Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book I Covet: The Lonesome Young by Lucy Connors

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 with
At first I thought The Lonesome Young is NA based on the cover, but nope. It's YA.

It is being promoted as Romeo and Juliet meets Justified [[I had to google Justified since I'm not familiar but it turned to be an Old West type of crime drama on FX]] which that sounds like an intriguing combo. The synopsis sounds really awesome and that cover is darn steamy! I like!

What happens when the teenage heirs of two bitterly feuding families can’t stay away from each other?

The Rhodales and the Whitfields have been sworn enemies for close on a hundred years, with a whole slew of adulterous affairs, financial backstabbing, and blackmailing that’s escalated the rivalry to its current state of tense ceasefire.


And now a meth lab explosion in rural Whitfield County is set to reignite the feud more viciously than ever before. Especially when the toxic fire that results throws together two unlikely spectators—proper good girl Victoria Whitfield, exiled from boarding school after her father’s real estate business melts down in disgrace, and town motorcycle rebel Mickey Rhodale, too late as always to thwart his older brothers’ dangerous drug deals.

Victoria and Mickey are about to find out the most passionate romances are the forbidden ones.

...ON A POWDER KEG FULL OF PENT-UP DESIRE, risk-taking daredevilry, and the desperate actions that erupt when a generation of teens inherits nothing but hate.
The Lonesome Young will be released on April 8, 2014. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series we do here on Wednesdays. It will feature books we are very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is basically the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, but we just like the title "books we covet" better. We will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

I Finally Read My First E-Book!

Monday, July 29, 2013 with
I know, I know... It's about time, right? We-ell...

One of the things I like about reading books is the physical book itself: I like admiring the book cover; turning the pages; smelling the pages; clutching the book in my hands; and if I really loved it, hugging the book. When I read a book, I feel as if I can jump and hide within the pages if and when reality ever seems too distressing.

When e-books came along, I felt that the reading experience just wouldn't be the same.

For the longest time, my sister has nagged me about e-books--how they read just the same as physical books and how I should just read one just to "see and try it out." Every time she nagged me though, I refused, not wanting to conform anytime soon.

And then, I got an iPhone.

As I excitedly searched for apps to download, I came across Amazon's Kindle app, and for some inexplicit reason, I downloaded it. Soon after I downloaded my first e-book.

A couple of weeks ago, I finished my very first e-book, which was Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. [[Btw, I absolutely LOVED it and is a MUST READ. I urge you to read it!]]

My sister was right: e-books reads just like physical books. Although I wasn't able to literally turn the pages or smell the pages or anything, I was able to, nonetheless, lose myself in a story. That was what I was afraid of most, that I wouldn't be able to really get into the story.

For a while, I thought of e-books as the end of the world, for, despite being a teen of this century of intense modernization, I have this old-fashion, traditionalist side of me that doesn't want to lose the old for the new, or have the old be infringed by the new. I imagined this dichotomy between the old and the new, physical book and e-books. I wasn't ready to give up the old, comfortable thing for the new, uncompromising and intangible thing.

Now I understand that e-books, among other changes, were inevitable, and that I shouldn't shun things without trying them. The world didn't end when I picked up that e-book. Reading is still reading no matter the format of the thing being read.

Currently, I'm reading on my phone Speechless by Hannah Harrington, which I'm enjoying. I'm finding it really nice and convenient to have some books with me where ever I travel, especially since I don't have many purses or bags large enough to carry a physical book. It also opens me up to more books, since as a blogger, these days many of the review books being offered are in e-format. I still, and probably always will, prefer my paperback and hardcover books, but otherwise, I'm warming up to e-books.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bookshelf Additions for July

Saturday, July 27, 2013 with
Hello fellow bookaholics,
It was a great week in e-books! I was approved for How to Love and Into the Dark via Edelweiss. Then, I attended SLJ's SummerTeen online conference event and many of the publishers were offering pre-approved downloads of a lot awesome to-be-released books via Netgalley.
How to Love by Katie Cotugno
[[I already read How to Love and I absolutely loved it!! Review to come soon.]]
Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Never Fade by Alexandra Braken
Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
Into the Dark: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
I also bought two e-books:
The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram
[[I already read Avery Shaw. Unfortunately, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. Sad sigh.]]
Frigid by Jennifer Armentrout/J. Lynn
[[My first Jennifer Armentrout book! I'm excited to read it since a lot of bloggers are always giving Armentrout's books high praise.]]
We also got one physical book this week:
Replica by Jenna Black (for review)
Did you guys get anything good? Leave me a link to your book haul post so I can go take a gander your pretties.

Happy reading,

Friday, July 26, 2013

book coverFormat: e-ARC
Publisher: Intermix
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher via Netgalley
Series: On Dublin Street #1.6
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Ellie Carmichael had a crush on Adam Sutherland, her brother, Braden’s, best friend, for years, and although Adam treated her with proprietary concern he made it clear he thought of her only as a little sister.
Over the years, as Ellie’s crush develops into love, her romantic idealism makes it difficult for her to move on. To make matters worse, as she’s gotten older, Adam’s attitude has changed toward her. His affection for her is now joined by attraction, but his loyalty to Braden, and his fear of losing the only family he has, stops him from claiming Ellie the way she wishes he would.
But one night his attraction is put to the test, and as much as Adam would like things to remain the same everything changes between them in a simple brush of the lips.
Soon lust, love, jealousy and heartbreak combine to force change upon their relationship… and Adam discovers the hard way that life is too damn short to spend it on regret.

I purchased On Dublin Street and pre-ordered Down London Road because the the short excerpts I read I loved and I heard so many good things about them both from book bloggers I trust and readers in general but Until Fountain Bridge is the first book I've read by Samantha Young.

Ellie was such a sweetheart and Adam was sexy. Until Fountain Bridge opened with Ellie gathering her journals which chronicles her unrequited love for Adam through the years with the intention of giving it to Joss as inspiration for her next novel. Adam was interested in reading them and they both go down memory lane. Adam got to see their relationship over the years through Ellie's eyes and feeling shoddier and shoddier of how he reacted to her over the years. It was fun seeing how their relationship developed. It was very romantic--I just love the "in love with brother's best friend" romantic trope. I do wish that it alternates between Ellie and Adam's POV though. I would've love to know what Adam was thinking during some parts.

This novella gave me a quick taste of Samantha Young's writing and characters and, well, what I read I really, really liked! And I am so glad I have ODS and DLR waiting for me on my Kindle ready to read--I'm very excited to read a full-length novel by Ms. Young. Even though Until Fountain Bridge was a novella it was very satisfying and so very good.

I guess I spoiled myself reading Until Fountain Bridge first before On Dublin Street but now that I have a basic idea of what's going to happen, I'm really looking forward to reading more details about Joss and Braden's road to their happily ever after. And I have a new perspective about Ellie and Adam's characters, so it is all good.

This novella is not to be missed! It can be read as a stand-alone, but like me, after reading, you'll be hankering to read On Dublin Street right after.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Michelle Covets: The Vow by Jessica Martinez

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 with
I haven't read anything by Jessica Martinez yet but I cannot help but be drawn to The Vow. It has a very interesting premise and I want to know how everything will be resolved.

book cover
No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends?

Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him.

Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?
The Vow will be released on October 15, 2013. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page. You might also want to check out author Jessica Martinez's website.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series we do here on Wednesdays. It will feature books we are very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is basically the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, but we just like the title "books we covet" better. We will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's been a while since I participated in the "Top Ten Tuesday" meme but I really like the topic this week, which is "top ten words/topics that make me not pick up a book."
It's a very interesting topic and one Leslie and I have spent some time talking about in the past. So, I thought I'd list ten words or topics that turn me off a YA novel (I have different words/topics red flags for romance novels, NA and MG books).

There are a few exceptions, like if it's written by an author I love or it's being highly recommended by someone whose bookish opinion I trust, but 99% of the time I avoid these--

Just not a fan of YA novels written this way. **shrugs**

If a YA book is being compared to, a fan fiction of, hints of a love triangle similar to or labeled as the next Twilight, I'm not touching it.

Any YA fiction "written" by young/not-so-young celebs (e.g., Lauren Conrad, Hilary Duff, Tyra Banks, etc.) or faux celebrities (e.g., Elle & Blair Fowler)... just NO.

Unless it's part of a series I'm already following, I'm likely to avoid anything with vampires (and other paranormal creatures like werewolves and fairies) these days unless it comes high recommended.

Mental illness usually means an unreliable narrator and I'm not a fan of those.

Okay, technically an eating disorder is a mental illness but a novel that primarily focus on this issue is not something I'm inclined to pick up.

Not interested.

Incest, infidelity, adultery... there's very little I find romantic in this legend so I stay away from any retellings of it.    

Instead of "Jazz Age," I should've said the Roaring Twenties. But, yeah, I'm not likely to pick a book set during the 1920s. Flappers, speakeasy, parties, automobiles, booze-y nights, dance clubs? It's not a time in history I'd want to live in so I'm not interested in reading about it.

Anything surrounding the life of, set on the court or during the reign of King Henry VIII, his wives, court intrigues, etc. Not really into it. I'm more of a Queen Victoria kind of girl.

What words or topics turn you off or keeps you from picking up a book?

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, July 22, 2013

book coverFormat: e-ARC
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 23, 2013
ISBN: 9781442459557
Source of my copy: publisher via Edelweiss
Series: Starglass #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn't interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he's yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she's got.
But when she inadvertently witnesses the captain's guard murdering an innocent man, Terra is suddenly thrust into the dark world beneath her ship's idyllic surface. As she's drawn into a secret rebellion determined to restore power to the people, Terra discovers that her choices may determine life or death for the people she cares most about. With mere months to go before landing on the long-promised planet, Terra has to make the decision of a lifetime--one that will determine the fate of her people.

Mind. Blown.

That was my reaction after I finished reading Starglass

But when I actually began to read it, I wasn't sure what I got myself into. The main character, Terra, was very blah, had no personality in the beginning and we were thrust into this new world (the space ship Asherah) with very little explanation. I had a lot of questions, like how it came about that the passengers were ruled by a sort of bastardized version of Judaism (it felt like a random choice on the author's part at first), among others. And since I basically know nothing about the Jewish culture and a lot of the Jewish terms were strewn about, I was very confused.

But I plodded through it and I was very glad I did not give up on Starglass. It took more than a quarter of the book for things to happen, for the action to start and for Terra's character to get more interesting but I was rewarded for my patience because Starglass ended up being quite an original, exciting read.

So, basically, Starglass was a dystopian novel set in space. But while the set up was familiar--a girl who yearns for more than what her society dictates for its people may just get her wish when she learns that there's a rebellion brewing beneath its seemingly idyllic surface--by the last fourth of the novel everything was turned on its ear.

I was literally at the edge of my seat by the time I reached the end. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns, especially in the last quarter of the novel. The things I thought I had figured out, I didn't and I loved being surprised like that. Starglass doesn't quite follow the usual YA formula, particularly when it came to the romance part. Some readers might not like that and I myself I was like, what? Is Phoebe North really going to take the story to the realm of Avatar (the movie)? I'm still unconvinced about that unexpected turn in the romance but Phoebe North might just pull it off in the next book. Either way, I'm dying to know what will happen next.

Starglass deserves high props for originality and world building (though you don't really get a full picture of the world until you finish the novel). Unfortunately, I expect some readers may be put off by the slow and confusing beginning or the unconventional turn in the romance. Overall, though, I ended up enjoying it a lot and I'm very eager to read book two.

Hello bookish peeps,
If you're a fan of medical drama type of reads you might have heard of author CJ Lyons. If you haven't, well, you'll soon be more familiar of her because she makes her YA debut with Broken.

For Scarlet Killian, every day is a game of Russian roulette—she has a 1 in 5 chance of dying…

New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons makes her YA debut with a fast-paced thriller sure to keep readers guessing to the very last page.

Fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has one chance for a normal life. Only problem? It just might kill her. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, Scarlet has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. Scarlet has come to terms with the fact that despite the best efforts of her doctors and parents, she's going to die. Literally of a broken heart. So when her parents offer her a week to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now... or never.

Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But for the first time in her life she makes real friends. She also makes new discoveries about the truth behind her illness... a truth that might just kill her before her heart does.
Intrigued? Learn more about Broken from the author herself. Here's a special Q+A with CJ put together by her publisher, Sourcebooks Fire.

Q: Is Long QT a real disease?
CJ: Yes. As a pediatrician I diagnosed my niece with Long QT Syndrome when she was born. Her heart specialists believe she's the youngest person in the world diagnosed with Long QT. She's had to take medicine every day of her life and can't ever skip a day. So far that's added up to over ten thousand pills taken.

You know that feeling you get when you've run as hard and fast as you can and you stop but your heart keeps galloping along? And you wonder for a second if maybe it's not going to stop, but will keep galloping out of control? But then of course it settles back down. For people with Long QT, their heart doesn't change gears well, going from regular to galloping and back again. So they have to avoid anything that would make their heart race.

No sports or aerobic exercise. No horror films. No roller coaster rides. No jumping into cold water on a hot summer's day.

But that doesn't have to stop someone with Long QT like my niece from having a great life. Today she is a brilliant, active fourteen-year-old who gets straight A's, enjoys riding horses, archery, reading, breeding Rottweilers, and who wants to grow up to be either a fashion designer or President of the United States. Her main fashion accessory is her portable defibrillator, Phil, who goes with her everywhere, including camping, to the beach, and recently to her first Broadway show.

Broken is dedicated to her fearless approach to life where outwitting Death is simply part of her daily routine.

Q: What was it like working in an ER? Is it like on TV?
CJ: Definitely nothing like Grey's Anatomy, but the first few seasons of ER get it right. Working in the ER is basically about learning how to control (and live with) chaos, the art of listening, and how to quickly decide what's the most important thing you need to tackle next.

I worked three jobs to put myself through medical school and one of them was waitressing at a very busy family restaurant. Honestly, that was the best preparation I ever could have had for life in the ER.

Q: Why did you leave medicine to write books?
CJ: I've been a storyteller all my life—a fact that used to get me placed in time-out a lot as a kid. But writing stories has always been my way of making sense of the chaos that goes on in the world around us. I wrote my first novel in college and wrote two more science fiction novels in medical school.

Then, while I was an intern at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, one of my close friends was murdered. Dealing with that grief and trauma while still working seventy hours a week and trying to save lives—I wasn't prepared for that. So I turned to my writing and that's when I wrote my first thriller. I never thought about actually making a career of it until years later when friends who were published authors encouraged me to enter a national writing contest and I was a finalist. This led to several publishing contracts and I realized that as much as I loved being a doctor, here was a chance for a second dream come true: being a full time writer.

It was a huge leap of faith leaving my job (and my patients—I missed them, a lot!) but I've always believed that if you're going to dream, you should dream big, so I went for it. Since then I've published twenty books, hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, won awards for my writing, and most importantly, have had the chance to impact millions of people through my novels. Talk about a dream come true!

Q: What's your best advice for someone who wants to be a writer?
CJ: Never surrender, never give up. Writing is hard work, it takes years to master the craft, so you need to stick with it. And read, read, read…pay attention to what makes the books you like work as well as why the books you don't like fail. You never stop learning in this job, but that's also what makes it so much fun.

Broken sounds like an interesting read and we're looking forward to reading it. For more info about CJ Lyons, Broken and her other books, visit her website.

What do you think of Broken?

Happy reading,
Michelle & Leslie

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Michelle Covets: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 with
As soon as I heard about How to Love from the Epic Reads #ARCparty I knew it was my kind of book and I immediately made this post.

Luckily, I got approved for an early e-galley via Edelweiss yesterday. I immediately read the first chapter and I'm already in love with it.

I have a feeling I'm going to be pushing this book to everyone I know come October.

book cover
Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.
How to Love will be released on October 1, 2013. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page. You might also want to check out authors Katie Cotugno's website.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series we do here on Wednesdays. It will feature books we are very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is basically the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, but we just like the title "books we covet" better. We will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

book coverHardcover: 288 pages 
Publisher: MTV Books
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Source of my copy: author
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.
Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

When Jennifer Echols tweeted that she had extra ARC copies of Dirty Little Secret, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a copy. After really liking my first Jennifer Echol novel, Forget You, I was looking forward to reading her newest YA novel Dirty Little Secret. The premise sounded great--dysfunctional sister relationship, a music scene, a cute love interest who plays a guitar? Count me in!

Dirty Little Secret wasn't what I expected but it was still a good read nonetheless. I will explain...

I had a hard time getting into Bailey's character and narration in the beginning. I knew there was more to Bailey's past than what I surmised from the synopsis and I really wanted to know and understand her but I was confused and worried by her odd thoughts and considerations. I had to put down Dirty Little Secret for a couple of days but I was determined to read it through--I felt I had an obligation to finished it since Jennifer very generously sent me a copy. Thankfully, my interest in Dirty Little Secret grew as I kept reading. Bailey's character and story came together and exciting happenings began to unfold. Reading it was no longer an obligation and became something I looked forward to. 

I sympathized with Bailey because of her character's emotional baggage. I liked how full of depth her character was--on the surface Bailey was rebellious and feisty, but deep down she was really self-conscious, lonely, and heartbroken. Despite what I thought was an awkward beginning, I thought Jennifer did a good job conveying Bailey's complex character. As Bailey faced drama and confusion throughout the rest of the book, I rooted for her and stuck by her, hoping and praying with her for a happy ending.

And then there's Sam. Oh my goodness, Sam. 

I couldn't decide whether I liked Sam Hardiman, the love interest, for the majority of the book. When he and Bailey first met, I swooned along with her over his easy attitude and adorable-ness. But then a couple chapters later, I was filled with hurt and hate along with Bailey when it was revealed that Sam may have been nothing more than a user and a traitor. I (and Bailey) had all these conflicting feelings for the guy throughout the book but just when I was about to give up on Sam, I find out he was just as emotionally afflicted and confused as Bailey. 

From the synopsis, Bailey's relationship with her sister Julie seemed like a huge part of Dirty Little Secret. I surmised that yes, Bailey felt desolate, but she never blamed Julie for her troubles--she always blamed her parents, which in my opinion was valid and understandable. I can't say anything more about Bailey and her interactions with Julie and her parents without spoiling the book, but I can say Bailey truly loved her sister and was capable of forgiveness. 

Reading the synopsis, I half expected Dirty Little Secret to be another cliché YA contemporary even knowing it's a Jennifer Echols book (she's not known for cliché story lines). But Dirty Little Secret wasn't at all that predictable or cliché. Instead Bailey's journey to a happier place was refreshingly complicated and, at times, surprising. The ending had a nice openended-ness and I liked where Bailey ended up.

Overall, Dirty Little Secret was a good read. After I got over the beginning (which, admittedly, hampered my overall impression of Jennifer's book) I did end up enjoying the story and characters. I recommend Dirty Little Secret to those who enjoy contemporary YA and Jennifer Echols fans--it's not my favorite of hers but it is worth picking up. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bookshelf Additions for July

Saturday, July 13, 2013 with
Hi everyone,
This week ended up being a very good week in books for us, which is great because I don't think we're going to be getting any books for a while after this week.

Anywho, here's our haul--
I bought Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay, Ten by Gretchen McNeil, Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard and Defiance by C.J. Redwine from price for all four books (including shipping) was about $23 and I thought that was a pretty good deal.

Leslie received Hooked by Liz Fichera from Harlequin Teen Panel and I am part of the blog tour for Shadows by Paula Weston so I got a copy for review.

Back in May I won a copy of Monument 14 and its sequel Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne and a Fierce Reads bag on Twitter but there was a glitch and I didn't get my prize. So, to make up for it the lovely folks at Macmillan also sent me a copy of Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo and a book I've never heard of but sounds really good, Sekret by Lindsay Smith (which doesn't come out 'til April 2014).

I also got three unsolicited review books: Blood Warrior by Lindsey Piper, Hearts Unbound by Sara Luck and How to Entice an Enchantress by Karen Hawkins.

And I got approved for Turn and Burn by Lorelei James and Until Fountain Bridge by Samantha Young on Netgalley--it was so awesome because I requested both books on Thursday morning and I was approved that same day! That never happened to me before so YAY for great timing.

I already finished reading Until Fountain Bridge (my review will be up this coming week), which is a novella and I'm currently devouring Turn and Burn because I have been dying to read this book (I'm a huge fan of Lorelei James' Blacktop Cowboys series).

Did you guys get anything good? Leave me a link to your book haul post so I can go take a gander your pretties.

Happy reading,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hardcover: 435 pages 
Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: June 4, 2013
ISBN: 9780670785601
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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.

I've only read two books by Sarah Dessen before reading The Moon and More and I liked both. I especially LOVED The Truth About Forever, which is one of my all-time favorites. With that said, plus with Dessen being one of the reigning queens of contemporary YA today, I had high hopes for The Moon and More. Unfortunately, I read this novel during a time I was experiencing a reading slump (as well as stressed because I was working on my AP Lit paper at the time) and I initially scrabbled to keep up with the story, but eventually Emaline's character and what was happening in her life come together in my mind's eye. 

But I am glad I stuck with it and I'm happy to say I very much enjoyed The Moon and More.

Despite my reading slump and my preoccupation with school stuff, I was able to keep reading and I think it has a lot to do with Dessen's excellent voice and writing. I found my reading experience with The Moon and More wonderful and refreshing. 

It did start a bit slow, though. I was not able to immerse myself into the story until the drama of the novel picked up about 150 pages in or so. One of the expectations I had for The Moon and More was that it will be a quick and easy. It's not. In retrospect I shouldn't have expected that because while Sarah Dessen's books may have fluffy/cute looking covers, they are not in fact fluffy or cute. Her books tend have heavier elements and ideas to them that makes you reflect during and after reading. 

It was not different with The Moon and More. Here, ideas about love, the unknown versus the familiar and relationships were discussed and explored. So, although not an easy summer read, it was a great and diverting read nonetheless. How the themes of the novel were explored were so vivid and honest. Even now, days after I finished it, I still find myself thinking about Emaline and the lessons she learned and locking them away in my mind to remember for later because a year from now I am going to graduate from high school and I may find myself in Emaline's shoes.

I really like that Emaline and her friends and family live in a beach town. I can totally relate to that since I live on Maui. However, I couldn't connect with her as much as I wanted to. We have different values--for example, a big part of the novel is Emaline being very content living in the town where she's born, not wanting to live anywhere else while I am dying to get out of Maui and explore the world.

I thought that the characters were well-developed. They were real people with real lives. I liked watching each of the characters go through a gradual change throughout the book, either for the better or worse--where they ended up at the end of the novel was what they deserved or was in line with their character.

While I had issues with The Moon and More, most of them were personal issues and nothing for anyone to get discouraged by. The Moon and More is a good summer read, especially if you like a more introspected, thoughtful read. If you enjoyed Sarah Dessen's novels in the past then this one is worth picking up. 

Click on the image for more Michelle&Leslie-Approved beach reads.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Booktube-a-thon Read-a-thon (vlog)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 with
Hi everyone,
Any of you guys book vlog on YouTube? If you are, chance are you've heard of the big read-a-thon event happening next week from July 15-21 called the BookTube-A-Thon Read-a-thon.

I'm participating. Woo-hoo!!

I made a vlog and laid out what books to read for the challenges and everything...

Let me know if any of you guys are participating too, or are book vloggers in general. I'd love to check your videos out--especially since I'm out of the loop with the booktuber community (this is my first video in over six months).

Happy reading,

P.S. If you want more information about the Booktube-a-thon, check this video out that was made by one of the vloggers who put the read-a-thon together.
These Broken Stars sound amazing, and with a very swoon-y sounding romance to boot! And that cover? Just WOW.

book cover
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

The first in a sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.
These Broken Stars will be released on December 10, 2013. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page. You might also want to check out authors Amie Kaufman's website and Meagan Spooner's website.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.

"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series we do here on Wednesdays. It will feature books we are very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is basically the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, but we just like the title "books we covet" better. We will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hi everyone,
Over the weekend I read and tweeted about The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. In the slideshow you will find all of my thoughts and reactions as I read the novel. The last slide includes my overall rating for the novel.

The Distance Between Us is a Michelle&Leslie-Approved Beach Read
Happy Tuesday,

Monday, July 8, 2013

book coverFormat: e-ARC
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 9, 2013
ISBN: 9781442451278
Source of my copy: publisher via Edelweiss
Series: Companion to Two-Way Street
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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…

For the first third or so of the book, Right of Way was very much like Two-Way Street that I felt like re-reading it, except with different character names But after that Jace and Peyton came into their own.

I like Jace and Peyton apart and together. Like in Two-Way Street, Barnholdt did alternate first person POV between Jace and Peyton and then switching off to the present time and the past. This type of alternate POV/time setting is something Barnholdt excels at--it never got messy and although there was a lot of switching off going on between the two characters and the past and the present I was never taken out of the story, was never confused and always know who was speaking and when it was occurring.

The plot is really nothing new: a story of a girl and a guy who met and instantly felt a deep connection with each other. But through circumstances and secrets broke up but new circumstances forces them to spend time together and may have a second chance at a relationship. Although the story was familiar, it did not stop me from flipping through the pages--I'm a sucker for this type of YA contemporary: girl-boy relationships, drama-filled, angst-filled, touches of humor and easy, mindless reading. That Right of Way is a second chance romance AND a road trip romance, well, I was in reading heaven.

My biggest complaint (and I had a similar complaint when I finished reading Two-Way Street) was that Right of Way ended too abruptly. I'm not one who wants everything tied up nice and neat at the end--I do like open-ended-ness but Right of Way was too open (even more so than Two-Way Street was). In the end Jace and Peyton still had to face some really big stuff (without revealing any spoilers, Peyton especially still have A LOT of stuff to work out, especially with her mom), but Right of Way just ended without really addressing any of it, which left me to wonder if it will be addressed in the final book (I am reading an e-ARC) or if there's going to be a sequel? I hope so because the story felt unfinished and it left me unsatisfied. An epilogue to tie everything together would've helped a lot.

Besides the unsatisfying ending, I did enjoy most of Right of Way. It was quite an addicting read--I got sucked in by all the drama. I recommend it to readers who enjoy lighter contemporary YA romances and fans of Kristin Walker and Jennifer E. Smith.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hi everyone,
I'm planning to do this new-to-me thing where as I read a YA book I'll tweet my thoughts/reactions/rants about the book. Sort of like Goodreads' currently reading/update status but with pictures, book snippets and, well, you see...

I'm planning to do this once a month and this month's book will be The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (read the synopsis here). I've already started--

I'm a slow reader and it'll take me a few days to finish a book but if you want to follow along, the main hashtag will always be #michelleisreading. And no worries about spoilers--there won't be any. I'll do a Storify recap here on the blog when I'm done reading.

Happy Sunday,

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bookshelf Additions for July

Saturday, July 6, 2013 with
Hello bookish friends,
This is a week for Kindle additions instead of the physical bookshelf.

I only got one physical book this week, The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. I pre-ordered it months ago because I fell in love with its ridiculously pretty cover.

And then the awesome e-books--

I had these on my wish list and they were only $2.99 (or less) on Kindle so I couldn't resist.
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
[[I got the Kindle book/Audible audio combo for Second Chance Summer because I really like the whispersync feature on my Kindle--buying both cost less than 10 bucks! Yay!]]
Pivot Point by Kasie West
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Bloggers are always raving about the Night Creatures series by Australian author Marianne De Pierres (for a long time these books were only available in Australia) so I was very happy to find that ALL three books in the series are free on Kindle. If you haven't downloaded the series yet, they're still free--go here.
Burn Bright by Marianne De Pierres
Angel Arias by Marianne De Pierres
Shine Light by Marianne De Pierres

I got approved to download two books for review.
This is W.A.R. by Lisa & Laura Roecker (via Edelweiss)
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (via Netgalley)

All in all a pretty good week in books, I think. What about you guys? Got anything good? Leave me a link to your post so I can go admire your pretties.