Monthly Archives:: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Review: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Don't Look Back
Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Publication date: April 15th 2014
by Disney Hyperion

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Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?
-A copy was provided by Disney Book Group for review-

With a strong blurb and a cover that’s both creepy and pretty, I went into this one with a lot of expectations. It is my favorite genre and an author I’ve previously enjoyed, after all. I can’t say I’m disappointed, exactly, but I’m sad that didn’t end up loving this one as much as I was hoping.

Amnesia is a commonly used trope in mystery novels, but I still find myself drawn to them every time. Even though it’s been done before, I found the memory loss aspect very well executed. When Samantha reappears into a life where she had it all, she’s not sure how to deal with the way people describe her. She was a selfish bitch, to put it bluntly. I found this contrast between her pre-amnesia and present self very intriguing. She’s the same girl, yet with a now conflicting personality from before. It makes you wonder what could have turned this great person at heart into such a mean girl. Unfortunately I never exactly connected with Samantha. She was not unlikeable as a protagonist, but she did grate on my nerves every now and then, especially when it involved Del. I found it incredibly obvious that he was lying about their relationship – and more – (I mean, what teenage relationship is that perfect?), but she still believed his every word. He kind of creeped me out if I’m being honest. I wanted him to just go away.

Furthermore, I did find there were a lot of clichés throughout this story. Romantically, we’ve got the tumbling-and-falling-on-top-of-each-other scene, then the crush-wiping-ice-cream-off-her-chin scene. Thriller-wise, we’ve got the face-in-a-rear-view-mirror shocker along with mysteriously appearing notes. I can’t say I didn’t roll my eyes a time or two. More on these notes, they were so vague and unhelpful that I didn’t see the point to them. They do serve a purpose eventually, but an angle like this had a lot more potential to build an effective twist than it delivered.

With that out of the way, I may not have fallen in love with this one, but I did enjoy myself while reading it. I was kept in the dark with a mystery that unravels slowly and steadily until all the pieces fit. I was left feeling butterflies towards a once unlikely romance that blooms between two characters (not Del – blerg!). And I was satisfied with the psychological aspect and unique character arc driven by memory loss. JL Armentrout definitely has potential in the mystery genre!

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

Jenni’s Stacking the Shelves [March 30]

Jenni’s Stacking the Shelves [March 30]

Posted by on 03/30/2014 • 24 Comments

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews featuring new additions to our bookshelves.

I was so excited to get these two beauties last week from Penguin Canada. They both look fantastic!

Ebook Haul:   

It’s so exciting when Harper does their mass uploads to Edelweiss, I was so happy to snatch all of these up.  Big thank you’s to Harper, Sourcebooks and Penguin Canada this week!

What did you add to your shelves this week?

Fresh Batch (New Releases March 30th – April 5th)

Fresh Batch (New Releases March 30th – April 5th)

Posted by on 03/29/2014 • 13 Comments

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

Dorothy Must Die Danielle Paige Series: Dorothy Must Die #1 Publication date: April 1st 2014by HarperTeen

Goodreads Purchase

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be…

Review: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Review: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Posted by on 03/28/2014 • 27 Comments

Not only is this a wonderful story, but it touches you from many angles: family, romance, friendship, homosexuality, privacy – just to name a few. It’s thought provoking and inspiring, with characters who are just plain genuine.

Chloe (aka Bonnie™) is a celebrity who was literally born into a reality show. This show, reminiscent of Jon & Kate Plus 8, was a real eye opener on how reality TV isn’t reality at all. Not only that, but they’re almost criminal in how they affect children who don’t even have a choice in the matter. Can you imagine your whole life chronicled for the world to see? Your childhood tantrums found with a simple Google search? It’s incredibly frustrating to see these kids’ lives manipulated – more like hounded –…

Review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

Review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

Posted by on 03/27/2014 • 14 Comments

Last year I read Marcus Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood and while I wasn’t the biggest fan of the way the story unfolded I was a fast fan of the writing.  Upon seeing that he had a more contemporary tale coming out this year I was anxious to get my hands on it.  While She Is Not Invisible isn’t the most action packed novel I have ever read it is incredibly thought provoking and a story that I just could not put down.

We meet Laureth Peak as she is trudging through a London airport with her younger brother and his stuffed raven, Stan.  She is trying to convince herself that she is doing the right thing and that she is not abducting her younger sibling.  Through some well done flashbacks we see…

Book Girls Don’t Cry… Or Read ALL Of The Novellas

Book Girls Don’t Cry… Or Read ALL Of The Novellas

Posted by on 03/26/2014 • 38 Comments

Book Girls Don’t Cry is a feature where we will discuss/vent/advise on a bookish topic. This feature is co-hosted with the lovely Amy at Book Loving Mom.

I am super excited about this BGDC post this week.  A few weeks ago I got together with my good friend Stella (It’s Too Late To Apologize) and we had a very bookish afternoon.  We drank awesome tea (which I drove around my city to find the following day) and we talked books.  What was going to be an hour long vlog shoot, turned into a 5 hour chat session on her couch.  Right after we decided that this is going to be something we have to do way more often so I will have more of these vlogs to share with you…

Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Posted by on 03/25/2014 • 23 Comments

You know those dogs that are so ugly they’re cute? This book is kind of like that. It was so ridiculous, that it became entertaining in its absurdity. I went into this expecting a more Gothic kind of witch read, and what I got was more Sabrina the Teenage Witch kind of fantastical (except Sabrina did it well!). I mean, if you go into this with the right mindset maybe you’d like it better?

The witch lore starts out intriguing with some interesting aspects. I liked how there’s no good vs evil or white vs dark, it’s all black magic and the way you use it is what matters. That’s how far my liking of this book went, unfortunately, as the more pages I turned, the more nonsensical it…

Review: Great by Sara Benincasa

Review: Great by Sara Benincasa

Posted by on 03/24/2014 • 17 Comments

What a weird book this was.  I have to be honest and preface everything I am about to say by letting you know that I have never read The Great Gatsby.  I know nothing of what it is about, all I know is that Leonardo DiCaprio recently starred in a movie version about it that I have not seen.  Naturally I won’t be able to compare GREAT to the source material at all but I can talk about the book for what it is.  So what was it? Well, it was a contemporary tale about richie rich Hamptons kids who use “summer” as a verb and it had little vines of mystery snaking into the story here and there.  I had fun reading it, but I am not too certain…