Thursday, December 26, 2013
Reviewed by Honorary Sis Sarah P.
The Sisters Say: read it for the love story
Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.
Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.
One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.
Talk about “meeting cute!” Barfing on a girl’s service Reeboks isn’t the best way to make a first impression. It’s a heck of a beginning. After that, however, the fact that Wren saved Grayson’s life is not at all integral to the plot of the story.
In fact, the book stalls a bit after this dramatic beginning. It takes Wren and Grayson a few chapters to get going as friends, and then something more. The saving grace of the book is the colorful cast which accompanies them. Wren’s older brother and sister are true characters, and their life in eastern New Jersey is well drawn. The Catholic school angle is also entertaining and different from anything I’ve read recently. In much the same way, Grayson’s messier family life is also fully realized—you just cringe along with him over Thanksgiving dinner.
As the book rolls forward, Grayson becomes a credibly complicated and ultimately likable character. The pity is that this takes so long. Grayson is truly ensnared by past mistakes, and they raise the stakes for the plot to an exciting level. Did you ever notice the way the best stories are those which make you pause to ask, “how in the heck could this ever turn out okay?” This book brings you there eventually, but I’d argue that it holds its cards too tightly for the first half.
And here’s a pet peeve which I feel I should mention for the good of humanity. YA authors of the world, please stop naming all your characters Wren and Grayson! This is the third Wren book I’ve read in the past two months, and I’ve lost count of the Graysons. It’s not just me, right?
At the end of the day, The Promise of Amazing is a sexy love story between two people who need one another. Read it for the colorful New Jersey Catholic school catering hall world and amped up, angsty plot line.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Reviewed by Honorary Sis Sarah P.
The sisters say: heartwarming and funny as heck! Read it whether or not you've already read Jumping Off Swings.
After fathering a baby, a teenager moves in with his karate-loving uncle and tries to come to terms with his guilt — and find a way to forgive.
This isn’t how Josh expected to spend senior year. He thought he’d be hanging out with his best friends, Dave and Caleb, driving around, partying, just like always. But here he is, miles from home — new school, new life, living with his Jackie-Chan-obsessed uncle, Larry, and trying to forget.
But Josh can’t forget. So many things bring back memories of last year and the night that changed everything. Every day the pain, the shame, and the just not knowing are never far from his thoughts. Why is he such a loser? How could he have done what he did?
He finds some moments of peace when he practices karate with Stella, the girl upstairs and his one real friend. As they move together through the katas, Josh feels connected in a way he has never felt before. He wonders if they could be more than friends, but Stella’s jealous boyfriend will make sure that doesn’t happen. And maybe it doesn’t matter. If Stella knew the truth, would she still think he was a True Karate Man?
Readers first met Josh in Jumping Off Swings which told the story of four high school students and how one pregnancy changed all of their lives. In this companion book, they follow Josh as he tries to come to terms with what happened, and find a way to forgive.
It took me too long to read this, because even though the title is genius and the premise is awesome, I hadn't read Jumping Off Swings. And I'm an orderly kind of girl.
Last night I just picked it up and dove in. Because how could I resist that cover, with the cat eyeing Josh as if he might be as big a jerk as he thinks he is? And I'm so glad I did. The book is every bit as amusing as its cover. It's a gift to be able to write funny dialog about serious stuff. And that is precisely the gift that Ms. Knowles has.
What I love about this book is that its characters mostly do the right thing, yet that makes nothing easier! On the first day of school, for example, Josh is horrified when a note falls out of the lunch his well-meaning uncle packed:
What is a true karate man? Remember, and you'll be fine. --L
I crumple it into a ball and toss it in my locker. Here's an answer, Larry: A true karate man doesn't embarrass the crap out of his nephew by leaving a note in his lunch on the first day of school senior year.
Of course, the note in his lunch is not really the problem. It's the shame so deep he sees it everywhere he goes.
This is the sort of book in which every character (even the minor ones) shines with his own light. Even the freaking cat. As uncle Larry over emotes again and again, you'll cringe right along with Josh. His discomfort is as solid as the front stoop of their nondescript apartment building. But even then, you'll still wish you had an Uncle Larry, too. And that's the genius of Living With Jackie Chan. Read it and smile.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.
Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it's easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he'd done both to me.
The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet's life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River's other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn't long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . . .
Between the Spark and the Burn is the heart-pounding conclusion to the �lavishly rendered, darkly romantic, and beautifully unsettling [Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea.]”—Melissa Marr
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.
Friday, December 13, 2013
By Honorary Sis Sarah P.
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley is an Australian import with something for everyone. A romance. A case of mistaken identity. Poetry and literary awesomeness.
The best romances have much more going on than just the love story, and My Life Next Door is no exception. I loved the whole package--the mouthy four year old, the political poser, the grumpy mom. Can't wait for her 2014 follow up.
All the Truth That's In Me would appear on just about any "best of" list I made this year. What a powerful, haunting read. And how amazing that Ms. Berry sustains such a heartbreaking romance through a plot line full of scary, unromantic stuff. Wow!
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton follows a theme which received lots of airplay recently--her main character is trying to overcome a sexual assault, and a very patient boy helps her do that. This book absolutely rocks that plot line.
Somehow Rainbow Rowell published two bestselling, super romances in 2013. Just... wow. I'm sure these two books are turning up on lists everywhere. But that is as it should be.
Is Every Day a true romance? I believe it is. And with one of the most unique romance plots ever imagined.
Hilary Smith's swashbuckling tale proves that romance can find you in the places (and during the moments) you're least expecting it.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Ryan Hunter's parties are legend. And tonight she's going to be there.
Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she's a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she's just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she's prepared to play ball to get her man.
The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.
Friday, December 6, 2013
So, here starts the first of the YA Sisterhood's "Best Of" Lists. We might have some duplicate lists, also, as each of us has our own favorites!!!
So, here we go. Best Covers of 2013 (in no particular order)...
I love the flowing white dress with the red ribbon--very gothic and ethereal.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Sourcebooks, Available Now
Reviewed by: Honorary Sis Sarah P.
The Sisters Say: Perfect for horse lovers
He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.
With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…
This is a quick, romantic read stocked with a lot of fun equestrian details. The book is at its best when dishing on jockey secrets, and touring fancy barns larger than your average big box store. There's nothing ordinary about the lives these characters are leading--with their five AM riding sessions before school, and weekend trips to race at Kentucky and Tennessee tracks.
And the track is a fine place to set a romance. I've actually been to Keeneland in Kentucky, where a few scenes in the book are set. It has that mint-juleps-and-big-hats aura. Like this:
Pretty, right? Stolen kisses beside the stalls work well to create a unique flavor for the book.
The rich-vs-poor tension served up in the story line works well. The estate owner proves to be more human and three dimensional than the book's description hints. I was less satisfied by the character development of Savannah's tone-deaf dad, and their awkward discussions about whether or not Savannah would attend college.
The narrative style is first-person present tense, which comes off as a bit breathless. In fact, Savannah felt younger to me than her 17 years. But I liked her feistiness, and the way she stood up for herself before Jack figured out how to do the same.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Since the moment I cracked Huntley Fitzpatrick's My Life Next Door, I've been waiting for her next book. And the wait will be over on April 15th. Tax day. This shall be my reward: What I Thought Was True
From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.
Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.
A magnetic, push-me-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Little, Brown and Co.
On shelves now!
Reviewed by: Honorary Sis Sarah P.
Sisters say: Awesome premise, inventive voice. Another important book from A.S. King.
Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth—which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.
Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he’s tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone’s just waiting for him to snap…and he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.
In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” who finally breaks free of his anger by creating possibilities he never knew he deserved.
A.S. King is the prizewinning author of Please Ignore Vera Dietz and other serious YA fiction. And when I saw that her newest book was about a teen-aged former reality TV "star," I knew I would read it. No lie—my little nerd heart was waiting for a hard hitting YA take on our culture's obsession with reality TV. It seemed like a topic overripe for the plucking. Musically, my favorite take in the subject is Jack Johnson's Good People. When he sings "we got heaps and heaps of what we sow," I'm right there with him.
Reality Boy delivers on the darkness of its premise. And even though a nanny show is premise enough for a novel, the author does it one better. The true cause of Gerald's miserable life is not what the cameras captured, but what they missed. Gerald's psychopathic sibling was the root of the evil, and neither his mother nor the in-and-out production team would take the time to call it what it was.
This book is a great read, but the middle of it is necessarily grim. In the depths of his journey, it is easy to despair along with Gerald. Nothing is likely to change for him, because more than a decade of evidence suggests that nothing can. I had to push through those parts (much as the character does) to reach the powerful and very poignant ending. Along the way, King's writing sparkles with wit and dark humor. Her take on a teen-aged boy and his high school setting feels very fresh and real, without a cliche in sight.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
On shelves now!
Reviewed by: AmyG (big sis)
Sister's Say: Original, Outstanding and Overwhelmingly Amazing
Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.
After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.
All Katy can do is survive.
Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?
Together, they can face anything.
But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?
And will they even be together?
I'm back!!! I know it's been awhile since I've posted a review here, but I do have a good reason. We have a new little one to add to our sisterhood ranks. His name is August, and he is such a little joy. For some crazy reason, I had absolutely no desire to read when I was pregnant. Then the week after I had him, I was dying to have a book in my hands! I have been putting away the books like crazy these past 3 months. Crazy how hormones are sometimes! It's good to be back in the reading world, and what a good world that it is at the moment! I have read SO MANY good books lately and am dying to talk about all of them. Plus, I have 9 months worth of catching up to do! Enough about myself, lets move on to Daemon, a much yummier topic!
I know you know what I am going to say, but I have to say it! Origin is the best in the series yet! Origin has freakin' everything and then more. I'm not quite sure where I was expecting this story to go, but it definitely did not stay on the straight and narrow. JLA does not pull her punches in this one. She lets it all fly and didn't hold anything back. You may think you know what is going to happen, but trust me, you don't!
Origin picks up right where Opal ripped out hearts out. It opens in Kat's POV but switches back and forth between her and Daemon. So all of you ladies that have been dying to catch a glimpse into Daemon's mind, you get plenty of it. I loved every second of his POV. He's exactly how I imagined him, but possibly a little more cocky...if that is even possible! There's so many great and poignant moments amidst all all the incredible action and we're able to see them through Daemon's eyes. It's what we've all been waiting for! We also get all the gushiness! Gone are the days of the reserved with love words Daemon. He knows what he wants now and he's not shy about it either! Honestly, you might all be surprised about just what all Daemon wants and how far he is willing to go to get it! But, that's the reason why we love him. He will move heaven and hell along with all the planets to get to what he loves! I also think the heat in our house picked up a degree every time I read, "I love you."
The action, sweet baby origins (you'll get this joke if you've read the book), the action--it's phenomenal! I felt like OPAL was the calm before the storm. And, the storm in ORIGIN causes all hell to break loose, like the dark, crazy, really hot kind of hell! I felt like I was watching some Alien action movie. I was waiting for Will Smith to pop out and say, "Welcome to Earth!" after he punches some evil alien! JLA has a way with description that makes the pages jump to life right in front of your eyes. I could see it all so clearly as if the action was taking place right in front of my eyes instead of just in my imagination.
Get ready to meet some great new characters. Some will quickly become some of your favs and others will make your blood boil. But all in all, JLA is a master at characterization. Even those you hate with the greatest of passions, you have to admit, they are pretty great characters! I'm even hoping with all hope that there will be a spin-off novel or 2 for some of these characters!
There are plenty of surprises too! Some things I saw coming, but other's I was left with my jaw on the floor! There was one thing in particular that I did not see coming at all, but it left me in a fit of girlish giggles! On the other hand, Jen doesn't hold anything back. There's a war going on in Origin and the results are realistic. This isn't one of those books where it's WWIII but somehow all the characters survive! Don't get to close to anyone because they might not make it out. I like that though. I like that we see the truthful, painful side of war even though it left my heart heart hurting in the end. All choices have consequences, and I loved seeing how far the characters are willing to go for the choices they have made.
This was my favorite novel of the series to date. I am dying for the finale of this story, but then again I really don't want it to be over! So, all I can say as usual with all JLA books, is read it! You will love it and come away with more book boyfriends!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
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A few months after being honorably discharged from the military, Jackson Hunt is still struggling to adjust back to the real world. He needs to get a job and find a sense of normalcy if he’s going to keep his own demons at bay. The job that falls into his lap, though, is anything but normal.
Bodyguard (and baby-sitter) to spoiled-rich-girl Kelsey Summers isn’t exactly what he’d been looking for, but it’s a chance to travel, to get away from the home that has felt stifling ever since his return. It would be a pretty sweet gig if it weren’t for the fact that Kelsey’s father doesn’t want Kelsey to know she’s being followed. Hunt feels guilty (and a little bit creepy) as he watches her from afar. She’s vibrant and infuriating, exciting and reckless, mysterious and familiar. When he sees her falling into the same patterns that he suffered years ago, he decides it’s time to stop watching and help her instead. But getting to know her is more difficult than he thought, especially because the more he knows her,the more he wants her. -->
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
Published by Harlequin Teen
On Shelves November 26, 2013
Reviewed by: YA Sisterhood's Mom
From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane
The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.
Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.
But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I'm looking forward to Lady Thief, which follows A.C. Gaughen's Scarlet. These gorgeous books are a reinterpretation of the Robin Hood stories.
In book two, Scarlet's true identity has been revealed, but her future remains uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet's future together, and as the royal court descents upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people hope that Prince John will choose their beloved Robin Hood.
But, seriously, what this reader wants to know is... will Scarlet get another kiss from Robin?
The book comes out on February 11th, 2014.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Happy Tuesday! Sourcebooks has a new title coming soon, and with it a special offer. Read on about the pre-order gift for Racing Savannah.
They’re from two different worlds, but Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules. . . get the next contemporary novel from blockbuster YA novelist Miranda Kenneally: RACING SAVANNAH!
We have a special offer for U.S. and Canada YA fans for the release of RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally in stores in a little over three weeks! If you pre-order the book, we will send you an exclusive horseshoe key chain—perfect for any busy teen on the go! You have until December 2 or until quantities run out.
Here’s how to get your charm:
1. Pre-order the book (print or eBook) through any retailer (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local independent bookseller/Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Hastings, etc.)
2. Email your proof of purchase (receipt or picture of the receipt) to email@example.com. Put “Racing Savannah Pre-Order” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your home address (US & Canada only please) so we can send you the horseshoe key chain! If you’ve already pre-ordered this book—not a problem! Send us your receipt!
3. You will get an email back confirming when the items have been sent out.
4. Enjoy Racing Savannah when it comes out in December!
Optional: take a pic of you and your horseshoe key chain and share it with Miranda Kenneally or Sourcebooks Fire on Twitter! You can find Miranda @mirandakennealy and Sourcebooks Fire @sourcebooksfire.