Friday, February 28, 2014

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: February 2014

What can I say? My terrific reading streak was bound to take a nose dive one of these days. Eight/ten pieces of literature I read and finished this month were for school. I did begin four other YA fiction novels, but I didn't get very far into any of them so I didn't count them this month. I look forward to reading them in March.

February Reading Stats:
10 pieces of literature: 6 short stories, 1 novel, 1 novella, 1 children's chapter book, 1 memoir.

February Reads

3 of 5 stars
3.5! :) I love Caleb and Maggie, and now I can hardly contain myself as I await Ava & Seth!
3 of 5 stars
A very enjoyable read. I love the intertwining of the old and new main characters. This series definitely makes me form crack-pot theories as I read it. I'm excited to see how it all progresses in Cress.
Alice in Wonderland
1 of 5 stars
Well. Wasn't expecting that. I've never seen Alice in Wonderland fully, but I know the story well and I guess I figured this would be enjoyable? Rather, it was quite silly and childish. All the characters were weird (as I anticipated) bu...

Favorite Book of the Month: Night by Elie Wiesel
Favorite Cover of the Month: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Book(s) I'm Most Looking Forward to Reading Next Month: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King; Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

I'd love to hear what y'all read this month in the comments. :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spotlight: Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen

About the book:

If only a pile of wayward curls and the inability to stay on her feet were seventeen year-old Foster Kelly’s most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, stubborn hair and clumsiness are just the tip of it. At the age of five when Foster is told, “You don’t belong here,” it was only a mistake, but the result is one broken heart. These four carelessly spoken words have shaped and shadowed Foster, and now—a senior at Shorecliffs High-school—she seeks the wallflower’s existence, denying herself the most casual of friendships, much too afraid that someone will see what she believes is certain: she does not belong anywhere—or with anyone. 

This reality would continue to suit her just fine; however . . . Love has a long-standing history of undoing broken hearts.

Like a comet, an unexpected arrival knocks Foster out of the crowded, starry sky, sending her directly into the limelight. Exposed and afraid, she will attempt to regain anonymity; but it isn’t so easy now that someone is watching. He pursues this shy enigma, confronting Foster’s deepest fears head-on, and in the process falls wholly and completely in love with her. But there is something he is not saying . . . a secret capable of certain ruin. Either he will break her heart once and for all, or he will heal it.

In the end, though, it is Foster who must decide if she is worth mending.

Genre: YA contemporary + romance

Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the author:

CARA ROSALIE OLSEN resides in sunny Southern California, where she lives with her very patient husband, Michael, and their spoiled pooch, Annabella. A product of a relatively normal childhood - whatever that means - Olsen recalls "Life had this relentlessly boorish way of reminding me I was wonky and unapproved. Regardless of status or gene pool, there is nothing simple or easy about growing up. Life doesn't play favorites or carry biases; it's the pits for everyone. But rather than constantly falling into the pit, often I chose to climb down willingly, lining the bottom with a soft place to land. That place is where I became a reader, and today, a writer." 

Throughout high school Olsen struggled with subjects Math and Science, but excelled at the arts, written and performed, often finding a kindred spirit in those teaching Creative Writing and English Literature. What began with an ardency for language soon developed into a burgeoning desire to create. This yearning took shape in the form of poetry and short story fiction, both of which have been featured in print and online publications. Olsen's debut novel, Awakening Foster Kelly is the result of a four-year project born on a whim and sustained by its characters' tenacity and their refusal to give the author a minute to herself. "In the beginning, getting them to talk was like trying to light a wet match. So, we had several long, sometimes combative conversations. I told them that unless they started holding up their end of the deal, I would have no choice but to fill in the blanks with whatever scraps came to mind. It wasn't very long before I started showing up to find that everyone was already seated and waiting for me. We talked. I drank coffee. It was bliss." 

These days Olsen considers herself incredibly blessed to be able to do what she loves most. However . . . if she wasn’t a full-time writer, she would have liked to join the cast of Saturday Night Live, or, taken over as CEO of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. 

For more information, please visit &

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cover Reveal: What If by Bayli Lane

Ready for it?

by: Bayli Lane

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: MARCH 2014

Cover Designer: Eden Crane Design
Photographer: ©MaeIDesign 
Cover Models: Ripp Baker and Laurel Marie

About the book:

For some people falling in love was a happy, glowing experience. For Briar Kelly and Arrow Donovan it was more like getting hit by a freight train.

Caring for one another was never an easy feat. They constantly fought to hold their feelings inside, not wanting to jeopardize their friendship. Then, Arrow left for the Marines, and everything changed. Briar was shattered. Arrow was hurt.

While Briar told herself she’d never let another man affect her in such a way, Arrow still remained in the forefront of her mind. For Arrow, his memories of Briar kept him alive in both of his near death experiences. When Arrow’s demons threatened to drag him under, Briar was there, pulling him from the darkness.

"What ifs" keep piling up while resentment and redemption battles continue; will Briar and Arrow be able to find their happily ever after, or will this be one war that Arrow can't win?

Add on Goodreads

About the author:

Bayli Lane didn’t realize how much she loved creating a world from nothing until college. She went to Marian University where she majored in Communications but in her spare time wrote and read. Her love for reading is what really brought out her desire to create her own novel. After starting loads of stories and not finishing them, she finally decided it was time to put her passion to work. Bayli lives with her husband, Tim, in Indiana where she is probably sitting with a large cup of coffee and her computer working on her next book.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Giveaway: Cress by Marissa Meyer + SWAG (CLOSED)

In celebration of the release of Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer, I am having a giveaway!

First prize winner will receive a signed ARC of Cress and a Lunar Chronicles bookmark.
Second prize winner will receive a signed Lunar Chronicles bookmark and other Lunar Chronicles SWAG, including a postcard, Cress comb, and poster!
Third prize winner will receive a Lunar Chronicles pin and postcard.

This giveaway is USA-only and you must be at least thirteen years old to enter.

How to Enter:
Enter through the Rafflecopter below! Check back daily for the tasks that you can do every 24 hours for another entry. Good luck!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Blog Tour: Consequence by Shelly Crane: Character Interview

Today's stop on The Open Heart Chronicles blog tour features:
 Consequence by Shelly Crane

Consequence is a sequel novella to Shelly Crane's Significance series.

Release Date: February 14, 2014
Series Order: #4.5
Genre: YA paranormal/romance

About the novella:

Maggie and Caleb are married, leaders of their people, parents to their children, and happier than they ever dreamed, even with the visions they saw of it to prove it so. The council is still rebelling against Maggie’s changes, but this time it’s different. It’s almost as if something…or someone is behind them, pulling the strings and making decisions for them.

And Maggie is having strange visions that only she can see, leaving Caleb helpless to help her. But when her visions start to warn her that their daughter, Ava, will one day be in danger, they’ll do anything it takes to find out what’s going on and how to stop it, even paying a visit to a previous Visionary.

Maggie and Caleb must find out who or what is behind it all and stop them before Maggie is one vision too late.

Character Interview 
with Caleb and Maggie
"Hi! Thanks for letting Caleb and I stop by your place today. We're in a hurry - you know, Visionary Champion business and all, but I told Caleb we absolutely had to make time and stop by today to say thank you for helping with the release of Mrs. Crane's new Significance book. Right, baby?"

Caleb gives Maggie an adoring look. "Of course, baby."

Maggie smiles and nudges him arm. "Don't make me all swoony , Jacobson."

Caleb chuckles and puts his arm around her shoulder, bringing her close and kissing her temple. "I'll behave if you will," he says low. He looks up at the blogger whose stunned and waiting patiently. "Go ahead and ask whatever you like."

Q: Most romantic gesture you've done for each other?
Maggie: I'd have to say when he went to so much trouble to secretly replace the star bracelet. He's done a ton of amazing things, but knowing how much that meant to me and trying to surprise me was super sweet.
Caleb: The wedding vows she wrote for me and the way she wrote them. Hands down.

Q: Favorite qualities about one another?
Maggie: I love how he always thinks about me - about how I'll react or what I'll want or think about things. His being so considerate is my favorite thing.
Caleb: Maggie is amazing. She goes with the flow and is such a good person without even trying to be. And she's an amazing mother. That's two things, but oh well.

Q: Let's be honest now...most annoying trait about each other?
Caleb: *laughs loudly* She puts the empty milk carton back in the fridge. Every time.
Maggie: *nudges his gut with her elbow* He leaves wet towels on the bedroom floor.
Caleb: *scoffs* Never.
Maggie: *laughs* Oh, yes you do, Jacobson.
Caleb: *chuckles and kisses her forehead* Whatever you say, boss.

Q: Do you have pet names? If so what are they?
Caleb: Jacobson. It's pretty hot.
Maggie: He calls me any and every endearment and they all make me melt. Baby is probably my favorite. But I also just love hearing my name come out of his mouth.
Caleb: *smiles a real smile* I knew that.

Q: Ideal Valentine's Day date and/or gift?
Maggie and Caleb answer together: The beach.
Caleb: *laughs* If we could go and hang out at the beach all day and surf or just lay around, and then spend the night at the beach house together? That's a perfect day.
Maggie: Yeah, what he said. I'm still not that great at surfing, but it's fun having him teach me.
Caleb: And I love taking Maggie to new places to eat. She's open to trying to new things. I love that.
Maggie: I love letting you pick new foods for me. You do a good job.
Caleb: *smirks and rubs his thumb over Maggie's knuckles*

Q: What is the simple most important thing in a relationship to be happy?
Caleb: Love - unconditional.
Maggie: Willingness to compromise.

Q: Is there anything that you'd change if you could go back and do it all over again?
Caleb: *Looks at Maggie and shakes his head, bringing her wrist up to kiss her tattoo* Not. One. Single. Thing.
Maggie: *Bites her lip and looks at him* Never.

The following (and last) question is a spoiler for those who haven't finished Independence, the fourth book in the Significance series.

Q: Okay, last question. Should fans of the Significance books read the new spin-off series with your daughter, Ava, that comes out this fall, Undeniably Chosen?
Maggie: Totally. Caleb and I will be in it a lot and if you're a fan of the new love feel of a book - when people first get together all that entails - you'll get plenty of that. Ava is a strong girl, but she's got a lot of rough stuff ahead for her. But there's a lot of good ahead of her, too.
Caleb: Absolutely. And you'll see what happens when someone messes with my girls. *Grins*

Friday, February 14, 2014

Release Day Blast: The Open Hearts Chronicles (GIVEAWAY)

Today marks the release of The Open Heart Chronicles--a young adult romance novella collection from six of our favorite authors--as well as the first day of the blog tour! Read more about each romantic novella below and enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win some great books to celebrate this Valentine's Day!

About the novellas:
CONSEQUENCE by Shelly Crane:
Maggie and Caleb are married, leaders of their people, parents to their children, and happier than they ever dreamed, even with the visions they saw of it to prove it so. The council is still rebelling against Maggie’s changes, but this time it’s different. It’s almost as if something…or someone is behind them, pulling the strings and making decisions for them.
And Maggie is having strange visions that only she can see, leaving Caleb helpless to help her. But when her visions start to warn her that their daughter, Ava, will one day be in danger, they’ll do anything it takes to find out what’s going on and how to stop it, even paying a visit to a previous Visionary.
Maggie and Caleb must find out who or what is behind it all and stop them before Maggie is one vision too late.
HEART BREAKER by Lila Felix:
Breaker James isn’t the boy who is imprisoned in his home anymore. He’s not the guy who is afraid to leave the house. He doesn’t need Ash twenty four hours a day anymore.
Hell, he might not need her anymore at all.
He’s a heart breaker, pure and simple.
Love is easy when you’re secluded from the world within four walls.
Ash now has to learn how to let Breaker love her—without being his crutch.

ALWAYS by Amity Hope:
~Always is a companion novella to Ditched.
Now that Holly and Max are finally together, life in Harmony Bay should be nearly perfect. Their first Valentine’s Day together is quickly approaching. Between school, interfering family, and long lost friends that have reappeared it has the potential to turn into a complete disaster.
Or it could turn into the kind of night that neither of them will ever forget.

FINDING ME AGAIN by Amber Garza:
I know most people don’t find the love of their life at sixteen. But I did. At least that’s what I thought when I fell in love with Tripp Bauer. That’s why it was so hard when we drifted apart after high school graduation.
But I’ve never stopped loving him.
On a trip back to our hometown, I run into Tripp and the spark between us is undeniable.
Is it possible for us to find our way together again? Will I really get the happily ever after I’ve longed for?

Don’t miss the stunning conclusion to Tripp and Hadley’s story!

BREATHLESS MAGIC by Rachel Higginson:
And they lived happily ever after…
Or that was supposed to be how the story ended. Unfortunately for Eden Kendrick, a new enemy threatens her beloved Kingdom, one more dangerous and deadly than ever before.
After enjoying a deliciously elongated honeymoon, Eden returns to the Citadel with her husband and happiness intact. She’s unexpectedly pregnant, but that’s just one more blessing to add to her blooming happiness.
Eden’s heart is full and her endless life has never been more happy. That is until Dmitri Terletov returns from the dead and threatens everyone she loves and the Kingdom she worked so hard to build.
This time around, Eden is supposed to be shielded from the conflict. She has her growing babies to protect now and Kiran wants her as far from the battle as possible. Although she’s a little stir-crazy with idle hands, she agrees that keeping away from Terletov and his deadly experiments is definitely the right course of action.
Unfortunately, Terletov doesn’t agree. And when he arrives at the Castle, uninvited and desperate for the Magic Eden once stole from him, she has no choice but to fight once again to save the people she was born to protect.
DERIVE by Jamie Magee:
Aden, son of Tarek, is a seer—an elite member of The Selected which stands guard before The Fall, the border between light and dark realities. Darkness was foretold at his birth along with the words ‘lavender waters will set you free.’ What Aden assumed to be a mythical prophecy, is eventually manifested in a ravishing beauty with long, lavender hair.
Skylynn had seen their future, the sacrifice and divide set before them. She told him they had three days—three days before they must part to meet in a distant future. Aden dares to challenge the limits set before him by empowering his innocent lover with words and energy as he plots to face the darkness predicted before it claims her—and their rightful future together.

Which novella are you most excited for? Let me know in the comments and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Throwback Thursday is a new weekly/biweekly feature hosted by Sabrina at I Heart YA Fiction where readers review older releases and/or books that have been on our tbr shelves for a while. Click the link above to see Sabrina's TBT review and if you participate, join the linky list at the bottom of her post!

This week's feature?

About the book:

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA fantasy/romance
Pages: 374
Added on Goodreads: June 18, 2012

My rating of Incarnate (Newsoul, #1):

Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA fantasy/romance
Pages: 374
Added on Goodreads: June 18, 2012

My rating of Incarnate (Newsoul, #1):

Short & Sweet:
Wow, did I enjoy this more than I expected! It's a very fun, light read that has great conflict and serious conflicts. I LOVED the romance, the fantasy intrigued me rather than scared me off, and the storytelling was wonderful with good pacing. Meadows had a way of telling the fantasy, conflicts, and romance of the story so beautifully. Only a few small things made me drop it from "Amazing!" to "Great!"

To Elaborate...
I'm not a fan of high fantasy, but this one was really cool! I loved the creatures--centaurs, sylph, and dragons--and it was not complicated, which is probably why I enjoyed it. Definitely on the lower spectrum of high fantasy but the mention of other animals across the world expanded the fantasy too. I am glad a god had been used in this fantasy story. Religions have been cut from and looked down upon in our culture when it used to be the main thing that held a culture together. Seeing it in a fantasy novel and having the characters cast a wide range of opinions on the god-like figure was a great touch.

The reincarnation concept awed me! The idea that the same soul could reincarnate as a man or woman in the next life; that some souls matched with others and found each other every reincarnation period; that they all knew each other because they had been living with one another for thousands of years; that their houses were stocked with their old things….oh my did I love it! I can't wait for my questions (i.e. how was the limit created?) to be answered as the books continue.

It was really interesting being in Ana’s mind in the beginning, when she didn’t trust anyone and thought so little of herself. Her journey of opening up, seeing her need and want for love and self-love … it was told so eloquent. Speaking of love, the romance made my heart flutter and race and me grin like an idiot. I love reading these kinds of romances! It was light and fun, but seeing the bond between Sam and Ana grow as they battled their inner conflicts added a serious note to their relationship. Very well balanced.

Sometimes the characters in stories that occur over several weeks or months appear to have changed drastically because too much time has been skipped. Scenes that would showcase the depth of character or relationship development just aren't always there. In Incarnate, the way the breaks were made in this book were perfect. I never once thought that we missed something vital in the character growth or the plot.

My only deduction is for the random parts that I stumbled over while reading and the ending. A few times I felt like a transition sentence or two had been deleted because all of a sudden I wouldn't know what was going on or how something had just happened. Even after going back and rereading, I still would still be confused. The ending was a bit sporadic too, although I can't describe how. There was also a section toward the end that consisted of a lot of description and slowed the story a bit. Apart from these finer points, this book was great! It exceeded my expectations and I am excited to continue the series!

Did you love Incarnate? 
Are you a music junky like me? 
Check out "Poet" by Bastille!
It's awesome AND it reminds me of Incarnate.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Giveaway Hop: Romance is in the Air! (CLOSED)

It's a lovely time of the year to have a giveaway, don't you think? I didn't celebrate the 1st anniversary of Holly's Reading Hollow in January due to obligations in my schedule, but I had to join this blog hop to send my thanks to you all! Romance is in the Air is a giveaway strictly for romance books, but but my books range from contemporary to paranormal to dystopia romance (see below).

Info on the giveaways:
I will be giving away one paperback and one ebook to two separate winners. The paperback giveaway is US only whereas the ebook giveaway is International. The ebooks are from a selection of personal favorites that I read in 2013 because what better way to spread the love for my favorite books than to give them to you? The ebook will be delivered in either kindle or nook format. There is a rafflecopter for each giveaway and you can enter BOTH. Please read the rules about my giveaways in the rafflecopters below. Good luck!

Paperback Giveaway List:
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Oakler
Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Ebook Giveaway List:
Half-blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Vain by Fisher Amelie
Greed by Fisher Amelie
Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie
Significance by Shelly Crane
Wide Awake by Shelly Crane
Wide Spaces by Shelly Crane
Wide Open by Shelly Crane
Shark Bait by Jenn Cooksey

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Valentine's fun fact about me:
When I was in 5th grade, the new boy at school had a crush on me. For Valentine's Day he gave me a heart-shaped box of chocolates and asked if I'd be his girlfriend. Despite his pleading, I told him no. And I didn't have the heart to tell him I hated Valentine's chocolates.

Tell me a fun fact about one of your Valentine's experiences in the comments below!
If the Linky for the other blogs participating in this hop doesn't show, I apologize! I have been having trouble with getting it to show. Click HERE to take you to the linky instead. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #17: Books That Will Make You Weep

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find more TTT lists from book lovers and bloggers by clicking their blog name.

Today's topic:
Top Ten Books That Will Make You Weep

(In descending order of cry intensity; all books are five or five+ ratings for me so I recommend them all no matter how I rank them cry wise.)

10. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover | There is a particular scene that is emotionally intense for Sky and Holder and it brought tears to my eyes. Cry scale: A few hot tears.

9. Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover | Holder's grief was so overwhelming! A few hot tears in multiple sections.

8. Vain by Fisher Amelie | The beauty of this story, the development of Sophie, the intense situations, and the relationships between the characters is so overwhelming it brings me to tears every time. Beautiful, heartbreakingly beautiful tears streaked my face.

7.  Wings by Aprilynne Pike | The ending made me FLIP OUT! Flip out! I was jumping around in panic, hyperventilating and crying because I couldn't believe what had happened.

6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green | This doesn't need an explanation, but as for the crying, I had to pause reading for a minute because I could not see.

5. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares | I couldn't BELIEVE what had happened HAPPENED. I was in denial for a chapter before I just wept. For Traveling Pants fans who have loved Carmen, Tibby, Bridget, and Lena as I have know exactly what I'm talking about. 

4. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks | Subject matter and beautifully written. I sobbed for a good couple pages and then was able to reign it in with tearing streaking.

3. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson | This book was written very well and when the sad parts came, it broke something inside of me. The lead character's experience of grief was also a similar one that I have experienced and I could not stop drawing parallels between us. I stayed up until 4am to finish this, my body rocked with uncontrollable sobs powerful enough to have flown the book out of my hands, and the last fifty pages tearing were streaming steadily.

2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini | I am still grieving. I had unannounced tears every so often as I read the novel as well as every time I thought about the story up until a month after I read it.

1. This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl with Lori and Wayne Earl | It's ironic how I knew Esther's death was going to be discussed (this isn't a spoilers, guys--it's a biography.) and yet, I SOBBED like no other when her father wrote about her final moments. I'm still kind of in pieces. Her father is a wonderful writer and being that he was her father...cue the sobs! There were also many many other sections of this book that made me tear up at something bittersweet or beautiful, simply rejoicing in the experiences and moments Esther had while she was on this earth with us.

My favorite books are the ones that are able to evoke intense emotions out of me, including sadness. What are some good cry books that you recommend?