The Goddess Inheritance

The Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test #3) by Aimee Carter

Goddess InheritanceLove or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can’t stop her–until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he’ll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity. (Goodreads)

If you have not read the previous two Goddess Test books (reviews can be found here and here) then what are you doing? Get outta here unless you want spoilers, spoilers and more spoilers!

When we last left Kate she was preggers (and oh, the sweet sexytimes that got her there) and being held captive by Cronus and Calliope.  We pick up about nine months later, Henry not realizing that Kate is being held captive (he thinks she’s on her little vacation away from the Underworld) and Kate about to give birth. Cronus is guaranteeing her safety because, hold the phone, he wants Kate to be his woman as he is a creepers to the billionth degree. Calliope, on the other hand, just wants to raise the baby and have Henry by her side. She wants to kill Kate too, but Cronus won’t let her.

So, basically, Kate is living in a house of crazy. And soon her baby will live there too.

There is a ton going on with the Council and Walter and the Gods vs. the Titans. Things seem hopeless many times over again, one of the biggest dilemmas being that it seems there is no way for Kate and Henry and the baby to be together in safety. To divulge more would give away too much of the plot, but suffice it to say, this family is in a major bind. Kate is not a favorite of the Council (and I for one have a hard time keeping straight who is married to whom), but it seems like no one but James, Henry and Kate’s mom are ever really on her side. And then there are traitors like Ava, who tricked Kate into Cronus’s trap in the first place.  She has a reason for doing the things she’s done, but can she really be trusted?

Here’s the thing: I really loved the first two books. I loved how Kate and Henry’s relationship progressed and how he opened up more little by little.  I loved that Kate was a strong character willing to do stupid things for the sake of the ones she loves. In the last book, she came a bit undone and in this one she did even more so. Now, this is partly because they are facing seemingly insurmountable odds, yes, and it’s also because when you have a child it feels like your heart suddenly exists outside your chest which makes you willing to do crazy, insane things for their sake, but still…something in her seemed off to me.  I hate to say it, but I liked Kate less this time around. I didn’t dislike her by any means, but I didn’t love her like I used to.  Her thoughts got old to me, and the story felt like it sagged a bit at times. I still love her relationship with Henry, but this time there was less interaction, certainly less swoon and overall, not enough Henry (in the romantic sense).

While I liked certain aspects of this book, it was a slight disappointment to me.  Henry and Kate’s story ended nicely and I felt satisfied with the way Carter tied it all up, it just felt like it took a while to get there. And though it’s the end of the series, there is room to explore other characters, which could be nice.

Crush Intensity: 3/5 There were so many things I enjoyed, but this was definitely my least favorite of the three.

Thank you to Harlequin and Net Galley for allowing me to read an e-galley of The Goddess Inheritance in exchange for an honest review. The book will be in stores February 28th.

Every Day

Every Day by David Levithan

Every DayEvery day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day. (Goodreads)

Well, I’m not really sure how to describe this book.  It’s different.  Odd.  Not in a bad way, just…like nothing I’ve ever read.  Of course, you know David Levithan from Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and a book that I thought was pretty adorable, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares.  Those books were written with co-authors, but this was the first I’ve read by only David himself.

So, let’s begin.

A is a person who never lives in the same body twice.  He (or she, but since the first body we meet him in is a He, I tend to refer to him as “He”) jumps–without choice or prior knowledge of where he’s going–from life to life, waking each day in a new person’s shoes. This is how things have always been for A. No family, no real friends or attachments, just experiencing glimpses of other people’s existence.  He just tries to live each day without making too much of a ruckus.

Until he meets Rhiannon.  A wakes in the body of her detached, not so nice boyfriend and he is instantly drawn to Rhiannon. He sees how badly she wants love and he decides to give her one day she’ll always remember.  He becomes so attached to her that each day, in each new body, he seeks Rhiannon out (and it’s both sweet and a little creepy). Ultimately, he has to come clean and work to convince her of his true identity and this crazy, wacky life he leads and the two try to forge some kind of a relationship–a strange, inconstant, jumbled thing that neither of them really understands.

On some level it seems like the truest love, because there is little about the attraction that is physical. Yes, Rhiannon stays the same, but A ranges from a beautiful girl, to a metal head guy to everything in between.  What they experience is more profound than mere beauty or physical contact.  It has everything to do with who they are in their truest, most honest forms.

That being said, I had a difficult time relating to A.  Ack! Does that make me shallow? I hope not.  He is a very good, decent person who truly wouldn’t hurt a fly.  He loves Rhiannon completely and pretty selflessly and yet he doesn’t take advantage of the bodies he inhabits (other than hijacking their normal schedules so he can meet with his girl). At the same time, because I couldn’t put a finger on a real description of him (or her), I didn’t feel emotionally connected to him.

Crush Intensity: 3/5 I liked this book. I like Levithan’s writing, as always. And I was very happy with the way it all ended.

The Selective Collective: Wentworth Hall Author Interview and Giveaway

Welcome to The Selective Collective. Together with our friends at The Book Addict’s Guide, Gone Pecan, The Grown Up YA and Teen Lit Rocks, we’ll be exploring a new release in its entirety, from review to author spotlight, to a roundtable chat, among other fun things.

This week, we’re discussing Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame

Wentworth Hall

I’m so excited to have Abby, debut author of Wentworth Hall, here to discuss her book, writing, and her biggest literary crushes.

Abby, who has influenced you most as a writer?

I have two big inspirations. One started in childhood when I discovered “Little Women” as a girl and went on to read everything else its author Louisa May Alcott ever wrote, including some of the romances she dashed off just for the paycheck. Her main character Jo March was such a role model of passion, empathy, and independence. In addition Alcott wrote in such a way that I felt I was in the story with the characters and it was always a place I wanted to be.


My other big inspiration is, to this day, the author Margaret Atwood. I admire her writing so much, her humor and her originality. She gets behind the surface of things in a way that just knocks me out.

I’ve read that your love of Downtown Abbey inspired you to write Wentworth Hall (I must confess, though it’s currently in my Netflix queue, I haven’t watched an episode yet. Don’t hate me!). Were there other parts of your book, be it experiences or people, that were inspired by your own life or was it all pure imagination?

Every writer uses his or her life when writing fiction. It’s a lot like the “method” in acting where one reaches for the emotional truth of the characters based on ones own emotional memory. As a younger person I did a lot of restaurant work to pay my way through college. That made me familiar with the behind the scenes goings on of kitchens and waiting on people. Since that time I have stayed in fancy hotels and good restaurants as a customer. I have had the experience of being both the served and the server. I know how the served can be oblivious to the ones serving and I also know how it feels to be invisible to those one is serving, and also the camaraderie of being part of a wait staff. This, I think, gave me excellent insight into all the characters.  I also have sisters and brothers and know something of the dynamics between older and younger siblings.  Also, I have been in love—both failed and successful—and so know something of that, as well. The only part that was imagination was the setting.

(I would never hate you for missing “Downton Abbey.” But you should check it out.)


 What type of research did you do in preparation to write Wentworth Hall?


I am a huge lover of history and always have been. I particularly love the early 1900s. There was so much technology happening in terms of electricity, communications like the phone, the radio, the telegraph and travel innovations like the car and air travel. Social mores where shifting around. Under this very staid surface there was a veritable earthquake of change. The old aristocratic systems where crumbling which is a big part of the story of “Wentworth Hall.”


Since this is my first novel it was very daunting. I immersed myself in the period first by reading as much about the clothing and historical events of the period. Then I moved on to period novels. I particularly like Anna Godbersen’s Luxe  books (though they’re set a bit earlier, 1899) and Suzanne Weyn’s Distant Waves.  The movie Titanic  was a help in visualizing the clothing and so was, of course, “Downton Abbey.” (I adore the rich, sumptuous clothing of the period.)


What do you do when you aren’t writing (and watching Downtown Abbey, obviously)?


I like to hike, and kayak on a nearby lake.  I enjoy going out with friends to dance to several of my favorite local bands. I am a lover of restaurants. If I have a stretch of free time I will travel. Last summer I went to Edinburgh Scotland and loved it.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst thing?

I’ll start with the worst. It is the precariousness of making a living. A writer is always on the hunt for the next publishing opportunity. Since I have just been published for the first time and Wentworth Hall has been so well received, I am hoping things will be easier from now on.


I LOVE being a writer. I’m not chained to a desk. I can make my own hours and since I am a night person that matters to me. But mostly I love being consumed by an art form that means everything to me. I’m always looking at landscapes, listening to people talk, reading stories, watching movies, viewing art, and generally living my life with an eye to how it could enrich my writing. Being a writer is not a job but a way of life.

This blog is one inspired by massive, sigh-inducing crushes on literary characters and my overall need to spazz over my favorite authors and books. Which author(s) and/or literary characters would give you cause to fangirl?

When I was a girl I had a huge crush on Sherlock Holmes and read every story about him. I also thought Mr. Rochester in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre was pretty cool in a dark, mysterious way. After that I shifted my fantasy love interests to movie and rock stars.  Most lately I thought Thad in Distant Waves was awfully dreamy.

I definitely hear you on Mr. Rochester. Love him.  Thanks so much for stopping by, Abby!

 Please be sure to visit my blogging partners in The Selective Collective and check out the fabulous things they have in store:

The Book Addict’s Guide- Casting Call

Gone Pecan- Book Review

The Grown Up YA- Wentworth Hall Fashion

Teen Lit Rocks- Roundtable Discussion


If you’d like to win a copy of Wentworth Hall, leave a comment with your e-mail address in the comment section. The contest closes on January 16th (one week from now) at 9pm PST.  The winner will be chosen at random using Randomizer. Good luck!

Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending all of The Selective Collective ladies copies of Wentworth Hall.

Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger LilyBefore Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart. (Goodreads)

How do I put this wonderful book into words?

You know the story of Peter, Wendy, Tink and The Lost boys. You’ve imagined Neverland, Captain Hook and the beautiful mermaids bathing in the coves.

Peter Pan Disney

But do you remember Tiger Lily?

Pan and Tiger Lily

Before reading this book, the only vision I had of the story was from Disney, as I’ve never read JM Barrie’s original (travesty!).This novel takes the story we all know and tells it in a different way. We meet Peter before Wendy comes into the picture; we see his friendship with Tiger Lily begin with trepidation and curiosity and watch it blossom into something strange and raw, awkward and intimate all at once, all told from the perspective of the one who silently watched it all: Tinkerbell.

Anderson introduces us to Tink without whimsy and pixie dust, but with the sincerity of an old friend. Her devotion and love for Tiger Lily is evident and it instantly endeared her to me. She was the perfect person to tell the story,

Tiger Lily has been raised by the Shaman of her tribe, a respectable position, and yet she’s not quite like the others. She’s stronger and rough around the edges, less emotional, more earnest for her independence. She loves her father and is devastated when she finds that she is betrothed to a man she doesn’t love. She seeks refuge from the pain of her impending nuptials in the forest (jungle?) and it is here she happens upon the elusive Peter Pan, the dangerous, legendary boy she’s been told to fear.

Their relationship isn’t ultra-romantic, but there is a strange quality to it that pulls you in and leaves you hungry for more. The turmoil raging through Tiger Lily over the life she wants and the duties she must fulfill are left behind when she is with Peter, who is nothing more than a boy, fun and immature and engrossed in Tiger Lily in an all-consuming way. And while we know it doesn’t work out, we know the story hasn’t been re-written, it’s still so bittersweet when it all comes to an end.

Crush Intensity: 4.5/5 This was a good story that, while it wasn’t light-hearted, was somehow still magical.

Top Ten Tuesday- Books to Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by those fabulous, fabulous girls over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week we’re getting all psyched up about the books we want to read in 2013.

Really? Do we honestly think I can whittle this down to ten books? TEN. Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten? No, probably not, but we’ll give it a shot, maybe cheat a little, and mention a few (but not all) of the books I’m lusting after for the coming year.

A Million Suns1. A Million Suns by Beth Revis- Well, no TBR list would be complete without me adding this little gem that has sitting sitting on my bookshelf all gorgeous and pristine since February. And you guys, I want to read this. I do. I loved the first book. I cannot explain the hold up here.

Heist Society2. Continue those cutsie-awesome Heist Society books by Ally Carter- Loved the first one.

Just One Day 3. Just One Day by Gayle Forman- I love her books and I’m so psyched about this one because I know it’ll be amazing.

4. Isla and The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins- Am I the only one who feels like I’ve been waiting twenty-five years for this one to come out? Guaranteed to be adorable.

5. My Suicide Playlist by Leila Sales- Because she’s funny and I love her other books. I don’t even need to know what this one’s about. I want to read it now.

This is What Happy Looks Like6. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this book is described as a cross between Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Basically, it’s a hog heaven of cute swooniess. Is it any wonder I’m dying to read it?

Nobody But Us7. Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook- Described as Bonnie and Clyde meets If I Stay…I have no idea how that even works, but I’m SO TOTALLY INTRIGUED. I can’t wait to read this!

Mind Games8.Mind Games by Keirsten White- I have never read Paranormalcy (I have no idea why as it sounds totally fun), but this book sounds like a complete departure. It’s going to be good.

Madman's Daughter9. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shephard- This one sounds so creepy, Gothic and I’ve already begun hearing such good buzz about it online (lucky duckies) that this one’s definitely on my list.

10. The Finales- A few beloved series are coming to a close in 2013. The final books from The Infernal Devices series (Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare), the Delirium series(Requiem, Lauren Oliver), the Abandon series (Awaken, Meg Cabot), and the final Divergent (Veronica Roth) are all coming!!!!!! CANNOT WAIT.

Lucy Variations

11. Books from the Sara(h)s- Sara Zarr whose books I love beyond words, has a new one coming out called The Lucy Variations, and Sarah Dessen, Queen of Swoony Boys, has a new one called The Moon and More coming this summer. Must read both!

Heist Society

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist SocietyWhen Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

The Story:

Kat has swindled her way into a very prestigious boarding school in an effort to leave the family business. You see, since she was a wee little one, she’s been involved in family outings that included casing the Louvre, lifting famous artwork, picking pockets. Oh, it’s all in a day’s work. Kat’s family members are professional thieves. And even though they’re total lawbreakers, even Kat, you just can’t help but love them.  They’re not killing people or really hurting anyone; they just steal expensive stuff from people and places so wealthy they wouldn’t know the difference anyway.

Someone has pissed off Arutro Taccone– nasty mob boss– by stealing some very pricey paintings from his fortress of a home. Taccone thinks it’s Kat’s father and he puts out a warning that those lovely gems must be returned or else.  I mean, and you really don’t want to get to the Or Else stage with a mob boss. Kat knows this.  She, her best friend, Hale and a few other members of the family get together against the wishes of Uncle Eddie (who’s sort of the leader of the family) to plot to find the paintings, steal them back and return them to Taccone so that Kat’s dad and other loved ones can stay safe. Kat really doesn’t want this; she wants to leave this life behind and start fresh, but she has to protect her family.

My Take:

So, why did I wait so long to read this book? It’s ADORABLE!  It’s about every kind of cute imaginable!  It has a little Frankie Landau Banks feeling to it in the beginning because there is a major prank that takes place at a boarding school, but Kat, while she’s equally as bright as Frankie, is a different girl all together.  She’s bold, even though she’s scared. She’s daring, even though she isn’t completely sure what to do, and she goes against both her father and her uncle, even though they’re usually right. Ok, so she’s a lot like Frankie, but she feels different.

The banter between Kat and her friends/cousins/guy she loves but doesn’t realize yet, is priceless. They are a fabulously talented team, all devoted to Kat in a way I don’t think even she recognizes.  The plot is fun and far-fetched but so completely entertaining that I was engrossed from the first few pages.

Better than all of that was Kat’s relationship with Hale. I live for those moments of almost kisses and stolen glances and things that seem so incredibly obvious to the reader (JUST TELL HER YOU LOVE HER FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!), but are so confusing to the protagonist. This book has those moments and more. Hale is quite crushworthy and his affection for Kat is full of promise. They make a great almost-couple.

Crush Intensity: 4/5 So cute! Looking forward to continuing the adventures in the next books.

Insurgent (I know, right? Finally!)

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

InsurgentOne choice can transform you–or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. (Goodreads)

The Story:

The factions, they are a’crumbling. Dauntless traitors have sided with those nasty old power-hungry Erudites and Tris and Tobias, along with a few friends, find themselves seeking refuge among the Amity. Tris’s parents are dead, and her brother, Caleb, has left his own faction to help Tris and to find safety once again. Marcus, Tobias’s monster of a father, is now with them as well, and neither Tris nor Tobias trust him.

Tris finds that Marcus is secretly meeting with Johanna the “leader” of the Amity. Through some stealth eavesdropping, Tris overhears something interesting: Marcus believes he understands the motivation of Jeannie (of Erudite. So many names!) and her evil plans. Especially plans she has for the Divergent.  When Tris, unable to contain herself, confronts him, Marcus suggests that Jeannie knows what lies beyond the city gate, and further, why the gate locks from the outside. (You guys I have been dying to know this!). But he won’t tell her anything (hate him!).

At the same time, the Erudites continue to attack the Dauntless and Tris must find her place in this war. There are certain people, like Tobias, she trusts without question. There are others she hates, like Marcus, but who may have the answers she craves, answers about the things her parents fought and sacrificed their lives for. Here she is once again put to the test and has to decide whether or not to listen to those around her or follow her own instincts. I think you can guess what she decides to do. I mean, come on.

My Take:

I thought this was a great sequel. Yes, there is a whole lotta crazy fighting and traitors and oh-my-gosh-who-can-you-trust situations, but I felt this story was awesomely intense, though in a different way than its predecessor. There is so much tension between the factions, each having to decide to side with Erudite (who seems to hold all of the cards) or not, or trying unsuccessfully to stay neutral.  And even among the ranks of those Tris and her counterparts trust, there is drama and fighting.

There is also some super fabulous kissing between Tobias and Tris. I’m not going to lie, this is a major selling point for me. I like their relationship, which is fraught with pain because they are both so stupidly pig-headed and fierce, but it’s also full of beautifully raw emotion. They don’t mince words and they don’t hold back at showing the level of absolute devotion they feel for one another.  This time around they’re both keeping secrets, no one more than Tris who is not only struggling with massive guilt over shooting Will, but is creating plots she knows go against Tobias’s wishes. But you have to love that girl. She’s driven and she does not stop, even at the cost of her own safety.

Roth really brought both Tris and Tobias to all-new levels in this book.  We get to learn a little more about Tobias’s history and, more than anything, we see how constant his love is for Tris.  And Tris is even more fascinating as her aptitude for Dauntless, Erudite and Abnegation come together. Her impulsiveness and her recklessness come forth stronger when she is acting out of selflessness and her instincts, her ability to see a situation from all sides, become a greater strength in the mental and physical battles she has to endure.

Crush Intensity: 4.5/5  Of course, I liked the first book more because it was such a fresh, new idea, but this was a strong sequel.  Roth took it in the right direction. It was a bit long and the ending leaves you hanging, but it still packs a punch. It’s a good read.

Top Ten Tuesday- Favorite Books of 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by those lovely gals over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week we’re chatting it up about our favs reads this year.

Holy cow this was hard! Do I say that every week?  I feel like I do.
This was a tough reading year for me.  I’m not sure if I’m just getting grumpy in my old age or if the pickings were slim, but I struggled to find ten books. And yes, I know I’ll read other lists and go “OMG I can’t believe I forgot that!” because it’s just what happens every time, but still. There were many books I really liked this year, but there were fewer that I loved. Not as many that I wanted to kiss or hide under my pillow. But that’s OK because the ones I loved  I really adored.

1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor– Absolutely gorgeous

2. When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle– Fabulous. Inspired me to write an e-mail at twelve thirty at night professing my love (for the book) to Rebecca Serle. My husband talked me out of that, so I did it at six thirty the next morning. Better, I think.

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green– You hear a book is amazing and yet when you read it, it still completely engulfs you and blows you away. That was this book. This one was my favorite. I loved it.

4. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness– I love this series as dearly as though I’d written it myself. This was such an emotional, sad, beautiful conclusion. It hurt a little to let Todd and Viola go in the end.

5. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo– A fabulous group of characters in this incredible, mythical world. I want to go there again. And I want to see the Darkling because, you know, he’s a sexypants.

6. The Selection by Kiera Cass– I just couldn’t put this book down. It was glued to my hands.

7. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi– Le sigh with the steamy kisses, the fabulous protagonist whom I adored, and the semi-superhero vibe. I love and hate myself for my fascination with Warner and I want to delve deeper and deeper into this story.

8. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver– A completely different Lena than in Delirium and a completely different book, for that matter, but still totally engrossing and beautiful. Oliver ripped out my heart (and revived it a bit) in the end, and I’m waiting with sweet anticipation for the final book in the series.

9. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta– Well it’s from The Marchetta. Did we ever have any doubts it would be fabulous?  Here her amazing writing sets up a fantasy world with this lush, rich history and a passionate love story.  I could dive into this book again and again.

10. Insurgent by Veronica Roth– I waited and waited because, well, I was too cheap lazy to go out and buy the book when it first came out (too many other books to read at the time). This was as good as expected (so it was freaking awesomesauce) and I think I loved Four/Tobias about fifty times more than I did the first time around. Tris, as ever, is at the center, an incredible heroine of fierce proportions.

So, tell me your favorites this year!

Meant To Be

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question. 

It’s one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she’s queen of following rules and being prepared. That’s why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that’s also why she’s chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB (“meant to be”).But this spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she’s partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be. (Goodreads)

The Story:

Julia is that awkward, cute girl who knows exactly what she wants, believes in destiny and she most assuredly doe not break the rules ( I hear ya,  Julia. Rule follower here).

On a ten-day trip to London (dream vacation) with her English Lit class—sans BFF and gigantic meant to be crush, Mark, who hardly knows she exists—Julia is buddied up with one Jason Lippencott, cute and annoying class clown.  After getting Julia to break a few rules (Curfew! Party shenanigans with total strangers! Drinking!), Julia begins receiving mysterious texts from some guy she met while slightly intoxicated at a party. She can’t remember the guy, but Jason agrees to help her with wooing him if she agrees to loosen up and live a little.

My Take:

This book is SO up my alley.  Let me tell you why in list form (yay!).

1. An adorable, nerd protagonist who is clumsy, uptight and annoying. You guys, she is so my people.

2. Multiple book references because hello #1, Julia is a bookworm. She is even called Book Licker, a term I swear Vee and I made up about five years ago. I’m just sayin.

3. London- Could there be a better book location?  I think not. I love the descriptions of each place the class visits, and Julia’s blind love for this town. It’s all connected to her belief in the romance of her mom and dad, London being the place where it all began for them.

4. Meant to Be- The idea that we all have this one soul mate, a person destined to belong only to us. Julia is obsessed with this notion and I so completely relate to this need she has to romanticize all things. Of course, life never brings exactly what you expect, and reality is far better than fantasy. But fate, destiny, meant to be, it’s all so very Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. How can you not love that?

5. Banter- Oh, witty banter, how you slay me with your funny jokes and sly flirting.  Julia and Jason have awesome, bratty convos. One minute they’re fast friends and the next they’re fighting. So they’re kind of like a real couple in love. But they don’t know that.  Jason so obviously likes Julia but girlfriend is so blinded by her quest for her Meant to Be that she just can’t see it.

Morrill’s writing style is cute and fresh. I felt like she knew me as a teenage girl. Her characters are fun, her descriptions leap off the page and her book felt like talking to an old friend (about a crush in high school, which hasn’t happened in about a billi0n years, but yeah).

Crush Intensity: 4/5 Totally adorable. I’m looking forward to more books from Morrill.

Thank you to Random House for sending copies of Meant to Be to all of the blogs in our Selective Collective group!


Shine (Shade #3) by Jeri Smith-Ready

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.

As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves…even if that means betraying her own heart. (Goodreads)

The Recap:

Shine is the third and final book in the Shade trilogy. If you have not read the first two books you can check out my reviews here and here, otherwise, consider yourself warned: Thar be spoilers ahead.

In the last year Aura’s boyfriend, Logan, has died from an overdose, he’s gone from ghost to shade and back again, and at the end of Shift (book 2), he finally passed on.  Aura was heartbroken, something she expressed by making out with Logan’s younger, admittedly adorable brother, and crushing on Zachary, Scottish hottypants deluxe.  Those events, the ones pertaining to Logan moving from ghost to shade, as well as his appearance in flesh and blood at one point, open up a heap of questions and put the DMP hot on both Aura and Zach’s tail. It also really complicated her situation with Zach, who, by the end of the last book, moved from sexy something to boyfriend now that Aura’s dead boyfriend was no longer following her around complicating things.

Whew! That’s a lot to swallow, right?

In the last book, I was sad to see Aura say goodbye to Logan, but it opened up this whole new facet in the series, a chance to understand what makes the DMP so bad, a glimpse into the history of Aura’s parents, and exactly what part she and Zach play in the Shift (for those not in the know, the Shift is an event that took place making it possible for everyone born after a certain time period to see ghosts).

In Shine, Zach is detained by those nasty DMP people and Aura can’t contact him.  She feels he’s in danger (um, yeah) and she’ knows they’re spying on her as well.  Her aunt, ever-patient and supportive, is trying to help to no avail.  Aura attempts in her wonderfully stubborn, often misguided way, to rescue him herself and in the process she unearths some major dirt on the DMP, their motives, and the different people interested in the survival or destruction of both she and Zach.

My Take:

I normally am not a fan of paranormal books, but I love this series, love the characters, love the love story. You guys, I want to draw little hearts around it and keep it forever. Seriously.  One of the best things is that the love triangle presented a truly difficult choice. And yes, I say that knowing that Logan was dead and had absolutely no future with Aura. What they shared was that touching.  In this book, the relationship with Zach reaches all new swoony awesome heights, but to be honest, I actually missed Logan. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted Aura and Zachary to be together, and I wanted her to move on, but I missed that pull in his direction. I was sad to know that he was gone for good.

The drama with the DMP and a few other evil doers was interesting to a point, but ultimately I just wanted to know if the Shift would continue or end.  I needed to know what would happen to Aura and Zach and the Keeleys (Logan’s family), as well as to Aura’s best friend. Smith-Ready answers those questions in a truly satisfying way. Honestly, it was a fitting end and I liked it.  I wasn’t as enraptured as I was with the first two books, but I was really happily content.  You can’t ask for more than that.

Crush Intensity: 4.25/5