are both mysteries, and Cadie is a normal girl that I think most readers can relate to in some way or another. I felt like I was Cadie, and that I was the one in danger. The entire story is incredibly well done, and I continually think about it even though I finished it months ago. I really hope Trish writes more thrillers!


Exclusive Cover Reveal – The Lexie Project by Heather Demetrios

Posted June 3, 2015 by Jana in Cover Reveal / 0 Comments

Everyone who read and loved Heather’s Something Real has been eagerly waiting for this serialized companion novel, The Lexie Project, which takes place one year after the end of Something Real. If you’ll remember, Lexie is one of the kids on the TV show “Baker’s Dozen”. Now she gets to tell her own story! Readers will have an exciting and unique experience reading one chapter of Lexie’s story on Wattpad each week for an entire year! Below you’ll find the adorable cover and all the details on how to follow Lexie and keep up to date on her life.

The Lexie Project

The Lexie Project by Heather Demetrios

Lexie Baker is ready for her close up and nobody’s gonna get in her freaking way.

Nearly a year after graduating high school and taking a hiatus from her family’s reality TV show, “Baker’s Dozen,” Lexie is in Los Angeles, on a mission to take Hollywood by storm. From red carpet premiers to helping her YouTube star roommate film weird videos, Lex fits right in with the droves of girls just as hungry as she is for some screen time. When Jax Wilson, a young, hot producer, offers to launch The Lexie Project, a reality show that will chronicle Lex’s adventures trying to make it as an actress in LA, she jumps at the chance. It isn’t an Oscar-winning role, but it’s a start.

Then she meets Liam, a film student who brings books to parties and is one of her twin brother’s closest friends. When it becomes clear that her brother, Benny, has a serious drinking problem that’s causing his life to spiral out of control, Lexie relies on Liam to help protect her brother from the media…and himself. But spending time with Liam soon makes Lexie question if the life of a starlet is really what she wants. And if it is, how far will she go to get it?

The City of Angels soon becomes Hell on Earth and Lexie realizes that everyone—even Liam—has something they’re hiding. It’s time to find a new role to play–not the one she was cast in at birth.

From Heather’s website: This companion novel to Something Real features several major characters from the novel. Perfect for fans of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lexie’s novelized memoir is a multi-platform storytelling experience told in real time that reaches readers through social media, including weekly chapter installments on Wattpad. Daily updates on Lexie’s social media accounts will give readers the chance to interact directly with Lexie and have opportunities to influence the course of the story.

Find Lexie on social media: Website/Blog | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

For more information, including a picture of Lexie Baker, visit Heather Demetrios’s website.

Lexie Getting Started


What do you think about the cover? And how do you feel about this unique reading experience? I’m kind of excited, myself! Will you be following Lexie?

Debut Author Challenge 2015 – June Review Link-Up

Posted June 1, 2015 by Jana in Debut Author Challenge / 4 Comments

DAC2015CTIt’s JUNE! June is a great month. I’m assuming pretty much everyone is done with school now? Or else REALLY soon? Tell me how you’re doing!

May was another awesome month of reviews! I can’t believe how great all these debuts are! Congratulations to the winner of May’s prize pack: Shayna from Bibliophilia: A Love Story from her review of An Ember in the Ashes!

June is another great pub month, and I’m pretty excited about several of the books coming out including Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams, Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout, Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca, and The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker. What are you excited to read this month?

Some things to remember:

– It’s never too late to join the fun! If you’d like to join or make sure you’re signed up, there is a sign-up list and list of participants located in the DAC 2015 Info tab at the top of my blog.

– Make sure to follow me at @debutauthorc for all the Debut Author Challenge news, including flash giveaways, Debut Dish post highlights, and information on our favorite authors!

– I’m here if you have any questions at all, so don’t hesitate to shoot me a message via Twitter or comment or homing pigeon.

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