Book Review, Books

Five reasons to fall in love with ALIENATED by Melissa Landers…

Get ready for a book that won’t let you go even after you turned the last page! Thank you NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for allowing me to read an advanced copy!

Summary from Goodreads.com: Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket. Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Before even getting into the five reasons to fall in love with ALIENATED, let me take a second to say that I’m still giddy about this book, I’m still thinking about it even though I’ve read it weeks ago.

As a writer, yes it does make me go through moments like OMG I JUST CANNOT…to those realizations…

I can totally do it!

So, why fall in love with ALIENATED?

  1. The. Voice. This is one example where I would follow the character everywhere because I have the feeling I know them so well. Because their voices leap through the pages, despite being in third-person. It flows naturally and finds a spot by your heart.
  2. Cara and Aelyx—and the entire cast of characters. All of them individually and together. Their interaction and how they were all their own individuals. I could see them hanging out outside of the pages, because they had their own hobbies, their own interests. And I wanted to spend more time with them.
  3. The plot. The idea of an exchange between aliens and humans and everything that it implies: fear of the unknown, of the “other”, learning about oneself, the adventure for both teenagers but also the weight they carried on their shoulders.
  4. The blogging element: It’s not the most important element of the novel but I have to say as soon as Cara mentioned she was going to blog about the exchange and about everything she learns about Aelyx and L’eihr traditions, a little part of me just connected with her even more.
  5. The romance. There are some serious swoony moments in this book. But there’s more than that. Just like the voice and all the rest of this book: nothing feels forced. It doesn’t feel like Melissa tried to put romance into the plot because it would help the intensity of it all. Nope, the romance develops and becomes part of the characters.

Please, please, please read it as soon as it comes out, because I need to talk to someone about it 🙂

You can add it on Goodreads here:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

 And should you wish to pre-order a copy, all links are on Melissa’s website.

Tell me, what is the last book you read?

Book Review, Books

An MG book to fall in love with: SKY JUMPERS by Peggy Eddleman

It´s been forever since I read Middle Grade books. And I have never reviewed one on this blog. But let me tell you something, when I got pre-approved for SKY JUMPERS by Peggy Eddleman on Netgalley, I jumped up and down. See, Peggy was one of the first bloggers I followed and interacted with.

Her blog´s always delightful and she´s so very nice that I thought the blogging community was going to be a great place to be (and I was right!).

You know when you start reading a book and you´re nervous because you want to love it but you´re not sure if you will. Well, as soon as I finished the first page of SKY JUMPERS, all doubts went out of the window. I fell into the story right at the beginning, the characters grew on me and I wanted to know what would happen to them.

What happens when you can’t do the one thing that matters most?

12-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most in White Rock—sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters—is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost.

But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in—than fail at yet another invention.

When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help. For once, inventing isn’t the answer, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all

Five reasons to love SKY JUMPERS

  • Hope is my kind of characters, she´s trying so hard to be perfect, not realizing that what she sees as weaknesses are seen by others as strengths. Really, there is a moment at the beginning of the book when I wanted to pull Hope into a hug and tell her that she´s special, despite not being good at inventing things.
  • The secondary characters are not secondary. The relationships of Hope with all of them makes them special, and makes them leap off the page.
  • The Bomb´s breath turns into a character of its own – the descriptions are vivid…
  • The adventures. SKY JUMPERS is full of them. Between the bandits arriving in town, the need for medicine, the jumps, protecting their loved ones, Hope and her friends embark on scary adventures. It´s a page turner!
  • Like the name of the main character, this story is full of hope. Hope in people, hope in the world…despite the hardships and all that they´re going through.

If you end up picking it up, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Book Review, Giveaway

Rose under Fire – A review and a giveaway

Thanks to Netgalley I received an e-galley of ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein. After reading it and clutching my heart and fighting back tears in the train, I know that I will buy myself a copy of this book and will give away one additional copy to one lucky reader. The giveaway is open until September 28th and is open internationally (more details at the end of this post).

It tells a story of friendship, of horrors, of hope…

 While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

I´ve read CODE NAME VERITY a few weeks back and I enjoyed it – which is even weird to say about a book that describes such a heart-wrenching story but at the same time I did not fall into the story. Maybe it was the time I read it, maybe I was protecting myself. I don´t know.

But this one. This one grabbed me and didn´t let me go. The friendship and the hope shine through. The moments in Ravensbrück are horrific, there is no way to understand though through the eyes of Rose, we also see how some lines are not so easy to trace.

I mentioned in a past blog post that I first stopped reading and paused because there was a character named Elodie in it (and that´s my name) and I know that this was a very rare name in those years. However, this only stopped me for a second. Afterwards, I sunk deep into the story.

Having walked through the gates of Buchenwald while in High School, I pictured some of the places Rose mentioned and the same angst clutched my heart as I read the words as when I passed through the gates where thousands of people died.

I felt like a voyeur to witness the horrors without being able to do anything. As mentioned the friendships and hope offer a glimpse of light in the darkness. Rose manages to find people to hold on, she becomes a person they can rely on as well.

I don´t think I can give justice to this book. Really. How to put into words Rose´s journey and tears, her hope and her smiles, her hearing her friends crying out “Tell the world!” as they go to their death? How to explain her poems, her way of moving forward and holding herself up?

I could see Rose, I could see her nail polish and the contrast of the red against the dirt, I could feel the surge of courage and bravery as well as her fears.

I can hear the words she writes.

Hope is the most treacherous thing in the world. It lifts you and lets you plummet. But as long as you’re being lifted you don’t worry about plummeting.”

Writing to you like this makes me feel that you are still alive. It’s an illusion I’ve noticed before– words on a page are like oxygen to a petrol engine, firing up ghosts. It only lasts while the words are in your head. After you put down the paper or pen, the pistons fall lifeless again.

Reading and remembering are important. We need to continue telling the stories even though yes memory does create histories, they change but the essence stays the same and that is let´s ensure we do not transform anyone into a “it”. Let´s remember the past, let´s pass it on, let´s tell the stories.

I think Elizabeth says it best at the end of the book when she explains:

It has become a false memory of my own – Rose´s dream of the icy wind in the empty bunks is my dream (…) My book is fiction, but it is based on the real memories of other people. In the end, like Rose, I am doing what I can to carry out the last instruction of the true witnesses – those who went to their death crying out: Tell the world.

Tell the world.

And to help tell the world, I´m giving a copy of this book out. If you already have it and you win, just give your copy to a school library.

All you have to do is comment on this blog post. The giveaway is open until September 28th and is open internationally.

Book Review

Summer Books Loving: Nantucket Blue and This is What Happy Looks Like…

During the summer time, when the sun shines (or should be shining), I like to read books that are set at the beach, that take place during that season. Sometimes, I want something sweet and nice, I want to be swept off my feet. Other times, I´m ready for a surprise…But I need to feel the breeze and the sun and taste the ice cream.

I´ve been reading quite a few books that  fit the bill…So here´s my first Summer Books Loving post.

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Publication Date: May 7th, 2013

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams. Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.  When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer. But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on–most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits–that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality. A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue

Book review: Thank you NetGalley and Disney Hyperion for the e-galley of this book. It´s another one of those summer books that in my view takes you a  bit by surprise. Cricket isn´t your usual type of narrator because she´s not the one the tragedy happens to. At least not directly. And I found that a change from what I read in the past. She´s the best friend. But that comes to show that tragedies affect people in different manners…Cricket can also be selfish and a bit infuriating. But in my view, that also made her a well-rounded character because I didn´t disconnect with her when that happened. And I think here lays the magic of a book, when you know you want to spend the highs and the lows with a character. The romance was sweet, not totally unexpected. I saw it coming but it still made my heart beat faster. I know I´ll be picking up the next book.

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Publication Date: April 2nd, 2013

If fate sent you an email, would you answer? When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.  Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?

Book review: I absolutely adored The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight and wasn´t disappointed by This Is What Happy Looks Like. While reading, I found myself smiling and rooting for the main characters. That and I´ve been wanting to go to Maine ever since finishing this book.  It has everything I look for when dreaming about the summer: the water, the small town, characters I would love to be friends with, and a story that holds its own, that doesn´t compromise but is still full of sweets and butterflies. Sometimes, in those type of stories, the characters become simply another version of a well versed model. Graham and Ellie feel like people. Graham has a pet pig. Ellie has dreams and quirks and her relationship with her mother just felt “real.”  Everyone around them doesn´t feel “added” to the story but has part of it. Personally, Jennifer E. Smith is a must-buy author for me and one I know to turn to when I want to work on my craft.

Have you read a book that transported you to a new place recently?

Book Review, Books

Book review: DARE YOU TO (Katie McGarry) <3

I read and really enjoyed PUSHING THE LIMITS by Katie McGarry so I was anxious to get my hands on DARE YOU TO. Thanks to Netgalley and HarlequinTeen, I was able to devour the book months before its release.

And let me tell you one little secret:

I loved it.

Even more than PUSHING THE LIMITS.

Summary from Goodreads.com:

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all…

Release Date: May 28th, 2013

Sometimes, you have books it´s hard to explain when exactly you fell into a story. For DARE YOU TO, I can tell you that the first scene got me hooked. Ryan is a total cocky jock in that scene but he seems real. And the chemistry with Beth was here from the beginning. After that first scene, I needed to know how those two would meet again.

From there on, here are a few things that kept me turning the pages:

  • Beth. She´s a complicated character with many layers, fears and insecurities. IPage after page, glimpses of her past, her relationship with her uncle, her allegiance to her mother despite everything show how tough she´s trying to balance, how some decisions can do ricochet and have an impact.
  • Ryan. Ryan has flaws, he has issues, dreams and he´s just this funny, charming guy you wished you could have met while in High school.
  • The chemistry/banter between Ryan and Beth. They definitely have INSTA-LUST but not being able to stand each other means they´re trying to fight their chemistry – that just makes for good reading 😛
  • Cast of secondary characters: The uncle, his wife, Ryan´s friends, Ryan´s brother, Beth´s best friend…the appearance of Noah and Isaiah…They all play a role in the story, they all leap through the pages…Katie McGarry can pick any of them to write another story and I´ll read it.

And because I like quotes, here are a few ones:

  • Ryan has this blank, way too innocent expression. “Don’t worry, Mr. Risk. I’d love to help Elisabeth.” He turns to me and smiles. This smile isn’t genuine or heartwarming, but cocky as hell. Bring it, jock boy. Your best won’t be good enough.
  • “I won’t let you go.” I blink. As if he could stop me. “You won’t let me go.” “No, I won’t let you go. You’re mine and I don’t lose.”
  • “There are times when you stand on the cusp of moments so huge, you know you’ll remember them forever. This is that moment for me and for Ryan.”

And for more information on DARE YOU TO, those posts are pretty great:

Book Review, Books, YA Book Club

YA Book Club: taken by TAKEN…

This month, the YA Book Club (brainchild of the wonderful Tracey) is discussing TAKEN by the lovely and talented Erin Bowman. TAKEN is a book full of mystery, action and heart. (and it so works that I can also use this for my Debut Author Challenge :P)

TAKEN

Summary from Goodreads.com: There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

TAKEN´s a page turner, it´s the kind of book that makes you wait for sequels impatiently. No kiddin´ when is it coming out?

I pre-ordered TAKEN and when it arrived, I thought “hmm let´s wait.” I was a bit nervous. Reading a book by someone you interact with even if it’s not on a regular basis is somehow scary and exciting at the same time. And then I hit a reading slump. Work was taking its toll on me and I was just simply stressed.

But then a business trip came up. I had a few hours of flying ahead of me so I took out the pretty cover of TAKEN (didn´t want to damage it) and packed it up for the trip.

You. Guys.

I couldn´t stop reading.

I was sucked in the story from page one.

It reminded me of THE VILLAGE by — the twists are different, the story isn´t the same but there was some sort of similar vibe.

And I really connected with the main character, Gray. He wasn´t perfect, he had his flaws but I wanted to know what happened to him, what happened to those boys and what was going to happen with his possible love interest.

I don´t want to spoil anything but basically, Erin, thank you! Thank you for writing a book that distracted me from my stress and helped me get over my slump and helped me escape for a few hours.

l´ll take a trip with your books anytime!

Book Review, Books, YA Book Club

IF YOU FIND ME – All. The. Feels.

First thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for letting me read an e-galley of this book…I already bought the paper version of it as this book is so far one of my favorites of 2013. And it´s my first Debut Author Challenge Review!

Debut Author Challenge

There are books that make you smile, or cry, or feel so full of emotions you´re not quite sure how the writer managed to instill those into the novel.

And then you have the books that do all those things not and stay with you for long after you turn the last page (or click the last “next” on your Kindle). IF YOU FIND ME is one of them.

IF YOU FIND ME

Summary by Goodreads: A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

If I close my eyes and think about Emily´s story, I see people. Not characters but people and then I simply feel. Emily managed that elusive magic of making me fall in love with her characters, even though the situation they find themselves in is so difficult. Carey and Jenessa found a place in my heart. They made me think, made me tear up but there´s also hope in those pages. Yes, their situation is tough. Yes, they suffered and there were moments where I cringed, where I clutched my sides and where I closed my eyes. But they are both so full of life still, so full of love. Their love for each other. Their love for others. Despite everything.

I will pick up everything Emily Murdoch writes after this heart-wrenching, beautiful and powerful debut!