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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.
 

Goodreads Summary

This is one of those stories that makes you feel as if you're on the same collision course as the main characters, Declan and Juliet. Literally, the entire time I was reading this book I was holding my breath. I love how intricate the plot was and how the author must have had to spend time planning it out and accounting for details. 

Juliet desperately misses her late mother. She views her mother as a perfect, whole person rather than a flawed woman. In keeping with tradition, she writes heartfelt letters to her mom and leaves them at her grave. My own mother experienced the death of her mom in her teens; I know how difficult it is to finish that last stage of growing up and adulthood without a mother to help guide you. Juliet has trouble adjusting to her mom's death and feels as if nothing will ever be the same (which it won't, will it?). She never imagines that someone might accidentally/on-purpose read her left-behind letters. 

Declan is visiting Juliet's mother's grave for a different reason entirely, but (like most people) cannot resist reading the letter he finds there and responding. What happens next is a correspondence building to a strong bond between two grieving teens. I loved how the parallel of the pair not knowing who they were to each other in high school versus in the letters. It's fascinating to read as certain scenes play out and I love books where the reader knows more than the main characters! The plot was a bit of a slow burn; I couldn't wait for the moment they found out who their respective letter-writer was in real life. I thoroughly enjoyed the ending despite guessing the roles each played in each other's lives from the beginning. Both my sister and I obsessively read this book throughout the night. 

4 Stars 






This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Dream Forever by Kit Alloway

Thursday, March 23, 2017
As the veil to the Dream becomes dangerously thin, Josh must stop it from tearing to save the world, in the conclusion to The Dream Walker Trilogy.

Trying to control her powers as the True Dream Walker is hard enough with Feodor as her instructor. But trying to learn her strengths with a broken heart makes it nearly impossible for Josh. When mysterious tears in the veil separating the Dream from the waking world begin to appear, and with Peregrine still on the run and Haley trapped in Death, Josh finds herself truly in over her head. With the World threatening to crumble around her, Josh must figure out who she really is and what she wants in time to save it, herself, and everyone she loves.

You won’t be disappointed in this exciting conclusion to Kit Alloway’s The Dream Walker Trilogy.

Goodreads Summary


I enjoyed the first two books in the series from this author and was so excited when I received this book in the mail! Josh's character continues to develop and she becomes a more intelligent, compassionate young woman. It still isn't easy for her to fully control her powers and her teachings with Feodor can be frustrating. I wish I could help people with their nightmares (and stepping into their dreams may be invasive, but it would be fun!). The book is told from three perspectives. Haley and Peregrine aren't doing so well; both have challenging situations on their hands and need to resolve them before the end of this trilogy! 

I liked Josh's, Peregrine's, and Haley's characters. They were pretty well-developed and they each had their personal struggles to overcome. I do wish there had been a bit more romance for Josh and Will, but having less romance probably allowed the plot to focus more on dream walking. The concept behind the book is fascinating and I think the author carried it out wonderfully. One thing that I thought was weird about the book: after I finished reading it, I couldn't believe that it took me even that long to finish it. For some reason, it felt like the entire plot could have been accomplished in forty pages or so. This would be a fun book to take on a plane ride or to the beach!

4 Stars





This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn



Last Call at Happies! Tonight, 8 P.M. Senior Class Only! Please with the Shhhh…. 

This is it. Graduation. And Vic Navarro is throwing the most epic party Rancho Soldado has ever seen. She’s going to pull off the most memorable good-bye ever for her best friends, give Happies—the kitschy restaurant that is her desert town’s claim to fame—a proper send-off into bankruptcy, and oh yes, hook up with her delicious crush, Jake Zavala-Kim. She only needs to keep the whole thing a secret so that her archnemesis, Miss Ann Thrope, Rancho Soldado’s nightmare Town Councilwoman and high school Economics teacher, doesn’t get Vic tossed in jail. 

With the music thumping, alcohol flowing, bodies mashing, and Thrope nowhere to be seen, Vic’s party is a raging success. That is, until Happies fans start arriving in droves to say good-bye, and storm the deserted theme park behind the restaurant. Suddenly what was a small graduation bash is more like Coachella on steroids with a side of RASmatazz pie. The night is so not going as planned. And maybe that’s the best plan of all.

Goodreads Summary



I loved the fast-paced, energetic tone that pervaded this novel. I finished the book within a day! Vic decides that she's going out of high school with a memorable bang! Vic knows that her party could get her in big trouble and potentially even alter her future if she doesn't keep it under wraps. When the party rages out of control Vic has to find a way to contain it and still have the night of her life.

I read other reviews that were highly critical of the book due to its fluffy content; however, I don't believe that every single book has to be about serious subjects and have meaningful life lessons. This book was exactly what it portrayed itself to be: fun, light-hearted, and exciting! I was perfectly happy reading about an out-of-control graduation party and its inhabitants. I loved the small town feel mixed with memories tinged by sadness and regret. Many people would like to have a memorable last experience in high school and this book certainly delivered.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
GIVEAWAY: 10 Mystery ARC copies from Young Adult Authors.



a Rafflecopter giveaway




This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho




Can the right kind of boy get away with killing the wrong kind of girl?

Fin and Betty’s close friendship survived Fin’s ninth-grade move from their coastal Maine town to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates.

Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones—and herself—at risk.

But Williston is a town full of secrets, where a delicate framework holds everything together, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda. How much is she willing to damage to get her revenge and learn the truth about Betty’s disappearance, which is more complicated than she ever imagined—and infinitely more devastating?
 

Goodreads Summary

This book was fascinating on multiple levels. I know that socioeconomic status, attractivity level, charisma, and intelligence are all factors in how we are perceived, but I never considered those factors on a criminal level. Fin and Betty are a strange pair. Their personalities were a little at odds with each other. When Fin hears that Betty has been murdered and that there was a confession by her ex, Calder, she knows that she has to return to discover the truth. She teams up with Serena and the pair develop something a little more than friendship. As Fin gets knee deep in the tumultuous truth her new relationship with Serena becomes evermore confusing. 

Fin's character was so-so for me. She was pushy and obnoxious to a fault. However, I admired her dedication to her friend and how much she cared for her despite Betty's demise. Serena's character was definitely not a favorite of mine. Her mouthy ways and inextricable ability to get Fin to do things that I found extremely questionable made me think she wasn't good for Fin. In a strange and ironic way, Calder's character was perfect. Kind, loving, and charismatic, one would never suspect him even when he did claim to have killed Betty. The delicate overlay of he-said, she said and what really happened on that fatal day when Betty died was handled very well by the author. I was both surprised and a little sad at the ending, but this book really made me think.

4 Stars




This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Cover Reveals!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Wrath and the Dawn meets Snow White and the Huntsman in this dark and mystical East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns possesses all the hallmarks of masterful fantasy: dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance. Fans of HeartlessStealing Snow, and Red Queen will devour this stunning debut.

Goodreads Summary






From the author of Our Chemical Hearts comes the hilarious, reality-bending tale of two outsiders facing their greatest fears about life and love one debilitating phobia at a time.

Ever since Esther Solar's grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther's father is agoraphobic and hasn't left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.

The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them. 

Esther doesn't know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares. 

Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn't counted on: love.

Goodreads Summary



We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We'd been so sure someone would find us by now.

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

I'd trusted Henri more than I'd trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I'd follow.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart. 

For the first time, I was afraid we'd die on this shore.

To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

Goodreads Summary


Fans of Eleanor and Park and All the Bright Places will laugh and cry as they read this heartbreaking and life-affirming novel about love after the most profound loss.

Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails.

Jonah, the first boy she'd told she loved and the first boy to say it back.

Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming.

Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse?

As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.

Funny, heartbreaking, hopeful, and wondrous, in the vein of Six Feet Under and I’ll Give You the Sun, Things I'm Seeing Without You is a beautiful examination of what it means to love someone, to lose someone, and to love again.
 

Goodreads Summary


This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley


Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came. 

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. 

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Goodreads Summary

I loved the concept behind this book despite not really liking all of the characters. Rachel left a letter for Henry on the day she moved that announced that she loved him after all of their years of friendship. When he never responded to her declaration she decided that she was done with him. They remained that way for years until she returns to work side by side with him (not entirely willingly). He accuses her of becoming a long lost best friend and she responds with snark, too. I loved their playful dialogue and the clear sexual tension between the two. 

Henry and his on-again off-again girlfriend broke up recently and Rachel still had loose ends back home with a guy named Joel. Henry still believed that his girlfriend, Amy, would come back to him.  Despite all of these obstacles, Henry and Rachel still found a way back to each other. I did find it highly aggravating that they both seemed so blind to each other's desire for each other and Henry's inability to accept that Amy might just be using him. I actually loved the bookstore and the Letter Library. It sounds so amazing that people can write letters to each other and leave them in books and get responses. I loved thinking about that happening in bookstores around me. The ending was sweet and exactly how I expected it to end. The secondary characters involved were also pretty entertaining. Overall, I found this a nice, quick read.

4 Stars


This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Thursday, March 9, 2017
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
 

Goodreads Summary

Dimple and Rishi are two totally opposite personalities. Though they say opposites attract, I doubted that saying in this one and, I have to admit, sometimes felt as if some of the "love" scenes were forced. Dimple's family wants her to find a great Indian husband; Rishi's family wants him to major in engineering and find a great Indian wife. When the families suggest an arranged marriage, they have no idea that both Dimple and Rishi will be attending the same summer program. As they pair get to know each other they realize that they are not so far apart in ideology and likes/dislikes as they think. They experiences new events together and have a few steamy scenes. Dimple, however, remains unsure of the arrangement and prefers her independence. I really loved finding out how the story ended.

Dimple's character annoyed me. She was fun, intelligent, and forward-thinking, but she was also pushy, obnoxious, and willful to a fault. Rishi was very adorable. His shy, sweet personality will instantly make the reader like him. I still don't know if they are necessarily "right" for each other, but I did like how organic their relationship felt. The book focused on their two characters and sometimes it felt like there were literally no other characters involved in the plot. I liked Menon's writing style and her way of inserting Hindi words and snippets of Indian culture.

3 1/2 Stars



This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

100 Hours by Rachel Vincent

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


A decadent spring break getaway on an exotic beach becomes a terrifying survival story when six Miami teens are kidnapped and ransomed.

Maddie is beyond done with her cousin Genesis’s entitled and shallow entourage. Genesis is so over Miami’s predictable social scene with its velvet ropes, petty power plays, and backstabbing boyfriends.

While Maddie craves family time for spring break, Genesis seeks novelty—like a last-minute getaway to an untouched beach in Colombia. And when Genesis wants something, it happens.

But paradise has its price. Dragged from their tents under the cover of dark, Genesis, Maddie, and their friends are kidnapped and held for ransom deep inside the jungle—with no diva left behind. It all feels so random to everyone except Genesis. She knows they were targeted for a reason. And that reason is her.

Now, as the hours count down, only one thing’s for certain: If the Miami hostages can’t set aside their personal problems, no one will make it out alive.
 

Goodreads Summary


I read this book in less than a day. Weirdly, it was not because I liked the characters (I didn't) or because I thought the plot was fascinating (it wasn't), but that the author managed to capture real quirks and characteristics of a group of teens and make them all stand out. Although I literally liked none of the characters (Maddie wasn't so bad or self-absorbed), I liked getting to know each of them. The author pulled no punches with the plot either. Right when I thought I knew how the book was going to end or which characters were going to make it out...the rug was pulled out from under my suppositions. 

Maddie and Genesis are cousins who aren't too fond of each other (I'm not of mine either so I totally get it). When they decide to go on a trip together with friends and their other cousin (Maddie's brother, Ryan), Genesis once again calls the shots. At first, everything goes well, but after a while emotions get heated and our unhappy group runs into trouble. When a rogue gang captures their group and holds them for ransom, Genesis is the only one who knows what is truly going on. Genesis and Maddie are the two points of view that are central, but we also learn about Holden (spoiled, cheat-y rich boy), Ryan (all swagger, but no real game), Pen (whiny), and Neda (eh). It was a little bit difficult keeping track of the characters, but once I had them down I found them interesting. There were a few bits in the book that felt highly unrealistic for realistic fiction (book's plot was over the course of 100 hours and very clearly not a fantasy). 

One of the parts of the book I absolutely hated concerned the ridiculous amount of hook ups among the "friends." While I know a few people who actually do this I want to emphasize it's a few. I don't know how anyone would even have the time (100 hours) and the desire to do it all. In a weird way, I still enjoyed the novel and I was surprised by the ending to some extent. I likely will pick up the next few books in the series. 

3 Stars



This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Lifeblood by Gena Showalter: Promo!

Friday, March 3, 2017

ABOUT LIFEBLOOD:
My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.

With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.
 

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound


ABOUT GENA SHOWALTER:
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances, as well as young adult novels. Her series include White Rabbit Chronicles, Angels of the Dark, Otherworld Assassins, Lords of the Underworld, Alien Huntress and Intertwined.

Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated all over the world. The critics have called her books "sizzling page-turners" and "utterly spellbinding stories", while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”. 

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest







This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Robin Talley Twitter Takeover!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Robin Talley Twitter Takeover
Who: Fans of YA and Robin Talley!
What: Twitter Takeover. New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley will be discussing some of her "firsts" and answering reader questions about her books! (Lies We Tell Ourselves, What We Left Behind, As I Descended, and her latest release Our Own Private Universe)
When: March 9th, 2-4pm ET Where: @YoungEntmag
How: Head over to @YoungEntmag on March 9th at 2pm ET, follow along, and tweet your questions to Robin!
Why: Our Own Private Universe (HarlequinTeen; January 31, 2017) is a timely tale of self-discovery and social awareness, hailed by Kirkus in a starred review as “an important and heartfelt contribution to contemporary teen lit about queer women: hopeful, realistic, and romantic.” 
About the Book: Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it's mostly about sex.  No, it isn't that kind of theory. Aki already knows she's bisexual—even if, until now, it's mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.  Actually, Aki's theory is that she's got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she's got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It's time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.  So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing.  About the Author: Robin Talley, author of Lies We Tell Ourselves (September 2014), What We Left Behind (October 2015), As I Descended (September 2016), and Our Own Private Universe (January 2017), grew up in Roanoke, Virginia. A Lambda Literary Fellow, Robin now lives in Washington, D.C., with her wife, plus an antisocial cat and a goofy hound dog. When Robin’s not writing, she’s often planning communication strategies at organizations fighting for equal rights and social justice. You can find her on the web at www.robintalley.com or on Twitter at @robin_talley.
Hope to see you there!
This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ