*REVIEW* Feral


It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened. 

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley...

Feral is an interesting book that starts out extremely strong, gets a little weird and awkward in the middle, and then ends on a good note that leaves you feeling overall pleased with the book. And thank GOODNESS for the ending because the middle? I found myself literally grumbling to myself because I did not understand where the plot was taking us readers. That's the thing about books though... a good ending can change everything.

Feral introduces us to Claire, a high school student who barely survived a horrific beating in Chicago, based on a story she wrote for her journalism class that attracted the attention of local media and became a big deal. Claire and her father move to Peculiar, a strange small town so that Claire can recover emotionally from the ordeal she went through. Unfortunately, things are not as calm in Peculiar as her father and she hoped they would be. The town lives up to its name as Claire discovers the body of a missing girl, a body being eaten by the large amount of feral cats that call Peculiar home...

Claire is thrust into a dangerous world as she begins investigating some strange occurrences in town, picking up where the dead girl, Serena, left off in her investigating for a story she was working on for the school newspaper. Claire makes the shocking discovery that things are really not what they seem in Peculiar and that her very life, and soul, may be in danger. Just when Claire thinks she has it all figured out, she stumbles across the most horrifying truth yet--and learns that she may not be able to trust even herself. Will Claire figure things out in time or will she be another casualty of this strange town? All will be revealed in this riveting tale by Holly Schindler.

This one will definitely keep you guessing and the ending is a true surprise. If mystery and intrigue are up your alley, check this one out when it releases in August. Happy Reading!

Expected publication date: August 26, 2014 by HarperTeen

Mommy Wars

Since becoming a mom, I've made the effort to join several online "mommy groups" because let's face it, as a new parent, I have NO idea if I'm doing the right thing half the time. It's really wonderful to have a group of women you can talk to, commiserate with, share and give advice with, all that good stuff. In addition, I also have real life mommy friends who are always there to lend an ear, a shoulder, whatever is needed at the moment. Most of the time, these interactions are wonderful but an ugly little truth has become known to me... the prevalence and nastiness of the "Mommy Wars".

If you haven't joined the mommy club yet, you may have no idea what I'm talking about. "Mommy Wars" basically refers to the differing opinions on some hot-button topics that tends to lead to women dividing themselves. Rather than supporting other moms and their choices, women end up bashing others and trying to persuade people that their way is the right way. Two issues that I've seen spawn a great deal of bitterness and hatefulness:

  • SAHM vs Working Moms
  • Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding

My thought is this: While it's totally acceptable to have a strong opinion on what is best for you, your child, and your family, no one really has the right or knowledge to say what is best for others. Because the truth is, most of the time, you may not truly be aware of what other people are facing and what their health, financial, and family situations are. I happen to be a working mom who formula feeds and I've been pretty offended by some comments directed at that way of life because the truth is, I must work or my daughter would not have a roof over her head or food in her little tummy. My income forms a significant portion of our monthly income, I am definitely the primary breadwinner, and no amount of cutting things out or budgeting will change the need for me to work. I ended up formula feeding because of health concerns and difficulties my daughter and I faced the first couple weeks of her life. It was a rough and heartbreaking choice for me because I loved the connection breastfeeding afforded us and really wanted it to work out for us. But I was faced with unforeseen complications and I was inexperienced, not a great combination. I shouldn't be shamed by others because of choices I've made, or been forced to make.

So I implore all the mamas out there: Think before you speak! You really do not know what someone feels deep inside or the choices that have been forced upon them. Moms should be supporting one another and not letting jealousy and judgment derail what should be positive and supportive relationships. I plan on having another post dedicated to "Mommy Judging" because that's a very real, and very sad thing that undermines mom-to-mom friendships. And as a working mom who has felt small based on the comments of some SAHM people, I plan on writing a post about what NOT to say to your working mom friends. I'll also include the flip-side because I'm sure there are SAHM people who have felt belittled by their working mom friends. It's time to respect one another and lend support because being ANY kind of mom is hard work. While we may all have our opinions on who has it "harder", I think we can all agree that being a mom is hard work regardless of how you spend your time from 9-5 and how you're feeding your little one.

Cheesy, but true: Love, not war, people. Enjoy your weekend! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* The Girl from the Well


You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night. 

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out. 

My thoughts:

I really wanted to love this book and the premise sounded AWESOME, very much like The Ring movies that I found quite good. But for some reason, I just couldn't get there with this book at all. I'm thinking it's cause I must be visual with my horror, needing to actually SEE the grisly details, rather than just read about them. And I also just didn't form an emotional connection with any of the characters. In fact, my favorite character was the girl from the well and I don't think that bodes well for the other alive characters in the book.

The Girl from the Well introduces us to Okiku, a malevolent spirit who seeks out those who murder children. The deaths she cause are frightening and stump officials as it seems that the victims drown without water being present. Okiku meets Tarquin, a teenage boy with a malevolent spirit of his own. The spirit inside Tarquin is attempting to break free, and Okiku finds herself drawn to him, wanting to help save him. She's aided by Callie, Tarquin's sweet cousin who finds herself drawn into the dark world of exorcisms and creepy doll rituals. All must travel to Japan to try to put an end to the woman in black's reign of terror... for good. 

I really think that some people will LOVE this book and find it frightening in all the right ways. But again, I just couldn't seem to get there. While the details were there and I felt like I should be scared, I just didn't have any sort of emotional response to this book. The only character I had any feels for whatsoever was Okiku and I was impressed by her choices at the end of the book. But really, I could have gone without reading this and even considered making it a DNF at one point. Definitely not the type of book for me but if reading horror is your jam, this book could be for you. Check it out when it releases in August if you think it's for you. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: August 5, 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire

*REVIEW* Vampires of Manhattan


The Vampires of Manhattan is "hipster horror"--the memorable characters from her Blue Bloods series are older and cooler than before, trying to build "Millennial" lives in the bustle of Manhattan while battling forces of evil and, of course, each other.

Hero of this sexy, paranormal action tale is Oliver Hazard-Perry, former human conduit, and Manhattan's only human-turned-vampire, now the head of the Blue Bloods Coven. When his all-too-human lover is found murdered on the eve of the coven's annual Four Hundred Ball--a celebration meant to usher in a new era in vampire society, and to mark the re-unification of the Coven after decades of unrest and decay--Oliver is devastated.

Now, not only is he trying to create a new world order for the immortal elite, he's the prime suspect and is stalked by the newly installed head of the vampire secret police. Because according to the new rules, vampires who take human life can now be executed. Burned.

How can an immortal sentenced to die fight back? He has to find the killer--and the answers lie deep in vampire lore.

I'm not going to lie... when I first started reading Vampires of Manhattan, I wasn't blown away. I LOVED the original Blue Bloods series and stepping back into that world at first felt like putting on an old pair of jeans--while they fit, something just wasn't quite RIGHT. Like the fabric was too scratchy, or they had shrunk a little in the dryer, SOMETHING. But by the end of the book, I felt like I had slipped on a comfortable pair of worn-in sneakers.... I was home.

Vampires of Manhattan picks up the story ten years after the defeat of Lucifer and things have changed quite a bit. Good ol' Ollie is now Regent of the Blue Bloods Coven and is coordinating a new Four Hundred Ball with his human familiar and mate, Finn, who just HAPPENS to be Schuyler Van Alen's sister. In addition, Mimi and Kingsley are back in NYC, creepy murders are taking place in the city, and a mysterious new party drug is making the rounds with some influential people. Never a dull moment for our favorite Blue Bloods! 

Twists and turns will leave readers guessing as to who the good guys, and the bad guys, really are. And a shocking murder will have everything turned upside down--Oliver will end up having to call in some old friends, friends who are near and dear to readers everywhere. Will Oliver be able to clear his name in time, or will his reign as immortal being be entirely too short? Answers await in the new cycle of the Blue Blood Coven.

Is this book life changing? Absolutely not. I think readers who loved the original series will like this, once they get past the awkward feel of it in the beginning. While I understand and appreciate what de la Cruz was attempting to do, bringing her former YA series to the adult front, it comes off a little uncomfortable with some awkward sex scenes thrown in. When I got past that, and the snooty and over-the-top focus on wealth and material possessions, I was reminded about what I had loved about the original series. It's still there, you just have to give it some time to capture that old feeling. 

I do have to say though that the above synopsis is SUPER spoilery in that the death they talk about doesn't occur until the very end of the book. The synopsis above basically summarizes the major plot points and gets you ready for the next book in the series. But the really great news? Some much loved characters are poised to return in the follow-up novel. Hallelujah! Bring on some Sky and Jack. 

Vampires of Manhattan is set to release September 9, 2014 by Hyperion Books.

*REVIEW* I'll Give You the Sun


Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and divisive ways... until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as an unpredictable new mentor. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

I had never read anything by Jandy Nelson before and after reading I'll Give You the Sun, I will be scooping up EVERY SINGLE THING that she writes. This novel completely ensnared me... I laughed, I cried, I was moved beyond words. The interlocking nature of all of the characters was so compelling and the way in which Nelson revealed the relationships was brilliant. This novel is pure amazingness and you OWE it to yourself to read it the second it releases in September.

I'll Give You the Sun follows the story of Jude and Noah, twins with a wonderful and intense connection. Circumstances happen that drive a wedge between the twins, and it's through flashbacks in Noah's POV, and present day through Jude's POV, that we learn all that has conspired to come between the twins. As we watch Jude become entangled with a new mentor, and a dangerous-to-her-heart boy, we start to see amazing connections... connections to the past that Jude will never see coming. Will Noah and Jude make their way back to one another, or will the past be too much for them to handle? This book will keep you engaged until the very end, with some twists and turns, laughter and tears, all racing to a conclusion that will leave readers in love with Jandy Nelson and her amazing writing.

SQUEEEE! This book. THIS BOOK!!! It's seriously so, so good. I was blown away by Nelson's ability to slowly tell the story, unraveling secrets in a tantalizing and completely addictive way. I remember thinking to myself at one point, "that is so freakin' cool!" The ways that the characters are connected to one another is truly inspired and original and this novel is amazing beyond words. I refuse to spoiler anyone because that would be criminal, but rest assured: this is one book you do NOT want to miss. I'll Give You the Sun is set to release September 16, 2014 by Dial Books for Young Readers. Mark your calendars! Happy Reading! *XOXO*

Waiting on Wednesday (44)


Willa is freaking out. It seems like she's seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- is trying to send her a message.

Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles -- a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa's strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There's Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there's Reed, who's ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There's also Wyatt, who's super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.

All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind... or her life.

Expected publication date: September 30, 2014 by Point

This book sounds FUN! I love murder mysteries and someone reenacting famous movie murder scenes? Bring it! Definitely looking forward to reading this one when it releases in September.

Teaser Tuesday: With All My Soul

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

Today's teaser comes from With All My Soul, the final book in the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent:

I fled the office as fast as I could go without running. I left Ms. Hirsch in the hands of a hellion, not because I didn't know how to evict him without being expelled for attacking a staff member--though that was true--but because I was scared to listen to him anymore. I couldn't hear one more loaded word from the hellion of wrath, because deep down, part of me wondered if he might be right. pg. 85

SQUEEEEE! This series is SO, SO good! If you haven't tried it out, WHAT are you waiting for?! (WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, HUH?! *cheesy I Know What You Did Last Summer flashback*) Seriously, you owe it to yourself to give this series a chance. Enjoy! *xoxo*
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