Monday, November 10, 2014

Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Released: 11/4/14
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: Print ARC

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

With her trademark wit, brilliant plotting, and twists that no one will see coming, Jennifer Lynn Barnes will keep readers on the edge of their seats (and looking over their shoulders) as they race through the pages of this thrilling novel.


ONCE AGAIN Barnes knocked it out of the park for me!!

I read THE NATURALS this past week then immediately started KILLER INSTINCT. This sequel picks up not too long after THE NATURALS ends and I was quickly engrossed in this story just like I was in the first book. I absolutely love this group of characters so I was excited to dive right in with Cassie, Dean, Michael, Sloane, and Lia once again. This time the group gets thrown into a case where someone is copying Dean's dad's serial killer MO. While the group does have trouble being allowed to actively be involved with this case due to the new agent, Sterling, that definitely does not keep them away. 

One of my favorite things about thriller books are the fact that they keep me guessing, I'm on edge, and have the hardest time putting them down. This one did not disappoint in those areas at all. I was constantly trying to figure out Daniel Redding and who was doing the killings that were happening. I had SEVERAL suspects while reading, some were right; some were definitely WAY off base. But the point was I never knew 100% and that's what I NEED when reading a book like this. I also could easily feel like I was part of the book. It was very natural to slip into Cassie's mind and see the things she was seeing, and feel the things she felt. I was also picking through all the clues just as much as the characters were and then trying to force myself not to skip ahead just to see if I was right. (Honestly, I ended up reading holding a piece of paper over anything past the line I was on.) 

At the end of THE NATURALS, Michael told Cassie to take some time and decide how she felt about Dean and him so she could "choose between them". HONESTLY I'm not so much a fan of this triangle scenario being played out in these books. It's one of those cases that I feel like it's just kind of there for no point. I REALLY feel like Cassie and Dean have a really strong connection and that they just mesh really well. They have actually gotten to know each other, and told each other some of their darkest secrets. On the other hand with Michael, there has been some flirting, but I mean that's about it. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Michael, he cracks me up to no end, but I'm REALLY hoping to see him and Lia together. They just fit in my opinion. Now for all of those that aren't fans of the triangles at all, rest assured that this one is a very, VERY little side story going on, it definitely doesn't take over the book or the plot at all. 

There were definitely some dark turn of events in the end and the last 50 pages I think I read faster than any other part of the book. I'm REALLY hoping there will be more books after this one, I think the ending kind of leaves it open for more. (I would also love for The CW gods to hear my plea and make this into a show, because it would definitely appeal, as would these books, to the ever faithful Veronica Mars fans.) I can't recommend this book enough if you are a fan of thrillers! 



(Thanks to Disney Hyperion with providing me with this ARC)

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Outlanders by Erin Rhew Blog Tour + Giveaway

It's no secret how much I absolutely LOVE Erin Rhew's first installment in this trilogy, THE PROPHECY, so I'm really excited to be part of the blog tour for its sequel, THE OUTLANDERS. While I have been crazy busy I knew I wouldn't be able to do a review post in time for the tour so I asked Erin to do something extra fun for the blog! 

Book Boys=FUN right?! 

But first let me share a little something about the book then I'm handing over the blog to Erin =D 

**As always, when posting about a sequel, keep in mind there could be possible spoilers if you haven't read book one**

With King Jesper dead and Prince Wilhelm mortally wounded, Halfling prince, Nash, and the Fulfilment, Layla, assume the throne of Etherea. They must contend with a new Prophecy Candidate who asserts her position, and Layla is surprised to find her fate intertwined with this challenger. Facing a myriad of choices, Nash and Layla’s decisions affect not only their own futures but that of two kingdoms.
Unbeknownst to the Ethereals or the Vanguards, a slumbering menace stirs in the south, awakened after centuries of slumber. The mysterious Outlanders, a force shadowed in mystery, sit poised to tip the balance of power, sending ripples of fear throughout both warring kingdoms.
Elder Werrick proved a formidable foe, but Layla may yet meet her match in the monstrous Outlander queen. This mistress of the dark’s plans, rooted in revenge and ancient lore, now threaten the livelihood of all three kingdoms.

Racing against time, Layla travels to the Borderlands—home of the Voltons and Ecclesiastics—to discover as much as she can about the war, the First Ones, and the prophecy itself. Lives teeter in the balance, kingdoms sit on the cusp of ruin, and a beast, greater than any she’s ever faced before, plots a catastrophic attack.  

Now there is a sort of, kind of, a triangle type thingy in this trilogy. I'm personally a huge fan of triangles, if written well, so they never bother me. I will say though that this is NOT you run of the mill triangle. There are certain...umm mystical, magical twists to this particular romantic triangle. 

Now PERSONALLY I'm a Nash gal. He's the perfect bruiting, tortured soul, but has a good heart male specimen, so of course he caught my eye. ;D For all the obvious, fun reasons I asked Erin to do us up a little fun "Prince Showdown". THANKS ERIN!!!!

Nash vs Wil

Crystal, you totally rock! Let’s all give her a virtual round of applause!! She’s a huge supporter of books and authors, and I just love her to pieces! Thank you so much for hosting me, girlie!!

Today, Crystal asked me to talk about Wil versus Nash. I’m sure you all know she’s Team Nash. She even has their ship name picked out: Crash! ;) But I know there are Team Wil fans out there too!

The more I talked to my Dream Team and Deek about this post, the more we realized Nash and Wil have a lot of the same characteristics. They just use them differently and for different purposes.

How do you compare two people? That's what we struggled with. People are so subjective, and their lists of positives and negatives are not binary.

What about loyalty? Wil is clearly loyal to his people, his family, and his friends. He is a king and tries to be a righteous one. He wants the best for all and tries to be fair and just. Nash claims to not be loyal to anyone but himself. Yet, behind these words lies a man whose heart beats of dedication. When he assumes the throne, he tries to lead in the way that he feels Wil would lead. His friends and family come before all others. Wil literally gives his life for what he believes in. But Nash too would die for those he loves.

What about intelligence? Nash is cunning and street smart. His ability to survive in chaotic and dangerous situations exceeds that of his brother. In a formal setting, he is passable, bordering on capable, though quite uncomfortable. Wil, on the other hand, feels at home in court and in formal, regal settings. He could sit at a table with any leader or diplomat from any land and excel. Does that make either of them smarter than the other? No. They are just intelligent and cunning in different ways.

Doing the right thing. Each man wants to do the right thing, but they see completely different paths to get there. Wil sees diplomacy and reason as the means to an end. At least, that is his first instinct. Pushed, he will fight, but that is not his preferred method of dealing with differing of opinions. Nash sees diplomacy as a formality that gets in the way of getting stuff done. Usually he just wants to get in and get right to the heart of the matter, even if it seems rash or foolish. Each method is effective. Though within each situation, the results may vary.

Instincts. Wil has great instincts...when it comes to running the kingdom. He has the ability to find a unique, generally peaceful solution to a problem. Clever and wise in a diplomatic situation. Nash also has natural instincts. He could survive in the wild on his own indefinitely and could plan a battle on his gut rather than on numbers and tactics. He is more apt to "feel" his way through a problem rather than rationalize it out.

Selflessness. Each man is willing to give up his life for what he believes in. Each would die for those he loves without hesitation.

Mannerisms. Wil is far more chivalrous than Nash, skills which serve a future king well in court. He would find a diplomatic ways to convey information while Nash would simply state it plainly.

Who are they? Wil knows exactly who he is—son to a king and heir to the throne. He was born to be king. Nash was born out of place. While he has the inner-strength to be king, that particular seat doesn't fit him, and he knows it. Hence he is so reluctant to lead and feels so out of place doing so.

So, take all that information, put it together, and what do we have?

Wil is the sensitive, strong leader who typically does not let his emotions get in the way.  He was raised with the all the love and blessing from his father, which Nash was denied.  He was raised as the crowned prince and learned how to be Etherea's leader.  Thankfully, he is a much better and stronger man than his father.  Layla has brought out a whole new side of him, and he likes who he is when he is with her.  He loves his country and values it above his own life (sacrificial).  At this point, he loves Layla so deeply but is willing to let her go for her own happiness as he thinks she is in love with Nash. 

Nash is a loner who has never felt like he belongs anywhere so he has been drifting.  In his drifting, he is discovering his own values, not what has been told to him.  He knows who he is and who he isn't.  He is a reluctant interim king which he only accepted because of his great love and loyalty for his brother, not so much his country.  Loving Layla makes him feel like he is part of something bigger than he ever thought possible.  Despite his "approval" from Wil to be with Layla, he still can't be with her because he loves Wil too much to ever hurt him that way. 

Both men have similar hearts.  They both love and value certain things and are willing to sacrifice everything for those things.  They both love their mom and sister, which says a lot about how kind they can be.  They love and admire each other deeply.  I think that if you asked them who is their most influential person, they would probably say each other.  I think that they both make each other better because of their differences while still having admiration for the other.  They also share a love for Layla- which is odd because you would think these two different brothers would fall for different girls.  Layla brings out the best in both of them but also causes them both extreme pain.  

SO I hear all these things about Wil and I even agree with them, BUT I'm still team NASH! What team are you?

Don't forget to enter this awesome giveaway that Erin has provided and to leave her some love!!! 

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sneakpeek Sunday (8)

9/21 - 9/26


Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz | Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis | Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington | Winterspell by Claire Legrand (I didn't get a chance to read this one last week)

Listening to:


Rebel by Amy Tintera


Coming Up on the Blog:

Monday: MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan (Review)  
Tuesday: Jackaby by William Ritter (Review)
Wednesday: Dissonance by Erika O'Rourke (Review)
Thursday: Kids Take Over  
Friday: Fun Friday Giveaway 

Apparently it's a week full of reviews for me!

What are your blogging and reading plans this week? 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (11)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews. Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books your borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course eBooks.

Soooo I went on a bit of a shopping binge this week....Oops... :)

ALSO I want to point out on the left side of my blog the snazzy new counters I added that the hosts over at Mel, Erin, and Regina Read-A-Lot have available! You guys should definitely go check their blog out! 

Books from Publisher:

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

(not pictured)

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger 

Purchased Books:

The Sky is EveryWhere by Jandy Nelson | Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White (signed) | In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo (had this but got it signed) | The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (signed) | Alienated by Melissa Landers | The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater | Made For You by Melissa Marr | Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens (signed) | I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson | Starling by Fiona Paul (signed) | Wicked Lovely Series by Melissa Marr | Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins 

(not pictured)

Summerfall by Claire Legrand | Between by Megan Whitmer | The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson | Perfectly Flawed by Nessa Morgan

What did you get this week??

What You Missed This Week:

Thursday: Kids Take Over
Friday: Haze Review

GIVEAWAYS going on now:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Haze by Paula Weston (Blog Tour Review)

Released: 9/9/14
Publisher: Tundra books
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

"But what if we can’t find Jude?" 
He leans closer. His breath is warm on my ear. "We will."
"How can you be so sure?" I want to believe him so badly, but this is Rafa. The guy who’s all action and no plan. His smile is tired, knowing. An echo of a shared past I don’t remember. 
"Because I’m not smart enough to give up, and you don’t know how to." 

Gaby Winters’ nightmares have stopped but she still can’t remember her old life. Still can’t quite believe she is one of the Rephaim—the wingless half-angels who can shift from place to place, country to country, in the blink of an eye. That she was once the Rephaim’s best fighter. That demons exist. That Rafa has stayed. 

But most of all, she can’t quite believe that her twin brother, Jude, might be alive. 

And Gaby can’t explain the hesitancy that sidetracks the search for him, infuriates Rafa, and sends them, again, into the darkest danger.

My Thoughts:

This review has seriously been one of the HARDEST ones for me to write. I just want to say I'm OBSESSED. It's FANTASTIC. NOW GO BUY IT!!! Since I am absolutely OBSESSED with this series. 

It is, hands down, one of my favorite series that I have gotten my  hands on. I just don't think that I can put in words how amazing it is or how much I love it. I love it so much I actually ordered the next installment after HAZE, SHIMMER (book 3), from The Book Depository since it releases in Australia WAY before it releases here, because I SERIOUSLY can not wait until next year to see what happens. So yes, I paid a little more than I typically would to get my hands on that book. A girls got to do, what a girls got to do! Am I right?

Before going any further, this is book 2 in the installment, so if you haven't read SHADOWS it could be a little spoilery! Go check out my review for SHADOWS here.

I have such a hard time deciding what I love most about this book. Is it the Rephaim world? Is it Gaby's personality? Rafa? Gaby and Rafa's romance? I simply can't choose. 

The Rephaim world is really phenomenal. Paula Weston has created a place that I thoroughly enjoy being lost in, and I'm always left with wanting more because it's never enough. HAZE left me feeling just like SHADOWS did, as soon as I put it down I wanted to read it again.

The story does not slow down at all in HAZE. I always get nervous when it comes the second books in a series or trilogy. They can sometimes be fillers and can end up being a huge disappointment. HAZE was far from that. It was full of action and learning more and more about the world that Gaby and Jude had been a part of before the accident. I really liked seeing Gaby get to be more involved in the Rephaim issues this time and even participating in some action. There were a lot of subplots in this book, compared to SHADOWS, but I really enjoyed them. I think they gave me a better look into the group that traveled with Jude and Rafa and the group that Gaby was a part of. I'm still really curious to where it's all leading to.

Gaby is one of the most kick butt heroines I have come across. I love her "I don't need anyone, I got this" attitude. In HAZE Gaby does show a little more of her vulnerable side, which I really liked seeing. She was having a hard time going to look for Jude because of emotional reasons, it really let me see a different side of her, one where she shows fear. Gaby got thrown into this world really fast so I have been in awe with how well she has adjusted. She really comes into her own with the Rephaim world in HAZE with some of the other things that take place. She is also still struggling with what made her and Jude split apart before the accident and why she was ever on the same side as Daniel and the Sanctuary. 

Rafa is, of course, just as sexy as ever. Seriously love this guy. One of my favorite things about Rafa is his loyalty to Gaby and Jude. He has been fighting since the beginning to figure out what happened to them, and then after finding Gaby, trying to find Jude. He cares so much about them and that is just something that makes me adore him. I also really like the way he is with Gaby. He is there for her when she needs him but at the same time he knows she can handle stuff on her own, and no way is he trying to be her protector. There were also several parts in HAZE where I really got to see a more vulnerable side of Rafa. He is always so tough, like nothing can get to him, it was different seeing some parts that really opened him up some. 

The whole romance in this book has been one of my favorite book romances also. It has not, at any time, taken over the story. It is one of those slow-building, tension-filled romances that had me yelling "WOULD YOU JUST KISS ALREADY" at the book a thousand times!!!! Then when things's like the world is completely right finally. 

HAZE ended up answering quite a few big questions, but it also left me with about a thousand more. I really can't wait to see what else Weston has in store for us, and how everything will turn out. There was quite the cliffhanger at the ending of HAZE that made me gasp and then proceed to really FREAK OUT!!! Overall the book was just absolutely perfect, from beginning to end, in my opinion. 

So if you have read SHADOWS, definitely go pick up HAZE RIGHT NOW, if you haven't then go pick up BOTH!!! Trust me you will want them, and you will need them. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kids Take Over (1)

Kids Take Over, is hosted here, where I showcase the books I am reading with my kids and give you my feedback, along with theirs, on the books!

Intro Post for Feature:

I know a lot of other bloggers I talk to are parents who enjoy reading with their kids so I thought it might be fun to start a feature on the blog called “Kids Take Over”, where we can showcase the books we read with our kids. I will have my kids help me with the reviewing process and getting their input on the books we read. My daughter is 8 years old and we read a lot of MG stuff along with some awesome classics. I also have two toddler boys so there will be lots of picture books also! I think this would be a fun feature to do with them, plus it can also help us as parents to see what other great books are out there that everyone else is reading. I will be hosting this every Thursday. This is something that I would love other bloggers to start participating in, so please feel free to join, just make sure to link back and leave your link here for others to visit. 

What we read this week…

Released: 8/6/13
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Format: Print Book

Llama Llama likes to sing.

Gilroy laughs at everything.
Llama sings out just the same.
Gilroy says a not-nice name.
  Teacher has some things to say:
calling names is not OK.
  Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn't sure what to do. And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?   Taking on a difficult but important part of children's lives, Anna Dewdney gives readers a way to experience and discuss bullying in a safe and comforting way. 

Kids Reactions:

All three of my kids (ages 2, 3, & 8) really enjoyed this book. The boys loved the illustration and had fun pointing out all the animals and toys that were on the pages. They also understood the story easily. They were constantly telling the "bully goat" that he wasn't being very nice. When we were done they wanted to read it again! My 8 year old, who said she was too big for this book at first, changed her mind pretty quickly and decided she liked it too. She then proceeded to talk to the boys about how it isn't nice to make fun of people or pick on others. 

Mommy's Thoughts:

I've always been a big fan of the Llama Llama books since I worked in daycare. This was my first time reading this one and I definitely thought it was super cute. The illustrations were awesome and kept the kids intrigued, and it was written in a way the kids easily understood everything going on even at their young age. If you haven't tried any of the Llama Llama books I would definitely recommend picking them up. These are always books with great lessons in them and entertaining for parent and kid!

What did you and your kids read?
Make sure to leave your links below.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Books I WANTED to Love...

So I had a few disappoints among my Fall ARCs list. BUMMER! These were ones that I was REALLY looking forward to so I'm really disappointed that I wasn't a fan of them. Instead of doing 3 DNF posts, I figured I would do something similar to my Books I Have Been OBSESSING Over post from last week, and just consolidate them into one! Even though I wasn't a fan of these, I encourage you to check out other reviews since these books really had a lot of mixed reviews, so it very much could just be personal taste. 

Releases: 9/16/14 
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Format: Print ARC

I'm going to be completely honest, I did not get very far in this book. I'm talking around page 100 and I put it down. To be fair though, it was a struggle for me to even get that far. The writing was really not for me, I wasn't clicking with any of the characters, and the plot seemed to be EVERY where. I also felt lost. You don't get any back story really and what you do get doesn't really help. Granted, had I have gotten farther maybe I would have gotten a ton, but it just would have seemed to late at that point. At that point I had too many questions and just didn't care what the answers were anyways. It's one I won't be revisiting. 

Released: 9/9/14 
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Format: Print ARC

This book started out rough for me but I held on in hopes it would get better. The beginning scenes seemed a little forced, like she was having trouble coming across as a believable teen. When the book moved into the alternate universe I really thought I would get into but the pacing was extremely slow for me and I just could not get invested in the characters. I made it around the halfway mark and the story still hadn't really progressed in my opinion. I've heard so many other people who just rave about this book so maybe one day I will visit this book again, but for now I'm done. I also sent a blogger friend my ARC to do a Guest Review for my blog just to see how her opinion differed, so definitely go check that out. ALSO I love the cover so much I'm tempted to buy this book anyways just for that! LOL 

Released: 8/26/14 
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Format: Print ARC

This book was definitely not for me. I thought all the point of views would be intriguing, which they were some what, until I encountered some REALLY out there point of views that seemed pretty pointless and didn't really add anything to the story in my opinion. I was also really excited about seeing the main couple fall for each other from outsider perspectives, my issue was that all the outsiders made me feel like I was reading from a 13/14 yr old point of view. In no way do any of these characters seem like college students in this book. I debated pushing through, but after talking with a few other blogger friends who had read it and their issues with it, I just knew it wouldn't get better for me. Keep in mind I'm not the biggest contemporary fan, and when I do love them they tend to be more serious contemps. This was just a tad too silly and fluffy for me, especially with the age of the characters not realistically represented.

Did anyone just absolutely LOVE these books? If so feel free to leave your review in the comments! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Make It Right by Megan Erickson (Blog Tour Review)

Title: Make it Right
Author: Megan Erickson
Series: Bowler University #2
Publication: September 9th, 2014 by William Morrow Impulse
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Max Payton lives by two rules:

Size and strength win any fight, and never show weakness.

When a rash of assaults sends Bowler University for a tail spin, Max volunteers to help teach a self-defense class. One of the other instructors is the beautiful pixie-faced girl he keeps butting heads with…and who challenges everything he thought he knew.

Lea Travers avoids guys like Max - cocky jocks who assume she's fragile because of a disability caused by a childhood accident. She likes to be in control, and something about being with Max makes her feel anything but. But during the moments he lets his guard down, Lea sees a soul as broken inside as she is outside. Trusting him is a whole other problem...

When the assaults ramp up and hit close to home, Lea and Max must learn, before it’s too late, that true strength can come from vulnerability…and giving in to trust is sometimes the only way to make things right.

My Thoughts:

 Megan seriously writes the best NA books! I'm OVERLY picky when it comes to contemporary in general, but NA is even harder for me to find authors that I just completely fall in love with. Megan has won me over within just two books, putting her quickly on my auto-buy list. She could tell me she was writing a book and I would order it, no info needed, simply because her writing is that awesome! 

If you haven't read MAKE IT COUNT (stop what your doing and buy it now), it is book 1 in the Bowler University series. I was completely head over heels for that book and didn't really know if I could love a couple more than I love Kat and Alec...THEN Megan gave me Max and Lea. 

It's hard to say who I love more from this book when it comes to Lea and Max. Lea is kick ass. She seriously is. Her snark simply won me over also. I absolutely love how she doesn't let her injury hold her back physically, it even seems to have made her stronger in many ways. There is another side of Lea that was so relate-able to me, and that was how she was emotionally impacted by the past. I could sympathize with her while watching her deal with her issues while learning how to handle trusting again, especially when it came to Max

I really liked Max in MAKE IT COUNT. I know he was kind of the sucky boyfriend guy in that book, but he also had this sad puppy dog thing going on about him, where I just knew there was more to him than meets the eye. Boy am I glad I was right because I completely fell in LOVE with Max in MAKE IT RIGHT. Max has a lot of family drama going on in his life, and he seriously has this complex of not doing things that would make him happy, he acts like he doesn't deserve happiness some times! :( It didn't take too long for Lea to crack that tough shell he had though, and boy OH boy when she did...

That was me...coming through the pages at Max. 

First off, he bakes cookies. HE BAKES COOKIES. Please come bake me some cookies Max! He is a ROMANTIC!! The first date he gives Lea. OH MY GAH!!! But my all time favorite Max part was near the end. He does something just so Max-like, and I seriously didn't see it coming at all. It was marvelous though. He just seriously made me smile all the way around. 

My favorite part of the book was of course, Max and Lea, but their journeys separately were also fantastic. Watching them both grow and become the people they needed to be, and wanted to be, warmed my heart! 

Outside of the characters Megan so amazingly comes up with, I really love MAKE IT RIGHT simply because it's so relate-able. She has a way of weaving stories about characters that the majority of us have probably went through, or at least something similar. While a lot of NAs touch on some REALLY deep, dark character pasts, MAKE IT RIGHT touched on serious ones, but also the more common ones. 

I would recommend anything that Megan Erickson writes. I definitely recommend that you read MAKE IT RIGHT, then come tell me how much you love you some MAX! ;P 



About Megan

Megan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.



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Monday, September 15, 2014

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Releases: 9/30/14
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (Penguin Imprint) 
Format: Print ARC 

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.


Going into Belzhar I honestly wasn't sure what I expected but the story ended up being so much more than I thought. All the characters were truly intriguing and had these really interesting pasts. I really like Jam, the main character, and her journey was the most interesting of all. The entire reason why she is at The Wooden Barn is kept very vague for a while in the book, besides knowing that she lost her boyfriend, so it really had me intrigued and caught up in trying to figure out what happened. I did start to put a theory together about halfway through (which turned out to be right) but the story still kept me thinking maybe I was wrong, which I really liked. 

The concept of Belzhar itself was so unique. I really liked how Wolitzer took THE BELL JAR (which I have never read but want to now) and made it part of the story by doing such a unique thing with it. It was one of my favorite things about this book. I'm also really into books that touch on emotional or psychological issues in general so this was right up my alley, and what initially made me want to pick it up. It also has quite a twist towards the ending that I think a lot of people won't be expecting, it was something that made it even better in my opinion.

While I really enjoyed most of everything in this book there were a few cons I had that just couldn't be ignored. One was the way Jam puts things together about Belzhar. Here she is with pretty much no information about it and she guesses things and just decides they are correct. I really would have liked her to have something more solid than just assumptions. Another problem I had, and I'm just really picky with this type of stuff in general, were the relationships between some of the characters. I'm talking friendships and romantic relationships. I feel there was a lot of telling and just making things a certain way, but lack of build up or showing. It made some of it feel kind of forced to me. Examples of those relationships that I was mainly bothered with were- Griffin and Jam, and then the friendship between Sierra and Jam.

Overall I really did enjoy this book, I think it will one that most people enjoy. It has the angst factor, deep issues, a lot of unique twists, and interesting characters. This is definitely one I would recommend to any YA reader!