Saturday, January 26, 2013

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly post hosted by Kristi 


Aren't these covers absolutely gorgeous?! I'm reading Unearthly right now and am LOVING it! I don't know why I put off reading this series for so long, but you will definitely be seeing a fangirling post on it in the near future. Love love love. 

What did you find in your mailbox this week? Let me know in the comments :)

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

If I Lie
by Corrine Jackson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Challenge: none

A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.

Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise - Summary from Goodreads

My thoughts

I’m a huge fan of the new trend in military fiction, and I feel like I’ve waited months for Corrine Jackson’s debut, If I Lie, to be released. Luckily, I was not disappointed.
Sophie / Quinn is a character that I really felt for.  Her grief throughout the novel felt so real that I physically ached for her. She’s a girl who has been through so much in her 17 years, and it was easy to see what a toll keeping Carey’s secret took on her. I felt for her so much, I did, but at times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to stand up for herself. She let her ex-friends trod all over her for the most part, and it was painful to read about. Luckily, Quinn grew as a character as the story progressed and really came into her own by the end. She’s one of the strongest YA heroines I’ve read about.  

While I thought Quinn was great, George, Quinn’s friend from the VA hospital is the character that really stole my heart. George gives crotchety old men a good name. I loved that he and Quinn were able to build such a connection through photography and that photography played such a huge role in the book.  The love and friendship George and Quinn shared made me tear up a few times. He really acted as a father figure to Quinn, and I was so happy that she had someone in that godforsaken town who was on her side and believed in her through thick in thin.

All of the other characters in If I Lie felt fully realized as well, from Quinn’s marine father to the vicious kids at school. They all had their own backstories and motives.

While I expected Carey’s “secret” to remain a mystery for a large portion of the book, Ms. Jackson surprised me by revealing the secret within the first 50 pages. That didn’t stop the book from being nailbitingly suspenseful for me though. I think revealing the secret early on allowed more time to be focused on the characters and the ramifications Quinn faced by keeping said secret. It was a stressful journey to go on, but I’m so glad I did. If I Lie contains everything that a great contemporary should: fully realized characters, a great plot, and a ton of heart. If I Lie is one of my favorite books of the year so far, and I hope you’re able to check it out if at all possible. I know my review was vague, but there are so many layers to this story. I want all of you to be able to discover those layers for yourselves, and I hope you will.

I'd recommend If I Lie to fans of:
military fiction - marines
complex family dynamics
grouchy but sweet old men (joking, kind of)

Similar books: 
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
While He Was Away by Karen Schreck

Friday, January 25, 2013

Anatomy of A Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky

Anatomy of a Single Girl 
by Daria Snadowsky
Publisher: Delacorte for Young Readers
Release Date: January 8, 2013

With Judy Blume-like honesty and insight, this sequel to Anatomy of a Boyfriend is about life after first love--romance, sex, friendship, family, and the ups and downs of life as a single girl.

After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one. 

The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered.

But I couldn’t avoid my future forever. 

In Daria Snadowsky’s daring follow-up to Anatomy of a Boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Dominique explores the relationship between love and lust, and the friendships that see us through
- Summary from Goodreads

My thoughts
I first heard about this book back in December and was very intrigued, having read the prequel, Anatomy of a Boyfriend, a few years ago. I had no idea the author planned to write a sequel, but I’m happy she did!

I loved Dom. I don’t remember feeling strongly about her in Anatomy of A Boyfriend, but I noticed SO much character growth in this sequel. At the start of the book, Dom is finishing up her first year in college. She’s just gone through her first major breakup and is slowly getting back on her feet. The pain she went through was evident throughout the book, but she was a strong character and I loved her snarky way of talking.

I feel like this book is essentially about Dom finding out who she is as a person and what she’s looking for in a love interest. Dom’s sexuality played a major role in the story, which is realistic considering she’s in college. I wasn’t expecting the graphic sex scenes in the book, but I think they served a purpose. By the end of book Dom seemed to have a much better grasp or who she is as a person and what she’s looking for in a guy.

Don't go in thinking that this book is just about love, sex, and guys though. Dom loves science and spends a great deal of time thinking about her goals to become a doctor. Her scientific way of thinking was evident in the author's writing style, and I loved that. 

The “New Adult” genre is all the rage now, and I feel that this book is one of THE BEST within the genre. If you love strong, college age protagonists facing real life issues, this book is for you. 

I'd recommend Anatomy of a Single Girl to fans of:
romance / sexuality
protagonists with wit 

Similar books: 
Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty
Hallie Palmer Series by Laura Pedersen 

Friday, August 17, 2012

I'm Back!

Hey everyone. I know it's been a while since I updated, but i'm coming back! Graduate school dominated all of my time for a while, but I finally have a *bit* of time to read and catch up on reviews. 

Upcoming Reviews:
- Speechless by Hannah Harrington
- Starters by Lissa Price
- The List by Siobhan Vivian

Currently Reading:
- 52 Reasons to Hate my Father by Jessica Brody

Up Next:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Have y'all read any great books lately? Let me know!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Recommend A...(1)

Thanks for joining me for the first installment of "Recommend A...", a fun new meme created by Shanyn over at Chick Loves Lit. Shanyn will post a new prompt each week, and anyone interested in participating will post a book recommendation that follows said prompt. This week's is "Recommend a book with three words in the title".Not surprisingly, I couldn't choose just one :)

I recommend: 

1. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder 

Why I love it: In The Day Before, Amber wants to spend one perfect day all alone at the beach, before life as she knows it changes forever. This was a fast read for me, because it was written in verse, but the story was so emotional and beautiful, and Lisa's writing is simple yet reaches right to the core of the reader's heart. I'd recommend this one to fans of contemporary, romance, family dynamics, verse writing, and beach settings.

2. Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

Why I love it: This series is just straight up FUN! Desi is a lovable character, and she gets to trade places with princesses from all over the world. What's not to love?! I read Princess for Hire during a very stressful part of the semester, and it was a great way to escape reality for a bit. If you're looking for a fun middle grade read, I highly recommend Princess for Hire. The final installment in the series will be out next month.

That's it for this week. Check back next week where I'll be recommending a book with a green cover. Should be fun!

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

In Honor
by Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date:May 8, 2012
Challenge: Sophomore Challenge

Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences
- Goodreads

My thoughts

Ah, this book! THIS BOOK! Words can't adequately describe how much I love road trip books, especially when said road trip involves a greater purpose. I feel like I've been waiting to read In Honor practically forever, and I was not let down. 
I loved Honor. Her grief over losing her brother was so palpable, as he was essentially the most important person in her life. The way she dealt with her  grief over losing him felt so realistic. I could easily imagine myself jumping in a car and running away if I experienced what Honor had. I loved that she was adventurous and brave enough to just pick up and leave, and I'm glad that Rusty ended up being dragged along with her. Rusty acted like a total ass at times, it can't be denied, but his good qualities shined through. I don't know if y'all know this, but Rusty is based on Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights. Umm, can you say SWOON?!

Honor and Rusty's romance/friendship was definitely of the slow burn variety. While it was frustrating for me, it was incredibly realistic to the situation. Honor is grieving over her brother, so of course romance is going to have to take the backseat (ha!..bad roadtrip pun). 
Since this story takes place on the road, setting obviously plays a huge role. I would KILL to visit some of the spots that Honor and Rusty did. They sounded so incredibly gorgeous. On the other hand, you couldn't pay me to ride around in a car in TEXAS with no air conditioning. I'm sweating just thinking about it. You know a setting has been well described when you can picture yourself in it, and that's what In Honor did for me. 
Overall, I thought Jessi Kirby's sophomore novel was fantastic. It contains everything I love in a great story - likable characters, a bit of romance, a vivid setting, and a compelling plot. Do yourselves a favor and snag a copy. Check out Friday Night Lights while you're at it. You won't regret it :) 

I'd recommend In Honor to fans of:
road trips
big issues
snarky boys
fantastic settings
Friday Night Lights

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bout of Books Readathon!

Hey guys! I know things have been pretty quiet on my bog lately. I'm in graduate school and my workload has been CRAZY. Luckily, though, the semester just ended and I have six, count 'em SIX, weeks of freedom to rest and catch up on my TBR list. Soooo, what better way then participating in a read-a-thon? I'm very excited to be participating in Bout of Books 4.0, which runs from May 14th through May 20th. I have some awesome books in my TBR pile, and I'm ready to get started. I'll be updating on this post and through twitter (@stephlovescsd). Feel free to tweet and say hi! 

Read 4 books or 1,200 pages

Possible Reading Material:
Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
In Honor by Jessi Kirby
Shine by Jeri Smith Ready
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
The Hero's Guide to Saving your Kingdom by Christopher Healy (on kindle)
maybe a book by Jennifer Echols? I've never read one of her's before

* If you have any other recommendations, please let me know! 

Daily Updates:

Number of pages read today: 240
number of pages read total: 240
number of books read today: 1
number of books read total: 1
What I've read today: In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Number of pages read today: 31
number of pages read total: 271
number of books read today: 0
number of books read total: 1
What I've read today:I Hunt Killers

Number of pages read today: 245
number of pages read total: 516
number of books read today: 1
number of books read total: 2
What I've read today:Going too Far by Jennifer Echols
Number of pages read today: 281
number of pages read total: 797
number of books read today: 1
number of books read total: 3
What I've read today:The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway

Number of pages read today: 274
number of pages read total: 1,071
number of books read today: 1
number of books read total: 4
What I've read today: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

Number of pages read today: 95
number of pages read total: 1,166
number of books read today: 0
number of books read total: 4
What I've read today:  95 pages in Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

Number of pages read today:
number of pages read total:
number of books read today:
number of books read total:
What I've read today:

I've participated in many read-a-thons before & fell short of meeting my goals. I'm hoping to change that this time. If you're participating, let me know! Have fun everyone!
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