Monday, December 30, 2013

Most Anticipated Standalones of 2014

Composing this list was much fun! Here are my ten most anticipated 2014 standalones. So much YA contemporary splendidness, I can't help being excited about all of them.

# 1 Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved? 

Maggie Stiefvater, you are making so many many readers happy with this standalone novel. Cole and Isabel were always my two favourite characters of the SHIVER trilogy and I was a bit annoyed about their ending being so open. Now I know why it had to be that way. So that we can read even more about their story in their own book. Love, love, love this! 

#2 It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning

Meet Ellie Cohen, one of the most perfect girls in London.

Ellie manages a swank Mayfair gallery, but it’s her life that’s a real work of art. Great job, really good hair, loyal friends, loving family. It’s only her succession of lame duck boyfriends that ruin the picture.
Oh, and the world-famous rock-star father she’s never met, who won’t even acknowledge her existence.
Then Ellie’s perfect life is smashed to pieces when her secret is sold to the highest bidder and her name, face (and pictures of her bottom) are splashed across the tabloids. Suddenly everyone thinks she’s a gold-digging, sex-crazy, famewhore.
Enter David Gold. Charming and handsome David Gold. On paper he’s even more perfect than Ellie, if only he wasn’t her father’s ruthlessly ambitious lawyer whose job is to manage the crisis – and her. He certainly doesn’t think that Ellie’s the innocent party and she doesn’t trust him at all. So why is it that every time they’re alone together, damage limitation is the last thing on their minds?

♥  ADORKABLE was my first book by Sarra Manning. Absolutely adored it. So I put YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME on my Christmas wishlist. I got a copy and finished it in three days (555 pages + family time, so very fast for my reading standards). I need a copy of IT FELT LIKE A KISS in my life, as soon as possible!

# 3 The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie's life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she's famous for something she didn't do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included.
Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she's ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie's as well.

Rebecca Serle's debut novel was a brilliantly written Romeo and Juliet retelling. THE EDGE OF FALLING sounds a lot darker, but just as good. This could be a favourite read!

# 4 To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

After reading Jenny Han's SUMMER series I've been wanting to read another of her books and I'm expecting to find a sweet and comical romance in TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE.

# 5 The Geography of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.
Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

Jennifer E. Smith has the greatest book titles, doesn't she? After THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT and THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE, I'm looking forward to read THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME. Set in New York City and at night, perfect for me!

# 6 The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. 

After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.
One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she'll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.
No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

Not my favourite cover, but the summary suggests a fun read!  

# 7 Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

I've read THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB. TAKE A BOW and PROM & PREJUDICE are on my shelf waiting to be read. Elizabeth's books are fast and delightful reads, expecting BETTER OFF FRIENDS to be one, too. 

# 8 What I Thought was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.
Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE sounds like an awesome summer read! I enjoyed Huntley's debut MY LIFE NEXT DOOR very much and am so happy to see her second book being released in 2014. 

# 9 Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?
Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go Skinny Dipping? Um...

Morgan Matson is another of my favourite YA contemporary authors. I've read both of her books that have been released so far. She writes the best summer reads! 

# 10 #scandal by Sarah Ockler

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.
When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.
By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 
Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.
There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...

♥ Drama, kisses and a social network intrigue? Win!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Most Anticipated Sequels of 2014 - Teaser Edition

The best about a new year beginning is all the books that are being released into the wild. With only two days remaining in 2013 it's time to share my most anticipated sequels of 2014. I tried to supply you with teasers,  but couldn't find them for every book on my list. So some of the teasers are actual quotes from the previous book of each series. I counted eight out of ten books on my list marking the end of a series and two books are the second books in their series. 2014 will be an unbelievably emotional book year I'm sure!

Again the third MARA DYER book is one of my most anticipated sequels (you could also find it on my 2013 list, but then it was pushed back until June 2014). The good news about that is, that the additional eight months wait not only justify but demand a re-read of the first two books = NOAH!!! 

# 1  The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

"The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that I was covered in blood.
The second thing I noticed was that this didn’t bother me the way it should have.
I didn’t feel the urge to scream or speak, to beg for help, or even to wonder where I was. Those instincts were dead, and I was calm as my wet fingers slid up the tiled wall, groping for a light switch. I found one without even having to stand. Four lights slammed on above me, one after the other, illuminating the dead body on the floor just a few feet away.
My mind processed the facts first. Male. Heavy. He was lying face down in a wide, red puddle that spread out from beneath him. The tips of his curly black hair were wet with it. There was something in his hand.
The fluorescent lights in the white room flickered and buzzed and hummed. I moved to get a better view of the body. His eyes were closed. He could have been asleep, really, if it weren’t for the blood. There was so much of it. And by one of his hands it was smeared into a weird pattern.
No. Not a pattern. Words.
My gaze flicked to his hand. His fist was curled around a small tape recorder. I moved his fingers—still warm—and pressed play. A male voice started to speak.
“Do I have your attention?” the voice said.
I knew that voice. But I couldn’t believe I was hearing it."

PIVOT POINT was one of my top three favourite reads of 2013 and the ending totally killed me. I knew I couldn't wait one year for its sequel and I'm so glad I got my hands on an ARC of SPLIT SECOND. Of course I already read it. Knowing how desperate I was to read it, it still has to be on this list.

# 2  Split Second by Kasie West

"Just promise me something. If this is a Search and you don't pick me, don't pick this path, for whatever reason, promise me you won't Erase me." ― Pivot Point quote 

♥  The day I picked up the first THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS book was mostly spent reading and falling in love with Clary and Jace and their love story. It still feels like yesterday that I read CITY OF BONES and I can't believe 2014 marks the year that this incredible series comes to an end, with its sixth book CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE.

# 3 City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

" Isabelle tugged her tank top back down and glared at her brother. “You don’t knock now?”
“It’s my bedroom!” Alec spluttered. "

I know very few people who didn't love ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and its companion LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR and many readers have been waiting for the happily ever after for over two years now. Stephanie Perkins is a brilliant YA contemporary author and everyone who is following her blog should know that she should get all the time she needs to finish her books the way she wants them to end. It's the third time that I put ISLA on my most anicipated list of books of the year to come and that only shows my faith in her writing, I think.

# 4  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

"Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to the moon. And she was mysterious and she was perfect, in that way that girls who talk to moons are. In the house next door, there lived a boy. And the boy watched the girl grow more and more perfect, more and more beautiful with each passing year. He watched her watch the moon. And he began to wonder if the moon would help him unravel the mystery of the beautiful girl. So the boy looked into the sky. But he couldn't concentrate on the moon. He was too distracted by the stars. And it didn't matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated.

One day, the boy had to move away. He couldn't bring the girl with him, so he brought the stars. When he'd look out his window at night, he would start with one. One star. And the boy would make a wish on it, and the wish would be her name.

At the sound of her name, a second star would appear. And then he'd wish her name again, and the stars would double into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, in the greatest mathematical equation the universe had ever seen. And by the time an hour had passed, the sky would be filled with so many stars that it would wake the neighbors. People wondered who'd turned on the floodlights.

The boy did. By thinking about the girl."  ― Lola and the Boy Next Door quote

It took me some time to notice Maureen Johnson's SHADES OF LONDON series. It's no wonder that once I got started on it I didn't want it to end. THE MADNESS UNDERNEATH had such a maddening ending that I've been anxious about reading the third book ever since. I couldn't find a teaser for THE SHADOW CABINET, so I'm sharing this beautiful fan art I found on a THE NAME OF THE STAR fan site.

# 5 

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

"I remember how, at first, I had felt the tension in his lips, as if he was trying to make a barrier between us - then they had relaxed, parted slightly. And that's when I had known he wanted to kiss me, wanted to give in. That little parting of the lips, the little sigh that came out... I would hear that sigh forever. That little, little sound when the whole world seemed to open up." ― The Madness Underneath quote

SWEET RECKONING is another third book in a series. Anna and Kaidan are one of my favourite YA couples and Wendy Higgins writes the sexiest scenes. I'm always fanning myself when Kaidan enters a scene. No need to say April can't come soon enough!

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins  # 6

"I texted Kaidan, who was listed in my contacts under “James,” for James Bond. He’d chosen it. He had me listed as “Hot Chick From Gig.”
Video chat in 30.
His immediate response made me shake my head.
Clothing optional?
It was nice to know he could keep a sense of humor in the face of calamity. Or maybe he wasn’t joking...
“Are you two flirting?” Patti asked, her eyes darting to me from the road.
I blushed and deleted his message."

Amie and Meagan are two of the friendliest and lovliest authors I'm following on Twitter. They are funny and so creative. They may not be related, but I aways imagine them as the writing Gilmore Girls who just don't happen to be mother and daughter, but best friends. These two author girls rock! THESE BROKEN STARS was my favourite read in 2013, so it's only natural that THIS SHATTERED WORLD can be found on this list of most anticipated reads of 2014. 

 # 7 This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

"For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it's gone, the view swallowed by the hyperspace winds streaming past, blue-green auroras wiping the after-images away.

Until all that's left is us"  ― These Broken Stars quote

SHATTER ME was a book that swept me off my feet and knocked me down with its awesomeness. UNRAVEL ME was an ok read most of the time and a brilliant in some scenes. I expect my heart to be severely broken in IGNITE ME!

# 8  Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

"Wake up", he whispers.
A sharp intake of breath and I'm awake but not up, surprised but not scared, somehow staring into the deperately green eyes that seem to know too much, too well. 
Aaron Warner Anderson is bent over me, his worried eyes inspecting me, his hand caught in the air like he might've been about to touch me. 
He jerks back."

ALL OUR YESTERDAYS is Cristin Terrill's debut novel. I read it as a standalone and it was another favourite 2013 debut of mine. A few days after I finished the first book I found out that Cristin Terrill is writing a sequel. Major fan girl moment! 

# 9  All Our Yesterdays #2 by Cristin Terrill

"Let me look at you.” I pull away and put my hands on his cheeks, examining his face. Blue eyes, of course. And how could I forget that mouth? Thin pink lips with one crooked corner always suggesting a mocking smile. My God, how had I never noticed before how handsome he is? “You need a haircut.”
He rubs the side of his thumb over my cheekbone. “You’re beautiful."  ― All Our Yesterdays quote

It took me over a year to pick up EVERBOUND after reading EVERNEATH. The second book in Brodi Ashton's first series was even better than her debut and thanks to Harper Collins I was lucky enough to dive into the third book right after finishing the second. It was a great reading experience and I'm sure many readers will love the ending to this series. Only three weeks till it will be released! 

Evertrue by Brodie Ashton # 10

"However he'd found his way here, it didn't matter. I knew then that the boy under the tree had to be mine. That floppy hair should be mine to touch. That big, knuckly boy hand should be mine to hold. That gruff voice should be mine to hear, and those ears should be mine to tell all my secrets to. Except for the biggest secret. That I loved him. More than the crush I was dealing with for years. More than I should've loved a best friend. More than he would ever love me back. I was gone for him." ― Everbound quote 

Q! What are your most anticipated reads of 2014? Tell me in the comments, on Twitter or feel free to link me to your posts. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays

and Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you are having the best holidays possible with lots of books, great food and time with your families and friends. Looks like I'll only do two more blog posts, about my most anticipated books of 2014. I'm spending New Year's Eve in The Hague , so if I don't find the time to visit your blogs or talk on Twitter in the next days, know that I wish you all the best. See you in 2014! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Best I've Read In 2013

2013 has nearly come to an end and it's been a pretty busy year. So far I've read 90 books, not as many as I'd originally planned, but I'm still very happy with the selection of books I've read and the amazing new authors and debuts I've discovered. So I picked ten favourite books out of the 33 books that I gave a five-star rating (not the easiest task, I tell you!).

Best of 2013

 #1 These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

5/5 ***** THESE BROKEN STARS –  Space adventure galore of the most splendid kind, an irresistible romance and a universally captivating storyline. Whatever you are looking for in a favourite YA read in 2013, Amie & Meagan's debut has it all and beyond!
The first book in the STARBOUND series is a paramount debut thanks to Amie and Meagan's stellar writing. Exceeding all expectations, THESE BROKEN STARS is a story so finely fabricated you will feel the magic of stars and with it an entirely new futuristic galaxy come to live and unfolding on every single page. Lilac and Tarver's story is resplendent, an emotional firecracker and the galactically good start to a new space trilogy! It's going to be a long long wait until its companion is coming out in 2014. 

#2 Pivot Point by Kasie West

5/5 ***** PIVOT POINT – Mind-blowing and truly divergent! 
I’m still marvelling at the brilliant possibilities of two future stories Kasie West enabled with the pivot point! I couldn’t decide which possible future of Addie I wanted to continue reading after each chapter, because they both had me glued to the book! If you want to get a good start into the 2013 debuts, begin with PIVOT POINT, it won’t disappoint!

#3 All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

5/5 ***** ALL OUR YESTERDAYS – A multidimensional quest of two teens set out to save the world, their future and themselves. Astonishing in its addictiveness, disarming in its time travel glory, ALL OUR YESTERDAYS will constantly have you pining for just one more page.  
I read ALL OUR YESTERDAYS expecting it to be a standalone and I really loved it. The story could've been wrapped-up in only one book but it definitely leaves room for more content. And I was so stoked when I found out there will be a sequel coming in 2014 because Cristin's characters Marina and Finn had grown on me so much I wouldn't want to let them go. Time can be a tricky thing and for all its endless possibilities it brings you love ALL OUR YESTERDAYS even more.

#4 Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

5/5 ***** SHADES OF EARTH - The beauty lies in the stars. Beth Revis caught them and spun them into a powerfully written and adventurous space mission tale.
When I started with this series I was very reluctant to give a story with a space adventure a chance to sweep me off my feet. Right now I can't imagine not reading more science-fiction and set in space YA books! I'm counting on many more books by talented author Beth Revis! SHADES OF EARTH is the last book in the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy, that's how it's advertised, but I really do hope that there is still room for more books in the series. And so I'm having my fingers crossed for a spin-off series, who doesn't?! 
#5 Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

5/5 ***** CLOCKWORK PRINCESS - YA dreams come to fulfilment. Brilliant and all-consuming! 
I can wholeheartedly say, this is one of my favourite series, even among the favourites! Reading CLOCKWORK PRINCESS was just marvelous! Cassandra Clare has found a writing voice that draws you into her stories like no other. CLOCKWORK PRINESS is her best book so far, making the THE INFERNAL DEVICES series so incredibly hard not to adore.

#6 Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally 

5/5 ***** THINGS I CAN'T FORGET - A buoyant and warm-hearted YA contemporary read with dreamy starry sky nights and sparkly kisses. A reading experience made up of countless happy sighs. 

Miranda's books are like a batch of fresh baked cookies, irresistible and comfort food for every reader, completely satisfying your appetite for an original, romantic and funny read. Annual re-read required! 

#7 The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

5/5 ***** THE NAME OF THE STAR – Supremely satisfying and delightfully spooky! 
This book gives you the creeps, but not in a bad way. Maureen Johnson invented some kind of pleasant creeps, that make you want to read on and on for the entire night, regardless the gory details and machinations of a crazy murderer mastermind. I could read a whole shelf full of these kind of books.
#8 Requiem by Lauren Oliver

4,5/5 ****/* REQUIEM - Revolutionary and too good not to be loved!

When I turned the last page, I wasn't sure how I felt about the story's ending. I had to think a lot about this series and the ending and it took some time to let it be and be content with the way things ended. In some way Lauren Oliver left the story to itself, not determining what happened after the final scene. And that's Lauren's strongest skill. Leaving a story to itself and giving it the strength to develop its own dynamics and future. There might be a few minor flaws to the story, but I can honestly say that the DELIRIUM series is one of my favourites, DELIRIUM being the best part.

#9 Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins  

5/5 ***** SWEET PERIL - The seven sins have never been sweeter and more tempting!

After an amazing first book in the SWEET EVIL trilogy, I read SWEET PERIL in only one day. Engagingly written as it is, it was just as addicting as Wendy Higgins debut novel. Don't underestimate Kaidan Rowe's lust or better love spell!
#10 How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

5/5 ***** HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES - A debut charged with exquisite and summery road trip fun you don't want to miss out on!

Jen's book came out only a few days ago and I've read it twice already. You know what makes me so giddy with excitement I could do a book dance all day? Jennifer is working on a sequel to HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES! There aren't many sequels or series in YA contemporary so it's no wonder I'm craving a continuation of a story I loved very much. I can't wait to possibly read more about Rosie and the boys' story!

Q! I've seen people tweeting their best of 2013 lists. Please link me to yours in the comments or tweet at me.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton

Title: Everbound (Everneath #2)
Author: Brodi Ashton
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: January 22nd 2013
Length: 358 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, romance, underworld, labyrint, elemental
Source: Bought

Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

Summary by Goodreads

Reading EVERBOUND over one year after I read EVERNEATH made me realize how much I missed Nikki and Jack and all the other characters. It was even good to see Cole again (only on a level where I appreciated his puns and comebacks, not in the romance category).
EVERNEATH ended with a major cliffhanger and I remember being so upset about Nikki and Jack being separated in the end. They are one of my YA dream couples, best friends who discovered their romantic feelings for each other and a couple with a meaningful and eventful past. It was an unavoidable urge to see Nikki and Jack be reunited again in EVERBOUND.

In order to save Jack we are going back to the Everneath, which was a very well thought-out place, holding many secrets and obstacles to make Nikki's quest so much harder and a treat for fans of puzzles and solving riddles like me. I adore marathon-like quests with many episodes and different levels to test our hero's strength and his willingness to reach his goal. These kind of quests provide YA stories with an action-feel that can't compete with any big blockbusters seen on the big screen.

Nikki, Cole and his friend Max have to pass through different rings of the Everneath, a maze-like structure with elemental obstacles. Nikki has to fight the powers water, wind and fire to reach her Jack. Brodi Ashton thought of so many thrilling twists and turns to the story that I couldn't put the book down for too long. She knows how to lure her readers in, make them trust her and then make the ending another cliffhanger. Well played!

Alternating with chapters set during the Everneath quest, Brodi Ashton gifted us with flashbacks to moments from Nikki and Jack's shared past. How they weren't sure if loving the other would be the best option for their friendship or how to test if the other felt the same. And we read about their first kiss, too. Reading about all those details and extra scenes that didn't make it into the first book was like an early Christmas present. So damn well-written and addictive.

Again Brodi Ashton included a few myths in the story. Nikki is obsessed with them and mainly concentrates on the famous Minotaur myth. EVERBOUND has less on the Daughters of Persephone than the first book and the myth retelling/story balance actually improved from the first book to this sequel.

5/5 ***** EVERBOUND - A hellishly exciting quest about saving your one true love, with exhilarating elemental goodness and the right balance between action, romance and humor.

Myths, old love stories and new romances, a quest, an elemental maze and an evil underworld queen to fight.  What else would an ambitious YA reader need for a perfectly alluring sequel. One of the best sequels that I've read!

"I see Jack every night. In my dreams. 
He's lying next to me. Parallel worlds ― the Surface for me, the tunnels of the Everneath for him ― that overlap at this one spot, and only for a moment. In my bedroom, while I dream." ― p.3 

EVERBOUND you might also enjoy THE ALCHEMY OF FOREVER by Avery Williams, DIE FOR ME by Amy Plum and SWEET EVIL by Wendy Higgins. They are all equally seductive and appealing and the first two are playing with different concepts of immortality and afterlife. 

* Can't get enough of the Everneath? Then you should read the NEVERFALL novella.

* Read an excerpt of EVERBOUND here.

* Click here for the EVERBOUND book trailer.

* For more information about Brodi and her books visit

Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review: Teardrop (Teardrop #1) by Lauren Kate

Title: Teardrop (Teardrop #1)
Author: Lauren Kate
Publisher: Random House UK
Publishing Date: October 24th 2013
Length: 441 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, romance, legend, Atlantis, water
Source: Publisher

Never, ever cry...

Seventeen-year-old Eureka won't let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning. She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean.

And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea. Suddenly her mother's death and Ander's appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don't make sense.

Can everything you love be washed away?

Summary by Goodreads


Never, ever cry...that's been Eureka's mantra since she's been a little kid. She's a descendant of a long line of women who may be powerful enough to drown the whole world with their tears. What an unique approach at an immense and very powerful character conflict! In addition the story Lauren Kate spins around the old Atlantis legend is imaginative, her writing is as diverse and her plot as gripping as I've known it from her FALLEN series.

Lauren Kate deliberately chose to set the focus on Eureka's complicated emotional world, how she's dealing with her mother's death and where she finds comfort now. Her best friend Brooks was one of my favourite characters... until their relationship morphed into some kind of an unhealthy and very strained romantic thing. There's not enough time for Eureka and Ander as it is and it took some time for me to see them working as a couple, so why introduce a possible second love interest? Eureka and Brooks' relationship isn't at all as it seems and a good portion of attentiveness will help the reader figure out what's behind it all. Nevertheless, I'm sure there will be just as many Team Brooks fans as Team Ander girls.

One of the things Eureka's mother left for her is a book. The book of love. And of course Eureka tries to translate it. The sequences of Eureka reading about this ancient tale were slowing the story down too much and I caught myself desperately waiting for the next encounter with Ander. He's perceptive and persistent. Also he is one of the few guys who knows his feelings are true and always follows his instinct to put Eureka's life before his own. YA readers will fall in love with him even before Eureka does! Eureka and Ander were just meant to be, their chemistry is great and the build-up of very strong emotions between them is one of the reasons why I'm so looking forward to see where their story is headed in the second TEARDROP book.
Eureka's enemies are numerous, people who don't want to see her gain power. TEARDROP has two strong fronts, one group is convinced that the world's end will mean a better future for everyone. The others are determined to prevent Eureka from crying, even if it has to happen by taking her life. The confrontations between these two formations could have been more offensive and dangerous for my like (because there is so much at stake). Still it was plausible that Lauren took her time to set the story and give us the chance to get to know Eureka very well, instead of giving us an action overdose.
Eureka's relationship to her mother, father, her step-mother and their twins is of high importance, too. Many childhood memories mixed with her current situation make the reader care about every character so much more. So I would characterise TEARDROP as a more character-focused first book in a series rather than one that would put the plot and its fast pace first.

4/5 **** TEARDROP – A mesmerizing new interpretation of the Atlantis myth, with a smooth and fluent writing and a spellbinding attraction between two lovers who are destined to be enemies.

From the picturesque and maritime setting, days spent at the beach or on the ocean sailing, to Eureka's restraint to shed any tears, this book is water-themed through and through. Lauren Kate's dreamy interpretation of the Atlantis myth leaves room for so many more ways for the story to go. I'm really curious to see what Lauren Kate's Atlantis looks like and how Eureka and Ander are going to survive the looming end of the world. So ready to dive into book two! 

"The question and her gaze paralyzed Ander. In that bewildered moment, the wave curled around them, and a crucial chance was lost: he would have time to save only one of them. He knew how cruel it was. But, selfishly, he could not let her go.
Just before the wave exploded over them, Ander grabbed her hand.
― p.10

TEARDROP by Lauren Kate you probably won't be finding another YA book with an Atlantis-inspired story background, at least I haven't heard of it. Please let me know if you do know one. I picked three mermaid or siren and water-themed books you could enjoy if you liked TEARDROP. They are OF POSEIDON by Anna Banks, SIREN by Tricia Rayburn and RIPPLE by Mandy Hubbard.


* Want to read more by Lauren Kate? How about starting her FALLEN series?

* Click here to read an excerpt of TEARDROP.

* You can watch the TEARDROP book trailer here.

*  For more information about Lauren Kate and her books visit

* Many thanks to Rose and Random House UK for sending me a copy of TEARDROP for review!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mini Reviews #18

I believe the 18th Mini Reviews edition should have something for every YA reader. Angels, demons and sinners, a cyborg mechanic from a futuristic China and mermaids. Today I'm reviewing SWEET PERIL by Wendy Higgins, CINDER by Marissa Meyer and OF TRITON by Anna Banks.

Sweet Peril (Sweet Evil #2) by Wendy Higgins

Anna is still the good girl at heart, no matter how many innocent humans the Dukes make her turn into sinners. Together with Kopano, the Son of Wrath she's travelling the world to find new allies in fellow Nephilim and ultimately fight for their freedom. Her feelings for Kaidan are true, they can help her win this war...or put her in great danger.
We meet new Nephilim, Zania and Flynn. Kopano, Blake and the twins are in for a fight against the Dukes as well.
With our jet set queen Anna travelling to meet the other Nephs we are seeing different cultures and exotic places. The change in scenery is well-done, taking us to places all over the world. It's a lovely collection of new impressions and the travelling makes SWEET PERIL so much more exciting. Whenever we were granted a scene with Kaidan all my senses were set on high alert, forbidding myself to miss even the tiniest details. This boy sure is the right to be the Son of Pharzup, the Duke of Lust. SWEET PERIL allows us to see many new facets of him, e.g. his emphatic and selfless character. Anna and Kaidan are exploring their domestic and cuddly side as a couple a bit. As much as they can be smoking hot, they can be cute as hell, too. 

5/5 ***** SWEET PERIL - The seven sins have never been sweeter and more tempting! 

After an amazing first book in the SWEET EVIL trilogy, I read SWEET PERIL in only one day. Engagingly written as it is, it was just as addicting as Wendy Higgins debut novel. Don't underestimate Kaidan Rowe's lust or better love spell!

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: April 30th 2013
Length: 371 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, romance, lust, sins, travelling
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is just a simple mechanic with a step-mother and two step-sisters. That's until she meets Prince Kai and gets on the bad side of Lunar Queen Levana by awakening Kai's interest. See the fairy-tale parallels? Of course, it's Cinderella!
CINDER is set in New Beijing, so there are apparent Chinese and Asian influences on characters and story. New Beijing has an original history which is currently determined by a plague that's spreading through the nation.
There are a bunch of fairy-tale retellings, but this one has an impressive magic of its own. Marissa Meyer took just one idea of an old story and made her very own story out of it. A very basic Cinderella retelling is pimped with a futuristic sci-fi interface. Who would think to make cinderella a cyborg? Sadly, I didn't click with the cyborg elements, even though they were inventive and a highlight for other readers. 
Kai and Cinder's dialogues are too funny, sometimes even sneaky and allusive, hinting at a more romantic interest on both sides. Their love story did help make CINDER a more interesting read, but wasn't a highlight either.

3,5/5 ***/* CINDER - A futuristic and cyborg-tastic fairy-tale world created by Marissa Meyer with much care and love for detail.

CINDER is not as explosive as I thought it could be, but unlike any other YA novel I've read. Marissa Meyer wrote a fairy-tale retelling of a whole new quality. She invented her own world, with the potential to not only be home to one fairy-tale character but a few more, like Rapunzel or Little Red Riding Hood. A versatile world I'm definitely coming back to!

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publishing Date: January 20rd 2012
Length: 387 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, futuristic, cyborg, fairy-tale retelling, romance
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage

Of Triton (Of Poseidon #2) by Anna Banks

Being the reason for starting a war between the two kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton isn't the worst there can be about your life, right? Finding out that your mother is the long-lost Princess of an underwater kingdom is worse. You are forbidden to be with your love, a true Prince. And what about learning that as a Half-Breed both kingdoms want to see you dead? 
OF TRITON might fill the spot next to OF POSEIDON on your book shelf, but barely adds progress to the actual story. What happened to Anna Banks' brilliant plot of the first book? Couldn't see it continuing in this sequel.
As Emma's mother's past is very important for the story in this second book, parts of her history are recapitulated and reconstructed and with that the story took a direction I couldn't enjoy that much anymore. Her mother's infuriating temper doesn't allow any discussions at all. And so she couldn't very well count on me to feel any kind of sympathy towards her. Then Emma and Galen's relationship isn't as fresh and as adventurous as in OF POSEIDON (which I loved). Can we please just abandon the adults in this story and let the teens have their sexy times?

3,5/5 ***/* OF TRITON - Not as much splashy underwater fun as the first book offered.

This is probably the shortest sequel ever. OF TRITON is weaker in story-building and romace-wise than the first book in the series.  Nevertheless it felt great to be back with our awesome sea crew, because Emma, Galen and their friends sure provide entertainment. I'm setting all my hopes on OF NEPTUNE to be the worthy and epic conclusion to OF POSEIDON.

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publishing Date: May 28th 2013
Length: 246 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, underwater kingdom, mermaid, romance
Source: Bought
Author's Homepage