Monthly Archives: April 2013

GOLDEN

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Title: Golden

Author: Jessi Kirby

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

Review: Nothing gold can stay — Robert Frost

I have always loved this line. Having been a creative writing major with a focus on fiction and poetry I am pretty familiar with Frost. He’s actually one of the few ‘great’ poets that I enjoy. So when I saw this book and read that line, something just snapped and I was drawn to this book. And holy shit, it was just so perfect.

I read this book in a little over 24 hours. I started it on my lunch break, read it on my train ride home, and then ignored K for the entire night while I hid in my bed and read until it was time to sleep. The next day I had to work in the morning so I read on my train ride to work, then again on my lunch break, on my train ride home and finally finished it an hour after I returned home. If I could have not worked or not slept I probably would have because I was that sucked into this book.

Parker reminded me of myself (especially my high school self) in some aspects. Always doing what is expected, always doing what she’s told to do, what’s ‘right’, never taking a chance. Standing on the edge and looking what you want in the face and taking that safe step back rather than forward. So when she did finally take that step forward (as I did later on in University) and found herself not only moving closer to making her own choices… but rather hurtling towards them… I understood that feeling so much. The freedom, the excitement, the horror.

I also loved Parker’s best friend, Kat. She was everything that I’ve always wanted to be, maybe shades of what I’ve become since I left the USA. I loved her voice, and her relationship with Parker. It was so incredibly real, and I do miss having a best friend like that. Someone that I can tell everything to, fight with and come back together with. I do have friends like that, but we’re separated by hours and distance.

The way the story was written and woven together was so beautiful. The themes of art and poetry along with the images of gold made the writing a work of art. As I was reading I couldn’t help but marvel at how beautifully written this was.

About mid-way through the book I thought I had it figured out and I was shocked that Parker had come to the end of the journal. And then there was a twist that I had secretly hoped for and was so happy to receive. I found myself at this point wondering where this was going to go, and that added even more depth to my love for this. And this was when I realized that the two stories had converged and that it wasn’t so much the story of Julianna or Parker but the two of them. Woven together in a masterpiece of writing and art. Poetry and painting.

I loved the ending and the resolution of everything and even the little bit of mystery that was left over. The ending wasn’t sad by a long shot, but I found myself crying because I was that moved. It was just that beautiful and resonated so deeply.

I can’t wait to check out some of Jessi Kirby’s other books now!!!

I received Golden in eARC form from Edelweiss and wrote this honest review to say THANK YOU!

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Stacking the Shelves (1)

Thought I’d give this a try. I’ve seen it on a few blogs and well, since I’m just giving this a shot why not! Here are the books that I added to my shelves this week!

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Golden by Jessi Kirby. I got this eARC from Edelweiss (my first eARC from them!)

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Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout (bought on kindle & finished with a ★★★★ rating)

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The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (Won this from Penguin USA!)

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Perception by Lee Strauss (eARC from Netgalley)

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The Pirates Wish by Cassandra Rose Clark (eARC from Netgalley)

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Grasping at Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper (eARC from Netgalley)

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The Namesake by Steven Parlato (bought on sale on kindle)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews!

THESE BOOKS!!!

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This is not a review… I’ll save one for later, after I’ve read the next book but I just need to… I don’t even know. Rant. Flail. Rave. TALK about these freaking books! Because I read the first one, Obsidian, and was like ‘man… this was not as good as I was led to believe’ and then I went to sleep and had some stupid dream about it and then the next day I HAD to read the second book, Onyx. Which I just finished today, and it was thankfully better than the first one. The writing is still a bit iffy (which is weird because I LOVED the writing –and everything– about the HALF-BLOOD books… well, first book. I’m going to buy the rest when I go to the USA next week so I have physical copies) and Katy seriously is hot and cold for me but… I am DYING to read the next one. And would have if I didn’t have a bunch of new eARC’s to read (and I feel guilty for not getting to those in a timely fashion). 

But seriously. These books are like brian candy. And I want more! 

The Memory of After

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Title: The Memory of After (originally LEVEL 2)

Author: Lenore Appelhans

Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

Review: I read this book FOR FREE on Pulse It, which is a great website that I just recently discovered. Pulse It hosts free books (for a limited time) and has a lot of information about books. It’s more of a book loving community than anything, where you can ‘heart’ books that you like and read early synopsis and extras. You have to read on your tablet or computer (I have a keyboard style 3G kindle, so I couldn’t read it on there, but I’m not sure about kindle fire…) so I read it on my iPad. I’m not a HUGE fan of reading on my iPad (I prefer my kindle or a physical copy) but it was free… so I thought why not. Anyways… check out Pulse It if you haven’t already!

THE MEMORY OF AFTER, originally published as LEVEL 2, was not on my TBR list until recently. I saw an add for it on Facebook, and liked the look of the cover and the new title… which is lame, I know, I shouldn’t judge books by their covers or titles… but honestly, I disliked the original title. And that combined with the old cover just… put me off. But the change and the option to read it for free drew me in.

Overall it wasn’t a BAD book… it’s told mainly through memories and I LOVED those parts. The sections that took place in the actual ‘Level 2’ portion of the book (a ‘waiting room’ for heaven basically) were honestly… really boring. I thought the world building was lacking and I couldn’t really get behind the reason for the war that was happening. I read this book last week and I can’t even remember what the ‘bad guys’ were called. Angels vs God or something. I didn’t really pay that much attention when it came to those parts.

I didn’t have problems with the characters (outside of one guy… who’s name I can’t even remember. But he was their leader and was just a total asshole for no reason) but the world building was just… not doing it for me. 

The memories tho… those were rich. I loved the parts with Neil or her father the most. Neil was just such a good guy who really wanted to help. And the relationship between her and her father was very real, sad, and complex. I wish we would have seen more of her mother though. There are a few cases, but I really would have liked to have gotten deeper into that relationship as well.

And the way that the mystery of how Felicia got disowned from her family and what the hell happened to screw her up so much played out well. I loved the pacing and the selection of memories. 

The ending felt a bit rushed and wasn’t really that intense or shocking or anything. I kinda saw it coming… It was happy, had a nice resolution, but I didn’t feel blown away. And that’s why I gave it a 3 rating.

Anyway~ I do recommend this book, especially if you have some free time to check it out on Pulse It (it’s still free until April 28th, so hurry!) or can pick it up at the library. And I am planning on reading the next one to see what happens.

UNRAVELING

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Title: Unraveling

Author: Elizabeth Norris

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle’s mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.

And that was before she died…and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth’s destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.

My review: I read this book in September 2012 and I remember loving it. I did not write a review on goodreads, so I’m a little annoyed with myself for that. But I thought I’d start posting about books that I love on this blog (since I almost never update here) and I thought this book would be a good start. This is the first book in the UNRAVELING series (2nd book; UNBREAKABLE, is out now! Along with a novella called UNDONE… I haven’t read either of those yet, but I’m planning on it soon!).

This book is a lot like a YA version of 24 (the TV show) with a sci-fi twist. Janelle almost dies and is saved by the one guy she would have never imagined crossing paths with. They then find themselves thrown together in an epic countdown to, basically, the end of the world. Janelle’s dad is an FBI agent and Janelle gets herself involved with a case he’s working on… which has a ticking clock that’s counting down to something… big. HUGE.

If you know me, you know I LOVE anything FBI, CIA, spy, gun-toting-badass related. So this was awesome. While Janelle isn’t in the FBI herself, she does get way deep into the case and crosses paths with a lot of agents.

Janelle was smart and funny and faced a lot, and I mean A LOT of heartbreak. I loved the scenes where Janelle had to be strong for herself, her family, and her friends. I love how she tried so hard to be good to everyone and tried so hard to save everyone. And even when she couldn’t and had to face true horrors, she didn’t back down or run away.

The relationship between Janelle and Ben was wonderful too. It didn’t suffer too much from many of the problems that YA romance has. I loved Ben and thought he was a great character.

Some of the sci-fi stuff was a bit wacky, but I generally don’t let paradoxes and unexplainable science bother me too much. It’s fiction, it’s not going to make sense in the terms that we use to define what we use in every day life and science. And what do we really know anyway.

The writing was wonderful as well. Very fast paced, very real, and I loved Janelle’s voice. I remember when I was reading it I got sucked in and there were quite a few heart-pounding moments!

As I said above, I haven’t read the next book yet, but I’m planning on picking it up when I’m in the USA next week (I can’t wait to visit a real bookstore full of ENGLISH books!!!). I do have the novella, but I want to read it right before I dive into Unbreakable, to get me into the mood for it.

If you’re interested in this book, it’s currently on sale for 1.99!!! Check out it out here and pick it up for your Kindle, Kobo, Nook or whatever you use for e-books.

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So… should I keep this up?

Spring

ImageImageOn Saturday the cherry blossoms in Hitachi reached full bloom… only to be attacked with a huge rain and wind storm…

ImageImageImageAfter the storm there was a beautiful slice of rainbow stretching down into the ocean, which was filled with angry waves.

ImageImageBut I was lucky enough to enjoy the cherry blossoms in Tokai-mura after the rain finished. The cold wind remained so K and I weren’t able to stay too long… but at least I got to see them!