Nov 30, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

The Summer I Became A Nerd
By: Leah Rae Miller

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.
Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

The Summer I Became A Nerd will be released May 7, 2013 from Entangled Publishing.

Nov 19, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions (10)

This is a shiny, new blogger meme hosted by Karen at For What It's Worth Reviews. It's time to open up and share (and vent) about our blogging experiences!

The question is:
November 19: 
Giving thanks: Is there a book that you are thankful you have read?  Maybe it has changed your life in a small or even a large way, or made you see things in a different perspective.

I think the book that comes to mind most is Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. Before this book, my knowledge of the YA genre was Sweet Valley High and Fear Street with the occasional Christopher Pike or Caroline B. Cooney book thrown in.

I had accepted the YA genre was a thing of my past and figured it was time to move onto adult novels since I was (chronologically) an adult. I was wandering through Barnes & Noble and saw the cover to Perfect Chemistry  and I remember my jaw dropping. I couldn't figure out how something that steamy made it onto the cover of a young adult/teen novel.

I grabbed it and read it in a day and was blown away. I remembered when I was a teen a couple would kiss and that was it. It was very chaste, very brief ... This book had sex. And drugs. And violence. And I liked it.

Simone Elkeles totally upset my idea of the young adult novel. If I hadn't stumbled across that book, I don't think this blog would even be here. Reading Perfect Chemistry made me see YA books in a whole new light and spawned this reading obsession that has culminated into nearly 2 years of blogging and reviewing.

Nov 18, 2012

Review: Live Through This by Mindi Scott

Title: Live Through This
Author: Mindi Scott
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 10.2.2012
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary
Series: No
Source: eBook

Rating: B-

Summary (from Goodreads):
From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a mom and stepdad who would stop at nothing to keep her siblings and her happy.

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted façade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now that Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.

Can I first offer a huge standing ovation to Mindi Scott for tackling such a sensitive issue? A lot of authors would avoid subjects like incest, domestic abuse and domestic rape, but Scott took a huge risk here and wrote about it in Live Through This.

That being said, I felt this book simply wasn’t long enough for everything going on inside. There was the sexual abuse, a burgeoning love story, a feud with a former-best friend, and a whole mess of family dynamics. There were a lot of sub-plots and characters packed into this novel and I felt it watered down the plot significantly, to the point where I just never got a feel of who Coley was.

Coley is a girl going through a horrific ordeal. She’s surviving the best way she can—by pushing the issue away and orchestrating this perfect façade. There were some chapters she even convinced me she was OK because of how well she was doing with things and how little the abuse was mentioned.

This book is a quick read—I finished it in a day. I just felt like it was lacking something because so much of it felt scattered. And the ending really bothered me. I didn’t feel like there was any closure for me as the reader, but I also realize that in order for me to get that closure there would probably need to be a second book, or at least another 200 pages.

I would recommend you check this out because 1) the subject matter is so crucial to bring into the light and 2) despite my lackluster review, this is getting crazy great reviews around the blogs. Maybe I would caution you to check it out of the library before buying.

Nov 13, 2012

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Stealing Parker
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: 10.1.2012
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Yes (Hundred Oaks #2)
Source: Purchased finished copy

Rating: A+

Summary (from Goodreads):
Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

If I could figure out a way to live in the Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kenneally, I would already be there. I am so hopelessly in love with this series, it’s ridiculous. I adored Catching Jordan (book #1), and with Stealing Parker, Kenneally has only reinforced my adoration of anything and everything she writes.

Parker Shelton is a girl who needs a hug. Seriously. She lost her mom and her faith in one fell swoop and has been spiraling down ever since, culminating in this obsessive crush on a guy 6 years her senior. I know some people might say that he is only six years older, but there was something about this relationship that set me on edge from the start. I was a bit worried that Kenneally would make this creeper Parker’s true love (or maybe I’ve been watching too much Pretty Little Liars). In truth, Parker was trying substitute the loss of her family and religion with sex. It’s a trap I have seen way too many girls fall into.

There is a religious undertone to this book I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t in the first book, and I don’t know that Kenneally will continue that in the series. If you aren’t expecting it, I can see where some people would find it abrasive. As someone who grew up in a church, I could 100% relate to how Parker felt abandoned by God and why she reacted to some things the way she did. I also understand how small-minded certain churches can be, but how that’s not God’s plan. (OK, off the soapbox now.)

Kenneally has this artistic grace to her writing that I love to devour. She crafts these characters that I can’t help but cheer for and adore with all my heart. If you liked Catching Jordan, I’m willing to bet you’ll enjoy Stealing Parker with equal voracity.

Nov 7, 2012

25 Days of Christmas - An eBook Spectacular

Just got an email from the awesome people at Sourcebooks. This holiday season they are discounting a ton of their ebooks plus giving away books, candy, and even an ereader. If you're interested, you have to be on the mailing list.

Leave a comment with you name and email address and I can send you the info to sign up!

Giveaway: Easy by Tammara Webber

Win a copy of EASY by Tammara Webber from the publisher! Open to all with a US mailing address!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday (31)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly waiting to get into our hands.

This week I'm waiting on.....

Another Little Piece
by: Kate Karyus Quinn

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A reckless wish taken from the darkest desires of the heart…

A bloody razor engraved with the names of the girls who turned to dust…

An endless cycle that feeds of loneliness and craves destruction…

Together, these pieces form a twisted puzzle that Annaliese Rose Gordon has to solve. Trapped in a body that isn’t hers—with no memory of how she got there—she must unlock the secrets of her past in order to escape the horrors of her future.

Why I Want It:
Aside from that jaw-dropping cover? This sound dark and twisted and delicious. I cannot wait to read this one!

Another Little Piece will be released on 6.11.2013 from HarperTeen

Blog Tour: Tammara Webber

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Tammara Webber, who seems to be blowing up the literary world with this new genre of "New Adult" novels. New adult is basically a bridge between YA and Adult novels ... and I for one am loving it.

Tammara stopped by today to answer some easy questions about her personal preferences.

Lightening Round:
a) Chocolate or Vanilla ice-cream? Cherry Garcia! (Ben & Jerry’s)
b) Cats or Dogs? I love both, but have cats – they’re low-maintenance. J
c) The Notebook or Pretty Woman? Love both. If I had to choose one to watch, it would depend completely on my mood in that moment.
d) Best way to spend Sunday morning? Reading!
e) How do you take your coffee? Sugar (the real stuff) and a bit of half-and-half
f) If you had 3 things to take with you on a desert island, what would they be? My husband, a pillow, and a really sharp knife
g) Heels or flats? Usually flats; heels on boots, though.

Nov 6, 2012

Review: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Title: Breathe
Author: Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Greenwillow
Publication Date: 10.2.2012
Pages: 373
Genre: Dystopian
Series: Yes (Breathe #1)
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: B

Summary (from Goodreads):
Inhale. Exhale. 
Breathe . . .
The world is dead. 
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

has been stealing for a long time. She's a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she's never been caught before. If she's careful, it'll be easy. If she's careful.

should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it's also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

Breathe by debut author Sarah Crossan is one of the newest additions to the dystopian genre. I think the dystopian genre may sliding out because while I enjoyed this book, there was nothing in it that really blew my mind.

Alina is a likeable enough heroine; she’s tough and gritty and a fighter, but I never really felt like it got to know her. I never found her vulnerable enough to see what made her really tick. I never got that all-important connection. Quinn and Bea were sweet enough. It just felt like the normal rich boy and poor girl love story with the exception it was set in this dystopian world where oxygen was a precious and hard to come by commodity.

What I enjoyed the most, by far, was Crossan’s world-building. I never once doubted the scene I was in. Her descriptive skills are top-notch. I loved walking through this world she created. Some might say that the most important character in a dystopian novel is the world itself, and if so, Crossan wrote one of the best I've’read.

Maybe it’s because I’ve just read so many dystopian novels, but I didn’t find myself totally blown away. The characters are nice enough, but felt vaguely generic. The storyline was very intriguing, but I never truly felt like it took off. I’ll definitely see what Crossan has in store for the next book in the series, but this isn’t a book I’m clamoring to place up on my shelves. While I found Breathe to be enjoyable, it didn’t leave me breathless.

Veronica Rossi talks about ROAR & LIV

Veronica Rossi the the dynamite debut novelist of Under the Never Sky (aka my favorite book for 2012). With the release of the sequel, Through the Ever Night looming in a few months, she has released a novella, Roar & Liv.

This simple and sweet book takes us a few months before the events that transpire in Under the Never Sky and showcase the bittersweet romance of Roar and Liv (Roar is a key player in the Under the Never Sky series and Liv is Perry's sister - Perry being the lead hero of the series). Veronica Rossi made a quick video talking about the novella.

Before Perry and Aria, there was Roar and Liv.

After a childhood spent wandering the borderlands, Roar finally feels like he has a home with the Tides. His best friend Perry is like a brother to him, and Perry's sister, Liv, is the love of his life. But Perry and Liv's unpredictable older brother, Vale, is the Blood Lord of the Tides, and he has never looked kindly on Roar and Liv's union. Normally, Roar couldn't care less about Vale's opinion. But with food running low and conditions worsening every day, Vale's leadership is more vital—and more brutal—than ever. Desperate to protect his tribe, Vale makes a decision that will shatter the life Roar knew and change the fate of the Tides forever.

You can check out my review of Under the Never Sky, and be sure to grab a copy of Roar & Liv from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Top Ten Tuesday (10)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun!

Top 10 Books I Want For My Birthday
....even though my birthday isn't until February ... which means you have plenty of shopping time.
Just sayin'.

1. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi: I fell HARD for this debut author last year, and I am so excited to get my hands on the next installment in this series. Perry and Aria are just ... Wow. Fun fact? My soon-to-arrive niece will be named Aria (my sister-in-law is a big fan of Pretty Little Liars, but I secretly tell myself she's named after the Aria in this series).

2. The Lost Girl by Sangu Madanna: I heard nothing but wonderful reviews about this one, and it has somehow slipped through my fingers. I really want a copy of this one!

3. Boundless by Cynthia Hand: I need more Tuck. I just do. Plus, these books are too gorgeous not to adorn my bookshelf.

4. The Savage Grace by Bree Despain: I love this series. The only reason this book is not sitting on my shelf with the other 2 in the trilogy is that I lack the funds to place it there.

5. Rise by Andrea Cremer: I love this prequel to the Nightshade trilogy. I can't wait to see what happens to Ember and Barrow next.

6. Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout: Do I really need to explain this one? If you haven't heard me raving about Jennifer's books, clearly this is your first visit here.

7. Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder: The buzz I keep hearing about this book makes me really, really want it. Sounds like one of those epic contemporaries you can totally loose yourself in.

8. Everbound by Brodi Ashton: Another 2012 debut author that blew me away. I'm so excited to see where this story goes next ... but I'm a bit worried about this love triangle.

9. Uses For Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt: I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but come on! This one is freaking gorgeous. If the story inside is half as good, then it will be amazing!

10. Salvation by Anne Osterlund: Popular boy + brainy girl = hot romance. Sign me up, please!

Nov 5, 2012

The Irish Banana Review Does Facebook!

That's right, folks! The Irish Banana Review has a Facebook page! If you want to keep up with what's going on around the blog via Facebook, be sure to like the page!

Review: A Mid-Summer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Title: A Midsummer’s Nightmare
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: 6.5.2012
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Series: No (Companion to The D.U.F.F. and Shut Out)
Source: Finished copy from publisher

Rating: A-

Summary (from Goodreads):
Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.

Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Kody Keplinger is one of those authors who I see wrote a new book, and I immediately snap it up. Since I read The D.U.F.F., her debut novel, over two years ago, I have been absolutely smitten with Keplinger. She could write a book about the secret lives of trash collectors and I would devour it. She’s that reliable of a great writer.

This is one of those books where I loved the book and most of the characters … but Whitley (our narrator and heroine) made me want to slap her repeatedly. At times I felt her grating personality just went too far. Yes, I get that the girl has issues she needed to work through (and does), but there were a couple parts where she just disgusted me with her cavalier attitude. It took me nearly half of the novel to find some sort of connection to her. Don’t get me wrong, by the end of the novel I loved her, but it took a bit to get there.

Nathan and Bailey were the stars of this for me, and I am desperately hoping Bailey gets her own novel because that girl was just so sweet and so awesome that I need more. Nathan was everything I pine for in a book boyfriend—loyal, understanding, and HOT.

Yes, I am a little shallow, but you know you like it, too!

A Mid-Summer’s Nightmare is a fantastic addition to the other novels she’s written—even drawing in two of my favorites from her first book. While these books aren’t a series, she does sometimes bring back old characters for a quick, non-invasive cameo as a shout-out to fans. Grab a Keplinger book (any of them in any order will suffice), and I promise you won’t be sorry.

Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository

Book Blogger Confessions (9)

This is a shiny, new blogger meme hosted by Karen at For What It's Worth Reviews. It's time to open up and share (and vent) about our blogging experiences!

The question is:

November 5: Should bloggers & authors discuss politics? Does that turn you off to a blogger or an authors books if they tweet/post about their political positions or do you appreciate their passionate point of view?

Absolutely ... but only in the right forum. 

If I go to a reviewer's blog, odds are I'm going there for a specific reason (to check out some good book recs, etc.). I'm not going there to be innundated with political or religious views. The exception to this rule would be if the blog is a bloggers personal blog where they talk about their kids, their dog, their job, boss, and everything else under the sun.

Same goes with an authors. If their blog/website is solely devoted to their book(s) and writing career, I think it's pretty presumptuous to start throwing in moral/religious/political/etc. views. If they have a personal site or blog they want to vent or share on, then good for them.

Twitter and Facebook are somewhat gray because some people have twitter and/or Facebook accounts solely for their blog, and others have ones that overlap with their personal lives.

I'll leave it like this: On this blog I will only discuss books and book-related issues/promotions. If you're interested in my personal views, email me or check out my livejournal account.