April 30, 2014

Review: Don't Look Back

Once again, I have my friend, Hannah, on the blog to do a guest review.  Take it away, Hannah!

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Grade: C
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. 

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I felt the characters weren't your run-of-the-mill whodunnit characters.  Even though many of them were typical, it didn't feel cliched.  Also the ending was not expected.  So, for those of you who like surprise endings, this would be a good read for you.  The main character felt well-developed with some interesting depth.  I also found myself chuckling out loud to myself (which can be a bit awkward in public) at points in the book.  Some of the stuff that this girl did while she was in her "mean girl" phase was really vindictive.  She was also quite disrespectful to her parents at times.  Unfortunately, there is so much I could say about "the ugly."  The book is chock full of sex, drugs, and underage drinking.  There is also a bountiful amount of profanity.  Domestic abuse is also something that occurs.  

The Verdict: So all in all, I think this book had a lot of potential but it's not exactly a clean read. Other than that, it was well written.

April 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books You'll Enjoy If You Like...

Like last week, this topic is pretty loose.  This time, it's books if you like x TV show, or movie, or comic, or whatever.  And I'm choosing books you'll enjoy if you like Downton Abbey.

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1 and 2. Cinders & Sapphires and its sequel, Diamonds & Deceit by Leila Rasheed
The upstairs and the downstairs are shown just like in Downton.  There are secrets, romance, an awesome house, lady's maids, and scandal.  And I find both to be fantastic.  I'm dying for the third!

3. Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore
While I wasn't a big fan of this one (I liked C&S and D&D better), it's still the same time period and is definitely for those who love Downton Abbey.
(Basically, any book set in that time period is better than none.)

4. A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
Less of an upstairs and downstairs focus than Cinders & Sapphires and Manor of Secrets, but it's the same era and some of the political issues Lady Sybil was interested in feature heavily in this book.  Plus, there's a big scandal!

5. Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
Basically this one's pitch (Downton Abbey meets The Selection) tells you why it fits in this list.

Speaking of...
6. The Selection by Kiera Cass
The reason I include The Selection trilogy is that it has royalty, certain rules, and castes, all of which remind me of Downton.  Its one fault is the blasted love triangle.

7. Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
This, like The Selection, is more of a futuristic book, but it has similar rules for nobility, not to mention scandal, gossip, romance, and intrigue.

8. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Now, for those of you who know the book, hear me out.  Yes, it's set in more of a fantasy world, but I see parallels to Downton Abbey in the clear class lines, the obsessions over society, and how we see both a high class character's POV and a slave's.  Plus, I think Kestrel sometimes reminded me a bit of Lady Mary. (I'm also looking for any excuse to plug this book, and oh my gosh, I'm dying to see what happens next!)

9. Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
Very similar time period (although Belle Epoque is set in France, not England), but totally different issues.  Still, I think fans of Downton Abbey could definitely enjoy this book.

10. Pawn by Aimee Carter
Like with The Selection, there are very clear castes/classes.  That is the main similarity to Downton Abbey, especially since the governing family is much crazier than the Crawleys.
(Lady Mary's eyerolls are pretty epic.)

So I couldn't come up with ten books or series (since I'm counting Cinders & Sapphires and Diamonds & Deceit as two separate books), but I think these are all definitely a good place to start if you enjoy Downton Abbey.

I'm also interested in what everyone else has done for their TTT because I think there could be some awesome recommendations this week.  Leave a link to your list in the comments below!

April 28, 2014

So You Like... #2

Welcome to the second "So You Like..." post!  This time, I won't be doing a genre.  Instead, I have a book series planned and I think this post will be very fun.

(Like last time, the covers link to their Goodreads page.)

If you like Kaya... (1764)

For Kaya, I chose a book that is about a native people, albeit they're more Inuit than Native American.


If you like Felicity Merriman... (1774)



The protagonist works at an American Revolution reenactment village (much like Williamsburg), and there's a rivalry every summer with the Civil War reenactment park across the street!

If you like Caroline Abbott... (1812)



I chose this book for Caroline because it's a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, which was published in 1813.

If you like Josefina Montoya... (1824)



So I actually haven't read this book, but I've heard a lot about it.  It's the fact that both the protagonist and love interest come from Latino families that made me choose this for the lovely Hispanic Josefina.

If you like Marie-Grace Gardner and Cecile Rey... (1853)


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You're probably wondering what the heck these two books have to do with 19th century girls.  Well, bear with me.  I chose On the Fence because the protagonist's mother died when she was young, like Marie-Grace's, and I chose the Divergent trilogy because of Abnegation.  One of the big themes in Marie-Grace's and Cecile's books is helping others in need, which reminded me of the Abnegation.
EDIT: Also, a friend thought of 
I haven't read it, but this book definitely seems like a good fit!
If you like Kirsten Larson... (1854)



I chose Torn Away because there is a tornado in one of Kirsten's books, and I think it was interesting to contrast how the aftermath affected her in Happy Birthday, Kirsten and Jersey in Torn Away.

Keep an eye out for the next So You Like..., when I'll share books for Addy, Samantha, Rebecca, Kit, Molly, and Julie!

April 27, 2014

Rewind & Review #13

Usually, I do a weekly Rewind & Review but I decided to do a monthly one this time around.  April has been quieter than I expected.  Lots of great books, though, and lots of posts.  I sent my first requests to publishers for ARCs (instead of just depending on the bookstore, NetGalley, and Edelweiss).  I've been put on the request list for several books (yay!), and I already received one of the ARCs (see below).  I was surprised at how few books I actually bought this month, though, because I've sometimes had weeks in the past where I've bought more.  I went to a great author event just this past Thursday and met Erica O'Rourke and Mindee Arnett and got to see Stacey Kade again.  I got books signed, Kate got books signed, and we got tons of swag.  And in other news, it looks like I'm going to Asbury University this fall. :)  Overall, I'm very much looking forward to May.

Books and Swag I Received
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Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor (Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury!)
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau (Thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers! So excited to read and review this one; I'll have reviewed the whole trilogy in just a month or two.)
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (Thank you to Edelweiss and Harlequin Teen!)

(A big thank you to Emery Lord for this awesome Open Road Summer swag!  It's some of the best I've received - temporary tattoos, stickers, and a button.)

Thank you to Read Between the Lynes for all the amazing ARCs! (Books pictured are: Vivian Divine Is Dead, Dark Metropolis, The Vanishing Season, The Things You Kiss Goodbye, V Is for Villain, The Castle Behind Thorns, The Ring and the Crown, Life by Committee, Nantucket Red, Say What You Will, and The Hunt.)

Books I Bought
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The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik (e-book)
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

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Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (Can I just say that I love how the title looks like it was written in permanent marker?)

The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

Books I Won
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The Rules by Stacey Kade (Thanks to Goodreads and Disney-Hyperion!)
Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone (It's signed!  Thanks to Goodreads and Tamara!)

Perry's Recommendations
Perry joined me in my reread of Dorothy Must Die, a book that neither of us can recommend enough.

Perry and I enjoyed Open Road Summer; the protagonist's BFF reminds me of Taylor Swift a lot.

Books I Read
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub
The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik
Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
Top 8 by Katie Finn
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (reread)
Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick (DNF)
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols (DNF)
Uninvited by Sophie Jordan (reread)
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Insurgent by Veronica Roth (reread)
Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn (reread)
The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Pivot Point by Kasie West (reread)
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell
Split Second by Kasie West (reread)
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (reread)
Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Blog Posts You Might've Missed
   (From 3/31-4/6)
   (From 4/7-4/13)
   (From 4/14-4/20)

Upcoming Blog Posts in the Next Few Weeks (subject to change)
  • So You Like... #2
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Books You'll Enjoy If You Like...
  • Review: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Random Friday: Childhood Memories
  • And the week of May 4-10, I'm terming "The Week of Reviews." I'll be posting every day and all but 2 posts will be reviews.