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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Right Of Way – Lauren Barnholdt

Right Of Way
By: Lauren Barnholdt
Available July 2013

Description:
Can a road trip repair a romance gone wrong? Find out in this standalone companion to Lauren Barnholdt’s Two-way Street.

Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead.

This Blonde’s Review:
What do you do when you’re stranded and the guy who broke your heart is your only way to get where you’re going? What about when the one who broke your heart is stranded and you can’t seem to let her down? Meet Peyton and Jace. They had a relationship once but it fell apart. They can’t stop thinking about each other or the way they were hurt.

Peyton is trying to run away from her problems. She had the best plan for it until things fell apart. She finds herself stranded at a wedding far from home and the only person left in sight is her ex, Jace. When he offers to give her a ride home despite the distance she figures she can get him to take her where she really wants to go. She thinks she can keep from falling for him again, or from admitting she never got over him.

Jace is not interested in the hoopla that comes with graduation, nor is he as interested in the girl he’s dating as he should be. When Peyton bursts into tears over her failed plans he can’t help but offer to help, especially since she’d the girl he can’t forget. He can give her a ride without facing what happened between them or all they lost.

Watching Peyton and Jace try to make it across states without falling apart was great. I really enjoyed Two-way Street so I knew I was bound to like Right of Way as well. I was so right. Peyton and Jace are great characters with great names. I love seeing the way they think of their own actions and the way it is perceived by the other. And no matter what they think they’ll do, the people around them seemed to know best when they said that couples have a way of getting back together on road trips.

I enjoyed this story. It’s great to see couples realize that what ripped them apart wasn’t worth it and find a way back to something stronger than what they had before.
If you enjoyed Two-Way Street you’ll enjoy this one as well as seeing some familiar characters. If this is a first Barnholdt book for you then I’m sure you’ll love the introduction. Lauren Barnholdt writes about people who make bad choices, jump to conclusions, and have to find their way to forgiving and forgiveness. If seeing two people who aren’t together anymore get thrown into a vehicle together with no one besides a dog to occupy them, then you’ll love this one.

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Rise – Anna Carey

Rise coverRise
By: Anna Carey
Eve – Book 3
Available Now

Description:
How far will you go when you have nothing left to lose?

When she lost her soul mate, Caleb, Eve felt like her world had ended. Trapped in the palace, forced to play the part of the happy, patriotic princess of The New America—and the blushing bride of her father’s top adviser—Eve’s whole life is a lie. The only thing that keeps her going is Caleb’s memory, and the revolution he started.

Now, Eve is taking over where Caleb left off. With the help of Moss, an undercover subversive in the King’s court, she plots to take down The New America, beginning with the capital, the City of Sand. Will Eve be able to bring about a new, free world when she’s called upon to perform the ultimate act of rebellion—killing her father?

In Rise, Eve must choose who to leave behind, who to save, and who to fight as Anna Carey’s epic tale of romance and sacrifice in the chilling dystopia of The New America comes to a stunning conclusion.

This Blonde’s Review:
Eve is trapped in a life she doesn’t want. She’s the daughter of the king but is treated more like a prisoner. She is expected to act like she’s happy to be princess and happy to be married to someone who isn’t Caleb. It doesn’t matter that all she thinks when she looks at him is that he’s not Caleb. All she wants is to take her father down and according to Moss, her rebel contact, she is the only one who can.

When things start to get chaotic Eve finds herself in the position to run. This book had so many sad parts to it that we can’t help but wonder how this could possibly work out for Eve and her friends. I really didn’t know what to think at times or how it could have a happy ending. Eve’s health is a big part of the story as well so there is a constant undercurrent of worry about what will happen if her health takes a turn.

I enjoyed this one. I didn’t particularly care for the vague way it ended, but at the same time who says we need the solid. Sometimes just the idea of something can leave you with a surprise happy glow.

If you liked the first two books in the series then you’ll enjoy getting to see what happens to Eve, Arden, and the rest of the people who matter to her. If you enjoy the idea of a girl who is more rebel than princess and willing to do whatever it takes to create a better life for the people around her, then you’ll love Eve and her story.

 
 

The Girl With The Iron Touch – Kady Cross

The Girl With The Iron Touch
By: Kady Cross
Steampunk Chronicles – Book 3
Available 28 May 2013

Description:
In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What’s left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends’ lives.

With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, the young duke’s sanity is close to the breaking point. Seeking help, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. When Jack kisses her, Finley must finally confront her true feelings for him…and for Griffin.

Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily, from Whitechapel’s desolate alleyways to Mayfair’s elegant mansions. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.

To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist’s ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she’s to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn’t know she has.

This Blonde’s Review:
I’ve really enjoyed this series so far! I love that each of the characters have their own talents and histories that make them such a perfect group of misfits. We still get to see plenty of Finley and Griffin, though they’re not the figures of this story. This story is about Emily.

We don’t know a lot of Emily’s story from the first two books, but in this one we learn she has a very sad history. Something happened to her that shouldn’t happen to anyone. But we see that Emily isn’t living afraid. She refuses to let anyone hold her fourth, even Sam.

Many find Sam’s size & gruff attitude intimidating. Not Emily. She remembers when he had an easy smile and she knows the attitude is worry. We can see Sam the way she does and it makes him much more likeable than he was before.

I really enjoyed getting to know Emily better in this book. We get to see how strong she really is. She’s one if the strongest characters in the book. Finley has been my favorite through the series but Emily takes a close second.

I love that there are so many things going on at the same time. Other characters have issues beyond what we see through Emily. Obviously that means more books in the series!

If you’ve read the first books in this series you won’t want to miss Emily’s story. Watching a small girl take on a world of machines and things so much bigger than her and you know she’s going to find a way to win, no matter what it costs. Because she won’t pay the price of losing anyone she cares about.

 
 

Towering – Alex Flinn

Towering
By: Alex Flinn
Kendra Chronicles – Book 3
Available May 2013

Description:
At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!

This Blonde’s Review:
I’ve read the other books in this series so was familiar with the way Alex Flinn writes these story retellings. For some reason I really wasn’t feeling this one.

She stays true to the fairy tale by having Rachel in a tower with hair that grows quickly. Strangely her hair grows even faster when it’s ‘needed’ then goes back to her usual. Wyatt isn’t your typical prince charming since he’s a guy with baggage. He lost his best friend and still struggles with it. Before he was sent to the Adirondacks he had withdrawn from everyone and so never really expects anyone to attempt to contact him, yet he can’t help but check his phone in the technologically obsessed way of today.

There are so many things that didn’t quite make sense to me. I really would have liked more answers on some issues. There is magic and we are supposed to accept it all without question, but I’m surprised that Wyatt accepts it as easily as he does. I don’t really accept it and would have loved to know where everything came from. Like the unusual plant and how Rachel’s hair knew when to grow faster and when to stop.

It wasn’t a terrible book, it was still interesting to see Alex Flinn’s take on Rapunzel. But it really wasn’t what I was hoping it would be. If it sounds appealing to you then you should definitely give it a chance. It wasn’t for me but you may enjoy it.

 
 

Dare You To – Katie McGarry

Dare You To
By: Katie McGarry
Pushing the Limits – Book 2
Available June 2013

Description:
Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. “Dance with me, Beth.”

“No.” I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again….

“I dare you…”

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all.

This Blonde’s Review:
Beth and Ryan are from two different worlds. Beth’s life has always been a hard one, with a drug addicted mom that she has to take care of. Ryan’s life appears perfect, he’s a star baseball player with the great parents.

We met Beth in Pushing the Limits and were eager to know her story. She was clearly damaged but lucky to have her guys there to help her. This book could easily stand alone but it’s much better when you’ve read the first book & can understand their history. In this one Beth has been taken from her life & moved back to her hometown, the place she lived when her life fell apart. She doesn’t fit there no matter how high her uncle has climbed or how much he tries to make it work for her. Asking golden boy Ryan to help her doesn’t make Beth like him any better.

Yet somehow they start to grow closer. Beth wants to be close to him and to touch him, something she hasn’t wanted with others. Before she knows it and against her will Beth slowly builds a life there. She has a friend in her childhood best friend who wouldn’t give up on her and Ryan. She discovers she has potential for a real future. Except she still feels like she needs to go take care of her norther, no matter how dangerous it could be for her.

Ryan thought his life was exactly what he wanted. He was on track with baseball and he had a real chance at going pro. His family might be falling apart behind closed doors but he was going to make it. Until he gets news that gives him another option. And until Beth.

As Beth & Ryan spend time together they form a connection neither expects. It’s something no one else can understand, side they don’t understand it themselves. Watching them learn to trust each other & themselves was really great.
At the same time you know that it won’t be easy & you keep waiting to see what will happen next. Will tragedy strike & drive them closer together or further apart?

I really enjoyed this story. It wasn’t what I expected to find when I picked up the second book in this series and that makes it better somehow.

I’d you enjoy reading about two kids from different sides of town with polar opposite families finding each other then you’ll enjoy this. If watching them learn to deal with their baggage and work out their lives appeals then this book will be one you don’t want to put down.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Book Review

 

The Elite – Kiera Cass

The Elite
By: Kiera Cass
The Selection – Book 2
Available 23 April 2013

Description:
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

This Blonde’s Review:
America has managed to stay in Selection without being sent home thanks to the way Maxon feels about her. Her feelings for him have grown as well but she is still unwilling to commit to being with him. For Maxon the Selection is what will determine who he spends his life with so he can’t focus on America only if she won’t focus on him. Of course knowing that Maxon is seeing other girls doesn’t help America with her decision. When something awful happens to someone America cares about it changes the way America sees everything around her. Is this world she lives in what it should be? Or has everything she was ever taught about their history been a lie?

I loved America and Maxon in the first book so I was eager to get my hands on the second book in this series. I’m not really sure why, but I never really warmed up to Aspen, so seeing America care so much about Maxon was great. St the same time, I was a little unsure of Maxon. I get that he has to make his choice between the girls there and find a second choice, but at the same time… if he plays around too much he may alienate his other choices. At this point in the story I still prefer Maxon and would love to see America as the princess. I think that she could do such amazing things so I’m excited to see what will happen in the next book in this series. I really loved her presentation that she was required to do. It caused so many problems but it was so perfect! Especially compared to the other girls’ attempts.

I’m also loving the pieces of information we’re learning about the rebel groups and about the country’s history. We look at this caste system they have and can only wonder how it is that people have been led to accept it. Seeing the way that history is only passed down orally makes it a little clear, but when America gets her hands on a forbidden book everything opens up. I really hope we get to see more of what is really happening in their history and with the current King in the next book. I’d also love to learn more about Maxon and what he’d do with the kingdom if he had a say.

I really enjoyed this book. It gave me some answers to questions from the first book but it also left me with so many questions and hopes for the next book. I don’t know about you, but a book that leaves me wanting to know more about how the world it’s based in works and not just the story is the kind of book I don’t want to put down. I want to understand the world that has been built and I want to know how to make it better.

If you enjoyed the first book in the series this book won’t disappoint you. If you enjoy reading about a girl who is trying to figure out which guy she wants to spend her life with, what her country really stands for, and what she really stands for, then you’ll want to read this one.

 
 

The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts
By: Sarah Ockler
Available May 2013

Description:
When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

This Blonde’s Review:
This book is about so much more than a girl liking a boy she’s sworn to have nothing to do with. Of course there is still plenty of flirting and attempting to resist the attraction, but it’s really more than that. And I love that it was.

Jude’s sisters have each had their hearts broken by a Vargas brother, from a disastrous prom to a canceled wedding, and have sworn an oath to stay away from the Vargas brothers. When Jude takes her father to hire a mechanic to work on his classic motorcycle she has to make a quick decision. Hire the mechanic she can afford, who happens to be a Vargas, or walk away with nothing. With her father’s heath deteriorating and the bike being the one thing he seems to have no problems with she decides that her dad is more important than the oath. Besides, she’s sure that she can resist him.

Emilio is a charmer but his life isn’t as easy as he projects. Jude is so focused on her own life that she doesn’t think to look deeper. He’s a Vargas so she can’t be interested. But he’s the one person who is there for her when her friends have shied away. He doesn’t act like she’s doing the wrong thing or ignore her dad’s presence. When her sister comes home it gets more complicated, both with caring for her dad and with her growing relationship with Emilio. Until something happens to escalate the problems. As Jude finds out that her father is worse than she thought she has to decide what she’s going to do next, go to college or stay home to be with her family.

I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. But this book is really more than just about a boy and a girl. It’s about a girl who is struggling to accept the changes in her family with her father’s health failing. It’s also about a charming boy who is more than he appears to be. And it’s about Jude’s father, whose whole life is changing beyond his control. Jude is at crossroads. She can put her life on hold or grab a chance at life and move forward. It’s not a book about a boy and a girl, it’s a book about a girl making her choices about her life.

If you enjoy books where a character has to choose where to go with her life then you’ll like this book.