Sep 26, 2011

Review | Tempest by Julie Cross

Title: Tempest
Series: Tempest #1
Author: Julie Cross
Publication: 01.03.2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 352
Source: Smitten With Books ARC Tours

Summary: The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Cover: I love it because it's actually an intense scene in the book and it is what first drew me to it.

May contain spoilers, but not really. Just proceed with caution.

Thoughts: Tempest is one of those books that capture your attention in the first few pages. And although it starts off a bit confusing because the whole time traveling/home base thing, it flows so well that you easily get the hang of it. I wasn't aware of how much time travel there would be, but it is so unique and very important to how the story develops, that I was pulled into it immediately and loved the idea of it. Shocking from the beginning and intense all the way to the end, Tempest had me at the edge of my seat until the very last page.

Jackson is pretty much an ordinary guy except, you know, he can travel through time and all. He knows how it works (mostly) and also knows there is no real harm when he travels (right?) so confiding in his friend Adam, they experiment to find out what the extent of his abilities really are. His personality and relationship with Adam is strong and we can tell from the start that Adam is going to be an important character. Together, they have some conversations and quite a few adventures that had me laughing out loud. His girlfriend Holly, on the other hand, doesn't get as well of an introduction. She gets shot just a few pages into the book and although we know she is important, we don't really meet her until Jackson is stuck in the past. Determined to keep her safe and figure out how to get back "home," Jackson sets off to find Holly, but discovers that keeping her safe might be trickier than he originally expected.

Jackson and Holly have a cute relationship. Like I said, we don't get much of a look into it at first because of how quickly the events spiral out of control, but soon we find how much Jackson really cares for Holly. In 2007, she is the younger version of Holly, one Jackson never got to meet. Careful to keep her safe, he edges closer to her emotionally, until she decides to let him into her life. Jackson is a terribly sweet guy and we also get glimpses of his relationship with 2009 Holly, and how their relationship develops. I absolutely loved the connection that they shared and wanted Jackson to find a way to change a future where they both ended unharmed.

Not only there are there many twists to Jackson's story with the time traveling that shape his past and future, but also a big connection to Jackson's family. We get to learn more about the relationship between Jackson and his father, what secrets he may hold as Jackson jumps to see his past, and we also meet Courtney. Courtney is an important character that I loved and each scene with her tugged at my heart. We learn much more about Jackson when Courtney is around and it was during those parts that I really loved him more.

The story overall is fast-paced. There aren't any dull moments and the story moves pretty quickly and keeps you on your toes. Since Jackson can travel back in time, I got to experience a lot more from his character by learning of his life growing up and I definitely felt a connection with him, so I really can't stop saying that he's great. The ending...well, it broke my heart a little. It sort of wrapped things up and left you hanging at the same time. It was a happy ending but a sad ending; definitely good, but heartbreaking. You'll see.

The action will keep you turning pages and with the suspense you won't be able to turn them fast enough. The romance between Jackson and Holly develops throughout the book and keeps you wondering how it will all turn out in the end. Jackson's relationship with his father and Courtney will mystify you at first, but also touch your heart as you learn more. The ending will leave you a little shocked, a little heartbroken, but definitely wanting more. This is a must-read for YA readers, paranormal lovers, and anyone looking for something new, exciting and captivating. Tempest is an unforgettable book!

Favorite Quote: “Erase everything you’ve ever heard about time travel, because it will just confuse you.”

Sep 22, 2011

Author Event | Lisi Harrison Reading & Signing

I was really excited to finally go to an event this year because it had been many years since I'd done so. I was lucky enough to meet Lisi Harrison last night, author of the series Monster High and The Clique. The Barnes & Nobles were the event to place is only a few miles from my house, so after a short 25 minute drive (a little longer than it should've taken because it was rush hour) I got there about 30 minutes before 7pm.

I headed upstairs and I was a little surprised to see so many young girls (between 6-10 years old) and feeling a little intimidated to go sit down immediately among all of them and their moms, I headed back downstairs to the Starbucks. After grabbing a few drinks and a yummy sandwich, I went back upstairs because it was five minutes til showtime.

Lisi Harrison started right off and I immediately thought she was awesome. She was a little unsure on how to start because she claims to doze off easily when people read to her, so she obviously expected us to feel the same way. The girls were really excited to talk to her, but they allowed her to read a few pages of the third book in the Monster High: Where There's a Wolf, There's A Way.

After her reading, she took the time to answer a lot of questions that came from many of the young girls, all excited about the dolls, the website and the clothing line. I had no idea there was so much stuff on the series of books, and I was really surprised on how much I learned. Lisi Harrison was so great too, she answered each question with a lot of detail and I really enjoyed the time she spent chatting with everyone. She even shared some pretty geeky things about herself as a teen and learning about her was such a great experience.

When she was done with the questions, there was a quick raffle...which I almost won but am glad that I didn't because it was the dolls and the girls just about died of happiness when they got them (although I really wanted to grab one of the balloons that they also got!) 

Since it was a small crowd, we all sort of stayed in our seats and waited until the row in front of us got ahead. Lisi was super nice, taking the time to make conversation with each fan and taking pictures. The girl ahead of me had pretty much the entire The Clique series, about 15+ books, and Lisi made sure to sign each one which I thought was really sweet of her (although it made a few rude people behind me a little upset.)

I got a chance to chat with her for a few seconds, but I am terribly shy so I didn't say too much. I did ask to get a picture with her though, of course! The other people we sort of knew stuck around until the end to talk to her I think, but I knew I wouldn't be able to get much in a conversation, so we headed out after I got my books signed (I took my ARC of the first book in the series for her to sign as well)

I had such a great time and I am glad I got a chance to see her. Now, I have to actually read the second and third books in the Monster High series...and maybe even get my hands on some of The Clique books as well.

Sep 12, 2011

Review | Cut by Patricia McCormick

Title: Cut
Author: Patricia McCormick
Genre: Young Adult - Mental Health
Publication: 02.01.2002 by Push
Pages: 160
Source: Swapped

Summary: "A tingle arced across my scalp. The floor tipped up at me and my body spiraled away. Then I was on the ceiling looking down, waiting to see what would happen next."

Callie cuts herself. Never too deep, never enough to die. But enough to feel the pain. Enough to feel the scream inside. Now she's at Sea Pines, a "residential treatment facility" filled with girls struggling with problems of their own. Callie doesn't want to have anything to do with them. She doesn't want to have anything to do with anyone. She won''t even speak. But Callie can only stay silent for so long...

Cover: Simple and to the point, like the book.

Thoughts: I was quite surprised when I saw how short Cut was when I got it in the mail. I couldn't imagine how writing a book about such a tough subject as a teen cutter could be created in such a short amount of pages. As soon as I started reading though, I was able to see that not only was it well written in second person so that the reader feels like Callie is speaking to us, but it is also written in what I found to be an almost poetic way with only Callie's thoughts and emotions as narration.

Callie is sent to Sea Pines, also known as Sick Minds, because she cuts herself. We don't know why she does it, and Callie doesn't speak, so there's no real way to know until she decides she might want to share her problems. Slowly, Callie begins to open up and as the story unfolds we find out how the cutting started and if she really wants to be helped.

Callie is a quiet character. She doesn't speak at all, but we know what she is thinking. It was easy to connect with her because she was so simple a character, but I also grew easily frustrated with her as well because she wouldn't say why she was hurting herself. It was hard to tell if she really wanted help since she thought about cutting often, but once she started opening up to her therapist and group members, we got to see more.

Callie's group members are equally important for the story since it is more about Callie's stay at Sea Pines. The girls also harm themselves in different ways and it is sad to see, but most are willing to get better and trying to get help. It was easy to like the friendship they had with Callie and I was emotionally drawn to the group as a whole, hoping they would all get better.

As mentioned, Cut is written in second point of view. Callie "speaks" to the reader like if we are the therapist she is seeing at Sea Pines. This helped me connect with the book a lot more than I expected since I expected to be confused. The story was simple, but emotional and compelling and I couldn't stop reading until I was done with it. I couldn't help noticing that it was a little similar to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, but not enough to bother me. I loved Speak and because of its similar features, yet unique ones, I also enjoyed Cut as well.

I didn't know I would be drawn into the book the way I was, and I am glad I picked it up to read. Cut is a raw and emotional story that gave me an insiders look and an understanding of a world I knew nothing about. McCormick's take on such a tough subject left me a little unsettled and I look forward to reading more on this subject in the future in more heavy and in-depth books on self-infliction.

Sep 1, 2011

\\ Book Tour \\ Review | Take Me Down by Lauren Hawkeye

Title: Take Me Down by Lauren Hawkeye
Series: Erotic Me #1
Genre: Erotic Fiction
Publication: September 1, 2011 by Spice Briefs
Source: Bewitching Book Tours
Format: eBook
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Evie may feel like she doesn’t measure up to her prettier, younger sister, but she still knows what she wants—Lucas, her cousin’s sexy roommate. She’s dreamed about being with him for a long time, and on the sweltering night of her sister’s wedding, it’s clear he shares her lust. Now Evie is determined to take what she desires—even if it’s just for one night…

Thoughts: I was a little surprised when I found out Take Me Down was a short story, but since I haven't read too many erotic books that I have enjoyed much, I wanted to give this one a try. Take Me Down hooked me in from the start, with Evie and Lucas steamy scene sucking me into the story. Not only was I pulled in quickly, but I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I flew through the pages quicker than I had originally expected to.

Evie is an insecure woman, always feeling second best to her younger sister. So when Lucas shows up in the middle of the night and tells her he wants her, she is more than just a little surprised. She is determined to protect her heart, but Lucas isn't letting her go now that he has her. Evie and Lucas were definitely fun characters, and I liked that I was able get a sense of who they were in such a short time. I also wanted to learn more and was a little sad when the story came to an end.

The author does a great job in creating a quick, hot story that is descriptive and satisfying for such a short amount of pages. I definitely needed a change in genre and this novella was definitely one I am glad I picked up. I can't wait to read the rest of the Erotic Me books, I am sure I will enjoy them all. I definitely recommend this to others who like erotic fiction; this is a fast read that many will enjoy.