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Review: Soulbound by Heather Brewer

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Soulbound by Heather Brewer
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DIAL, 394 pages
Release Date: July 19, 2012
Source: Library
Purchase: Powell's

Tril is a world where Barrons and Healers are Bound to each other: Barrons fight and Healers cure their Barrons' wounds in the ongoing war with the evil Graplar King. Seventeen-year-old Kaya was born a Healer, but she wants to fight. In Tril, and at Shadow Academy, where she is sent to learn to heal, it is against Protocol for Healers to fight. So Kaya must learn in secret. Enter two young men: One charming, rule-following Barron who becomes Bound to Kaya and whose life she must protect at all costs. And one with a mysterious past who seems bent on making Kaya's life as difficult as possible. Kaya asks both to train her, but only one will, and the consequences will change their lives forever.

I instantly loved the world of Tril that's filled with the skilled and the unskilled. In the society of skilled, there are those who are fighters, known as Barrons, and those who are Healers. In the strange world of the skilled, the Healers are not viewed as equals to Barrons even though Healers have the power of holding the life of their Barron in their hands.

Kaya, who was raised around the unskilled, is use to freedom and equality. She does not respond well to the rules when she's thrown into the Shadow Academy. All Kaya wants is to learn how to defend for herself and be independent. She was furious when she learned that she was not allowed to learn how to fight because of being a Healer. But Kaya is not the kind of girl to just give up there. 

I absolutely loved the company that Kaya kept at the Shadow Academy. There's Maddox, the unlikely best friend who helps her get away with all sorts of trouble. Then there's Darius, the tortured soul with an unknown history, and for some reason gives the impression of hating Kaya. And then there's Trayton, the sweet heart that is bound to Kaya, and also Darius' best friend. This group of people are constantly keeping life interesting with their personalities.

Overall: 5 out of 5
This is my first time reading one of Brewer’s works and I am in love with her story telling. Soulbound ended with a cliffhanger that left me with a huge need. I NEED to know what happens next. I NEED Soulbroken

Recommend A: First Book in a Series

Monday, July 30, 2012
Recommend A... is a feature hosted by Chick Loves Lit.


The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
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Disney Hyperion, 506 pages
Series: Seven Realms #1
Release Date: October 6, 2009

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can't sell - the thick silver cuffs he's worn since birth. They're clearly magicked - as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off.

One day Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history - it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returning to court after three years of freedom in the mountains - riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea - the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her - including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Han and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

The Seven Realms Series:


Book Haul (5)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Won: (Thank you to Julia from That Hapa Chick)
Never Enough by Denise Jaden - Bookmark

Received: (Thanks to the ladies from I Eat Words)

Books for Kids wristbands


The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Review: (Thank you Spencer Hill Press & Simon Pulse)

Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal


Looking For Alaska by John Green
Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready
Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Eon by Alison Goodman
Eona by Alison Goodman
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

(Thank you to HarlequinTEEN, Random House, Macmillan, Egmont USA, & Entangled Teen)

Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Covet by Melissa Darnell
Inbetween by Tara A. Fuller

Have you read any of these titles? What did you think?

Review: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker

Friday, July 20, 2012
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker
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Bloomsbury USA, 240 pages
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Source: Publisher, via NetGalley

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

Clementine didn't finish off Sophomore year on a good note. Now she’s caught in this awkward situation of almost cheating with her best friend’s boyfriend. The story is told in alternating chapters that tell the story of how she broke her heart and how she healed it. Clementine started off with a moody attitude, but slowly grew on me with her personality. She was definitely someone I could see myself becoming friends with.

The whole family aspect of the book was one of my favorites. They were this fun, close family that was easy to relate to. Olive, Clementine’s sister, was such a fun person to read about. She’s always honest, sometimes even brutally honest, that only result in interesting conversations.

What is another one of my favorite things? Nice guys. Yupp. NICE GUYS. And there just happens to be one named James. I liked him from the moment he showed up. He’s just this all around great, funny, and artistic guy. Clementine literally bumped into James during one of her stops and ever since then the two slowly got to know each other.

This book was just full of awesome. I absolutely adored every moment of Unbreak My Heart. Not only did I love the characters and the beautiful setting, but I also loved Melissa’s writing style. It was easy to get lost in the pages and fall in love right along with Clementine.

Overall: 4 out of 5

Chapter Preview: Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cummings

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
West Virginia University Press, 168 pages
Release Date: October 1, 2011
Purchase: West Virginia University Press

Jason Stevens is growing up in picturesque, historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in the 1970s. Back when the roads are smaller, the cars slower, the people more colorful, and Washington, D.C. is way across the mountains—a winding sixty-five miles away.

Jason dreams of going to art school in the city, but he must first survive his teenage years. He witnesses a street artist from Italy charm his mother from the backseat of the family car. He stands up to an abusive husband—and then feels sorry for the jerk. He puts up with his father’s hard-skulled backwoods ways, his grandfather’s showy younger wife, and the fist-throwing schoolmates and eccentric mountain characters that make up Harpers Ferry—all topped off by a basement art project with a girl from the poor side of town.

Ugly to Start With punctuates the exuberant highs, bewildering midpoints, and painful lows of growing up, and affirms that adolescent dreams and desires are often fulfilled in surprising ways.

John Michael Cummings is a short story writer and novelist from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. He is the award-winning author of The Night I Freed John Brown.

Guest Post over at A Written Rhapsody

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I was asked by the super awesome Preet from A Written Rhapsody to write a guest post, 
and it's being featured today!

Be sure to check out why I loved Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker as 
well as the song I picked to go along with it. 


TGIF (4): Comfort Reads

Friday, July 6, 2012

TGIF is hosted by Ginger from GReads!
This feature is for Fridays to re-cap the week's posts & to answer a question proposed by Ginger.

Comfort Reads: 
Which books do you go to for comfort & familiarity? 

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Where She Went by Gayle Forman

I'm still not sure why I do this to myself. Every time I'm in need of some comfort I pick up If I Stay and Where She Went. It usually starts with tears and then not too long after I reach the stage of hard-core sobbing. These two books are also the only books that I've read more than once. I've actually read them more than three times by now. 

Types of books I turn to for comfort:
  • Paranormal
  • Historical Fiction
  • Anything consisting of assassins


Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012
photo credit: Beverly & Pack via photo pin cc


Guest Post: Six Degrees of Lost by Linda Benson

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Musa Publishing, 292 pages
Release Date: July 15, 2012
PurchaseAmazon | B&N | Musa Publishing

Sometimes you have to take a journey to find out where you really belong.
Olive’s mother is headed to jail and her brother to join the Army, so thirteen-year-old Olive is uprooted from sunny California and dumped in Washington State like a stray. That's exactly what she feels like surrounded by her aunt’s collection of homeless dogs, cats, and horses.
Fourteen-year-old David’s future is already carved in stone. From a military family with two brothers serving overseas, he’s been pointed towards the Air Force Academy his entire life - but a rafting trip gone awry might ruin his chances.
When a runaway dog is almost hit by a car, the search for its owner leads Olive and David, two teens from entirely different backgrounds, to an unlikely bond. Will their growing attraction to each other be enough to keep Olive from a foolhardy journey to find her mother? Will David risk his family’s plans to save her?

Point of Views

As a writer, one of the things I try to do with each novel is to push myself to improve. Attempting new things is one way to do this. And trying to write in different Point of Views (POV) is a great way to understand how novels work, as well as how the reader perceives the story.

One common POV used in stories is third-person. Three of my novels, including the young adult novel THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES, are written in third-person limited, which is in one person’s perspective, and told in the past tense. Alice felt the forest unfold around her. She darted quickly through the trees as her pursuer advanced. She shivered.

I could also tell this in first-person past tense, getting inside Alice’s head even closer. I felt the forest unfold around me. I darted quickly through the trees as my pursuer advanced. I shivered.

Another common POV, especially in Young Adult literature, is first-person present tense. This brings it closer yet. I feel the forest unfold around me. I dart quickly through the trees as my pursuers advance. I shiver.

When I started writing my brand new novel SIX DEGREES OF LOST, there were two characters who were speaking to me – Olive and David. Because I wanted to try something new, I let them both tell the story, in first-person present tense, and they alternate chapters.

I had fun with this, not only because it was a challenge, but because it allowed me to get close to both of my characters (and they both have their own set of problems they’re dealing with.) I was also able to portray the tangled up emotions of two teens, who each have a crush on the other but often misinterpret signals from the opposite sex. In the end, David and Olive’s friendship becomes even closer, and they end up taking a journey as their lives and problems collide.

During much of the story though, things between Olive and David are a jumble and a patchwork of feelings. That’s what I felt like as I was working on this manuscript. Trying to get the narrative to move forward while jumping from one character’s story to another was sometimes like putting together a jig-saw puzzle, but in the end, I think it turned out well. I hope that you enjoy it too, and that you’ll read SIX DEGREES OF LOST and let me know what you think.

Linda Benson
Blog | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Linda Benson has written several young adult and middle grade books, including The Girl Who Remembered Horses, Finding Chance, The Horse Jar, and a brand new novel called Six Degrees of Lost. Her passion for nature and animals often finds its way into her writing. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a variety of animals, and is hard at work on her next book.


Review: Never Enough by Denise Jaden

Monday, July 2, 2012
Never Enough by Denise Jaden
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Facebook

Simon Pulse, 400 pages
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Source: Publisher, eGalley
Buy It: Powell's


From the author of Losing Faith, a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.
Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special… even if that means betraying her sister.
But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship —and her sister—before it’s too late?

Never Enough tells a heart wrenching story of a family being torn apart by an eating disorder. Throughout Loann's life she looked up to as well as envy her sister, Claire. Her sister had everything she wanted which made Loann feel as if she was living under her sister's shadow.

The main part that made everything fall apart was everyone's constant look for flaws. Loann's whole family was unknowingly obsessed with finding flaws and trying to cover them up. The relationship everyone had with each other in this story was deep and raw, but I wanted just a bit more detail that wasn't about the strain and difficulties. I understood that Loann's relationship and Claire was built around envy, but I wanted to know about the sister relationship without that. I wanted to know a rounder image on their behaviors with each other.

While life continued to go downward for Loann, she managed to find a true friend in the situation that kept her grounded. Marcus, her locker neighbor, was a character that I'm stil not sure how I feel about. He's the guy everyone enjoys picking on and the one that not a lot of people seem to care about. He does have issues of his own besides the bullying. The more Loann and Marcus' relationship developed the more his own issues and problems were revealed. Although I didn't exactly enjoy Marcus as I character, I did enjoy his interactions with Loann.

Never Enough was full of tough problems that continued to develop throughout the story. I didn't realize what a heavy read this was going to be, and I was not prepared for all of those emotions. Denise Jaden wrote a powerful story that only grows more intense by the page.

Overall: 3.5 out of 5
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