Tune-In Tuesday (14)

Tune in Tuesday is a rockin meme hosted by the lovely Ginger @ GReads so you should head on over and link up! It is a great way to bounce from blog to blog and discover what others are listening to! I love music but there is so much out there that I haven’t heard of before. That being said, feel free to leave a link to your Tune-In Tuesday post!

This week’s featured band is one I did not even know of until a month ago! I am going to Warped Tour again this year (it will be my 4th or 5th time!) so I was going through bands that will be at this year’s lineup. This is one of the bands that will be performing and I couldn’t be more excited! They have such a brilliant sound. Their music is a little-known wonder but trust me, every song is perfection! Without further ado, I present to you Windsor Drive!

Windsor Drive: Fall

Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1)

Author: Jenny Han

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 276 paperback

My Rating: 3.5-4/5 stars

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along. (Summary, courtesy of Goodreads.com)

I have been a nervous wreck trying to write this review! I honestly thought certain blogger people would track down my address, come to my home, and beat me up. This story was good, in fact it was really good but I just wasn’t feeling the love with it. SO many bloggers/readers/book nerds adore this story so I tried so very hard to love it just because I know how much others loved it but it just wasn’t happening for me.

At the beginning of the story I was extremely annoyed with the main character. Belly was whining or crying all the time and when she wasn’t doing that she was obsessing over a guy, Conrad, the oldest of the two brothers whom she shared a beach house with every summer. At first I thought Conrad was a stand-offish jerk who cared about no one but himself. I should also mention that there was a lot of confusion during the first point of the story. At one point the main character, Belly, would be a five year old and then out of nowhere she was thirteen. This last part was cleared up about 100 pages into the story when I finally noticed that the chapter headings told what age she was in that particular chapter. To say the least, the writing at the beginning of the story was a bit awkward and I had a hard time getting through it.

Now before anyone makes a rash decision to come end my life for not liking this book, hear me out. AFTER the first hundred pages or so, my views on the book changed dramatically. Belly became more mature, less whiny, and she really started to view her obsession with Conrad in a whole new light. Conrad, the object of Belly’s obsession, became a lot easier to like. His flirtatious comments and jealousy of Belly’s relationship with a new guy was totally cute. Although I was always rooting for Jeremiah, the younger, sweeter, friendlier of the two brothers, Conrad grew on my quite a bit. While the romance and the relationship between Belly and the two brothers, Conrad and Jeremiah, was a big part of the story, I found myself TOTALLY loving Belly’s relationship with Susannah, the boys’ mother. Belly has a pretty solid relationship with her mom but she is a teenager so she automatically thinks that her mom won’t understand a single thing that is why Belly confides in Susannah. She is understanding, strong-willed, easygoing, and completely lovable. I want someone like Susannah in my life so very badly because she seems to know exactly the right things to say at all the perfect times.

I also really like that this story was very beachy. I live in Michigan, the lake state, so I grew up by the water. I love stories that can depict beach scenes perfectly. Cousins Beach, whether it is a real place or not, sounds like it could quite possibly be the best place for a summer vacation!

Jenny Han did a wonderful job of mixing romance, beach scenes, some sad moments, and quite a few happy moments. While this story wasn’t THE BEST BOOK I’VE EVER READ, it was still pretty enjoyable.

In My Mailbox (16)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library. For the second time in a row I ran out of time to post my IMM last week so this week is two weeks in one. Don’t forget to click the book title to add it to your Goodreads account!

Review:

 Sue’s Fingerprint by Andrew D. Carlson (Signed)

Summary: A gel-like substance is suddenly discovered across the country. Ted Stevens, a Director in the Department of Homeland Security, is assigned to investigate. He enlists the help of scientists at a government laboratory to analyze the ‘goo’. They discover the substance was sent to Earth and has unique properties; it can clone animals. Ted soon learns the substance can also clone humans. Sue is the first of eleven new people cloned from the alien substance. She and the others are contained by Ted on an abandoned military base. While there, the clones receive a message. Sue decides she must deliver it, and one morning they find she’s gone. During the recovery of Sue, Ted learns of the clones’ message and begins to understand their true intentions. He needs to know more about the clones, so he collects samples for DNA fingerprint testing. The fate of the new people will be decided by the results from Ted’s friends at the laboratory.

My Thoughts: When Andrew first sent me an e-mail about his book and said he thought I would enjoy it because it seems similar to Solid by Shelley Workinger, I just about instantly fell in love with that statement. First off, I totally appreciate authors making sure that the book may be of interest to me. He took the time to go through my reviews and found out that I REALLY enjoyed a book similar to his own. This leads me to my second point which is I did enjoy Solid by Shelley Workinger so I am very excited to see Andrew’s twist on this sci-fi story.

Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler

Summary: Ashlyn Woods has just transferred to one of the most beautiful campuses on the west coast, where she can’t wait to start her life over as a normal college student. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she discovers that she is a Soterian: a person who develops special powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil’s favor.

Soon she and the other Soterians are studying martial arts and learning to use their powers to prevent California from being plunged into chaos. But they quickly discover that they’re up against a much more dangerous enemy than they anticipated.

And when Ashlyn meets Kai, a devastatingly gorgeous guitar player, she realizes she must sacrifice more than she ever imagined.

My Thoughts:  Holy crap I just finished this book and it was freaking fantastic! Seriously it blew me away. I don’t want to cause any spoilers so I will keep quiet but look forward to my FIVE STAR review that will be up on the blog soon! Also, I find it completely awesome that Book Crazy Blog, Electrifying Reviews, and Y.A. Addict are all quoted on the back. I follow those actual blogs and they are quoted on a real, live book! That is just too awesome!

A Girl Named Willow Krimble by Giuseppe Bianco (Signed)

Summary: So, you’ve just discovered that the person who has tormented, mocked and humiliated you for the past three years is lying in the school parking lot, bleeding internally from a hit and run accident. No one else is around and you need to get to a life-and-death family emergency of your own before it is too late. What would you do? Oh, did I mention you have the secret ability to heal others just by touching them? This is just one of the many situations 13-year-old Willow Krimble must face in this Web Novel, A Girl Named Willow Krimble.

Willow lives with her mother and older brother, Wyatt; she loves hanging out with her best friend, the feisty and sarcastic Razzel Fiora, and she has a close relationship with her grandmother. Seems pretty normal, right? It might be if the two most popular girls in middle school, Shayla Stergus and Snella Burenbine, did not taunt and remind her, on a daily basis, that she was born without her left leg.

Forced to maneuver through obstacles most teenagers would not need to tackle, Willow is suddenly blessed (or cursed?) with the unusual power to heal others through touch. Ever selfless, Willow’s desire to help the injured and sick thrusts her into a world where she is given immense responsibility, putting the needs of others before her own, all the while trying to maintain her secret.

Willow’s adolescent journey takes her through an emotional cyclone where she finds joy and purpose in helping an array of patients from an old man with Alzheimer’s to a mauled animal in a pet store. But Willow soon finds out there are limitations to her ability and, no matter how hard she might try, she cannot save everyone.

Through the intermingling of joy and pain, Willow is repeatedly tested to discover just how strong she can be, how strong she has been her entire life, and how everyone possesses the ability to effect another person’s world, with or without a secret power.

My Thoughts: First, thanks so much Giuseppe for sending me this book! The premise sounds completely interesting, a teen girl who can heal people with a touch is just awesome. I can’t wait to read this one to find out more.

The Virgin Diaries by Kimberly A. Johnson (PDF)

Summary: What’s it like to have sex for the first time? Seventy-two people, young and old, gay and straight, responded to the call for answers and those answers are in The Virgin Diaries. This candid collection of stories provides a unique opportunity to be a fly on the wall. There is no commentary. The stories stand on their own, allowing the reader to form his or her own conclusions. Whether you are a virgin and desire to make an informed decision or are looking for a walk down Memory Lane, The Virgin Diaries offers confidential insights into one of life’s most personal experiences.

My Thoughts: I will not lie, when I first got this book review request I was a bit undecided on if I would accept but the more I thought about this book and what it stands for, I just couldn’t help but say yes. A book that teaches ALL of the pros and cons of sex along with different views points in a non-vulgar read is just genius. If only my parents would have had this book handy when they were going through “the talk” with me.

Happy Birthday Kati!

I know I usually stick to all things book & music related on my blog but I just needed to take a moment to send out a very big happy birthday to my real-life best friend, Kati! We have been best friends since the extremely awkward moment in 6th grade (almost NINE years ago) when I envied her head-to-toe matching running suit and she thought I was a country girl (weird first impressions can last a lifetime). Since then we have been nearly inseparable. All of my favorite memories include Kati. I am 100% sure she will be my maid of honor (you know, once I find a male model with a great personality and a funny sense of humor), and I will be hers. In short, she is my best friend and always will be. To celebrate her birthday I created a video for her. Take a look and enjoy, you just may find some pretty embarrassing pictures of us in there! Oh, and don’t forget to tell Kati “Happy Birthday” in the comments section!

 

TGIF (5)

TGIF is a fun little feature hosted at GReads! Every week we re-cap what has happened on the blog plus Ginger asks a question for us to answer. This week’s question is: 

Summer Love:

Where is your ideal place to take a summer vacation & get lost in a book?

I don’t think you guys understand how hard it is for me to answer this question! I absolutely adore traveling in fact I want to visit every state and at least 3 countries overseas before I die (not to sound morbid or anything!). So instead of narrowing it down to one I figure I’d kill 2 birds with one stone. Why not choose the 3 overseas countries as one place to get lost with a book for the summer?

 

I am not very original but it is my dream to backpack across Europe. I would choose France, Italy, Ireland and every little pit-stop in between. Honestly, what better places would there be? I would love to sit down at a little cafe and sip some coffee while reading, or sit next to a beautiful fountain for hours with a book, or even go lay on a blanket surrounded by books, beautiful green grass, and castles. It would just be so magnificent to be in a foreign country, seeing all the beautiful sites, reading a book, and not having anyone talk to me because I don’t speak their language. Plus, foreign guys (most of them) are gorgeous. If I could meet a St.Claire look alike, my life would be complete. Yup, that would be my perfect summer vacation reading spot!

This week on Katelyn’s Blog (6/17-6/24):

Spring Into Summer Read-a-thon

Tune-In Tuesday (13)

The Childe by C.A. Kunz

Children of the Lost Moon by Gabrielle Blue + Giveaway

Book Review + Giveaway: Children of the Lost Moon by Gabrielle Blue

Title: Children of the Lost Moon

Author: Gabrielle Blue (Cheryll Ganzel & Tessa Jones)

Publisher: Self Published

Pages: 241 paperback

My Rating: 3-3.5/5 stars

Source: I received a book from author in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

17-year old Savannah Henderson has but one dream – to hold the Olympic gold in saber fencing. A new fencing coach promises to make her Olympic dream a reality. However, he is not what he seems and she finds her life taking a bizarre, dangerous turn as she is thrust headlong into a war between two impossible, mythical species, one bent on destroying the human race, the other determined to protect it. (Summary, courtesy of Goodreads.com)

This was such a pleasantly surprising paranormal romance! The characters were strong, the paranormal aspect put a new spin on werewolves and shape shifters, plus there was lots of sweet romance to go around!

The main character, Savannah, is different from any character I have read before. She had all these little quirks that made her so special and unique. First of all she is a fencer. This is something I know absolutely NOTHING about but it just so happens that this is a HUGE part of the book. No worries here though because there were so many details laced throughout the story that I am pretty sure I could watch a fencing fight/dual/whatchamacallit and understand what was going on. Really, the author(s) did such a great job explaining a completely foreign sport to me. Secondly, this girl was tough. Not in the kind of way where she goes off and punches people in the face or carries a gun in her back pocket (although there are a few scenes where there is a sword in her backseat). She is just full-out strong. Absentee-parents and a go-getter attitude make this girl, in my eyes, heroic. She doesn’t sit around whining about her issues or so impossibly dumb that she can’t walk without tripping (*cough* Twilight *cough*). She takes matters into her own hands, she tries very hard to stand on her own two feet, and she makes it a point to let everyone know that she can handle things on her own. Seriously, I love strong female lead characters.

Another character that is SOO worth mentioning and swoon-worthy (I am having a really hard time finding a male character who isn’t swoon-worthy) is Luke. Ahhh…so dreamy :) This is a guy who is strong, handsome, and completely in love with Savannah. He sees that Savannah is a truly lonely girl regardless of her forefront and he, along with his AWESOME family take her in. He uses his manners all the time and even has to remind Savannah of certain rules. He is quite a gentleman and I love that about him. Before I get too into my reason of why he is great I should mention that he is a shape shifter. This leads me to the paranormal aspect of the story. See paragraph below for more information vvvv.

I told you the uniqueness of the paranormal aspect in this story was great and I wasn’t lying. In the world that Gabrielle Blue set up for us, werewolves are terrible beasts set on ruining the human population. If you are not killed by a werewolf, you are turned into one. A species set on defending the human population is shape shifters. These are human-ish people with special abilities to change into any animal form, heal very quickly, and age at impossibly slow rates. I found that the human girl falling in love with a slow-aging, completely hot guy, while slow-aging completely hot guy gets overbearing and protective of girl, and then girl must decide on whether her love for him is worth sticking around for….on and on and on, a bit overdone but I liked the way that these two worked through their problems. You could tell they had real, genuine feelings for one another.

The only thing I think this book could have had more of was fighting scenes. I feel like a total tom-boy saying that but I thought  there was all this hype building up to a war between sworn enemies, the werewolves and the shape shifters but in the end there was only one serious fight. More encounters with werewolves, more scary situations, and more action in general would have been totally awesome!

In the end, I was very surprised with the book. It was a quick read with a lot of great qualities. I recommend it to all those crazy fans of paranormal books ;)

GIVEAWAY:

Now on to the GIVEAWAY part of this post! I would love to send out a huge thank you to the girls that make up Gabrielle Blue for sending an extra SIGNED copy of their book to me for a lucky winner. Here are the details:

1) Must leave a name & valid e-mail address in a comment for 1 entry

2) This contest is U.S. only

3) Must be 13 years or older to enter

4) For extra entries you can do 1 or both of the following:

-In your comment tell me what animal you would want to shift into

-Tweet about the giveaway saying (Must leave link or it will no be counted)

Contest will end on 12:01 a.m. July 1st. An e-mail will be sent to the winner and they will then have 48 hours to respond with a valid address before a new winner is chosen.

Thank you all for reading the review & participating in the giveaway!

Book Review: The Childe by C.A. Kunz

Title: The Childe (The Childe #1)

Author: C.A. Kunz (Carol & Adam Kunz)

Publisher: Self Published

Pages: 390 paperback

My Rating: 3.5-4/5 stars

Source: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

Cat Colvin is pretty much your typical run-of-the-mill teenager growing up in the small port town of Astoria. Sure, she is taller than average, has a mane of fiery red hair that is impossible to tame, is left handed, and has one eye that is sky blue and one that is amber, but that is where the differences end . . . unless you include the minor detail of her slow metamorphosis into the Childe.

We all know how difficult high school can be, and for Cat Colvin it is no different. Except for the fact she has the daunting task of trying to hide her budding Childe traits as they begin to reveal themselves at the most inopportune times.

This first book in this coming of age fantasy series follows Cat’s life through the twists and turns toward finding out what and who she really is. Come and take the plunge with Cat into a world filled with biting humor, darkness, and yes, a few life lessons as well. 

This was such a fun, interesting, new book! There were many great characters, a ton of mystery, and a hint of romance. Mix this all together and you get a lovely book known as The Childe.

At first I was really confused with where this book was going (in fact, I am still a bit confused by it but I will get to that part later!). The writing style definitely took some getting used to. I would get really lost when we would be following one character, learning about everything they do & everything they feel and then all of a sudden BOOM we are switching to another character learning of what they do & what they are feeling. I don’t know if there could have been pretty little symbols, a font change, just something added in there to break up the character switches to take the confusion away.

However, once I got used to this new style of writing, I was hooked! Not only did I really find that you could easily learn about ALL of the characters through this writing style but it also added a whole new level of mystery to this book!

The story mainly follows a young girl named Cat. A ton of weird things keep happening to her. She just passes it off as a weird dream, a silly hallucination, stress, anything! Due to the sneaky character switches though, we learn that there is something very different and special about Cat. Her mother, father, brother, and a few other relatives & neighbors are keeping secrets about Cat’s true identity but Cat (and readers) is clueless of this. As I said, the character switches added a lot of mystery. As soon as I thought I was close to figuring out something important about Cat, the scene would switch to another character. Those tricky authors! While I did get a bit frustrated (never finding out what the BIG SECRET is will do that to you), I appreciated that this aspect of the writing style really kept me turning pages. I was definitely interested in finding out what the mystery was behind Cat.

Speaking of this main character Cat, I feel that I should mention just how awesome she & all of her friends are! Cat is a unique person. She likes different things, has an upbeat personality, and a snarky attitude that I just adore! She really is a great, awesome friend and you can really see that in the way she treats all of her friends. Some of Cat’s friends were extremely well written. You got a feel for what their personality quirks were at the beginning of the book and they stayed true to their identity right through the very end. However, there were quite a few side characters so trying to keep them all straight (especially if the only played minor rolls) was quite difficult.

Ok, I did say there was cute romance in this story and I wasn’t lying! Ryan is definitely a unique character. I *think* he is a vampire in this story. Forgive me for not knowing for sure (I did mention I was a little confused by some parts!). Any who, Ryan is a totally sweet guy! Instead of listening to his friends and terrorizing Cat at all costs, he refuses. In fact, Ryan chooses to help her by being her tutor. Little does everyone know, Ryan is feeling some major stuff towards Cat; the butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, saying whatever dumb thought pops into your head type of stuff! It took quite a while for us to figure out if he would make a move on his feelings for Cat but when it did happen, it was so sweet! The romance between Cat & Ryan is so adorable but it didn’t play an overwhelming part in this story.

Ok I feel like I have listed quite a few AWESOME reasons to read this book. The next thing I will say is: COME ON!!! There better be a second book because I am still unsure of what Cat is. In fact, Cat is still unsure of what she is. The book kept building up this incredible sense of mystery for both Cat and the readers and in the end you are still left with a ton of questions.

Regardless of my overall sense of confusion with this book, I did truly enjoy it! There were so many great aspects to it. I loved the characters, the mystery, the lovey-dovey stuff, and I even came to enjoy the writing style. All in all it was a really great read and I can’t wait to see if there will be more to learn about Cat!

*A HUGE thank you goes out to both Carol and Adam! Not only did they send me a signed copy of their book but they also sent me a ton of swag all of which I love! THANK YOU both of you!*