Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan

Skin and Bones
Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan
Sherry Shahan's SKIN AND BONES, pitched as ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST meets LOVE STORY set in an eating disorder hospital in which an aspiring ballerina and a quirky nerdboy fall desperately in love only to become each other's next deadly addiction, to Wendy McClure at Albert Whitman
Publishes in US: Published 2014 by Albert Whitman Teen
Genre: YA contemp
Source: Netgalley
Series? No

Buy it: Amazon  IndieBound  Book Depository

Author stalk away: ~site

    I wanted to read Skin and Bones because I am drawn to books about teens with issues, especially eating disorders. It impacted my family and reading about it is therapeutic for me. I also haven't read many books from the male perspective of eating disorders and was drawn to that unique element. 
    While there are differences in how men and women see their bodies, the disease has a lot of overlap in effecting them. There have been events that really made Jack insecure about his body and it started as something that he could control. Unlike in his group, his family is intact and mostly put together, but it is really how he saw himself that was at the root of his problems. 
   Jack is placed with an overeater nick-named Lard, and at first, Jack thought that they couldn't be any more different. But as they room together, talk and go to group together, they find more in common than they thought and become friends and begin to help each other. 
     It is so important what they realize and are told it is one moment, one choice at a time that will make a change. Everyone wants overnight cures but it isn't that easy. 
    I had a feeling I knew where everything was going with Bones and Alice. Bones, of course, I was glad he would see the light and get a better understanding of what healthy is and transform his body image, but I was so afraid of him only getting it after a tragedy with Alice. 
    I am appreciative that the story didn't end with a completely cured Bones, but one that wanted to change, and was willing to put in the work. 
Bottom Line: Good contemp about a teen guy with an eating disorder.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you struggled with body issues?
Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

The Summer I Found You
All they have in common is that they're less than perfect. And all they're looking for is the perfect distraction.
Kate's dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she's still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he's a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all


Publishes in US: March 1st 2014 by Albert Whitman Teen
Genre: YA Contemp
Source: Netgalley
Series? No.

Buy it: Amazon IndieBound  Book Depository

Author stalk away: Facebook:

    I wanted to read The Summer I Found you for several reasons. First, I am drawn to anything about teenage illness and the diabetes caught my attention. Second, I respect vets and those who serve or have served in the military and I love to read about them, so this romance with broken but amazing sounding Aidan sounded like something that I would enjoy his journey to healing and moving on from a life that he never thought would be over so soon. Third, I have read a few of Jolene Perry's other books and enjoyed so given the perfect storm above, it was a no brainer. 
    I really connected with Kate. I think she was described as just this side of weird and that sounds just like me. She ends up blurting out blunt things, sarcastic, awkward things and I do the same. She handles it with more grace than I do, and she found an admirer in Aidan because most people act like the missing arm is a non-issue, and Kate, first time meeting brought it up, asked him questions and even made harmless jokes. And that made him feel more like a person than he has in a long time. But he has other battles--he has nightmares that plague him and he has no idea what he wants for his future moving on. 
    Kate and Aidan had some pretty obvious and immediate chemistry, but there were some concerns with him being so over high school and she is hiding her diabetes because ironically she enjoys that someone doesn't know and doesn't make a big deal out of it. Her parents smother her as she's trying to learn to deal with the disease and she is not the most responsible with it, but I think its because she isn't accepting that this is something that will forever shape her life and interfere even if in minor things. 
    But as Kate and Aidan become friends, they both realize things about themselves and their illness/disability. And they also find a safe outlet, an ease of opening up and the freedom found in comfortable silences, just being with someone. 
    The issues of PTSD are so important to me, because my mom suffers so I really appreciated seeing it dealt with in ya lit. Aidan's struggles are real and hard and she writes that very well. 
    So--as far as title and cover, while lovely, I think that they are somewhat misleading. Because this isn't really the light romance that you would think on first impression. Don't get me wrong, the synopsis does let you know, and I loved what I found inside, just a disclaimer/worth mentioning thing. 
    In the end, Kate's hiding def caught up with her, and I am glad everything she learned through it and that her and Aidan figured it out. 

Bottom Line: Sweet romance with characters I felt for.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you know anyone missing a limb?
Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WoW, waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. I also feature books that may have already released, but I am anxiously waiting to read.

This week, I'm featuring:
Free to Fall
What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness? What if you never had to fail or make a wrong choice?

What if you never had to fall?

Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results. Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school. Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming.

Expected publication: May 13th 2014 by HarperTeen

What are you waiting on?Follow on Bloglovin

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: The Uprising by Lisa Stasse

The Uprising (The Forsaken, #2)
The Uprising (The Forsaken #2) by Lisa M. Stasse
In this dystopian sequel to The Forsaken, Alenna has survived the brutality of life on the wheel—and now she’s going back for more.
Alenna escaped. It was expected that she would die on the wheel, the island where would-be criminals are sent as directed by the UNA—the totalitarian supercountry that was once the United States, Mexico, and Canada. But Alenna and her boyfriend, Liam, made it to safety. Except safety, they will soon learn, is relative.
In order to bring down the UNA, they must first gain control of the wheel. If the mission succeeds, the wheel will become a base of revolution. But between betrayals, a new Monk leading a more organized army of Drones, and the discovery of a previously unknown contingent, Alenna, Liam, and their allies might be in over their heads. One thing Alenna knows for sure: There will be a reckoning. And not everyone she loves will make it out alive.
Publishes in US: August 6th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA dystopia
Source: bought
The Forsaken (The Forsaken, #1)
Series? The Forsaken #2
The Defiant (The Forsaken #3)
Expected publication: July 8th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Buy it: Amazon  Barnes & Noble IndieBound Book Depository

Author stalk away: ~site Follow Lisa M Stasse on Twitter    Follow Lisa M Stasse on Facebook    Follow Lisa M Stasse on Goodreads

    I wanted to read The Uprising because I enjoyed The Forsaken. I don't remember much over a year out besides I liked the strength of Alenna and related to her finally finding a place after feeling like she didn't fit in in the "regular" world. 
    Aleena is so tough and her and Liam have become legends since escaping from the wheel and coming back to the rebel camp. But things aren't easy there, they have been questioned about who they knew, and aspects about life there. 
    The romance in this one was good though it wasn't everything I hoped it would be. It was like they made their connection already and it was just assumed they were close. I was just wanting a little more heat. There was some now that I think about it, at goodbyes and moments of great suspense. Some good kisses and some very sweet declarations of how they feel. I guess it comes down to I wish they were together every second and that they didn't have to go through as many hardships. But then, that is what makes the plot so exciting and on my toes. 
     There were lots of surprises in this one. From continued answers to betrayals and places they end up to returning characters. There were also some new characters that I came to like and respect that I didn't expect. 
     The ending wrapped up the themes of this book well, but I was still longing to know what would happen next and what would become of Aleena and Liam and their friends and family. 

Bottom Line: Must read for Forsaken fans.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Could you go back into a violent unstable place if you thought there was the possibility of revolution against corrupt government at the risk of not only your life but your loved ones?
Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood, #1)
Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott
A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.
Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.
The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?
Publishes in US: February 25th 2014 by Scholastic Press
Genre: YA Dystopia
Source: Scholastic via Netgalley
Series? Fire & Flood #1


Author stalk away: ~site twitter facebook goodreads amazon youtube

   I wanted to read Fire and Flood because I liked the sound of Tella. She is obviously loyal and will do anything for her family since she is after a cure for her chronically ill brother. I also am a dystopia fan and I haven't burnt out when it sounds like it has a unique twist and I like the sound of the animal companion as well as that she is fighting for her brother. I want to know more about what is making him (and others) sick because I am also drawn to that type of story line. 
   Also, it is an author that Trisha Wolfe (my homegirl who wrote the amazingness that is FirebloodOf Silver and Beasts  and  The Darkest Part) recommends and one that Victoria, the author calls out in the acknowledgements. 
    We get a taste of the kind of life Tella has been living at the first, and we get to see her relationship with her brother. They banter back and forth but you can tell that Tella does it to keep his spirits up and that is their love language to each other. But regardless of how much Tella wants her brother to get better, she is bored and having a hard time appreciating the country being raised in Boston. I can't imagine the transition from city to country like that much less they don't have computers or anything like that there either. 
    When she finds the device that ultimately invites her to compete in the competition for the cure, the Brimstone Bleed, she thinks she might be losing her mind. Or it could be the best thing that happened to her... Or a joke. But as readers, we know its real. I saw a shift in Tella in the moment she realized it too, and decided to fight for a cure for her brother. That showed me so much into her character. 
     As she is discovering what she faces she is really showing her feminine side, and I love it. She doesn't lose her love of nail polish, being self conscious about her looks, and that is awesome. She is strong in all of the ways that matter, she wants to save her brother. But she also wants to try to find the good in others, and she hates the nature of the game. She doesn't like violence, and she has a kind heart. She has a fierce will to survive and she wants to band together with others even knowing it might be hard when the time comes to separate. But all of these things make her such a complex character and I admire her so much for that and Victoria, the author for having the courage to write a character that's girly but still hardcore. 
     The animal companions give such a unique edge to the story. I mean just when many are thinking that dystopias and games pitting people against one another for survival has been done every way possible, Victoria writes this brillant twist to the story. I don't want to talk about them too much because I don't want to spoil anything. But besides the complexity and amazingness that is Tella, the animals are one of my favorite aspects. They are so individual and distinct (though I will admit with the letter/number names and the sheer number of them at times, I had a hard time remembering which letter/number combo went to which animal). Besides their differences they also demonstrate a lot about the people with whom they are working. For instance, with Tella, she is the most attached to her animal, and she cannot stand to see another animal being hurt or taken advantage of. Tella cuddles with hers, sings to him, and tries to share her food and water. I think that this develops and even deeper bond with them than him just being assigned to her and to help her out. 
    The pacing of Fire and Flood was amazing. There was always something going on. New challenges for Tella, new people coming into her world and heart, as well as discoveries she is making about the world that she lives in, the sickness that has afflicted her brother and the Brimstone Bleed's origins and current purposes.
    I guess I should mention that the formatting is off in the arc. There were pages that were out of place and you had to go forward and back to get the correct line of events, but that didn't happen too much, and its an advanced copy, so you have to expect some things that will be fixed in the final. 
     The secondary characters that surround Tella stole my heart as well. Harper was so tough, Caroline and Dink a mystery, and Guy, oh my goodness. He started out such an enigma and really stayed that way throughout the story. I can't wait to learn even more about him. He's so strong, the silent type and a natural leader. He is smart about survival and everyone in their party looks to him for advice and trusts his guidance on how to survive the parts of the race. 
    What is so hard about this group of companions is that they are all contenders. They have someone they are fighting for. Someone they love who is sick and will die or continue to suffer without the promised cure--which only goes to one person. So while they become attached to each other and help each other, there will eventually have to be some hard choices made, and even knowing that, it is hard to keep from liking them and them from forming some pretty strong bonds. 
    The romance in this one didn't really surprise me, but that is more than okay. I loved how it was a slow developing and that they questioned it like they rightly should in the circumstances. But I think that it made them stronger, giving them more reason to keep going and yet another person they cared about to fight for. There are some moments that take my breath away they are so sweet or there is so much of that good tension and chemistry going on. 
    The ending, oh my. I think that it stopped in a relatively good spot, although I was def not ready to stop reading about Tella, getting answers about the world, guy's past and what would happen to these people and animals that I came to care so much about. I am certainly continuing this series, and anxiously awaiting the copy of Fire and Flood #2 to be in my hands. 

Bottom Line: An amazing dystopia with a unique and fascinating spin with the animal companions and a feminine but hardcore amazing main character.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you think you'd have a chance at a fight to death and save a family member type "game"?
Follow on Bloglovin

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Giveaway and Interview: The Reflections of Queen Snow White

The Reflections of Queen Snow White
What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone? On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing: The king is dead. The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old. It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means? Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

Available on Amazon here:
Feel free to check out my Facebook page:
Rising Shadow Reviews:
Twitter: @davidmeredith2013
interview with Blkosiner's Book Blog
--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
A timeless tale of love, loss, grief and finding hope and direction again once the “happily ever after” ends.

--How did you get the idea for the story?
Well, I think to properly answer this question, you should really know something about where I was emotionally back in 2006 when I originally wrote the short story upon which The Reflections of Queen Snow White is based. In the space of about three or four months, both of my grandfathers died unexpectedly. During the same period, my wife also lost a grandmother and a grandfather, so there where a lot of funerals going on over a very short amount of time. Now funerals, by their very nature lead to a certain amount of introspection about one’s own mortality, but particularly with the sudden passing of both grandfathers and, as a consequence, how hard my grandmothers took their deaths, it led me to wonder on their behalf – “So… What now?”
They had both had wonderful, loving relationships – many long, happy years together (over 60 years). In the case of my maternal grandmother and grandfather, they had never loved anyone else, having married straight out of high school. There was no question in my mind, nor indeed anyone who knew them, that theirs had most certainly been a real-life “happily ever after”. Now it was over. It made me wonder, “When your life has been so closely tied up with and centered upon one other person for so long, what do you do when they are no longer a part of your life? How do you pick up the pieces and move forward?” That was the original kernel of the idea for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
At the beginning of the story at least, I don’t think dinner with Snow White would be much fun, but that’s really the point. She is so wrapped up in her own grief and depression, she has forgotten how to live. The Reflections of Queen Snow Whiteis really about her emotional journeyto find herself again and rediscover joy.
--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?
As a matter of fact, yes.I have a HUGE project I started WAY back in 2004 that is nearly complete. I lived in Japan for about a decade so I have drawn on that experience to craft a fantasy series based upon Japanese myth, legend and folklore, rather than the European model that is so prevalent in fantasy literature today. Originally it was a 406,000 word behemoth, but I've edited it down to three volumes that are between 95,000 and 120,000 words each. Here's a synopsis:

On the happiest day of the year, Taro’s world ends. His people and his family are slaughtered. His lands are brutally laid to waste by merciless, imperial forces. Taro is certain that neither he nor the ghosts of his lost loved ones can rest until he has visited the same devastation tenfold upon the heads of the vile collaborators. Consumed with grief for the fallen and guilt at his own survival, he gathers his scattered people and solemnly vows bloody revenge on the allies of the Emperor in the neighboring barony.
At the same time, young Naomi, cherished daughter of the doting Lord of Numanodai, is blissfully unaware of the chaotic world spinning out of control all around her. She fervently studies the arts of dance, music, and poetry as she dreams of being accepted into the distant imperial court. However, when disaster visits her very doorstep and she loses everything that she holds dear, Naomi must learn what it truly means to be a woman and a ruler. She must come to grips with her own gnawing grief and paralyzing doubt if she is to have any chance of saving her beaten and bedraggled people from Taro’s unreasoning fury.
In the process, both she and her pursuer discover a magical world of vengeful akuma demons, fierce kitsune fox-people, droll tanuki badger-folk, and the mysterious, arcane power of the ikioi. Taro and Naomi must decide whether to use this power for healing or destruction, revenge or redemption. They must choose whether to react to their pain and loss with wrath or with love. In the end, both must come to understand that the only thing that really makes them different is the choices they make and what they are willing to sacrifice in attaining that which they desire.
I'm hoping to release the first volume, Shirobara Falls, sometime next year.
--What book(s) is your book’s “cousin”? (Similar kind of read,set-up or style)
Hmm… Well I suppose the easy answer is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by The Brothers Grimm since my novel is heavily based on that story – rather like a sequel, in fact. However, I’m not really aware of another take on this faerie tale that uses quite the same approach as The Reflections of Queen Snow White. Maybe I’m just woefully under-read, but I’d like to think my work is unique in that regard. J
--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
I try to make as much time as I can for reading, although I don’t have nearly as much time as I used to. I feel like a good author should constantly be honing their craft and a great way to do that is by reading the work of people who put out great books. I try to read a variety of genres so that I can pick up lots of different conventions and devices to put in my personal “writing tool box”.
Some of my favorite books would be the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams, Watership Down by Richard Adams, Shogun by James Clavell, and The Stand by Steven King, but I read a little of everything. Lately, I’ve really been trying to check out the work of other independent authors and support their efforts.

--If a fairy godmother told you could be put into the world of your favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
You know, I hope you don’t take this as a cop-out sort of an answer, but I think my response to that is - I don’t need a fairy godmother to put me into the world of my favorite books. Whenever I read them, I’m there and I think that is just part of the magic of reading. It sucks you in and permeates your being far more than even a really good movie, play or TV show can. You can’t get much more real than playing a tale inside your own head, so yeah… When I read, I’m always there.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
Well, I do drink gallons of black coffee and music really helps me work. I listen to a variety of different things but always try to play music that fits the tone of whatever I’m writing to put me in the right mindset. For example, when I was writing battle scenes for my next novel (Shirobara Falls) I listened to a lot of Japanese death metal and hardcore rap. For The Reflections of Queen Snow White I listened to things more like Bjork or Evanescence or just really sad instrumental music.

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
It may be cliché, but flying. It would sure beat my hour-long commute to and from work every day! J

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
I do read when I can. For example, right now I’m hurrying to get through Catching Fire, for my wife. She wants me to read it before we go see the movie. Also, I’ve been kind of lazy about it since last summer, but I do really enjoy weight training and working out. There’s just something really nice about doing something that keeps your body occupied but leaves your brain free to think on other things. Besides, it’s good for me. I usually coach swimming in the summers too.
--What is one thing you would tell your 15 year old self?
Don’t worry. It gets better.

Lightning round: this or that?
Vanilla or chocolate?Chocolate
Video or Board Games?Video
Summer or Winter?Summer
Edward or Jacob?Jacob
Hockey or soccer?Soccer
Ebook or paper?Maybe ironically, but paper
Salty or sweet? Salty
Beach or mountains? Mountains
Phone call or email?E-mail
Early bird or night owl?Before I had kids, night owl.Now… Well… I just don’t sleep. J
Dog or cat?Dog
Messy or neat?Messy
Ninjas or pirates? Of course, ninjas!

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?

Just that I hope you’ll all go on Amazon and buy a Kindle copy of The Reflections of Queen Snow White right away AND send it as a gift to all the book lovers in your life too. So far the reviews have been great and I really think you’ll love it. Thanks very much for having me and I hope you all read and enjoy The Reflections of Queen Snow White!
Blkosiner's Book Blog Giveaway
The Reflections of Queen Snow White on amazon (Int)
-Fill out Rafflecopter to enter
-Ends on 3/23/2014 11:59 pm EST
-If you win a review on your blog and/or amazon is appreciated but not required.

*If, for whatever reason, the Rafflecopter widget does not appear, you can click on the link where it says rafflecopter giveaway and it will show up, sorry for the inconvenience.

Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves, The Sunday Post

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews,  check it out and sign up  here
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

What I read:
source: Harper Teen
source: Henry Holt via Netgalley
 Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech from  Harper Colliins

Last Week on the blog:
Faking Normal
source: Harper Teen
Year of Mistaken Discoveries
Source: Simon via Edelweiss
Bright Before Sunrise
Source: Bloomsbury

Me Since You
Source: Simon via edelweiss

What are you reading? Any of my books new to you or have you read any of my books? If so, what did you think?
Also, feel free to link up your blog and mailbox post.Follow on Bloglovin