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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway - Fall From Love by Heather London

Series: Standalone
Genre: NA Contemporary
Publication Date: June 17, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Received for review for blog tour
Struggling to put her life back together after a tragic mountaineering accident kills her college sweetheart, twenty-one-year-old Holly Treadwell is trying to set aside her grief, forge ahead in school, and find herself again.

When Carter Hansen, a guy who brings back horrible memories from the night of the accident, finds his way back into her life, Holly’s unsure  if she should let him in. He terrifies her in more ways than one and invokes feelings in her that she thought were buried forever. Regardless of her fears, she knows she must face him in order for her heart to heal.

Everyone tells Carter that what happened on the mountain that night was just a terrible accident, but even then, he can’t help but carry around the guilt and is unable to forgive himself. He’s drawn to Holly and being near her helps ease his conscience and gives him the release he needs.

As Holly and Carter’s relationship grows, they begin to realize that the more time they spend with one another, the more their wounds begin to heal—her grief and his guilt. But when Holly learns the details about the night of the accident—what everyone has been keeping from her—it will rip open old wounds and tear apart what they’ve both worked so hard to overcome…
I absolutely adore reading about the new adult age group, but I'm really struggling to find a NA book I love. I'm beginning to wonder if it's me. Because, just like with Fall From Love, I've liked all the NA books I've read recently well enough--found them interesting, found the story lines compelling--but I haven't been able to become completely engrossed, to connect with them as well as I would like. I enjoyed getting to know the characters in Fall From Love, and I enjoyed overcoming their struggles with them. But enjoying something is certainly not the same as being blown away by it. 

A few months ago, Holly (the main narrator) lost Adam, her boyfriend of 2 years, to an accident up in the mountains. Of course she is racked with devastation, but I feel like we're told that more than anything. We're told that she has been awful, living in a black hole of despair, hardly showering or cleaning up after herself. Her pain was all on a large scale, but sometimes it's the little things that hurt the most. I would have liked more triggers throughout the story. Like what if a song reminded her of Adam, or his favorite sports team was playing on the TV or someone used a phrase that he said a lot. But throughout the entire novel, I don't think Holly was actually reminded of Adam, rather she was reminded of the night she lost him. Also, there wasn't really much that showed the impact of his absence in her life. That just made it so hard to feel like she missed him and was grieving his death. It was more like she was grieving the idea of his death. 

Then there was Holly's relationship with Carter. At first, she can't even hear the sound of his voice without suffering physical pain because it reminds her of The Night Adam Died. She dreads his presence. Then he shows up to a party that Holly is at, they have a conversation, and seeing him is really no problem. After one successful night hanging out, they become really close friends. Everyone besides them can see that they need to get down and dirty. Finally both of them do see it but they just don't want to ruin their friendship. I liked Carter, but my god, it's unconvincing and cliche. Yet the entire time I was rooting for them to just get over their hold-ups and get on with the bowchickawowwow. Their relationship was, at least, very sweet. Though I may not find it completely realistic, I liked that they made each other stronger and looked out for one another. In the end there was a lot of growth for both of them and I was satisfied with how things turned out.

The writing wasn't bad, but it also wasn't mind-blowing. There were quite a few cliches, and some of it lacked the proper depth. Certain passages that were obviously supposed to be profound and thought-provoking, supposed to be beautiful, were actually pretty MEH to me.

I really liked Jenna. She was a fantastic friend to Holly. For me, strong, genuine friendships make a story four zillion times better. I guess you could say Jenna and Holly's friendship was one of my favorite aspects of the book. 

I know it seems like there is a lot of negativity in this review, but I did enjoy Fall From Love. Though I'm not going to go around gushing to everyone and shoving it in people's hands, I think it is worth reading. Learning how to love again, to face your fears even when they seem insurmountable, and learning what risks are worth taking... Powerful ideas expressed through an intriguing situation and likeable characters. And, as I said, it might just be me. Others will probably find this more emotional than I did, and others will probably connect to it better. 
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blog Tour - Review and Giveaway: Saving Ben by Ashley Farley

Series: Standalone

Genre: NA Contemporary Mystery
Publication Date: January 31, 2013
Format: Kindle
Source: Received for review for book tour
Life is sweet for Katherine Langley. A freshman at the University of Virginia, she is free from the drama of her parents’ dysfunctional marriage and ready to focus on studying to become a nurse. Her brother, Ben, belongs to the hottest fraternity on campus, and her new roommate, Emma, is beautiful and charming, a party girl whose answer for a hangover is happy hour. She is also a psychopath.

When Katherine’s obsessive-compulsive overprotective brother succumbs to Emma’s charms and falls dangerously off-track, Katherine must save Ben from himself. Lives are threatened and someone disappears on New Year’s Day. The only evidence left: a single set of footprints in the snow.

From the university campus to a cozy cottage on Carter’s Creek, Virginia, Saving Ben is a haunting tale of love and loyalty, anger management, substance abuse, and betrayal. (Summary from goodreads.com)
Saving Ben is not my typical read. In the end, it also was not what I was expecting. This book turned out to be interesting, but probably one I will soon forget all about. 

Though there was one part I teared up at a little, I couldn't really bring myself to care about any of the characters beyond the basic, "I hope everything turns out well for them." Kitty, the narrator, is a bit bland for my tastes. Kitty would go to any lengths to protect her brother, apparently, yet nothing she does is all that exciting. She does a lot of sitting around and waiting for things to play out. And Ben...well, I don't care how messed up you are or how guilty you feel afterward--if you slam your sister against a fucking wall and choke her...no. Just no. It wasn't just that, either. I just couldn't sympathize with his downward spiral. Cocaine, begging Kitty for money, telling Kitty off when she tries to give him a little clarity. All for what? Sex? Get the fork out of here. Their bond is supposed to be so strong and yet one psycho-bitch can tear all that to shreds? 

The plot had a certain predictability about it, and I really didn't like the way it kind of shifted toward the end. I may not have been able to sympathize with Ben's corruption, but it was still compelling. There is a dark, tense feel to the book as Emma manipulates Kitty, Ben, and many others. There is a sort of triumphant feeling that comes as Emma's lies unravel. And then WHAT DO YA KNOW it becomes a murder case. Wtf? In a way, it was a cheap shot of an ending. Not to mention a tad cheesy. I definitely found the first 3/4 of the book more enthralling than the end. If this book had a killer ending, this book would have been 74826459 times more astounding. The truth of the matter is, though, that the ending we are given is simply lackluster. Not nearly tense or emotional enough. 

Don't even get me started on the drinking. These kids were seriously always drinking. ALWAYS. 

I'd say if you're looking for a NA book with a very minimal focus on romance, this is definitely your book. I was trying it out, and it may not have really been my thing, but I still enjoyed most of it. Saving Ben has a storyline you'll want to see through to the end, full of various secrets, tricks, and the dark effects of death, manipulation, drugs, and losing control. 

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Read in 2013

1) Requiem by Lauren Oliver - My review
2) Dare You To by Katie McGarry - My review
3) Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
4) Just One Day by Gayle Forman
5) The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead - My review
6) The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace
7) Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi - My review
8) Golden by Jessi Kirby - My review
9) School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins - My review
10) The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler - My review

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Read: 
Nothing this week. Just started waitressing again and UGH. All the hours! - Gabbi

Currently Reading: 
Saving Ben by Ashley Farley - Gabbi

Up Next: 
Fall From Love by Heather London - Gabbi
Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan - Gabbi

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 435
Source: Purchased
Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer. (Summary from Goodreads)
There are some people who enjoy Dessen, who will happily read her books, and who will gladly recommend those books to others. I am not one of those people. I adore Dessen. I will eagerly devour anything she writes, even if it's a post-it note reminding herself to do the dishes. I shove her books into people's hands and demand they read it now without even bothering to read the summary on the back. That being said, The Moon and More was not my favorite book ever written by her. This does not mean it was not as good as her other books, because that's not true. Her latest novel has everything readers know and love about Dessen: an authentic summer atmosphere, meaningful narration, and characters grappling toward self-discovery and change. It's the same high-quality work that Sarah always provides, it just didn't particularly work as well for me as some of her other novels. 

For one, I don't think I felt as emotionally connected as I would have liked. I liked Emaline; she was smart, stubborn, and, when she wanted to be, fierce. But I didn't feel like I struggled enough with her. So she and her boyfriend of three years broke up, and while I am glad that she didn't spend much time crying or moping, I didn't necessarily feel the appropriate amount of grief or maybe even regret. (No, there is not a love triangle no matter what the synopsis indicates.) Then her scumbag of a dad comes back into the picture and things get awkward but not dramatic enough. I wanted her blowing up and telling him what a crap basket he'd been as a father. But no, a few tense conversations that mostly felt unresolved to me. 

My biggest issue: Theo. A nerdy, optimistic, easily excited New Yorker, Theo sounds pretty cute, right? Well at first, I was like, "Hey, I could get behind this guy. He's not too bad." As the book progressed, though, he felt young, certainly not 3 years older than Emaline. Further into the book and he just seemed like an arrogant, close-minded snob. It was obvious that he was all wrong for Emaline, which was kind of the purpose. He was just a summer fling that she wasn't too serious about, even though she spent a large portion of her time with him. When both the readers and the narrator know that it is not a match made in heaven, though, it's hard to really hope for anything or to imagine all the possibilities. Though, of course, things do not stay this way, as Dessen wraps the book up amazingly and presents all the possibilities in the world. 

While these may seem like hefty complaints, the good qualities certainly outweighed them. There was still a great story unfolding and the beautifully harsh realizations that come with growing up. I loved the family dynamic in this book. Despite the fights and frustrations, they're family. They are there for each other and they love each other. I love me a book with good family values, and this book touches on that quite a bit. Also, I found the secondary characters immensely fascinating in their own ways and I would have loved a bunch more of all (well--most) of them. Benji, Morris, Daisy, Luke, her dad, Ivy. I wouldn't mind if she wrote books for each of them. And, duh, Clyde, who I was delighted had a pretty major part in this book. 

I was pleasantly surprised how much we learn about Colby in this book, seeing as Colby is pretty much the epitome of summer and a town that continuously enchants me. Readers get to see a bunch of new facets in Colby (and its residents) that make it so much more real than it was before. 

If you haven't hopped on the Dessen train yet, this isn't the book I'd recommend you buy your first ticket for (others may disagree). However, if you are a raging Sarah Dessen fan like myself, you need this in your hands now. It certainly has the Dessen charm and I was not disappointed by The Moon and More experience. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Vote for Noah!

*Hushed tone* 

Hello, everybody. My name is Gabbi from BookBreather. I'm currently reporting from the halls of Eastwick High School, here to give you an exclusive look at Noah Hutchins from Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits.

I've spoke to some of his friends, a few of which were hesitant to reveal anything important about Noah. Eventually, I was able to squeeze out a few answers.






“Noah felt strong and warm and muscular and safe and he smelled, oh, God, delicious. I couldn't stop kissing him if my life depend it upon it: his lips, his neck, his chest, and Noah seemed as hungry as me.” 

Me: What is it that attracts you most about Noah? Is it the dark brown eyes, shaggy hair, muscles, or mysterious demeanor? 
Echo: Noah is so much more than tall, dark, and handsome. 

“My heart hurt to see her in pain and, for one second, i shut down all emotion. One day, she'd figure out she was too good for a loser like me and when she left, i didn't know how i'd deal with the pain. Hell, she was worth it. I enfolded her into my body once more, kissing the side of her neck.” 

Me: There has been buzz that, ever since Noah began dating Echo, he has changed. How so? 
Beth: Echo has got Noah wrapped around her finger, but I think it's mutual. He used to be the first one to whip out the joint or crack open a beer, but when Echo's around, he's always making sure she's okay and having fun. She doesn't drink much or smoke, so he stopped doing it around her. Now, probably out of habit, he usually turns down the illegal substances, even when she isn't around.
Me: What can you tell me about Noah's brothers? Are they part of this changing process? 
Beth: I can't tell you much. Noah's brothers have always been the most important things in the world to him. He's had to make a lot of difficult decisions when it comes to them, but he learned to see what is really best for them, even if it's not best for him. 

I kissed her forehead and she snuggled closer to me. The world felt strange. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t fighting someone or something. My brothers were safe. Echo knew the truth. Soon, I’d be free from high school and foster care. Hopefully, I’d be admitted on late acceptance to college. Contentment and happiness were unfamiliar emotions, but ones I could learn to live with.

Me: My sources indicate that Noah used to be quite popular before being put into the foster system. Do you think this has affected your friendship any? 
Isaiah: It doesn't matter who Noah used to be. Everyone has gone through tough times. Noah is fiercely loyal to me, Beth, Echo, and his brothers. Despite everything that happens to him, he hangs on to the things he thinks are important. Doesn't dwell on what used to be. So no. I don't think who he was before we met affects anything. 

“Wow, Mrs. Collins is a freaking miracle worker. Dangerous Noah Hutchins on the straight and narrow. If you don’t watch out she’ll ruin your rep with the girls."
I lowered my voice. "Not that it matters. I only care what one girl thinks about me.” 


Me: Many people, especially adults, began to view Noah as a hopeless case. What did you see in Noah that gave you such faith that he could change?
Mrs. Collins: Noah has this fire in him that is evident in everything he does. From the very first conversation I had with him I could see that fire. He doesn't want to be a bad person, he doesn't act a certain way to be spiteful. He's merely trying to take a bad situation and make it something he can deal with. But he is a teenager and there is only so much he could do on his own. After speaking with him that first time, I realized that I could help him. He was used to people rallying against him, though, so I had to prove I was on his side. 
That was about all they were willing to share, but it's all I need. Noah is loyal and sexy. He is trying to change and become better--for his brothers, for Echo, and for himself. He may have the bad boy thing going on, but there's much more to him than meets the eyes.

You've heard it straight from those who know him best. If you adore these qualities as much as they--and I--do, you most definitely need to vote for Noah Hutchins. Use #TeamHutchins to spread the word and the love. After everything he's been through, Noah could use a good victory!
 
Today is the day! Please vote for Noah in the YA Crush Tourney. And don't forget about the scavenger hunt and all the posts from the last week or so that show you why you should vote for Noah!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Noah-Tastic Scavenger Hunt

Tomorrow, people. Tomorrow! *Belts the Annie song*

But for cereals, Noah's match in The YA Crush Tournament is tomorrow! What better way to ring in the occasion than with a Noah-themed scavenger hunt? Answer: There is no better way!

So here's the dealio. I will give you a list of posts, pages, tweets, etc. and then I'll ask you some questions. Using the links given, you'll have to find the answer to those questions. Some of the links will be used more than once, some will not be used at all. Easy stinkin' peasy, I think. And wait! It gets better. That's right: BETTER.

Here's the dealio dealio. Everyone who correctly answers all the questions gets entered into a giveaway. What is the prize, you no doubt ask? Well the fabulosa Katie McGarry is graciously offering one U.S. resident a signed hardback of Dare You To and a signed paperback of Pushing the Limits. UH, YEAH. I'm honest to goodness envious of whoever wins this. Two runner-ups will get a bunch of random swag from me (also for U.S. only--so sorry)! Of course, international readers can enter the scavenger hunt for funzies. Also, if you have a U.S. address that prizes can be sent to, that's fine, too.

You have until Monday, June 24, 2013 to scavenge.

Now that we got all that crud covered, let's get down to bizznizz.

The links:
Interview with Noah + Acrostic Poems
Noah's top 5 guilty pleasure moves/TV shows + Letters to Noah
Katie McGarry's "about me"
Pushing the Limits title change
Pushing the Limits playlist
Twitter quote 1
Twitter quote 2
Twitter quote 3
Twitter quote 4
Goodreads page

The Q's:
1) Because of his brothers, which animated TV series can Noah now sing the theme song to?
2) According to Noah himself, he wants to take Echo to see _______________________ in Colorado?
3) Does Katie McGarry prefer cats or dogs?
4) Before being renamed, Pushing the Limits was titled what?
5) What are two songs on the Pushing the Limits playlist?
6) Though it is in the book, it is also on twitter. Noah says, "Here's the reality, Echo: _______________________."
7) According to a poem by a Street-Teamer, Noah is naturally blessed with what?
8) What are Katie's favorite colors to write in?
9) What was the publication date of Pushing the Limits
10) One of the wonderful Street-Teamers wrote a letter to Noah about the hope he gives her. What was this Street Teamer's name?

Please don't leave answers in the comments! Please leave all answers in the from below. If you don't know or can't find an answer, leave N/A in the answer box. If you have questions or comments, feel free to comment, email me (gabbicalabrese@hotmail.com) or tweet me (@bookbreather).
And whatever you do, DO NOT forget to vote for Noah in the YA Crush Tournament on June 21, 2012. 

Practically Peeing: The Series Continuation Edition

I know, what a weird post title! But there's a lot of times when I'm excited for a book I say I'm peeing my pants for it. So "Practically Peeing" is a feature sort of like Waiting on Wednesday or On My Wishlist or Books  To Pine For where I showcase books that I realllllllly want to read. They might already be released, they might be a year away, they might be coming out next month! Either way, I can guarantee, I really want to read them.
Gabbi - 
Series: The Ghost and the Goth #2
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 266
After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliffhanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth. (Summary from Goodreads)
Series: Bloodlines #4
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication Date: November 19, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 416
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe. (Summary from Goodreads)
Charlotte - 
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #3
Genre: YA Dystopian

Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Pages: 496
One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?


The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent. (Summary from Goodreads)

Series: Dust Lands #3
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 448
When the star reader, Auriel Tai, challenged Saba to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton, Saba was so confident in her purpose. Then she met DeMalo and he confounded all expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo and Saba had an intense and passionate encounter - physical, emotional and psychic - that changed her life, and now he wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop his dangerous New Eden project. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia.

What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price. (Summary from Goodreads)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Noah's Guilty Pleasure Movies + Letters to Noah

In further celebration of Noah's wonderful fabulousness, I present to you Noah's top 5 guilty pleasure movies/TV shows:

1. I'll watch Grease, but that's only because Beth watches it.
2. I'll pay full price to watch any Fast and Furious movie with Isaiah
3. Because of Echo, I'm more aware of Grey's Anatomy than I care to admit.
4. Any reality TV show makes me feel less messed up than I actually am.
5. Since being a part of my brother's life, I can sing the theme song to Phineas and Ferb.

Mwahahah! I can sing the Phineas and Ferb theme song, too. We haz so much in common! Do you and Noah share any of the same guilty pleasure viewing habits? And have you guys noticed that all of Noah's responses revolve around other people? What a sweetie pie!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Also, here are a couple letters from Noah's INCREDIBLE street team. I told them to write a letter to Noah about whatever they wanted and this is what I got:
Wow! Both of those letters are great in their own way! :) They really show off how lovable Noah is, huh? Gives you good reason to vote for him in the YA Crush Tourney on June 21!

Blog Tour - Review & Giveaway: In Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

Series: Standalone
Genre: NA Contemporary
Publication Date: June 6, 2013
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Format: Kindle
Pages: 338
Source: Received for review for blog tour
Gracie has just finished her freshman year of college in Memphis when she takes a job at a local pizza joint in her home town of McKenzie, Tennessee. She is the epitome of innocence when she meets Noah. Noah is unabashedly handsome, intriguingly reckless and just cocky enough to be sexy. Gracie’s instincts tell her to stay far away from him and based on the stories she hears from her co-workers he leaves broken hearts in his wake. But still, she can’t explain her fascination with him.

Noah puts aside his bad boy ways when what he thought was a summer crush has him unexpectedly falling in love. But soon after Gracie transfers to UT Knoxville to be with Noah, their unexpected love becomes riddled with anger, deceit and humiliation.

Jake, Noah’s former roommate and Gracie’s best friend, can no longer be a bystander. Gracie’s world falls out from beneath her and when she breaks she turns to Jake for strength. As Jake talks her through a decision she’s not yet strong enough to make, together they uncover a truth so ugly neither of them is prepared for its fallout. Will Jake pull her to the surface or is Gracie Jordan finally In Too Deep? (Summary from Goodreads)
Let me preface this entire review by first pointing out that this book has a large focus on psychological abuse within relationships. I understand that this is a very horrible issue that can often have dire effects. That being said, I'd also like to make it clear that any negative feelings I display toward this book are not a result of me failing to understand the magnitude or seriousness of psychological abuse. All of my feelings reflect my attitude toward the actual composition of the book. 

And, as much as I hate to say it, I do have negative feelings toward this book. Quite a bit of them. Like the painful repetition of events. The plot is basically one-dimensional. No layers or overarching story lines. The same thing goes on and on for a good portion of the book: Noah would be a total ass basket, Gracie would convince herself she was finished with all his ass basketry and go crying (literally) to Jake or one of her other friends, Noah would claim he's going to try harder, and Gracie would tentatively accept his apology with the acknowledgement that things will probably never be the same. I kid you not, this exact scenario plays out at least 3 times, I think. Granted, each time this happens, Gracie grows a little bolder and moves closer to truly standing up for herself. I understand that this yo-yo romance is common for those who face psychological abuse. Still, while reading I was more interested in the possibilities of what could happen rather than what was actually going on. Is she finally going to dump him? Will she realize that she totally wants her best friend? Is someone going to give her a kick in the badonk and tell her to stop feeling sorry for herself? 

Speaking of one-dimensional: Jake. He's pretty much a cardboard cut-out--endlessly selfless, unfailingly kind, loves Gracie unconditionally, and a heck of a lover. Legit no flaws. Gracie, on the other hand, is consumed by her own self-pity. I have a pretty long list of complaints about Gracie, actually. She is always running to others to whine about her love life and there are very few instances of her being there for others. She cries at least every other page, no joke. It became distracting. If I was one of her friends, I would have smacked her and told her to get her cheese nips together, but then again I'm kind of a jerk, so whatever. Also, she has hypocritical tendencies. Goes on and on about how she can't trust Noah, which is completely true, but then she continuously mentions how gorgeous Jake is and how he is just oh so pleasant to look at. No big deal, though, because they're just friends. Yeah, okay. 

Despite all these frustrations, though, I actually became pretty engrossed in this story. I mean, I read it in only a few hours, so that says something, right? I became invested enough in the story line and characters that I couldn't wait for everything to be resolved. I enjoyed Jake and Gracie's relationship--I was rooting for them throughout the entire book--and I was pleased with how much Gracie had grown by the end. My heart also broke for Noah in a way I didn't expect and I sincerely hope he will one day change his ways and find his happily ever after. 

Perhaps my problem is that I've never personally experienced psychological abuse so I couldn't become as emotionally involved as this book calls for. So, if you have strong feelings for psychological abuse, I'd definitely give this a shot. I honestly think that, though there were a lot of things I wasn't super fond of , nobody would actually regret reading In Too Deep. And many will probably end up connecting to it better than I did. It wouldn't be a bad idea for everyone to read this. 

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR

1) Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
2) Wither by Lauren DeStefano
3) The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
4) Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
5) Icons by Margaret Stohl
6) The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
7) Tempest by Julie Cross
8) A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin
9) The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
10) Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
1) Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
2) The Killables by Gemma Malley
3) Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
4) Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
5) Splintered by A.G. Howard
6) Delirium by Lauren Oliver
7) After edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling
8) The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
9) Asunder by Jodi Meadows
10) The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Monday, June 17, 2013

Character Interview: Noah Hutchins from Pushing the Limits

If you had never ended up in the foster system, what do you think your life would be like? 
Possibly like Echo’s. I would have grown up in a good home on the right side of town. Honestly, I’d probably be like that ape Luke that Echo used to date. Hopefully, I wouldn’t have turned out to be such an ass as him though.

What is your favorite memory (or just one of your favorite) you have with your brothers? 
Watching them wake up Christmas morning after Dad and I had stayed up all night to put together their toys. They were wide eye and all smiles. So were Mom and Dad.

Aside from any people, what are some things you are most grateful for? 
A roof over my head. Food to eat. Honestly, the people surrounding me are the things I’m most grateful for. Losing my parents taught me what’s important in life.

What is one thing that was never important to you before meeting Echo that you now think about a lot? 
Art. More Echo’s art than anyone else’s. I never thought much about paintings or drawings before I met her. It’s amazing to watch her work. She becomes hypnotized and she’s damn sexy when she does it.
Echo’s taught me that art is more than lines on a page. She’s letting the world see a part of her soul. If you think about it, that’s courageous. 

What are three things you never leave the house without? 
My car keys, wallet, and when it’s not a hundred degrees outside, my black leather jacket.

If you could visit any place on Earth, where would you visit and why? 
Echo wants to see snow capped mountains in Colorado and I want to take her there. Seeing her smile and her eyes light up creates a peace inside of me I never thought possible since my parents’ died. 

How do you feel about so many random people reading your story and wanting to rip your clothes off? 
((Noah smiles and laughs)) I think it’s brought out a very jealous and protective side of Echo. She’s damn cute when she’s mad. 

And finally, what is your most embarrassing memory? (And don't be shy, we won't judge you! As I said, we want to rip your clothes off.)  
I don’t embarrass easy, but Echo does. A few weeks ago Isaiah stumbled downstairs to find me and Echo in a very compromising position and she was so embarrassed that my cheeks turned red for her. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Everyone, please just take a moment to appreciate how sweet/sexy/wonderful his answers are. Appreciate them! 

And now that's done so I'll share with you some Noah-licious acrostic poems that have come from Noah lovers everywhere. 

Here is my poem: 
Nom nom is how I would describe the 
Outstanding guy before my eyes.
A character that practically crawls off the page.
He certainly holds a place in my heart. 

Here is a poem from Jess, a member of the Noah Hutchins street team:
Naturally blessed with a impressive physique, he is
Overconfident and wild but 
Actually quite soft and chivalrous, the boy is
Heartbreakingly beautiful in every single way 

Another street teamer named Katherine wrote this one: 
Never did he
Open up to
All the worlds’ beauty,
Hence the destroyed soul but,

Help from Echo cured his
Unbelievably broken heart and
Turned him into a
Caring, Loving,
Handsomely considerate guy
Indeed, with
Nothing that could
Stop him from pursuing his dreams

And yet another Street, Melly, wrote this poem: 
Wow! I'm so lucky to have some fantastic, creative minds on Noah's street team AKA The Street Team of Complete and Utter Win. 

Feel free to write your own acrostic poem and either comment with the link to the post or write it in the comments. But most importantly, vote for Noah Hutchins on June 21, 2013 in the YA CRUSH TOURNEY!

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Read:
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen - Gabbi
In Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow - Gabbi
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows - Charlotte

Currently:
Saving Ben by Ashley Farley - Gabbi
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes - Charlotte

Next:
Fall From Love by Heather London - Gabbi

Wha'chu be reading? 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Book Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Series: Newsoul #1
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Fantasy
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 374
Source: Bought
NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life. (Summary from Goodreads)
 I did truly adore this novel. The cover is stunning and so is the story inside.

The world which Meadows created was beautiful and so far from the truth of reality yet it seemed so very real. I felt as though dragons, sylph and reincarnation actually existed as I read my way from cover to cover; I was so absorbed in this world.

Ana (our protagonist) was a character I adored from the first sentence and she continued to grow on me throughout the duration of the novel. She was as new to herself as she was to us; we knew everything she did and the best part was that we learnt it all with her - who she was, what she liked, why she existed and more importantly, who to trust. Meadows showed us all of this, she didn't tell us - this I liked.

Another character who I (and you will) love is Sam. He is so perfect, yet so flawed. He seemed so real throughout the book, so human. He was a lovable character and a great asset to the story.

The only issue I had with characters was that I think Meadows introduced us to too many members of the 'council' in one go so that I forgot who was who for a while. Only a few members were relevant characters yet all these names were thrown at us. This was ONLY a tiny issue, do not let this put you off the novel! You will not get confused about who is who with any main characters, I promise!

The relationships in this novel were more realistic than in a lot of YA reads these days as friendships were tested and emotions were used as weapons as well as comfort. The relationship between Ana and sam developed well throughout the story - they were each other's lifelines but also each was the other's greatest weakness.

I love the plot, the characters, the writing (the cover!) and everything else about this novel. It was well thought-out and beautifully written. I loved it so much that I've picked out a few of my favourite quotes! (I couldn't include all as they wouldn't have made sense out of context.)

1) "Honestly? I think people aren't sure it's worth getting to know you. It would be like you deciding if it was worth befriending a butterfly, even though it wouldn't be there in the morning."

2) I was the brushstroke that ruined the painting.

3) I was trapped, a butterfly under glass.

I loved this story as much as I'd hoped I would. I definitely recommend it and will certainly be picking myself up a copy of the sequel.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Pushing the Limits Fan Art "Contest"

Hi everyone. Just a quick post to say that Nova and I (Gabbi) are having a fan art contest-type-thing for Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits in an effort to encourage people to vote for Noah Hutchins in the YA Crush Tourney, hosted by The YA Sisterhood.

Anyway, this is just a call for everyone to submit any fan art they have for Pushing the Limits. It can be drawings, cover re-designs, photoshopped pictures--anything, really! We're going to collect all the fan art and put it in a public online gallery of sorts. We'll pick a few of our favorites (maybe with Mrs. McGarry's opinion as well) and send PtL ribbons to those people. Unfortunately, the ribbons are only for U.S.ers, but everyone is welcome to submit their work.

To submit your art, email me at gabbicalabrese@hotmail.com
Also, feel free to email or tweet me (@BookBreather) with any questions.

Please make sure that all art submitted is your own work, though. You will be receiving credit for your art, and I would like to give credit where it is actually due.