Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reviews: As I Close My Eyes + As I Wake by Sarah DiCello

Recently, I had the chance to read As I Close My Eyes and As I Wake, the first two books in Sarah DiCello's Breaking Fate series. Both reads were great, and today, I thought I would share my thoughts on both. So without a further ado...

As I Close My Eyes (Breaking Fate, #1)


Summary/Cover Image from Goodreads:
When she looks into her own eyes, she sees a ghost.

And when she looks into his eyes, she knows she has seen them before ...

Danielle Grayson is a beautiful, intelligent young woman in present-day Georgia, but when she closes her eyes, she becomes someone else in a different time, one hundred years earlier in fact.

Danielle's other life is as entrancing and romantic as her current one, and the contrast between the lifestyles is intriguing and enlightening, but what starts out as being dreamlike soon becomes real and strangely familiar.

Worse, whatever happens to her as Danielle seems to change the past, if it is a true past.

And when she finds she is not alone in being able to flip between the two worlds, life, love and death become increasingly disturbing.
Review:

When I was first offered the chance to read and review As I Close My Eyes, I instantly said yes. The Breaking Fate series sounded like just my kind of read, and as a huge fan of time travel/incarnation books, I thought it would be the perfect fit for me. Thankfully, I enjoyed As I Close My Eyes quite a bit, even though I did have a few slight problems with it.

As I Close My Eyes tells the story of Dani, a self-proclaimed "plain Jane" who is currently enjoying the summer with her three closest friends. However, everything changes for Dani when she's involved in a boating accident and hits her head. Suddenly, she's dreaming off a past life, one that occurs in Cape May during the 1800s. Dani doesn't know what to think, especially when she runs into Ben, the attractive young owner of a local bookshop who looks like just her romantic interest in her dreams. Is Dani going crazy, or is their a rational explanation to this all?

I will admit that I had a hard time getting into this book at first, and most of that  had to do with Dani. Don't get me wrong, I came to like her as the book progressed, but at first, she got on my nerves so bad with her whining. Dani's pulled the typical "my best friend is prettier than me...blah...blah..blah...no boys see me" card.  I can understand being unsure of yourself...I mean, I get like that, but still, when it occurs on nearly every page, it gets a little out hand, especially when it's no where near to being true for the MC. Thankfully, Dani managed to snap out of it, and she figured out that she was a great catch. Anyhow, moving on, I really enjoyed the other characters in this one. I thought Ben was an interesting guy, and while Dani and Ben's romance was a bit insta-love, it made sense given the circumstances they were under. I especially enjoyed reading about Dani's parents in this one as well as Eric. They all added something special to the book, in my opinion.

Now onto the plot...it was a little slow to start up, but once everything got rolling and new twists and turns were introduced, it was smoking. As mentioned above, I love when books include time traveling and incarnation, and luckily, As I Close My Eyes managed to deliver in these areas. Dani's times in the past where always interesting and eventful, and better yet, it was a ton of fun to see her as well as Ben try to figure everything out as the book progressed.

In all, even with a few small setbacks at first, As I Close My Eyes managed to pull through by the ending, making it well worth the read, in my opinion. However, word of warning: it has a KILLER ending!

Grade: B

As I Close My Eyes (Amazon, Goodreads) is now out in paperback and eBook formats!

Source: Author- thanks, Sarah!

As I Wake (Breaking Fate, #2)

Summary/Cover Image from Goodreads
Readers entranced by "As I Close My Eyes" will once again be thrust into the enchanting life of Danielle Grayson in "As I Wake," the second book in the Breaking Fate series.

A secret of Dani's past is revealed and she must find the answers before it's too late. Can she change the fate of her one true love or will he suffer the same destiny for all of time?

As Dani rekindles her relationship with Ben she finds herself torn between her present day life in Sugar Hill, Georgia and a new past she has yet to discover. But something in her past makes her question the journey she has chosen. Time is running out and she is the only one who can understand the path that must be taken. But will it be enough? Has the story of Dani and Ben been written in stone never to be undone
Review:

After finishing As I Close My Eyes, I was so happy to have As I Wake on my iPad based on the ending alone. I couldn't  wait to see what would occur next, and from what I had seen in other reviews, As I Wake was better than the first one. Thankfully, within As I Wake, Sarah DiCello really managed to step up her game, making it a suspenseful and well presented book from the first page to the very last.

As I Wake picks up the story just a few days after As I Close My Eyes ends. Dani's recovering from her and Ben's car accident, but all she really cares about is that she has him again. However, with the car crash comes the start of a new set of dreams, all of which take place in a new time period: the 1920s. What's in store for Dani in this past life? And more importantly, what happens when a fortune teller reveals to Dani there's more to her past and her abilities than she could have ever imagined?

There was so much I enjoyed about this one, and one of those aspects was the characters. As mentioned in my review for the first one, Dani and me had a hard time meshing at first. However, in this one, she managed to surprise me furthermore. She started to stand up for herself and what she believed even more, and better yet, she developed some true spunk. I also really enjoyed seeing Ben again. It was fun to see him grow as well, and I loved seeing him and Dani interact with each other. They are an adorable couple! Surprisingly, I developed an new favorite in this one and that was Eric. In some ways, I liked Eric even more than Ben, so to say I was happy to see what big of a role he played in this would be a serious understatement.

Moving on,  I also enjoyed the plot in this one. Sarah developed Dani's abilities even further and managed to throw in some awesome twists and turns with it. Throughout this, I was constantly on the edge of my seat, dying to know what would happen next. I wanted to know who Dani got her powers from as well as what certain parts of her dreams really meant. The best part, though, was the ending. It had me biting my nails up to the very last sentence, which is always the sign of a good book in my opinion.

In all, As I Wake is a fabulous second novel, one that I highly suggest to fans of As I Close My Eyes, and even if you were on the fence with the first one, I still suggest you give it a try. It's an amazing book to say the least.

Grade: A

As I Wake (AmazonGoodreads) is now out!

Source: Author- thanks, Sarah! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (2/19 to 2/23)


 
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Physical Copies for Review:


~ Gone South by Meg Moseley (accepted review copy)

Okay, can I just say how much I ADORE the cover of this one? 

eBooks for Review:




Permanent Record by Leslie Stella (accepted review copy)

Not the biggest fan of the cover, but it sounds like it has the potential to be good. 

Me & My Invisible Guy by Sarah Jeffrey (accepted review copy)

As you all probably know, I'm a HUGE fan of YA contemporary, so I have some pretty high hopes for this one.

Sketchy by Olivia Samms (accepted review copy)

My love for mysteries comes pretty close to my love for contemporary, so I can't wait to start this one. 

You Know What You Have to Do by Bonnie Shimko (accepted review copy)

A girl hears a voice in her head that tells her to do evil stuff?! Now that's something I'd read a book about! Can't wait to start this one.

The Space Between by Victoria H. Smith (accepted review copy)

A New Adult contemporary? I'M.SO.FREAKING.EXCITED. Plus I ADORE the cover!

Bought:


Inbetween (Kissed by Death) by Tara Fuller

This was a kindle daily deal and I just couldn't resist. 

Kindle Freebie:


Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie 

Sounds adorable!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Blog Tour: Concealed in the Shadows by Gabrielle Arrowsmith (Review!)

Click on the button to see all the tour stops!

As part of the blog tour Gabrielle Arrowsmith's Concealed in the Shadows, a newly released Dystopian YA, I have a review for it. So without a further ado...

Summary/Cover Image from Goodreads:
Sydney Harter has long awaited September 12th, 2033, her eighteenth birthday. She can finally apply for guardianship of her sister Evvie, her only family and entire world. Sydney holds a sliver of hope that they will be lawfully reunited, and that light will return to her desolate life, but she is prepared to defy authority and risk everything to escape Miles County so that she and Evvie can live full lives together.

Escaping will be difficult and dangerous. Citizens are bound to their county by sophisticated chip implants that deliver shocks to anyone who crosses the county's electric barrier. Sydney is very clever, but her trickery is limited against the all-seeing eyes of county technology. It seems impossible to escape into the forgotten forests and cities of the past, but Sydney is determined to find a way if she is denied guardianship of her sister. For years she has longed to break free from the government's experimental Petri Dish and the hallowed drones that inhabit it.

What Sydney doesn't know is that the county has particular interest in her. Her place in this complex dystopia is about to change. Deceit, fear, and warfare, will come to characterize her life, yet her love for Evvie will always prevail. She must protect her sister, but at what cost?
Review: 

When I was offered the chance to read and review Concealed in the Shadows by Gabrielle Arrowsmith, I instantly said yes. It sounded interesting and unique, and since it was part of the Dystopian genre, one of my favorites, I knew I had to give it a try. As it turns out, Concealed in the Shadows was an intriguing and fast paced debut!

Concealed in the Shadows tells the story of Sydney Harter, a girl living in the a Dystopian version of America in the year 2033. Ever since the death of their mother and father, Sydney and her sister Evvie have been mistreated and thrown around by their governments version of foster care. However, on September 12th, Sydney's eighteenth birthday, she's given the chance to change everything for her sister as well as herself, as she can now file for full custody of Evvie. Sydney's worried about what the outcome of the case will be, especially what it means if she looses the case. However, as Sydney's about to learn, this case is just the beginning of a long journey, one that will be filled with rebellion, tears, bloodshed, and the chance at love, but will she and her sister make it out alive? Only time and more pages can tell!

I have to admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of Sydney at first. She was kind of bland and just there if you know what I mean. She had one way of thinking, and truthfully, she wasn't quick to show any type of emotion. She was good person, as she did love her sister and want what was best for her. However, I just really wasn't able to get a good grasp of Sydney and what she stood for besides that point. As the novel progressed, though, Sydney did as well, and that transformation was great. She turned into someone I truly admired and rooted for. Plus she finally started to act more human like...always a welcomed change in my opinion. With Evvie, I had no trouble liking her from the start. She was a sweet girl, even if she was a tad naive. It was always fun to see her and Sydney interact though, as for each point that Sydney was cold and reserved, Evvie was emotional and lively.

The plot in this was intriguing and full of action...just as I expected. I really enjoyed seeing Gabrielle's version of a future America. She did a great job of developing each area. Better yet, I loved how she made some of the changes seem like they really could happen, because not only did it add world development but it gave the book a chilling and scary aspect. I won't give much away about the plot, as it's the kind of read where giving one thing away may change a reader's experience, but I will say it managed to surprise me at times, especially at the end when Gabrielle through in some pretty tough punches.

In all, Concealed in the Shadows is a compelling and well presented debut novel. It's a little slow to start, but by the end, it really manages to pull its own weight. Other than that, all I have to say is: when does book #2 come out because I NEED to know what happens next!

Grade: B+

Concealed in the Shadows (AmazonGoodreads/ Createspace) is now out in paperback and eBook formats!

Source: Author for blog tour- thanks Gabrielle!

About the Author:

GABRIELLE ARROWSMTIH enjoyed writing her debut novel, Concealed in the Shadows, during a lovely Minnestoa summer that she had off from her primary profession, teaching. She looks forward to continuing the story. Acting, playing and coaching soccer, reading, playing piano, and spending time with family and friends are among her other interests.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mini Review: Obscura Burning by Suzanne van Rooyen

Summary/Cover Image from Goodreads:
The world's going to end in fire…and it's all Kyle's fault.

Kyle Wolfe's world is about to crash and burn. Just weeks away from graduation, a fire kills Kyle's two best friends and leaves him permanently scarred. A fire that Kyle accidentally set the night he cheated on his boyfriend Danny with their female friend, Shira. That same day, a strange new planet, Obscura, appears in the sky. And suddenly Kyle's friends aren't all that dead anymore.

Each time Kyle goes to sleep, he awakens to two different realities. In one, his boyfriend Danny is still alive, but Shira is dead. In the other, it's Shira who's alive...and now they're friends with benefits. Shifting between realities is slowly killing him, and he's not the only one dying. The world is dying with him. He's pretty sure Obscura has something to do with it, but with his parents' marriage imploding and realities shifting each time he closes his eyes, Kyle has problems enough without being the one in charge of saving the world...
Mini Review: 

When I first heard about Obscura Burning, all I could think about was how different it sounded from what's currently on the YA market. That and the cover which I think is gorgeous. I just love all the colors used. Anyhow, Obscura Burning ended up being a so-so book for me. On one hand, I have to give props to Suzanne van Rooyen for creating such a twisted yet interesting and unique book. However, at the same time, I wasn't always wasn't the biggest fans of the characters, and that brought down my enjoyment quite a bit.

To make this quick, I'm going to list the things I liked and didn't like....

Things I Liked: 
  1. The premise: If you want something totally out there and unique, give this one a try. Seriously, I've never read anything quite like it, and I don't think I ever will again.
  2. The writing: Suzanne has such a way with words. I loved the descriptions and the way she captured the scenes. 
  3. The setting: I've never read a book that took place in New Mexico before so that was new as well. 
  4. The sci-fi/thriller aspects: Both really managed to keep the book moving at a good pace.
Things I Didn't Like:
  1. The characters: It's not that I didn't like them per say, but I just had the hardest of times relating to them, especially Kyle. He was just all over the place for me, and he was kind of whiny to tell the truth.
  2. The ending: Okay this one is more of a love/hate aspect. It was different that's for sure....not what I was expecting. However, on the other hand, it just a little too messed up and indefinite for me. 
In all, the likes out weight the dislikes, as you can see above. It was a different book as mentioned before, and if you're looking for something that will leave you shocked and mystified, I say give it a try. 

Grade: B

Obscura Burning (Amazon, Goodreads, BN)  is now out. 

Source: Author

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Heartbeat by Faith Sullivan

Summary/Cover Image from Author's Website:
Katie and Adam are afraid of love.

She carries the scars of a first kiss gone terribly wrong.

He uproots his life to flee the stinging betrayal of an ex.

When trust is no longer an option, all romance is suspect.

As a young paramedic, Adam rescues people for a living but cannot save himself. Katie, just out of high school, struggles with a tortured home life she cannot escape.

Everything changes when Katie hops into the front seat of Adam's ambulance. Overwhelmed by what they are feeling, neither possess the confidence to make the first move. They walk away from each other, full of regret.

To find her, Adam risks his future. To be with him, Katie sacrifices her security.

Little do they know, what little time they do have, is being measured by a heartbeat that is slowly dying out. 
Review:  

Ever since I stumbled upon this book on Goodreads, I've been dying to read it, because not only did it sound amazing, but also as a huge fan of the ever-growing New Adult trend, I thought it would be a good way to feed my addiction. Thankfully, Faith Sullivan provided an amazing and heartwarming story within the pages of Heartbeat.

Heartbeat tells the story of Adam and Katie, two lonely and broken people brought together by faith on one snowy day. Shy and timid, Katie hasn't had the easiest of lives. Her father is controlling and mean, always quick to put in a jab or two. Plus, ever since a failed attempt at a fling, Katie has been terrified of starting something up with another boy. The only good thing in her life is her grandmother, but the problem is even she can't always save her. Adam, on the other hand, is on the run from his past and the girl who broke his heart into a million pieces. Living in small town wouldn't be his first choice, but he likes the solitude plus his job as an EMT, especially when it leads him to Katie. Katie and Adam have a lot to learn, but will it all be worth it in the end? Only time and more pages can tell in this shocking and addicting new addition to New Adult.

There were so many things I adored about Heartbeat but one of my absolute favorites was the characters. I adored Katie and Adam from the get go. Both were fragile and broken from their pasts, and this made me root for them all the more. At the start of the book, Katie was incredibly quiet, and all I wanted to do was push her in the right direction, and hope that she would see that there was good parts to life, amazing things. Therefore, I was so happy when she meet Adam. Together, Adam and Katie truly evolved as individuals. They grew stronger and more daring. More importantly, they begin to make a stand for the parts of their lives that meant the most. I also really enjoyed some of the side characters in this one, such as Katie's grandmother and Adam's EMT friends.

The plot in this was another high point. I always love a good romance, and Heartbeat provided just that and much more. I'm not going to lie: Katie and Adam's relationship reeked of insta-love. However, it worked with the book, and really, I could see the pull between them, and why they were destined for each other. Really, it wouldn't have worked another way. I also enjoyed seeing Adam's life as an EMT (one of my guy friends is one so I know a lot about that area) and the little twists and turns that came from that.

Faith Sullivan's writing was also up to par. As mentioned before, she did a great job with the characters. Plus, as a PA resident, her descriptions of small-town PA where spot on, and that made me enjoy the book even more.

Last but not least: the ending. Prior to reading this, I had heard a lot of mixed things about it. Some people hated. Others loved it. Some were even confused by it. As for me? I LOVED it. It wasn't what I was expecting that's for sure, but just like with the insta-love, it worked incredibly well in the story. Plus it's made me respect and like Faith as a writer even more, because she's not afraid to take risks when it comes to writing.

In all, Heartbeat is an emotional and well written tale of love and moving on. It blew me away, and I hope that occurs to you all as well. :)

Grade: A

Heartbeat (Amazon, Goodreads) is now out, and it's only 99 cents for the eBook. It can't get much better than that, now can it? :)

Source: purchased from Amazon

Side Note: I highly suggest you guys check out Faith's blog as well. She writes some pretty interesting posts, and it will give you a good feeling of what her book is like. :) 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Guest Post: Suzanne van Rooyen, author of Obscura Burning

Today, I'm happy to welcome Suzanne van Rooyen, author of the newly released Obscura Burning, to Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf. She's here to talk a little about her book. So without a further ado...

Playing with Fire

A boy walked through a desert littered with withering cactus. He had scarred arms and a face left marbled by what could only have been the result of a fire. He was sad and angry and kept staring into the sun. That was my first glimpse of Kyle Wolfe, main character and narrator of the book that would become Obscura Burning. The original premise of the story had nothing to do with fire. It was all about quantum physics and rifts in the theoretical multiverse. Kyle, however, refused to stick to the story line. He was a darker, far more complex character than I ever intended to write. The theme of fire became more prevalent and it took me a little while to realise why.

As a kid, I knew a boy who was frequently in trouble for starting fires. These fires were usually small and never resulted in injury, but the damage to property – particularly when he started setting fire to public rubbish bins – became more than a little problematic. I don't remember exactly what happened. All I knew at the time was that he was in trouble, that he had 'issues' and that his parents were getting him help. Perhaps it was that vague memory from my childhood, which contributed to Kyle's love affair with flames.

Once I knew this would be an integral part of my character, I did a lot of reading on the subject and found out all about juvenile fire starters. For many, setting fires ends at the curiosity stage and never develops into a serious problem. Sadly, starting fires is often representative of bigger psychological issues, such as physical or sexual abuse. If left ignored and untreated, fire starting can become a pathological behaviour, escalating well beyond mere vandalism.

Despite the wealth of information online about problem fire starters, this is still a largely misunderstood aspect of adolescence, too often brushed aside as a phase or ignored as mere 'acting out' when it could be representative of Borderline Psychotic or Impulsive Neurotic personality disorders. If anyone would like to know more about this troubling behaviour, I suggest heading over to the American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org where you can learn more about the various types of fire starting and how to help those who might be heading down this dangerous path.

As for Kyle and what happens when he plays with fire, you'll just have to read Obscura Burning to find out!

~~~

Thanks for stopping by, Suzanne!

About the Book:
The world's going to end in fire…and it's all Kyle's fault.

Kyle Wolfe's world is about to crash and burn. Just weeks away from graduation, a fire kills Kyle's two best friends and leaves him permanently scarred. A fire that Kyle accidentally set the night he cheated on his boyfriend Danny with their female friend, Shira. That same day, a strange new planet, Obscura, appears in the sky. And suddenly Kyle's friends aren't all that dead anymore.

Each time Kyle goes to sleep, he awakens to two different realities. In one, his boyfriend Danny is still alive, but Shira is dead. In the other, it's Shira who's alive...and now they're friends with benefits. Shifting between realities is slowly killing him, and he's not the only one dying. The world is dying with him. He's pretty sure Obscura has something to do with it, but with his parents' marriage imploding and realities shifting each time he closes his eyes, Kyle has problems enough without being the one in charge of saving the world...
About the Author:
Suzanne grew up in the urban sprawl of Johannesburg, South Africa where she studied music and penned a few angsty poems. After a brief stint in Australia, Suzanne settled in Finland where she completed a Master's degree in music and started writing in earnest.

Suzanne now spends her days as a freelance writer, author and part-time dance teacher. Her short stories have been published by Niteblade Magazine, Cast of Wonders, and Earthbound Fiction amongst others. When not writing she attempts to play guitar, reads a lot of fantasy, and entertains her shiba inu, Lego.
Author Links:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (2/11 to 2/16)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews.

eBooks for Review:

 



Dreamer by Jane Susann MacCarter

Love the cover of this one!

The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen 

I read this one as soon as I got it and it was excellent! Look out for my review in early April.

Georgetown Academy: Book Two by Jessica Koosed Etting & Alyssa Embree Schwartz 

Georgetown Academy: Book Three by Jessica Koosed Etting & Alyssa Embree Schwartz 

Happily Never After by Missy Fleming

This one involves ghosts, which is always a big win in my opinion. 

Fraction of Stone by  Kelley Lynn

So excited to read this one! 



~ The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

I've heard so many good things about this one so I can't wait to see what all the fuss is about! 

Much thanks goes to Coliloquy, Jane, Emily at Engelman & Co., Missy, and Kelley! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Giveaway: Radiant by Christina Daley

Thanks to Christina Daley, I have one eBook copy of Radiant, her newest book, to giveaway.

About the book: 
Mary is part Vietnamese. Carter is a complete jerk. Normally, they don't talk much.

But when Mary's in an accident on the way to school one morning, Carter nearly dies saving her life. The doctors say his chances of living are slim, and Mary's feeling the full weight of survivor's guilt.

However, Carter's back at school in a matter of days, as if nothing had happened. Although, he is a little "glitchy," and he's developed a sudden and intense interest in Mary. She thinks he's suffering from major brain trauma from the accident. Or that he's been possessed.

As it so happens, Carter really is possessed. And the thing controlling him is having the time of its life learning to be human.

Featuring a diverse cast of characters, RADIANT is a funny "paranormal-lite" story about being human, being in love, and being healed.

About the Author:
Christina Daley made her first book with neighborhood friends when she was four years old. They "wrote" out some semblance of lettering with crayons, cut up a cardboard box for the cover, and bound it all together with clear adhesive tape. It was brilliant.

Quite a few years later, Christina is trying her hand at writing "real" books. She lives in Dallas, Texas, with a pet plant named Herb.

Links:


The Prize:

1 eBook copy of Radiant or 3 bookmarks (Winner's Choice) 

How to Enter:

~ Fill out Rafflecopter form below.

Official Giveaway Rules:

~ Must be 13 years or older
~ Open to all

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
Olivia Tithe was excited for the summer and spending it with her best friend, Stern. But that was ruined when he was mur­dered...by Olivia's mother. Flashing forward, Olivia's life has been transformed since that awful night.

After her mother's incarceration, Olivia must move on, but she hates her father's new fiancée, Heather, and with her dad's new real estate development (she calls it Ghost Town) in the works, she barely sees him. But a new boy, Austin, has kindled feelings inside her that she hasn't felt since Stern's death.

Arriving at the same time as this new guy is a mysterious note that brings Stern's murder back to the forefront; Olivia knows that she must discover the truth behind her friend's death once and for all.
Review: 

Upon receiving Notes from Ghost Town in my mailbox, I was beyond excited! The premise sounded amazing, and while I never could get into Kate's first book, I still had high hopes for this. Thankfully, Notes from Ghost Town not only reached my expectations, but it went far, far past them, as it was romantic, mysterious, and beautifully written- three aspects I love in a book!

Notes from Ghost Town starts the story of Olivia Tithe, a girl who used to have it all. She had loving parents, amazing friends, and an incredible talent with art. However, everything changes when her mom's accused of killing Stern, Olivia's best friend and possibly something more. Olivia doesn't know what to think. Of course, her mom always struggled with mental illness, but how could she have done something so horrible? Everything changes once again, though, when Stern shows up in ghost form. He tells her that there's more to the story then is known and it's up to her to figure out what went on. Will she listen to him? Or push him away? Only time and more pages can tell in this compelling and emotional read sure to have anyone reading late into the night.

From the first page, I was instantly taken aback by Kate Ellison's writing. It's stunning to say the least. With every scene and really every paragraph AND sentence, she managed to capture the scene and make me, as the reader, feel all the emotions and feelings that were occurring and not only from Olivia's side but Stern's, Olivia's parents, etc. Better yet, she did a great job of creating the "gray space," the area according to Olivia's mom that contains no art. When Olivia found that space, Ellison really used it to develop Olivia's character even further, and that did tons for the book.

Moving on, I adored the characters in this. As expected, Olivia was pretty much broken at this point in her life. She was acting out, not really caring what people thought of her, and that was only made worse as her "gray space" expanded. However, everything changes when she starts to find herself again with the help of Stern and another boy friend she makes along the way, and truly, I loved seeing that happen. I also enjoyed the wide variety of other characters introduced, especially Stern. He was such an amazing and funny guy, which made it even sadder, in my opinion, to see that he had his life cut short.

The plot in this was also fabulous! When I first went into this, I was expecting a coming of age story. However, I got that as well as a nifty mystery. The mystery of what happened that fateful night really manged to pull the book along, especially when more was revealed as time went on. I was constantly coming up with possible answers, even as it started to come to the close. Adding to this, I also really loved the family dynamic and relationship dynamic Kate introduced in it. Both had a lot to do with the plot as well, and without it I don't think the book would have been the same.

In all, Notes from Ghost Town is an emotional and beautifully told story. Highly, highly recommended, especially for fans of Sarah Dessen and Lauren Oliver.

Grade: A+

Notes from Ghost Town (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) will be released February 12, 2013!

Source: Paper Lantern Lit- thanks Beth!


Cover Reveal: Camp Kiss by J.K. Rock


Today, I'm happy to share with you all the cover of Camp Kiss by J.K. Rock, the free prequel novella to the forthcoming Camp Boyfriend.

So without a further ado...

The Camp Kiss That Started It All…

Lauren Carlson, a fourteen-year-old expert on the cosmos, superheroes, and science fiction trivia has a crush on her longtime camp friend, Seth. Last summer she’d dreamed about upgrading their relationship to BF/GF status and this year she has a plan… if only her well-meaning cabin mates wouldn’t interfere before she’s ready. She hasn’t even adjusted to her new braces yet, let alone imagined kissing Seth with them. When a dare pushes her out of her comfort zone, will she and Seth rocket out of the friendzone at last? There’s only one way to find out…
Camp Kiss will be released March 26, 2013!

And as mentioned before, this is the prequel to Camp Boyfriend. So here's some info about that one as well...
The summer of her dreams is about to get a reality check.

They said it couldn't be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school halfway across the country. Amazing what losing her braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren's nerves and she can't wait to return to summer camp where she's valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She misses her old friends and most of all, her long time camp-only boyfriend, Seth. This year she intends to upgrade their relationship to year-round status once she's broken up with her new, jock boyfriend, Matt. He doesn't even begin to know the real her, a girl fascinated by the night sky who dreams of discovering new planets and galaxies.

But Matt isn't giving her up without a fight. As he makes his case to stay together, Lauren begins to realize his feelings run deeper than she ever would have guessed. What if the guy she thought she was meant to be with forever isn't really The One? Returning to Camp Juniper Point was supposed to ground her uprooted life, but she's more adrift than ever. Everything feels different and soon Lauren's friends are turning on her and both guys question what she really wants. As summer tensions escalate, Lauren wonders if she's changed more than she thought. Will her first big discovery be herself?
Camp Boyfriend will be released July 2, 2013.

You can find J.K. Rock online:


So what do you think of the cover? And are you excited as I am for the release of these two?! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Blog Tour: The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe (Guest Post)

Today, I'm happy to welcome Megan Crewe, author of the Fallen Word trilogy and the YA standalone Give Up the Ghost, to Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf. I've been a big fan of Megan's since the release of her first book, and with her newest one (The Lives We Lost), I'm happy to say that this is still very much true. Anyhow, here's her thoughts on writing sequels, specifically involving the Fallen Word Trilogy.

~~~

Writing the second book in my trilogy was actually a big first for me: the first time I've ever written a sequel. You might not think that should make much of a difference--that it's just more story with the same characters--but in many ways it does. And the biggest difference I encountered was in considering you, the readers.

I think every author tries to take into consideration how readers will relate to and be affected by a book while they're writing it, wanting as many people as possible to enjoy the story. Certainly that's the case for me. It's always challenging, because there's no way of knowing for sure how people will respond. And when the book in question is a sequel, the challenge becomes twice as complicated. So it's a good thing that I enjoy being challenged by my work!

First, I had to take into account that readers would be coming to THE LIVES WE LOST from a wide range of places. Some of you might have just finished reading THE WAY WE FALL and have the events and character dynamics fresh in your minds. Some might have read the first book months ago, and remember things more vaguely. And some might be picking up the book without having read the one before, diving in with no pre-knowledge whatsoever.

When writing a first book or a standalone novel, I can assume that everyone is starting the story from approximately the same place, and that you won't know anything about the backstory and characters until I tell you. With the sequel, I had to find a balance between avoiding confusing new readers and avoiding boring the readers who remember the previous book quite well. I ended up thinking of it as including little reminders, the same way I might add brief reminders within the same book about events that had happened in earlier chapters but not been mentioned for a while.

What was more intimidating was knowing that the readers who had read THE WAY WE FALL would be coming to THE LIVES WE LOST with all sorts of expectations and hopes. Again, with a first book or a standalone, I know readers may make some assumptions based on what you've heard about the book, but those are probably pretty general, and you're not likely to be really invested in the events turning out any specific way. With the sequel, I'm guessing most of you who pick it up are doing so because you already read and liked the first book. So of course you'll have ideas about which way things might go and which ways you *want* them to go.

Unfortunately I can't give every reader what they want, because some readers want the story to go in completely opposite directions! The best I could do was tell the story that felt most powerful and right to me, though I did try to make sure that every major question that's come up would be answered one way or another (if not in this book, then in book 3). After that, I can only hope that even those who didn't get the outcome they wanted will find the story satisfying all the same.

Thankfully, even though existing series readers makes writing a sequel more challenging, it also makes it more rewarding. It's amazing to know that I have readers who loved THE WAY WE FALL and are eagerly looking forward to continuing this journey with my characters. I think I've written the best possible book I could for the story I wanted to tell. Now it's in your hands.

Enjoy! And thank you so much for your support!

~~~

The Way We Fall (Book #1):
It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When sixteen-year-old Kaelyn lets her best friend leave for school without saying goodbye, she never dreams that she might not see him again. But then a strange virus begins to sweep through her small island community, infecting young and old alike. As the dead pile up, the government quarantines the island: no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for the island’s dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Poignant and dizzying, The Way We Fall is the heart-wrenching story of one girl's bravery and unbeatable spirit as she challenges not just her fears, but her sense of what makes life worth living.

The Lives We Lost (Book #2):
First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends. Then, her family. Now it’s taken away her home.

But she can't look back—the life she once had is gone forever.

A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father's abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer—there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?

Megan Crewe's second volume in the Fallen World trilogy is an action-packed journey that explores the resilience of friendship, the ache of lost love, and Kaelyn’s enduring hope in the face of the sacrifices she must make to stay alive.
Links:

Cover Reveal: Drowning in You by Rebecca Berto


I'm part of the cover reveal for Drowning in You by Rebecca Berto. So without a further ado...



Don't you just love it? I know I do! :)

ALSO:


Here's the summary:

Secretly crushing
Crushed by a tragedy


Charlee May’s been crushing on Dexter Hollingworth since she was fifteen. Five years later, a horrific
skiing disaster at Mason’s Ski Lift Resort leaves her millionaire dad critically injured and her mom
dead at the hands of Dexter operating the lifts. Charlee is suddenly the sole caretaker for her little
brother while their world falls apart.

Dexter couldn’t be more different from Charlee. He’s tattooed, avoids exclusive relationships and
his Dad has a fair share of illegal dealings. With Dexter’s reputation, almost everyone believes he
planned the Mason’s skiing disaster.

And after all these years he’s still crushing on Charlee May, the girl who’s too good for him.

When this cruel twist of fate ties Charlee’s family and Dexter’s reputation together, Charlee and
Dexter wonder if their feelings are reciprocated, while Dexter discovers his dad is trying to steal the
May’s millionaire fortune.

But like an addiction, one look, one touch, one taste—they’re hooked no matter the consequences.

About the Author:
Rebecca Berto writes stories that are a bit sexy, and straddle the line between Literary and Tear Your Heart Out. She gets a thrill when her readers are emotional reading her stories, and gets even more of a kick when they tell her so. She’s strangely imaginative, spends too much time on her computer, and is certifiably crazy when she works on her fiction.

Rebecca Berto lives in Melbourne, Australia with her boyfriend and their doggy.

Rebecca Berto | Facebook | Twitter
So what do you think? Love it? Hate it? Let me know below! :)  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Giveaway: Georgetown Academy: Book 1 by Jessica Koosed Etting & Alyssa Embree Schwartz

Thanks to Aimee at Coliloquy, I have TWO eBook copies of the first Georgetown Academy book to giveaway. If you stopped by my blog earlier today, you probably saw my review for the first one (if not, click here). It's a super fun read to say the least, and I'm beyond excited to be offering up copies of it.


How to Enter:

Fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Official Giveaway Rules:

~ Must be 13 years or older
~ Open to all
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Georgetown Academy: Book 1 by Jessica Koosed Etting & Alyssa Embree Schwartz

Summary/Cover Image from Goodreads:
It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.

In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.
Review:

When I was first offered the chance to read Georgetown Academy: Book 1, I instantly said yes. I'm always on the lookout for new Gossip Girl/Pretty Little Liars like reads, and this seemed like the perfect fit. Thankfully, even with a somewhat shaky start, Georgetown Academy managed to provide just what I was looking for: scandal, romance, and a twisty enough ending to have me clamoring for the next one.

Georgetown Academy is told through the POVs of Brinley, Ellie, Taryn, and Evan, four Georgetown Academy students who don't know whether to be happy about the new political administration or to go running and screaming away from it. I'm always a little weary about multiple POVS due to characterization. However, it managed to work quite well in this one, as not only was it fun to see what every character was like, but it also allowed for some pretty interesting twists to occur, since I would see a scene through multiple eyes. My favorite out of the crew would have had to be a tie between Ellie and Evan. Ellie was the typical good girl who a secret, but she was still a ton of fun to read about. Plus her romantic tension with Gabriel sizzled! Evan was another girl dealing with secrets and her rising fame on the Georgetown social ladder. What I liked most about her, though, was seeing how a seemingly ordinary girl (someone whose parents weren't in the political seen at all) fit into the academy.

The plot in this had the typical guilty pleasure read aspects: romantic trysts, backstabbing, and secrets. Plus it contained a pretty kick-ass setting: the DC political scene. I don't think I've ever read a book that has to do with that, so it was cool to see how the authors's presented it, especially when it turned out to work quite well. However, I will admit, I found the beginning to be a little shaky. It didn't really have anything that caught my attention, but when I got past the first couple of chapters, I was hooked. I wanted to know all about Ellie and Gabriel's past, Brinley's secret addiction and what it meant for her and her family, and Evan's new internship. Plus I was curious to see whether or not Taryn was as sweet and innocent as she led on. Furthermore, I especially loved how halfway through the book I was allowed to pick which character to follow during the pivotal party scene. It was an awesome little add-on, as it really had my head reeling as I tried to fit all the pieces together for everyone's stories.

In all, Georgetown Academy: Book 1 is a scandalous and twisty read perfect for fans of gossipy contemps. However, word of warning, once you reach the ending, you're going to be dying to read the next one!

Grade: B 

Georgetown Academy (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads) is now out in eBook formats.

Source: Publicist

Other Books in the Series:

 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe

*Warning: The Lives We Lost is the sequel to The Way We Fall. Therefore, there may be spoilers from the first book contained below. Proceed at your own risk.*

Summary/Cover Image from Author's Website:
First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends. Then, her family. Now it’s taken away her home.

But she can't look back—the life she once had is gone forever.

A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father's abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer—there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?

Megan Crewe's second volume in the Fallen World trilogy is an action-packed journey that explores the resilience of friendship, the ache of lost love, and Kaelyn’s enduring hope in the face of the sacrifices she must make to stay alive.
Review: 

Ever since reading last year's startling and compelling The Way We Fall, the first in this series, I've been dying to read The Lives We Lost. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Kaelyn and her friends as well as what it meant with Leo finally being back. Therefore, when an early copy of The Lives We Lost ended up in my possession, I jumped right in, hoping it would be just as good as the first one. Thankfully, it was- if not more! This book contained as much drama, suspense, drive, and fear as the first one, and better yet, it developed the story in a way I just loved.

The Lives We Lost picks up not long after The Way We Fall ended. Everyone is adjusting to the addition of Leo to the group as well as dealing everyday life. However, everything changes for Kaelyn and her friends when she stumbles upon a possible cure to the virus. Knowing this may be her and her friends last chance to help their island as well as the other people of the world, they go on a mission to get the cure in the hands of someone who can replicate it. What they are about to find out, though, is that person is going to be hard to find, and that no one can really be trusted.

One of the aspects I enjoyed most about this one was getting to see some of my favorite characters from last time again. It was fun to be back in Kaelyn's head. In this one, she was even stronger than she was in the previous one. Better yet, I felt that she grew even more as a character. A lot of stuff goes done in this one, and because of it, Kaelyn gets a new feeling for life and what it means. Better yet, I loved the continuation of her relationship with Gavin. Gavin is such a sweet guy, probably my favorite character in the whole series. He's always there for Kaelyn, and even when he feels scared about what they may have to face, he still barrels through right along with her. The rest of the gang was just as fun to see again, and better yet, I enjoyed finally getting to see what Leo is like. He was sort of a big mystery in the last one, and I wasn't sure what he would add to this one...good or bad. I ended up really liking him, though. He was someone who had been through a lot, but that only made him more valuable to the group. Plus while I'm always a big hater of love triangles, the one currently brewing between Kaelyn, Gavin, and Leo was one I really liked seeing, even though I don't think I could possibly pick a favorite.

The plot in this one was even better than the first one. It moved the story to new and exciting places as well as introduced new characters. What I loved about this one the most, though, was seeing Kaelyn and her friends finally get off the island. I was curious to see what had happened, and boy, was I surprised. I remember seeing someone say a while back that this isn't really a dystopian. Instead, it's something that could possibly happen in our near future, and I really was able to see that in this one, and to tell the truth, it really managed to scare me.

Megan's writing was also spot on. I thought she did a great job of keeping everything moving along as well as introducing new plot lines. Better yet, she didn't let this one face the second in a series curse. Though, that ending?! It killed me, especially when I think about having to wait another year to read the next one!

In all, The Lives We Lost is an exemplary sequel, one that I highly suggest fans of the past one check out! It's worth it...trust me.

Grade: A+

The Lives We Lost (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) is now out!

Source: Publicist

Be sure to check back here on Wednesday, February 13, 2012 for a special guest post by Megan Crewe! 

Who Is Marcus Finch Blog Tour (Clue #15!)

*To catch up on previous clues, click HERE.*


In support of the release of the third Bloodlines book entitled The Indigo Spell, Penguin has organized a "Who Is Marcus Finch?" blog tour. As a blog tour host, over the next fifteen days, I will be revealing clues about this mysterious man and his role in the new book. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

In My Mailbox (2/4 to 2/9)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.


Physical Copies for Review:

~ Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger 

BIGGEST surprise of the week!! So excited to read it!

Operation Oleander by Valerie O. Patterson

I'll be part of a blog tour for this one in early March. Anyhow, looks very promising! 

~ Play On by Marilynn Halas

First YA book from 4 Sunflowers Media. Curious to see how it is.

~ The Saint of Lost Dogs by Nick Trout 

First and foremost, I adore the cover of this one. That dog is adorable! Anyhow, sounds good!

Bought: 


~ Heartbeat by Faith Sullivan 

Ever since I first heard about this one, I've been dying to read it! Plus Faith is an absolute sweetheart.  

eBooks for Review:

 

Life on Loan by Adrianne James

This one sounds incredibly promising as well, and it's been getting fabulous reviews so far.

~Dirty Blood by Heater Hildenbrand 

I usually stay away from werewolf books but this one sounded too good to pass up.

Much thanks goes to Heather, Adrianne, Simon Pulse, Blue Ship Media, Goodman Media, Hyperion. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: Just for Now (Sea Breeze #4) by Abbi Glines

Summary/Cover Image from Amazon:
An insatiable attraction heats to the boiling point in this brand-new book set in the shore town of Sea Breeze, from bestselling author Abbi Glines.

Preston is one bad boy. And Amanda has harbored a crush on him for forever. When she finally makes her move on him, it does not end well. But still, she can’t resist him. Especially now that he seems to be pursuing her, too.

No one wants wants them to be be together. Not Amanda’s brother Marcus, who is on the verge of his marriage to Low, and definitely not any of Preston's buddies. They know way too much about Preston’s dark side. Yet the dangerous attraction is there...and neither Preston nor Amanda are going to deny it.
Review: 

After speeding though Breathe, Because of Low, and While It Lasts, I only had one more book to go until I was officially caught up with the Sea Breeze series. However, after reading While It Lasts, I was a little worried that Abbi was loosing her steam. I had nothing to worry about, though, because this one basically rocked my world! It was was steamy. It was dramatic and romantic. It contained two characters I couldn't help but love! Basically, this one was by far my favorite in the series.

Just for Now starts up the story of Preston and Amanda, two secondary characters from the previous books. Preston has always been the pretty boy of his group of friends, making him quite the player. However, Amanda is determined to hook the player to one girl only, and that girl is her. She's hidden a crush on Preston for the longest of times, but she knows it's time to make her move. The only problem? When she finally does, it ends up blowing up her face. But will a second chance change everything?

With Just for Now, I instantly liked both main characters. Preston was someone I had seen before in the previous books, but never knew that much about it. So it was fun to get to see what kind of person he was, especially when it turned out he was a sweet and caring guy deep down, especially when it came to his siblings. Amanda, on the other hand, I had known quite a bit about through the past books, and while I wasn't always happy with some of her choices, she was still someone I liked and rooted for. In this one, she got her act together, and really managed to bloom as a young adult. However, at the same time, I wasn't always wild about how quickly she was to through herself at Preston at times.

The plot in this was just as much fun as the past books. What I liked most about this one, though, wasn't so much the romance, but the focuses on Preston's family and the different trails they faced. I won't give too much away about it, but it was a really sad situation. It made me feel a lot of respect towards Preston to say the least, and I was especially happy to see how everything ended on that side. Moving on, the romance between Preston and Amanda was EPIC! It was the whole "while they or won't they" I just love! Plus the forbidden aspect pushed up the heat quite a bit.

In all, Just for Now by Abbi Glines is yet another fabulous addition to the Sea Breeze series! I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

Grade: A+

Just for Now (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) is now out!

Source: Purchased from Amazon 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...