Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: Random by Tom Leveen

18629767Release date: August 12th 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Who's the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall and Thirteen Reasons Why.

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call. It's a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.

He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself.

The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he'll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can't help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.

With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…

*Received physical copy from publisher in exchange of an honest review.

Let me just say that I glimpsed this one on Goodreads a few weeks ago and mentioned it in a WoW post because I was intrigued by the plot. So yeah, I was definitely anticipating it and thankfully, it was what I'd expected it to be: intense.

Random is a good depiction of how a teen becomes a bully, even though she's not quite aware of the fact that she did turn out to be one. And trust me, Tori is not your average sweet and innocent protagonist. She's quite a trip. I can see a lot of readers not liking her character because of her conceited thoughts and some of the things she'd say, but I believe that's the intention the author was going for and it worked. 
Tori is selfish. Her part in what happened was just sad. But regardless of it all, she still didn't have a full grasp of how even though she didn't actually kill her friend, she did help in driving him over the edge. 

At first when she received that random phone call, I was like, no, something's fishy here. But then once Andy began talking he really convinced me that he was on the verge of committing suicide, and I was curious as to how this obviously selfish girl who was on trial for her part in another suicide would help Andy change his mind. I think that, in trying to keep him alive, I got to learn something about Tori. She wasn't as bad as I'd initially thought and had clearly done something stupid just to fit in with a crowd she considered cool. It took most of the book for her to realize that and I wanted to slap the hell out of her so many times. And to be honest, when the whole thing with Andy was unraveled, I wasn't sorry for her. She needed the wake up and I don't blame Andy and the others for doing that. She sort of snapped back to her old self. Like I said, not a lot of people can stomach Tori as a main character, but it worked for me. I see the purpose of the story and what the author is trying to accomplish. And I think he did a great job and emphasizing his intentions.

I read Random in one sitting because it was really fast-paced and the writing was good. It pulled me in greatly. I was invested in the story from start to finish. It was different for me, seeing the perspective of a "bully" and the reaction of everyone after a bullied teen had taken his life. It's not often you get this side of the story and I'm glad I gave Random a chance. It was a great story, to me. I liked that the character was flawed, but I'm also happy that she experienced growth, or more like returned to her true self--to the person her brother, best friend, and parents can be proud of. She may not be able to change what happened, but at least she recognizes her part in it and can genuinely say that she's apologetic. There was more going on aside from the main topic of bullying, but I don't want to spoil it for you. I can only say that this is a good story for those looking for something realistic and intense to read. I highly recommend.

About the Author
Tom LeveenTom Leveen has 22 years of theatre experience as an actor and director. He was the Artistic Director and a co-founder of two companies: Chyro Arts Venue, an all-ages nonprofit visual and performing venue; and Is What It Is Theatre, a community theatre that operated for 13 seasons. Tom lives with is wife and son in the Phoenix area. PARTY was his first novel, followed by ZERO (a 2013 YALSA Best Book) and MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRL, all with Random House. His fourth novel, SICK, a YA horror, will be released in Fall 2013 from Abrams/Amulet.

Waiting on Wednesday #99

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spines. This is a cool way to spotlight a upcoming release that you're anxious about, as well as checking out what other book lovers are anticipating. Here's what I'm waiting for:

17875055Earth & Sky (Earth & Sky #1)
by Megan Crewe
Release date: October 28th 2014
Publisher: Razorbill/Skyscape

Synopsis via Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. 

Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. 

For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. 

Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help--but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.

Why I'm Waiting

I haven't read many books about aliens so this one really struck me while I was browsing Goodreads for feature releases. I like the concept of alien scientists and it seems like there's some time traveling in the midst as well. Either way, I'm looking forward to reading this one and I hope it doesn't disappoint.

What are you waiting for?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Release Day Blast: Overpowered by Cheyanne Young

Happy release day to the second book in Cheyanne's Powered trilogy.

Series: Powered #2
Release date: August 14th 2014
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
After rescuing Nova from a life of evil, Maci fears she's made a huge mistake. As if she didn't have enough trouble fitting in with her fellow Supers, Nova outshines Maci in personality and power. 

In the midst of this one-sided sibling rivalry, humans are dropping dead from a powerful drug that originates in the underground tunnels of King City. Someone is a traitor and Maci wants to capture the villain before anyone else—especially Nova.
With Nova in the spotlight, Maci needs to set aside her jealousy before more humans die and the future of King City is changed forever.

Cheyanne YoungAbout the Author
Cheyanne is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, nail polish and paid holidays. She lives near the beach with her family, one spoiled rotten puppy and a cat who is most likely plotting to take over the world.

She also writes under the pen name Amy Sparling.

BLOG TOUR~Garden of Ashes by Kate Cowan

IFB will host the blog tour for the second book in Kate Cowan's YA Fantasy The Legend of Eden series. See details below:

20871787Series: The Legend of Eden #2
Release date: September 1st 2014
Publisher: Anchor Group

Synopsis via Goodreads:
After four years as a prisoner in her parents' attic, hidden away from the Catchers, Eden never dreamt the very people she was hiding from would be the beginning of such impossible things. She's found freedom on the island like she never imagined. 

Eden is a sorcerer, with the power of the world in her fingertips. She is determined to never be helpless like she once was, and spends every minute of her spare time training to fight back. As she discovers more of her own power, she and her friends continue to uncover the secrets of the Council. Deadly secrets, hinting at something far larger than the island and the Catchers. Before they can find out exactly what the Council is hiding, Eden's magic begins to spiral out of control, and she loses it for just a second. Just half of a second, and it's enough to change everything. 

Suddenly, lives are put at stake, and Eden and her friends must do something no one else has ever dared. They have to escape the island, or they have to die trying.

Kate CowanKate Cowan is an artist, an animation student, a black belt in karate and now, an author. She didn't discover writing until mid-high school, when she began writing an (unintentionally) hilarious novel involving a teenage girl and a magic necklace. Her current novel series, The Legend of Eden, began as a story of Arthurian magic, but quickly transformed into something much different.
Kate currently lives in Ontario, Canada, in a zoo of a house. When she isn't writing, she's drawing, cooking, or browsing the Internet for new music.

If you haven't read the first book and would still like to participate, please make sure to request both books when you sign-up. The books are provided in electronic format.

NOTE: Please do not post any negative reviews that are hurtful to the author and affects the purpose of the tour. Post the blurb and giveaway instead, or send me an email if you'd like to back out. Thank you for understanding.

Sept. 1st -
WOrkS of FiCTion *Guest Post
Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog *Review & Excerpt (blogger's choice)
Mom With A Kindle *Interview

Sept. 2nd -
Write Away Bliss *Interview
Books Direct *Spotlight

Sept. 3rd -
Book Club Sisters *Guest Post
Simplistic Reviews *Spotlight

Sept. 4th -

Sept. 5th -
In Between The Lines *Review & Favorite Quotes

*No posts on weekend.

Sept. 8th -
YA,YA and More YA *Spotlight
Feedmeinbooks *Review

Sept. 9th -
Eating Magic *Interview
Deal Sharing Aunt *Spotlight

Sept. 10th -

Sept. 11th -
Book Lovers Life *Guest Post

Sept. 12th -
CBY Book Club *Interview

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Ugly LoveRelease date: August 5th 2014
Publisher: Atria
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

*Approved via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

Ugly Love definitely has its perks, but for the most part it was a sad story about the pain and suffering caused by the emotion. While I liked the lyrical writing and how fast-paced the story was, there were some things that bugged me. I would have loved to get more from Miles from the beginning than what the closing chapters offered. I know he's supposed to be this closed-off guy with a lot of pent up hurt, but I think I would have believed his feelings for Tate more had there been some establishment on his part from earlier. 

I also didn't really like when the POV switched to him because it was mostly explaining his past and his undying love for another girl. While it was understandable that the author wanted readers to understand why Miles was now determined to never fall in love again, I felt like it didn't have to expound on his past for that long. Maybe two or three chapters, which included the main cause of his pain, and then switch it to present where his attraction to Tate is brought out more. It was just too unbearable reading about his feelings for Rachael (I didn't care for her) while Tate was there loving him so hard.

Speaking of Tate, I wish she was stronger. I know that in reality, some women tend to love a guy so much that they don't even have the strength to steer away from the guy when he refuses to be honest with himself about his feelings. But my gosh, it was just terrible for Tate. She put herself through hell to have any part of Miles, while he continued to punish himself by not giving in to love. Maybe it's me, but that just seems so wrong. I feel that no woman should settle for something like that, no matter how much she loves the guy. If he's playing stubborn and not willing to invest as much, then take a step back and give yourself some space from him. I know you're probably saying it's easy for me to come to that conclusion when I'm on the outside looking in, but their relationship was not healthy. There are people who have those situations worked out, where there are no strings attached, but that was bound to crash when it came to Miles and Tate. Miles just had too much baggage in his past for even casual hook-ups to work. 
Fortunately for Tate, she finally got the nerve to walk away, and I think Miles finally realized how much he wanted to be with her when she left the situation and found the strength to not put up with his shield anymore. Even though he had to find his ex to make a decision, I'm glad he came to an epiphany and saw the good thing he almost let slip away.

In regards to other characters, I liked Cap and the way he provided advice for both Miles and Tate. Corbin and Ian were likable guys as well. I liked Corbin even more when he punched some sense into Miles. And Ian was just admirable when he called him out on his crap. It's cool when you've had a friend for that long. They know the hell you've been through and want more than anything to see you find happiness. That's the kind of person Ian was and I applaud him for always being there for Miles.

Overall, it was a good, bittersweet story with great writing. This is my third time reading a book by Colleen Hoover, and while I didn't love it as much as I loved Hopeless, it was still another good reading experience. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Blast & Giveaway: Frostbitten by Heather Beck

22456363Release date: September 13th 2014
Publisher: Enchanted Publishing
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Great beauty hides dark secrets...

Seventeen-year-old Anastasia Lockhart has never led an easy life, but when she starts getting into serious trouble, she’s sent to live with her grandparents in Cedar Falls. The small, picturesque town hasn’t changed since she visited four years ago, with one exception – the presence of a handsome, mysterious boy named Frost. Despite warnings from her grandparents and friends to stay away from Frost, Anastasia can’t deny their attraction, and the more time they spend together, the deeper in love they fall. Unfortunately, Frost has a secret that is beyond Anastasia’s wildest imagination, and she soon finds herself in the midst of a supernatural legend that has haunted Cedar Falls for years.

Can Anastasia and Frost’s love really overcome anything, or are their fates much darker?

About the Author
Heather Beck is a Canadian Author and Screenwriter who began writing professionally at the age of sixteen. Her first book was published when she was only nineteen years old. Since then she has written eleven well-reviewed books which have sold in six continents.

Heather received an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree from university where she specialized in English and studied an array of disciplines. Currently, she is working on two young adult novels and has three middle grade anthologies slated for publication. As a screenwriter, Heather has multiple television shows and movies in development. Her short films include Young Eyes, The Rarity, Too Sensible For Love, and Circular.

Besides writing, Heather’s greatest passion is the outdoors. She is an award-winning fisherwoman and a regular hiker. Her hobbies include swimming, playing badminton and volunteering with non-profit organizations.


A shiver of excitement ran throughout Anastasia’s body. She knew that it wasn’t a good idea to miss the assembly or venture into the woods, but she didn’t care. Waiting until the hallway was empty, she grabbed her coat and then hurried through the back door.
The early afternoon sun was high in the sky, shining brightly and making the snow-covered trees and ground sparkle as if it was a winter wonderland. Amongst the beautiful scenery, Anastasia noted a pair of footprints leading deep into the woods. She followed them and soon came upon Frost, whose back was turned to her as he stared into the distance.
As if sensing her presence, he turned around, smiled and said, “You came.”
“There was no need for you to doubt that,” Anastasia replied, smiling back at him. “So, what are we doing out here?”
“Why tell when I can show?” Frost said, guiding her forward.
After a few minutes of walking, they came to a bend in the woods. Anastasia heard ducks quacking nearby, and when they turned around the corner, she saw a small frozen pond filled with colorful mallards. When the ducks saw them, they began to quack louder.
Frost led Anastasia to a flat rock that made the perfect seat for two. Since the sun was shining upon it, he only had to sweep away a light dusting of snow before gesturing for her to sit down. As they both did so, the ducks waddled excitedly toward them.
“They’re so pretty,” Anastasia commented, especially noting the brilliant hues of green on some of their feathers, “but why do they stay? It’s not like there’s anything here for them.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” Frost said, retrieving a small bag from his coat pocket. “They fly here almost every day, knowing they’ll be fed. That sounds like a sweet deal to me.” He opened the bag, offering the contents to her.
Anastasia took a handful of the bread crumb, peanut and bird seed mix, and then gently tossed it toward the eager ducks. She’d been starting to wonder what that bulge in Frost’s pocket was, and she would’ve never guessed it was duck feed. She almost snickered at the thought.
“I’ve never skipped school to do something like this,” Anastasia said, taking more of the mix and sprinkling it a couple of feet in front of her. “Now I truly know what a badass you are.”
“I promise you’re not missing anything important. They have these assemblies every month, and it’s basically an excuse for the principal and teachers to tell each other what a wonderful job they’re doing – in front of an audience, of course.”
“Of course. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
Frost smirked before quickly turning serious. “Sometimes I can’t stand being in school. People think they know you, but they don’t.”
Soothingly, Anastasia placed her hand on Frost’s knee. “You never have to pretend around me. I understand what you’re going through at school, probably better than anyone else.”
“I have secrets, Anastasia.”
“We all do. So, why don’t you start by telling me one of yours?”
Appearing hesitant, Frost looked at the ground, as if he was contemplating something very serious. However, when he lifted his head a moment later, his disposition had changed and he now wore a smile, although Anastasia sensed that it wasn’t completely sincere.
“Well, it’s not exactly scandalous,” Frost began slowly, “but one of my biggest passions is music. I’ve been playing the guitar since I was ten, and I even write my own lyrics – not that they’re any good.”
“I’d love to hear them,” Anastasia pried gently.
“I have been working on something new.” Looking somewhat shy but still keeping his gaze on Anastasia, Frost began to sing in a low, husky voice:

As if by chance
It only took one glance
Girl with green eyes, let’s not say our goodbyes
I know life’s rough
But I feel you’re tough
Wish you could see, how good you look to me
Then all your tears
And even all those fears
Will disappear, forever far from here

Silence fell over the woods once Frost had finished singing, and his cheeks flushed a pale shade of red. “I know it’s not perfect, and I swear I play the guitar better than I write.”
“It’s beautiful,” Anastasia whispered, deeply touched by the sentiment of Frost’s lyrics.
“The inspiration just sort of hit me,” Frost whispered back.
Swept up in the moment, Anastasia’s pulse quickened, and ever so slowly, she leaned in closer.

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