Sunday, June 30, 2013

New Releases: July 2013

Hello Lovelies,
Tomorrow is July first, so here's all the YA releases I'm looking forward to in the upcoming month.

What new books are you looking forward to reading? Tell me in a comment.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Linked by Imogen Howson

Published June 11th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. 

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. 

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world. 

Rating: 4/5


Elissa was born with an identical twin.  The government took this twin at birth and classified her as a "nonhuman human-sourced entity."  They kept her in a secret facility and, for reasons that aren't revealed until the end, did things that caused her to be in physical pain.

Meanwhile, Lissa got to live a normal life with her mom, dad, and older brother - until three years ago, when she began to experience halucinations, inexplicable pain, and bruises that appear out of nowhere.  Just after she schedules a surgery that is promised to cure her, she discoveres the truth: all of her symptoms are caused by a psychic link between her and the twin sister she didn't know existed.  The pains and bruises are echoes of the pain her twin has been experiencing, and the halucinations are actually visions of the twin's life.  The twin, who names herself Lin, has escaped and needs Lissa's help.

This book had more sci-fi aspects than I expected from reading the description.  For one, it doesn't even take place on Earth, but on a planet called Sekoia.  Another is that space travel played an important role.  Other things, such as terraforming, are mentioned in passing.

One of the most interesting parts of this book, for me, was seeing Lin develop empathy for others.  Lin has been repeatedly told that she isn't human, and those she's known who are considered human have done nothing but hurt her.  In the beginning, she holds negative feelings towards everyone who was classified as human, except for Lissa, and doesn't understand why she should care what happens to them.  I liked seeing her begin to do selfless things for other people.

Something else I liked was how Lissa and Lin connected as sisters.  Lin already knew that Lissa existed, but Lissa had no idea about Lin.  Although she applies the term "sister" to Lin almost right away, it takes longer for Lissa to really trust her.

Although the aspects I most enjoyed about this book were the character development aspects, it was also very fast-paced and had plenty of action.  There was near-constant suspense over the possibility of Lissa and Lin being caught, and a little bit of a mystery in what the government was using Lin and others like her for.

There were things about this  book I didn't understand.  I wasn't sure if there was something special about twins that made them ideal for the government's purposes, or if any human would do, but a twin was just easiest to take.  I like this could have been explained more thoroughly.

I also didn't think that the side characters were developed enough.  Near the end of the book, Lissa describes her relationship with some of the side characters as being "something like family", but I just didn't feel that connection at all.  Since this is a series, I'm hoping these characters will be expanded upon in the future.

This book wasn't perfect, but it was a fun, fast read.  I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My To-Be-Read Pile

Yesterday, I posted about the books I am eagerly waiting to receive from my local library.  The truth is, though, I have plenty of books I haven't read piled up already.  They're books of all kinds: new releases, older titles, library books, books I've purchased, ebooks, library ebooks, audiobooks.  I have so many books, and I thought I'd show them to you.  Here's a picture of my to-read shelf:

And in list form, in case you can't see all the titles in the picture:
- Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle Trilogy
- A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
- Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix
- The first 3 Alex Rider books (Stormbreaker, Point Blank, and Skeleton Key) by Anthony Horowitz.  I already read these when I was a kid, but I put them on my to-read shelf because I intend to reread them.
- The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson (also known as On the Count of Three)
- Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan
- Skinned, Crashed, and Wired by Robin Wasserman
- I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak
- Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
- Unremembered by Jessica Brody
- This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
- Mind Games by Kiersten White
- The Archived by Victoria Schwab
- That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard
- Powers by Ursula K. LeGuin 
- Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

But that's not all.  I have ebooks and audiobooks too, and here's a list of those:

Pretty Dark Nothing
Heather L. Reid

Viral Nation
Shaunta Grimes

I'm Not Her
Janet Gurtler

Mila 2.0
Debra Driza

17 & Gone
Nova Ren Suma

Tammara Webber

My Life Next Door
Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Friday Society
Adrienne Kress

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Laini Taylor

So that's, like, 30 books.  Which is actually even more than I thought I had before I wrote this post.  It seems I'd better get reading, fast!

Does anyone else have a to-read pile as big as mine?  Tell me in comments.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Library Holds

I think libraries are fantastic. If I purchased every book I read, I'd go broke buying books. I think I've read nearly 30 books from my library already this year.

There's a problem with using my local library for recent releases, though, and that problem is that I'm not the only person who wants them. Sometimes, I manage to be the first person to put a hold on them, and then I get to read them as soon as the library has them ready. Other times, there are a few other people who put them on hold before I do, which means that after waiting for a book to be released, I have to wait even longer to read it from the library.

So, here's a list of all the books I'm currently waiting for from the library.

Truly, Madly, Deadly
Hannah Jayne

Belle Epoque
Elizabeth Ross

The Testing
Joelle Charbonneau

The Book of Broken Hearts
Sarah Ockler

Margaret Stohl

Amy Tintera

The Ward
Jordana Frankel

Identity Theft
Anna Davies

The Rules
Stacey Kade

Emilie and the Hollow World
Martha Wells

Lauren Oliver

Eleanor and Park
Rainbow Rowell

Rethinking Things - An Update

Ok. So you may have noticed that I haven't posted anything in a week. Or maybe not; I'm not sure that anyone actually reads this blog regularly enough to notice that sort of thing. When I started this blog, my goal was to make posts every weekday, and for most of those posts to be reviews. I figured that would be managable, because I can and often do read books that quickly. The problem I'm having, one which I didn't anticipate at all, is that I cannot write reviews that quickly. To write a good review, I need time to mull the book over, to reflect on why I liked or disliked it, and then to try to express my feelings with the clearest wording possible. What I've been doing instead is sitting dow at the ends of long, stressful days and pounding out reviews just so I'll have a post for that day. And they haven't been very good. So what's going to happen now is that I'm going to ease up a little. You won't see reviews from me as often, and I won't be reviewing every book I read, but hopefully the reviews I do post will be more well thought out. And maybe I'll even try to do some more posts about other book-related things. See you soon, Tierney

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf

Published April 18th 2013 by Dial Books for Young Readers

When you’re a hypochondriac, there are a million different things that could be wrong with you, but for Izzy, focusing on what could be wrong might be keeping her from dealing with what’s really wrong.
I almost raised my hand, but what would I say? “Mr. Bayer, may I please be excused? I’m not totally positive, but I think I might have cancer.” No way. Then everyone at school would know, and they would treat me differently, and I would be known as “Izzy, that poor girl who diagnosed herself with breast cancer during biology.”

But Izzy’s sense of humor can only get her so far when suddenly her best friend appears to have undergone a personality transplant, her mother’s health takes a turn for the worse, and her beautiful maybe-boyfriend is going all hot and cold. Izzy thinks she’s preparing for the worst-case scenario, but when the worst-case scenario actually hits, it’s a different story altogether—and there’s no tidy list of symptoms to help her through the insanity.
Rating: 2/5


Honestly, I'm having trouble writing a review for this one.  Usually in my reviews, I try to say what I liked and disliked about the book.  For The Symptoms of My Insanity, I'm coming up blank.  Almost nothing about this book made an impression on me in any way.  The characters and the story were just bland.

The only think that did stand out to me about this book was the dialogue.  There were lots of ums, people trailing off in the middle of their sentences, getting interrupted, awkward small talk, and rambling.  These are things that happen regularly in everyday speech, but there's a reason they're not usually included in books.  It's frustrating to read this sort of unclear dialogue.

This book gets a low rating because of how unremarkable it was.  If you ask me in a year or so, I probably won't remember having read it at all.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Published January 1st 2013 by Simon Pulse

Be careful what you believe in.
Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.
Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.

Rating: 5/5


Oh, wow.

Teeth was an excellent book.  It's the kind of book that I want to read again and again.  And the best part is that I can't quite put my finger on the reason it was so great.

That might seem like an odd statement, so I'll explain.  That's the best part because it means that I became immersed.  The part of my brain that usually analyses and nitpicks about everything I read was silent, because I was too busy enjoying the story.

Teeth probably isn't for everyone.  It's a strange book with mystical elements that gets very dark at some points.  The fact that one of the characters, Teeth, is half-boy and half-fish should give you an indication of how odd this book is.  If the description appeals to you, then give it a try.  I think you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

Published May 7th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Seventeen-year-old Meg Fellowes is a wry, resourceful thief forced to join an elite group of female spies in Queen Elizabeth’s Court. There she must solve a murder, save the Crown, and resist the one thing that will become her greatest freedom–and her deadliest peril. 
For Meg and her fellow spies are not alone in their pursuit of the murderer who stalks Windsor Castle.
A young, mysterious Spanish courtier, Count Rafe de Martine, appears at every turn in the dark and scandal-filled corridors of the Queen’s summer palace. And though secrets and danger are Meg’s stock-in-trade, she’s never bargained on falling in love…

Rating: 4/5


The best thing about Maid of Secrets is the main character, Meg.  Meg is a sassy, resourceful, no-nonsense heroine.  I enjoyed watching her piece together the complex puzzles facing her.  I also loved the strong sense of loyalty she displayed, both to the acting troupe she grew up with and to the queen and her fellow spies.

Maid of Secrets has a compelling plot with unexpected twists.  The side characters are interesting and have unique skills.  It incorporates history, romance, danger, and a touch of magic.  It was an incredibly fun, fast read with no issues that jumped out at me.  This book is Jennifer McGowan's first novel, and the first in a series.  I look forward to seeing more from her.

Note: I won a copy of this book from a giveaway run by the publisher.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Five Summers by Una LaMarche

Published May 16th 2013 by Razorbill

Four best friends, five summers of camp memories. 
The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring...

The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth...

The summer we were eleven: Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle...

The summer we were twelve: Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar...

Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable... and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart. 

Three years after the fateful last night of camp, the four of us are coming back to camp for reunion weekend—and for a second chance. Bittersweet, funny, and achingly honest, Five Summers is a story of friendship, love, and growing up that is perfect for fans of Anne Brashares and Judy Blume's Summer Sisters.

Rating: 2/5


I was under the impression that Five Summers was going to be a novel about a friendship between four girls.  Instead, it was mostly about boys.  Emma and Skylar were both interested in the same guy, Maddie was heartbroken over her ex-boyfriend from back home, and Jo was too oblivious to see that a really nice guy liked her.  Almost the whole book revolved around relationship drama, and everything else, including the friendship, seemed like an afterthought.

I've never been interested in the kind of shallow relationship and friendship drama that this book is about.  The characters acted immature for their age and the friends constantly treated each other poorly.  If I'd had any indication that that's what this book would be like, I never would have picked it up.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Faves: First Lines I Love

Hello lovelies,
I'm introducing a new feature to my blog today, called Friday Faves. This is going to happen on the first Friday of every month. Each month, I'll pick a category, and then list books I love that fall under the category. I'll usually aim for a minimum of five books for each of these posts, but it could always be more.  Today's category is great first lines, so let's get started.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
First Sentence: "I taped the commercial back in April, before anything had happened, and promptly forgot about it."
Why I Love It: If there's a before, then there must be an after.  The after is what I'm interested in, and it's clearly what the story will be about.

Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
First Sentence: "After a year of hunting, I finally caught up with Sarah."
Why I Love It: The word choice makes this sentence.  Hunting is active, predatory, and intriguing.  Sarah is most likely a person's name, which makes me wonder who hunts people and why.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
First Sentence: "It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since scientists perfected a cure."
Why I Love It: This opening is giving me vital information right away.  I'm clued in and ready to go.

Ordinary Ghosts by Eireann Corrigan
First Sentence: "Understand I didn't earn the key."
Why I Love It: It makes me wonder.  What is the key to?  How could he have earned it?  Since he didn't earn it, how did he get it?

Skinned by Robin Wasserman
First Sentence: "Lia Khan is dead.  I am Lia Kahn."
Why I Love It: Ok, so this one is actually two sentences.  But it's so good, I just had to include it.  It just gives me the immediate reaction of But how? and I have to keep reading to find out.

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
First Sentence: "At night the ocean is so loud and so close that I lie awake, sure it's going to beat against the house's supports until we all crumble onto the rocks and break into pieces."
Why I Love It: It's beautifully descriptive and just a little morbid.  This line might not work for everyone, but it totally appeals to me. 
(P.S. I finally got my hands on this book and a review is forthcoming. Keep an eye out if you're interested.)

Are there any first lines you love? Tell me in the comments.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Winger by Andrew Smith

Published May 14th 2013 by Simon & Schuster

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

Rating: 3/5


I'm just going to say upfront what I didn't like about this book: the twist came too late in the book.  I felt as though the story should have been winding down and coming to a close when suddenly something brand new came up.  After this tragic twist, the ending felt abrupt.  The author chose to rush through the aftermath of the tragedy instead of fully exploring it.  It was disappointing to be left feeling like the author could have and should have done more.

It's unfortunate that the book ended so poorly, because the rest was great.  I found it to be a funny and meaningful coming-of-age story.  Ryan Dean was a relatable character with a great voice.  The comics, which I initially thought would be gimmicky, actually really added to the story.

My likes and dislikes in this book balanced out so that I ended up with an average rating.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

Published May 1st 2013 by HarperCollins Australia

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.
With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted... But just what - and who - is she really risking?

Rating: 4/5


Between the Lives is a parallel universe story.  For 24 hours, Sabine lives one life.  Then, for the next 24 hours, she relives the same day in her other life.  The two lives occur in parallel worlds, making it impossible for her to run into herself or anything like that.  As a result, it is very difficult to prove to anyone that she does, in fact, have two seperate lives.

Sabine's extraordinary situation gives rise to ordinary teenage emotion that is easy to identify with.  Sabine feels that she is different, that she is alone, that she doesn't know who she is, and that she cannot live up to the expectations of each of her lives.  These emotions motivate her to conduct risky, self-injuring "experiments" and try to choose between her two lives.

There's a bit of an overuse of the word cheeky, and Sabine vomits more than I believe possible.  But other than those and similar minor issues, this book is very well done.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Published May 28th 2013 by Harlequin Teen

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....
Rating: 4/5


Dare You To is a companion book to Pushing the Limits (review).  It follows the story of Beth, a side character from Pushing the Limits, and Ryan, a new character introduced in this book.  You don't need to have read Pushing the Limits to follow this story, but I'd recommend doing so anyhow just because it's a really good book.

What I loved about this book are the same things I loved about Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry has a talent for writing about individuals.  This isn't just the story of Beth and Ryan as a couple, it's also the stories of them seperately.  I love that they have their own lives and their own concerns apart from each other.

I had one big problem with this book, and that was that I didn't like Ryan very much.  I thought he spent most of the book being a jerk.  He does dares that are potentially hurtful to others just to impress his friends, he blames his brother for something his dad did, and he just has a bad attitude in general.  He turned it around by the end, and I was finally able to love him and Beth as a couple.

I decided to give this a 4 because even though I didn't like this book as well as Pushing the Limits, I thought it was still very good, and I was happy to see a story about Beth.  She was the character I wondered most about at the end of Pushing the Limits, and I'm glad to see her story resolved.