Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pushing the Limits READ-A-LONG ~ Week 1

I absolutely loved Pushing the Limits so I decided to participate in the Read-A-Long from July 31st-August 28th.  For 6 weeks we'll be reading and discussing the book, so if you'd like to join head over and sign up!  It's going to be lots of fun, and there are lots of fun prizes to win.

1. The story starts out with Echo’s thoughts on how she wants to answer her therapist’s questions (snarky and caustically truthful) which are quickly juxtaposed to how she does (milque-toasty and banal).  Who do you think she hides the truth for more, her parents or herself?
I think that because her dad is so controlling and over-bearing she has no desire to talk about things in front of him.  I'm sure there's a part of her that wants to hide the truth from herself, but for the most part it's her dad she is hiding from.

 2. We see Mrs. Collins, the school therapist, interact with both Echo and Noah in the first few chapters. From those interactions, what do you think of her? Is she a prototypical caricature of state care? Or do you think she’s there to make an honest difference in the lives of those she’s there to help?
Oh I love her!  She wants to help Echo and Noah, even if it's by tough love.  And I love how she handles Echo's dad.

3. Noah has two friends, Beth and Isaiah, who have his back no matter what--through thick and thin--and he has theirs. Consequently, his life is a little easier because he has two people who know about his situation. Echo only has one close friend, and Lila will barely speak to her in school.  Do you think Echo would have had an easier time coping and moving on if she had friends like Noah does?
Definitely!  Most of her friends aren't real friends if you ask me.  Especially Grace!  Echo has no one she can really talk to, no support.

4 . Echo fixates on a colorful ribbon that sits on the school counselor's desk during their one-on-one sessions.   Do you think this is a case of "Oh, look at the pretty ribbon. Let me zone out while staring at it" , or could it have a deeper significance!
I immediately felt like the ribbon was special!  It was just too much of a coincidence and Mrs. Collins was too nonchalant about it.

 5 .) Noah and the jacket... Already when Noah and Echo meet for the first time, Noah got angry when Echo forgot her Jacket (pg 34). Then on Echo’s Birthday party Noah gave Echo his jacket when he saw that she forgot hers (pg 54). There is a significance behind his anger when Echo has no coat and it tells already so much about Noah! 

a) Why do you think is Noah so focused on Echo and her Jacket and what does that tell you about Noah's character?
I think it shows us that the Noah the world sees is not the real Noah.  He makes himself look like a bad boy that cares nothing about others, but that's not how he really is.

b) Show us your  favorite jacket! Either with you having it on or alone!I got this jacket at the end of the season last year and I haven't gotten to wear it yet, but I love it!!  Can't wait for cold weather so I can wear it! 

George - Women's Double-Breasted Faux Wool Peacoat

6. Echo wears gloves all the time to hide her scars. Not only for her sake, but obviously also for the others. When Noah sees Echo’s scars for the first time he’s shocked.
a) Do you think this was the moment he began to see Echo in a different light?

I don't think he realized just how badly Echo was emotionally scarred, but when he sees the scars on her arms he realizes that she didn't hurt herself, that she was hurt by someone.  So yes, I think he begins to realize she's totally different from the way people see her.

b) Show us your favorite pair of gloves!

I bought a new pair of gloves too, and they're black with the cool sticky fingers so you can use your phone.  Sorry, no picture.  They're packed away with the winter clothes.

Monday, July 30, 2012

REVIEW: Rape Girl by Alina Klein

Rape Girl
Title:  Rape Girl
Author:  Alina Klein
Pages:  126
Publisher:  Myrick Marketing & Media, LLC
Publishing Date:  June 5, 2012
Format:  eBook
Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley
Buy It:  Amazon or B&N

Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl.  But not the rape girl.

That’s who she is now. Rape Girl. Because everyone seems to think they know the truth about what happened with Adam that day, and they don’t think Valerie’s telling it.

Before, she had a best friend, a crush, and a close-knit family. After, she has a court case, a support group, and a house full of strangers.

The real truth is, nothing will ever be the same.

Rape Girl is the compelling story of a survivor who does the right thing and suffers for it. It is also the story of a young woman’s struggle to find the strength to fight back.

Valerie wants what all high school girls want.  She wants to be popular, she wants to fit in and she wants to date that cute guy.  When Valerie's mother goes out of town she and her best friend, Mimi, decide to throw a party.  Things spiral out of control pretty fast and both girl end up extremely drunk.  The last thing Valerie expects when she's nursing her hangover the next morning is to wake up to her crush, Adam, undressing her.  When she reports him everyone, even Mimi, thinks she's lying. 

I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't seem to connect with Valerie.  I felt like I should be angry for her and I should feel sorry for her, but there wasn't enough back story for me to really relate to the situation.  The book was more about her social demise than it was the emotional turmoil she had to deal with after the rape.  And since we don't really know her before the rape it's hard to think of her as anything other than "rape girl".  Her mother's breakdown actually felt a little more real to me.  She feels guilty that she wasn't there to protect her daughter, and there is nothing she can do to protect her from the gossip.  I found myself sympathizing with her, maybe because I'm a mother.  Just when the book started to feel like it was picking up I was left with an ending that had a lot to be desired.  While I didn't dislike it, Rape Girl wasn't as good as I had hoped.

2 Stars * *

Sunday, July 29, 2012

REVIEW: Son of Rage and Love by Thomas Raymond

The Son of Rage and LoveTitle:  Son of Rage and Love
Author:  Thomas Raymond
Publisher:  Self-Published
Date Published:  May 21, 2012
Format:  Paperback
Source:  Provided by author for honest review
Buy It:  Amazon or B&N

12 Year-old Daniel used to run, jump, and climb on everything in sight. He played, laughed, made all kinds of noise, took things apart, and built new stuff from the pieces. Unfortunately for him, such acts of nonconformity can make inconvenient ripples on the smooth surface of wealthy suburban bliss. Years ago, Daniel was judged to have ADHD, and soon, "Pills fixed all that. They quiet most of my imagination, and the video swallows up whatever’s left."

Nowadays, Daniel just wants a little adventure, a bit of unscripted life to clear up the fog of his mundane existence. Every aspect of his life is under strict control of a narcissistic Grandmother, and the minions she hires to run the house. Disillusioned with the "remoras" who worship his mother's money and fame, and certain his older sister is becoming one of them, Daniel has all but given up hope. "I've learned not to fuss . . . A fuss is a big mistake. . . . At least I am smart enough to just take the pill and wait for the fog to roll in." But years of heavy medication coupled with long escapes into video games have turned his world to grey, blurring his perception of reality versus fantasy.

When Daniel's mother adopts a 13 year-old, free-spirited orphan, the two boys become immediate friends and allies. The absolute authority of Grandmother is finally challenged. The ensuing struggle at once gives Daniel hope, but also threatens his sanity.

The Son of Rage and Love is the intense, at times disturbing story of one boy's quest to reclaim his own mind. In a place and time where the appearance of the perfect life is more important than freedom itself, where strong will and disruptive ideas are quickly medicated into quiet indifference, Daniel and his new brother try against the odds to sever the puppet strings for good.


I wasn't really sure what to expect when I agreed to read and review Son of Rage and Love, but the concept was intriguing.  A story told from the point of view of a 12 year old boy, Daniel, who is the son of a famous singer named Maya.  He and his sister are being raised by their over-bearing, control freak grandmother.  She expects everything to be exactly as she wants it, especially the children.  Both Daniel and his sister have been diagnosed with ADHD and are medicated daily.  They get up and have breakfast at exactly 8:30 where they are given their pink pills and "wait for the fog to roll in."  Daniel hates pretty much everything about his life until his mother adopts a wild and spirited 13 year old Haitian orphan named Jean-Maurice.  The boys immediately become friends, and Daniel envies his new brother.  He remembers a time when he was that happy. 

I really enjoyed Son of Rage and Love.  I like the way Daniel describes things such as the fog that envelopes him after he's taken his medication.  He also talks about his grandmother as if she's a machine.  When she gets upset he sees her transforming.  He talks about his famous mother's entourage following her around like remoras would a shark.  Daniel has a very vivid imagination, but on the medication he can't seem to tell real from imaginary.  His outlook on things is refreshing even if it is disturbing at times.  I loved Jean-Maurice and his quirky personality.  His presence changes everyone in the family, especially Daniel.  He bonds with Daniel immediately and together the two take on the evil mechanical grandmother.  Daniel matures a lot over the course of the book.  In the beginning he just does exactly what is expected of him, but he eventually decides that he'd like to think for himself.  Sometimes when he would be lost in thought it felt like he was much older than his 12 years, but at other times he came across as being immature.  This was a unique addition to the YA genre, and not something I would typically choose, but I'm really glad Thomas Raymond asked me to review it. 

3 Stars * * *   

Friday, July 27, 2012

ARC REVIEW: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits
Title: Pushing the Limits
Author:  Katie McGarry
Pages:  384
Series:  Bared to You (Companion Novel)
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Date Published:  July 31, 2012
Format:  eBook
Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley
Buy It:  Amazon or B&N

"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.


Fave Quote:

"The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see -- the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes.  No, the worst kind happened when your sould wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it.  A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived.  For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life."

Pushing the Limits is definitely going at the top of my favorite reads of the year!  This book was gritty and dark and absolutely amazing.  It's told in alternating points of view, which I tend to enjoy.  I like that I got to know who Echo and Noah really are.  

Both Echo and Noah have been through terrible ordeals in their pasts.  First Echo's brother is killed overseas, and then something happens that leaves her covered in scars and other than the fact that her mom had something to do with it, she can't remember what caused them.  Her father is overbearing and a control freak and she hates her stepmother.  Noah's parents died in a house fire and since then he's been passed from one foster family to another.  He's a dark bad boy that's always getting high and using girls.  All Noah cares about is turning eighteen so that he can get his younger brothers out of the foster system.  When their counselor/therapist, Mrs. Collins, asks Echo to tutor Noah they become an unlikely pair in a mutual attempt to steal information from their case files.  Echo wants to know what happened to her the night she got her scars, and Noah wants to know where his brothers are.

This is an emotionally raw story.  There is so much pain shared between these two, and even with the supporting characters.  Both Echo and Noah are strong characters even though they've been through so much turmoil in their lives.  Even when they break down it's a part of the healing they need to go through to move on with their lives.  The romance in Pushing the Limits is very genuine.  This is no love-at-first-sight-fall-madly-and-deeply kind of romance.  The attraction between Noah and Echo is sweet, but it's better because it's more than physical.  It's also about the way they support and care for each other when they reach the bottom.  It's tough, it's emotional and it's real.  I absolutely adored Mrs. Collins.  She is a great supporting character that gives the story a level of comedy while also moving the main characters forward in healing.  It's immediately obvious that she really cares about Echo and Noah in a way neither of them have ever had with other therapists.  I love that each and every character has major growth throughout the story.  None of them are without flaws and emotional scars, but they are all working to push themselves to be someone better.  Pushing the Limits was a beautifully written, dark and emotional read, and I loved every minute of it.

4 Stars * * * *

Thursday, July 26, 2012

SYNC YA Audiobooks All Summer ~ Week 7

I am so in love with audiobooks, and this is an absolutely amazing offer!! Sync is offering 2 free audiobooks every week for 10 weeks, and this is Week 7! One book will be a popular Young Adult book and the other will be a Classic that is related to or parallels the first title. And the best part is they're good books!! And, they're yours to keep! 20 free audiobooks...AMAZING!! Click here to see a list of the 20 books and the dates they will be available. I'll be updating here every week with the books that are currently free. I highly, highly recommend everyone go grab these audiobooks while they're available!! Best. Deal. Ever. Go Now!!

Week 7!
Click on the Title to be taken to the download page.


 PinnedBy Alfred C. MartinoRead by Mark Shanahan
Published by Listen & Live Audio

Dealing with family problems, girls, and their own competitive natures, high school seniors Ivan Korske and Bobby Zane face each other in the final match of the New Jersey State Wrestling Championship.


LocomotionBy Jacqueline Woodson
Read by Dion Graham
Published by Brilliance Audio
In a series of poems, eleven-year-old Lonnie writes about his life, after the death of his parents, separated from his younger sister, living in a foster home, and finding his poetic voice at school.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wish List Wednesday (10): Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves

Every Wednesday I highlight a book that I've recently added to my ever growing to-be-read pile. I know that I'll never get through them all, but it's nice to have a Wish List in place! So what's on your Wish List?! Comment here with your Wish List Wednesday link so everyone can check it out!


Having recently read and reviewed On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves, I knew Covet had to be on my WLW this week.  I absolutely adored On the Island, and I'm excited to read more by Ms. Graves.  Covet is scheduled to release Fall of 2012, so we don't have too long to wait!  Be sure to add this to your Goodread TBR! 

What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?

Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire.

Daniel Rush had it all, until a tragic accident took away everything he cherished. A chance meeting with Claire sets in motion a chain of events that will leave three people questioning their choices and dealing with the aftermath of their decisions.

Monday, July 23, 2012

ARC REVIEW & AUTHOR Q&A: Wake by Amanda Hocking

Wake (Watersong, #1)

Title: Wake
Author:  Amanda Hocking
Series:  Watersong (#1)
Pages:  320
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Date Published:  August 7, 2012
Format:  Paperback ARC
Source:  Received from author for review
Buy It:  Amazon or B&N

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.


"Lexi put her arm around her, and something about the touch made the hair on the back of Gemma's neck stand up.  Instinctively Gemma pulled away from her, but then Lexi began singing again, and Gemma melted in her arm."

This is the first siren story I've read, and I enjoyed it so much!  It has a good dose of romance, family drama, and it's super spooky.  Wake follows Gemma and Harper, two sisters with very different personalities.  Gemma, the younger of the two, is a free spirit.  She loves swimming, especially at night, and she tends to be bit self absorbed.  Harper, on the other hand, is extremely level-headed and responsible.  She tends to be more of a parental figure than a sister.  One night Gemma is out swimming when she runs into Penn, Lexi and Thea, three girls that are new in town.  They are beautiful, captivating and strangely scary.  She can't put her finger on it, but Gemma knows they can't be trusted. After her late night meeting with them everything starts to change.

I've been a fan of Amanda's since she self-published her first series, My Blood Approves.  She has a very unique writing style that seems to draw you into the story.  I was so excited to read Wake because I knew that a story about sirens, something so magical, was exactly the kind of thing Amanda could put her own spin on and make it wonderful.  Wake is an extremely compelling story.  It grabbed me from the very first page.  Gemma and Harper have a somewhat strained relationship, but it's obvious that they love each other.  They have a great dad that manages to be there for them even though he's basically a single father.  Their mother was injured in a car wreck, and she lives in an assisted living home.  Although she's got a lot of mental issues she still comes across as a caring and loving mother.  I have a feeling that there may be more to her that we haven't seen yet.  Gemma's love interest, Alex, happens to be the boy next door.  He's always just been a friend, but things have started to change between them.  I didn't really connect with Alex very well, and I would have liked to have seen more of him.  I think his real personality will come out in the next book because he now as an important job to do.  Harper's love interest, Daniel, is definitely my favorite character.  He lives on his boat in the harbor and leads a pretty quite life.  At first Harper doesn't like him, and she's really rude to him.  I love how he takes it all in stride and never lets it get to him.  He's constantly throwing out witty comments, which I love.  And then we have Penn, Lexi and Thea.  Oh my goodness are these girls creepy!  Every time they speak the people around them hang on every word.  But Gemma and Harper seem to sense that they are evil.  When they came to town there were four of them.  Now there are only three and they want Gemma to join them.  How creepy is that!?  My only complaint with them is that I never really got a grasp on who was who.  They didn't seem to have very unique personalities.  I suppose this could be part of the mythology of the sirens always functioning as a group.  They don't really have unique personalities.

I really enjoyed Wake, and I love that I'm now addicted to a new series that is so different and magical.  I'm excited to see where The Watersong Series takes us.  I'm sure it will be an adventure!

4 Stars * * * *
Q & A with Amanda Hocking

Thank you so much to the readers that participated in our Q&A!  We got some really great questions.  A big Congratulations to Amy @ Read to My Heart's Content!!  She is the winner of the ARC copy of Wake.

Out of all the characters you have wrote so far, who was the hardest to write and who was easier? Did you have a favorite?  ~Amy @ Read to My Heart's Content
Lazlo was the hardest to write, because he was a soft male lead. He was more of a damsel in distress than Remy, so it was a little hard to make sure he didn't come across as weak or un-sexy.

You're book is about mermaids/sirens. What made you write about them? Did you have a fascination with them when you were younger? Or was it just a dream?  ~TayteH
I was really into mythology growing up, so I think that played a part in it. I think Eric helped plant the seeds for the idea, because he really loves mermaids, and lady villains.

When did you realize that you wanted to write? How did you get the idea for this book?  ~Maria Stanica
I always knew that I wanted to write, since I was a kid. Even when I had other interests, I still wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a paleontologist/writer, and a lawyer/writer.

When you were younger (teenager or kid), did you want to become a writer? Like when teachers asked you what you wanted to be, did you say "An author."? ~Cierra P
Yes. I always wanted to be an author. When I was a kid, I would sometimes say other things, like a farmer, (or a paleontologist or a lawyer), but I would always say I wanted to be an author.

If stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you NEED to survive? food and water don't count :) ~madnzanymomma
My cell phone, a Gilligans Island-style cell phone charger, and a jet ski.

How did you come up with ideas for your books? Is there any mainstream authors that you pulled inspiration from and made you want to be a writer? Did you put any thoughts or feelings or anything from your life growing up into your characters? ~Jolene and Family
My ideas come from everywhere, I literally take some inspiration from everything. I think the authors that most inspired and influenced my writing would be Judy Blume and Stephen King, but when I'm writing I'm not thinking "Well, how would Judy Blume say this?" I think that there's definitely some inspiration from my own life, but no direct situations, characters, or feelings are based on me or anyone in my life.

Which book so far has been your favorite to write and why? Thanks! ~Danielle B
So far, my favorite book to write has been Lullaby, which is the third book in the Watersong series. And before that, it was Torn from the Trylle Trilogy.

If you could take a week vacation with any of your book characters, who would you chose and why? :D ~Karen

Probably Bobby from My Blood Approves and Marcy from Watersong. That would be the best vacation ever.

Where does the inspiration for you stories come from? When you get an idea do you do an outline or do you just write? Out of all the dreamy boys you have invented who do you think is the most swoon worthy? ~Bridget Howard

I do always outline before I write a book, I take notes, character outlines, chapter outlines, just so I know where everything will be before I start writing. I think the most swoon-worthy guy I've written, for me at least, would be Loki from the Trylle books or Daniel from Watersong.

If you could hop into the life of any book character for a day, who would if be and why? Thank you for the giveaway! ~Gabby
Batman. Because he's Batman.

Who is your favorite muppet? ~Claudia Carozza
Beaker or Gonzo

What's your favorite book that you've read this year? ~ryllina

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

What was the first novel you completed and was it published? ~Kirsti
The first novel I completed was called "Dreams I Can't Remember," and no it was not published, because it is terrible.

Are any of your characters based on your real life friends/family members? ~jayandmelb
No. I think some characters might take some inspiration from different people, but none of them are solely based on anyone.

Did you always want to be an author? When did you first know? ~Erika
As soon as I learned what an author was, that's what I wanted to be.

Amanda, You're achieved so much success already. Are there any major milestones you're still looking forward to with your writing career that you're aiming for? ~Heather
The biggest thing I look forward to in my career, is to hopefully keep writing and entertaining readers...that's not really a milestone, but it's my favorite part.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent

Before I Wake (Soul Screamers, #6)
Title: Before I Wake
Author:  Rachel Vincent
Narrator:  Amanda Ronconi
Series:  Soul Screamers (#6)
Length:   10 hrs, 24 min
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Date Published:  June 26, 2012
Format:  Audiobook
Source:  Bought
Buy It:  Amazon / B&N / Audible

I died on a Thursday-killed by a monster intent on stealing my soul. The good news? He didn't get it. The bad news? Turns out not even death will get you out of high school.  Covering up her own murder was one thing, but faking life is much harder than Kaylee Cavanaugh expected. After weeks spent "recovering," she's back in school, fighting to stay visible to the human world, struggling to fit in with her friends and planning time alone with her new reaper boyfriend. But to earn her keep in the human world, Kaylee must reclaim stolen souls, and when her first assignment brings her face-to-face with an old foe, she knows the game has changed. Her immortal status won't keep her safe. And this time Kaylee isn't just gambling with her own life.

**Review Contains Spoilers for Previous Books!**

Fave Romantic Quote:
“You're not lost, Kaylee. You can't ever be lost, because I'll always know where you are. And if I'm not there with you, I'm on my way, and nothing standing between us will be standing for very long.”

Fave Funny Quote:
“Why? Why is this happening to me?" Sophie asked.  Sabine rolled her eyes. "Because you're the beautiful fairy princess and the evil Lord of Hell can't secure his kingdom until he's feasted from your flesh and slaked his thirst with tea brewed from the ashes of your incinerated bones."  Nash groaned, and Tod laughed out loud.  Sophie hiccuped, and turned to me, frowning. "Is she serious?”

Fans of the Soul Screamers series, we have once again been rewarded by the awesomeness that is Rachel Vincent!  This was absolutely the best yet in this series.  We're introduced to a new Kaylee in Before I Wake.  She is struggling to come to grips with her new status as "walking dead girl", and it isn't as easy as she thought.  Nothing seems to matter anymore, except for Tod, the only thing in her undead life that make sense.  She doesn't want to eat, she can't relate to her friends and family, and she's struggling to stay corporeal in class.  As if that's not enough to deal with, being dead isn't stopping Avari from trying to steal her soul.  This time he has new tricks up his sleeve.  If he can't get to her soul he'll just torment her and feed from her misery.

Before I Wake is filled with the action we've come to expect with Rachel's Soul Screamers series.  The people that Kaylee loves are once again in danger and it's up to her to protect them.  Nash and Sabine are still angry, and Kaylee wants to repair the relationship.  Sophie finally knows the truth about her family, and she's even dating a necromancer, Luca.  Her character is much more enjoyable than in the past books, although she's still a prissy, spoiled brat.  And then there's ever swoon-worthy, Tod.  At the beginning of this series I was totally and completely rooting for Nash to get his act together so that he and Kaylee could work things out, but it didn't take much persuasion from Tod for me to change my mind.  Tod is perfect for Kaylee.  Every time Kaylee has a moment of dispair Tod is there to support her.  His love for her is so consuming.  I love his sarcastic wit, but his romantic side has the ability to take my breath away.   This is a wonderful addition to the Soul Screamers series.  With All My Soul (Book #7) is going to be the series finale, and it is sure to be bittersweet. 

Amanda Ronconi narrates all of the books in the Soul Screamers series, and she does an amazing job.  I love it when a female can narrate male characters well and Amanda definitely does.  Her storytelling is flawless.  I highly recommend all of this series in audio.

5 Stars * * * * *

Saturday, July 21, 2012

ARC REVIEW: The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test, #2.5)
Title: The Goddess Legacy
Author:  Aimee Carter
Series:  Goddess Test (#2.5)
Pages:  304
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Date Published:  July 31, 2012
Format:  eBook
Source:  Received From Publisher for Honest Review

For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aimee Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows.

Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness....

Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal....

Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another....

James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others-but never knew true loss before....

Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope.

The Goddess Queen
This story begins just after the war with the Titans.  Every story about Greek Mythology that I've ever read has lead you to believe that Zeus is the ultimate player.  He's drunk on power, self-centered, arrogant and unfaithful.  In The Goddess Test things are skewed quite a bit and it's easy to blame Hera (Calliope) for all of the problems, but The Goddess Queen shows us why she is so angry.  Hera was just as drunk on power and arrogant as Zeus was, but as a woman she was placed under Zeus' power.  This makes her bitter and hateful, and Zeus plays on that weakness.  After everything Zeus has done to her it's no wonder she finally snapped.  I really enjoyed this story and getting to see into Hera's personality a little more.  4 Stars * * * *

"Because you had the misfortune of being made in our mother's image, and our mother chose to defer to our father.  Because that is the example the Titans set for not only us, but for the world, and we must maintain some order.  You will be a queen if you wish Hera, but only second to one of us."


The Lovestruck Goddess
The story of Aphrodite (Ava) was pretty much what I expected.  She's the Goddess of Love, and not only is that a blessing, it's also a curse.  Anyone that loves her she can't help but return the love.  That makes fidelity a little tough for her.  She has two brothers, Ares and Hephaestus, that are both in love with her.  Ares is all fire and passion, Hephaestus is a solid foundation.  Aphrodite has to decide who will be her husband.  The story was good, but I think I'm stuck on the fidelity issue. 3 Stars * * *

"Your love - it's the kind of love that feeds and grows, the kind that's steady no matter what.  It's warm, it's inviting, it's accepting, and that's the love I want.  That's the love I need."


Goddess of the Underworld
The Goddess Test series takes everything you've learned about Hades and Persephone and spins it out of control.  Instead of Persephone being the kidnapped by Hades and dragged to the Underworld to be his bride for all eternity where she pines for her dear mother you find out that Hades actually does love Persephone and their marriage is actually arranged by her mother.  But none of those changes to the story change the fact that Persephone is in a situation not of her own choosing, and she hates the life she was forced into.  Goddess of the Underworld is Persephone's story of why she made the decisions she did.  I found this story to be a bit boring, but I did enjoy hearing Persephone's side of the story.  She's not as heartless and cruel as she seems to be in Goddess Test and Goddess Interrupted, but she still comes off as a spoiled brat that cares only about herself.    3 Stars * * *

"This was my life from here on out -- a slave not only to a husband that I didn't love, but to a realm I hated with every breath in my body.  Everyone would have a happy ending except me."


God of Thieves
James (Hermes) is one of my favorite characters in the Goddess Test series so I expected to really like his story.  It starts out pretty slow and I was worried, but it eventually picks up the pace and becomes an enjoyable story.  Hermes is an outcast in his family, and in an effort to gain their approval he sets out to discover why gods and goddesses are fading.  Along the way he meets a group of children that are bandits, thieving just to stay alive.  He believes that Tuck, the leader of this group, holds the answers he's looking for, but first he has to gain her trust.  When he reveals himself to her as the god, Hermes, she has no idea who he is.  God of Thieves is a good story and helps explain how Hermes becomes James.  4 Stars * * * *

"I'm a god," I said.  No need to dance around it.  "One of the twelve Olympians.  Well, er, fifteen now.  Bit of a long story."  [...] "I don't understand," she whispered.  "There's only one god."


God of Darkness
This was my whole reason for wanting to read this book, and God of Darkness didn't disappoint.  This is Henry's story of trying to find a new queen.  He initially tells the council that he wants to fade, but they beg him to give them 100 years to try to find an acceptable girl to be his new queen.  He's not happy with the plan, but he agrees.  We get to see him care for and lose girl after girl as they prepare for the tests.  When Diana has a baby to be his new queen he refuses to meet the child.  He can't grow to care for someone he never meets.  When James convinces him to at least visit the surface to see Kate he realizes that maybe he does have a future after all.  5 Stars * * * * *

"She may have been seven, but there was something eternal about her gaze.  As if she could see all his thoughts, his hopes, his fears, his pain in one look.  As if she understood every moment he'd existed. [...] In her, he saw possibility.  In her, he saw his future.  And when she was ready for it, he would be, too."

Friday, July 20, 2012

ARC REVIEW: Tiger's Destiny (The Tiger Saga #4) by Colleen Houlk

Tiger's Destiny (The Tiger Saga, #4)
Title: Tiger's Destiny ARC
Author:  Colleen Houck
Pages:  304
Publisher:  Splinter an Imprint of Sterling Publishing
Date Published:  September 4, 2012
Format:  Paperback
Source:  Received ARC from publisher for honest review
Pre-order at Amazon or B&N

With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. It's a race against time--and the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestselling "Tiger's Curse" series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers' true destinies once and for all.

This is one of the most spectacular series I have ever read.  I was ecstatic to receive an ARC of Tiger's Destiny, and I read the entire thing in just over a day.  I simply couldn't put it down.  Unfortunately, the ARC copies don't have the ending, so I still have to wait to see what happens.  Pure torture!  I can tell you the ending of the ARC left me gasping!  So, this will be a quick review and when Tiger's Destiny is released on September 4th I will do a full review.  Actually, I believe I'll re-read the entire series and review them all for you!  Oh the things I do for my readers!

Tiger's Destiny picks up right where Tiger's Voyage leaves off.  Kelsey is in Lokesh's clutches and Mr. Kadam and Nilima are missing.  This book needs no work-up to get the action going.  It's fast paced from the first page, and it never stops!  Colleen's writing is superb, but I didn't expect any less.  All of these books have been superb.  If you're anything like me you might want to reach in and shake Kelsey a few times, but she's getting there.  We are no longer seeing the damsel in distress that needs her tigers there at all times.  In Tiger's Destiny we are introduced to Kick Butt Kelsey.  We also finally get to see more of Durga instead of just her cryptic messages.  I like where things are headed although it seems it may be quite bittersweet.  I can't wait to see how everyone's destinies play out.  Fans of this series will not be disappointed! You will laugh, you will cry, and of course the brothers will have you swooning.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SYNC Free YA Audiobooks All Summer ~ Week 6

I am so in love with audiobooks, and this is an absolutely amazing offer!! Sync is offering 2 free audiobooks every week for 10 weeks, and this is Week 6! One book will be a popular Young Adult book and the other will be a Classic that is related to or parallels the first title. And the best part is they're good books!! And, they're yours to keep! 20 free audiobooks...AMAZING!! Click here to see a list of the 20 books and the dates they will be available. I'll be updating here every week with the books that are currently free. I highly, highly recommend everyone go grab these audiobooks while they're available!! Best. Deal. Ever. Go Now!!
Week 6!
Click on the Title to be taken to the download page.

Cleopatra's Moon
Cleopatra’s MoonBy Vicky Alvear Shecter
Read by Kirsten Potter
Published by Oasis Audio


“The Luxe” meets the ancient world in the extraordinary story of Cleopatra’s daughter. 

Selene has grown up in a palace on the Nile with her parents, Cleopatra & Mark Antony–the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But the jealous Roman Emperor Octavianus wants Egypt for himself, & when war finally comes, Selene faces the loss of all she’s ever loved. Forced to build a new life in Octavianus’s household in Rome, she finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies–until she reaches out to claim her own.

 This stunning novel brings to life the personalities & passions of one of the greatest dramas in history, & offers a wonderful new heroine in Selene.

Antony & Cleopatra
Antony and CleopatraBy William Shakespeare
Read by a Full Cast
Published by AudioGO
The twin empires of Egypt and Rome mingle and clash in this towering tragedy. Impulsiveness, passion, mistaken identity and dark humor all color the fascinating dalliance between Antony and Cleopatra, the larger-than-life pair at the center of this play.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vacation Reads Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Vacation Reads Giveaway Hop!!  I've done a few of these hops and always offer up specific books, so for this giveaway I thought I'd offer YOU the ability to choose what you'd like for your vacation read.  Up for grabs on this giveaway is a $10 gift certificate to your choice of either Amazon or B&N.  Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check out the rest of the blogs on this hop! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wish List Wednesday (9)

Every Wednesday I highlight a book that I've recently added to my ever growing to-be-read pile. I know that I'll never get through them all, but it's nice to have a Wish List in place! So what's on your Wish List?! Comment here with your Wish List Wednesday link so everyone can check it out!

Ok, so I just finished reading and reviewing (and gushing over!) What A Boy Wants and What A Boy Needs by Nyrae Dawn, so what better book to highlight on Wish List Wednesday this week than Freeing Carter.  It sounds so good!  Add it to your TBR at Goodreads

Freeing Carter
His whole life Carter’s fought to hold it together: To help Mom run their store. To be there for his special needs sister, Sara, and be the perfect boyfriend Mel wants. To dominate on the basketball court—the only place he ever feels free. And to carry Mom up the stairs when she’s too smashed to make it on her own.

It isn't like she has a problem. Mom loves them. If she doesn't drink every day, she's not really an alcoholic, right?


Then Kira Dawson, a girl with a bipolar wardrobe and rotating hairstyles comes to town. Somehow, she sees the truths he hides from the world. “You have skeletons, too, Carter Shaw. Don’t think I don’t know it.” For the first time, he wants someone to see his inner scars—to really know him.

When his mom finally goes too far, will Carter be able to man-up, even if it means turning his back on her and stepping out from behind the façade he’s fought so hard to keep in place?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

REVIEW: What A Boy Needs by Nyrae Dawn

What A Boy Needs (What A Boy Wants, #2)
Title:  What A Boy Needs
Author:  Nyrae Dawn
Series:  What A Boy Wants (#2)
Pages:  164
Publisher:  Self-Published
Date Published:  June 2012
Format: eBook
Source:  Bought
Buy It:  Amazon or B&N

Jaden Sinclair knows he'll never amount to anything...so why would he deserve a girl like Priscilla Mendoza?

Since last summer, things have been screwed up between Jaden and Pris. He knows it's his fault, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to go a few rounds with her new boyfriend. He also knows he’s the loser his dad calls him, but it doesn’t stop him from wanting her.

After getting a huge bomb dropped on him, Jaden lashes out and lands himself in jail. Everything in his chaotic life is turned upside down and to make it worse, his mom kicks him out in order to side with his dad. Yeah, he’s totally a prize for a girl like Pris.

Sebastian, Aspen, and Pris are all going places in their lives...and he knows he can't keep tagging along for the ride.

The group has one last chance for The Epic Adventure they've been looking for: a road trip to New York, where Jaden's friends will be going to college. Unfortunately, the more time Jaden hangs around Pris, the harder it is to keep the carefully constructed walls between them so she doesn't find out what a train wreck he really is.

When the trip ends, Jaden has to decide if he's ready to say goodbye to his friends, and the girl he loves. He knows what he needs, but will he be man enough to go for it?

After reading What A Boy Wants and loving it so much I knew I had to read What A Boy Needs right away.  I wasn't really prepared for the difference between the two books.  Sebastian is a comical character and he loves his friends unconditionally.  What A Boy Wants is light and funny.  What A Boy Needs is written from Sebastian's friend, Jaden's, point-of-view.   Jaden, while laid back on the outside, is a tortured soul on the inside.  Sebastian hints that Jaden has problems at home in What A Boy Wants, but it's not until you see it from his point-of-view that you realize just how bad Jaden's home life is.  His father hates him and has never let him forget it.  He tells him that he's worthless and will never be anything.  As if that's not bad enough he find out that he's not his real father.  But the part that really bothers him is that his mom has let him make Jaden's life miserable anyway.  It's apparent right away that Jaden has some real baggage he needs to deal with.
"He steps into the room.  He's never put his hands on me.  Sometimes I think it would be easier to deal with than his words that still rot inside me long after physical wounds would heal."

"That's right!  You think you're going to New York with your friends soon, right?  How are you going to do that?  Mooch off them?  I know you don't have any money and you sure as hell aren't getting anymore of mine.  Eighteen years is enough of that.  Pretty soon they'll get tired of picking up your slack, kid.  It won't take them long to realize what I've always known.  You're not worth it.  You're not worth anything."

What A Boy Needs picks up a year after What A Boy Wants.  The friends are graduating from high school, and the plan is to take a road trip to NYC where the girls will be going to college.  This has always been the plan.  For years they have talked about it.  But now that it's time Jaden is hesitant.  Everything his father has said to him starts to well up inside.  And then there's Priscilla.  Where Jaden has nothing, Pris has everything.  Her father is the DA, they are loaded.  Her parents give her anything she wants, but not the love and attention she needs.  Jaden knows he will never be good enough for her.  Priscilla wonders if she will ever be enough to break down Jaden's walls.
"Priscilla's face buries into my shirt as she lets go; big, sobbing cries that vibrate through me.  Wetness seeps through my shirt, but I don't care.  All I want to do right now is make it better.  Take care of her.  That's what you do, right?  When someone is important to you, you take care of them.  You try to take their pain away, pull it into yourself if you can, because it's easier to fight her demons for her than to risk someone scarring her."

"My body is a cracked mirror, lines spider-webbing out from the central breaking point.  My chest, my head and the rest of me does the same.  How can she think she's not enough for me?"

While there is still a lot of the familiar banter between the friends the dynamics of What A Boy Needs is different.  Everyone knows that Jaden has a lot going on that he is trying to deal with, but they don't know how to help him, so the mood is darker.  We still get to see the amazing bond between these four friends.  When Jaden feels like running they always stand in his way making sure he knows they love him.  I enjoyed watching the phases that Jaden goes through on his way to healing and learning to live his own life. 
"Views are so freaking skewed -- the way people see each other and the way they see themselves.  Anything can change them or alter them.  What you see on the outside usually isn't what you get on the inside and that's what matters.  Actions.  What you put into the universe or whatever.  Right now I feel like more of a man than I ever have."

I really liked What A Boy Wants, but I loved What A Boy Needs!  I love the friendship and the banter.  I love how dedicated Sebastian, Aspen, Jaden and Pris are to one another.  Real friends like that are hard to find.  Nyrae Dawn is an amazing author and I plan to keep her on my radar.  These two books are most definitely at the top of my favorites list.

5 Stars * * * * *  

Monday, July 16, 2012

REVIEW: What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn

What A Boy Wants (What A Boy Wants, #1)
Title: What a Boy Wants
Author:  Nyrae Dawn
Series:  What a Boy Wants (#1)
Pages:  140
Publisher:  Self-Published
Date Published:  April 6, 2012
Format:  eBook
Source:  Bought
Buy It:  Amazon or B&N

Courtesy of watching his mom’s relationships, Sebastian Hawkins knows what girls need to do to get a guy. He has what he considers a PHD in hooking up. When he needs extra cash for a car, Sebastian starts up an online venture as The Hook-up Doctor, to anonymously help girls land the guy of their dreams. Of course, his services don’t offer a happily-ever-after guarantee. He’s seen firsthand getting together never means staying together.

And then he falls in love…
With the last girl he would expect…
Totally not in his game plan.

Suddenly, Sebastian finds himself muddled in the game he’s always prided himself on. He can’t even pick up girls at parties anymore! Why would anyone want to be in love when it turns you into a stuttering, screwed-up, mess with really lame stalker tendencies? Stalking? Totally not his gig.

But the Hook-up Doctor won’t let himself go down easily. He’s always known how to give a girl what she wants and now it’s time to figure out what a boy wants… and he definitely plans on getting it.


What a Boy Wants was such a fun book to read!  You can't help but love Sebastian and his friends Jaden, Aspen and Pris.  They've been best friends since Kindergarten, and they do everything together.  The bond between these four friends is unbreakable.  What a Boy Wants is told from Sebastian's point-of-view, and he is such a comical character that I found myself laughing out loud over and over.  After watching his mom get her heart broken by guy after guy he decides that there is no such thing as real love.  It's better for everyone if they just keep it fun.  He and Jaden live for the hook-up, but they're sure to tell the girls up front that they're not looking for a relationship.  The last thing Sebastian wants to do is hurt someone the way his mom has been hurt.  When he starts to fall for his best friend, Aspen, he realizes he may be The Hook-Up Doctor, but he is most definitely not The Love Doctor.  He can't seem to do anything right.

There is so much to love about this book!  First of all, I adore the relationship between Sebastian and his mom.  He would do anything for her, and he's not ashamed to admit it.  His dad walked out on them when he was just a kid and she's done her best to make sure Sebastian always knows how much she loves him.  Even though he makes a lot of mistakes, and he doesn't know how to have a real relationship, it's his relationship with his mom that keeps him from  hurting all the girls he's hooked up with.
“Still I pulled her into a hug, because I knew she let me off the hook on purpose and yeah, I'm a guy and I love my mom. So shoot me. I'm man enough to hug her without feeling like a mama's boy.” 

"'Ma, quit hogging all the Chunky Monkey.  I grabbed the pint of ice cream off Mom's lap as she sat next to  me on the couch.  I wasn't proud of myself.  Actually, I was pretty embarrassed that I was practically crying in my ice cream with my mom."

The four friends constant banter and bickering is hilarious, and Sebastian is constantly kicking himself for his stupid mistakes.  He's such a guy!  Fist bumping and chest beating included.  Even though they always manage to keep the conversation light you can tell that they would do anything for each other. 
"We fist bumped again, because it was much manlier than getting sappy twice in one day."

"No matter how whipped I was, I'd obviously still be a guy.  That gave me some relief.  'You're drooling.'  Jaden nudged the elbow I was leaning on making it fall off the table. 'Shut up.' Lame reply, but it was all I had."

"Jaden threw a glance over his shoulder.  'Aspen...I can see why you wouldn't mind.  Her and Pris, they're kind of better than the other girls out there, ya know?'"

The chemistry between Sebastian and Aspen is great.  Aspen is a very likable character.  She's sweet and smart and I love her sarcasm.  Because Sebastian and Aspen are friends there is already an amazing connection between them.  I love how Sebastian's thinking changes as he realizes his feeling for Aspen have changed, but he's still a total guy.
"Once I decided to go for it with Aspen, I wanted this weekend to be special.  You know, like long walks on the beach, and all that other special stuff that used to make me want to gouge my own eyes out."

What a Boy Wants was a great read.  It's funny and sweet, and even a little bit adorable.  It's a perfect chick lit read!

4 Stars * * * *

Sunday, July 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.


Happy IMM Everyone!!  It's been a pretty great week for books in my house.  I hope you all got lots of great books too. 

This is the 2nd box I received from the Christian Hurt Charity Sale at Me, My Shelf & I.  The box included:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
White Cat
I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President
and it also had 2 surprise books which turned out to be:
Fatal Tango
Sweet Farts (my kids are going to like this one!)

Last night my hubby and I got a rare date night, and we went to Books-A-Million and hung out for hours just like we did when we were dating!  We had a great time and I got a few great deals. I got 6 books for myself and one for each of the three kids and spent less than $40!  (Wake is not pictured because in a moment of idiocy I bought two copies of Gone so I'm going to have to exchange it.)   
L.A. Candy
Sweet Little Lies
Sugar and Spice


The wonderful Claudia Carozza sent me a signed copy of her book The Twenty as a thank you for spotlighting her and her book on FoSW.  It's a really great book!  Thank you Claudia!!  You can read my review here!

For Review: 

I know I posted this one on last week's IMM, but when I picked it up to read it I found a note from Amanda!  I can't believe I missed it!  So I had to post it again to show off my 'signed' copy of Wake.

Between You & MeThe Brides of Rollrock Island Magisterium
Between You and Me
The Brides of Rollrock Island

Saturday, July 14, 2012

REVIEW: On The Island by Tracy Garvis Graves

On the Island
Title: On the Island
Author:  Tracey Garvis Graves
Pages:  306
Publisher:  Self Published (Now republished by Penguin)
Date Published:  September 3, 2011
Format:  ebook
Source:  Bought
Buy It:   Amazon OR B&N

*This is the self published book cover, which is the edition I bought.  To see the new cover visit Amazon or B&N.
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

Fave Quote:
 “I don't fit in your world."
"Neither do I," he said, his expression tender yet resolute. "So let's make our own. We've done it before.” 

This book was absolutely wonderful.  I'm not sure I can properly review it and completely express just how much I loved On the Island.  When I first read the synopsis I was skeptical.  A romance between a thirty-something teacher and her sixteen year old student is sketchy!  After reading some of the reviews I decided to give it try, and I am so glad I did.  This story managed to draw me in from the very first page, and the adventures and catastrophes (think monsoons and sharks)  kept me completely enthralled.

Anna is thirty years old when she takes a summer job as a tutor for a family spending their summer in Maldives.  She has been in a stagnant relationship for eight years with a man that shows no signs of planning to commit.  She thinks the opportunity to spend the summer vacation on a tropical island is just what she needs to re-evaluate her life.  T.J. is sixteen years old and has been fighting cancer for the past three years.  He's in remission and all he wants is to spend the summer with his friends.  Going on vacation with his family and working with a tutor all summer is not what he had in mind.  When his parents leave for Maldives they agree to let him stay behind with a friend for a week and plan for him to travel to meet them with Anna.  When the pilot of the sea plane has a heart attack and they crash land in the ocean T.J. manages to get them both to a nearby island.  At first they assume a rescue plane will be coming for them, but the plane never comes.  Anna and T.J. quickly realize they are going to have to figure out how to survive if they ever want to see their families again.

On the Island is written in alternating points of view so you really get to see into the personality of both Anna and T.J.  Sometimes they even tell the same story from differing points of view, which I found to be a fun way to see how they both view the same situation.  Anna is an amazingly strong character, but she's not afraid to let her emotions take over.  In such a stressful situation it's not hard for her to become weary and depressed. Because of the fact that she's so much older than T.J. she takes charge of the situation, and in the early months on the island she is the reason they survive.  She has a sense of responsibility and she knows she can't give up if T.J. is going to live.  I loved T.J.'s character.  In a lot of ways he is the typical sixteen year old boy, but he's had to grow up fast while he fought the cancer.  He's strong, responsible and willing to work hard, which he proves time and time again on the island.  While Anna handles the day to day aspects of survival, T.J. is the one that manages to feed and shelter them.  It's because of his perseverance that they survive for as long as they do.  At some point you see the dynamics of their relationship begin to change and you realize that Anna is no longer the one making the decisions.  Because of the obstacles thrown at him T.J. has grown into a man and he plays the part well.  What amazes me is how well T.J.'s transformation is written.  His character growth is so profound that by the middle of the book I'd forgotten that he was so much younger than Anna.  When their feelings begin to change for each other you can sense Anna's apprehension, but T.J. is tired of holding back.  He doesn't approach her like a horny teenager, he's a man now and he proves it.  As their future plays out they both have a lot of rational concerns about their relationship and seeing how they approach these issues makes for an extremely compelling read.     

On the Island is a beautifully written romance with enough action and adventure thrown in to keep you reading until all hours of the night.  I know it did for me!  I'm not at all surprised that On the Island has been picked up by Penguin, and I can't wait to see what new things are in store for this amazing writer.         

5 Stars * * * * * 

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