Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who else feels this conflict? Writer or otherwise...

I thought this was an amazing rant, and I agreed with practically everything Victoria Schwab said in this video. View it, and leave a comment if you feel the same.

Check out the YARebels Youtube Channel:


Flawless by Lara Chapman

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (May 10, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1599905965
ISBN-13: 978-1599905969

Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes, gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny-all right, enormous-flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame.

On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do-she agrees. For someone so smart, what was she thinking?

This hip retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is filled with hilariously misguided matchmaking, sweet romance, and a gentle reminder that we should all embrace our flaws.


A masterpiece that was indeed flawless.

With an attitude that takes no prisoners, you won't be prepared for the onslaught that Sarah Burke isn't afraid to dish out. Beautiful writer, studious student, killer looks are what frames Sarah's character but she can't get over the fact that what's in the center--of her face--is what grabs people's attention first. She can take the ridicule and even pay it back in kind but each time leaves an unavoidable scar that has constructed the wall Sarah keeps herself behind, in order to not get hurt.

However, because of her best friend in the world, she can withstand it with Kristen by her side. When a new boy comes to town, all the girls are crazy about his good looks but Sarah is interested in his fresh, intellectual presence as well. When Kristen decides she'd like to him hers, being the loyal friend and repaying her debt to her friend unwavering kindness, how can she say no when she asks for help in making her sound intellectual, too?

Opening with a thriving beginning, Flawless had no flaws that I can air out in this review. Honestly, not only was Sarah's writing something to behold but Chapman did an amazing job at creating each character's voice uniquely. Once you've started reading, you find yourself interested in how exactly Sarah is affected when she has a gorgeous mother that wants her to get a nose job--because she knows Sarah's pain--and a best friend she knows she can't compete with--and doesn't wish to--in the looks department. Her self-respect is admirable but as you continue reading, you ask yourself if it was all just words and rationalization in order to do what her best friend pleaded for. Reading through Kristen's constant nagging, of course she wasn't my favorite character--and I did ask myself how could she not see how Sarah felt--but she had a wholesome personality that was well thought-out and had a basis to stand on; in other words, there was more to her than her looks.

Rock was an interesting character to observe throughout the duration of the book. It was delightful to see his carefree mannerisms and free-spirit temperament when Sarah was going through so much turmoil. Chapman's rendition of Cyrano de Bergerac was beautifully written and tearfully read. Yes, I'm a mush when it comes to these things but only the skillful can squeeze some droplets of salt water out of me.

I highly recommend Flawless to those looking for a quick read that will spear your heart but have you sympathizing and hopeful along the way.

Grade: A-

This ARC was provided by the publisher for my uninfluenced review.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Winner: Two Ann Brashares Novels

Factoids: 4 entries, 4 entrants.


Leslie G

Thanks for entering, everyone! I'll be sending you email soon, L, and you'll have 72 hours to reply with your address to claim you prize. :)


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 24, 2011)
ISBN-10: 141699484X
ISBN-13: 978-1416994848

Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.

Until the accident.

Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.

She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen.

Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...


Right off, you're introduced to Tess and Abby; and their seemingly opposite worlds while still being sisters only in the technical sense. When Abby spots the most minimal response in Tess when she hears Eli's voice in the hospital, she resolves to use him in order to make her sister wake up so she can finally get out from her shadow. However, what Abby soon discovers is the shield she's used to protect herself--from being hurt, from the capability of letting herself want--disappears as she get to physically see that the girl Eli is admiring is not her perfect sister but the tiny, intense bundle that dragged from working in the gift shop because she believes he's the solution to waking her sister up, once and for all. 

As with most of Elizabeth Scott's books--since they're so freaking tiny--I read half of the book--which was 114 pages this time--in one sitting. Why is so addictive, you ask? Well, I can't answer this for every book I've read by her, but I can for Between Here and Forever--which I now just realize is a worthy title for its contents. Anyway, to give some background as to Abby's current predicament: after Tess's car crashed into a tree, she fell into a coma. Abby is currently visiting her at the hospital every afternoon to do anything she can think of to try to wake her up. Her next door neighbor, who used to be Tess's best friend before she was disowned for getting pregnant, is now Abby's best friend. (Yes, Ferrisville--their hometown--is the smallest thing ever.) Claire also works at the hospital Tess is staying at. Later, when Eli does his rounds for delivering desired magazines to patients, his voice triggers an eye twitch from Tess; which, of course, Abby considers it to be a sign of her potential awareness. 

Moving on, to let you see what I saw when reading Between Here and Forever, Scott really touches a lot of nerves with this not-even-260-page book. Abby acts as if nothing about her matters, at anyone. All she believes people see is her sister, always her sister. To get out from beneath her shadow, Abby will go--and did go--to great lengths to awaken Tess. Overall, as a character, Abby is a "slow" developer in the deductive department. A lot of the "revelations" that she discovered in the end were quite obvious to me from the beginning just by the re-tellings of her memories of Tess. The fact was that Tess was afraid and Abby was afraid. In that, they were completely the same, and I didn't necessarily appreciate the lack of creativity there. These are the things that I disliked or was completely perplexed by: why did Abby want her sister to wake up if she felt so much resentment? What was with Eli's bizarre background? I understand that in order for him to have any relationship with Abby whatsoever he had to have some similarities to her but to combine racism and OCD? It seemed like Eli was artificially made for Abby, not a natural character at all. And if we're going the psychological route, I would have definitely deducted Tess to be bipolar according to Abby's memories of her many mood swings in and out of their house. In the end, I actually thought that was going to be part of the "secrets" she was hiding. (Plus it would have made a lot more sense in explaining off all the things she did regarding her ex-best friend Claire.)

As for what I did like about Between Here and Forever...Well, while I could have done without a lot of the confusion and muddled thought processes of Abby, Scott wrote a smoothly flowing narrative that made this book addictive and unputdownable. And even though it was hard for Abby to grasp the obvious she was such a strong character that I wanted her to have the "happily ever after" ending. I think what shocked me the most even though it shouldn't have is that Tess was in coma when all of the conflicts and revelations were happening. Frankly, this entire book was about her being in a coma and how it was affecting the people around her; and the fact that she's not awake to see all this happening made me want to laugh. Inappropriate but true. And, in all honesty, but I thought through the majority of this book that if Tess had never gone into a coma, none of this would have transpired. Which I also found hilarious for the wrong reasons. But at the same time, I also think that that in itself is what made Between Here and Forever so realistic. That the one little accident inspired such a chain of events as to avoid the same mistake from happening again. It had that whole "if you don't know your history, your doomed to repeat it" factor going on.

And two nuggets of random I thought I'd include:
--the last page of Chapter 31 was my favorite 
--and, "Hate That I Love You" by Rihanna ft. Ne-yo should be listened to while reading BHaF

Grade: B-

This ARC was provided by its publisher for my uninfluenced review.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (5)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on...

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

Releasing June 28th from Simon Pulse.

The forbidden always leaves you wanting.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Summer series by Jenny Han!

Check out this awesome quiz! I'm Conrad all the way (even though I haven't read the series yet ;).

Comment with your dream guy, Jeremiah or Conrad?!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Giveaway: Two Ann Brashares Novels

*This giveaway is going to be specifically for reviewers because I'm looking for someone who will most likely review these books and send me links when they do.

In the town of Waterby on Fire Island, the rhythms and rituals of summer are sacrosanct: the ceremonial arrivals and departures by ferry; yacht club dinners with terrible food and breathtaking views; the virtual decree against shoes; and the generational parade of sandy, sun-bleached kids, running, swimming, squealing, and coming of age on the beach.

Set against this vivid backdrop, The Last Summer (of You and Me) is the enchanting, heartrending story of a beach-community friendship triangle among three young adults for whom summer and this place have meant everything. Sisters Riley and Alice, now in their twenties, have been returning to their parents modest beach house every summer for their entire lives. Petite, tenacious Riley is a tomboy and a lifeguard, always ready for a midnight swim, a gale-force sail, or a barefoot sprint down the beach. Beautiful Alice is lithe, gentle, a reader and a thinker, and worshipful of her older sister. And every summer growing up, in the big house that overshadowed their humble one, there was Paul, a friend as important to both girls as the place itself, who has now finally returned to the island after three years away. But his return marks a season of tremendous change, and when a simmering attraction, a serious illness, and a deep secret all collide, the three friends are launched into an unfamiliar adult world, a world from which their summer haven can no longer protect them.

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together, and he remembers it all. Daniel has "the memory", the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he's previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel's unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

A magical, suspenseful, heartbreaking story of true love, My Name is Memory proves the power and endurance of a union that was meant to be.

To Enter:

  • Must promise to review the books listed above (you do not have to be a blogger; can post review on Goodreads or Amazon but try to send me the links once posted).
  • Must be 13 years or older and a US resident or mailing address I'll be able to ship your prize to in the US.
  • Enter before April 16 midnight EST.
  • Fill out the form below.

Winner will receive a finished copy of The Last Summer (of You & Me) and My Name is Memory.