Wednesday, October 30, 2013

YA Epidemics #11 - Insta-Love

Ah, yes.  Insta-love, the bane of romance lovers everywhere.  Girl meets boy, boy is gorgeous and has a tendency to go around shirtless, girl falls madly in love within a chapter or two.  Strip a romance bare of all the romantic build-up and commence with the kissing!

The thing about this one is that writing a believable, slow-burn love story is hard.  It's so difficult for an author to create the kind of chemistry I love to read about, I won't deny that for a second.  But come on.  Writing a slow-building romance that doesn't sizzle is understandable, but to make your two characters fall in love with next to no build-up, sometimes in as few as one or two days?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Book Review - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Pages: 550
Publisher: Knopf Books
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars

"It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement."

I have been seriously slacking on my review writing (seriously slacking; it's unforgivable, and I apologize), choosing instead to write a one -or -two-line summary on GoodReads with the promise of a review to come that never does, but this one...this one needs a review. It may not be as in-depth as you're used to from me, nor as long, but I'm going to do my best to capture what my reading experience was.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Review - Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

A funny, honest novel about being out, being proud . . . and being ready for something else.

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He's won skiing prizes. He likes to write.

And, oh yeah, he's gay. He's been out since 8th grade, and he isn't teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

So when he transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn't even know that love is possible.

This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate being different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.

336 Pages
Arthur A. Levine Books
4/5 Stars

I’ve been reading a fair share of books with LGBT characters lately, and with the exception of Hannah Moskowitz’s Gone, Gone, Gone, they’ve all focused too strongly on their characters’ sexual orientation to actually make them seem real.  It’s like these authors feel like they have to shove in our faces that they’re writing a GAY BOOK, and it’s just like…no.  Stop it.  I don’t live every day of my life obsessing over the fact that I’m straight, my identity is not attached to the genitalia I’m attracted to, and it’s no different for gay people.  Openly Straight understands this and gives us a wonderfully fun -- and surprisingly deep -- reading experience.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book Review - Fire by Heather James

Is control over the elements a gift, or a curse?

Roxy thinks that she is in control of everything: with flames flaring at her fingertips and an equally fiery attitude, what more could she need? But then she meets Brae, a prince from a rival Realm, who turns her assumptions of superiority upside down.

Jasmine has none of Roxy’s confidence or intensity. But she does have a secret - and Brae - and she’s not going to give either up willingly.

A YA fantasy about opposing nations, each holding different elemental powers, Fire is one of those self-pubs that you could easily see being picked up by a publishing label.  With just a bit of work and polish, this novel could compete with YA fantasies like Graceling and Touch Of Power.  Not without its flaws, Fire is a short and compelling journey told through the eyes of two very different protagonists.

The first thing I noticed about this novel was its prose and structure.  I love me my indie writers, but let’s face it.  Most of them could use with some major editing.  Heather James writes like a pro, making it easy to immerse yourself in her world and her characters.  The build-up of her world was a bit slow, but it was smooth and believable.  If I’m completely honest, there were a few times when I’d feel my attention drifting, but it was never very long before it was back on track.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review -Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

So over the past year or so, my goodreads feed has exploded with Daemon obsessions and Obsidian avatars.  Being the self-admitted fangirl that I am, I finally decided to ignore the creepy cover and Twilight comparisons and see what all the fuss was about.  I expected to love this book.  I expected to swoon over Daemon so hard that real boys (yet again) would cease to exist for me until my great-book afterglow faded.  I expected to be rocking back and forth in a corner somewhere, eagerly awaiting Onyx’s delivery to my doorstep.  I didn’t get that.

Now, don’t give me that look.  That eye-rollingly, head-shakingly exasperated look that says Another one she doesn’t like?  This girl just doesn’t get it.”  Because I do.  I do get it.  Daemon is hot, his budding relationship with Katy has that agonizing, antagonistic, slow build-up that only the best have.  The passion between the two sizzles whenever they’re in the same room.  It’s for that very reason that Onyx is on its way to my doorstep as I type this.  But it’s because of all the problems I had with the general storyline and Lux race that I’m completely fine with the waiting.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Book Review - Lola And The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit--more sparkly, more fun, more wild--the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket--a gifted inventor--steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

You remember my glowing, gushing, girly review for Anna And The French Kiss, right?  If not, or if you need a refresher, here’s the gist of it; Omg St. Clair! *massive fangirl attack*  It’s like…I can’t even…. JUST READ THIS BOOK!!!  Lola is the companion novel to Anna, and I fully expected to go gaga over Cricket and Lola’s slow-burn romance to a similar degree that I did St. Clair and Anna’s.

That…didn’t happen.

Now I’ll fully admit that this book suffers significantly for being in the shadow of its predecessor.  I probably judged it more harshly for that reason, expected more from it, and ultimately had a more negative reaction to it than I would have had it been a debut or completely unrelated novel.  But the fact remains that I was completely underwhelmed and unimpressed by Lola And The Boy Next Door.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Follow Me On Bloglovin! (Last Push, I Promise)

Okay so, as I'm sure you all know, Google Reader is dead.  Which means you may not be seeing this post, kind of defeating the purpose of it, but I had to at least give my wonderful followers one last reminder about the wonderful BlogLovin and the services it offers.  (Basically, it's the Google Reader that didn't die.)  It's a fantastic way to follow your favorite blogs and be able to get the gist of their posts all in one little place.  You can follow me by simply clicking the bloglovin widget on the side there.

There has also been talk of GFC fading out before too long, too.  In my blog's earliest days, I spent so much time and put so much effort into building those GFC followers, so if it dies, I *may* have a minor breakdown. 

But in the long run, what matters is this; I'm the blogger, you're the readers, and my biggest mission is to make it so you can read what I post as easily as possible.  If you haven't checked out BlogLovin yet, seriously, do.  It's wonderful and convenient and easy, and all of my favorite bloggers are shining their magnificence on one page for me there.  With all the changes Google is making with its blog options (damn you, Google) it's a blogger's best friend.
So, follow me there or not (but srsly, do), I had to get my last bloglovin reminder in.  Thank you to every single person who thinks this blog deserves a small portion of their time.  Even though I haven't been as active as I'd like to lately, PaperFantasies is one of my few safe havens, and I have you to thank for keeping both it and my motivation alive.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Review - Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz

In the wake of the post-9/11 sniper shootings, fragile love finds a stronghold in this intense, romantic novel from the author of Break and Invincible Summer.  It's a year after 9/11. Sniper shootings throughout the D.C. area have everyone on edge and trying to make sense of these random acts of violence. Meanwhile, Craig and Lio are just trying to make sense of their lives.

Craig’s crushing on quiet, distant Lio, and preoccupied with what it meant when Lio kissed him...and if he’ll do it again...and if kissing Lio will help him finally get over his ex-boyfriend, Cody.

Lio feels most alive when he's with Craig. He forgets about his broken family, his dead brother, and the messed up world. But being with Craig means being vulnerable...and Lio will have to decide whether love is worth the risk.

This intense, romantic novel from the author of Break and Invincible Summer is a poignant look at what it is to feel needed, connected, and alive.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #10 - Favorite Books I've Read So Far In 2013

The weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish
I've been seriously neglecting my TTT posts the last few weeks, but since 2013 has already given me so many amazing reading experiences, I knew I had to make time for this week's.  For the most part, these are listed in no particular order.

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cover Reveal And Exclusive Excerpt - Chasing Dirt Roads by Pixie Lynn Whitfield

You may remember a recent cover reveal by Mrs. Whitfield for her upcoming Across The Stars And Ashes, the conclusion to her Guardians Of The Night trilogy.  While I'm obviously excited for that one as well - I mean, it's not every day that one of your best friends finishes a trilogy they've sweated over and bled into for years - CDR has a huge majority of my Pixie-release excitement.  I have the pleasure to be an early beta reader for the novel (and occasional spot-check editor) and it's clear that her contemporary writing skills are even more awesome than her urban fantasy.  I also know that Whitfield is seriously, bullet-sweating, late-night agonizing, sleep-deprived excited for this book's release, so I ask my fellow bloggers to give it a shot!  More often than not, you can ask for a free copy in exchange for an honest review, so if you're even the teensy bit interested, I encourage you to contact the author and try to set that up!

Anyway, time to end the rambling and show you lovely people the gorgeous cover for the upcoming Chasing Dirt Roads.  (Drumroll please...!)

It's got a horse.  Seriously, how can you not read this book?
It's the last place I wanted to be during the most important summer of my potential photography career. I was used to this though. Mom and I have been running the roads since I was thirteen while I stood by quietly and let her take me wherever. Cans and bottles littered our junked-out old Buick with the boxes. But something was different about the place this time. His name was Cooper Reed...

When eighteen-year-old Kenley Brooks moves to Lovely Heights, she's tired. Tired of moving around the country. Tired of taking care of her drunk mother. She just wants to finally settle down, live a normal life and get back into pursuing her photography dreams. After meeting Cooper and his friends, she thinks she could. But she has deep secrets and people are starting to gossip.

      I heard him before I saw him, but when my eyes adjusted, I saw the young man standing on the inside of the fence, slightly off to the side. When I turned my head toward his voice, he came forward. I swallowed the lump forming in my throat and took a quick step backward. I couldn’t make out all of his features in the darkness.
“No, no. I’m sorry.” I heard my voice stutter out in a hurry. My mouth felt dry. He stepped up to the fence, placing his hands over the wood, and let out a friendly laugh. It rolled out in gentle baritone waves.
“It was a joke. Yeah, this is our property, but we let everyone come by and go swimming in the pond. Just clean up any trash—cans, bottles, wrappers. That’s all we ask.”  
“Oh.” I was barely choking out syllables. I’d always struggled talking with strangers, especially guys. Most especially good-looking guys. Which I realized he definitely was as he got closer.
“You’re new…the new neighbor from down the road, aren’t you?”
I nodded, this time not even uttering a word, and hoped he could see my head bobbing. A goofy grin spread across his cheeks. His teeth were straight, with a slight gap between his front teeth giving him a more youthful, boyish appearance. He couldn’t be much older than me. His hair looked brown, but it was hard to tell which shade in the dark. And he was tall, at least a foot taller than me.
He leaned against the fence and I stepped further back into the road. I turned to head back to the house with nothing else to say to the stranger. It was embarrassing in a way really.
“Welcome to the neighborhood,” I heard him shout behind me as I started to walk away.
“Thanks,” I muttered. My cheeks flamed.

Find Pixie at these sites:
Author blog:
Twitter: @addiction2books
Book Blog:

So there you have it!  Chasing Dirt Roads is high on my 2013/2014 TBR list, add it to yours!  And drop the author a line on GR or Twitter, she loves hearing from her readers.  Thank you all for taking the time to check out this much anticipated cover reveal and exclusive excerpt, and I hope it was enough to whet your appetite for more!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review - The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

This book is impossible to rate properly, and damn near impossible to review.  I have never had so many warring thoughts, emotions and opinions about a single book in my entire reading career.  (Which, if you’re completely new to the entire concept of book blogging, is a very long career.)

Indie Spotlight Book Review - Harvest Moon by Megan McCooey

A year after Lexie Stone lost her sister Angela to a brutal murder, Lexie's self-obsessed mother walks out, leaving her with her alcoholic father. When Lexie becomes the target of her father's physical abuse, she makes a life changing keep her secret from everyone.

But, on the night marking five years since Angela's death, the secret Lexie has kept almost kills her, forcing her to face the aftermath of her decisions.

However, while in the hospital, Lexie receives an unexpected diagnosis and again chooses to keep secrets - denying what the doctors have told her to be true, regardless of the consequences.

Torn by her love for her sister, her three best friends and the inescapable feeling that unless she can let go of the past she may not survive...

But to do so, may mean leaving behind everything she has ever known.

I’ve been warring with myself for the past week, ever since I finished Harvest Moon.  Warring with the decision between honesty and sugar-coating, between expressing my deep admiration for the author and my…not-so-deep admiration for her novel.  In the end, of course honesty won out, but please know that I write this review with the heaviest of hearts, because the author, Megan McCooey, is one of the sweetest authors I’ve ever had the honor to talk to.  Her bright enthusiasm and kind words are going to ensure a week-long guilt binge after I post this review, but here it goes

Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Review - Teach Me by R.A Nelson

Teach Me invites readers inside an experience that fascinates everyone—an affair between a teacher and student—and gives an up-close-and-personal answer to the question: How does this happen?

Usually I get a really good idea of a book by goodreads’ rating system.  Usually a book rated in the lower half of three-point-whatever is a book I’m not going to like.  Usually I’m the reviewer warning readers away from a much-loved book, not the other way around.

Teach Me is one exception to that rule.  With a current goodreads rating of 3.41 and many of the top reviews one or two stars, I feel like this book is extremely underappreciated.  Now I know that not all books are for everyone, and in no way am I trying to say that my bookish opinions are more valid than anyone else’s.  But if you know what the book is about and are okay with its subject matter, I honestly feel like Teach Me delivers what it promises, and does so in an intense, believable, entertaining way.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Review - Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

Be careful what you believe in.

Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his family’s rickety house.

Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything. Rudy can’t remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little bit complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life.

If there was ever a book written for avid YA readers looking for something fresh in their favorite genre, this is that book.  The writing is easy and compulsively readable, the characters relatable in that Young Adult trademark way, and the relationships built and maintained throughout the novel are its greatest assets, so it’s got all the best things about YA.

It’s also got no love triangle in sight, a male protagonist, and the driving “relationship” is the bromance between Rudy and fishboy/mermaid thing, Teeth.  On a secretive island inhabited by old and dying people who keep themselves alive by eating magical, all-curing fish.  Magical fish that the fishboy calls his brothers, fish that Rudy’s brother needs to eat on a daily basis to be able to keep breathing.

Friday, June 7, 2013

YA Epidemics #10 - Reverse Week: Why I Love YA

YA Epidemics is an original feature in which I rant about discuss a different one of the
numerous trends and cliches plaguing the YA genre. The Epidemics are posted most Saturdays.

Comments and discussions are encouraged!

This is my tenth YA Epidemics post, which seriously amazes me because I had no idea I could keep coming up with so many relevant topics to discuss.  So it's kind of a big deal for me to have these posts officially number in the double digits now.

I've been wanting to write a reverse Epidemics post for quite some time, highlight what I love about YA instead of list things that annoy me.  What better time to do this Reverse Week than for the tenth post?  So here it is, YA Epidemics #10; Reverse Week - Why I Love YA.

You know....

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Book Review - But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

Sometimes at night, I wake up and stare at the heart for hours. I think of how I collected each piece from the beach, how I glued it all together into one big sculpture. I wonder if Connor realizes what it means, that he'll always have a piece of me no matter what happens. Each piece of glass is another piece of myself that I gave to him.

It's too bad I didn't keep any pieces for myself.

At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved - and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything - and everyone - in its path.

This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.

Any avid or long-time follower of my blog or reviews knows how I feel about abusive relationships, and how YA has gotten into the habit of glorifying them.  So many popular books play on the “He’s just misunderstood” idea and twist very real signs of danger into a bad-boy angle that is supposed to entice when it should warn away.  But I Love Him is chock full of some of these very signs, but unlike so many in the genre, this novel shows the realistic, gritty consequences of an abusive relationship.  For that reason alone, I would recommend this novel to every single girl who finds herself drawn to the bad boys of YA.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review - Delilah Dusticle by A.J. York

Delilah Dusticle has special powers, she can completely eradicate dust. With her quiver pouch of special dusters Delilah can run up walls and reaches places others just can’t. As a maid in the Fenchurch-Whittington house Delilah’s unusual skills soon lead to her being promoted to Chief Dust Eradicator and Remover. Until one day a broken heart leads to her powers taking an expected turn.

This is the first in a series of touching and funny stories about Delilah Dusticle. Follow her on a journey of self-discovery, friendship and adventure.
I don’t really know how to write this review.  I was actually thinking about just…not, but I promised the author and my followers that I would post the review.  This was before I read it, though, and realized that it just wasn’t for me.

You may think, looking at my back catalogue of reviews, that I don’t mind being the ruthless reviewer person.  But I do.  Major-label books are one thing – they need honest reviews to balance out the plethora of fangirl ones – but indie books…I always feel a huge twinge of guilt with posting an overall negative review.  Such is the case with Delilah Dusticle.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #10 - Freebie Week (Books That Have Been Recommended To Me)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the amazing The Broke And The Bookish
I've always been a big "recommended reader", meaning I'm always asking book friends for new titles to read. I've even gone as far as to say, "Name a book you think I should read and I'll buy it, no questions asked."  Occasionally I'm disappointed, but I've also found some of my very favorite books (like those on this list) through recommendations.  I also absolutely love recommending books to other readers.  So this week, I'm going to list the top ten books I've read directly due to either a recommendation, or a glowing review by a trusted blogger/reviewer.

Top Ten Books That Have Been Recommended To Me

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review - Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I am a review junkie.  Not just writing them, but reading them as well.  In fact, about ninety percent of my reading choices are determined by reviews, most of the other ten by e-ARCS or indie requests.  But when I saw Shatter Me pop up in my GR feed, with that absolutely stunning paperback cover and hooking synopsis, I didn’t even check reviews.  I just added it to my must-have TBR list, confident I’d love it.  My favorite GR reviewers weren’t so thrilled by this novel, and after reading it myself, I’m reminded yet again why I put so much faith in their judgment.

It’s because they’re usually right.  Like with Shatter Me.

Friday, May 24, 2013

YA Epidemics #9 - They're All White

YA Epidemics is an original feature in which I rant about discuss a different one of the
numerous trends and cliches plaguing the YA genre. The Epidemics are posted most Saturdays.

Comments and discussions are encouraged!

The world we live in is a beautiful mosaic of origins, races, ethnicities, colors and orientations.  We all wear some mark of our ancestry and history on our skin, and each and every one of us should be proud of this.  My country and the setting of most popular YA books I read, America, is known as the melting pot because of how we embrace different cultures and swallow them up into the whole that makes our nation.

Or so we like to claim.  But taking a look at most major media will tell you differently.  A vast majority of the most popular movies, music, and of course books feature prominantly middle-class white people.  In fact, it's a standing joke when you see the one African-American character in a movie that he's the "token black guy".  And nearly every single book I pick up features a white protagonist, with mostly white friends and a white love interest.  There's even a whole section of books called "urban books" that are written for the black community.  And this isn't a form of segregation, how...?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review - If I Stay by Gayle Forman

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

It’s no secret that I’ve been eye-humping Gayle Forman’s Just One Day.  It’s also no secret that I spend way too much money on books to pay full price plus delivery for a new release as often as I want to.  So my compromise was to get the cheaper (used) If I Stay to whet my appetite for Gayle until I get around to reading her newer novel.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

YA Epidemics #8 - Everyone Loves An Average Girl

YA Epidemics is an original feature in which I rant about discuss a different one of the
numerous trends and cliches plaguing the YA genre. The Epidemics are posted most Saturdays.

Comments and discussions are encouraged!

Brown hair.  5'5.  Neither skinny nor fat, curvy nor flat.  I have one best friend, she's so much prettier and more charismatic than I am.  I am average Jane Doe, Everywoman.  Never even been on a date.  I am destined to live my life on the sidelines, alone.

300 pages later....

Every cute guy in my school is in love with me.  Huh.  Must be the new shampoo.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Indie Spotlight Book Review - In Your Dreams by Amy Martin

Sixteen-year-old Zara "Zip" McKee lives for three things: basketball, books, and bailing out of tiny Titusville, Illinois, where the junior high and high school are in the same building and everyone's known everyone else since birth. But when Kieran Lanier moves to town and passes out on her desk on his first day at school, Zip's life gets complicated in a way she never dreamed.

Kieran has narcolepsy, and although he sometimes struggles to stay awake, he has no trouble capturing Zip's heart and trusting her with his most guarded secret--he sees bits and pieces of the future in his dreams.

But just when Zip thinks that maybe she can handle having a boyfriend who sees things before they happen, her budding relationship with Kieran gets a jolt when Kieran's parents reveal that his sleeping disorder is not what it seems and may be putting them in harm's way. And when Zip begins to have unsettling dreams, she must decide if she can live with knowing the future in advance when she's afraid of what might happen.

*Recommended for Young Adult readers 13 and up (mild cursing, some adult situations)

I am so, so insanely happy that this is the novel to kick off my Indie Spotlight feature.  It’s obvious by now that I try to support indie and self-published authors as much as I can, but I’ll be the first to admit that there are a lot of just plain bad self-pubs out there.  Read the grin on my face when I say that Amy Martin’s In Your Dreams is on a whole other level than most self-published novels.  That’s not to say it was perfect, or that there weren’t any scenes or chapters where it was obvious it was self-published, but as a whole, this novel is very polished and original.  I have zero doubts that this could be picked up by a major label and embraced by so many readers.

Delilah Dusticle by A.J. York - Now Free On Amazon!

**I was recently contacted by A.J. York, author of the short children's story, Delilah Dusticle.  I agreed to read and review it for her, and while I had hoped to have that done by the time this promo started, there's been a lot of unexpected stuff to come up in my life and quite honestly, I forgot that the promo was coming so soon!  It's only 33 pages so I still plan on reading and reviewing it in the very near future, but I wanted to make sure to have this information up for you.  It's free, so unless your Kindle is running out of memory, you really have no excuse to not at least download it and give it a shot.
Below is the info the author provided on how to download her book connect with the author.**

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review - Touch Of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....

I recently got Scent Of Magic, the sequel to Touch Of Power.  I’ve been dying to read it since I first finished ToP, but I realized that I’d forgotten most of this novel.  Since I never wrote a full review for it, I felt like that was the perfect excuse to revisit and reread it.

Maybe the fact that I couldn’t remember much more than the basic plot after only a year was a sign that it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered, or maybe it was a case of wrong timing.  All I know is that, the second time around, I wasn’t nearly as excited by this book and its characters as I was originally.  I liked it still, and I do look forward to continuing the journey with Scent Of Magic, but I can’t say I loved it like I originally did.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review - Stolen by Kelley Armstrong (Women Of The Otherworld #2)

It was in Bitten, Kelley Armstrong's debut novel, that thirty-year-old Elena Michaels came to terms with her feral appetites and claimed the proud identity of a beautiful, successful woman and the only living female werewolf.

In Stolen, on a mission for her own elite pack, she is lured into the net of ruthless Internet billionaire Tyrone Winsloe, who has funded a bogus scientific investigation of the "other races" and their supernatural powers. Kidnapped and studied in his underground lab deep in the Maine woods, these paranormals - witches, vampires, shamans, werewolves - are then released and hunted to the death in a real-world video game. But when Winsloe captures Elena, he finally meets his match.

Note; since I totally dropped the ball and waited weeks after finishing the novel to write the review, this will be relatively short.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #9 - Books I Read When I Want Something Light And Fun

The highly addictive meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish
Top Ten Books I Read When I Want Something Light And Fun

I first saw this topic and thought it would be a breeze to think of ten.  I do, after all, mostly read YA, which is known for fun, light reads.  But, the thing is...most are actually a lot deeper than they appear on the surface, and though I love them, I would never dream of adding books by Laurie Halse Anderson or John Green, or series' like The Hunger Games or Unwind to this kind of list.  But then there are the "light, fun" reads that I didn't think were all that fun, so I can't add those, either.  So though I did think of ten, and could probably have thought of a few more, this list wasn't nearly as easy to actually compile as I thought it would be.

These are the ten I thought fit this week's list the best, the light reads that were also fun and enjoyable.  They're listed in no particular order.

Monday, May 6, 2013

You May Be Seeing Less Of Me For Awhile

I've had a lot going on this past week, including starting a new job and having my father come home after a hospital stay.  The job obviously eats up a lot of my time, and so much of the free time I still have afterwards is going toward taking care of my dad until he's back on his feet.  (Literally.  The surgery was for a hip replacement, so he's learning how to walk again.)  While I'm immensely grateful to be working again and understanding of my father's condition, this doesn't leave much time for blogging.

I spent a lot of time trying to think up a blogging schedule, and if I followed it strictly I could still have all my posts up on time.  But then I'd feel like this is a job outside of my job, which is something I promised myself I'd never turn blogging into; a chore.  So I decided to completely discard that schedule and, at least until everything settles and I have more free time, ease up on my blogging.  I'm still going to make the best possible effort to have at least one book review up a week, my indie feature, Top Ten Tuesdays, and my YA Epidemics posts.  But I may not always be able to keep up with even those right now, so please understand if I can't post all three of those things every week.

Another side effect of a suddenly very busy schedule is an inability to visit other blogs as often.  I'll still check out my favorites every week, and try to keep up with others that I follow, but don't be surprised if you see a decided decrease in my comments over the next few weeks.  I promse, once things get back to normal I'll be back to my old blog-visiting self!

To everyone who stops by this blog and gives me a part of their day, I am more appreciative and humbled than you can imagine.  That I actually have people who enjoy reading about my opinions on books and bookish things is nothing short of amazing to me, and for you as much as for myself I am going to make sure to keep posting quality content, even if it's not quite as often as I'd like.  But still, two or three posts a week isn't bad!

Thank you all so, so much for understanding, and I'll see you on Tuesday when I post my TTT list!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cover Reveal - Across The Stars And Ashes by Pixie Lynn Whitfield

This week, in lieu of my YA Epidemics feature, I'm proud to be participating in the cover reveal for Across The Stars And Ashes by Pixie Lynn Whitfield, the third and final book in her Guardians Of The Night trilogy!  As you may or may not know, Whitfield is a dear friend of mine, and a huge inspiration for my indie feature and desire to support self-published authors as much as possible.  I'm honored to be able to help her promote her newest novel, and encourage you to check out this trilogy and see if it may be right for you!

So, without further ado, I give you the official cover!

Click to add it to your GR shelves

In the conclusion of The Guardians of the Night Trilogy, bonds are tested, unlikely allies are made, and a world is on the brink of destruction.
Zarah has been in captivity with the Fallen Warriors. There she learns that things are much worse for the world than she'd thought. Allies with the humans, the Fallen have started an apocalyptic war sending the world into chaos. Then there's Lucas, Fallen Master and source of a shocking secret. When she makes an unexpected friend out of a Warrior during her captivity, she realizes there's no rescue—only she can be the hero. But at what cost?
Draven never could remember his past. Now he knows why. After learning the truth, the flashbacks start and the memories are returning. He was one of them once.... But what would Zarah say if she knew everything? Because his mission is clear—to get his Bond Mate back, even if it means destroying everything in his path.
Told in dual PoV between Zarah and Draven, Across the Stars and Ashes presents the thrilling final installment packed with action and emotion, romance and family, and supernatural intensity.
Find it on GoodReads

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Book Review - The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

I saw this on NetGalley a few weeks ago.  The cover caught my attention, but the synopsis and mad GoodReads love hooked me.  Ignoring yet again my vow to clear books off of my Nook before adding more to it, I hit that “request” button without even the smallest twinge of regret.  (Also, NetGalley and Atria books, I freaking love you for giving me the book in exchange for this review.)

I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting going into this book, but whatever my expectations were, they have been exceeded.  This is one of those rare books, in fact, where the rating doesn’t fully reflect my love for the story.  In terms of my enjoyment, this deserves the full five stars.  But on the critical side of things, it’s a four.  But I’ll get into all they “why”s of that in a minute.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Indie Spotlight Feature - Official Launch!!!

My first featured novel,
In Your Dreams by Amy Martin
I am very happy to announce the official launch of my Indie Spotlight feature here on PaperFantasies!  This is a month-long author feature in which I dedicate a separate page of the blog to information on this author's novel, where to buy the book, and an author interview.  This feature is not a review or a recommendation.  The review of the author's book will be posted on the 18th of his/her featured month, which is when you'll find my take on the novel and whether or not I'd recommend it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #8 - Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.

Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book

Ooh.  This is a really hard one, because I don't really have any must-have topics.  I have more must-avoid topics, actually, but that's not what this TTT is asking for. *pouts*  But I'm sure I can pull something out for this one, though I can almost guarantee I won't be able to think of ten.  Keep in mind, though, that more than key topics or words, I base my TBR decisions on reviews and recommendations, and the overall feel of the synopsis.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Arcadia's Gift by Jesi Lea Ryan - Book Review

Most people who experience death don't live to tell about it.

When sixteen year old Arcadia "Cady" Day wakes in a hospital after experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, she finds her family in tatters. With her twin sister gone, her dad moved out, her mom's spiraling depression and her sister's boyfriend, Cane, barely able to look at her, the only bright spot in her life is Bryan Sullivan, the new guy in school. When Bryan's around, Cady can almost pretend she's a regular girl, living a regular life; when he's not, she's wracked with wild, inexplicable mood swings. As her home life crumbles and her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning...
As you may or may not know, I’m going to be reviewing more self-published books on this blog.   I’ll still post reviews of past and present bestsellers, but there will be more of a mix.  Arcadia’s Gift is one such self-published novel, so I won’t be judging it as harshly.  How can I hold one person to the same standards as an author, their agent, and a group of meticulous editors?  I won’t sugar-coat and will be honest, but I’m more inclined to ignore little hiccups along the way in favor of the overall journey.

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when I agreed to review this book.  Self-published books are always a gamble because they can be either a diamond in the rough, or a pile of steaming dog crap with a price tag.  While Arcadia’s Gift wasn’t quite a diamond, it’s closer to that side of things than the other.  By a landslide.

Friday, April 26, 2013

YA Epidemics #7 - Bio-Partner Romance

YA Epidemics is an original feature in which I rant about discuss a different one of the
numerous trends and cliches plaguing the YA genre. The Epidemics are posted most Saturdays.
Comments and discussions are encouraged!

Ah, the smell of antiseptic disinfectant.  The squeaky floors and shiny lab tables, posters of vital organs and cages of dead frogs waiting to be cut open with a scalpel.  Is there anything more romantic than a high school biology class?  It's fate, really, that puts these strangers together.  Pair them up and watch their love bloom.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crank by Ellen Hopkins - Book Review

In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the "monster," the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or "crank." Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne'er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree:
"there is no perfect daughter,
no gifted high school junior, 
 no Kristina Georgia Snow.
There is only Bree."
Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won't, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

I have reviewed a lot of books since starting this blog.  In 7 short months, I’ve managed to read and review 50+ books.

Not one of them was as difficult as the review I’m about to write now.

Illuminating Blogger Award

I was very recently given an Illuminating Blogger Award by the very amazing, very talented Asti from A Bookish Heart, a blog any self-respecting book lover needs to check out immediately.  After some very unattractive, unprofessional squealing and dancing, (I get in touch with my inner 14 year old when a blogger I so greatly respect acknowledges PaperFantasies), I decided to look up more info on the award and find out what it actually is.

The Illuminating Blogger Award is an award given to blogs with original, illuminating content.  What's so cool about it is that it isn't this big voted-on thing with judges and fanfare, but a peer-recognized award.  Simply by being nominated, you've been awarded.  Well, sort of.  There are a few rules, which you can find here if you're interested.  Which you should be.  So go, then come back and finish reading this post.