Friday, July 26, 2013

{Cover Reveal} Secret by Brigid Kemmerer

So if you follow this blog, or know me in person, you will know that I love the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer. And I love the Merrick brothers. So I'm very excited that our first cover reveal is helping to reveal Secret, the fourth book in the Elemental series.

And without further ado, I present to you...

Title: Secret (Elemental, book 4)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Kensington Books
Release Date: January 28, 2014

Nowhere is safe. Not even home...
Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point.
Keep his grades sky-high or he'll never escape his hometown.
Keep his brother's business going or the Merricks will be out on the street.
Keep the secret of where he's going in the evenings from his own twin--or he'll lose his family.
Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who's supposed to be his "girlfriend's" partner.
Of course there's also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. There's a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.
Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?

Can I fangirl now? And I love the cover. I do miss all the guys, but I think it's cool that there's a girl included, seeing as how the girls are also a big part of the story. And I love that color. Like guys, I'm just so excited. If you haven't read this series yet, just go do it. Now. Like seriously. Stop everything and read. 

See my review of the books in the Elemental series: Elemental, Storm, Spark, Spirit, Breathless

Brigid Kemmerer:

Brigid Kemmerer is the author of the Elemental seres, about a family of four brothers who control the elements, and their battle with those who want them dead. Storm, Spark, and Spirit are available now wherever books are sold. To read the novella introducing Nick's story, be sure to check out Breathless, avalable as an e-book only from major e-book retailers. You can learn more about the Elemental boys at

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Unwind {by Neal Shusterman}

Title: Unwind
Series: Unwind Dystology, #1
Author: Neal Shusterman
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: AmazonBarnes and Noble

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

How does one even begin to review such an amazing book? I'm not even exaggerating; this is one of my favorite books ever.

Unwind takes place in a futuristic society. But it's still America. This isn't some far off future in some far off land. After the prolife/prochoice war, the two sides came up with a compromise: unwinding. The novel follows three main characters, scheduled for unwinding: Connor, Risa, and Levi. Each have their own unique stories, that meld together. Connor, a "problem" child. Risa, a ward of the state. And Lev, a tithe. Shusterman uses these three to address other, smaller issues, that lead to the big issue.

With Connor, he tackles the issue of problem children. So often, society wants to write the bad kids off. There's no hope for them, they'll just end up in jail, they're somebody else's problem, etc. Shusterman delves deeper in his mind, showing us why he is the way he is, what makes him tick. He shows us that maybe the way to deal with these kids isn't to write them off, but to help them, understand them. And in the end, Connor proves everyone wrong, becoming someone I'm sure his parents and teachers never thought he would be.

With Risa, he tackles the issue of government institutions. The wards of the state are children just like any other, but they aren't really treated like such. It isn't so much a dig, I don't think, as it is trying to make people aware of the realities. Because even though this may take place in an advanced, future society, the issue is still the same. State homes and orphanages are overrun, underfunded, and not cared for. There are kids like Risa who may be talented, but sometimes it isn't enough. In our world, they get thrown on the street. Risa gets scheduled for unwinding.

And with Lev, he tackles the religious aspect. Again, I don't think it was so much saying it's terrible and wrong as it is pointing out the flaws. After all, in the end, Lev did accept God that doesn't believe in unwinding. 

And of course, the big issue of abortion. Prochoice verses prolife. I mean, it's the whole basis of the book. We're not going to get into a discussion here about it, but he makes some amazing points on the subject. 

But more than being just political satire, Unwind is just a great story. It's fast-paced, adventurous, even emotional, and has the slightest bit of romance. And unlike most YA books, this is a book both girls and guys can enjoy and love. I know kids who hate reading who read this and loved it.  

Honestly. I just love this book so much. It's one I'll recommend to anybody, and one I think every teen should read. The second book, UnWholly, was amazing too. It may not be just as good as Unwind, but only because nothing can touch that. The third book, UnSouled, is scheduled to come out this fall. And Shusterman has announced that there is actually going to be a fourth book as well now. UnDivided is scheduled to come out next spring. There is also a novella that comes after Unwind called UnStrung, and it's from Lev's perspective.

Neal Shusterman:

Website|Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

This Lullaby {by Sarah Dessen}

Title: This Lullaby
Author: Sarah Dessen
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: AmazonBarnes and Noble

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

A few summers ago, I found Lock and Key at the library. It was my first Sarah Dessen book, and I enjoyed it. We visited my cousins that summer, and my cousin had Along for the Ride and This Lullaby. I read Along for the Ride, and loved it. I read the blurb of This Lullaby and even the first page or so, I think, but for whatever reason, it didn't really capture my attention. And that was that for Sarah Dessen. Until late into the school year or maybe even that next summer. I rediscovered her books, and read all of them. This Lullaby I read last, since in my mind I had already given it a chance. And I loved it. I couldn't figure out why I waited so long to read it, or why I didn't read it the first time around. It became my favorite, although currently it may have to contend with some others for the complete top spot, it is still up there. And that's the story of me and This Lullaby. 

Remy doesn't believe in love. Seeing her mother going through one marriage after another has made her cynical and jaded, to the point where she has developed the perfect formula for a relationship, never allowing them to stray from her boundaries. Now, the summer after graduation, Remy is preparing for her mother's fifth marriage and counting down the days until she leaves for Stanford. Then, she meets Dexter. 

One thing I like about all Sarah Dessen books is how they're…normal. As in, these characters deal with your everyday normal teenage issues. They're relatable. Of course, some more than others. Such as, I couldn't really relate to Remy and her friends because I was never the party  type. But I can relate to school stress, transitioning from high school to college, etc. Even if you can't relate completely to a character, there always seems to be some part that you can. I mean, I love my fantasy fiction just like the rest of you, but don't tell me there aren't parts where you're like "really? REALLY? This totally cannot happen". But the issues Dessen writes about are relatable. You know they happen, because they happened to you. And, even for a moment, you realize, someone else actually does know what you're going through. Okay, maybe not on a major scale, but they do make you feel better. Because Dessen's main characters have some issues. 

I liked Remy's character, even with all her flaws. She didn't take anything from anyone. And while I do admit that sometimes her cynicism and crazy strictness was annoying sometimes, you knew where she came from. Her friends, on the other hand, were never really explained. I understand that as minor characters, there isn't enough room to fully explain everything about everyone, but it would have been nice to know where they came from. Jess was explained, and I suppose Lissa didn't really need an explanation. So I guess it's just Chloe I wanted explained. She was just as cynical and jaded as Remy, but while we knew why Remy was the way she was, we never knew about Chloe. Nor was it really explained why she and Jess were always at each others' throats. But that wasn't a big deal. Just something I wonder about. 

And can we talk about Dexter? Like, sa-woon (All my fellow Dessen fans understand that The Truth About Forever reference). Now, I don't think he's necessarily boyfriend-material for me, but he definitely was lovable. And I love how he didn't let Remy's hard exterior faze him, whittling her down until he saw the girl underneath. I think every girl needs a guy willing to go to such lengths for her. In fact, I think all Dessen boys have given me high standard for my future boyfriend. 

Another thing I like about Sarah Dessen's novels is family. Whether it be just a mom, divorced parents, or both parents with siblings, family is always a focus. Every teenager goes through periods where they may not get along with their parents, and every family goes through rough patches. She showcases both of these things, but also show how important family is, how important it is to make amends and keep them close, no matter what they've down or what you've gone through. I think this is an important message for teens to know. 

This book is just a fun read. Although it deals with serious issues that we all face, it does it in a fun and cute way. There were your laughing moments, you're serious moments, and of course, your romance. Must I say it again? I love this book ;)

Slight disclaimer: Pretty much anyone I know who reads this as their first Sarah Dessen novel like it okay, but not enough to maybe be so excited to read another Sarah Dessen novel. I have to agree, that if you have never read a Sarah Dessen novel before, this may not be a good first choice. Along for the Ride is my second favorite, and a good one to start with. The Truth About Forever is a close third, and according to a lot of people, a good one to read if it's your first Sarah Dessen novel.

Sarah Dessen: 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Burn {by Ted Dekker}

Title: Burn
Author: Ted Dekker, Erin Healy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

She escaped the fire--but not the effects of the burn.
Janeal has long felt trapped in her father's Gypsy culture. Then one night a powerful man named Salazar Sanso promises her the life she longs for--if she will help recover a vast sum of money tied to her father.
When the plan implodes, Sanso and his men attack the gypsy settlement and burn it to the ground. During the blaze, Janeal is faced with a staggering choice.
"The impact of that moment changes her forever."
As her past rises from the ashes, Janeal faces a new life-or-death choice. And this time, escape is not an option.

So, the other day, I went into my local Mardel. It was a quick stop, as I only had a few moments and was looking for a specific book in the bargain book aisle. And guess who was there, signing books and doing a meet and greet?? None other than Ted Dekker himself. I was upset that I couldn't stay to meet him, so I consoled myself by buying this book (from the bargain book aisle--shh, don't tell him). I had read it a couple months ago, and absolutely loved it.

Janeal is a Gypsy. Her father is the leader of their band, but Janeal hates the life. She often dreams of escaping, and Salazar Sanso is the key, if she does what he asks. But somehow, everything goes completely wrong and Sanso burns the camp to the ground. Trapped in a room with her best friend, Katie, Janeal has to make a decision: save her friend, or save herself. She runs away, creates a new identify for herself, and lives a completely new life, climbing up the corporate ladder. For years, Janeal thinks she is the only survivor. 

But all is not as it seems. As Janeal would do anything to make sure no one in her new life knows who she is, she finds out that her boyfriend, Robert, also survived and has been hunting Sanso down since then. And they both discover another survivor, one they were least expecting--Katie. 

Ted Dekker did not disappoint with this book. I was hooked from the beginning. At first, it seems like your average underlying message of good vs. evil. And it does explores those themes, but in a very fascinating way, not boring or preachy. But then, comes the twist, the ones Dekker is known for. The story takes a turn, and while it isn't quite supernatural, it is as well. The story is riveting, making you think while also blowing your mind. It's hard to find a book that impresses me this much, but I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone.

Ted Dekker: