Sunday, June 30, 2013

CubicleBlindness Recommends:

17 & Gone VS Butterfly Clues

If you liked

17 & Gone by

Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.
  Hardcover, 354 pages   Published March 21st 2013 by Dutton Juvenile


I Recommend:
Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place--possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"--a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined--a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.


Hardcover, 325 pages   Published February 14th 2012 by EgmontUSA

Friday, June 28, 2013

Kiera Cass-The Selection



For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself–and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
Hardcover, 327 pages  Published April 24th 2012 by HarperTeen (first published 2012)  ISBN  0062059939 (ISBN13: 9780062059932)
In a war torn country in the early years of being rebuilt. We have a monarchy and a caste system. Strict rules of who can marry whom, and what jobs each can hold, but mostly how much money you can make. America just so happens to be the right age at the right time when the Prince is looking for a spouse. Her invitation is a blessing for her household, but a horror for her personal life. Her heart is already taken, even though her chosen mate maybe from a lower caste and the reality of them marrying is slim. His choice to push her to apply, and better her family will get her to act.
America Singer is a talented musician and just so happens to be very pretty. A shoe-in for the competition, she makes the cut. But going to live in the Castle is beyond what she imagined it would be. Exciting, claustrophobic and frightening. Between the rebel attacks on the Castle and the time the Prince must spend in meetings, it’s hard to imagine he has time to fit in finding a wife. But he manages to spend alone time with all of the girls, narrowing it down to just 10 by the end of the book.
What caught me off guard with this story was how detailed the world building was. I was expecting just a competition for a husband, and girls being petty and drama-filled. But this story has depth, a lot of character growth and a world that is on the edge of falling into chaos. Of course, there is some drama and pettiness between the contestants, but so little that it’s not a huge part of the plot.
The Selection really surprised me and I found it a very entertaining to read. America was a thinker, always making smart decisions with the situations she was put in. Not only did I admire her for her perspective on things, but also the Prince. They did what most people don’t do enough … communicate. Honesty really is the best policy, and even when the timing may be off, their intentions were good. But without that bad timing, we wouldn’t have the same amount of suspense.
I am really excited to jump into the next book The Elite so see what happens as the competition gets down to the narrow last few contestants and the attacks against the Castle surely become more dangerous.

*This review was originally written for and posted on http://www.burnbright.com.au/category/kristas-reviews/

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cover Reveal! Stained by Cheryl Rainfield

ABOUT STAINED:
Seventeen-year-old Sarah Meadows covers the walls of her bedroom with images of beautiful faces she clips from magazines—and longs for “normal.” Born with a port-wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. Why can’t she be like Diamond, the comic-book hero she created? Diamond would never let the insults in. That’s harder for Sarah.
But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had. Can she look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside, somehow becoming a hero rather than a victim? It’s the only way Sarah will have any chance of escaping the prison—both seen and unseen—that this deranged killer has placed around her.


FROM the AUTHOR:
Like I did with SCARS and HUNTED, I drew on some of my own experiences of bullying, abuse, and trauma to write STAINED and to give it greater emotional depth. Like Sarah in STAINED, I experienced abduction, imprisonment, periods of forced starvation, mind control, and having my life threatened. And like Sarah, I tried hard to fight against my abuser, keep my own sense of self, and escape. I hope readers will see Sarah's strength and courage, and appreciate her emotional growth as she reclaims herself.


You can buy STAINED on:  (just link to the ones you want to):
Amazon (hardcover): http://www.amazon.com/Stained-Cheryl-Rainfield/dp/0547942087 (well, it says you can get an email when avail)

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh



The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

Paperback, 352 pages

Published April 3rd 2012 by Ballantine Books (first published August 23rd 2011) 


 The Language of Flowers was suggested to me in a Young Adult list early last year. I cannot remember 
the exact source, so please excuse me for not citing it. But I was surprised when beginning the story
that our main character is actually 18  years old and the story deals with more adult content, but of course 
suitable for teens and adults.  And of course could definitely be added to the new current label of 
"new adult"

Reminiscent of White Oleander with a bit of   Where the Heart Is 

The Language of Flowers had a lot more depth to the story than just the relationship that orphan Victoria 

and her love for flowers and the meaning behind them. Victoria has just turned 18 and evicted from the
 underage orphanage she was living at. She has a solitary and pensive way of living her life. Considered 
picky and hard to manage by the head mistress of the home. Now it's time for Victoria to find a job,
 and a home. It was natural that she approaches a local flower shop for a job and the owner takes her
 in and helps her find a home as well. Soon Victoria is finding friendships and even though a bit awkwardly
 begins forming a family all her own. 

When going into this book I did expect all the details about the flowers, it's a given. But something deeper

 was the detail paid to each subject brought up in the story. From Victoria's sporadic eating habits, her
 youth testing grapes,  to her giving birth. The descriptive language not only paid to the portions of flowers, 
but every detail of her life.  The writing style was very poignant and sticks with you, even the more
 uncomfortable scenes as the giving birth chapters that was even a bit too detailed for my taste. 

I really enjoyed reading this book because of the beautiful writing and unique character Victoria. 

Her life, her friends and her family.

 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Crash (Visions #1) by Lisa McMann

If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. The suspenseful first of four books from the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy.

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality 

AUDIOBOOK  Crash: Visions, Book 1  UNABRIDGED
Narrated By Allyson Ryan   Length: 5 hrs and 18 mins
 Unfortunately every once in awhile, especially for avid readers. You come across a book that just doesn't mesh with your likes. Crash by Lisa McMann was one of those books for me. The blurbs and summary really pulled me in, I love the cover and expected something so much more complicated than what was presented in this novel.

I received a audiobook version from the publisher for review. Honestly I cannot decipher if it was the narrators' take on the main character that helped me dislike the pacing of this story. I grew tired of listening to the story just within the first hour and felt that through moments of the book I was getting the story yelled at me. A little too much intensity and less suspenseful  and more erratic emotions than I feel the story was trying to represent. Instead of slowly building suspense it came off as sudden bursts of yelling and freaking out. I Often getting distracted by how the narration was done to what was actually being told in the story, very distracting.

Next I do want to mention that one of my biggest pet peeves in life is repetition. As this story revolves around this vision that Jules has of a Crash, she sees this vision several times a day, in a row and the whole book is overflowing with this crash scene played over and over. I want to acknowledge this in my thoughts about the book because the content replays the scene so much that it also caused me to get distracted and drift off while listening.

I have never read or listened to any other books by Lisa McMann, and I do intend on giving her other books a try. But I also have hopes that those books will show a lot more character growth and depth to the story. The best part about this book was the very heartfelt relationship Jules has with her siblings. I loved their dynamics together and felt that even Sawyer (love interest) had more depth to his character than Jules who comes off very stalkerish and obsessed.

The whole format of this novel felt like a short story or novella that was stretched out to complete a novel, it felt repetitive and took me quite awhile to get through.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Book Haul!

 I read this one! Loved it !!! 5 Stars 

A Matter of Days

   On Day 56 of the pandemic called BluStar, sixteen-year-old Nadia's mother dies, leaving her responsible for her younger brother Rabbit. They secretly received antivirus vaccines from their uncle, but most people weren't as lucky. Their deceased father taught them to adapt and survive whatever comes their way. That's their plan as they trek from Seattle to their grandfather's survivalist compound in West Virginia. Using practical survival techniques, they make their way through a world of death and destruction until they encounter an injured dog; Zack, a street kid from Los Angeles; and other survivors who are seldom what they seem. Illness, infections, fatigue, and meager supplies have become a way of life. Still, it will be worth it once they arrive at the designated place on the map they have memorized. But what if no one is there to meet them?
Hardcover, 288 pages  Published June 11th 2013 by Delacorte Press   ISBN  0385739737 (ISBN13: 9780385739733)
 
Want to Read

Joyland

JoylandCollege student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever.

A riveting story about love and loss, about growing up and growing old—and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time—JOYLAND is Stephen King at the peak of his storytelling powers. With all the emotional impact of King masterpieces such as The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, JOYLAND is at once a mystery, a horror story, and a bittersweet coming-of-age novel, one that will leave even the most hard-boiled reader profoundly moved.
Paperback, 283 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Hard Case Crime
ISBN  1781162646 (ISBN13: 9781781162644)
 
 
 
 
 
Yellowcake
Want to Read

Yellowcake

   Yellowcake brings together ten short stories from the extraordinarily talented Margo Lanagan--each of them fiercely original and quietly heartbreaking.

   The stories range from fantasy and fairy tale to horror and stark reality, and yet what pervades is the sense of humanity.  The people of Lanagan's worlds face trials, temptations, and degradations. They swoon and suffer and even kill for love. In a dangerous world, they seek the solace and strength that comes from family and belonging.

   These are stories to be savored slowly and pondered deeply because they cut to the very heart of who we are.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published March 1st 2011)
ISBN  0375869204 (ISBN13: 9780375869204)
 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Eden at the Edge of Midnight (The Vara Volumes #1) by John Kerry


The Vara of Yima, the original Garden of Eden, sealed from the rest of the world and populated with the fittest of men and women. A secret paradise that 150 years ago became ravaged by smog that choked out the skies.

Now the Vara exists in a permanent state of darkness and its people need a champion, a chosen one to save them from the smog that threatens to fill the realm and poison its inhabitants.

That’s what they needed. They got Sammy Ellis instead. She isn’t important enough for her dad to stick around for, never mind saving a realm or junk like that. Her only responsibility was to help the chosen one open the gateway into the Vara, but not only has she entered the realm in their place, she’s also locked them out in the process.

Stuck in a twilight land of giant mushrooms, pursued by dark forces and still in her pajamas, being unimportant back in the real world is starting to seem way more attractive
Paperback, 348 pages
Published October 19th 2012 by EATEOM Publishing Ltd 
 
 A story with a pinch of Neverending Story and a dash of Labyrinth, Eden at the Edge of Midnight is a novel full of imaginative lands and creatures with a hero at the heart. 
 
Although our main character, Sammy Ellis comes off pretty strong in attitude at the beginning of the story she shows a lot of character growth as the story progresses. When Sammy has an unusual encounter with an old woman who's been watching her, she ends up with a bracelet that will be the key to a whole new world. A land has been poisoned and veiled in darkness. An adventure through the lands to not only help the people battle the villain Ramaask, but also to find the answers to get herself back home. 

Dangerous adventures, battles, friendships, enemies and secrets. Sammy's travels through Perseopia will take her through different lands and civilizations fighting for safety. A girl who mistakenly  came to this land, but takes it all in stride, trying to find her way back home and help the people of Perseopia along her way. And maybe with a hint of romance as we go. 

The story was not a full-on page turner, it's deep and has a lot happening in Epic form. But I read it in just a few sittings. It's unique, and entertaining with several different layers to the story to enjoy.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

COVER REVEAL! Stasia Ward Kehoe The Sound of Letting Go #giveaway

                                                About THE SOUND OF LETTING GO: 
 For sixteen years, Daisy has been good.  A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly.  A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad.  She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave.

But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal.  Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy?  Should she side with her parents or protect her brother?  How do you know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?

Stasia on twitter: https://twitter.com/swkehoe

Rafflecopter code for giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz


A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Hardcover, 359 pages

Published February 21st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 


Two teen Mexican American  boys trying to answer deep questions about Identity, sexuality, friendship and  family.  

Ari, a brooding boy, but always open minded and patient. Especially when it comes to his relationship with his parents and his friendship with Dante. He doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, pretty guarded emotionally. Ari is the youngest of the siblings and born years after the rest. So he resides alone with his parents. There is a mystery in his life regarding his older brother who is in prison. The lack of knowing what happened with his brother, and his parents not healed enough to talk about his brother causes a lot of awkward situations in his house. This becomes a major focus of Ari's story.

 Dante, always asking questions why and why not? He's a  fiercely dedicated friend and stands by his strong emotions. Wears his heart on his sleeve. Although he himself has a hard time relaying his emotions verbally he does a lot more of it than Ari.

Ari and Dante are at a time in their lives that they are experiencing the most in life. Questioning every feeling and emotion they have and over the year that this book takes place discover deep answers to their questions.

A friendship that was made in the spur of a moment, but become deeply rooted throughout this hectic and emotional year of their lives. This book will have you laughing and pondering questions of your own.

The audiobook is narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda who gives the perfect voice to the characters of Dante and Ari. The story is told all from Dante's perspective, but the narrator really brings out the emotional content in his reading of this story. 

I do not read a lot of contemporary novels. But every once in awhile I see a title that sparks my interest. This is one of those I am glad that I picked up, Great summer reading pick for your To -Be - Read stacks.





Saturday, June 8, 2013

Blog Tour! #giveaway Bait (Order of the Spirit Realm #1) by K.C. Blake

Ghosts, a reaper, and a rock star.

At sixteen Bay-Lee is not your typical girl. She doesn't even try to fit in at school. What's the point when she'll be moving to a new place within a few months?
She's lived her whole life on the run, hiding from monsters.

Then a reaper uses her closet to cross over from the Spirit Realm. It has a message for her. Just when she's about to join her father at his school for hunters she finds out they are dying on their birthdays. Something is killing them, slipping past locked doors, never leaving a trace of evidence, and her birthday is only two months away.

Becoming a hunter isn't exactly her dream come true. She's doing it for her mother, for revenge, for justice. Nothing is going to get in her way, least of all love. Then she looks up into a pair of jungle green eyes and everything changes.

Bay-Lee, Van Helsing's daughter is undercover, in the real world. But one night she gets a few visitors she was not expecting. The incredibly hot and recently deceased rocker Tyler Becks. And a reaper which delivers her a mysterious message that she will die on her birthday.
        She is soon taken to Van Helsing's school to begin her training to become a Hunter. All new entrants into the school are called "Bait" until they earn the honors through their classes to graduate to the next level. Each new student is given a mentor to help them train and get assistance in her learning, Bay-Lee wants Nick Gallos aka Tyler Becks to be her mentor as he is rumored to be the best. This school is unlike any other, it's a high-tech monster fighting school. Not only monsters of the real world, but in other lands, and the spirit lands. Supernatural and Paranormal and real life.
       When Bay-Lee and  Nick begin having troubles even being around each other, she begins to find out other rumors that the school contains.  Hunters are being killed on their birthdays. Ghosts and other creatures have been seen in and around the school. 
        Bay-Lee and Nick have began to see an attraction to each other, but only he knows of the prophecy. Her determination than pushes her further into getting his attention, no matter what it takes. To find out the prophecy and discover the mystery as to whom or what is killing the Hunters.
      Although there are several characters in this story, teachers, creatures, and students. This story focuses on the relationship between Nick and Bay-Lee. It is the main focus and the story is all based around the rumors and a prophecy that involves them directly.
     A book with non-stop activity and roller coaster relationship between Nick and Bay-Lee. A relationship that makes the reader a little irritated at them at times, and swoon-worthy moments the next.  A very unique and entertaining read, very different than KC's other books.

 
KC is also hosting a Giveaway!
Giveaway:

Want to win a $25 Amazon gift card and an autographed copy of Bait?  It’s easy to enter.  Send an email to kblake234@hotmail.com with Email Blast in the subject line.  You will receive a copy of an email about this contest and K.C. Blake’s books in return along with a copy of the rules.  Simply send the email to your contacts (along with a copy for K.C.) and you are entered.  Drawing will be held on September 15th with the winner posted on K.C. Blake’s Blog:   

Bio:
 Born and raised in sunny California, K.C. Blake fell in love with books at a young age and decided to pursue writing as a career.  Her favorite authors include Stephen King, John Saul, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Carrie Jones.  In her spare time she enjoys shopping (and when I say shopping I mean go to the mall early in the day, eat lunch, and then keep going until you don't have any strength left), reading great books, taking care of animals (she lives on a farm), and searching for creative ideas to improve her home.  A former writer for Harlequin, she now publishes her books her way and loves every second of it.  She is currently living in the Midwest with two cats, a dog, several cows, and five baby ducks. 
Facebook Fan Page   

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Teacher's Pest (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #3) by Charles Gilman

“Two-headed monsters, giant tentacles, angry demons—Lovecraft Middle School is great creepy fun!”
—Ransom Riggs, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

DON'T BE FOOLED by his friendly smile, his perfect manners, or his shiny red apple. Student council president Howard Mergler is actually a sinister bug-monster in disguise—and he's summoning swarms of roaches, wasps, fleas, and head lice into the corridors of Lovecraft Middle School!  Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur is the only student who can stop him--but he'll need help from his best friends: the school bully, the school ghost, and an extremely courageous two-headed rat.

This third novel in the Lovecraft Middle School series begins right where Professor Gargoyle and The Slither Sisters ended—with more action, more adventure, and more outrageous monsters!
   Hardcover, 170 pages   Published May 7th 2013 by Quirk Books
ISBN   1594746141 (ISBN13: 9781594746147)
 
 
Teachers Pest takes us into the underbelly of the school, with all forms of insects, larger than you can imagine! In this edition of the Lovecraft Middle School books, it takes us deeper into the more infested side of the school as giant insects have began to take over. With the new Student Council President Howard Mergler taking charge. His family of insects have come along to launch an attack on the students. 
 
Glenn and Robert have a bit of a falling out after Glenn gets stung by one of the humongous bees and begins to act different. Robert must learn the secrets of the infestation without Glen's help. Only with his trusted rat- friends Pip and Squeak can Robert begin to find out what is happening before it gets out of hand.  

So far this was the hardest book for me to read...because I have a huge fear of insects. These bugs were huge, and swarming the school  in the millions. From the smallest of lice to the largest of walking-sticks. Not to mention the largest bug of all..Howard Mergler himself!


Each book full of different creatures and monsters with non-stop adventure. Creepy and fun for kids of all ages.