Published July 9th 2011 by Sally Dubats
Review Copy: Purchased
Description from Goodreads:
The Witches' New Year looms, and the Veil Between Worlds thins. Seventeen-year-old Cassie heads home from school and meets Trenton, a beautiful boy with an enchanting voice. Darkness blankets the encounter so Cassie forgets she ever met him. . . and what he did to her. For other girls the lost time would be the end of the story, but Cassie is Wiccan and she uses her intelligence and authentic witchcraft to remember the truth. Her spell sets in motion a mind-blowing adventure that takes her to another dimension, the astral plane, where anything is possible and a dangerous romance with Trenton blossoms.
But who. . . or what. . . is Trenton?
The story is fantasy. The spells are real.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s sad to think had Sally not contacted me, I probably would’ve never heard of Veil Between Worlds. Which would’ve been a terrible thing, as this was an enticing read.
The story is about Cassie, a young witch, who struggles to fit in with the other teens. But being a teenage witch doesn’t help to make it any easier to fit in amongst her peers, nor does her frizzy red hair. In the beginning, I was a bit iffy as to whether or not I’d like Cassie. Giving Holly the nickname of Head Cliché was funny at first, but after the fifth or so use, it did become a bit tiring. And even though I found myself questioning Cassie’s actions at some points, I did ultimately like her. Dubats manages to create likeable characters, each and every one of which has substance and isn’t just thrown in for the heck of being there. And then the major twist involving Trenton and his family? I definitely did not see that one coming, and it helps to make the story that much more interesting.
I don’t know much about Wicca, or the craft, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Veil Between Worlds. With an interesting storyline, and characters you’ll come to love reading about, Veil Between Worlds is definitely worth checking out.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred, so the focus is all on her
legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.
Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl—sharp, focused and confident in what she sees through her camera lens. Confident that she and Kate will be best friends forever.
But everything changes in one blurry night. Suddenly, Kate is avoiding her, and people are looking the other way when she passes in the halls. As the aftershocks from a startling accusation rip through Liz’s world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself shifts out of focus. What happens when the picture you see no longer makes sense? What do you do when you may lose everything you love most? Told in stunning, searingly raw free verse, Exposed is Kimberly Marcus’s gut-wrenching, riveting debut and will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson and Virginia Euwer Wolff.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Exposed” is a story about Liz – photogirl – and her best friend, Kate. During their Saturday Night Slumber, Liz and Kate get into an argument which results in Liz retreating to her bedroom, leaving Kate behind on the couch. Alone. When she wakes up the next morning to find Kate gone, she assumes she’s still mad about their fight. Until Kate claims that Liz’s brother, Mike, raped her.
It’s an accusation that changes Liz’s life for good. Does she believe her best friend? Or does she believe her brother? How can she be his sister now? How can she look at her photographs of Kate now?
Everything begins falling apart. Liz’s friends side with Kate – something she understands, but something that still hurts nonetheless. Her mother becomes a shell of the outgoing, friendly woman she used to be; refusing to believe her son could do something so terrible. Liz, who finds comfort with her boyfriend, Brian, soon finds herself alone. But the hardest part still is facing Kate when it’s all said and done.
“Exposed” tackles a very difficult subject matter. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I did. It’s a very powerful story worth picking up.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Shelley Workinger has crafted a truly unique story with SOLID.
SOLID is a story about one hundred teenagers who were genetically altered before birth. They’ve been brought to a remote site in hopes of learning more about C9X – the drug administered to their mothers before they were born – and its effects on them. When the doctor responsible for administering the drug dies, he dies without leaving behind any information on C9X and its effects.
When the teens were brought to the site, they were told that the military had just recently found out about C9X, that it was only brought to their attention after a secret informant came forward. The military tries to make the teens feel at home – even going as far as to recreate their rooms back at home on site – while administering tests to test their abilities. No one seems to suspect anything, until Clio overhears a conversation one day while relaxing out on the grass. Something is going on, something is being hidden from the teens. Unsure of whether or not her friends will think she’s crazy, Clio decides to keep the information to herself, until a late night visit to Bliss’ room, where Bliss reminds her that they are her real friends – that they are, and will be, there for her when needed.
After discussing the details of the conversation with Bliss, it isn’t long after that they include the others in on their suspicions – which forces them into their own investigation for answers. But with answers, comes trouble. And a truly unforgettable ending.
I loved Clio – heck, let’s be honest, I loved all of the characters (yes, even Miranda) – she’s witty, friendly, and extremely likable. And then there’s Jack, who manages to make the witty Clio unable to speak in his presence. Their relationship is very sweet – and their first date is adorable. Definitely a Jack fan over here.
I really enjoyed SOLID. It’s a short book (only 221 pages long), but there is a lot that happens within those 221 pages. Talk about a thrilling ride! Reading along as Clio and her friends seek out the truth, you’ll try to come up with your own conclusions – but you’ll never be able to guess the ending or who is responsible.
A thrilling story full of likeable characters? What more could you possibly want?
Just an FYI: Book two is already out!
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What drew my interest to “Coexist” was the cover, first and foremost, followed by the fact that the story was about elves. I’d yet to read a young adult novel about elves and figured, why not? So I downloaded the book for my Kindle, unsure of what to expect, but interested in learning more about Keegan. It took me a few months to read “Coexist” (I finally took the time to read it after signing up for the blog tour via A Tale of Many Reviews), and while it wasn’t my favorite book this year, I did enjoy it.
One of the most interesting parts of the story was the idea of elves having a chosen – someone meant for them, someone they are not supposed to meet until both individuals turn eighteen. What’s interesting, though, is that Keegan knows her chosen’s name already, although they’ve yet to meet formally.
He, Rourk, spends his time watching her, unable to resist her pull whenever she thinks of him. Rourk watches Keegan closely, unaware of her name, but aware that soon enough, she would be his. But when Keegan finally meets Rourk and learns he is her chosen – she feels nothing for him. There’s no connection, no longing, nothing. Which seems to be setting the story up for a love triangle – especially given the final line – I’m not big into love triangles, but I am curious as to where Crane will be taking the story from here.
Crane has crafted an intriguing world within “Coexist” that’ll easily pull you in. I enjoyed reading about Keegan and Rourk and will be continuing on with the rest of the series.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I wasn’t sure what to expect from “Catching Jordan”. I’m not a big sports fan and I worried I wouldn’t be able to connect with Jordan’s passion for football. But “Catching Jordan” is one of the most addictive YA contemporaries I’ve read this year.
Jordan is the kind of main character that I love. She’s a tough character – the starting quarterback on her high-school football team, viewed as one of the guys. Her best friend, Sam Henry, is someone she views as a brother. She doesn’t see it as strange when he spends the night. She doesn’t notice the way he stares at her. She isn’t boy crazy and doesn’t find herself fantasizing about her teammates. Until Ty joins the team.
Ty is gorgeous, even Jordan can acknowledge that – enough so that she’s unable to focus around him, something she’s never had trouble doing around a guy before. Refusing to allow her teammates to see her as a weak end, as a boy obsessed girl, Jordan forces herself to keep it together as best she can. But a game of truth or dare will change everything. Feelings will be revealed. A dream will be crushed. And a new possibility will be presented, but not without costs.
I started reading “Catching Jordan” this morning, and had it not been for work, I probably would’ve finished in a few hours, easily. If you’re looking for a quick, fun read, I’d highly suggest picking up “Catching Jordan”.
Published November 22nd 2011 by Harlequin
Review Copy: NetGalley
Description From Goodreads:
When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister’s urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Saving June” is one of the best – if not the best – contemporary novels I’ve ever read.
Harper Scott’s older sister, June, took her own life. It’s a tragedy that no one seems to understood, one that no one saw coming – especially Harper. Unlike everyone else around her who seems to be falling apart, Harper finds it impossible to even cry at her sister’s death. It isn’t because she isn’t upset. But for some reason, she can’t truly process the certainty of the situation – June’s gone and she’ll never come back.
Desperate to save what’s left of June and give her what peace she can, Harper plans a trip to California with her best friend Laney where she plans to spread her ashes. But they won’t get there without Jake – a stranger somehow connected to June. When Jake offers to bring Harper and Laney to California, Harper’s initial reaction is to say no. She doesn’t understand why he’d want to tag along or what kind of relationship he had with her sister. But when Laney insists that Jake’s offer is just what they needed, Harper forces herself to tell Jake yes, still wary about his reasons for offering to help them.
I really enjoyed reading along as Harper, Jake, and Laney made their way to California. Between staying at the vegan house, the protest, the concert, and the motel – there was never a dull moment. But what I really enjoyed best was watching the romance develop between Harper and Jake. They are both struggling to deal with a loss – one more so than the other – and they still don’t know much about each other, but you can feel that connection there, that longing.
And let’s not forget the music. Talk about a book with a fantastic soundtrack! Yet another reason why I loved Jake’s character. He was a bit of a music snob, albeit one with fantastic taste. To him, music needs to tell a story. And the music in “Saving June” only helped to do just that.
On a more personal note – the reason why Harper’s story hits close to home: Back in July of this year, an old friend of mine took his own life. One of the best memories I have with him is the night we went to see The Unseen (a punk band) in concert. He’d never heard of them, and probably would’ve never gone had I not dragged him with me, but it really was one of the best nights of my life. Reading “Saving June” brought back those good memories, while also reminding me just how beautiful life can be, even in a time of loss and pain.
I’d highly recommend “Saving June” to anyone who loved “If I Stay” and “Where She Went” by Gayle Forman.
The year is coming to a close and it’s time to break out the best of 2011 list’s. I know that not everyone will agree with the books I’ve picked for my list, but these are the books that I personally loved this year and that I’d easily recommend.
Not in any specific order.
- Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout: “There isn’t a single bad thing I can say about “Obsidian”. It’s perfect, and I think it may actually be my favorite book of 2011.”
- The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder: “The Probability of Miracles” isn’t an easy book to read, but it is an absolutely beautiful debut.
- Where She Went (If I Stay, #2) by Gayle Forman: “”Where She Went” is just as emotional as “If I Stay”, and it’s just as beautifully written.”
- Hushed by Kelley York: “Hushed” by Kelley York is by far one of the best books I’ve read this year. Hands down.
- Ashes (Ashes, #1) by Ilsa J. Bick: “Ashes” is a heart pounding story that will be hard to put down. It’s a story about survival, about finding the strength within to keep going.
- Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth: “I actually want to hit myself at the moment for waiting so long to read “Divergent” because if there is one book that lives up to the hype [so far] this year, it’s “Divergent”.”
- Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (Not a YA title, but shhh): “WARM BODIES is a different kind of zombie novel and I think that’s what makes it so fantastic.”
- The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey, #4) by Julie Kagawa: “There are many reasons why “The Iron Knight” is fantastic (and my favorite of the series). Yes, Kagawa’s writing is story, as always. But it’s her character development that really shines through. To take a character like Ash, someone who rarely opens up, and really give the readers an insight into the person beneath the icy stare – it’s not an easy task, but Kagawa handles it well.”
- Tempest (Tempest, #1) by Julie Cross: “Honestly, I’m not sure I can express just how much I enjoyed this book. “Tempest” is the perfect beginning to a trilogy.”
- Dust & Decay (Benny Imura #2) by Jonathan Maberry: “Ever fall in love with the first book in a series and then convince yourself the second book couldn’t be nearly as wonderful? Well, no worries because “Dust & Decay” is everything a sequel should be.”
- (BONUS PICK): Touch (Denazen #1) by Jus Accardo: “This is one of those books where you need to lock yourself away from the world for a few hours because you’re not going to want to put it down.”
- (BONUS PICK): How to Date an Alien (My Alien Romance, #1) by Magan Vernon: “One of the most exciting debuts of 2011, HOW TO DATE AN ALIEN is an incredibly fun, thrilling romance that’ll leave you desperately wanting more.”
- (BONUS PICK): Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson: “To say I loved this book may actually be an understatement. It was just THAT good.”
- (BONUS PICK):Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez: “Virtuosity” is a beautifully crafted story of a young girl finding out who she is and the struggles she faces along the way.Martinezis an author to watch.
- (BONUS PICK)“Forbidden” by Tabitha Suzuma: “FORBIDDEN is unnerving at times, but it’s also a very powerful story worth reading.”
Note: These were books that I read in 2011, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they released in 2011 (case in point: Tempest isn’t out until January, but it’s a favorite read from this year).
Feel free to tell me your top ten books of 2011 in the comments below!
Held captive in rural Vermont, she tries to make sense of her situation and what it means. While uncovering secrets about her brother and his untimely death, Emily falls in love with her very rich and very dangerous captor, twenty-six year- old Cameron. She understands it’s a forbidden love and one that won’t allow her to return to her previous life. But love may not be enough to save Emily when no one even knows she is missing.
My rating: 3.8/5 Stars
A while back, Julie contacted me asking if I’d review her novel “Crow’s Row”. I hadn’t heard much of “Crow’s Row” beforehand, but after reading the description and seeing the reviews on Goodreads, I decided it was worth checking out. I ended up giving “Crow’s Row” 3.8/5 stars – this being the first time I’ve ever given a book a 3.8 – because while I enjoyed it, it did take a while for me to really feel invested in the story.
While on her daily run to her brother’s grave, Emily meets Cameron – after being attacked by his dog. Their first meeting doesn’t go too well. After being attacked by Cameron’s dog and finding her Walkman – her prized possession – has been crushed, Emily wants nothing more than to go home. When she runs into Cameron again the following day while on her run, he attempts to apologize, but it doesn’t go over as well as planned (given how stubborn Emily is). But when she leaves, she can’t help but to think about the mysterious Cameron, finding herself on the verge of obsession.
I can honestly admit, I was almost ready to give up at this point in fear of ‘instalove’. I mean, after two meetings, she’s already obsessing over the boy? But I’m glad that I didn’t, because even though you think that’s where Hockley is taking the story, their relationship, that isn’t what happens. The relationship between Emily and Cameron is actually given the chance to blossom, even with a kidnapping and a murder thrown in.
“Crow’s Row” isn’t your typical YA novel and I think that’s why it’s so enjoyable. Hockley has created a truly intriguing story with characters that you’ll easily fall in love with (namely Emily and Cameron). I hope that there’s more to their story, especially given the ending, but if there isn’t, I’m satisfied with the story that Hockley has given us.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In bed at night
When I can’t sleep,
I think of Rodya dreaming of horses,
Sonya’s pale face,
The misdirected loves of the Bennet sisters.
Wish my life were inside a book
So I could turn to the ending,
See if it is a love story
Or a gothic disaster.
“Audition” is only the second novel told in verse that I’ve read, although I doubt it’ll be my last. The story is about Sara, a high school junior, who receives a scholarship to study dance at the Jersey Ballet. Given her ‘small town’ training, Sara has a hard time finding her place in with the other students who have been studying with the Jersey Ballet from a young age. And it only gets worse when she starts her school year at Upton, a private prep school. Having attended public school her entire life, Sara finds herself overwhelmed and alone.
Watching as others find company in the arms of another, and hearing about her best friends relationship back at home, Sara finds herself more alone than ever. Until she meets Remington – who is not only older at twenty-two years old – but an aspiring choreographer at the Jersey Ballet. As Sara finds herself falling deeper for Remington, she rids herself of the girl she used to be. Allowing Rem to take her, believing that what they are, what they are doing is much more – that they are creating a dance.
Dare I tell them that since I came here to dance
I have been giving pieces of my body away
To ridiculous diets,
To repeated injuries,
And that maybe I think With each bit of my body
I lose a little piece of my soul.
When Sara’s English teacher pulls her aside, to inform her that he feels she’s an excellent writer. Sara begins to see a potential future outside of dance, something she never once bothered to consider before. Is dance really the future she wants for herself? Is Rem’s bed the place she wishes to seek comfort? It takes some time to realize what she wants, but when Sara finally decides what exactly it is that she wants – she transforms into a whole other person, someone with a sort of confidence, someone who is able to let go of her mistakes, in hopes of new beginnings.
“Audition” is a stunning story about self discovery and finding the courage to believe in more.
Given the relationship between Sara and Rem, I would not recommend “Audition” for younger readers.
Welcome to my stop on the “Hushed” blog tour! I absolutely loved this book, it’s one of the best of 2011. I’m thrilled to be able to post an interview with Kelley as part of my stop.
*Where did the idea for Hushed come from?*
I’m very character-oriented, which means the concept for Archer came first. Followed by Vivian, then Evan. (Marissa was an accidental character. She popped up as I wrote, so I used her to my advantage.) With my three central characters, I was able to build the plot around them.
*What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing Hushed?*
I really, really wanted the murders to be realistic. I researched a lot on suicide, the effects of pills, carbon monoxide poisoning, what bodies look like after x-number of days/weeks under certain conditions… The idea that Archer is getting away with murder requires some suspended belief, doesn’t it? So I wanted to make sure everything surrounding that was as realistic as possible.
*What was your writing process like? Did you outline the novel beforehand?*
I’m a combination of a pantser and a plotter. I didn’t outline anything in HUSHED until halfway through. Then, I stopped, went back through what I’d written and made note of every plot thread I’d created. My outline took all those threads and tied them up. I’m fond of this method of writing; it gives me both freedom of not feeling confined by an outline, but gives me direction in the last half of the book.
*Have you always wanted to be a writer?*
I never thought about it. Growing up, writing was something I did for fun, art was something I actually did to make some extra cash. Admittedly, I was terrified to involve myself in the writing community at first. A lot of the writers I encountered had been doing it their wholes lives and had ten, fifteen, twenty books under their belt! I felt sort of weird coming in and saying, “Hey, I’ve been doing this for a few years!” I’ve learned, though, that being an author has zilch to do with how long you’ve been writing, just that you’re passionate about what you do.
*What advice would you give to aspiring authors?*
Keep learning! The best writers, I find, are the ones who never grow complacent with their work and think it’s “good enough.” The best writers are always struggling to find ways to make their work better and better.
You can find my review of “Hushed” over here.
‘Kelley York delivers in this impressive debut. I was at the edge of my
seat waiting to see what would happen next! Bottom line, this was
unputdownable!!!’ — YA Fantasy Guide —
Kelley was born and raised in central California, where she still resides with her lovely wife, daughter, and an abundance of pets. (Although she does fantasize about moving across the globe to Ireland.) She has a fascination with bells, adores all things furry – be them squeaky, barky or meow-y – is a lover of video games, manga and anime, and likes to pretend she’s a decent photographer. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or maybe a mermaid.
Within young adult, she enjoys writing and reading a variety of genres from contemporary with a unique twist, psychological thrillers, paranormal/urban fantasy and horror. She loves stories where character development takes center stage.
Kelley’s website: http://www.kelley-york.com/blog
Hushed – Synopsis:
He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her.
Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another – Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed.
Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.
But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn’t get what she wants…And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.
Purchase “Hushed” From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hushed-Kelley-York/dp/1937044742
Purchase “Hushed” From Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hushed-kelley-york/1033904538
Thank you to Stacey at Entangled Publishing for offering me the chance to be a part of the blog tour for this fantastic book. And a *big* thank you to Kelley for taking the time to answer my questions! Make sure to pick up “Hushed” if you haven’t already.