Friday, November 28

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)  by Robin LaFevers
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 560

Summary:Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

My Thoughts:  Why, oh Why Did I wait so long to start this series? I really enjoyed Grave Mercy!

We are introduced to Ismae who is living at a convent now. Its not just any convent though. Its where women are trained to fight and kill men, whatever means possible.

Ismae knows this is her calling. She doesn’t see herself becoming a lady, one who marries and has children; playing the part of a housewife. She knows she’s meant for more than that.

Ismae gets some important missions and the first few go smoothly but then a mysterious man appears.  I loved Duval! He made the story much more interesting and gave me a romantic interest to look forward too.

Ismae is badass. She’s tough and she knows when she has a mission, she must complete it. But she also has a heart. She tries to see things as they are and not to make mistakes by hurting the wrong person even if she is supposed too.

I loved the plot of this one. Even though it is kind of historical, I never really felt like it was. It was beautiful and thrilling and action filled.  I don’t want to say much about this one. A lot of people have already read it and for those who haven’t, I highly suggest it!

Overall: Loved the characters and the plot. Loved how things played out. I thought this was such a good novel and even though its really long, I finished it within a few days. It sucked me right in! Can’t wait to read the next one in the series!

Cover: Like it! If I saw it in the store, I’d definitely pick it up! You can tell you shouldn't mess with this girl!

What I’d Give It:

Saturday, November 22

The Swift Boys And Me by Kody Keplinger

The Swift Boys And Me by Kody Keplinger
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic
Age Group: Middle Grade
Pages: 272

Summary:  Nola Sutton has been best friends and neighbors with the Swift boys for practically her whole life. There’s the youngest, Kevin, who never stops talking; the oldest, Brian, who’s always kind and calm; and then there’s Canaan, the ringleader and Nola’s best-best friend. Nola can’t imagine her life without the Swift boys — they’ll always be like this, always be friends.

But then everything changes overnight.

When the Swifts’ daddy leaves without even saying good-bye, it completely destroys the boys, and all Nola can do is watch. Kevin stops talking and Brian is never around. Even Canaan is drifting away from Nola — hanging out with the neighborhood bullies instead of her.

Nola just wants things to go back to the way they were — the way they’ve always been. She tries to pull the boys back to her, only the harder she pulls, the further away they seem. But it’s not just the Swifts whose family is changing, so is Nola’s, and she needs her best friends now more than ever. Can Nola and the Swift boys survive this summer with their friendships intact, or has everything fallen apart for good?

Nola’s struggle to save her friends, her unwavering hope, and her belief in the power of friendship make Kody Keplinger’s middle-grade debut a poignant story of loss and redemption.

My Thoughts: Whoa, I raced right through this one. I do not read much middle grade but if its Kody Keplinger, I’m going to read it! HA!

We are introduced to Nola who lives with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend visits quite a bit, so he is there a lot too. She lives next door to the Swift Boys. There a few of them. Plus their parents of course.

Nola is the closest to the boy her own age, Canaan. They have been best friends since they were real little and even though they aren’t even teenagers yet, they have been best friends forever in their eyes.

One day Nola sees their father leave. That sets things in motion and things go crazy for The Swift Boys. They get sad, they get mad, they don’t understand or know where their father went. So, Nola gets it in her head to find out. All the boys are acting differently now and Nola can’t stand it. She ends up hanging out with some of the other neighbor kids in the meantime.

Nola also gets to spend more time with her grandma. In her spare time she completes neighborhood jobs that Canaan was supposed to help with so they can save up money to go to the Circus. Canaan isn’t around much because he’s pretty much got new friends, a way to rebel I suppose.

Even though this is middle grade, I really liked it. I thought it was cute and I was sucked right into the story. I really loved Nola and I just had to know what happened to her next.

Overall:  Cute, realistic novel! If you don’t read much middle grade, you should definitely read this one! You won’t regret it! Heartfelt story with funny and sad moments! I really enjoyed this one! I'd probably give this 4.5 for a middle grade book!

Cover:  Its adorable!!!  Love how she is looking over the fence at them! This cover is really cute!

What I’d Give It:

Thursday, November 20

The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting

The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 368

Summary: A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

My Thoughts: I really liked Derting’s other series! So I was excited to read her newest book, The Taking!

We are introduced to Kyra who is a cheerleader, has the perfect family, nicest boyfriend, and a cool best friend. Her life is pretty good.

Until she goes missing and then comes back a few years later. People have moved on without her. Yet, Kyra looks the same age and feels the same age. She also has no memory of where she has been. I was in for an rude awakening with this story! I thought for sure maybe she had been kidnapped and just returned and it was so traumatizing she just blocked out her memories. Boy was I wrong!

As soon as she’s home, she realizes her family isn’t so great anymore. Things are not the same. Her boyfriend has also went away to college and lived the life they were supposed too together. She moves back into her old house and her boyfriends family is still across the street. Boy, has his little brother gotten hot.  His name was Tyler and I really liked him a lot. I can tell he had a huge crush on Kyra when he was just a kid. But now he’s older and ready to make his move.

I liked the things Tyler did. He was there for Kyra and I loved them sneaking out of the house to the park and the way he would draw on her sidewalk. Very very sweet.

I also liked the angle this story took. It was weird the way she got taken and how things went down. I was surprised about that. I don’t want to tell you the main thing but I never really saw it coming. Didn't realize this was so scifi I guess.

It all made sense eventually and things came together.

I really liked the characters in this one and the plot. I thought it was unique and I was happy to meet Simon and everyone else. I liked their stories and hearing how things happened.

And of course, things happen that are sad as well. And than the ending, now I want to know what happens! I can’t wait to read the next one! I have to know if things work out or not.

Overall:  Liked it. It was a bit weird at times but I still enjoyed it and am glad how things happened. I’m glad to know her dad had some logic to him as well. I’m also glad that Kyra did listen and take into consideration what had happened, at least after a while. I still really liked Tyler!

Cover: Like it! Its kind of spooky but also love the blue!

What I’d Give It:

Monday, November 17

Sweet Evil (Sweet #1) by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 464

Summary: Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

My Thoughts:  I have heard so many good things about this series so I finally decided to give it a try.

We are introduced to Anna who is adopted. She goes to school, hangs out with her friends, and tries to be a normal teenager. Anna has some strange gifts but she tries not to use them and just be as normal as possible.

One day Anna is hanging out with her best friend when she meets a guy named Kaidan. Kaidan is pretty hot. He’s in a band, is good looking, and a good guy even if he comes off as an arrogant jerk sometimes.

As Anna and Kaidan get to know each other, they find out a lot about each other. I also liked Kaidan’s friends. They were each so unique and had their own way of doing things.

I loved the road trip Anna and Kaidan had to go on. I loved seeing that side of him. Well, at least the beginning of the road trip anyway.

I liked how things went down and it kept the story interesting. I liked both Anna and Kaidan and I’m excited to read the next one. This just kind of opens things up a bit and we don’t really see that much happening.

Overall: I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to see where the story goes. I hope Anna and Kaidan find each other again!

Cover:  Love it! I can see both of them looking like that and I loved the colors.

What I’d Give It:

Saturday, November 15

The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 368  

Summary:Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.

My Thoughts:  I actually enjoyed this one even though it was a little bit awkward.

We are introduced to Bettina who goes to school, has a boyfriend, joins the cheer-leading squad and spends time at home with her family. Her family is somewhat strict.

She also meets a boy named Cowboy. No, he is not her boyfriend. He’s a guy down at a mechanic shop she eventually runs into. I really liked Cowboy. I liked the way he acted and talked to Bettina. But he was older. Quite a bit older. Old enough to go to jail.

At first, I couldn’t really tell how much older he was. Just a few years? 10 years older? I really didn’t know. So, as I read I liked him a lot. I think it helped that her boyfriend didn’t treat her very well so seeing how Cowboy treated her made me happy.

Just as Bettina is figuring out her true feelings something major happens and it just threw me for a loop. It broke my heart. I don’t even know what to say. Yes, I teared up a little bit.

I really enjoyed The Things You Kiss Goodbye and I’m glad I finally read it.

Overall: I pretty much devoured this one before bed one night. I stayed up really late just so I could finish it! I highly recommend this one if you like contemps!

Cover:  Like it, I think it looks cool. And it fits so well since we can see her long braid. Cute!

What I’d Give It:

Wednesday, November 12

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 352

Summary: No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

My Thoughts:  This is the story of Claire and Megan! Best friends! Claire and Megan were quite a bit different from each other. Claire is laid back and kind of shy. Megan is outgoing and popular and can have any guy she wants.

Well, a new boy comes to town and both Claire and Megan set their eyes on him. His name is Luke. I don’t know. I just didn’t really like Luke. I had more of an interest in Claire’s friend Sam. He was sweet and I wish I could have gotten to know more about him.
Claire and Megan battle it out for Luke, and I just didn’t like that! I wanted their friendship to come first and at times it didn’t.

17 First Kisses had a lot of DRAMA! I felt like I was in a war between them, as one of of their side friends! Ick!

I loved the family aspect of this one! I loved learning about Claire’s family. I also liked the soccer references. I liked how Claire played soccer and was kind of a tomboy.

The thing I liked most is probably the flashbacks of the kisses she’s had. I normally hate flashbacks but I loved these. I loved seeing her kiss different boys and what it was like for her. It explained so much but I also liked feeling like I was right there with her!

Overall:  I’m a sucker for happy endings and I’m glad on the way this one ended! But I wanted so much more with Sam!  

I did enjoy 17 First Kisses! I enjoyed the family aspect, soccer, and Sam more than I did with the battle for Luke though!  This is a cute contemporary read!

Cover:  Like it! I think its cute and would make me pick it up!

What I’d Give It:

Tuesday, November 11

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Release Date:  October 14, 2014
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Age Group: Young Adult

Summary:   A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

My Thoughts: I wasn’t sure I would like this one when I started but I ended up really loving it!

We are introduced to Meira and Mather. Meira has been raised alongside Mather by a man named Sir. At least that is what she calls him.  There are also different people in different regions. At first their names (the way they were described) was a little bit confusing. But I picked it up quickly.  I wanted Meira and Mather to be together so bad but Mather is going to be king someday, or so they think so Meira is always too low for him according to others. Of course they still have feelings for eachother.

Meira also meets another boy along the way. He was a Crown Prince! Talk about a crazy love triangle! A future king and a crown prince. Lucky lucky girl! But her luck changes even more later in the book! That surprised me quite a bit but I should have seen it coming!

I also loved all the magical elements of the story! I loved that this one felt like more fantasy than anything else! I loved the plot and the characters.

I really loved all the characters and even though it had some sad moments, it was redeemed pretty fast and made me smile!

Meira is a great character to root for! She’s brave but also thinks pretty straightforward. She wants to do the right thing but she also knows she has a real soldier inside her and will fight right alongside everyone else.  And Mather, oh Mather! Loved him!

I don’t want to say much about this one because I want you to go out and read it yourself!

Overall:  Great debut! Can’t wait to read more! Loved the character development!!!! AMAZING!!!! A favorite of the year!

Cover:  Love it! It fits perfectly! If I saw this in a bookstore, I’d have to pick it up!

What I’d Give It:

Sunday, November 9

Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout

Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press   
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 304

Summary:  Dying sucks
...and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand.

After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.

For real this time.

My Thoughts:  I tend to love Armentrout’s books! I enjoy them! I laugh during them, I cry during them!

Cursed was just okay for me. It almost felt like it was aimed at a younger audience, middle grade.

We are introduced to Ember who lives with her mother and her little sister. Her mother has went into a depression and Ember basically takes care of her little sister. I liked their abilities and what they could do, even if it was a bit scary.

The family soon goes to live with another and things get complicated. Ember really has no say in the matter and things are complicated. The new family also has some weird stuff going on. I really liked the addition of Hayden but I had to warm up to him. At first, he seemed like a bit of a stalker but I soon began to like him. I just never really loved him like I tend to do with book boyfriends. I never really connected with him.

I was glad to see Ember grow as a person and learn more about herself.

Overall: I thought the plot was interesting and the characters. Some more than others. I don’t think this was my favorite book by this author but I enjoyed it enough to want to know what happened next and to keep reading.

Cover: I do like the colors of it!

What I’d Give It:

Friday, November 7

How To Meet Boys by Catherine Clark

How To Meet Boys by Catherine Clark
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages:  320

Summary:   Find out what happens when you fall for your best friend's worst enemy in this timeless and hilarious story of a forbidden first love and forever friendship.

Lucy can't wait to spend the summer at the lake with her best friend, Mikayla. But when Jackson, the boy she's been avoiding ever since he rejected her, reappears in her life, Lucy wonders if this summer to remember is one she'd rather forget.

Mikayla's never had much luck talking to boys, but when she (literally) runs into the cutest guy she's ever seen, and sparks fly, she thinks things might be looking up...until she realizes the adorable stranger is the same boy who broke her best friend's heart.

As things begin to heat up between Mikayla and the one guy she should avoid, will Lucy be able to keep her cool or will the girls' perfect summer turn into one hot mess?

Catherine Clark, the author of beach-read favorites Maine Squeeze and Love and Other Things I'm Bad At, has once again crafted a hilarious and spot-on portrayal of what it's really like to be a teenager. Readers will love this irreverent coming-of-age story…and will be breathlessly turning the pages to find out what happens next.

My Thoughts: This was a cute read but it was just ok for me.

We are introduced to both Mikayla and Lucy. Both girls are best friends and go away for the summer. Once upon a time a long time ago, Lucy kissed a boy named Jackson. Well, she tried to anyway but he rejected her. They were so young and he didn’t want to take their friendship to the next level. Ever since Lucy has avoided him.

But this summer Lucy ends up working for her grandparents and they also hired Jackson. Of course they don’t know much about their history. He’s just a stable boy who needed a job. Than there is Mikayla who also meets Jackson but has no idea its him, and she’s interested in him.

I liked this one but it was definitely more of a fun summer read. Kind of a lot of drama and both girls weren’t really truthful with one another and that is where things got complicated. A lot happened in this one but I felt like not much happened at all. Confusing, right?

I liked the scenery and how it felt like summer and beachy.  I also liked Jackson but I didn’t fall for him. Out of the two girls I liked Lucy most.

I think this one was a cute summer read.

Overall: Liked it. I think this was more of a light read. Great when you need something light after you finish a heavy book. I liked the characters and the scenes but I just wasn’t a huge fan of the plot.

Cover: Like it! Its summery enough and I like how we can see them! I like her skirt and the way they are standing. Cute!

What I’d Give It:

Wednesday, November 5

Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross

Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages:  320

Summary: Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she's living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals' super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn't just a game. It's life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

My Thoughts: Baseball and a hot guy? Yes Please times infinity!

We are introduced to Jason Brody who is 19 years old and an upcoming star!!! A baseball player!

We are also introduced to Annie whose dad has just taken a job coaching. They move halfway across the country for this job. Annie wasn't too upset about the move. She didn’t have much at home. Her mom took off, her boyfriend and her split, things weren't very good.

From the first moment Annie laid eyes on Jason I knew things were gonna get hot and fast! Oh man I just loved them together. Their banter and how easily they warmed up to one another. They had me laughing most of the time or smiling.

Of course Jason has a lot on his plate and Annie is a bit young for him. Annie also knows she shouldn't date anyone on the team.

I loved the tornado scene!! Actually I loved all the scenes.  I also really liked Annie’s dad. He was such a great guy.

I loved that Annie was helping Jason get his GED. I also loved how Jason supported Annie running!

I loved Julie’s writing. I loved the plot. And I loved the characters. I loved this book to pieces! I just loved it all! Even when things got bad, I knew it would be redeemed. And I’m so glad how things ended up.

I don’t want to say much else, because I don’t want to give away all the great scenes or what happens BUT I must say this, if you like contemps, you MUST read this book as soon as possible!!!

Overall: Loved this one! Great characters, great plot! I need me some Jason Brody!!!

Cover:  Its adorable!! I love the coloring and I love the girl/guy! Very amazing and adorable cover!!!

What I’d Give It:


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